"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

Friday, June 13, 2008

Yes, San Antonio is against the War! Here is our protest

With four bases in San Antonio in bed with an archconservative Catholic presence, and a media that makes heroes of our poorest, most naive soldiers so that our young believe that War is right and good, there are plenty of us who say NO.

Gracias to all the writers who participated and submitted.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Fox News goes after Bill Moyers and He Fights Back with Grace

At the Media Reform Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota last week, Fox News pursued Bill Moyers. How do the Fox Journalists sleep at night?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


When I worked with la Vicki Grise at the Esperanza years ago, it was obvious to me she was a star. She had presence, wit, maldiciones and fideo-love. What else do you need? Between her and Irma Mayorga, the Ph.D from Stanford playwright and resident creative genius, they conceived and produced The Panza Monologues. Vicki has now finished her second year at Cal Arts - the nation's top program in the performing arts and Irma teaches theatre at Florida State University, where she is a star tambien.

Some musings from Vicki on not getting to premiere The Panza Monologues in San Anto this summer:

una notitita (ok its a notitote but not a mitote) we will be filming
the panza monologues in Los Angeles August 2nd. i am of course dissapointed that we werent able to do the filming in ourhome town (ran around woodlawn lake this morning - so glad to be home)but i'm actually not angry. so many people have opened up space for usto do our work with extreme generosity. i remain ever hopeful and
extremely grateful (yes, i have watched the secret since i moved to
california). evelyn street is doing a second printing of the panza
monologues and maybe someone will bring us to san antonio for the
book/DVD release. aver...till then i will be taking a much needed rest
(oh and writing that thing they call a thesis)!

i ran into vincent valdez the other day. he was telling me about
hearing obama talk in san antonio and one of the things he said was
that it was the first time he had ever heard a presedential candidate
talk about the importance of the arts in america, about reinstituting
arts in the schools and supporting artists with living wages, that
creative energy was vital to the future development of this country
and that it was the first time he saw so many people in san antonio
gathered in one site - outside of a concert, basketball game, or

i teach playwrighting in east LA and i see the desperate need and
desire our gente have for the arts. this is cultural survival, pura
neta. and while i do not have much faith in any institution or
canidate to reverse the ramifications of the cultural wars (i am still
an anarchist in spirit) - i do believe people are fighting back/ have
always fought back. i feel that we are at an important crossroads -
our young people want a different future (we all want a different
future) -

power to the panza!

fideo luv -vgrise

Photo Credits: Vicki Grise performing "The Panza Monologues"
The Panza Monologues.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

What kind of performing arts center does San Antonio deserve?

San Antonio has cultura but no place or money to see high-quality theatre. (See my story on the Panza Monologues in the next blog). And very little discussion about WHY this is happening. (See the blog after that)

Intro: This past May 10th, 2008, the City of San Antonio approved a gigantic Bond Package that included 100 million dollars for a Performing Arts Center at the Municipal Auditorium downtown...I've heard the Mayor say he wants Opera (which I love too, but chinelas...) BELOW IS A POST FROM PABLO MARTINEZ, POET AND CULTURAL ACTIVIST (with my edits):

In 2000, I returned to San Antonio after 14 years in New York City, where I worked at the New York Philharmonic and two major arts funding agencies. Not long after my return, I had lunch with a high-ranking city official. As we talked about San Antonio's future, he observed that the city was nearing the threshold of immense change. "We can go in either of two directions," he speculated. "We can become another party town, like New Orleans, or we can go the way of San Francisco." As I read recent accounts of downtown bars buying larger quantities of beer to meet customer demand during the Final Four and Fiesta, the path we've taken became abundantly clear.

The suggestion that the proposed center http://sanantonio.bizjournals.com/sanantonio/stories/2008/04/14/story1.htmlwill be self-sustaining -- without any public support -- reveals the planners' naïveté. This country's genuinely great concert halls receive enormous sums of public subsidies from local, state, and federal agencies. What narrow information are San Antonio's leaders relying on when they make these myopic pronouncements?

However, if the building is to live up to its populist name, the Bexar County Performing Arts Center, then its board members, administrators, and funders must do everything in their power to ensure that the Center is accessible to all of Bexar County.

Without public subvention, San Antonio's hall will be denied the validation of funding agencies such as the National Endowment for the Arts. In other words, it would be viewed as non-competitive in the eyes of nationally recognized arts professionals who help determine the NEA's yearly allocations. (Most NEA grants require evidence of diverse community support.)

According to the Managing Director of Fort Worth's Bass Concert Hall, it will take 300 programmed dates a year for San Antonio's hall to be profitable (the use of such language by local leaders suggests a weak grasp of the not-for-profit art sector's standards and practices). Let's see...filling 1,500 seats for 300 events a year comes to a total of 450,000 seats annually. Half-filled houses for the San Antonio Symphony's dozen season concerts do not augur well for a heavily booked house. Does San Antonio have enough deep-pocketed enthusiasts to fill the hall 300 nights a year -- supporters who would also continue to attend other local performances?

There is also the utterly disturbing but distinct possibility that the Center will serve to expand the already wide gulf that exists between San Antonio's haves and have-nots. By erecting a lavish hall that showcases Eurocentric art forms (symphonic music, opera, and ballet), we make a bold statement: we aspire to world-class status, but only when it's defined in entrenched, divisive terms. (Either that, or we're the West, as the new, centrally located museum will suggest to tourists.) The hall will stand as imposing evidence of San Antonio's insistence that we privilege certain cultural expressions over others.

Photo Credits:
"Electricidad," a Teatro Visión production, San Jose, California, directed by Mark Valdez (and written by Luis Alfaro)
(The play was also performed here in San Anto at the San Pedro Playhouse, directed by Marisela Barrera - but I am a fan of Adelina Anthony, (Stanford Ph.D program/activist/playwright/perfectionist) who played Electricidad in San Jose, and she should perform here regularly - besides, she's a native of San Antonio)

Why The Panza Monologues Can't Come to San Antonio

Vicki Grise is from San Antonio, and so is Irma Mayorga. Together, they created The Panza Monologues, which has toured throughout the country, except here.

Why? There is no place to perform. And if there is a place, there is no funding for them. The Guadalupe is recovering from a nightmarish board and directors, and Say Si cancelled at the last moment.

I've always wondered why San Antonio doesn't have an established Chicana/o Theatre Program at one of the universities, why we don't have an Equity City Theatre, why we don't have Chicano Chakespeare, why Cherrie Moraga's Media didn't perform here, so many whys and neither Vicki or Irma live here anymore.

And now we have a multi-million City bond package that just passed and very little debate about its merits. (Read what Pablo Martinez has to say about that in next blog).



In Minneapolis this past week, thousands of people gathered to challenge the corporatized bottom-feed media brought to us courtesy of Presidents Reagan, Clinton and Bush - it's called media deregulation.

In a democracy, the media should be free. People like me - and you - should be represented and it shouldn't be about selling ads on the front page of the newspaper or sex ads filling up the alternative paper or mainstream views on public radio. Television news should be local, and not focused on ambulance chasing and violence. We get the media we deserve. Let your Congressman and Senators know how you feel.