My Oscar experience 2013 began when I saw The Sessions and I considered it to be “Oscar-worthy”. When I see movies I always try to predict the nominees for the Academy Awards. Once the nominees are announced, I try to see as many of the films as possible. This year, I think I out-did myself!
I enjoyed seeing quite a few of the Oscar nominated films including:
The Silver Linings Playbook
Snow White and the Huntsman
Life of Pi
Zero Dark Thirty
Here are a few I missed but would still like to see:
Beasts of the Southern Wind
Tonight I have the privilege of attending MEND’s Oscar® Experience Los Angeles. MEND is a charitable organization. With dignity and respect, powered by volunteers, MEND’s mission is to break the bonds of poverty by providing basic human needs and a pathway to self-reliance. Meet Each Need with Dignity, MEND, is an organization that my family has supported over the years by donating and volunteering. This is the first time I am able to attend their annual gala event.
Oscar® Experience is the Academy of Motion Pictures and Arts and Sciences’ program that enables local charities to host glamorous Oscar® viewing parties and raise money for their organizations. Only one charity in any given media market may participate in Oscar® Experience. MEND is honored that the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has designated MEND as the only official Oscar® Experience charity in the Los Angeles area.
The whole thing takes place at Universal Studios, here is the “invitation”:
MEND invites you to join us for our third annual
OSCAR® EXPERIENCE LOS ANGELESCELEBRATING THE 85TH ANNUAL ACADEMY AWARDS
Universal Studios HollywoodSM – the Globe Theatre Sunday, February 24, 2013
4:00 pm: Red Carpet Arrivals 5:30 pm: Program Begins 6:00 pm: Gourmet Dinner by Wolgang Puck Catering Begins
Evening includes celebrity guests, silent auction, casting your own awards ballots, and an Oscar® trivia contest.
So, now I have to decide on what to wear and do a little more fact finding to participate in the trivia contest and make my final decisions so I can cast my ballot! I am so excited! I will be Tweeting and posting on Instagram so you can follow along in the Social-Media-Sphere and join in the fun!
#MENDOSCARS @MENDPoverty @mizmeliz #mizoscars
Hopefully, I can help raise awareness for this special organization that does so much for the people of Los Angeles. If you want to volunteer or just find out more, click here VOLUNTEER NOW.
In order to express myself, I must first accept myself.
One of my biggest fears about expressing myself and sharing my creativity and talents has always been the fear of being laughed at or dismissed. I have so many defense mechanisms in place to avoid being laughed at and ridiculed. I don’t want to place blame. That doesn’t change things now. Heck, I don’t even want to explore the reasons why I am the way I am. It won’t really matter. I already know. I am the way I am. I accept myself the way I am. I have fears and I handle them.
I am at a point in my life that I have accepted myself and now I am ready to express myself. I began doing that when I began blogging. Sharing my thoughts, my feelings, and my experiences with the “world” – with you – has been the key that unlocked my true self and set me free! That freedom has fueled the flame that keeps my desire for love, joy and happiness burning in my heart.
It’s my time to shine!
This week I had the opportunity to share one of my poems at a performance of spoken word alongside some very talented musicians, poets, and artists. When I was asked if I wanted to read a poem I said, “Yes!” without hesitation. When I was asked if I was nervous, I said, “Yes!” but it was the excitement kind of nerves, not the sick or stage fright kind. The fears that came to mind were brief fleeting moments of panic. What if I mess up? What if they laugh at me? What if no one likes my poem. What if I get sick to my stomach? What if I have an anxiety attack? What if I get a migraine or vertigo and can’t go on? These things have happened before.
The thoughts of my biggest fears did not remain in my consciousness for very long. I have always wanted to get to a point in my life where the things I enjoy doing are not a challenge. They are just a part of me. I want to show the world that I can do these things well. I have always wanted to be able to share my talents without concern for what others think, without fear of judgement. This was significant in my life’s journey because I have now become more confident in myself and my abilities than ever before. It was because of that confidence that I did not get nervous or sick. And you know what? I rocked it! It was great! Not just because I did not get ill. Not just because my friends said I was good. Not just because I didn’t mess it up. I enjoyed the experience. I shared my talent with my friends and family. And – no one laughed! I did great because I believed in myself.
The Urban Desert Cabaret
Thursday night’s performance of The Urban Desert Cabaret was a show that my cousin, Joe City Garcia arranged. The show takes place about once a month and if you like folk music, art, and poetry – you should definitely see it. Most of the performers have a few things in common, they either know Joe City and/or have some connection to Joshua Tree – a community of artists who live or work in the desert. These men and women all have a soulful camaraderie and connection to the earth, to light and to love. Even if you just appreciate great music and song – this show is for you! You can read more about UDC in my previous posts: Hollywood Nights and Urban Desert Cabaret.
I don’t want to forget anyone, so here is the line up from the January 31st show: Guest artists: Billy Gill (songs), Paul McCarty (songs) Monique Caruso (songs), Cari Banke (art/spoken word), Lalo Kikiriki (song/spoken word), Laura Anne Lacy (songs), Miz Meliz (Melissa Reyes) (spoken word) and more TBA! Plus songs and jams with the UDC combo: Jeremy Gilien, Tonya Lee Jaynes, Robert Matsuda & host Joe City Garcia. First, Joe City and the Urban Desert Cabaret combo band started off the show with a few songs. Their music is transfixing. It brings me to a place of soulful reflection. Have you ever driven through the desert and listened to the album by U2, Joshua Tree? It opens up your horizons. That is how Joe’s music is to me! He is a rock star that I have admired my whole life.
Joe thanked everyone for coming and explained a bit about UDC. Then, he said something like “who wants to go first?” and at that moment, I had just stood up. He looked at me and said, “Miz Meliz – are you ready?” I had told myself ahead of time that whenever he asked me I would say, “I am ready!” and I did. And I was! I didn’t expect to go first, but I was happy to because then I could relax and enjoy the rest of the show. It was a bit of a bummer because some of my friends missed it, but it was good for me.
Next up was a great performer who played accordion and sang, her name is Lalo. . . her songs were light and fun and she told her stories in a way that made me smile. She was a bit of a crack up and brought some humor to the scene. After Lalo, Billy Gill came up and performed a few songs. His guitar playing is remarkable and his singing is impressive! I enjoyed the guitarist Monique Caruso and was impressed that one of the pieces she performed had just been written the night before! (I wrote the poem that I read over a decade before!! Some people cant help but share their talent, it precedes them.) Then we had the pleasure of a performance by the Wicked Saints with Paul McCarty and Retro Rob Thomas. They were awesome!
Cari Banke spoke about her art that donned the walls all evening and shared some introspective poetry that she wrote to accompany her pieces. When she took the stage, she said, “Are you all in a good mood? Having a good time? Well, I am about to bring you down.” Her art and poetry was about genocide and survival. She was very insightful and did manage to leave everyone on an upbeat note! There was more singing and guitar playing, more poems were shared and the UDC combo wrapped up the evening with more tunes. It’s surprising that all of this is put together and performed without rehearsals or much else in the way of planning. It always comes off flawlessly, because of the spirit and expertise of Joe City – all the performers make a commitment to be there and they bring their best to share for that moment. It was an honor to be a part of it!
Saturday I had the chance to spend some time with some very creative friends that shared their unique talents with others too! I have recently shared some of my humor with Fazel Huts and I always say that laughter is the best medicine but a true comedienne is a hot commodity! It is not easy to be a woman and be funny. That’s why I love the Two Funny Brains!
I had the unique opportunity to visit Jessica Bern and attend a “girly clothes party” at her home. Debbie Anderson was there, too. I couldn’t believe how lucky I am! I asked Jessica, “You know who I am, right?” when she invited me to this intimate setting. She was surprised by my question. I know we are friendly on Facebook and have “talked” late into the night via instant message on many occasions. But to me, she is a total rock star and I am a total groupie! (I met Jessica for the first time when I had the rare opportunity to be an extra on an episode of Blog This.)
To me being “a total rock star” is being able to show off your talents in a big way. I admire everyone who does that and makes it look so easy. I know it is not easy.
The Poetry Salon
After hanging out with the ladies at Jessica’s house, I headed over to The Fat Dog Fairfax, a fun eatery in Hollywood. I had the pleasure of being invited to attend a special event hosted by Jennifer Styperk, poet and CEO of Poetry Salon. It was their annual Valentine’s Day event to kick off this season of love. What better way to celebrate your love for someone than by getting them a bespoke poem for the occasion. (A bespoke poem is a custom crafted work of art based on stories you provide, inspired by an individual muse whom you want to honor.) I was thrilled to meet this amazing entrepreneur rock star poet! I was impressed that Jennifer took her talent as a poet and made it into a business that is thriving and employs and engages other poets to use their craft to help others. (See this great blog post with an interview of Jennifer Styperk for more about Poetry Salon and Bespoke Poems: http://mngirlinla.com/2013/02/04/looking-for-a-personalized-gift-try-out-poetry-salon/#comment-22702)
Creativity and rocking a special talent comes naturally to some people and it is a difficult journey for most. No matter what, keep at it! Don’t ever give up hope! Face your fears. Find ways of making it work. It’s your time to shine!
Behind the scenes busy at work at all the above events are the bloggers that I know that help to promote and in doing so are encouraging and supporting one another constantly. Please check out their blogs, Like them on Facebook, and Follow them on Twitter and Instagram. Carolyn,Jamie,AJ, and Deanna. I had a blast sharing these experiences with them and I am glad to have their friendship!
Do you wonder about your life’s purpose? How do you become happy? How do you find inner peace?
For me, I have found that no matter what my focus is (let’s face it, being a mom, a wife, an employee, and so much more – I don’t always focus on or think about my life’s purpose) I am happiest when I am being creative. I love to make things and I love being productive. I will be the first to admit it – sometimes, I love being lazy! But, I usually have a few projects in the works.
Blogging has been particularly satisfying for me and has allowed me to be my best self whenever I feel like it. I have met amazing people and made some wonderful friends. I can express myself openly and honestly. I truly have found my voice! Through blogging (writing and posting information online) I have been able to explore and pursue all of my interests. I also have the opportunity at my fingertips to share what I experience and learn with others. That is the best part! What is the point of being passionate about something without sharing it with the world?
One way that I have been able express my creativity is by writing and sharing my poetry. I have posted some of my favorites on my blog, and I have even read my poetry at various open mic nights. My poem, Rain, which I read when I participated in the Velvet Guerilla Cabaret at the UnUrban Coffee House in Santa Monica last August is on my You Tube Channel.
This week I will be reading another of my original poems at a spoken word performance in Hollywood. The event is called Urban Desert Cabaret. It is a variety of artists who are brought together on a regular basis by Songwriter/musician Joe City Garcia. (Joe happens to be my cousin. That’s the reason I have this chance.) Most of the performers are professionals. Joe is passionate about this show and works hard to bring together a cohesive program that everyone will enjoy (its not an open mic night! I’m getting nervous!) But honestly, I have a sound heart as I prepare for my performance and I am completely open to the experience.
I put a lot of energy over the years into finding my life’s purpose and living to my life’s full potential. I know that having a joyful heart is what brings happiness to my life and the lives of those I touch. I love the confident feeling I have when I can express myself openly and my creativity shines through! It’s that creative force that brings joy, happiness and peace to my heart. This is what makes life worth living, this is what brings purpose and meaning to my life.
What makes your heart leap with joy? What makes you happy?
Years ago, I learned many of the principles that I continue to apply to my life now while watching The Oprah Winfrey Show. That is where I first encountered Gary Zukav. You can learn to find meaning in your life and start living it with the help of Gary Zukav by following his steps, he says:
“Discover your soul and its path.
Align your personality with your soul. Until that happens, you won’t be able to give the gifts you were meant to.
Remind yourself daily of the following:
• You are a soul first and a personality second.
• You are worthy. You are not on this Earth by accident. You have a reason to be here. There’s a difference between accepting that in your mind and accepting in your heart.
• It’s not an “it” that you’re looking for—it’s your life that you’re living.
• You are here to create an authentically empowered life. There is no guarantee you will do it. It’s up to you.”
First off, if I am writing about it, I liked it. I don’t write bad reviews. If an experience was poor, I will tell the manager and/or owner. Hopefully it will help them to improve. I had a great experience at Food + Lab and I want to tell you about it!
I went to Food Lab yesterday for lunch with my friend, Holly. It was Holly’s choice and I had never heard of the place or been there before. Holly had seen it and wanted to try it but had never been there either. Holly is a chef, so I enjoy going out to eat with her. She knows her stuff! I can ask her anything. She is discriminating about food and restaurants, understandably so, and she has a love of food that I can appreciate. Yesterday was fun!
Food + Lab is on Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood. They have another location in Silverlake and they do catering. There is parking in back. They have a few sidewalk tables on the street side, seating indoors and a lovely patio in back. We sat in the patio.
I really liked what I saw at the Food Lab! I was impressed with the lunch menu and I wanted to try everything! You order at the counter and they bring the food to your table. There is a case of cold salads and the kitchen is visible. They have shelves of candy and nuts that they prepare and package there. Everything is in little tubs and bottles and I thought it was clever, food and a lab. I get it! The counter service was helpful and charming. Everything was clean and inviting. I ate my share (plus one or two) of the sample chocolate covered fruit and nuts while I ordered and waited for my receipt. Yum!
I really did want to try everything! The first thing on the lunch menu sounded amazing to me, ORGANIC CURRIED CHICKEN WITH LINGONBERRY CHUTNEY ON RAISIN WALNUT. OMG. My mouth was watering. I always like to read the whole menu before I decide. It was a good thing I did. Because after reading about the TURKEY BREAST WITH BRIE, PEAR, and HONEY, the CUBAN STYLE PORK LOIN, GRUYERE, HAM, PICKLES & MUSTARD ON CIABATTA, and the SMOKED SALMON WITH CREME FRAICHE, CUCUMBER & LIME ZEST ON WHEAT, I saw it all the way at the bottom of the menu. I will admit, I am a sucker for grilled cheese. Any grilled cheese. My brother makes the best. I make the second best. I died and went to Heaven when I tried the “Brie Melt” from The Grilled Cheese Truck (it comes with Double Cream Brie, Bourbon Chicken, Maple-glazed Yams, and Candied Walnuts on Rosemary Bread.) So, I had to try this . . .
GRILLED CHEESE: GRUYERE, TALLEGIO & RACLETTE ON 5 GRAIN W. CARAMALIZED ONION & GRAINY MUSTARD!
It was amazing! I must confess, I was talking so much with Holly that I only got one bite in when it was warm and gooey. It had just enough of the rind from the brie in it to suit my taste, but Holly didn’t like that. It was heavy on the carmelized onion, which was fine with me! The five-grain bread was sliced thin and lightly toasted to perfection. The grainy mustard was served on the side, which made me happy. I didn’t end up trying it with the mustard, it was so good and I talked so much, I forgot. I ate half of the sandwich there and took the other half home.
The salad we tried was off menu, it was chopped kale with shredded cheese. I thought it was yummy and had a nice zest to it. It was very fresh and colorful. It was a good pair with my sandwich. Holly had a chicken sandwich with a buffalo sauce on a ciabatta (I think, because I didn’t see this on the menu) that I tasted. It was good, just enough spice for me. But nothing prepared me for the experience I had yet to come.
I took the long way home on my trek back to the Valley from Hollywood. While I was driving through the canyon, I reached over and opened the little Food + Lab box that I had on the passenger seat. I reached in and grabbed a quarter of my sandwich. It was surprisingly warm from sitting in the sun, I guess. Just a bit warmer than room temp. So, the cheese was a good consistency and was just a bit chewy. To my delight, just a smidge of the grainy mustard had grazed the side of the crust. I took the perfect bite. In my mouth danced all the flavors that had been marinating together in that box. I was blown away by the sweetness of the carmelized onions, the creaminess of the brie and other cheeses glued together, the tanginess of the mustard and the nuttiness of the seeds in the bread (reminiscent of pine nuts) and the way everything melted in my mouth was like rich butter. I savored every last bite of that sandwich on my ride home through the canyon. Those flavors enhanced an otherwise perfect sunshiny top down ride on my favorite road! It was so unexpected and thoroughly sinful!
I’m a movie buff (cinephile in French, cinefilo in Spanish) and I love going to the movies all the time, but in the summer, it’s almost required. Maybe it’s the cool dark theaters, the gigantic icy soft drinks, the block busters that open in the Summer months, I don’t know for sure. But I have been enjoying taking in a few flicks recently.
Last night I got to see a pre-screening of the film, Magic Mike. This is a much-anticipated film about male strippers set in Tampa, Florida. I’ve heard that it is loosely based on the background of the star of the film, actor Channing Tatum‘s life.
Magic Mike was written by Reid Carolin, actor, producer, director and screenwriter. He is also the co-founder of Constellation, a service (Facebook Ap) presenting live interactive events built around online streaming movies, where viewers can chat with each other and with special guests.
Check it out: http://www.constellation.tv/event/magicmike
Reid Carolin, who also wrote the documentary, “Earth Made of Glass,”about Rwandan President Paul Kagame and France’s hidden role in the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, is President of Iron Horse Entertainment, the production company he started with Channing Tatum.
Oscar Award winner Steven Soderbergh, who is known for Traffic, Ocean’s Eleven and its sequels, directed Magic Mike. Although the movie was great as a fun summer flick to be enjoyed with a few girlfriends after happy hour or before going out bar hopping, it was not what I would expect from Soderbergh. If this film makes money, it will be solely because of the mass marketing taking place and the possibility of it becoming a ‘must have’ DVD for all the ladies who love Matthew McConaughey and/or Channing Tatum. In fact, I will be stocking up on said DVD to have on hand to be given as a bridal shower/bachelorette party gift for sure!
There were some heavy topics and themes which emerged in the story-line of the film. Choosing one’s life direction and doing whatever it takes to make your dream come true is one of the major themes. Few people strive to be a stripper and to make their living with the dollar bills stuffed in their g-strings. But most everyone has a dream that they hope to achieve in life. We can all relate to the hope of living comfortably and doing meaningful work that we are passionate about. Magic Mike mentors “The Kid,” played by Alex Pettyfer. Unfortunately for “The Kid,” whenever he gets close to success it eats him up. Drug addiction, extreme living, and the “lifestyle” of stripping, sex, and partying gets in the way of his dreams.
The Kid’s sister, Brooke, played by Cody Horn, copes with her struggles to make ends meet on her own, being supportive of her brother and standing by as he learns his life’s lessons while he repeats some mistakes along the way. It was an interesting twist on the story being that it is her little brother who turns to dancing and gets caught up in the dangerous night life. Of course, Magic Mike, who is talented and sexy beyond belief, is the one who travels the most on his journey and has the most to lose. Brooke is forced to practice some tough love on her brother while resisting her attraction to Mike as he works out his own issues.
Thanks to Warner Bros. for releasing this movie and for all the fun promotions that I enjoyed on my own vacation from reality this past week! What I want to know is, do all the movies at the AMC Theater in Century City open with live male strippers entertaining the audience? Because if so, it will be worth it to me to drive there for the rest of the summer!
I would say that the best part of this movie by far was Matthew McConaughey’s performance as Dallas, the owner of Club Xquisite, the Tampa, Florida male strip club. It wasn’t his best acting performance and he played it pretty straight. He might have stolen the show just a bit! I love his acting in films like We are Marshall and The Lincoln Lawyer, but in this particular film all I want is to see him on the screen with his clothes off. It wouldn’t matter to me what he says! Now, if a man said that about a female actress I would most likely protest! I want to be clear that I appreciate Matthew McConaughey’s versatility and ability to share his many gifts. He has an amazing physique. He is a god!
My friend said this about McConaughey in Magic Mike, “It was so wrong, but it was so right. He has the perfect body and I love that it has some meat on it!”
I couldn’t agree more! I enjoyed all the eye candy and fun excerpts of dancing and showing off skin and muscles both on screen and at the pre-screening events. Ladies, it’s going to be one hot summer!
I had a really good time in Hollywood the other night! I attended the Urban Desert Cabaret show at the Pig & Whistle Back Room on Thursday night, May 17th. I spent some quality time with my family. My brother and sister-in-law were there with my niece and their friends. I was accompanied by my two best girlfriends.
The music was great and the night was special because there was a performance of a portion of Varieadades, a presentation of spoken word and music by the acclaimed writer, Ruben Martinez.
Besides the amazing bass guitarist, Juan Perez and the phonetic stlylings of Martin Holmes’ poetry, it was kind of a girl’s night at the Urban Desert Cabaret. The room was visually enhanced by the abstract art installation of Joanna Fodczuk. Her paintings are passionate and stirring and really set the mood for the evening’s talent.
I was impressed by Raquel Gutierrez who performed with Martinez and included a reading of her own work as well. Even though she comes off edgy, deep, personal and raw – I found Raquel to be cool, smooth and a powerhouse of Latina strength and fortitude.
I dropped her this note after she accepted my friend request on Facebook:
“Hi Raquel, I enjoyed your performance at #UrbanDessertCabaret! I’m posting a review on my blog, do you have a website I can link to? Or upcoming shows you’d like to plug?”
Awesome!! I look forward to seeing her perform again!
The highlight of the evening for me was early on when I was delighted by the incredible performance of guitarist/songstress, Cala Elaine. I can’t wait to see her perform again. I was intrigued by the combination of her strong sultry voice (reminiscent of Stevie Nicks) and her soulful charm and grace (a little like Jewel.) She had so much energy and depth in her performance and when I had a chance to meet her, she was friendly and genuine.
Cala and I also exchanged Facebook pleasantries and she has some website updating and more gigs in the works. Definitely go see her (and any of the artists from UDC) if you can – you will not be disappointed!
Everything about the line up was just as described by the organizer (my cousin) Joe City Garcia on the Facebook Event Invite. All the terrific artists coming together for a show that always seems to end too early! The poetry, the exceptional musicians, the atmosphere and the venue – all added to the perfect evening.
The food at the Pig & Whistle was great, the margaritas are pretty good (made with a splash of orange or pineapple juice.) I just hated to leave! The UDC combo is just getting started when they “play us out.” as everyone says their good byes.
I hope to see you next time at the Urban Desert Cabaret this Summer. You might even see me make an appearance and read my own original poetry!!
Tonight’s special event hosted by Joe City Garcia will be one to remember!!
Featured guest artists for tonight’s performance include: Martin Holmes (Poeticus Racontaurus), Martínez del Río – Variedades (Ballad of Ricardo Flores-Magón), Cala Elaine (Songster of Exquisite Passion), Juan Pérez (his Awesomeness of Bass), Joanna Fodczuk (abstract installation) and songs and jams with the UDC combo: Dean H. Chamberlain, Jeremy Gilien, Tonya Lee Jaynes, Robert Matsuda & host Joe City Garcia.
The Urban Desert Cabaret is a collaborative bi-monthly event consisting of guest songwriters, poets, spoken word artists and musicians. Conceived and hosted by Joe City Garcia.
The Pig’n Whistle Back Room is an intimate venue, a secret oasis amid the ‘new’ Hollywood Boulevard. Located between Las Palmas and MacCadden Place, you can enter from the side off of MacCadden Place between Selma and Hollywood Blvd. In fact, if you wish to avoid the boulevard altogether, you can circle around the back from Selma and look for street parking (only enforced until 8PM on Thursdays) or park in one of the lots ($5 lot @ Cherokee & Selma.)
Segments of L.A.’s hit performances of Variedadeswill be part of tonight’s showcase at Urban Desert Cabaret.
Joanna Fodcuk’s installation of Abstract Art will be highlighted tonight at the event as well.
Come back this weekend to read my ramblings of my experience at tonight’s Urban Desert Cabaret!!
VARIEDADES, the regular “performance salon” hosted by author and performer Rubén Martínez took stage in four installments at the famous Echo Club in Echo Park, in November of 2011. Variedades focussed on an expansive theme: the Desert, in all its immensity, beauty, and fearsomeness. An eclectic bill of artists rendered the “land of little rain” as desert scribe Mary Austin once called it, with music, spoken word, comedy, performance art and even a “performance lecture” by a leading theologian. This resulted in a dramatic and poignant portrait of a place where Mexican migrants cross a searing land, monks seek spiritual purity, soldiers wage battle and students stage revolution… the many deserts within the desert. The show at the Echo Club featured legendary alternative folk figure Victoria Williams (founder of Sweet Relief), internationally recognized performance artist Elia Arce, comedian/playwright/activist Richard Montoya of Culture Clash, and author and Loyola Marymount University theologian Douglas Burton-Christie.
Variedades, as does the Urban Desert Cabaret, pays special tribute to the powerful art scene that’s taken root in recent years in Joshua Tree—a Mojave desert destination long popular with Angelenos. Angelenos are certainly obsessed with the desert. Sometimes we even say that we live in it. (We don’t—you have to cross over the mountains to get to it.) It is certainly our escape-landscape, a screen upon which to project all kinds of desires and fears, and a real, physical place to inhabit. (In the 1990s and first decade of the new millennium, the Desert West saw the fastest population growth of any region in the country.)
As long as people have been traveling to the desert, artists have been representing it. The desert is a recurring character in both the Old and New Testaments. It is the setting for the American passion play of the Western. These days it is often the mise-en-scène for narco noir and neo-nativist politics—Arizona’s SB 1070, an electrified “border wall.”
VARIEDADES is inspired by the Mexican Vaudeville Shows in 1920’s Los Angeles in which Martínez’s grandparents were regular performers. VARIEDADES v.4 approaches this vast, contradictory space the same way previous themes had been approached (migration, the drug war, anarchy): with artists of different genres and generations bringing passion and humor, pathos and spectacle to illuminate the theme. The original four part series, performed last year, was made possible by a generous grant from the Material World Foundation (http://www.georgeharrison.com/mwf/main.html) and Liz Garo and The Echo.
A native of Los Angeles and the son and grandson of immigrants from Mexico and El Salvador, Rubén Martínez holds the Fletcher Jones Chair in Literature and Writing at Loyola Marymount University, and is an artist in residence at Stanford University’s Institute for Diversity in the Arts. An author and a veteran journalist, he won an Emmy Award for his work in public television. As a musician, he has collaborated with the likes of The Roches, Los Illegals, Ersi Arvizu, and Marisoul Hernandez. (From: http://www.attheecho.com/2011/10/24/saturday-11-12-11-variedades-echo/ )