"Remember El Alma" First On-site Performance Challenging the Alamo, March 2010

"Remember El Alma," First on-site performance
challenging the Alamo
original poem written by Barbara Renaud Gonzalez

Adapted by Virginia Grise; Produced by Bihl Haus Arts, Kellen McIntyre, Ph.D; Performed at Luminaria!
San Antonio, Hemisfair Plaza, San Antonio, Texas, March 13, 2010; 5 Actresses, 1 Musician
A cast of beautiful women, all ages and colors, from
all over San Antonio
; Foto Credit: Joan Frederick @2010

Monday, May 29, 2006

A True Story: Two sad girls getting drunk in the afternoon

Last week after lunch, I went outside to throw the trash and there they were. Two muchachas from nearby Jefferson High school, making a picnic with a bottle of wine and some bottles of beer, besides my trash can in the alley.

I live two doors from the high school, so the students are always trampling through my backyard, scaring the cats, searching for dope from my next-door neighbor, but I had never seen this.

The two girls, dressed in their regulation khaki and white, immediately stuffed their liquor in their brown bags and stood up, embarrassed that I saw them, expecting a reganada.

I wanted to preach to them, but looking at their pretty faces, a morena with ribbons in her hair, and the noodle-slim guerita with giant hoops, I wanted to reach through the years dividing us. How many years has it been since I was their age, thirty, thirty-five, and how could I possibly tell them all I've seen, the broken hearts that women have suffered, how could I tell them the drinking won't, can't, paste the eggshell back together of their corazones.

"The boys will take advantage of you," I said, "so don't do this." How could they know what I saw in college, the hurting that men lavish on women who want to be loved, the secrets women hide deep inside, a fine tequila they fear to taste.

"Life is hard, and the drinking won't heal your pain." I thought about my sister, Leticia, my own mother's death from alcoholism, and the betrayals, tragedies, and most of all, the loneliness that we women don't talk about, until it's too late.

But the girls didn't want a speech, and I just tried to talk softly, hoping they would hear in my words how I've seen what it is to be alone in the world, that I know about dreams, and I believe in the most impossible ones.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Elaine Wolff, the alternative's San Antonio Current's Editor, says Michael Cary ya se fue

From Elaine Wolff:
Your website lists Michael Cary as a columnist with the Current. He is a former staff writer; his last day was May 17. I would appreciate it if you would add a note indicating that. FYI, the Current pays .13/word for reviews, and .15/word for stories for freelancers.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

MEDIA WATCHATE! Look and See why the Alternative Newspaper, the San Antonio Current, isn't.

Watch the video
The San Antonio Current's Michael Cary. I think he has trouble with a bigmouth latina like me.

Monday, May 22, 2006

MediaWatchate!The San Antonio Current's Michael Cary makes it Corriente

I have tried not to write anything critical about our alternative newspaper, the San Antonio Current. There was a time, when alternative newspapers really were, before they were bought out by publishers and alternative media moguls who live in Alamo Heights. There was a time when alternatives really were ass-kicking, raise-helling periodismo.

Those days are gone. Most readers, I think, read the Current for its entertainment guide, and the occasional puff-piece, I know I do. There's no money, you see, after profits are made with the sex ads and restaurant reviews by the owners and publishers to invest in serious journalism. I'm sure the writers try, sometimes one of them succeeds, but it's hard out there for a girl to make a living for a dime a word - which is what the free-lance writers make, and that's most of the writers at the Current.

Still, I don't know why the San Antonio Current wants to be the San Antonio
Corriente with the likes of Michael Cary, their political columnist. Whatever you may think of me, his attacks against me on his blog violate all journalistic ethics because he's also a political writer for the San Antonio Current. Blogs are for everyone, but an alternative political columnist has to substantiate his criticism, that' s why he gets a column.

Among many of us brown people, and Cary has told me his wife is a latina, we know there are gringos and then there are gringos who think they know us better, that they would make better latinos then we are. Years ago, I had to listen to a key San Antonio Current writer explain to me what
real Mexican food was. No matter that I've lived in Mexico, that my mother is mexicana, I had to listen to a gringo rave about huitlacoche, until I finally had to remind him that not everyone can afford to buy corn fungus at the GucciB on Broadway for $12.00 a pound.

I don't know why Michael Cary hasn't reported on the Guadalupe Cultural Center crisis as it deserves - instead - focusing on me - without confronting the crisis there.
But I do know this: his attacks on me, on Ben Olguin, and who knows who else, are the worst, bottom-line journalism I've ever seen. And since his column is prominent at the San Antonio Current, can we expect more of the same from the rest? Personally, I'm sending his articles and his attacks on me to every journalism organization I can think of - as an example of what we, latinos, should not have to put up with anymore.

Like many of you, I had gringo relatives. One of them, my Uncle Cliff, married my Tia Chuca, and he took her to Mexico every year, learned how to dance a la Agustin Lara, and even sheltered and respected my abuelita - the man was a saint. My other gringo uncle, Bill, was married to my beautiful tia Lupe, who he worshipped for her Rita Hayward hair, exotic accent and Chanel clothes, but he hated having to put up with the rest of her rasquache clan, our passions, our poverty, our quien-sabe-que. He ran when he saw us coming.

See, when you have a blog like I do, you're really free to write what you want - because no one is paying you. But Michael Cary has a column at the San Antonio Current - and he's supposed to be on my side - instead, he attacks me and Ben Olguin who, as little brown people, can let it rip when it comes to our own. Especially when I have the sources, the documents, the quotes, the history of going to the Guadalupe. Maybe the Guadalupe is buying ads at the Current? or maybe Cary is jealous that he's been shown up, and maybe just how dare I.

Maybe that's it. Brown people are just not supposed to know about huitlacoche or Oaxaca and don't you know, we're tribal, and it's just impossible to be of the tribe and outside of it at the same time, it's a scaredy thing. It means that we latinas/chicanas/metsicans/whatevers/ can support la gente and darles cachetadas when they deserve it.

Maybe el Michael Cary just wants to be brown, but he doesn't want the prejudice from whites like him, he wants it both ways, sorry Michael, you're either like My Tio Cliff or bien seco Uncle Bill. I think you need a suntan.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Guadalupe Story makes D Magazine Frontburner

Rod Davis, Senior Editor of D Magazine, that smart-sassy publication in Dallas, is following the Guadalupe story. Because R. Bret Ruiz, the Guadalupe's "Presidente," led the Anita R. Martinez Ballet Folklorico for several years, the story has resonance there. Mauricio Navarro, a key source of mine, was the Chairman of the Anita Martinez Center when Ruiz was hired, and he's the one who called Juan Aguilera, the Guadalupe's Chairman last summer, to tell him that Ruiz was "the worst director we've ever had."

I looked at Ruiz's employment references for the Guadalupe Center, and
he didn't list any Anita Martinez boardmembers as a reference - a curious thing when it comes to executive director positions.

Elda Silva of the San Antonio Express-News asked me if I thought that all these stories were pushing Chairman Juan Aguilera and the Guadalupe Board into a corner. You know what, I told her, sometimes we make mistakes.
The Guadalupe Board has made a big one. They should admit it, respect the community, and launch a national search for someone they might not like or understand or who wears a blue suit, but someone who is committed to la raza.

If they can't do this, I say it again.
The Guadalupe Board should resign. Before it's too late for the Guadalupe.


I know that I should be writing about President Bush and the militarization of the border and immigrant rights and all the rest. But it is the Guadalupe that is the beating heart for claiming who and why we are. We need and deserve the stories that so many worked so hard for us to hear, see, and embrace. You want to resist and fight back the slippery slide of totalitarianism we're on? Start with the Guadalupe. She has the power, it's the stories, our stories, that will save us, support us, to stand up and fight back. With the fire of words.

Guadalupedos:/Writer Pablo Martinez Comments

I've heard all sorts of reactions to Elda Silva's front-page article on the GCAC, ranging from fury to apathy. Here's my "cry of Cassandra": One of the article's many possible effects is that those who think San Antonio can only support one "major" Latino arts organization will now see the Alameda displacing the GCAC in that positioning 'sweepstakes.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Finally! The San Antonio Express-News BBguns the Guadalupe Center

My friend, journalist Elda Silva interviewed me some weeks ago about the Guadalupe Center, and today the story ran on the front page of the San Antonio Express-News.

In private, she expressed much she couldn't say in the story, because she has to be "balanced." She's not the only journalist who's concerned about the Guadalupe, dismayed at what they've witnessed, but who can't "say anything."

But I can.

Look, there's no Guadalupe Bookfair in San Antonio anymore. The Cinefestival was a washout this year, and the Conjunto Festival was three days when it's been five days long in the past. How do you think I feel?

The Guadalupe Cultural Center Board must resign. A key member of the Westside Coalition, the coalition of non-profit art and cultural organizations representing San Antonio's oldest barrio, has told me off-the-record - that they have not "invited" the Guadalupe Center to participate. They are also dismayed and offended by R. Bret Ruiz, the Guadalupe's President.

But they are even more afraid of losing city funding, since all are up for review on May 19th of this year. In San Antonio, the struggle for city funding for raza programs continues, and a harsh spotlight on the Guadalupe, necessary as it is, means to the Westside Coalition even more scrutiny, questions, and possible loss of funding.

The Guadalupe Cultural Center is the largest latina/o cultural center in San Antonio, and one of the biggest players in the city's artscene, receiving approximately $450,000 for 2006.

