Saturday, January 27, 2007

Tonight I went to see the performance: Mastering Sex & Tortillas by the artist Adelina Anthony. I laughed. A lot. It was really funny and sweet. ALLGO sponsored the event at the Victory Grille, an old blues spot in East Austin. Anthony is now based in Los Angeles, but she was great to grace us with her presence tonight.

I'm gearing up for my trip to the east coast. And am definitely excited about it. I just found out yesterday that I'll also be reading in White Plains - my old high school haunt (Westchester, that is - I went to high school in Mt Vernon). That's very much thanks to Ms Rhea - childrens musician extraordinaire.

Here's a listing of the readings. You can also find it on my website:

Wednesday January 31, 2007 - 7pm
BookWoman Bookstore
918 W 12th Street
Austin, TX

Tuesday February 6th, 2007 - 7pm
**With Lenelle Moise, Haitian -American Poet//PlaywrightPerformance Artist
Bluestockings Bookstore
172 Allen Street
New York, NY

Wednesday February 7, 2007 - 8pm
Borders Books

West Chester Pavilion
60 S. Broadway
White Plains, NY 10601
Phone: 914.421.1110

Thursday February 8, 2007 - 3pm
St John's College - Queens & Staten Island Campuses

Friday February 9, 2007 - 7pm
Lambda Rising
241 West Chase Street
Baltimore, MD

Saturday, February 10, 2007 - 2pm

Vertigo Books
8346 Baltimore Ave
College Park, MD

Tuesday February 13, 2007 - 7pm

Big Blue Marble Bookstore
551 Carpenter Ln (in Mt Airy)
Philadelphia, PA

Saturday February 20, 2007 - 2pm
Austin's Salon Sit Down Premier Gathering
Austin, TX
*contact: for more information

Sunday February 25, 2007 - 7pm
Voices of Our Nation/VONA Fundraiser
Houston, TX

Saturday February 24, 2007 (10am - 4pm)
Tellin' Lies - A Fiction Workshop
Writers League of Texas
WLT, 1501 W. 5th Street, Ste. E-2, Austin, TX

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

So, I did it! I put the first interview up on the blog page: We are the Magicians, the Path-breakers, the Dream-makers LGBTQ POC Oral History Project

The vision for this project is to document the personal and social histories of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, two-spirit, gender non conforming, queer artists of color, with a specific emphasis on visual, literary and performance artists.

Please - check it out and learn about all of these amazing artists.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Jaime Cortez illustrated the graphic novel Sexile/Sexilio a few years back about the life of Adela Vazquez. In the intro to the book, Jaime talks about documenting and logging all the hours of work. He writes: "This project cost 800 hours of work. The process of drawing, inking, digitizing and lettering is slow, and time and again, I butted up against the limits of my abilities as an illustrator, writer, researcher and theorist. I never did learn to draw hands well."

The totality of this statement has stuck with me since I first saw the book in 2004. 800 hours. That's 33.33333... days of work, including nights, mornings, afternoons....if we were to break it down into a 7 day work week, that would look like 20 weeks of work, full time.

As artists, we give a lot of time to our creative process. And yet, it is rare that we quantify this time into actual hours. How do you quantify waking up at 6am to jot down random thoughts, for example. Or running to the frame shop, the art supply store, the stationery? Or, all the conversations that led up to the moment of making something concretely real?

I'd like to take a page from Jaime's insights. And to remember why we can spend hours on this work, to the point where many of us lose track of time:

"When the fear and uncertainty came a’knocking, I turned back to the transcripts
of my interviews with Adela to remind myself why I need this story to be in the world. Not
just because I’m a queer, a child of immigrants, or a lover of both comics and sexual
narratives, but because this story is so fucked up, fabulous, raggedy and human that it opens
a vast space where we can all ponder our own sense of risk, exile and home."
~Jaime Cortez

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

So, as a first year in college, the Key Club hosted a filming of Love Story every night, complete with commentary, fart jokes and bad sing-alongs. It was supposed to unite us through a common experience. Or something like that. Anyway, if I take enought time to divorce the music from the association, I do love the theme song from the movie. Where Do I Begin is what Shirley Bassey calls it. And then on youtube I found footage of this amazing pianist, Benyamin, playing the original score on the piano. It's what made me think of it in the first place. Benyamin also plays a mean Fur Elise.


