The Day after Independence, You should write.

Hey gente, - I hope you had a relaxing/drunk/family/bar-b-que/firework/picnic/light-show kind of day for your 4th of July. Around my house, things were quiet. The wifey and I have been trekking around separately for about two weeks and we needed some down time. We got each other caught up on new details and ideas and my life is much richer for it. Today's tease is really bad ass - makes me really proud of what we stand for:
SO, here is the Tease-  


So, for over a year, my better half, Jasminne Méndez has been painstakingly working with several communities in collecting school supplies for a school. It would be bad ass enough to say that this writer/educator/spoken word artist was doing all this for a school in a Houston neighborhood, but no, she thought about her roots. That's right, lady mine took that all the way back "home", the Dominican Republic. 

Here's how it came to be:
So way before my wifey was a glimmer in anyone's eye, her GRANDFATHER - Angel de Jesús Durán was a teacher en los campos, afuera de la cuidad de Santo Domingo, the capital city of the Dominican Republic. He taught for roughly 10 years in a one room school house from about 1971 to 1980. He was a dedicated teacher. There were no in-service trainings, no faculty meetings, no state tests, no teacher's union. It was him, a principal, who also taught and kids ranging from 1st to 12th grade.
After talking to the wifey and my suegra - la gran, Sonia Rosario (formally, Sonia Durán), I found out that the original school burnt down and that Sr. Angel was instrumental in raising funds to help rebuild the school. It was, in time, but soon after, around 1986 or 87, he passed away. My wife was 2 or 3 when passed away. I wish I could have met the man. He has left a remarkable legacy.  -See the story doesn't end there.  

About two years ago, when Jasminne's folks went back to make a visit to the DR, they were pleasantly surprised to find out that the school was rebuild even larger and dedicated to Sr. Angel de Jesus Duran. That's right. The community he once taught honored him for his service. At the time, the building was just a single building. So when my suegros came back stateside, they filled us and soon, I say the wifey's eyes light up and a funny smile creep in.
Jasminne came up with the idea of collecting school supplies for the students. So, for the next year and half, my darling consentida worked with several folks, including the students and student council officers at her old job - Cristo Rey Jesuit, where she was a theatre teacher. She planned the trip and picked up all the supplies. 

Once there, she said the school was even larger, with several buildings, a computer lab (though no internet), and served several communities from pre-k to 12th grade. She traveled with my suegros and met with the principal of the school, who was overjoyed at their efforts. There was assembly and poetry presentations planned for the next day, which brought my suegra and family members a few tears. - The best part, according to Jasminne was being able to give the supplies to the kids and listening to some of the teachers, some of whom had worked with her grandfather and some who HE had taught. She said the kids presented several styles of poetry, acrostic poems and even a  former student who is now a police officer did a spoken word piece that day. 

So, with that done and this third trip to the DR done (for my wife), Jasminne has said that she plans on creating a new memoir about her background, based on each time she has had the opportunity to travel back "home".  I am ever so proud of my bad ass wife. She's a keeper, huh? 

Some things, you just need to check out!! -
If you have some free time this evening and you are in the Houston area, do me a solid and go by the East End Gallery later today!!! 
Here are the details as I know them: 
EAST END Studio GALLERY, Ste. C - 708 Telephone Road, Houston, TX
12- 5pm

Join us in celebrating the culturally diverse and rich art scene in Houston. This show is our way of saying thank you to this wonderful art community.

This is a one day show only with a special presentation by Anat Ronen.

We have invited some of Houston's most talented and promising artists!

Anat Ronen
Daniel Anguilu
Gabriel Dieter
Kelly Kielsmeier
Julie Zarate
David Pilgrim
Alex Barber
Jamey Franklin
Patricia Thündercat Oun Corron
Valerie Gudell
John Paul Luna
Michael C. Rodriguez
Blue OneThirty 
D.j. Twinkle-Toes Browncoat
Krystlle Bazan
Stephanie Guajardo 
Armando Castelan
Cathy E. Payne
Nesreen Hussain Alawami
Sue Donaldson
Lee Carrier
Jeremy Walker
Catfish Perez
Blue Rooster Customs
Carolina Guzman
Bryan Cope
Joseph Walker
Felipe Contreras
Heather Gordy
Marco Guerra
Erik Martinez
Brandy Black
Cutthroat Art
Patricia Torres
Lizbeth Ortiz
Angela Obenhaus
Leslie Roades
Kentra Gilbert
Wiley Robertson
Robin S. Silvers
Mandy Peyrani
Bryan Lee
Beau Pope
Jessica Pope
Rafael Villarreal
Isaias Crow
Jessica Glover Guerra
Dae one

Try to make it - it should be fun!!!  


So I am gonna give you some info on two film makers, both of them named Jesse!!
If you can, check out their work. 
Jesse Salmeron: 
Jesse Salmeron was brought to the United States undocumented at the age of three during the Salvadorian Civil War. He went on to study English, Theatre and Film at the University of Houston.