The Guadalupe Center in Crisis: The Board is breaking its own Bylaws

The Rule of Law.  You hear about it alot these days.  It's funny
to me - how we Latinos want the President Bush to follow it, and
yet we can't seem to follow it in our own country of the Guadalupe.
It begins at home, and we're not perfect, but we have to try. And
that's what this examination below is about - following the rule of law.
Bear in mind that the Guadalupe's Board Chairman is an attorney, and he
knows the law. I believe that if we can make the Guadalupe a democratic
institution, then we are qualifed to lead this country. I say this as
a brown woman who has seen plenty of inequality in my life. And I've
learned that siempre, always, it begins at home.

If it's not bad enough for the Guadalupe Center's new Presidente to
call staff and the community rasquache, here are the particular board
violations that are of great concern - and I've sat on six different
boards - never have I seen a board violate so many and so flagrantly:

From the By-Laws of the Guadalupe Cultural
Arts Center (Approved 6/28/94)

Article lll - Board of Directors
Section 2. Number, Tenure and Qualifications

"Membership on the GCAC Board of Directors shall consist of not more
than (24) twenty-four and not less than (9) members. Members must be at
least 21 years of age. One slot on the GCAC Board of Directors must be
filled at
all times by a person who resides in the GCAC neighborhood. ...
One slot on
the Board of Directors must be filled at all times by an artist...."

There is no artist on the Board. Artist and highly respected
community activist Terry Ybanez submitted her resume last November, and
no action has been taken.

ARTICLE ll - Members
Section 2. Members Requirements and Termination

"...sole discretion to terminate the membership of any person or
entity for default in payment of any pledge to the organization after
the default shall remain incurred for 30 days after written notice of the
default to the member."

Have all board members paid membership dues?

ARTICLE Ill - Board of Directors
Section 1. Commitment

"Members of the Board of Directors... responsibility to further the
development and achievement of Chicano arts on a local, regional and
national level. ...advocates of Chicano arts,...develop public
relations,and to be the official voice of the GCAC."

Anglos have been hired to fill Public Relations, Arts Education, and
are under contract for the Conjunto Festival

Section 2. Numbers, Tenure and Qualifications

" Members of the Guadalupe Board of Directors must maintain a
membership in the Guadalupe."

Have all board members paid Center's dues as of November '05 ?
Annual elections take place every November.
Bret Ruiz is a voting member of the board -are his
yearly dues paid?

"Board shall consist of not more than 24 and not less than 9

Until very recently, Ruiz' presence on the GCAC Board made 9 members.
And no artists.

"One Board member slot " MUST be filled at all times by a person who
resides in the Guadalupe neighborhood." (approximate boundaries zip code

And who is that?

One Board member slot "MUST be filled at all times by an artist."
with a Bachelors or Masters of Fine Arts Degree with an exhibition
record of atleast 3 years.

There are no artists on the Board. Ruiz's curatorial record, as listed on
his resume, isn't true, based on my research.

"The annual elections shall take place in November."
Was this done or have you changed this Bylaw - If you have change
the annual election what are your new procedures?

Again, why wasn't Terry Ybanez elected to the Board?

Section 4. Individual Responsibilities

"Each Director is required to serve as a member of at least one
standing committee."

Which committee is Bret Ruiz on, for example?
Isn't this a conflict of interest?

"...Directors shall act in good faith and take actions they reasonably
believe to be in the best interests of the GCAC and that are not
unlawful. In all other instances, the Board of Directors shall not take
any action that they should reasonably believe would be opposed to the GCAC's
best interests or would be unlawful."

With the recent sexual and racist compliants alleged against Bret
Ruiz would it not be in the best interests to remove him without pay
until an investigation is completed?

Section 5. Meetings
"The fourth absence shall give the board of directors the option to
remove or retain the board member."

"PUBLIC ATTENDANCE is invited by the Board of Directors in order to
comply with the law."

Harriet Romo, wife of UTSA President Ricardo Romo, did not attend
a GCAC boardmeeting for three years, admitting this to a staffmember,
and yet she was listed in February of this year as a GCAC
boardmember. She did not return my phone calls.

Article lV - OFFICERS
A. Chair

"The Chair shall preside at all meetings of the Board of Directors and
of the Executive Committee of the Board. ...Chair shall appoint annually
the Chairs of all standing and special committees"

Has Chairman Aguilera done this and can he give us the names of the committees
and members appointed to each committee?

When I attended the Boardmeetings in February and March, no Board
agendas or financial reports were distributed to the audience or
to journalists.

D. Treasurer
"...on a quarterly basis file and make available for inspection, a
report...that the Executive Director (now the President) has withheld the
lawful income tax for all such paid employees as are employed be the GCAC."

According to Mary Jessie Garza, former GCAC Interim Director,
the employees' income tax was not paid on time.

F. Immediate Past Chair /Advisor to the Chair
"The immediate Past Chair/Advisor to the Chair shall serve for one
year as special advisor to the Chair."

Why isn't this position filled? Noah Garcia resigned
in January' 06

And there's more, but these are the most critical to me. Thanks to Mary
Jessie Garza for examining the GCAC bylaws and asking the right questions.