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Showing posts from 2009

Twelve Heads in a Bag: Hector Saldana's Krayolas painting in bold, true colors

Longleaf pines are native to the southeast United States, and their conservation status is vulnerable. Only three percent of this historic, unrottable pine tree forest that can live up to 500 years remains. With long leaf pine (no smack gum) by the comeback sensations, The Krayolas, it is clear they intend to make great music for the long haul. I’m talking about one song in particular, “Twelve Heads in a Bag,” a deceptive rock-ballad (written and sung by Hector Saldana, with Max Baca on bajo sexto and Michael Guerra on accordion). Twelve Heads… is dedicated to the beheaded victims of Mexico’s drug wars. As has been said before but needs to be said again, it is the first corrido of the 21st century and it’s for the history books. Twelve Heads in a Bag makes you want to dance with a Lone Star in your hand, no matter the barbeque stains on your Tshirt, wondering why it wasn’t you in that bag.


Fri Jul 10 8pm – 9pm Reading/Performance with Vicki Grise "The Panza Monologues" - Resistencia Bookstore, Austin, Texas
Fri Jul 31 7pm – 8pm Book Reading - Cafe Quetzalcoatl, El Paso, Texas
Sat Aug 1 Reading (TBD) at Summer MALCS Institute, Las Cruces, NM - Summer MALCS Institute, Las Cruces, NM
Thu Sep 3 6:30pm – 8:30pm Reading with local novelist Jay Brandon - Brookhollow Library, San Antonio, Texas
Mon Sep 14 7pm – 8pm Reading at Barnes & Noble, San Pedro Crossing, San Antonio - Barnes & Noble, San Pedro Crossing, San Antonio
Sat Oct 31 Featured Author, Schedule TBD, Texas Book Festival, Austin, Texas - Texas Book Festival, Austin, Texas


Thursday, June 18th, Houston Community College Central FAC115 Downtown
10:00 am
with writer/HCC professor Tony Diaz in a discussion about writing, community, and society
Book Reading, Barnes & Noble, Westheimer/Voss, 7pm
from Golondrina, why did you leave me?

Interview on Nuestra Palabra, Houston

Interview on LatinoUSA with Maria Hinojosa, June 26th, special program on Women & Books, featuring Sandra Cisneros, Josefa Lopez, and myself

Book Reading, El Paso, Texas, Friday, July 31st (To Be Confirmed)

Reading, MALCS Summer Institute, Las Cruces, late July-first week of August (To Be Confirmed)

Confession: To be a Writer of Conscience

I want to be the kind of writer who isn't afraid to make you cry or laugh or dream. Words matter, they have power and beauty and freedom, and with them, you can make this world a better place. Don't believe me? Check out the PEN International Book Festival.

And check out Robert Flynn's blogs on the site.

Dance Lessons/Golondrina Book Reading at Salute! Bar

Now this is a book reading! At my favorite bar! La Azeneth, the owner of Salute!, is struggling to keep the historic bar open (Esteban Jordan performs there every friday night, like forever). So, a Benefit/Reading/Borlote: On Friday night, May 22nd, I will read the dance chapters from Golondrina as women dance-along and some may even read-along. MAMBO!
The Dancers are: Norma Zamora; Florinda Castillo; Dee Murff and Janie Alonso; Jessica Cerda

The artist Terry Ybanez will exhibit a series of prints that are golondrina-inspired, and the photographer Joan Frederick is exhibiting twenty years of Salute! Bar photos! Also for sale.

Salute! Bar International
2801 N St. Mary's
San Antonio

The Reading begins at 8:30 pm - 9:30 pm. FREE.
Includes Deliciosa Comida. Cash Bar.
If you want to stay and hear Esteban, $10.00 at 10:00 pm


BookWoman Reading, Sunday, May 3rd, Austin, Texas

But what makes Golondrina special, what drives its considerable innovation and perfumes its hundreds of tiny pleasures, is the sheer descriptive mestizaje beauty of the novel’s language, word-by-word, in English and en español. González wields Golondrina’s Tex-Mex dialect with real mastery; in her hands, the language is lyrical, big, luxurious, funny, and terrifying. González’s arsenal, linguistically and as a storyteller, is immense and complex, with Joycean neologisms (“cornpaste”) and fierce rhythm...
Golondrina, for all its potential difficulties, deserves and has the power to attract a wide audience. If you care about the changing face and language of American contemporary fiction (of world fiction; East Indian authors in particular, primarily in the UK, are pioneering new forms of English phraseology, too), and if you love a good story, and appreciate vivid descriptions of Texas landscape, architecture, culture and history rendered with surprising touches of beauty and dark humor…

The Rosalinda Reading/Latino Cultural Center, Dallas Texas

My girlfriend, Rosalinda Garcia, a teacher from Grand Prairie, Texas, has cancer. It's bad, and it's good in that Rosalinda is loving life every single minute.

On Monday, April 20th, I'm reading at the Latino Cultural Center, a place that is a dream come true for me, as the appointee on the Commission for Cultural Affairs who initiated, and led its establishment in the early stages.

I couldn't have done it without Maria T. Garcia Pedroche. Dr. Catalina Garcia. Diana Flores. Regina Montoya. Felix Zamora. And Rosalinda Garcia, who listened, protested, and helped me with her powerful listening, patience, support, protesting, marching, and most of all - love.

So I am dedicating my reading to her. Golondrina, why did you leave me? is a love story based on my mother's life. And like her, Rosalinda is a golondrina: questioning, freedom-loving, fearless, and most of all, she knows that love is the land we're seeking.

Reading for Rosalinda
from Golondrina, why di…

Golondrina Book Reading Schedule/Texas

Ok, so if you want to cry, laugh, dance, get a little nekkid, and celebrate this impossible state of Texas, please join me for my Premiere Reading in San Antonio y mas:
Tuesday, April 14th, Northwest Vista College, Cypress College Center, 2:00 -4:00 pm

Wednesday, April 15th, PREMIERE READING, Twig Bookstore, 5005 Broadway, San Antonio,
5:00 pm (Get your taxes done early

Monday, April 20th, Latino Cultural Center, Dallas, Texas, 7pm

Sunday, May 3rd, BookWoman Bookstore, Austin, Texas, 3pm

Saturday, May 9th, Celebration of our Mother Tardeada, Pa'htilKali Gifts, 1024 Donaldson, San Antonio, Texas, 4-6 pm

Friday, May 22nd, Salute! Bar (warm-up for Esteban Jordan) 9:00 pm
$10.00 admission -- includes Esteban Jordan, Joan Frederick's twenty-years of photographs of the venerable Salute! Bar, comida, and dancing while I read and of course, when Esteban plays

Sunday, May 31st, Retro-Mex Vintage on Hildebrand, 4pm
Pilar is hosting - she's la rei…

The Alamo, as it should be

I do not want to glorify war anymore. Gracias a Laura Varela, a filmmaker who envisioned these images, and Joan Frederick, who took these glorious photographs as San Antonio's Luminaria Celebration on Saturday, March 14, 2009.

Why Women, Las Mujeres, Must Claim the Alamo

Because women are here to heal the world. Men are here to destroy it. We are the ones who must guide men to use their power constructively. Have you ever seen a man cry? Believe me, they want to. The love of women for the world is a divine gift, and too often we have let men take it away.

It is more powerful to love than it is to hate. The Alamo is a monument to war.

Join me for a Reading/Platica and Q&A about the Yellow Rose of Texas and Reclaiming the Alma, the Soul of Texas.

Saturday, March 14, 2009
3-5 pm
Luminaria Reading

Bihl Haus Arts
2803 Fredericksburg
San Antonio, TX 78201

photo credits: Joan Frederick @2008

The next mayor of San Antonio is Julian Castro and will he or won't he?

So I"m at the first-ever virtual townhall meeting for a political campaign in San Antonio! I got here late, so I can't really tell you what happened, lots of male bloggers and just met Julian's wife, Erica, who's due tomorrow. It seems I'm one of two female bloggers, here at the Julian Castro Headquarters on Mulberry and Broadway. It's fun to be here, the campaign people are real people.

I know Julian's mother, Rosie, a long-time activist in the Chicano movement. Like so many of my generation, she gave her son the best education she could -- Stanford and Harvard Law School. And he's certainly polished, I've seen him on television answering questions in a succinct, cool, tvbite way.

I first met Julian Castro as a progressive City Councilman in 1992 who stood up to the real estate developers who wanted to build a PGA golfcourse over the recharge zone of the Edwards Aquifer. But the pressures on any city councilperson in this city are immense, a…

The good and the bad of San Antonio

The Good:

Margaritas with top-shelf tequila
Nachos bien greasy
The river that runs through the city
San Pedro Park
The Missions
Conjunto music, especially Eva Ybarra's accordion
Nopales with yellow florecitas
No te freak, toda twistiada, the language of Tex-Mex
La buena gente, people are kind. Even the mugger worried the other day how I was gonna take the bus after he had my money.

The Bad:
The Alamo -- the way the children are confused walking out of it. What lessons are we giving them? The Alamo. The souvenir shops across the street confound people after they hear how "sacred" the Alamo is. The guides at the Alamo tell us stories of battles and "brave men." One time a group of people told me "We kicked your butt."
The Alamo. And the thousands of ghosts that still roam there -- the men who died from both sides, and the Native Americans buried under the plaza that we walk on every day.
The Alamo. A symbol of war, of violence, of hate.
The Alamo: Sometimes, …

The Alamo, Abused Children and Battered Women

I don't like the Alamo. Don't care who won or lost anymore -- the Anglos or the Mexicans? It's all the same to me.

The Alamo didn't give me "freedom." The civil rights movement did that.

The women lost at the Alamo.The children lost. Women were raped, abandoned, forgotten, used. I say Forget the Alamo on March 6th by remembering the ugliness, the horror, the pillage of war.

San Antonio is a violent city. We have some of the highest rates in the nation for abused children, battered women,cruelty to animals.

As long as we celebrate this monument to war, there will be no peace in San Antonio. Violence engenders more violence. That war haunts us still as we revere the "heroes" and don't know who the peacemakers are.

This year, I am asking women from all over the world to examine, study, and look again at these monuments to war. Let's begin with the Alamo. Let's ask that the Alamo become a Monument to Peace. A Wailing Wall where all o…

Eva Ybarra, Queen of the Accordion, tells her story

She calls them viboras, the men who deny her stature as one of the world's best accordionists. She lives here, in San Antonio, and she doesn't have a car and is worried about her taxes. Eva has played in New York City, and yet no one in San Antonio seems to want to pay her what she deserves. Enough to live on.

The other day Eva played me a new composition, it's called Eco de Mujer. The song is haunted, a polka-tango-blues of a woman's pain and loneliness, betrayal and it sounds exactly like when my mother used to cry at the clothesline under the hot Texas sky. Like she was on fire and there was nowhere for her to go -- except to hang up more of my father's workshirts.

My mother listened to Lydia Mendoza. I listen to Eva Ybarra.

On Thursday evening, I finally get to read from my novel, with her accordion accompanying me. Though it is really Eva, her music, and that voice of hers that I wish I could put down on paper: That voice made of hard,
dusty, gravelly, ro…

No candy, no flowers, just love the world like Luti does

Last Friday, my girlfriend Luti Gude treated me to dinner and we talked about politics, cats, and always, her children. Luti Vela Gude comes from a prominent, progressive, South Texas family, puros Tejanos (and don't forget it!) with ties all the way to the (current) White House. Even in that family known for their enlightened views and activism, Luti shines because she ran in the Boston Marathon in her forties. She's currently a graduate student at UTSA in Counseling, and from all accounts, teaching them more about the community than the faculty can ever teach her. Luti was also determined to raise her children to care about the world -- and it's working. Her oldest son, David, a spectacular student, attended Brackenridge High School and other public schools in the inner city, becoming a humanitarian, dedicated to giving something back to the world as a physician and researcher.

David's life has not been without suffering, believe me. But last year he got married t…

A lesson for the Guadalupe Cultural Center: Apologize for Bret Ruiz's harrassment

Juan Aguilera, the former Board Chair of the Guadalupe Cultural Center, should apologize to Dee Murff and all the women of the Guadalupe who were summarily fired because of Bret Ruiz, the former and very-flawed director of the Guadalupe.

Murff, the most outspoken of the group and surely the one with the most red-haired attitude - filed a lawsuit against the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center (GCAC) charging sexual discrimination during Ruiz's tenure. The rumors are that the Guadalupe wants to settle the case before the arrival of the new executive director, Patty Ortiz.

Let's be clear: This lawsuit was a last-resort attempt to get the community to pay attention to the problems at the GCAC. Sometimes an organization, like an individual, like a nation, has to face its errors. Confronting guilt can be healing for everyone concerned. We all make mistakes, and Aguilera needs to man-up.

Bret Ruiz was the man hired to be Executive Director in July of 2005, despite a phone call from Maur…

So did you get laid this week? Sexual harrassment in San Antonio

My girlfriend Cecilia just left her job at Amed Community Hospice where she was a social worker for terminally ill patients. Why did she leave after two years there? Because of a man named Chris Sitton, the Bereavement and Volunteer Coordinator, 40 years old, married with a child.

Cecilia is a serious, 46 year-old woman, who tells me she loved her job, and that it was very difficult for her to say goodbye to her patients and their families. It isn't easy, or professional, to leave patients who are facing death.

But Sitton asked her constantly about her sexual life, she says. He whacked her on her derriere with a newspaper, and asked her things like "So did you get laid this week?" I know what this feels like, and most women I know have encountered sexual harrassment in their lives. But few of us actually fight back.

Cecilia told me Sitton harrasses others, but she refused to accept it to keep her job. She went to EEOC, and filed a complaint. Amed In the meantime, …

The Persecution of Bambi Cardenas/Todas Somos Lobas

My father, Roberto, turns 90 on Inauguration Day

My father called me the other day from the Assisted Living Center where he lives in Corpus Christi. He says he wants to die. This coming Tuesday, he will be 90 years old.

My father is lonely, he's almost deaf, halfway blind, and he has a white manx cat, Blanca. He left us when my brothers were little, and there was so much crying. My parents divorced when I was in graduate school, so I wasn't at home when it happened.

In the years despues, I tried to set a good example for my brothers, but it wasn't enough. My father went to live way out in the country after the divorce, the land he loved, and he never came to visit. Not for graduations, not for weddings, nothing. Still, my brothers made pilgrimages to visit him, and it made him happy.

His anger at my mother was such that when my brother Charlie died suddenly at age 30, he refused to give her the Pesame at the funeral. It was like he pretended she didn't matter, even when I know he could barely walk from the grie…