While at the University of Houston, Jesse excelled in his dramatic writing and his collegiate accomplishments include his stage play “Shedding My Skin” being chosen by three-time Pulitzer prize winning playwright Edward Albee for his annual Playwright’s workshop. In his senior year, his screenplay “Celeste,” a screenplay based on an undocumented immigrant student, was a semi-finalist in the Chesterfield-Paramount competition. He completed his Senior Honors Thesis, the first half of an episodic novel, under the late Dan Stern.

In 2007, he completed his first feature documentary, “Undocumented” about the 2006 mass mobilizations for immigration reform. That same year he rewrote "Celeste", a screenplay he originally wrote as a senior in college. In the summer of 2008 he produced and directed the feature film now titled "This is America".

As of 2011, he unveiled his latest work - "Dreamer". It is an excellent film and already making the rounds around the U.S. Here is the preview for the film. 

If you want more info on Jesse Salmeron and DREAMER, click HERE . Its an amazing film and worth the money. Jesse is an amazing film make with a true message that needs to be heard. 
Jesse Bainbridge: 
Jesse was born & raised in Houston, TX. He earned a BFA in Photography & Digital Media from the University of Houston and later received his educator license. He taught 4th grade bilingual (English/Spanish) where his students always got a thrill out of knowing "Mr. B" was also an actor & would tell him he should move to Hollywood. In 2009, Jesse decided to leave the classroom to pursue his acting dreams.

Currently, this Jesse is in L.A., doing the damn thing - building a career and working in film. Most recently, he wrote and co-starred in a short film "CHICKEN ON THE HILL". Jesse is a buddy of mine - an old friend from my theatre days, who has always dreamed of working in Hollywood. I love his work ethic and his determination - though I will always give him shit for his choice in favorite movies, bad jokes and music. He's a class act and working to make his mark.  Here is the film. 

If you would like more info on this Jesse, then check out his site - HERE.

Both of this caballeros are amazing examples of the talent that comes out HTX. Support local artists!!  Send them a message or go their films.  

Scriptwriters/Houston - 10 X 10 Showcase 2013 Showcase
So every year Scriptwriters/Houston hosts a remarkable event, the 10 X 10 show, 10 plays that are 10 minutes long. Its an exciting roller coaster of theatre, each play written by a different writer, directed by 10 separate directors and all with completely separate casts.  I participated in this a while ago (2003) and it was a ton of fun. If you get the chance, you should go - its a great way to support local the local theatre scene and a way to appreciate local writing talent. 
Here are more details: 
The directors helming the selected plays this year are Steve Carpentier, Haley Cooper, Rachel Dickson, Keshia Lovewell, Scott McWhirter, Joey Milillo, Elvin Moriarty, Amy Pope, Lauren Tunnell and Devan Wade.

Seven performances - Thursdays to Sundays from July 11th - 20th.
If you want more info on the project, check the site HERE

So, we are just about one month before the WORD AROUND TOWN POETRY TOUR (click on the name for more info) and we are growing!!  Here are some details:

Knights of the Word Around Town Fundraiser
July 20, 2013 – 7 to 10pm
MECA – Multicultural Education and Counseling Through the Arts - 1900 Kane St. Houston, TX 77007
presented by Word Around Town, MECA & MAKE.PLAY.SPEAK

Houston, TX - The Word Around Town (W.A.T?!) Tour, now in its 8th year, brings a uniquely organized fundraiser! The planning team has brought together the KNIGHTS of the WORD AROUND TOWN – a few of the originators of the WAT?! tour eight years ago for a one night only event. In addition, with the gracious assistance of MECA the public will not only get a one of kind poetry show, but will also get a chance to visit an artist fair. There will be more than 10 artisans on hand before the poetry performance. The public will get a chance to mix and mingle with poets, artists and the MECA community.

Knights of the Word Around Town Fundraiser Location:
Multicultural Education and Counseling Through the Arts - 1900 Kane St. Houston, TX 77007. MECA has had a long and true tradition of supporting Houston poetry and has previously been a venue during the WAT?! tour on several occasions. The organizers would like to thank the administrators at MECA for serving the poetic arts community once again.

Information for Interested Vendors:
Venders can purchase table spots for $25. This price includes admission for one person for the poetry event. Vendor tables are 6 ft. long and will be located inside the auditorium for the duration of the evening. 

How the event will work:

On Saturday, July 20th, 2013 from 7 – 8 pm, the public gets a chance to walk through the artist tables at the artist fair, partake or purchase from artists and network with MECA, the poets and the artists. Then, from 8 – 10pm, everyone will get a poetic taste of what stated it all, as a few of the original poets from the first year of the WAT?! tour take the stage.

Entry is only $5, as all proceeds go to help with promotional costs of putting on the FREE Word Around Town Poetry Tour ’13.

THE TOUR this is year is from Sunday, Aug. 4th through Saturday, Aug. 10th, 2013.  


So with that done, I think its time to close out this post. Hope you guys had a good week and are ready for next week.
Here is the TEASE: