"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

Saturday, August 18, 2007

TRUE STORY: What's a Chicana from San Antonio doing in Rwanda?

La Vicki Grise is 30 years old, a hometown girl and performance artist who's in her second year of graduate school in the Performing Arts en Los Angeles.

You may know her for The Panza Monologues, produced by Irma Mayorga.

Vicki is the future of theatre. When you turn off the television after a long hoping of some truth, confused because it leaves you feeling not pretty enough, not rich enough, remember, remember, that people used to gather around and tell each other stories. And there was always that one woman who could make you laugh - and cry.

She told your story, and made you see how yes, you were necessary to the world.

Postcard from Vicki Grise

I am in Amsterdam now at my new office - the open bare biblioteek. The city is laid out in a series of cocentric circles with canals and bridges cutting across them on every block. The old buildings, lined right up against the other, lean forward and they look as if they are supporting each other. Everyone rides a bike and I am camping next to Gaasperplas Lake. I run every morning underneath trees that create ceilings of green that block the sky. I love it here.
I'm writing to let you know that I posted my first report from travels to Rwanda this summer on my blog site: www.vgrise.blogspot.com While I was in Africa I believe I was so overwhelmed by the experience I had a difficult time being on a computer even when I did have access.

The first post is on our first days arrival and Bisisero, the site of Rwandan resistance to the Genocide of 1994. In the following weeks, I will also post notes on:

1. Marambi - a community that refuses to bury their dead so that no one can deny what happened on that land
2. Butare - where Sistah Hailstorm and TIWAEIS (Vanessa) rocked the mike and had the audience on their feet
3. and finally Hope North, Uganda - a site of refuge for children fleeing the war in Uganda.

In Rwanda, we were told again and again - go home and tell people what you have seen here.

credit: photo, Vicki Grise, www.evelynstreet.com, The Panza Monologues, by Vicki Grise and Irma Mayorga

Friday, August 17, 2007


Well, its official.

Back in the day, alternative newspapers were really that. Now of course it's sex ads and restaurant reviews and the publisher is livin large. Ok, I'll swallow that if you give me the news I can't find in the mainstream.

Here in San Antonio, we got the Editor of the San Antonio Current, Elaine Wolff, using her position to promote (D) Mikal Watts and his Senatorial campaign, whose claim to fame is that he's a very rich trial lawyer and anti-U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R).

Have I mentioned that Rick Noriega (D), a Texas legislator who served in Iraq is also considering entering the race? Have I mentioned that he's not rich?

(My disclosure: I'm no fan of war heroes, they tend to be conflicted about taking on the status quo, fearful of being called Mexicans instead of Hispanic and sent back to la madre patria. )

Back in the day, the alternatives would be all over the left-of-center Noriega, investigating, debating, making his nalgitas toast nice and brown on the political comal.

Here in San Antonio, Elaine Wolff disclosed in print this week that her husband, Michael Westheimer, has contributed to the Watts campaign. Hmmmm.
On the Current's new website, it went like this:

What she didn't disclose in the printed version of the San Antonio Current is that her husband is a District 1 Zoning Commissioner and she sure didn't disclose that he gave a whopping $2300 on June 8, 2007. www.campaignmoney.com

This isn't hamburger-money folks. On the Current's website, Wolff discloses her husband's full name, who he is, and that she's independent of him.

But she doesn't disclose how much dinero he gave to Watts.

Personally, even if Wolff swears on the Bible she hasn't done it with her husband in a year, I smell some stinky, sticky, journalism.

If I can't trust the alternative to give me the other side, what then?

As the editor, Wolff is still in charge of writing the political stories. This week she interviewed - you guessed it - Watts. But her husband's contribution was over two months ago.

I don't know if this is related, but Dave Maass, her political writer - has resigned after less than a year at the Current. My sources say he challenged Wolff's veiled attacks on Noriega and her pimpy attempts at supporting el huevo-faced Watts. I still can't figure out what that man stands for, what his platform is.

And Keli Dailey, a black editor and Berkeley grad from San Antonio's eastside who was Maass' boss, (I like the way that sounds) got escorted out last month from the Current offices.

None of this was disclosed either.

photo credit:

Thursday, August 16, 2007

MEDIA WATCHATE! Twenty layoffs at the San Antonio paper: Does anybody read the newspaper anymore (besides the New York Times)?

I read the local paper, the San Antonio Express-News, searching for a nugget about political officials, corruption, the Edwards Aquifer and the golf resort that's threatening it, why the streets are flooding with all the rains, etc. But we get stories about Eva Longoria and Tony Parker, football, and praise for our military heroes. (Remember, we have four bases here).

Nobody under thirty years old I know reads the paper. If they're halfway educated, they scan it online, otherwise, they buy it on Fridays for the Weekend Guide and on Sundays for the coupons and the Sports Section. That's it.

I heard last night from a good source that twenty people were laid off in the latest round, I say that because about half-a-dozen people got their pink slips a month ago or so.

In reading the paper today, there was no mention of the layoffs. Who cares?

I do. Before you read who got the shove, let me remind you who's been kicked out already one way or the other: (These are not in chronological order)

1. I got the boot as a monthly columnist in 2001 for writing against revenge after 9/11 and THE WAR.

2. Julio Noboa: another freelance columnist who wrote about the suffering of the Palestinians. He was against THE WAR.

3. Dick Reavis: prize-winning chingon reporter who was known for his ANTI-WAR stance and stories about social and political injustice

4. Enrique Rangel: smart and respected journalist/columnist whose view of US/Mexico politics was moderate and who was also against the WAR

5. Rod Davis: PEN-prized novelist and Travel Editor who was suspended for two weeks for writing a column against THE WAR

6. Jan Jarboe: Texas Monthly writer and biographer and limousine-liberal columnist who was too liberal for the SAEN. She certainly was to the right-of-me, but not right-enough for them.

7. Susan Yerkes: Society columnist who was an out-feminista.

8. Macarena Hernandez: Beautiful, brainy, Berkeley-grad who wanted to weigh in on feature stories and the SAEN inner circle wouldn't let her. (She told me this). So she left for the Dallas Morning News.

Shall I go on? You think San Antonio can lose this talent? Now, tell me again, why are those young men and women dying over there? For our democracy? And how are we supposed to keep what we have without a fair and balanced and free press?

For those journalists in San Antonio who didn't believe it would happen to them, welcome to the real world. You been played.

Just because we don't read newspapers anymore doesn't mean we don't need news. We need your pen more than ever. Use it. Now.

And in this magic-rabbit time of the internet before Murdock buys it all, here is the only news item as reported by Poynter-Online, (the Journalists' Thinktank.)

On Thursday, Romenesko was forwarded this e-mail written by a San Antonio Express-News staffer:

We had a round of layoffs yesterday, which followed some early
retirements. Twenty managers throughout the paper got the ax. Three were assistant managing editors in editorial: news resource (there are four or five people who do nothing but research for reporters and graphics); the graphics art and photo AME and the projects/Sunday AME.

I asked the paper for confirmation. Editor Bob Rivard is off taking his son to college, but Express-News public editor Bob Richter sent this e-mail:

I can confirm the newsroom layoffs only; not sure yet about the total
number paperwide. Here are the newsroom positions lost: Hallie Paul, assistant managing editor/design, graphics and photo; Kathy Foley, assistant managing editor/news research and technology; and Robert Kaiser, assistant managing editor/Sunday and writing coach. Their final day on the payroll is Aug. 31. As an aside, Hallie Paul had planned to retire from the newspaper in the coming year.

My understanding is there was not a memo or written notice from corporate. Bob Rivard made an announcement to editors at the news budget meeting Wednesday afternoon, and asked them to pass along the word to the rest of the staff.

credits: Dog Poster,

Thursday, August 02, 2007

A battered woman from San Antonio loses her reporting job

Gina Galaviz, 43, KSAT-TV's I-love-the-police reporter, "has been fired" from the television station , according to the San Antonio Express-News, and I'm quoting verbatim here from Jeanne Jakle's byline, "after she was charged with assault following a fight with her boyfriend," Ronald Aguillen, 46.

Ok, so we in San Antonio know about the time in 2004 when Gina filed charges against another boyfriend, the former SWAT cop, who was a councilman at-the-time, Ron Segovia .
There were allegations of an apple being thrown at her nalgas, which humiliated her, and that he also pointed a gun at her. It was not the first time, she told me.

Tough-guy Segovia got off - I think he had three attorneys representing him if I remember correctly, and in this city, like too many, the cops are in bed with the grand jury - they need and depend on each other, and this grand jury decided there "wasn't enough evidence to pursue a criminal case against him."

Segovia wasn't a nice guy. My very good sources have told me about his violent past with women - and when I interviewed Gina on the issue of absolute police power over women in this city- she appeared to be a textbook case for a battered woman. She loved them. He hated them. She was loyal. She cried.

I was reminded of this impression when I watched her question then-Deputy Police Chief Jerry Pittman in 2006, who was also exonerated by a grand jury - for raping his step-niece - another man who women have warned me not to confront. Gina, the police reporter, didn't interview Pittman that day - she simpered, cooed and genuflected at his expensively-packaged speech. Pittman just glared at me . See: Thursday, August 24, 2006 Jerry Pittman: The Worst Cop, but there's more in San Antonio

So much for tough police reporting in this city. There are other stories out there about Gina, about her passion for the men in blue. Quien sabe. If she was abused as a child as too many of us are, then it would make sense for her to believe that men are the ones who are always right, and that she isn't worthy unless she has one besides her.

I would like to believe that this time she stood up and let him have it.

And then she got fired.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

True Story: Maria, la santa de los cats in San Antonio

In San Antonio, it's been raining cats.

Forget the biblical lluvia that's turned our city into an Eden in August. Los gatos , calicos, Cary Grant-tuxedoes, marigold tabbys, long-hair, short-hair, and witchy black ones with motor-purrs. They are raining down to tell us something.

And Maria has seen them in the alleys and streets of el Westside of San Antonio as charcoal bits - burned beyond recognition. She's seen gangmembers run over them in joyrides, so their little tripitas make them laugh. She's seen them poisoned with anti-freeze, and she's found them mewing from trashcans on Zarzamora Street.

Maria, a housekeeper, has rescued more than sixty of them. With her money, and sometimes threatened with rape - or death - for her compassion.

San Antonio has a problem. There are too many of them, the animal shelter is full, and too many waiting for adoption. We are a very poor city. But in this city, the cats are lost, abandoned, as if we don't need raindrops falling on our skin.

To me, they are a sign. They are the canaries of the city.

And we don't want to listen to their sad story.

Photo Credit: Me! I took this photo of Manito and Zarita, two stray kittens, wrestling in my house.