Monday, January 15, 2007

So, Madonna co-opted vogue dancing from the colored people hanging out by the piers and around the west side meat district in Manhattan. But, genius still stands on its own, no matter how quickly Madonna goes through her fads. I love watching beautiful colored queer people dance. I love the prayer of the movement, the way peoples' bodies move through space, the attitude, the pure beauty of composition and daring. What's amazing to me, is how the movement of this performer mirrors Talley Beatty's movement in The Study of Choreography.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Tellin' Lies - A Fiction Workshop
Saturday, February 24
10 AM -4 PM
WLT Office

1501 W. 5th Street, Ste. E-2
Austin, TX

This workshop is for fiction writers interested in exploring the craft of fiction as an aspect of oral storytelling. We will explore narrative voice, character development and plot as key elements in the craft of writing. This workshop is designed to be used both with writing exercises and/or as working sessions on participants' own work. "Tellin' Lies" is geared to emerging - mid career writers who are interested in looking at craft in a different way.

Participants should submit up to 10 pages of work at least 2 weeks prior to the workshop so that the course material can be matched to the level/needs of the participants. (You can email work samples to, or submit hard copy to the Writers' League office.)

Cost: $89 members / $139 nonmembers

To register, email or call 512.499.8914. To join the League, click here.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Austin's Salon Sit-down...

If you haven't read Shay Youngblood's Diary of a Young Black Girl in Paris, should. Not only is it an exquisite rewriting of U.S. American relationships to the city of romance, it is an incredibly refreshing redefining of home. Well, that was my read on it.

In any case, in the story, there is a moment when Eden finds herself entering a world

"Professor May Day's Sunday sit-downs were famous and sometimes met on Monday.

Take rue St - Jacques past the Sorbonne. Cross boulevard St-Germain and the length of the open market.Walk up the hill past the fish market. When you come to the Greek restaurant on the left, go past it. Turn right into what looks like an alley. Cross teh courtyard, ednter the foyer in the center, and walk up five flights. The apartment on the left is the one you're looking for. Leave your shoes on the Oriental mat. Knock three times and touch the silver mezuzah for good luck. "

And though the author doesn't say it outright - we know that Professor May Day was a queen. And a king. And right on, too.

Professor May Day begins by saying,

"Artists are part of a nation's treasure. America is the richest nation on the planet...Now don't you think they could support they artists. Hell no. There's the crime. I believe it's simple, we talking basic rights here."

And to get the rest, you'll just have to read the book. But I loved his character. And I loved what he was doing. Which was being his self, and asking people to be they selves, too.

So, out of direct inspiration, I have launched Austin's Salon Sit-Down. The first one's going to be in February (February 17th to be exact) and I'm hoping to have wonderful submissions by literary, visual and performance artists of color by January 20th. I want us to create a language together, to discover the beauty of our work and the interconnectedness and power of what we are creating. And I'm so excited to be able to offer this space to do it.

So, yeah. There's a link to the right for the website. Or just go to

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

From Orhan Pamuk's Nobel Lecture, 2006
Printed in the New Yorker, Issue 2006-12-35 & 2007-01-07

"The question we writers are asked most often, the favorite question, is: Why do you write? I write because I have an innate need to write. I write because I can’t do normal work as other people do. I write because I want to read books like the ones I write. I write because I am angry at everyone. I write because I love sitting in a room all day writing. I write because I can partake of real life only by changing it. I write because I want others, the whole world, to know what sort of life we lived, and continue to live, in Istanbul, in Turkey. I write because I love the smell of paper, pen, and ink. I write because I believe in literature, in the art of the novel, more than I believe in anything else. I write because it is a habit, a passion. I write because I am afraid of being forgotten. I write because I like the glory and interest that writing brings. I write to be alone. Perhaps I write because I hope to understand why I am so very, very angry at everyone. I write because I like to be read. I write because once I have begun a novel, an essay, a page I want to finish it. I write because everyone expects me to write. I write because I have a childish belief in the immortality of libraries, and in the way my books sit on the shelf. I write because it is exciting to turn all life’s beauties and riches into words. I write not to tell a story but to compose a story. I write because I wish to escape from the foreboding that there is a place I must go but—as in a dream—can’t quite get to. I write because I have never managed to be happy. I write to be happy."