After a crazy end of the semester (defending my work from being graded inappropriately, my funding being cut in half, the evil NJ taxation people squeezing us dry when yours truly made only about $10,000 by teaching at five different jobs last year), Vincent and I actually decided to celebrate. There were good things, despite the chaos. Vincent's family friend, Candido Tirado, was/is now in town to direct his play, "Momma's Boys." I managed (after a fight) to get perfect grades. Beautiful weather was in abundance. We couldn't complain. We decided to open up the Blue Boogie to all the lovely people who have become a part of our lives. And it went surprisingly well! The flowers you see here were a gift from one of our guests (!) and I have to say, that generosity set the tone for the evening.
Please let me introduce you to the awesome people who shared our space:
Nereida is a wonderful woman who should be paid boku dolares (big dollars) for her reading skills. She is a poet but she could be reading a grocery list and it would bring you to joyful tears. She is Puerto Rican and used to live in the New York area, which explains why she gives such great hugs. She was excited to watch the Spurs game; the city is unified and ready for their big win.
Chad, a quiet and careful speaker, is also a writer and I met him first at the graduate school's literary magazine, the Sagebrush Review. I later met him through one of our creative writing classes and he wrote a cool story about a brave girl who saves her village. I was really surprised to see him show up because I'm kind of the person to pick on in UTSA's literary circles (the prez of Sagebrush said I was tacky to a room full of people I just met because I wanted to put an upcoming gig in my bio and a couple of people in the online class were somewhat hostile about my experimental story - hee, hee!). I made sure to tell Chad that his presence meant a lot to me, and it did!
Candido Veras, not to be confused with Candido Tirado, was a crucial key to our party. This guy is an amazing eccentric artist who owns one of the largest lofts at the Blue Star Arts Complex (although, I heard he may be moving). He came in ready for merengue, merengue, merengue! His demands for dance music were substantial and I hope we satisfied. He also gave us a work of art made with old newspapers and Bud bottles - he compressed everything into a pulp paper which looks pretty cool, actually. Candido danced with all the ladies and spilled his wine just like the song tells us to. And, he brought many friends...including Pirate Joe.
Pirate Joe is a young lad who came into my home dressed like Adam Ant in his pirate phase. He spoke like Johnny Depp in the recent pirate trilogy and he looks kind of like a chubbier Orlando Bloom. I didn't pay much attention to this little guy because I figured he and Candido Veras had...an arrangement...but he turned out to be so damn interesting! First of all, he ate a lot of my food while stating how scrumptious it was and that is a compliment, indeed, cuz Texan's don't eat lasagna made with summer squash (or crudites, for that matter). Second, he knew the definition of "scalawag" or "scallywag," which means a rascal but can also mean various political things depending on the dictionary you're looking at. Pirate Joe and I dove into my foot-thick volume of Oxford definitions and got into how definitions change depending on time, publishers, etc. Apparently, Pirate Joe also carries around the U.S. Constitution in his back pocket, ready for debate. However, most amusement came from his reaction upon hearing that the boys in "Momma's Boys" did not have to learn how to cook crack cocaine when they naively decide to try to sell drugs. "Those lucky bastards! Do you know how hard it is to cook cocaine? It crackles and sprays up on you and burns you. Those lucky bastards!" Pirate Joe left a bone compass drawing on my bathroom wall and was one of the last to leave. He took the remaining rum in case he had to sleep bearing the elements.
Devon is a very cool M.A. student and she brought her artist husband, Luis Valderas, to the spot. He was feeling a bit under the weather but it didn't keep them from meeting everyone and having a nice long talk with Candido T. They both drew on the bathroom wall, too, and I feel honored to have both a Luis Valderas on my wall AND Devon Valderas on my wall. She and I met a week later to check out the huge prints made by all the local artists at a steamroller event right here at the Blue Star. Devon is witty and wonderful and I love her hair (don't dispute it, Devon!).
Rachel, the Education Coordinator at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, and her husband Brian came over and while she talked to everyone and giggled and giggled, Brian raided our extensive library and record collection with Pirate Joe. Brian left things as they were but we can't say the same for Pirate Joe, who tends to put things back the way a blind two-year-old might. Rachel was quite a surprise and I think I can say that I've found a friend who can hang with the patient ol' partying Grisel (but I am getting older, folks).
