Friday, March 31, 2017

Flashback: Travels With Carol: Kansas City 2010 Trip Report, Day 3

Carol is my mother. We have taken a number of road trips together. One dreary winter we went to Kansas City for a long weekend. I wrote the part called Mzuri's Report. My mother wrote the part called Carol's Report. 

Kansas City 2010 Trip Report, Day 3

In January 2010, my mother and I took the train to Kansas City, Missouri. This is Day 3 of our trip report, which includes comments from our original trip-report recipients. 


City Market, Kansas City, Missouri. January 2010.



MZURI'S REPORT
 
Tuesday, we visited Steamboat Arabia, which is within the City Market.

In brief: Steamboat sank in Missouri River in mid-century 1800s. All contents still within, tho all humans escaped. River course changed. Boat encased in muck and mud til 1990, when museum owners dug it out. Contents preserved and on display. Sort of a snapshot in time of everyday items - many totally new at the time, as they'd been intended for mercantile stores along the river route.

I'm not all that interested in all of the minutia arrayed in the museum, although there is power in the sheer quantities of like items, e.g. boots, nails, buttons, coats, tools, etc. The thing that I like is that the individuals who unearthed all of this are still a daily part of the museum, and they introduce themselves to visitors. Also, the docent is very knowledgeable about the dig and the museum contents. I was especially interested in talking at some length with one of the textile preservationists.

There was a bit of an incident when Carol was talking to one of the museum owners, one of the men who led the whole adventurous gamble of the dig. The boat was in a field owned by a local judge (a mile south of Parkville). Carol asked about legal threats to the ownership of the boat's contents, to which the museum owner replied there were none. Carol noted that it was likely a good thing the landowner was a judge and not  "an ignorant ..... " at which time my hand suddenly, without any warning to me, shot out and struck her thigh. Carol and the gentleman looked startled, and Carol asked, "what, were you worried what I was going to say next?" I allowed as how, yes, I was. Carol asked what I thought she was going to say, and I said I didn't know, but whatever it was, it probably wasn't going to be good.

Carol might have been really angry except that only moments before, the museum owner had exclaimed that she couldn't possibly be old enough to be my mother. So Carol was like a lion who'd just eaten, willing to let small prey live.

City Market, Kansas City, Missouri. January 2010.

I liked the City Market. There seems to have been some effort by the powers-that-be to ensure some interesting diversity there. The restaurants include: Italian, middle eastern, Vietnamese, Ethiopian, Indian, Mexican, Chinese, and American. We lunched at the middle eastern place; Carol had a chicken gyros and I had a lamb/beef one. She had a great salad with feta, olives, etc. and I had hummus with my gyros.

I picked up fresh dates at the middle eastern market, ginger at the Vietnamese market, and berbere spice at the Ethiopian restaurant. Carol picked up a used book at Auntie Em's, an antique store.

CAROL'S REPORT
 
When the gentleman said I didn't look old enough to be Mzuri's mother I was wearing the red coat.  
Mzuri punched my leg; it startled me and I knew she was cautioning me to watch my rhetoric which puzzled me, but am getting used to my children expecting some untoward remark made by me.  Beekeeper [Carol's 4th son] even asked me to refrain from sighs at his son's recent concert.  Anyway Mzuri explained later that she thought I was going to say "ignorant farmer" instead of what I did say which was ignorant person.  By the way, the group responsible for digging up the boat were a father and his two sons all in the family air conditioning business.  The City Market was unique - as Mzuri said many cultures and native food choices present.
 
My passport card was Discover.  Today, the Art Museum.



EMAIL RESPONSES TO ORIGINAL LOG:


FROM LABARQUE:
 
I love these reports. They are great escapes. Thanks for sharing them. ....I especially enjoy the two different reports.  I love Mom's clarifications.  It's the difference in the two perspectives that I find the must humorous and interesting.


Relevant posts: 

Kansas City 2010 Trip, Days 1 and 2
Kansas City 2010 Trip, Day 4



Thursday, March 30, 2017

El Paso: Gospel Explosion

Pamela Johnson-Angeles and Ashley Clark and singer, Gospel Explosion, February 2017, UTEP, El Paso, Texas.


