The world is going through major shifts politically and economically.
People are questioning power structures and challenging them.
There are so many layers to the problems that simple solutions can not apply.
It is an exciting time to be alive.

Haven't been writing here much for a variety of reasons including feeling like there are so many new things happening each and everyday, and people are so connected to their own social media, how could my words matter or even register? I also feel blogging is kind of over. I saw the film "Contagion" and in it a character said, "Blogging is like graffiti with punctuation."

With that said, here I am sorting through my thoughts after CicLAvia, Occupy LA, my dad's 71st bday, DJing with old friends, connecting with colleagues outside of CSUN, witnessing so much bad ass Chicano/a art (via Pacific Standard Time) including the amazing ASCO show at LACMA, the deaths of two raiders: Al Davis and Steve Jobs, and wondering what else I can bring to my classes to help my students to love to learn.

some good things don't change

oh yeah and happy colonizer day


Food: Guisados

Guisados is one of the latest food joints in BH. Sitting on the corner of Chavez and St. Louis it is in a primo location. Passing by it for the last few months I noticed the tacos were $2.50, and a drink $3, kind of high for this area. Thus, I never saw too many locals sitting in there eating. I usually saw peeps that don't look like BH residents running from their cars into Guisados and back.
Finally I decided to try it out.

The taco sample plate at $6.50 offers 6 mini tacos and is the best deal. All the tacos are very different and you can taste the care that went into finding the perfect blend of spices with the meats, down to the black beans and fresh made corn tortillas.

The owner of Guisados is related to the carniceria next door, so they get fresh corn masa, grounded and mixed, fresh every 30 min.

I also tried a tamale de mole. The mole sat on top of the tamale but was very tasty. Reminded me of how my mom made hers.
Overall it is very tasty and homemade-ish. Give it a try.

I don't know if they will survive on just outsiders and the occasional local that wants to spend that much on a taco, but we'll see.


June 3, 1943

Sixty eight years ago today, the Sailor Riots began. Another race based riot started by whites fueled by the LA Times, the police and ignorance. The US had locked up the Japanese in concentration camps, but not people of German lineage, so they needed someone else to hate on and as usual Mexicans were targeted.

None of the sailors or members of the white mobs that joined were arrested. Mexicans and blacks were beaten, striped in the streets, arrested and women were raped.
(at 2:30 a scene about the riots begins)

This is a very clear example of how the white population would often attack communities of color based on misinformation from media, fear, lies and racism. All race riots up until the 1965 Watts riots were led by white people and targeted barrios, ghettos and other areas where people of color lived. In some cases entire towns were burned to the ground.
For more information go here.



Another semester in the can. It was a good one. Six classes altogether making me drive from the 405 to the 605. Lots to read still and grade, but the hardest part is over.
My culture classes had final projects. I gave extra points if they did videos and posted them on Youtube. So here are some of the best so far. I have another batch coming in this week.
I had them view lots of videos from Hennessy Youngman, ASCO, Harry Gamboa Jr., Guillermo Gomez Pe~a and former students videos from other semesters. This semester yielded the most video so far.

- funny

- funnier and great camera work

- a star is born

- most creative

I hope they leave them up for awhile. I am very proud of them.


Fight Back

This is how to take over a school board meeting


another one...

Last night my uncle Mike, Miguel Estrada joined my mother, his big sister, in the afterlife.
At 3:30 in the morning he had a third and final heart attack.
This is all my father told me over the phone earlier today.
He also told me there would be no services.

A month after my mom passed two years ago this August, my tio Chayo and month later my tia Rosa both on my father's side passed.
My dad had a rough year in '09.

I barely knew Chayo and Rosa, but I grew up going to Mike's house in the hills of El Sereno. Up there I rode my bike with my cousins Micheal and Francis as their sisters Linda and Lulu played inside. I don't have their numbers to give them my condolences. We are not a close family.
I haven't seen them in years. Their mom, Mike's wife, passed three years ago after a long hard battle with diabetes.

Readers here know I try to make sense of my life in writing about these things of life.

I looked up to my uncle Mike as I look up to my other uncle Kiko, both on my mom's side.
I also look up to my uncles on my dad's side, in particular Chelo, Manuel, Adolfo and Abelardo. Even though I know Adolfo and Abelardo less, the few times I have met them and the stories my dad tells me, for better or worse, have left an impression.

Miguel was the second to youngest of four. My mom, Kiko, Miguel and Leli, grew up in the Loma of Elysian Park/Chavez Ravine. They were displaced from the house their father had built, over the proposed building of public housing that never came to be. I grew up hearing them speak about their animals, trees, friends, games they would play, and the ghosts in those hills.

