Category Archives: 2013 Categories

May 22: SAs Tejano Conjunto Fest Goes Virtual

We’ll I don’t expect to go to live concerts any time soon, so, mil thank yous to The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center’s Tejano Conjunto Festival for going virtual. $15 is a great price for all of that music and the play, Conjunto Blues, by Nicolas Valdez.

From the inbox:

San Antonio, TX – A virtual 39th Annual Tejano Conjunto Festival concert will be streamed Saturday, May 22, 2021 from 7pm to 12am from the historic Guadalupe Theater in San Antonio. This annual festival is the first and longest-running Conjunto Festival in the country and is widely recognized as the most influential event for this critical Texas musical tradition. Reflecting the demands of social distancing because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 39th Annual Tejano Conjunto Festival in 2021 will be a live-streamed music event accessible around the world. 

BUY TICKETS HERE

 “The Tejano Conjunto festival is a beloved yearly event that brings together the very best in conjunto music every year.  It is like a big family reunion!” says Cristina Ballí, Executive Director of the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center. “We love our fans and seeing all our old friends in the conjunto community at Rosedale, but since we can’t be in person we are happy to share puro conjunto with everyone around the world in this livestream. It will be a lot of fun and not to be missed!” 

The Tejano Conjunto Festival showcases the major performers and heritage award winners in one historic and widely anticipated event. It typically draws an enthusiastic audience of more than 10,000 fans, dancers, and musicians from across Texas and the United States, as well as Mexico, Europe, and Asia. The Festival usually encompasses five robust and influential days of live performances, dances, workshops, Hall of Fame inductions, and other events.  In 2021, the Guadalupe is pioneering a livestreamed format for the festival. 

BUY TICKETS HERE

A featured component of the virtual festival is the Friday night livestream of “Conjunto Blues,” a stage play written and performed by Nicolás R Valdez that was recently adapted for the screen in November of 2020 in collaboration with Teatro Vivo and the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center. The play will​ stream live on Friday, May 21, and will be followed by a Q&A session via Zoom with Valdez where viewers will be able to discuss Conjunto Music and its impact on Latino culture along with sharing their own personal stories and memories.  

On Saturday, May 22, Valdez will lead a virtual hour-long workshop reflecting on interviews and historical documentary footage he compiled. The topics will revolve around Conjunto’s campesino origins; its stylistic evolution; women and the recording industry; Pachucos and nightlife; and prominent figures in conjunto. “The focus of this work, for me, has always been to highlight the many contributions of the Mexican-American community to the cultural fabric of this country and to show audiences how Conjunto Music, an original and uniquely American form of musical expression, became the soundtrack for the 20th century Mexican-American working-class experience,” Valdez says. 

BUY TICKETS HERE

39th Annual Tejano Conjunto Festival Band Line-Up
7:00pm – 12:00 am
BUY TICKETS HERE

LO MEJOR DE TEJAS         

Flaco Jimenez   (w/ Los Texmaniacs)

Los Cucuys de Rodney Rodriguez    

Los 2 G’s

Los Morales Boys

Los Monarcas de Peter y Mario Diaz   

Eva Ybarra

 Boni Mauricio y Los Maximos with Special Guest Linda Escobar  

 Tony Tigre Saenz y La Rosa de Oro   

Los Blogs de Tejas – TPA Roundup

The Texas Progressive Alliance weekly roundup was as always included in the Oscar nominees’ swag bag.

Off the Kuff notes how the state of Texas fell short of projections in getting only two more Congressional districts from the 2020 apportionment.

SocraticGadfly sees a mix of hypocrisy, unconstitutionality and Pander Bear from Texas Senate Legiscritters.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Dr. Peter Hotez argues that anti-vax aggression must be addressed if we’re going to really make progress in vanquishing COVID-19.

Texas Highways gives us 24 hours in the life of Buc-ee’s.

Emily Eby tweets about House Election Committee shenanigans so you don’t have to.

