First off, I must apologize that this blog post comes a day late. Yesterday was filled with so much work that I needed to get around that first. A lot can happen in seven days!! So, let's get started.
First with the tease:
From a first hand account, the TEXAS SALSA CONGRESS is an amazing event. My dear friend and fellow artist, Ruby Rivera, knocks it out of the park with this masterful celebration of dance and music. The salsa congress is made up of dance workshops, presentations and special guest performances from salsa dances of all ages and backgrounds from all over the U.S. It is truly a spectacle and sight to see. You can see the schedule for the 4 day event here.
The most important aspect of this event is how damn good a job Ruby does to include young, growing dancers. They attend in droves from both coasts and eat up all the workshop opportunities and celebrations. The TEXAS SALSA CONGRESS also serves a second purpose (well two actually) (1) to raise scholarship funds for students as they pursue dreams of a college education and (2) a well deserved "hell yeah, I did it" kind of party, is the ONLY FEMALE organizer of a SALSA CONGRESS. It happens no place else, making Houston home to someone very special. If you can make it to the event, please do. You won't regret it!! (PLUS, you might get to see and the wifey perform on Friday night - yep, Ruby and the CONGRESS are fans of poetry!
MEANWHILE, LAST NIGHT . . .
I would classify what I was a part of last night as "educational advocacy". In simplest terms, a few local Houston Latino leaders and I got together to being planning H.O.M.B.R.E.S. - Helping Our Men thru Brotherhood, Respect, & Education for Success.
The idea is this:
3 mentors will share 5 steps they took up the pyramid. They will share the challenges and obstacles they overcame. This will be followed by our youth tellling tell us what they need from us to help them succeed. If we do not tell our young men how to be adult men, then videos, rappers, and movies will. Every one is welcome who wants to help our men and young men fulfill their great destinies. - Last night's meeting was a solid step forward. I served as scribe and as everyone talked about either their definitions of the issues our young men are facing or their own backgrounds, I was able to translate that into viable topics for discussion for future meetings. We are still in the planning stages, so stay tuned. A major thank you to TONY DIAZ for spearheading the idea!!
THE WEEKEND IS UPON US . . .
and sometimes, you will get some info of what happens outside of H-TOWN. Peep this:
Yes, you read the flyer right, not in H-TOWN, but in El Paso ("el Chuco"), T!! A buddy of mine, Roberto Santos, MFA graduate from UTEP, college professor, host and damn good poet has served as the organizer for the BARBED WIRE OPEN MIC SERIES (BWOMS) for over 5 years. That show and that art, shows no signs of slowing down. Its a golden night, that last Saturday of the month. The crowd is appreciative, supportive and on point to hear some poetry and music. The artists are humble and dedicated and Roberto, along with his crew are the people that make it happen. I had the pleasure of being a feature a few months back and it was a grand experience. If you want to get more info about this Saturday's event, then log onto your FB account and get more info here. - and straight from Roberto himself:
"For this month's edition of the BWOMS we are featuring published poet Robin Scofield, and the poems from her latest book, 'Sunflower Cantos' (Her book will be on sale at the event; see below for author bio).
We will also have a freestyle cypher at 6:30 and the open mic starting at 7. Anyone can perform any type of creative expression. Vendors are welcome and encouraged to join us at no cost.
**Author Bio: Robin Scofield** -
A native Texan, Robin Scofield is the author of Sunflower Cantos, from Mouthfeel Press in El Paso, and has written poetry, memoir, and fiction for 44 years. She was awarded an M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Texas at Austin in 1986. She has had poems appear in Paris Review, Western Humanities Review, Theology Today, Poetry Motel, Center: A Journal of the Literary Arts, and Texas Observer. As an experienced editor, she offers manuscript consultations and creative workshops.
She has been a featured reader in several venues, including the El Paso Arts Museum, and she regularly attends The Tumblewords Project, a community-based writing group and is active in regional as well as international literary events, such as the juried San Miguel Poetry Week."
MORE FROM EL PASO
So I will forever sing the praises from that town! Aside from being an MFA candidate at UTEP (online, too!!), I am totally impressed with the people and places within "El Chuco". There is so much going on that had to make sure to get into it. Here are two examples:
1) Words On a Wire (yes, click the title) - a radio show hosted by Benjamin Alire Saenz and Daniel Chacón (both MFA -Creative Writing professors at UTEP) that focuses on poetry, fiction, creative writing, memoir writing and more. They conduct interviews with other writers and discuss all things written. Make sure you take a listen. Like their page too. DO THAT HERE
and 2) THE READER - an online magazine out of El Paso, Texas. The Literary Muses (8th grade student writers) host various Chicano & Latino guests: poets, novelists, essay, short story, fiction and nonfiction authors, digital and print-media reporters, world-renowned educators and more... Guests visit in person as and via Skype.
Hosted by a prima-hermana Librotraficante there in El Paso, Georgina Cecilia Perez teaches Chicano and Latino Literature to her 8th grade students AND gets them right.
She is doing amazing work, instilling the want of literature and the want of writing to her students. In March, I get to be a part of the program. Truly a blessing!!
So now we bring it back to H-Town!!
If you can make it to no other show, then please join me here:
CULTURAL LADRONES will take place on Feb. 24th from 8 to 1am.
The event is for fans of art, music and poetry who are 21 & up.
Where: - House of Blues ( 1204 Caroline St. 77002 -Foundation Rm.)
Please, support the local art scene!! This should be an amazing event.
And now, to close out this blog post, a small teaser... its something I am about to start reading and give you a little review: