This time...

This time I don't have to plan when to get over there

This time I don't have to go at all

Last time I made them come here, she barely made it, and hardly ate

Last time was the last time

This time nothing will be cooked by our hands

This time not planning anything

Dad and I will eat, less one

Dad and I will do something new

The next three months will be hard

Holiday, holiday, bday, bday

She won't call, hug, or say 'Que dios te bendiga'

This time I will miss my mom


Aztlan Underground:Sacred Circle Remix 2009

One of my all time favorite AUG tracks.
I consider it The Prayer of Los Xicanos
Perfect to reflect on this Thankstaking week

November pics n tales

After the DoD festivities and winding down a lil bit there was work and play to be had.

One last DoD event was the Tropico de Nopal annual fashion show. These two were my favorite not just because I know them but both had subtle political and personal statements within the intricacy of the fashion.

The following week was the monthly LA Art Walk. These were found at Crewest.

The opening of the Eastside Gold Line extension was reason for a good block party around Mariachi Plaza.

This past weekend I hit San Francisco with a fun crew of peeps. We got to Chinatown, Plump DJs @ Mighty, Ferry Building, Blue Bottle Coffee, Saulsalito, Jeno @ Mars Bar, The End Up, Lime, Lembic (sp?) in Haight, and back on planes, trains, and automobiles.

On Monday I went in to get my last wisdom teeth pulled. It was nasty. Dr. had to break one of them because it was weird.


Dia de los Muertos by Wendy Carillo

Chingona Chicana Wendy captures the beauty and poetry of DoD.

Mil Gracias


LA Day of Dead weekend...

I haven't done a weekend recap in a while and since I'm in a quiet but sharing mood here you go:

Thursday I went to my homie Rueben Mendoza's Contemporary Chicano Issues class at ELAC to participate in a discussion on Blogotitlan with Cindylu and Random Hero. The students were very cool and I think they like the idea of blogging and how we as Raza are making a mark in cyberlandia. We went to eat at Ordonez after and then I went home to do some quick emails.

Later I hit the streets to check out Brooklyn n Boyle's new installation about dead soldiers. I don't agree with celebrating dead soldiers. I know its to heal the families of those who went off to kill in the name of the USofA but I can't shake the feeling that it is glorifying war and supporting our killing machine. I let Abel know this when I got there. We get along that way. After this we all rolled over to Eastside Love.

It was $5 at the door and I was ready to turn around and walk to the bar next door for a drink, cause I ain't paying $5 for bar. To my surprise the generous Rueben Mendoza paid the entry fee for 5 of us. Gracias! Once inside the El Conjunto Los Pochos was hitting the stage. It perplexed me even more to hear these guys after a $5 cover charge because on any given morning or afternoon, heck even in the evening in Boyle Heights, if you are in a decent restaurant there is usually a strolling conjunto that plays the same songs that these guys on stage were doing, and in most cases with less off key notes. I asked one of my homies what was the difference between these guys and the conjuntos I've heard at Chispa de Oro and he quickly replied, "These guys are Pochos its harder for them to hit the notes and sing in Spanish, I guess." LOL

I bailed out of there at 12:25am in order to get home to watch "Star Trek: The Next Generation." It's on at 12:30 am on Ch. 5 in case any fellow Trekies didn't know.

Friday: I got up and did some laundry, ran some errands and then met V.V in Burbank to get on our way for a night in Valley. We met up with some homies at Claim Jumper for drinks. Yeah I know but we're in the Valley what else is there? Acapulco? El Torito? Flavor and funk is in short supply out there. Anyway, its about the company not about having a watering hole with style and good drinks. We had a good time and then we left to rendevous at Pierce College for the Corn Maze. I try do this every year, it's the little hillbilly in me I suppose. We had a blast running around scarrying each other and getting lost.

After this we went back to CSUN for MEChA's Day of the Dead party which is always great. This year was no exception. Lots of people, great bands including Very Be Careful and Quinto Sol, teatro from Las Ramonas and tasty food. One side trip on campus we did was to try and 'hear' the ghost of the Asian House. Apparently it is afraid of or doesn't like Mexicans because it didn't come out while we were there, but as soon as we left Mamma M called and said it made all kinds of noise. I wouldn't come into a room if I knew Mexicans were sitting in the dark waiting for me.

Later I got a ride back with Soul Rebel Miguel because he wanted to go on a taco hunt in NoHo. I had my doubts. After driving around and watching all the trucks shut down and drive down Vineland at 1:00 am we ended up at a stand somewhere on Vineland. It was ok. Nothing memorable.

Saturday: Very simple, Lili and I picked up the Noodles and hit Monster Massive, then Deeper Moods where Noodie Suli was spinning at 2 am. It was Noodie Lana's b-day earlier in the week so we were celebrating! HAPPY BIRTHDAY LANITA! All love to my girl. MM was crazy, thanks to Reza for getting me tix ahead of time we were able to get in with little drama. It was super packed and even though we hung out in VIP getting from one VIP to another was hellish. Sometimes the crowd would just move you in another direction. Total mob rule.

The shuttle for Deeper Moods was on Santa Fe and the space was on the Boyle Hts./Vernon border. Very cool. I had heard of this place for months, so glad I got to see it in full swing. Of course Suli rocked it. We crawled out of there at sun up.

Sunday: chill out. Good food at Hecho en Mexico, thanks to Gumby for posting it on FB. Gumby was still there when I got there and he sent over some michiladas and a bucket of beer. What a great and generous guy. Thanks homes always.

Monday: came to work and right back to Los. I made a stop at the site where we scattered my mom's ashes for a quiet moment. Got a quickie car wash, got some last minute stuff at Ozzie Dots and home to get ready for my MC gig at Self Help Graphics Day of the Dead. I had to be on site by 4 pm. I got there without my calvera makeup wearing my rented Mariachi suit. My goal was to be a vampiro mariachi this year. I got my bite marks on my neck but my calvera makeup didn't imply anything about me being vampire-ish.

Lalo Alcaraz was co-MCing with me so it was sure to be a great time.
The new location, full moon and thick spirit of Eastside DoD celebration made it all magical. The bands all impressed. The Camino de Calaca Coutoure was awesome! We had anyone who wanted to strut their calaca wear walk on stage after I read their description and dedication. The big hits were Lilifor's tribute to migrant workers that had here flossing huge angel wings made of fence and barbed wire. When I read her description at the end it said "Because we didn't cross the borders, the borders crossed us!" I used that opportunity to get the audience to cheer that and boy did they! Like five times I went "We didn't cross the borders!" and they would cheer back "The Borders crossed us!!!" louder and louder, it was beautiful.
Bunny Martha was also a hit in her ensemble called "The Death of Higher Education" the scariest of all the ensembles. People really reacted to it. Education, as all Raza knows, is the only way for us to change things for the better and one of the better ways to reach our highest potential.

By the end of the night my toes were killing me. I had to wear botines that were very pointed. I now understand what women go through for fashion's sake.

And that's how I did it this DoD weekend.

semester's horizon

One month and half to go til we break for the winter, ending the Fall semester.
Some students have left, some have fallen off and are trying to get back on, others are clueless, some are cruising through focused and determined. Pressure is building as term papers and final project deadlines are approaching fast.
With Thankstaking break being a week long break in many cases, students need to plan these final days with clarity in order to fulfill school, family and work needs.
I'm writing this in class as we do a peer review of an essay due this weekend. They are reading each others papers making notes on how to improve or what they liked about them. I've seen these students grow since this summer. Some really have blossomed and get it others are still dealing with the fog of teen needs like boyfriends and other commitments they believe right now are so important. One from this class is out taking care of their new born baby boy. She will have to do without peer reviews.
Some don't see the approaching end and will freak out on the last week wondering where did all the time they thought they had go. And so it is with life, no?


Dia de los Muertos

Today, three months ago, almost to the minute, my mom took her last breaths in this plain of reality. I have been grieving in my own way. I feel her with me, helping me make decisions and pushing me sometimes to step out of my comfort zones. Her voice in a whisper tells me its ok to just go for it.
I've been told that in the Lakota tradition the dead stick around retracing their life path, figuring out their new reality, while still being able to see this one and their loved ones. After a year of going between the worlds of the living and of the dead they move on and stay in the next world.
I guess this has stuck me and I don't feel the need to build an altar or be all DoD about my mom. She is with me still. I don't have to invite her to visit me.
Last night a friend let me watch her set up her altar in her house for her loved ones. I went home and made a small one for all those I know who are beyond our realm of senses.
In the middle of the night there were quite a few noises in my house. Bumps, creaks, steps and claps. I didn't get scared. They are welcome. All who come to help me reach my highest potential are welcome in my house. Those who lost their way and are not working with the light know they cannot enter my house. I can destroy them. I let all of them know this: be with the light, bring it, share it or go back to where you came and find it within.
I miss my mom. I have a long ride back to LA today, I take that alone time to reflect. I will remember, to never forget.
To all our relations.


Happy Halloween

Growing up my family used to decorate our old Victorian with cob webs, fake spiders, rats, ghosts, and make of dummies with old clothes stuffed with older clothes. Everyone would get into it. Dad would be at the door which led to the walkway to our house. He would let only small groups of kids in at a time. Some kids would be too scared to come in. I would be on the roof with a speaker next to me blasting screams and moans from a special effects record and dropping a basketball wrapped in a sheet on top of people who came to the porch where the candy was. My mom and cousin would be there dressed up giving out candy to the brave one who made it. Sometimes one of them would pretend to be one of the mannequins and lay still until a group of kids would get close then just move an arm or make a noise. Grandma would be on the sides in a white dress waving her arms 'ghost' like.
We made a kid pee in his pants once!
When the numbers would die down I would get to play my music loud from the roof top and do a little dance in south central.



U2 sold out the Rose Bowl and showed it all on Youtube.

As you know here in Pachucoville U2 rules. I've been going to see them since the Joshua Tree tour. I did miss the last two tours but not for want. I did go see the 3D movie last year. Anyhow this time I wasn't going to miss them.

I rolled with the homies: Lili and the Bunnies. We met up on the Gold Line and walked it from Memorial Station to the Rose Bowl, according to my phone 1.8 miles. We got in just in time for Black Eyed Peas' third song. Heard Will.I.AM say he was raised in Boyle Hts. Fergie got down singing Guns n Roses' "Sweet Child O' Mine" with Slash playing lead. Dope. They were super hyped to be opening for U2. I never thought they had it in them to open like that, but the BBPs really can put on a show.

Lili and Bunny Greg had never been to a U2 concert, while Bunny Martha and I are veterans. It was cool to see them enter the U2 collective orgasm.

One of the best moments for me was when they did "Unforgettable Fire" a song they hadn't performed in over ten years!

This is a live version of "Unforgettable Fire" (not from my camera) from this tour:

This is the video for "Where the Streets Have No Name" which was shot in downtown LA in the summer of 1987. It was the first day of school for me at LACC and I had to miss this. All I did was listen to KROQ as they told peeps to get down there. My aunt worked in a sweat shop in the building next door. I used to eat at Vivian's a greasy spoon kitty corner to the building where U2 performed. I like to think this song is about LA or maybe Mexico, because we tell directions by landmark. For example: "go straight til you see a bank and the turn left, go down to the 7/11 then right and look for the house with the swings." Hence, Streets With No Name.

Love U2. They are the litmus test to know if you are part of Generation X. I don't know any Gen X'ers who don't like U2. The younger ones seem to think Radiohead is just as good, HA!

Here is the set list:

U2 @ Rose Bowl, 10/25/09 Pasadena, CA
-set list-

Get On Your Boots
Mysterious Ways
Beautiful Day "God Only Knows" snippet
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For "Stand By Me" snippet
Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of
No Line on the Horizon
In A Little While
Unknown Caller
Until The End Of The World
The Unforgettable Fire
City Of Blinding Lights
Vertigo "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (but I like it)" snippet
I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight "Two Tribes" snippet
Walk On / You'll Never Walk Alone
One "Amazing Grace" snippet
Where The Streets Have No Name
Encore 2:
Ultraviolet (Light My Way)
With Or Without You
Moment of Surrender

Here is the full show from Youtube


Guanajuato 2009 Festival Internacional Cerventino CLETA

It was a last minute decision to go to Guanajuato for the Festival Internacional Cervantino. Alberto and Lea stopped by my place to pick up some music and invited me to come with their teatro group: CHUSMA. It was three weeks away, I needed to get my passport updated, find a flight and hopefully a place to stay. Alberto had said we would all be sleeping on the floor of a communal house where all the teatros stay at. That didn't sound enticing to me. I like a bed when I travel to nice cities.

I heard it was a "Mexican Burning Man." The website made it look very bourgie. Others said it was cool. When I doubted going a dear friend just said "You have everything you need to go, friends, a place to stay, a festival to see, a city you haven't seen in a long time, a little bit of time to go, so what is stopping you?" So I went.

I got to Leon at 6:15 am local time on the 15th, the second day of this 36 year old festival. I met Lea at Vips, at 8:15 after being a little lost and waiting around for nearly an hour. The last time I was in GTO I also arrived in the morn and waited around for hours for a woman. That was 14 years ago.

The Festival Internacional Cervantino (FIC) began in 1972. The Festival Internacional Cervantino of CLETA (FICC) began in 1975. FIC is sponsored by the Mexican government and features world renown artists with ticket prices starting at $30 (US) and up to $100+. The FICC is about providing an option to the "elitism" of the FIC and features artists from all over the world who perform in the various plazas, alleys, shopping malls, tourist spots, and street corners throughout the 3 week festival. Chusma was there for the CLETA and it was dope.

Funded in part by the European Union, the CLETA had a base camp at the Jardin San Pedro. We ended up finding a room a block and half away. We had a short walk to get to meetings, workshops, have rehearsals, meals, and entertainment every night from 8-midnight.

Chusma was scheduled to perform Friday at La Plaza de Los Angeles (how appropriate), Saturday at Plaza Pozuelos (an indoor mall) and Sunday at the Jardin San Pedro the base camp where a lot of the CLETA participants came to at night to see teatro, dance, bands, singers and performance art.

The first day (Thursday) Lea, Alberto and Eddie were there, so we took off to San Miguel de Allende (SMA) since it was the only day they didn't have rehearsal or a performance. SMA has been in a couple of Robert Rodriguez films and is known as an international artist colony. It is very beautiful. You can see the horizon in SMA versus the hillsides of the bowl where GTO sits. We came back that night and were tired, so we just kicked it at the Jardin chatting it up with beers for $1!!!

In the morning DJ Papalotl aka Diana, Gustavo, Goretti & Sander arrived. Goretti & Sander had their own place around the corner from ours. We were six in a room at the Canta Ranas Hotel. The place was clean but the owner was more of mother superior, telling us how loud we were and to keep it down. What did she expect from a teatro group filled with fun, loud people?

The teatro was complete now and they had a performance at Plaza Los Angeles at 6pm. They would have rehearsal at the Jardin while Eddie and I ran around town taking it all in and making flyers announcing all the upcoming shows from the Chicano Teatro from Los Angeles, Califaztlan. We met them later at the Jardin and helped move props and costumes to the Plaza.

Most mornings we would have breakfast at the Mercado Hidalgo. We would have fresh fruit and vegetable juices and then either tacos, cocktails or soups of various seafood, tortas, huevos con chorizo, chilaquiles or something else that was hearty and would get us through to lunch.

The first performance was delayed due to clown activities and setting up a makeshift dressing in strong winds. Either way the show was good. That night at the Jardin we saw a group of 30 dancers and musicians from Venezuela and dancers from Austria.

We walked around a lot watching the city fill with more and more people. By Friday night it was in full swing and the locals told us it was basically a young people's getaway. Everyone looked around 18-23 yrs. old. Their energy filled the air.

Saturday I got left behind and had to visit Diego Rivera's museum alone. It was cool. I also went to the underground mercado that was filled with razteca, rock, psycheldelic, goth and indigenous items. I got lost in the hills trying to find a short cut and ended up going around in circles. I noticed there were a lot of single women walking around alone, traveling alone. They all had the same look. Cautious, constantly moving, curious, and dressed to run. Didn't see or notice single men walking alone. I guess it may be a woman thing to travel alone?

The show on Saturday was inside a shopping mall. It was very typical and in a way off putting but we had a good time. They gave me a mask and Eddie a costume and we joined them on stage in the final acto.

That night we hit the town in costumes and masks in the spirit of Cervantino. We had a shot of Cazadores in the oldest bar in GTO El Incendio. When we walked in wearing masks everyone kind of stopped and tripped for a second, that was cool. Dinner this night was a little nicer than other nights and I got to order a Chile en nogada, a very special treat. We strolled around taking pics and having our pic taken. We ended up dancing in the main square, El Jardin de la Union, which is actually a triangle, to strolling bandas that played cumbias. I stayed up til 4:30 am smoking and drinking on our terrace sharing good laughs, stories, and giving thanks. The city hummed along, people singing in the streets, up until the sun came up and the church bells began to ring.

Sunday we got a late start but we bumped into a plaza with Pippo and the Pirates, a teatro from Switzerland. They were a riot. Overall most of the performers had at least one or two members who spoke Spanish, but others would just say their lines in their native language. After they were done, Enrique Cisneros, the founder of CLETA, spoke about the history of the Festival and how he had been arrested during the first one, but after international pressure on the Mexican government for arresting students who were simply doing art in the streets, the government decided to fund the festival. He gave a shout out to Chusma, "with their Chicano themes that speak to the core of the major issues of our day, immigration, economic decline of the US, and land." We tripped out!!! He recognized. He went on to say that Mexico with its upcoming celebrations of the the revolutions of 1810 and 1910 have nothing to celebrate, instead "we need to be prepared to be rebeldes once again, because what is happening cannot stand anymore." This man is just too cool.

That night's performance was amazing. I also got to speak on the history of Chusma and Chicano teatro in between a major costume change. I think I tripped the crowd out when I mentioned how they "...may view us as pochos or as Americanos, but we are viewed as illegal, gangsters, foreign and suspect in our own land, that is if and when we are considered."

After the show we just hung out and caught the rest of night's performances which included a Costa Rican band called Dub Experimental. They could have been from LA.

Overall it was a great time and I am planning on going next year. I hope to get more Chicano/as there to represent and connect.