Reform Austin celebrates a rare good bill in the Lege.

The Austin Chronicle reports on an organized legal pushback against the latest wave of anti-abortion bills.

David Beard looks at how the apportionment numbers may affect future Congressional elections.

Biden’s 100 Days Speech

American Rescue Plan, American Families Plan, health care access, infrastructure, education, ending forever wars…I loved it. We have a Democratic President and a Democratic Congressional majority, let’s get it done! Right?

But as Clinton’s brain stated this week, “Democrats can’t be more liberal than Joe Manchin.” So, we’re screwed because of Democrats, not because of useless Republicans. As Tim Scott proved, Republicans have always been useless.

Regarding Biden’s call for immigration reform, he punted to Congress. He stated if Congress didn’t like his immigration plan that they should go piecemeal on migrant farmworkers and DREAMers, which a couple of decades ago had bipartisan support. Now, as Republicans are even more racist than in 2006, they won’t even support this kind of policy unless they are allowed to exploit migrant labor and abuse them further. Republicans have proven themselves evil. Ultimately, Biden seems to have given up the fight because racist Republican rhetoric is working. With a Democratic majority, we should have the testicular fortitude to pass whatever the hell we want. Please, Democrats, surprise me.

As far as the speech goes, it was well written and well presented. I have no doubt that, despite Biden’s foreign affairs record, that he was trying to bring some consensus to the table for his agenda. Unfortunately, it was a call to action for a bunch of bigoted Republicans and for Democrats who have 2022 and redistricting on the brain. They will take the advice from Clinton’s brain and go piecemeal on Biden’s agenda–no thanks to people like Joe Manchin and other Dumbocrats. Prove me wrong, though.

Whatever was presented for television, Joe Biden needs to drop the hammer on middle of the roaders who are being obstructionists from the confines of the oval office–2022 be damned! He’s the head of the Democratic Party, he needs to lead.

That’s all I’ve got. Good speech, but Biden’s actions beyond this speech are what will be needed to get the job done.

Sheriff Ed Goes To Washington?

First of all, congratulations to Sheriff Ed Gonzalez on his appointment by the Biden administration to the position of Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

I met Ed while he helped get Adrian Garcia elected Sheriff back in 2008 and then rooted him on when he ran for City Council District H to take over where Garcia left off. Intelligent, compassionate, and responsive are a few good words to describe him. All-around good guy is probably the better descriptor. Professionally, I’d expect him to do a great job in pretty much any capacity.

That said, ICE has had a lot of problems since way before Trump made it worse. It had problems during the Obama era, too. It is a relatively new agency created after the racism and bigotry that came about post-9/11. No one on either side in DC seems to want to get rid of ICE or the detention boondoggles that come from it. Reminder: While President Biden has banned private prisons in the Bureau of Prisons, he didn’t budge at all on immigrant warehousing and remains steadfast in warehousing children–just through another department.

Whether one points to ICE, or anything under ICE, like the Border Patrol, these agencies were created from racist sentiment and their practices are continually just as racist. It’s easy to say that structural change is needed, and that the culture of these agencies must be changed; however, no one person can do that without really taking a wrecking ball to the entire agency and creating something better. Simply changing a policy here and there will not rid the agency of its racist and corrupt practices. That’s why we say #AbolishICE.

Well, it is obvious that President Biden does not have this in the plan and Democrats are too damn squeamish to do anything about it. Unfortunately, that means Ed Gonzalez will be receive the brunt of criticism from both sides of the issue–those who desire change and compassion versus those who want to round-up and warehouse anyone brown or foreign with impunity and for profit. The centrists will argue for something in-between, but they aren’t the people who have been historically abused and targeted by ICE. The rest of us will just hope for the best and know that whatever happens, it is Joe Biden who is in charge.

And, with this said, a recent article regarding the Biden administration’s upcoming review of the extremist threat within Homeland Security (which includes ICE) gives some hope, as long as it is an honest and thorough assessment. Or, as DHS Secretary Mayorkas stated, “As we work to safeguard the nation and our values, we must be vigilant in our efforts to identify and combat domestic violent extremism within both the broader community and our own organization. Violent extremism has no place at DHS and we will work with urgency and focus to address it.”

Detention Watch Network said it best in regards to Gonzalez’s appointment:

“People uniting for the rights and dignity of immigrants will soon have a new face to direct demands to at ICE, which include:

  • Releasing people from immigration detention halting deportations (including Title 42 expulsions) amid the COVID-19 pandemic in the interest of the health of those detained and the public.  
  • Closing detention facilities, including immediately ending all contracts with private prison corporations and state and local governments as a first step towards ending the harmful detention system entirely.
  • Adopting generous prosecutorial discretion guidelines in order to protect as many people as possible from detention and deportation. 
  • Ending state and local entanglement with immigration enforcement, reducing the pipeline to detention and deportation.

“Under Gonzalez’s leadership, we are eager to see immediate shifts in ICE’s culture and operations. During the Trump era the agency saw a constant revolving door of short-lived, draconian leadership that double-downed on cruel and punitive enforcement practices. If confirmed, Gonzalez must hit the ground running to meet immigrant rights advocates’ demands and peel back the layers of secrecy that have created a deadly culture of impunity at the agency, where accountability is evaded at every turn.”

“And while we are looking for transformative culture change at ICE, we know that the racist underpinnings of ICE will continue regardless of who’s in charge.  Ultimately, ICE’s premise for existing is rooted in white supremacy, rendering the agency rotten to its core. ICE needs to be abolished.” 

Houston organizing group, FIEL, had this to say:

We have worked with Sheriff Gonzalez for a number of years and what we can attest to is the fact that he has been and continues to be a man who listens to and takes input from the community.  We understand that the role he is about to undertake is a huge and controversial role and we wish him well in this endeavour. However we have some things we would not like to see again such as massive raids, lack of prosecutorial discretion and continued separation of hard working families.  Some of the things that we hope to see in policy changes would be: 1. We would like a more just and uniform application of prosecutorial/administrative relief. 2. No more massive raids which send a shockwave of fear into our communities destroying community and government relations. 3. A definite end to the 287G program and Secure Communities which are policies that Sheriff Gonzalez understands hurt communities. 4. Treat people more humanely by suspending the use of ankle monitors for people who do not pose a flight risk. 5. Ending the ‘Collateral Damage’ policy when it comes to ICE enforcement in our communities. We are hopeful for a more positive future for ICE and at the end that we will see the agency’s power diminish as we move forward on immigration reform.

FIEL Press Release 4/27/2021

Obviously, when someone you know “makes it,” you can’t help but be excited for that person. ICE, though, is one of those agencies whose history reeks of hate, racism, corruption and more. While the leadership of the agency under Biden may say one thing, it is the rank and file and their bigoted Border Patrol union and associated groups that get more attention from the media and add to the bigotry already promoted by the Republican Party and white supremacists, thus roadblocking any change that is proposed. It is my hope that Director(-designate) Gonzalez is able to change the culture of the organization to one that is more compassionate in the realm of migration and that controls its messaging from the top. It is long past due that migrants be treated with compassion–in policy and rhetoric–rather than criminalized and hunted by the largest police force in the country.

Best of luck to Ed Gonzalez.

COVID-19: It is Far From Over

For sixteen years, I’ve written about Chicano politics, culture and other cool stuff. Along the lines of culture is my obvious love for Onda Chicana music, or Tejano music. During the last year, I’ve written about how the Tejano music industry has suffered because of the pandemic, and how even some accomplished Grammy-winning musicians who pushed it and exposed themselves at venues during the pandemic almost died from it.

Anyway, it seems with idiotic state governors fully opening up states around the country, music is returning to the stage. Some big-name bands, like The Mavericks, have had intimate gatherings with limited attendance, distancing, and even masking if the beer can isn’t at ones mouth. I guess this is as responsible as it can get at these things during a pandemic. There have been some attempts at Tejano clubs to have reduced capacity, limited musician (solo/accompaniment acts) concerts that seem to have been productive.

But I’ve also seen Tejano music clubs re-opening to full capacity, and, no doubt, Tejano music fans are hungry to return to their partying ways to spend some of that stimulus (or their hard-earned money). Every now and then, a venue has posted livestreams of the concerts/dances at their venues and there is no distancing, no masks, and one has to wonder what the crowd’s vaccination rate is.

In Texas, the current full vaccination rate is at 23%; unfortunately, demand for the vaccine is dropping and really fast. Some smaller counties are closing up vax sites because the demand is so low. In Florida, the vaccination numbers are similar because of their similarly idiotic governor. And for Brown folks, the vaccination rate is dangerously low. Unfortunately, infection rates and positivity are still high all around. And they are still high for Latinos.

According to the CDC, Latinos are 2 times more likely to get the disease than white and non-Latino groups, 3 times more likely to end up in the hospital, and 2.3 times more likely to die from COVID-19. And since vaccination rates are still low among Latinos, these rates of risk among Latinos are not likely to change any time soon.

So, why the hell are Brown folks packing nightclubs and concert venues? Just because our idiot governor said it was OK? Hell, if we were creating super-spreader events early on during the pandemic at family gatherings, imagine what can happen in a venue full of unmasked strangers screaming and breathing on you.

A reminder: The vaccination only guards you from serious infection.

I know the bands and musicians are looking out for their own livelihood, but they hold some of the responsibility for not limiting attendance at these venues. For not enforcing masking and distancing at these privately owned venues as part of their performance contracts. But I guess the money is just too good. So, if the governors are leaving it up to people to decide how to act and whether or not to get a shot of vaccine, then the people asked for it, right?

There’s a happy-medium in all of this (limited attendance, masking, distancing, serious vax encouragement) that bands and venues seem to want to avoid. Why? It cuts into profits, obviously. And believe me, I long for a good concert, like Los Lobos and The Mavericks at the Greek Theater (outdoors) in LA in the early fall, but even with my shots done, I just don’t trust large groups of people when my responsibility is to my family (some with autoimmune conditions) and my work. The YOLO attitude among our people is exactly what is killing our people.

I guess what I want to tell my Tejano music lovin’ people is this: Slow down! Get Vaccinated! Mask-Up! Distance! Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated venues!

Update on the Ride to End Alz

Well, I did my Alzheimer’s Association Spring Challenge virtual ride last Sunday while raising money for Alzheimer’s research. I managed 25 miles in two hours and felt like I could go another two hours. Thanks to friends and family, I have raised over $600. Not bad, considering my goal was $100–just so I could get the medal. Ha. Ha. The fundraising page is up for another month, in case some of you want to donate.

I’m hoping there will be more of these kinds of rides while I wait for COVID-19 transmission rates to get back down to almost ZERO. I can’t say I’m ready for crowded rides, just yet, but one may find me on a lonely trail in one of our parks on the west side of town.

Thanks to the folks at Alzheimer’s Association for making these rides accessible during the pandemic. The challenge to raise money is huge, but as long as there are alternate ways to get these done, more people can do their part. In fact, over 1,000 good folks participated, either virtually or on their own bike trail with a small group and over $200,000 was raised.

Plans are set for a Summer Challenge and I’m thinking about it. Of course, if things get to clearing up, the Wimberley Ride seems quite interesting…and hilly. If I don’t participate, some of you should!

Los Blogs de Tejas – TPA Round-Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance bids “bon voyage” to the Ever Given as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff comments on the Senate’s omnibus voter suppression bill and the fight against it.

SocraticGadfly has takes on two Texas Democratic items. First, he looks at the latest Betomania lead balloon. Second, he looks at a 2018 election pal of Beto: Kendall Scudder, ConservaDem.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Dr. Peter Hotez frets about the growing global anti-science movement.

The Current introduces us to Kaitlin Teniente, the first female coach of a college E-sports team in Texas.

Grits for Breakfast concluded that Texas was able to greatly reduce the number of traffic stops conducted without any negative effect on crime.

G. Elliott Morris criticizes an analysis of the effects of Georgia’s voter suppression law.

Former Houston Mayor Annise Parker celebrates National Out To Win Day.

Contribute To The Ride to End Alzheimer’s

La Leona

Some of you may not know that I’ve recently taken up trike riding. That’s right, 3 wheels a-rollin’!

Late last year, I broke down and decided to invest in my health by purchasing a Trident Spike. I figured I could get some good exercise while enjoying the outdoors.

With COVID-19 still rampant and some of the trails still full of unmasked mouthbreathers, many of my rides have been virtual while I use my Sportscrafters OverDrive Trike Trainer. So, I’ve been in training, re-gaining my legs, and hoping for some good causes to support while enjoying my trike.

A day ago, I found out that the Alzheimer’s Association was doing their Spring edition of the Ride to End Alzheimer’s. I have the option to find a trail or take my trainer and trike outside and do a virtual ride. So, on April 18, I’ll be doing a two-hour virtual ride to raise money for Alzheimer’s research. I figure that’s about 20 to 25 (corrected) miles, depending on my virtual program.

My initial goal is $100, but I hope to keep raising it as we get closer to the ride. I wish I had found out about it sooner, but let’s see what I can raise in a couple of weeks. You can also donate through my Facebook Ride page.

I’m dedicating this ride to my mom, Flo. She was not diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, but was experiencing mild cognitive impairment as she aged. For years, my family has supported Alzheimer’s causes in one way or another. The ride is also dedicated to all those family members and friends who have also experienced this dreaded illness either as patients or as caregivers.

So, please, make a contribution. It will go a long way to helping end Alzheimer’s.

Los Blogs de Tejas: TPA Round-Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance is the least fungible token ever as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff speculates about Sen. John Whitmire‘s political future.

SocraticGadfly talks about being real versus being “woke” on the scope of Biden’s stimulus bill and what’s permanent in it and what’s temporary.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

R.G. Ratcliffe thinks Briscoe Cain may turn out to be the most effective weapon against passing voter suppression legislation.

The Lone Star Project presents Greg Abbott’s long history of discriminatory vote suppression.

Stephanie Stradley answers all of your questions about the Deshaun Watson lawsuits.

John Coby got a preview of Harris County’s new voting machines.

The Dallas Observer warns of the threat to voters with disabilities in the Legislature’s vote suppression bills.

The TPA mourns the loss of Don Bankston, associate judge, former Fort Bend County Democratic Party Chair, and all around mensch.

Los Blogs de Tejas – TPA Round-Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance condemns anti-Asian hatred and violence in all its forms as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff finds some hope in a poll that shows broad support for voting convenience over voting restrictions.

SocraticGadfly has a group of COVID-related posts. First “Galveston Karen” went on to make herself “Texas City Karen” last week. Second, his weekly coronavirus news roundup talked about the one-year anniversary of COVID awareness first really spiking in the US. Related to that, he addressed the NBA as capitalist COVID hypocrites. Finally, on hypocritical PR, he looked at masklessness at a Kroger and corporate response.

Stace reacts to the imminent departure of HPD’s Chief.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Houstonia talks to restauranteurs, chefs, and bartenders about their year in COVID.

R.G. Ratcliffe observes Dan Patrick’s jihad against green investing.

John Coby lays into Rep. Chip Roy for his anti-Asian racism.

Luis Acuña explores what the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 means for Texas broadband expansion.

Lilli Hime discusses the current legislative session with LGBTQIA advocates.

William Kim calls on everyone to fight back against anti-Asian hate.