Wednesday, January 25, 2017

El Paso: The Thanksgiving Parade, Part 2: The People


El Paso Thanksgiving Parade. Texas, November 2016.

I took tons of photos of the El Paso Thanksgiving Parade, but I've tossed all of them except those in which people are the centers.

Danza de San Juan. El Paso Thanksgiving Parade. Texas, November 2016.

 
There's something special when a person looks straight at me and, forever caught by the camera, there is that wide smile or the model-pose or a slip of a smile or a contemplative, steady gaze or a simple, frank acknowledgement from one person to another. A namaste.


El Paso Thanksgiving Parade. Texas, November 2016.

Every time I look up at the girl on the right, in her sunshine-y shirt, I can't help but smile back. Then I look at the little girl on the left, next to the boy, and I look steadily into her eyes and I wonder about her spirit within.

El Paso Thanksgiving Parade. Texas, November 2016.

There's something Rockwellian about the photo below, a mom, maybe, taking a picture of her daughter, who's engrossed in what's on her phone. Maybe a text from a boy she's crushing on. The anchoring of place(s): El Paso. Anthony. The USA. Space.

El Paso Thanksgiving Parade. Texas, November 2016.


Then below is the real and the pretend, and the present moment awaiting the future one, the look to the distance, off to the side, a man perhaps thinking, wondering, planning, remembering.

Lucha libre. El Paso Thanksgiving Parade. Texas, November 2016.


And below are three playlets on one stage, each unfolding simultaneously, a medley:

El Paso Thanksgiving Parade. Texas, November 2016.


El Paso's mayor. Pausing. The mountain citizen in the back. Baptism.


El Paso Thanksgiving Parade. Texas, November 2016.


Three Texas lawmen.

El Paso Thanksgiving Parade. Texas, November 2016.


The affable, home town newsies.


El Paso Thanksgiving Parade. Texas, November 2016.


A slide show here:

El Paso Thanksgiving Parade 2016

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

El Paso: The 915


"I'm from the city of the 915 ..." proclaims Khalid in his song, American Teen.




New Mexicans identify with the zia.

For Louisianans, it's the fleur-de-lis.




For El Pasoans --> it's "the 915." .... Well, at least one of its personalities is the 915.

915 is the El Paso area code. The story I heard was that back in the day, a larger chunk of Texas had the 915 area code, but these days, only El Paso has this area code. Hence, it became a numeric brand for El Paso.


At Tricky Falls, a downtown concert venue, at a concert, an attendee was asked by a band member where she's from and she said," "915." And he said, "What?" And someone had to translate: "El Paso. She's from El Paso."

The only reason I already knew was because the guy at the food truck in front of the Wigwam Museum one night told me about it.


Rebel Grill food truck in front of the Ghosts915 Paranormal Society, El Paso, Texas. September 2016.

He also told me about the "spaghetti bowl" and the chucos. But those are stories for another day.

I live in the 915.




Monday, January 23, 2017

Mexico: Juárez: First Date: Murals

Mural in Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico. November 2016.


On my way back to the border crossing, I passed through a vast, largely empty plaza. It had the look of a place that had been razed and that was in the process - currently suspended - of being formed into a park.

On one side were what I presumed to be the remains of the old neighborhood, bedraggled but still standing, and on the other side, the back walls of businesses that fronted Avenida Benito Juárez. 

On those walls were loud, splashy, wowza murals. A feast. 

 
Mural in Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico. November 2016.


Mural in Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico. November 2016.

Mural in Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico. November 2016.

Mural in Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico. November 2016.

Mural in Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico. November 2016.


Mural in Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico. November 2016.


Within a parking lot and in another niche were other murals, grittier and darker. 

Mural in Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico. November 2016.




I wonder about that empty overall hung up on the barbed wire barrier in the mural above. Is that just a fateful place and position where an abandoned garment got thrown or blown? Or is it an intentional artistic statement of a struggle? Whether chance or deliberate, it speaks.




Mural in Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico. November 2016.


And with the above mural - an empty-eyed skull capped by an empty-eyed hull of a structure.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

El Paso: The [Insert Corporate Sponsor Here] Parade, Part 1


Thanksgiving Parade 2016, El Paso, Texas. November 2016.

El Paso has a huge parade on Thanksgiving. Under normal circumstances, I would call it El Paso's Thanksgiving Parade, but that's not what it is. Although, to be fair, it's not what it's not, either.

The official name is the First Light Federal Credit Union Sun Bowl Parade [Brought to You on Thanksgiving Day, oh right, and in El Paso].  Sometimes called the Sun Bowl Parade for short, even though the Sun Bowl is a month after the parade.

The above caused me no end of consternation when I arrived, trying to find the connection between the Sun Bowl (which actually occurs in December), and the Parade Not Called Thanksgiving But Which Happens on Thanksgiving. Because I intended to go, I wanted to be sure to go on the right date and the right place.

