La Teatrista

guerillera de la cultura

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

what are they thinking?

I mean really, have they a clue what they would be up against? If this immigration policy criminalizes immigrants?

here is an email I read:

Source: Rodolfo F. Acuna
>Rough Draft
>Nativism is Racism
>Rodolfo F. Acuña
>I am the first one to criticize Chicano/Latino politicos when they don't
>defend the interests of the community. However, during the present
>crisis, the Mayor and most Latino elected officials have acted in a
>principled manner, forcefully speaking out against the racist nativism
>that is gripping the country. The same can be said of the Catholic
>Church and its refusal to go along with the hysteria.
>If the actions of right wing radio hosts, virulent anti-immigrant
>groups, and opportunistic politicos were an aberration, there would be
>hope that people would come to their senses. However, this form of
>nativism has infected the United States since the birth of the Republic.
>It led to the persecution of Irish immigrants, the burning of a convent
>in Charleston, Massachusetts in 1828, the burning of Catholic Churches
>in Philadelphia in 1842, and fueled the illegal invasion of Mexico and
>the theft of fifty percent of its land. This was topped off with the
>creation of the Native American party of the 1850s which became known as
>the Know Nothing Party and later the Republican Party.
>Every time that the nation had an economic depression or recession the
>Greek Chorus pointed at the immigrant. Thus the Chinese were excluded in
>1882 and in the 1920s immigration acts made national origins the basis
>of admission. The expressed intent of these laws was to keep America
>white by giving preferences to northern Europeans who the politicos said
>were blonder, taller and had bigger brains.
>In 1965, the nation went through an examination of conscience and passed
>an amendment to the immigration act based on family preferences. The
>result was that too many Asians came in and Latin Americans continued to
>migrate to this country.
>Almost immediately after the passage of the 1965 amendments, racist such
>as Senator Alan Simpson (R-Wyoming) and ex-California Pete Wilson built
>careers on baiting Mexican immigrant. They criminalized them, calling
>them illegal and dehumanized them, calling them aliens. With the advent
>of the right wing think tanks and the internet, immigrant bashing became
>an industry. Playing on the fears of white Americans who have
>historically been narcissistic and consumed by angst, these groups have
>made millions by creating a living hell for people who just want what
>others want - a place to live in peace and educate their children.
>For too long the Mexican/ Latino community has been silent. This has
>encouraged bullies and wannabe brown shirts to come out of the woodwork
>and prance around like Minute Men. Most of these patriots like the
>President and vice-president of this country have never served in the
>military. Immigrants were welcome as long as they did the fighting for
>Samuel Johnson in 1775 said that patriotism is the last refuge of a
>scoundrel. History will bear out his wisdom.
>Aside from the mendaciousness of the nativist, their stupidity is mind
>blowing. The truth be told, the United States has been criminally
>negligent when it comes to Latin America. Its drug market has converted
>many Latin Americans into suppliers of American demand for drugs. As a
>result the governments of these countries have morally decayed. The
>U.S.'s green revolutions have destroyed agricultural subsistence, and
>the North American Free Trade Agreement has destroyed nascent
>manufacturing industries.
>Today, the only thing that is sustaining Mexico and Central America is
>the remittances sent back annually by hardworking compatriots. If it
>were not for these remittances those economies would crash and there
>would be many more immigrant workers coming into territory that was
>illegally taken from their ancestors. They are illegal because the
>border was moved.
>The truth be told, the demonstrators had no choice but to protest. I
>have no other choice but to urge my students and community to resist
>immoral laws.
>As a historian I remember the words of Martin Niemöller, a Protestant
>pastor and social activist, who said:
>When the Nazis arrested the Communists,
>I said nothing; after all, I was not a Communist.
>When they locked up the Social Democrats,
>I said nothing; after all, I was not a Social Democrat.
>When they arrested the trade unionists,
>I said nothing; after all, I was not a trade unionist.
>When they arrested the Jews, I said nothing; after all, I was not a Jew.
>When they arrested me, there was no longer anyone who could protest.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

open mike

hosting open mike tonight at the Black Dog

Thursday, March 09, 2006


Well, the show opened. I couldn't breath for a few days and just now found the space. Talk about freakin intense. It hit right when I wrote the the director's notes openning morning. The night before, the stage was taking it's final shape, I sat chilly-tired watching the boys hang the leaves, "Here? Like this?". Two men who stepped up and wanted to be more than an actor. Creators, visual artists, adding their flare to the experience, leaving their imprint. It was finally becoming their too. As all the rest did. My two teens working alongside with us as part of the company. My rumbera, a steady a growing flame. My girls, my little gems, jewels I get play beauty parlor with. The boys strut, my ladies burn. All in love and sweetness, excited. They all trusted my ship and were about to sail off with me.

When my parents left me the Perez Prado Collecion Original, I was lonely, homesick, living in Lubbock with more empty vessels than I could handle. With this music, my own well filled. Pictures, the story, the movment, the grand time, all opened to me. I was home again, somehow remembering everything. It had to be cooked at slow simmer. I had to see it someday. Then there it was, the water broke the day I saw my actors for the first rehearsal. I hadn't written it. I wrote it as we worked, watching them: dancing lessons, ensemble exercises, knowing some of them for years. I used everything I had learned up to that point and it magically all fit together.

So I sat there night before we opened, barely realizing earlier that week, my children's piece Teatro produced, was performed at the Eisenmien Center in Plano for a 8,000 kids in two days. Four of my most trusted actors and I, led by Yvonne, got to tell a story about ancient mexican gods, shapeshifters, dreams, roars, and a hero. All those kids. At that moment, Yvonne sat next to me, and we just smiled. Too numb to fit the magnitude of what we had accomplished. One last push. Clean up, go home, go to bed.

I woke up and got the notes in at the last possible second I was allowed to. I am just now swallowing.

There is something so elegant and electrifying about mambo. The music's grand landscape has always capitvated my imagintion since I saw my Mother and Father sail across a dance floor for the first time. I would learn the little steps, the hips, the feet all moving to savor a sound that was simply majestic to a young girl's mind. Seeing two people dance with such grace and pride, only love could inspire, left me with a romance to tell.

The play came on a night spent with the music. The legendary icons of the Epoca de Oro dazzled in my mind. Only latino blood can capture such a grand style of dangerous and honest intensity. It was the stuff the heart melted to; the stuff that made you stop your breath or burst into raucous laughter; the stuff that celebrated life to its fullest. The Rose Marine with it's latino history, was the perfect place to remember those days. All I had was pieces of stories, songs, and the generation's reverance for this time. The rest, as they say, was history.

Mambo inspired freedom and discovery when it arrived in Mexico. A time when Mexico was achieving progress and prosperity, modernity. The cinematic movement of the Epoca de Oro gave the people dreams, possiblities grew, a voice was heard. This tribute, inspired by my Mother and Father, is meant to recall those dreams that can hopefully claim time again now.