February 2017

The Gospel Explosion 2017 at UTEP featured songs, praise dance, and the spoken word.

I'm agnostic, but that doesn't mean I don't have an appreciation for fine faith music.

El Paso Community Choir, Gospel Explosion, February 2017, UTEP, El Paso, Texas.


Gospel music, in particular, embraces all of that which makes up a human life: hope, despair, love, grief, happiness, courage, exultation, determination, peace, turmoil.

As eloquently described by a poet below:




Below, The Quartet performs I Just Want to Thank You Lord:



Below, the El Paso Community Choir praises big:





Rev. Dr. Michelle Johnson, Gospel Explosion, February 2017, UTEP, El Paso, Texas.


A praise dance below, by LaVaughan Carr Farmer and Christiana Carr:



How can one not feel uplifted after an afternoon of gospel music?


The themes are universal; it matters not what particular deity one believes in, if any at all. It is a music of life.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Missouri: Lost Weekend Found


Dogwood berries and green beetle, near Dixon, Missouri. October 2010.


I came upon a cache of photos the other day. They were in a dusty dark corner of a virtual closet. I'd uploaded them during my transition from rooted to rootless and didn't have them on a hard drive at all.

Dogwood berry, near Dixon, Missouri. October 2010.

The photos are of an October weekend in Missouri with a group of women friends. We walked in the woods.  I don't recall particular color of the autumn leaves, but reds, yellows, whites, and purple-blue of mushrooms, berries, and flowers popped.

Milkpod burst, near Dixon, Missouri. October 2010.


We passed by a monstrous-big white fungus gripping the side of a tree. A bearded-tooth mushroom, identified by Mary and Nora.


Bearded-tooth mushroom, near Dixon, Missouri. October 2010.


Assured of its edibility, we gobbled it up later in the day after slicing and sauteing it in a pan.

Bearded-tooth mushroom, near Dixon, Missouri. October 2010.


Scrumptious.

Thanks to Mary and Nora for their skills in identifying the plants and fungi we encountered on our walk.

A slideshow below:

Blue Jay Farm, Missouri

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Creative Life: Cinquain #5


Baratashvili, Tbilisi, Caucasus Georgia. May 2012.




Breaking a few cinquain rules here.



Baby
Tucked in, hidden
Sleeping, startling, waking
She cries when giants come near her
Belly
Soft, unhardened
Stretching, tight'ning, taut'ning
To be a trampoline and push
Back




Related posts:

The Creative Life: The Cinquain
The Creative Life: Cinquain #2
The Creative Life: Cinquain #3
The Creative Life: Cinquain #4


Monday, March 27, 2017

El Paso: Chinaberry on a Blue Plate

Chinaberry tree, El Paso, Texas. February 2017.




February 2017


I was walking, hopefully in the right direction, to El Paso's Black History Parade when I saw them.


Chinaberry tree, El Paso, Texas. February 2017.



Of course, I didn't know what "they" were when I saw them, and I had to look them up after I got home.

Chinaberry tree, El Paso, Texas. February 2017.


Chinaberry trees!

Chinaberry tree, El Paso, Texas. February 2017.


Against a brilliant blue sky, the crinkly, yellow fruits hung like flirty earrings from leafless branches.

Chinaberry tree, El Paso, Texas. February 2017.




Chinaberry tree, El Paso, Texas. February 2017.


Chinaberry tree, El Paso, Texas. February 2017.

Look at the decorative bark, like a cocoa-and-vanilla batik. If I were standing there now, I'd stroke it to feel the textured design. 

Chinaberry tree, El Paso, Texas. February 2017.



Sunday, March 26, 2017

El Paso: Flamenco

Linda Gallegos, Gallegos Flamenco. El Paso, Texas. March 2017.


I didn't know I was so thirsty for flamenco until I drank of it.

Daniel Martinez, Gallegos Flamenco. El Paso, Texas. March 2017.