My earliest memory of Mike was his big BMW motorcycle that looked like a cop bike. My mom said they never had problems in their south central neighborhood, where I grew up, because of that bike. He also had a cool dark blue MG. He worked for Lockheed in the Valley. He was married to my aunt Kitty, don't know if that is her real name. I grew up knowing her as Kitty. Lulu, Linda and Micheal were older than me, but his youngest Francis was born one day after me. We were tight as kids.

Mike grew up in an LA where you had to hide your Mexicaness to get ahead. Even though they were all born here, their accents and burritos in their lunch pails announced they were not "American." Both Mike and Kiko served in the Korean War. Kiko actually went to Korea. In an issue of Stars and Stripes, there is a picture of Kiko standing next to a chalk drawing he did on a large stone of La Virgen de Guadalupe. I didn't know he was artistic. Mike got to serve in a local desert working on radios and other communication devices for the military. I didn't know he was techy like that.

Mike was good man. Loyal. Family man. He took care of his wife til her last days going up and down the long flight of stone stairs that lead from the street down to his hillside home. I loved that house.

He was always interested in what I was doing and learning. The last few times we talked we debated his newly found right wing politics that he picked up via AM radio. I was supposed to go to his house and bring him books and such that he could read and see my point of view. He said I worked at that radical hippy campus. LOL. I was going to take him a copy of "Addicted To War." I would always tell him "Just follow the money. Who benefits from the fear, the wars, the criminalization of people with no power?" It would make him think and he wanted to know more, but then he would get back to repeating the sound bites he heard on the radio. He was cool. I will miss his big hand shakes. His nose that looks like mine. The way he just was. He was my uncle.

I hope my mom, grandma and grandpa are showing him around the spirit world. Maybe he can find some time to stop by and visit me. Check out my books. I will leave some out for him. I hope I get to see my cousins and just tell them he will always be there, just remember and feel.


Mujeres de Maize Annual Month Long Celebration of Women

For the last 14 years Mujeres de Maize, an Eastside Xicana collective of artivistas, has organized a month of events that celebrate the power, creativity and beauty of being women. Each year more and newer faces respond to the call and share in many of the variety of planned activities. This is not just for women, men should be at these events to bare witness, listen and learn.

I've been a fan for many years. I hope you can make it to any of these amazing events.


One of Brisenia Flores' KIllers Gets Death Penalty, accomplices still at large, in office and on the radio

This week Shawna Forde, was sentenced to die at the hands of the State of AZ for the brutal cold blooded murder of 9 yr old Brisenia Flores and her father Raul Flores Jr. Fordes accomplices that night Jason Bush and Albert Gaxiola will have their trials in the Spring. Who is not going to trial is the politicians and their AM radio dimwits who spew hate and fear about Mexicans, and are just as guilty even if they were not physically there killing a family for being Mexican.

Forde, along with the two other dimwits, posed as law enforcement and attacked the Flores home in May 2009 to rob and to kill them for being Mexican. They shot and killed the father, they shot the mother Gina leaving her thinking she dead and when Brisenia came out and asked why they shot her father, they shot her in the face at point blank range sending her flying across the room. The dimwits left and Gina called the police. She could hear Forde telling her fellow dimwits that they left her alive, to go back in to finish the job. Gina had by then found her dead husband's gun and when they came back she was able to turn them back.

During the trial Forde's defense attorney tried to use Forde's history of being sexually and physically abused as an excuse. Attorney "Jill Thorpe, told jurors that as a child Forde was abused physically and sexually. Before she was five years old Forde had lived in seven different households. She was molested by her uncle at the age of four, and later by another man until she was 12-years-old. Thorpe also explained Forde has been diagnosed with a personality disorder where she tries to make herself look like an important leader although she's not. Mental illness keeps Shawna Forde from saying she’s sorry."

Like Loghner who shot and killed a Federal Judge, another 9 year old girl and injured others, Forde's mental stability was fertile ground for the hate a spewed by right wing politicians and their legions of dimwits throughout the country on AM radio and mainstream media.

Forde tried to be a member of the Minutemen but even they said she was too unstable. In any case the Minutemen, and anyone else Forde looked up, followed, or listened to, that promote the vigilante persecution of Mexicans, should be put on trial as accomplices. They spew hate and fear knowing very well that their message is heard by (and followed by) the drop outs, abused and low IQs, who will eventually act out. They get the fan mail, they see them at their rallies and hear their gibberish as they call in to the talk shows. They know people are on drugs or damaged in some way and yet they still have the gall to claim they are not responsible for actions based on their rhetoric.

If you are on out there calling for changes in extreme ways, and someone from your flock acts out, take responsibility whether or not that sheeple of yours is stable or not. You put those thoughts in their head, they obviously needed love not more hate in their life.


must see: Even The Rain (2010)

Saw this the other night and just have to let you know to go see it. I assigned in all my classes, it is that good. It is one of those films we should all be talking about and being inspired by in these times of growing revolutions against capitalism run amok.

