Thursday, March 22, 2007

Yes. Life is SO good. So good.

Helga Davis's music is now available for you to listen to, right now. Right. Now. Do it. Give yourself that gift of listening to her; the clip is from an interview on WNYC. Helga, thank you for moving in this direction and for gracing us with your gifts. She also has a blogpage now: helgadavis.blogspot.com

I found out about Helga's new stuff being up from Sharon Bridgforth - amazing, brilliant RedBone sistah who's performance installation Love/Conjure Blues is out of control. It's going to be going up from June 15 - 23, 2007 at the Off Center here in Austin. Krissy Mahan is building the set (she also did the Ruff Cut); Jen Simmons has been on tech and film; and numerous other folks have contributed to make this happen. Now, just imagine juke joints, beautiful people, Sharon's voice, Jen's images...it's ON.

On another note, I'm checking out a conference tomorrow on Afro-Latinidad at UT's Center for African & African American Studies. Synchronicity is an amazing thing. This same week, there's a conference happening in New York City (through GALCI) on Afro-Latinidad, and Afro-Latinas specifically. I'm so excited to see these conversations happening. It's long time coming.

Peace out. I'm off to listen to Helga.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Maya Deren's At Land. In my opinion, it's better without the soundtrack.

Peace

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Well, things are shaping up for April, dates for the Bay Area will be up shortly on my website.

In the meantime, I wanted to revisit Sable Lit Mag's new issue. I have a story in there, La Ciguapa, for which I wanted to thank some people. I always think it's interesting the whole notion of thanking, and I do it because I truly believe in and experience writing as a collective process which culminates in a story filtered through one individual lens - the author's lens as mediated by revisions and feedback. For some folks, workshopping is about getting assurance about one's own voice. For other's, workshopping work can give a writer great perspective on how well a scene/idea/dialogue is communicated. After saying all of that...

...I send a big shout out to all the wonderful peeps I had the honor of working with at the Our Word workshops at Columbia University a couple of years back. The feedback I received from Jenny, Marinieves, Qiana, Robert, Orlando, and A.J. really strengthened my overall writing in significant ways. For example, the notion of using the rules of the world as a fundamental guiding point in scene development. Or of communicating time and space within the limits of short story. And, their feedback strengthened the story, La Ciguapa. Very cool. Thank you.

Short story fiction writing is particularly challenging for me, even though I love the form. I'll never forget the first time I read a collection of Tennessee Williams' short fiction One Arm and Other Stories. I was 12 and I swallowed the book almost whole (I left a few scraps of the book cover when I was done). I loved how he was able to attain a cinematic quality within a few short pages. And how I would tense up as I fell into the characters' mangled lives. As an adult, I am especially drawn to the short stories of Ama Ata Aidoo, Ben Okri, ZZ Packer, Pedro Antonio Valdez (whose flash fiction I find particularly intriguing), Jorge Luis Borges, Octavia Butler and Sherman Alexie (who just came out with a new young adult novel: Flight). And I read as much as I can in literary journals. Always.

Speaking of...I must get on. The Austin Salon's second gathering is happening this Saturday and I'm really excited.

Peace.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

So, this cat Greg Patillo is really sweet and really amazing. Great on the flute and cool at beatboxing. So much fun. And to Inspector Gadget? What?

These days I'm trying to not get sucked into youtube.com but it just so happened that I was watching Idea Hour when Greg's videop popped up. I couldn't believe it. I saw him perform in NYC and I've been talking about him ever since. So here it is:




On another note, I just got the latest issue of Sable LitMag - it's gorgeous. Kamau Brathwaite is on the cover. It's been so much fun to read - especially next to BOMB magazine's America's issue which features a wonderful interview of Cherie Moraga by Adelina Anthony, an interview with Los Tigres del Norte and numerous other contributions.

I found out yesterday I was accepted into the Can Serrat residency in northern Spain (about 40 minutes outside of Barcelona) for November and that my friend Y.C. is going at the same time. Needless to say I'm so excited. Both for the opportunity to have concentrated writing time and also because of being there with a dear friend and colleague. This is turning out to be quite an interesting and exciting year in terms of working pace and environment. April's a full month: between April 5 and 14 I'll be in the Bay Area giving readings; April 16th I head to the Atlantic Center for the Arts where I will be in residency with Alice Notley (so excited!!) and somewhere in the middle of that (April 25) I'll be heading up to Minneapolis to give two readings - one at Amazon Books and the other at the University of Minneapolis. I get back to Austin May 6th. I'm planning on applying for Naropa and I applied for Cave Canem, and then in the fall I'll be at Can Serrat. Where do I find out about these residencies? Well, word of mouth, and also this great website for artists: Alliance of Artists Communities. They have listings of residencies around the world. I also swallow Poets& Writers magazine, especially their issues on residencies and conferences. And I apply. Apply, apply, apply. I figure if there's any chance at all, I might as well risk it.

And so it goes.

I've just posted another interview on the Magic Makers page. It's an interview with Bay Area writer Yosenio Lewis. Check it out!

Oh, and one more thing. So this week, I started an experiment with a friend of mine. We're writing in our weaker languages. He's writing in English (he's Cuban) and I'm writing in Spanish. It's quite intense to write in a language so familiar and yet so seemingly inaccessible. Which of course has nothing to do with the language and everything to do with my own fears as a writer. It's going well so far. I'm finding that I'm accessing different experiences and visuals in the Spanish writing. And it's awesome to be working with L.G. because he's an incredible experimental writer. So much fun.

I'm off to go see The Price of Sugar, which is premiering this week at the South by Southwest film festival. Then off to a silk screening class at the Rhizome Collective.

Peace.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The new issue of Torch is out! You know I think Amanda Johnston is one of the most powerful sistahs out there. Check it out! Patricia Smith is interviewed by Cherryl Floyd-Miller, and there's poetry and fiction and beautiful art: www.torchpoetry.org

Other news on the homefront - well, I am a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award (Lammie) in debut fiction. I'm very honored and excited by this! I write because I am compelled to, and it's really nice to be reminded that the world interacts with what is created and that a panel of people would read Erzulie's Skirt and say, yes - we think we'd like to suggest this for recognition. So - thank you to all the folks on the Lambda literary award panel! And a special congratulations to Ernest Hardy and Lisa C Moore for the other finalists in the RedBone Press family (Lisa - you're amazing!) - Ernest Hardy's Blood Beats: Vol 1 is a finalist in the Arts & Culture category; Spirited, edited by Lisa C Moore & Winston James is a finalist in the Spirituality category. Wow.

My niece is coming into town to do an internship on the life of a writer. What can I tell her? Not much - it's pretty much a do as you go kinda thing. But, in a staunch effort to support her development as an individual and creative participant in society, for the next week, I'm going to be taking her to classes at UT in English, Performance and Literature. And introducing her to all the amazing people I can, and taking her to the radical arts spaces around town. She'll be joining a youth workshop I'm teaching on Saturday for the Cimarron group - I'll be teaching a zine workshop with 10 young women of color, who I'm very excited to work with. And we'll be checking out some of the films from the SXSW festival - this huge film and music festival that happens in town. We missed our opportunity for purchasing tickets to the Alamo drafthouse all night Buffy sing-a-long, but hey - there's always Run Granny Run - who is our very own live-in-the-flesh-vampire slayer (Run Granny - knock those politicians in D.C. out!!).

On Friday, Red Salmon Arts and Poesia Mujer are featuring
an evening of cantos celebrating International Women's Day featuring poetas/activistas de Austin. Some of the folks are: Erika Gonzalez, poet/activist and co-director of PODER (People Organized in Defense of Earth and her Resources), Carole Metellus (Haitian-American writer/activist), ire'ne lara silva (Xicana writer/coordinator for Sandra Cisnero's Macondo Foundation), Moises Silva (gay Xicano writer), Courtney Morris (African American co-founder of Cimarrones:Youth Building Community), Kadedra Delille (African American youth with Cimarrones), Mariposa Corona (Xicana personal trainer/owner of East Urban Fitness), Luisanna Santibanez (Xicana student/activist for immigrant rights), Denea Stewart-Shaheed (African American writer) and Yvette Rodriguez (Xicana activist with PODER's Young Scholars for Justice). And I'll be there, too, enjoying the company of some of Austin's greatest folks.

So - here's to living the life of an artist in community! Peace.