Gallegos Flamenco, a local musical and dance troupe, performed at the El Paso Library's main branch one Saturday afternoon. I regret I don't know the name of one of the two singers, but the troupe members included: Linda Gallegos, the group's leader, and a dancer; Jessica Warner, dancer; Daniel Martinez, guitarist; and Ella Perez, percussionist and singer.

Jennifer Warner below:



Both of the singers brought skillful and emotional performances, each with her own vocal style. One is below:




Linda Gallegos below:




Here, a sensual instrumental by Ella Perez and Daniel Martinez:



Gallegos Flamenco used various recorded pieces to accompany the dance pieces. One such was the singer, Miguel Poveda. Aieee. Below is an example of his work:




Híjole, mamacita! The woman dancing with - or to? - Miguel.  She owns and proclaims her sexual power.


Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Creative Life: Cinquain #4


Friday feast (supra), Gurjaani, Caucasus Georgia. July 2011.



Belly
Wrathful, rageful
Objecting, defending
Food dulled the protest, damped the fire.
Almost.

 


Related posts: 

The Creative Life: The Cinquain
The Creative Life: Cinquain #2
The Creative Life: Cinquain #3


Friday, March 24, 2017

El Paso: Mariachi Festival at Sunland Park



Mariachi Festival at Sunland, El Paso, Texas. February 2017. Flores Mexicanas.



February 2017

OK, the Mariachi Festival was technically in New Mexico, and not in El Paso, but only just.

Mariachi Festival at Sunland, El Paso, Texas. February 2017. Son de Mexico.



The first and only mariachi festival I attended previously was the 2012 Mariachi Conference in Las Cruces: 
  1. An introduction to mariachi and the conference here
  2. My first revelatory exposure to matachine dancers here (at the Mariachi Conference)
  3. The splendiferous Mariachi Mass here


The Mariachi Festival at Sunland Park occurred in February and it was my second visit to the Sunland Park Casino and Race Track.


Standing room only!

Mariachi Festival at Sunland, El Paso, Texas. February 2017. Mariachi Aguilas de Las Cruces.



Terrific appreciation of the musicians by the audience, with glad calls for "Otra! Otra!" after most of the bands' last songs of their sets.

Mariachi Festival at Sunland, El Paso, Texas. February 2017. Flores Mexicanas.



As with zydeco, cajun, and - I suppose - just about every musical genre - there is a repertoire of song standards in mariachi, which most life-long adherents know all the words to, and thus sing along. This conversation, this connection, between the musicians and audience members, creates that exhilarating oneness, that inter-connectivity, that sense of "us" and "we," that I so love.

I've posted quite a number of videos from the festival here (via a search on my youtube channel with the words mariachi and sunland).

The one below, by Son de Mexico, makes me smile hugely because of its gleeful, rascally showmanship:



In the video below, the all-woman mariachi band, Flores Mexicanas, even includes a harp!



In the video below, featuring Mariachi Aguilas de Las Cruces, you can get an idea of how many mariachi lovers were present:




"Otra, otra!"



Thursday, March 23, 2017

El Paso: The Yandell Christ



Yandell Christ, El Paso, Texas. February 2017.


El Paso is a bowl of eye candy with its murals, varied architectures, daytime and nighttime vistas of the mountains, the sister cities, the pendulous moon.



Yandell Christ, El Paso, Texas. February 2017.



The first time I saw the jumbo, three-dimensional Christ on a wall on East Yandell, my mouth may have fallen open a bit as I stared while driving by, exhaling a long "wahhhhhhhh" of admiration.


Yandell Christ, El Paso, Texas. February 2017.


The site is the La Fe (Faith) Health Center on the corner of Brown and East Yandell. The artist is Cesar Inostroza.

Muralist Cesar Inostroza, El Paso, Texas. Source: Talent Pages.




Yandell Christ, El Paso, Texas. February 2017.


I look at the mural section above and, frankly, I get angry. I get angry because the mainstream political chatter never recognizes the power that fused cultures bring to the United States - the respect for one's current patriotic home and for one's heritage home, the bedrock connections to family, community, and faith. The artistic symbols such as those above - the flags, a father and daughter, religious affiliation - are everywhere. Everywhere. We. Are. All. Americans.