It's about a film crew of Spaniards out to make a film about Columbus' early colonization of the Tainos, but they are shooting in Bolivia (to save money) during the "Cochabamba Water Wars" of 1999 and 2000. The crew hires local Quechuas to play the Tainos and cast Juan as the lead indigenous rebel who is also deeply involved in protesting the privatization of his people's water. The Spaniards believe themselves to be so liberal and kind doing this film, but their actions in making the film ("it's always about the money") is more akin to their ancestor Columbus. It is a beautifully very layered film, with every shot and line exposing a nuance that opens doors to more ideas and questions of whose side are YOU on?


munchies: T.V. Cafe

The T.V. Cafe, open 24 hours, on the corner of Olympic Blvd. and Alameda has been a truck stop diner for many, many years. When I was a kid it was one of the last "Sambo's" restaurants before they went bankrupt. For the last twenty years as T.V. Cafe it has served all types of Pachucoville residents, but the majority is mostly working class Raza who during the day have lunch, or at night are stopping in on the way home from a club.

Growing up in So. Central, I would pass that corner on my way to my aunt's in Boyle Heights or my uncle's in El Sereno. I remember when I was like 6 or 7 seven years old asking my mom about it when I saw the little kid as the logo when it was part of the "Sambo's Restaurant" chain. She told me that people were mad because it made fun of black people by calling them "Sambo" and showing a little kid with pancakes and syrup, and something about Aunt Jemima. At that age I didn't get it completely, but I knew peeps could get upset about stuff that others thought was ok to make fun of. We never stopped to eat there, even when it briefly turned into a Denny's.

In my late teens my friend Manglor, a photographer, moved into some lofts on Molino off of 4th street. This was during the Al's Bar era of the area. After one night of partying at Manglor's he suggested we go try the best vegetarian burrito in the world. So we piled in to the Fox and rolled up on T.V. Cafe. I have not stopped going there for the #31 veggie burrito since then.

Manglor was also a fan of the "Works Burger." Over the years friends of mine like Johnny Blaze, love the breakfast that is served most of time at anytime. I have also tried their cocido and it's pretty damn good. What seals the deal with T.V Cafe is their hot sauce. It is hot and tasty. Not for the weak.

As the gentrification of downtown continues to ooze east, we'll see how T.V. Cafe handles the changes. During the day the corner is bustling with semi trucks and all sorts of commercial traffic. The Los Angeles Produce and Flower Marts are just two of the large industries orbiting Olympic and Alameda. There is also large swap meet/insta food court growing up down Olympic. In the last ten years, American Apparel opened their main factory and Farmer Boy's opened up down Alameda, and also open 24 hours, has given T.V. Cafe a higher profile.

I go there to get away from B.H. There is always a family there eating when I get there. I sit alone and watch TV or listen in on conversations. I was once there for a small earthquake that made the lights sway above our heads. We all looked around and after a few Chingaos! Agus! and an Aye Carey! we all went back to our food.



Today my mother would have been 82 years old. Yesterday I wondered what I would do to commemorate her birthday. I tried reaching my father but no luck. He called me later at night but I missed his call. Most likely I will go to her loma and have some silence. After that probably go have dinner with my father at a place my mom would have liked.

My mom liked going to 'nice places' on her birthday. She never had a big birthday party. One year I did manage to get all her siblings together and some of her friends to come over, but pretty much we kept her birthdays pretty low profile. My dad had one big blow with over half of his 10 brothers and sisters, mariachi and all for his 60th bday. My mom never liked the spotlight. She preferred just us, a nice meal, maybe a movie for her and I and that was it.

I've missed her in new ways these last few months. I wondered what she would have thought of the new people in and out of my life, my friend's upcoming wedding in Hawaii, and recently my 24 hour battle with a 103 degree fever. It was weird to realize that I hadn't been really sick since my mom passed. I had my wisdom teeth pulled out which put me out for a day or so, but having fever that high (hallucinations and headaches) really brought back a lot of memories of my mom caring for me. I remembered my back going out on my about 2.5 years ago. I couldn't walk and with the help of good friends and my acupuncturist I made it home from the Valley. My mom heard from my neighbor how I crawled out of my car and was at my place within 25 minutes. Her and my dad brought a faja for me to wrap my back in and then went and got various salves and herbs from the local pharmacies. She was always a great mom.

Happy Birthday Mommy I hope you are having a big giant party wherever you are at : )


Loughner Got His Target, or Conspiracy #2: Another Media Whitewash

So the media is gushing over Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the little girl that was killed. They push to the side that FIVE others were killed, including a Federal U.S. District Judge John M. Roll. The shooting of Federal judges is very rare.

Sure Giffords may have pissed off right wingers, and half brains by voting for health care, but Judge Roll had been under Secret Service protection after he ruled in favor of undocumented workers who sued a AZ rancher in 2009. Roll, and his family, were threatened after his ruling was discussed on right wing radio shows. All that hate from his fellow conservatives despite making the rancher pay some of the plaintiffs $75,000 versus the $32 million they were asking for. Over 200 phone calls were made surrounding this issue. Even though Roll was a Republican, and he had previously said the Brady Bill was unconstitutional, the new Right being led by Tea Partiers and Palin, leave no room for their own to make a sane decision of their own that doesn't tow their hateful line of thinking.

Another bone to pick (or fear) that the Right had with Roll that he was the presiding judge on the Arizona case over the future of La Raza and ethnic studies.

Makes me wonder if Loughner got his target and Giffords was just at the wrong place at the wrong time.


MLK Day 2011

Disgrasian and Field Negro have great MLK Day coverage. They cover the struggle to even get MLK Day, how some struggle still with it, how some school used the day to make up for snow days and how another didn't close because as the head of the school said, "It is ridiculous to take the day off when our students are so far behind."

We all should know how our schools are more segregated today than in 1968. Drop out rates are the same. In fact there are a lot more problems today than back in the days when people marching changed (some) things.

Today, the U.S. (and the world) puts millions in the streets to stop war(s) and to treat Latinos (immigrants) as humans, and today the U.S. is still at war with all brown people at home and abroad.

Worst of all, today our right wing wackos have been given the center of our attention by a corporate owned, and controlled media, that is either in support of their illogical arguments (for monetary and/or ideological reasons) or are simply too dumb to know better.

The Right wing's recent denial that their rhetoric of hate and fear had no influence on the Arizona shooter, has reached a sad new level. Their constant blaming of the weakest and most powerless as the root of all problems is typical for this xenophobic nation. They have not the brains or guts to see how their cable company, as a member of a global corporation, has more to do with their foreclosure, meth addiction, Jr. having ADD, no job, and the diabetes -than an immigrant looking to feed their family.

And there it is, we are still not discussing the big issues. When King, and Malcolm, both began to talk about the big issues they got shot. The big issues of class warfare in this global capitalist world.

Palin's followers need to wake up to the fact that the corporations they are hoping will make more jobs are not looking to make more jobs. Those corporations now own a part of the growing prison industrial complex and they need bodies with no jobs, no education, no use to fill those cells. It's not the immigrants stupid.


oh yeah, Happy New Year or My First Conspiracy of 2011

By now you should have read about the massive amounts of dead fish, and birds all over the world right?

From Sweden to Brazil large numbers of dead fish and birds have been found with no concrete explanation. Much like how most beached whales and dolphins also unexplained.

Apparently in Bali this is increasing. Pariama Hutasoit, an activist with the Beached Mammals Rescue Network (JPMT), said beached dolphins and whales were found on Bali’s southern coast all year round. “In 2010, more than 100 of these mammals were beached on Bali shores,” he said.

Now with very little science in my education, I still know dolphins, whales, fish and birds use a type of "radar" to migrate all over the planet. This radar can be effected just like any radar, with magnetic fields and if the planet's magnetic field is shifting, well we are in for major changes.

"The movement of the Earth's north magnetic pole towards Siberia are caused by rapid changes in the magnetism of the planet's core. The latest changes are the most dramatic in a century - the pole had been begun moving to the northeast at about 9 miles per year in 1904 but since 2007 has been racing towards Siberia by at least 35 miles each year."

These animals mass deaths may be the first signs of disorientation, lack of balance, direction - our senses. Maybe our emotions can be affected. Our actions? hmmmmmmmm


Harry Gamboa Jr. to speak at Smithsonian in D.C.

Harry Gamboa Jr. will be speaking about his body of work as an urban Chicano artist.

"I Am Joaquin" added to The National Film Registry in Library of Congress

"I Am Joaquin" the film produced by Teatro Campesino in 1969, based on the epic poem written by Rodolfo Corky Gonzalez in 1967, was selected to 2010 National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.

From the website: Under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act, each year the Librarian of Congress names 25 films to the National Film Registry that are "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant, to be preserved for all time. These films are not selected as the "best" American films of all time, but rather as works of enduring significance to American culture.

The selection process is kind of democratic, "...the Librarian after reviewing hundreds of titles nominated by the public (this year 2,112 films were nominated) and having extensive discussions with the distinguished members of the National Film Preservation Board, as well as the Library’s motion-picture staff. The Librarian urges the public to make nominations for next year’s registry at the Film Board’s website.

Other films added this year included: Malcolm X (1992), Empire Strikes Back (1980), Saturday Night Fever (1977), Airplane! (1980), and Let Their Be Light (1946) which was banned by the War Department for 35 years because it shows the psychological trauma of soldiers without hiding their identities. One of the first films ever made in America by folks at the Edison company (and you heard he was Chicano) Newark Athlete (1891)