Rich Diaz came sanz wife Belinda (who was also ill) but boy were we happy to have him over. What a smart and thoughtful guy. He was having fun watching the madness from the sidelines. I could see him giggling at the strange array of guests and I was right there with him. Rick has lived pretty much all over the world (he's been to two places Vinny's been to: Turkey and Tucumcary - not sure if that's spelled right) and his better half has always been right there with him. These experiences have made them into a sweet, wise couple who happen to be amazing thinkers and artists, too. The link on his name gives more of his background and a view of his amazing larger-than-life puppets.
Martha Curcio and her sweet friend (can't remember the name of this lovely lady in red) came ready to dance and Martha brought one of her wonderful flower creations seen in the picture at the top of this article. Vincent and I met Martha when we performed for the Society of Latino and Hispanic Writers here in San Antonio. She blessed our spot at SASS and has continued contact with us. I absolutely love Martha. Her flowers are amazing. She is generous. I only hope I can one day have as much grace as she - and her friend!
Mark, the dad of the dude across the hallway who has a badass chopper, was quite happy to talk to the ladies and gents all evening long. He admired our books and had a great time when we screened "The Hideous Secrets of Hock Streedlefork," now on the omnipresent YouTube. Mark is an interesting guy: he rides his bike, he can build pretty much anything and he's really smart. I think the ladies (and gents) were happy to talk to him, too.
Laura, Hillary, Benny and various members of Second to None, came through. Benny, in addition to Candido T., was celebrating his B-Day, so he and Candido got to share a wish when the Blue Boogie candles were blown. Later on we got a sneak preview to STN's new CD and it was damn good. These guys were a bit shy but somehow Rachel and I broke the shell a bit with, what was it, turpentine? Hmmm.
Rodney Garza, an amazing actor/director, who has been an integral part of the Guadalupe's theater productions before and since Vincent began coordinating them, showed up after the Spurs game which he actually slept through. Rodney is a very hard worker but somehow manages to have energy for more and more. He and Candido T. and Rachel talked to the wee hours while I cleaned up and made sure Pirate Joe didn't burn my records when using a lighter to see the names of the LPs. Rodney's lovely love, Deva, slept it out but she was surely missed. She had superb timing as one of the Greek chorus women in a Chicano version of the Electra myth.
Alex Rubio and his clan of amazing artists make a quick afterhours stop. They are some cool, mellow folks and we saw more of them during the steamroller printmaking event a week later. We hope to see more of them in the future!
Bertha, from the Guadalupe, and her hubby came over and I must say that they were two people who danced who didn't need to be told to dance. Jimmy and Genevieve, also from the Center, came by and we talked about living spaces and how they are usually cheap here in S.A. and how the are usually an arm and a leg in New York. I've had that conversation over and over and somehow I just don't tire of it. It's true!! Belinda Menchaca and her husband were also on hand when our cat Hemingway (I didn't name it) kept sneaking out in the hallway to see if the conversation out there was as good as the indoor jive. What I especially loved was that Belinda had a smile on her face the whole time - now was she smiling with us or...? :)
Now, there were some miscellaneous folks that called and came through and I'm not really sure who they were or who brought them or where they came from, but they were really nice and they didn't steal anything beyond something to drink or whatnot. That's what I like about art complexes. You can go into a loft party, grab a drink, get to know the people, and you're not treated like an outsider but a potential friend. I've done the same thing countless times at the art lofts that once existed in Jersey City (before they were torn down and made into condos for Wall Street people). One of the artists at the Jersey City link, Ron English, did the art for "Supersize Me" and was such a nice guy, he let me interview him for an article. That's what the folks who graced the Blue Boogie are like, too. Really nice people. Isn't that great? When you continue to hear about all the drama in the news or encounter pressures at work it is nice to know that really cool, non-judgmental people exist in the world. It's especially great to know that they are all a little bit crazy and fun just like you, too.
Yippie! The Blue Boogie has officially been warmed up!