Yandell Christ, El Paso, Texas. February 2017.




Yandell Christ, El Paso, Texas. February 2017.



Yandell Christ, El Paso, Texas. February 2017.


Do you think Christ gives a fuck about a wall?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Creative Life: Cinquain #3



Pink Schoolhouse Gallery, near Taos, New Mexico. October 2007.





Belly
Tightened, frightened
Clenching, calling, keening
Come to me, pick me up, hold me
Baby



Related posts: 

The Creative Life: Cinquain #2
The Creative Life: The Cinquain


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

El Paso: Writers Resist

Benjamin Alire Saenz, Writers Resist, El Paso, Texas. January 2017.


January 2017


I'll confess. I saw Benjamin Alire Saenz' name on the Writers Resist flyer and that was all it took.  He is my literary cultural interpreter for El Paso. I would be there as a literary groupie.





But the Writers Resist event also promised a warm, lit shelter in advance of the cold front approaching America on January 20.

The Writers Resist event, in alliance with others around the country, ignited from a social media post by poet Erin Bilieu, when she wrote:  "We will not give in to despair. We will come together and actively help make the world we want to live in. We are bowed, but we are not broken."

The El Paso Library's Main Branch was the venue of El Paso's Writers Resist.

Dr. Rosa Alcalá - poet, literary translator, and UTEP faculty member - facilitated.

Dr. Rosa Alcalá, Writers Resist, El Paso, Texas. January 2017.

Writers read their own works or those of others, and two writers sang iconic folk songs.

Mike Duncan's throaty cover of a Bob Dylan song (A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall) was a highlight:




Daniel Chacón's story of what he brought to a cultural-diversity potluck delighted, both for its charm and its message:



And, of course, Benjamin Alire Saenz' soft-spoken but strong love song, as son to mother, to the river, and to all of humanity:





Writers who performed included: 

Rosa Alcalá
Bobby Byrd

Bobby Byrd, Writers Resist, El Paso, Texas. January 2017.

Andrea Beltran
Daniel Chacón

Daniel Chacón, Writers Resist, El Paso, Texas. January 2017.



Sasha Pimental
Robert Gunn 

Robert Gunn, Writers Resist, El Paso, Texas. January 2017.


Roberto Santos

Roberto Santos, Writers Resist, El Paso, Texas. January 2017.



Robin Scofield

Robin Scofield, Writers Resist, El Paso, Texas. January 2017.

Jeff Sirkin
Kathy Staudt

Kathy Staudt, Writers Resist, El Paso, Texas. January 2017.


Lex Williford

Lex Williford, Writers Resist, El Paso, Texas. January 2017.



My regrets to the writers whose names I didn't catch.

Writers Resist has moved from a one-day protest to a standing one - in the centuries-old tradition of artist protests in all lands, against tyranny of the spirit or the flesh.





Monday, March 20, 2017

Sunday, March 19, 2017

El Paso: UTEP: Vellum and Velvet


Early spring flowers, UTEP, Chihuahuan Desert Gardens, El Paso, Texas. February 2017.


February 2017

Graceful fold of a tangerine sarong.


Early spring flowers, UTEP, Chihuahuan Desert Gardens, El Paso, Texas. February 2017.


Brave little beings venture out in early-early Spring.


Early spring flowers, UTEP, Chihuahuan Desert Gardens, El Paso, Texas. February 2017.

Vellum riplets invite a barely-there stroke of one's fingers to feel the tiny geography.


Early spring flowers, UTEP, Chihuahuan Desert Gardens, El Paso, Texas. February 2017.


Velvety blossom babies emerge like new mammals, eyes closed, but seeking light and warmth.


Early spring flowers, UTEP, Chihuahuan Desert Gardens, El Paso, Texas. February 2017.


Early spring flowers, UTEP, Chihuahuan Desert Gardens, El Paso, Texas. February 2017.

Early spring flowers, UTEP, Chihuahuan Desert Gardens, El Paso, Texas. February 2017.