Once I got things sorted, I was ready to go! And it was a marvel to be within walking distance of such a huge event (some sources say a quarter of a million people attend the parade), so no parking logistics to worry about.

Thanksgiving Parade 2016, El Paso, Texas. November 2016.


It was a big parade, so I'm going to roll it out over several posts.

Below a video of one of the opening units:



Henceforward, I'll refer to it as the El Paso Thanksgiving Parade, as it should be. 


Thanksgiving Parade 2016, El Paso, Texas. November 2016.











Saturday, January 21, 2017

Mexico: Juárez: First Date: Horses


I've been to locations that featured art themes with:



With Juárez, I add horses.

Horse art, Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. November 2016.


The artsy fiberglass herd stood in the promenade in front of the Museum of the Revolution of the Border (neé Aduana Fronteriza when first the building was constructed).


Horse art, Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. November 2016.

If I were a more museum-y kinda gal, I would have scrutinized the provenance of each horse and been able to share same with you. But I'm not, so all I've got are the photos.

Horse art, Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. November 2016.


But there's this for information seekers.


Horse art, Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. November 2016.


According to the article linked above, the horses are stallions. Please. Normally, I probably wouldn't have thought twice about this specificity, but I'm writing this post after my experience at the Fountain Theater and during the early days of an era in which my head of state can boast about how he grasps women's groins without their prior consent, with impunity. This is why I don't read the fine print of exhibits. I had been happy just thinking "horses."

Horse art, Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. November 2016.


Horse art, Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. November 2016.



Horse art, Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. November 2016.









Friday, January 20, 2017

El Paso: Art Museum: Beautiful Bones - Hermosos Huesos


El Paso Museum of Art, November 2016.


November 2016

Wayne Hilton's Hermosos Huesos was a special exhibit during my first visit to the El Paso Museum of Art.

Hello, baby. Is that a bone in your pocket or are you just glad to see me? Hermosos Huesos piece. El Paso Museum of Art. November 2016.

(Bad joke mine and not the artist's.)

In this 2012 video, Mr. Hilton introduces the exhibit, which debuted in 2013:




There is an understandable fascination with the overlapping worlds of death and life that Mexico and the American Southwest recognize circa the Day of the Dead - El Día de los Muertos. Artwork, songs, poems, books - so much devoted to the dead-just-over-the-other-side.

In El Paso and Juarez, there is also the malignant shadow cast by the slaughter of hundreds (more?) of women in the state of Chihuahua, many buried near the border Wall. So many wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, neighbors, friends butchered - their endings like frayed hems, in an unraveling cloth that one can't cut cleanly.

Hermosos Huesos piece. El Paso Museum of Art. November 2016.



Below are a few other pieces in the museum that drew me in :

El Paso Museum of Art, November 2016.

I really like the giant poster above. It's in the main foyer of the museum. It is like a declaration of Who We Are in El Paso. We are standing up and looking you straight in the eye.


El Paso Museum of Art, November 2016.

I like the work above because it is an example of how alive the Revolution still is in El Paso and Juarez. It also depicts for me the sameness of terror. I think Dostoevsky got it all wrong when he said all happy families are the same; all unhappy families are different. Nope. You can find many ways to happiness. What works for you might not work for me. But when it comes to hurting others, it's pretty much the same tools and techniques for centuries present and past.


A slide show of Hermosos Huesos:

Hermosos Huesos




Thursday, January 19, 2017

El Paso: Don't You Hate When People Post Pics of Food?


Me, too.

So here I am going to post a couple. I don't even know why I took this pictures, but I did, and I sure don't want them to go to waste.

Not because of any lessons to expound upon, but like Sally Fields said once, sort of, "Gosh darn, I just love the fuck out of these things." Well, she said the word "like" that one time. Oh wait, I see that I didn't use the word "like" at all. Let's just say Sally Field's speech inspired what I said.

So, roasted zucchini. I don't coddle these vegs. I just slice 'em rather haphazardly, spray some spray on them, and drop salt, pepper, and whatever other spices I want on them. No parmesan cheese or other fancy stuff. No olive oil, chaste or otherwise. I roast them in the oven for about an hour at about 425 degrees. All of the sugary sweetness comes out. On this particular day in November, I probably threw some Cajun/Creole spice on them, hence the orange color you see.



In the cooler months of the year, I eat probably a pound of zucchini a day. On some days, two pounds.

Then here's my new El Paso go-to --> jícama:



The above is not a particularly fine specimen of jícama (no disrespect to Melissa), now that I know a thing or two about what I like in this root vegetable. But it's the picture I have on hand.

On the jícama, I sprinkle Tajín promiscuously. Tajín is a brand of dried chiles and lime juice and salt. I eat about two pounds of jícama a day.

Below is a sexy picture of Tajín



And now, to complement my soft-porn food pics, here's a picture of a cat, specifically the Holy Cat of Opelousas: