Saturday, November 6, 2010

Class Actress & Small Black @ Emo's

I hate Halloween. I hate Halloween, and I’ll tell you why. Gone are the days we got to dress up as (happy) clowns and ninja turtles, (non-slutty) princesses and Power Rangers and get candy in exchange. Today Halloween is—not even a day—but a weekend of guys dressing as girls and girls dressing as, well, naked girls. I know, I know, it sounds like a wonderful occasion. But it’s not for me. So I was more than happy to spend at least one day of Halloween weekend away from the awful crowds, at Emo’s, to see Class Actress and Small Black perform. Little did I know Halloween would find a way to haunt me all the way into Emo’s, in that small and dark inside stage, where I would have no choice but to embrace the madness of it all.

The credits of “Catch Me If You Can” were already rolling on the bar’s TV when Class Actress took the stage. The crowd began forming around singer Elizabeth Harper, who, with her perfectly messy hair and devilishly flirty looks, managed to create a mood, this mood of palpable sensuality. The New York City band has songs that somehow take the best of the ‘80s—a little Depeche Mode, with the charm of a brunette Debbie Harry—and make them modern, fun and lulling.

It wasn’t a couple of songs into the set that I noticed some people turning away from the stage to look at the bar. Up until then, I’d thought the mood of the place had been perfect. Dark and intimate, dimmed red lights, smoky, with Harper and her dark lips onstage. But when I turned to the bar and saw Asian porn playing on the TV, I knew—the mood had now been sufficiently enhanced, truly completed. I don’t know how the band never got distracted. Because for what was left of their set there was so much to see, everything added to the soundtrack of the night, to Harper’s moves and musky voice. There was Marylin Monroe, beer in hand and chest hair around "her" cleavage. And there was Lindsay Lohan, with horribly synthetic-looking hair and a bright orange jumpsuit. Oh, and LiLo’s giant bag of coke, with a life of its own, following its owner around the bar.

Add all that plus necrophilic Asians on TV, and it was distracting enough to leave Small Black unnoticed. The four members were now giving more a feel of college Halloween party than neo-Victorian burlesque show. Too bad. But Small Black put on a great set, getting the crowd a little bit rowdier, dancing a little less sexy but a little livelier.

The power in both bands, especially Small Black, seemed to be nostalgia. Small Black also manages to bring a bit of the past with a twist not only in their songs, but into their energy-packed performances. Their show was bright in spark and personality, and their music hazy yet poppy enough to become a kind of colorful dream we want to live in longer.

By now, Asians had become Nazis and the porno’s subtitles were still distracting (yes, the subtitles were what was distracting), so it was true that Small Black did not really take center stage. It was somehow more of a collaboration. The funny thing was that Class Actress’ music, which kind of sounds like sex, fit the night’s mood completely. But Small Black’s work, which sounds like love, kind of stood above the crowds and the costumes and the masturbation scenes. There were a lot of audience members who had clearly come to Emo’s on a whim, not as fans of the band, and had not been pleasantly surprised. Small Black doesn’t put out music for everyone. Their show, although entertaining, had a kind of quality that didn’t match the average listener.

Personally for me, Small Black’s set wasn’t as entrancing as I had hoped. It didn’t come off as appealing as Class Actress’ much shorter set. I don’t know, maybe it was the unusual amount of hanging breasts around—and no, I’m not just talking about on TV—but the success of the show seemed to come more from the night as a whole: Halloween, the bar, the characters and yes, the porn. It wasn’t so much about Class Actress and Small Black, but about what they contributed. They put on a good show, I’ll give you that, and as one non-fan very eloquently put, “Hey, I’d give this show a great review. Not because of the band but because I had a great fucking time!” Well then, there ya go. I guess this Halloween was not so bad.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Blogs Are Not Meant to Be Read

Today something terrible happened.

My class finished early. Now see, usually this would constitute as a happy occasion-- you're free to have lunch earlier, to sit outside and actually enjoy a cigarette without worrying you'll be late for your next class, you can take those extra 15 minutes and do an impromptu irresponsible shopping extravaganza. The works. But today, our teacher didn't let us out early-- the lecture was over, yes, but instead, she decided to take those extra minutes to look up...our personal blogs. In front of the entire class. Being communication majors, it would only make sense that we'd all have blogs, or tumblrs, or published articles in webzines. It's what we do, however sad or pathetic it may sound. What kind of communication major doesn't have a blog? she must have thought. I'll embarrass them to no end, she must have thought, as well.

We all got squirmy and tense, and you could notice the shift of mood and energy-- from, yay! no more boring lecture!... to oh, shit, did I rant about this teacher on my blog last night?
She pulled out some girl's blog first, and right away we could see it: the self-portrait. Taken from her cellphone most probably, hip out, pursed lips, tight dress, and a blog title like.... well, I'm not gonna give it away. Then the next blog was put up, and next was a tumblr, and then a flickr (that's not so embarrassing) and I could just feel everybody start to really hate this teacher. Needless to say, my blog was not put up. But my articles on Red River Noise were- phew. Definitely not embarrassed of those.

The truth is this teacher didn't really mean to humiliate us. She didn't mean to make us sweat with fear and make us cover our eyes and shake our heads. She was proud of us, for being pseudo-published authors and mediocre quasi-reporters. But we took it personally, fuck yeah, we did.

We choose to upload these posts, to put up pictures of ourselves looking what we think is sexy or intellectual, or posting a pretentious black and white picture, wearing a fedora tipped to the side (ahem). But we never actually think someone we know might come across it. Most of us don't advertise our blogs, most of us use them as little personal venting spaces, or start them to make us feel like some random stranger, far, far away, might give a crap what we think or say. But we do not want our classmates to read our poetry, or the word vomit that comes from half a tequila bottle and a bad break-up. We want that private--but public enough to reach hundreds or thousands or even millions of people. It's the fucking web. We know the risks, but we think, come on-- there are millions of blogs out there, who could possibly bump into mine?

Hey, I'm proud of Me Inside Your Head, I am. It's what got me my job. But we live and we learn. Best we keep our Sexton-esque personalities in a journal...under our beds...in a safety box...with a huge-ass lock that's impossible to break into. If it ever gets published, well at least you can say, if it got published at all, at least I know my editor and publisher read it and didn't think it was complete crap. That's gotta be something, right? And now I know my teachers could be looking at this right now. God, that's terrifying.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I Write, Therefore I Think

Joan Didion once said, "I write to find out what I think."

I believe everyone has a way to process information. To sort out what they're going through, to make sense of everything that seems to have no reason. It's been so long since I've actually sat down and written something, just for the sake of writing-- without a deadline, without purpose of a grade. Just write because I have something to say.

Tonight I interviewed a sexual assault victim for a story. After the interview, she glanced at my notes, and asked, "Did you get everything you needed?" My notebook was a mess of information, quotes, arrows connecting points and bold stars highlighting extra-worthy, gotta-have-'em snippets of, well, her story. "How are you gonna take everything I said and put it down on paper?"

Taking my J-school classes, I've so often heard that we're not there to write profiles, we're not there to write features, we're not there to write about music or fashion or cooking. We're there to write hard news, we're there to take a complicated issue and simplify it for someone who opens their paper each morning and wants to understand what's happening outside their door. "To all your parents who're worried that you're studying to become journalists," said my professor, "tell them not to. You'll always have a job, you'll always be needed. Because you're storytellers, and stories will be told forever."

The thing that bothered me about what my professor said that very first class, is this: aren't we all? Aren't we all storytellers? Aren't music writers people who give others a sense of beauty in what they listen to in a song? Aren't GQ reporters there to tell a reader that what they wear, what they put on their back every morning, is art made out of fabric? Isn't the girl who sits at the back of the class and gossips about what happened last weekend between so-and-so a storyteller, as well?

It seems everyone else is overlooked and underestimated, and it seems to me that the smallest things that don't seem to be front-page material are the news that people most look forward to, most learn from, most carry with them. Whether it be in their iPods or the book they take with them to read at the bus stop. The unworthy writers suggested those things, talked about that riff that's worth buying the whole album for.

It was after tonight that I looked at the girl and sadly thought that I wouldn't really be able to tell her whole story. Because I'm not in that class to write a profile on an assault victim, I'm just there to tell simple facts, without describing the cold look in her eye or the way she strategically places her arms across her chest. I'm there to write about when it happened, how it happened, who she called and what they told her. But isn't it the person behind the facts that everyone wants to know about? Not because we're instantly attracted to the dark side of things, but because we probably know that girl, that guy, we probably recognize the furrowed brow and have always wondered what's behind it.

A lot of people want their story told, and it's impossible to tell each one. I've never really known what I've wanted to write about, but I like to talk-- about myself, about others, about little things I've seen or lived. And I like to make stuff up every now and then, because I always wonder, "What if this were to happen?" Now wouldn't that be interesting... Didion always managed to take history and simplify it in a juicy, intriguing way that made us want to live it the way she did.

I don't necessarily write to find out what I think, but it is always after I write that everything seems to be more clear. It's frustrating when things don't sort themselves out, like a dream you frantically try to remember instantly after you've woken up, because all you know is that it felt so damn good when you were dreaming it. It's always the tiny things you remember the most, but it's in those details that I lose myself in the nonsense that are the characters of my life, in the unconnected chaos that I try to sort through like my notes after an interview.

Tonight I just wanted to write for the sake of writing--and unlike Joan Didion, I haven't learned some groundbreaking underlying notion about myself, and I haven't a new sense of what my stand is on some particular subject. But I wrote tonight simply TO think, about nothing of great importance and about everything I wanted to. That's the magic of writing, there doesn't always have to be facts, there doesn't always have to be a play-by-play and a conclusion. You can just write, to fucking write. And at least you'll appreciate it, be it or not front-page news.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

RINGER by Glasser


I haven't posted one of these in a while, but I recently reviewed Glasser's debut full-length album, Ring. It's a very beautiful and haunting collection, but it'll probably live a short life. Read my full review here, on Red River Noise.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Family Ties

My big sister and I lay in bed, trying to get to sleep. It was late, and we had an early day, but for some reason, she began talking about our family.

She asked me what I thought about the fact that we were all split up-- my sister in one city, my parents in another. Me in another country, each of my parents in a different house. I told her I was used to it, that it's been years since we'd all been together. For a while we lay together, and she was telling me about feeling like she didn't have a family sometimes-- maybe not not having a family, she said, but not having what a family should be. What a family is supposed to be. Together. Supportive. Sundays spent with grandparents and trips of family bliss. It's been almost ten years, but here was my sister, asking me what I felt. We talked til morning, sharing facts of lack of support and feelings of not being enough, stories of disappointment and always being compared to the other-- who's prettier, who's smarter, who's more successful, who screwed up less. Who's which parent's favorite.

Three days later, something extraordinary happened.
One of my best friends took me to meet her family. I soon learned that her family's directly linked to one of my favorite artists of all time, and being there, in the midst of gifts from the artist, and portraits of unimaginable worth, books with personal dedications and photographs that served as proof of such a personal and obvious connection with someone who has gone down in art history, I was in awe. I walked through rooms that told the story of their family and their past, in disbelief that I had kept such a close friendship with someone from such an incredible origin and had never known...

But then I thought, how silly. Maybe she doesn't realize how amazing this is, or maybe this never directly affected her. Because, standing there, she was still just my friend, surrounded by her family. Her grandparents and her uncle, her aunt and pictures of the great and great-greats. They were just branches of her, extensions of her, people who have somehow, made her who she is, yet she isn't surprised at their participation of her person. Because they're what she was born into.

And then I felt even sillier. Because it was there, staring in fascination at their memories, that I realized everything reminded me of my family. Of my father, who always taught me of books and art and the power of creation. Of my mother, whose kindness was always so particular in the way she spoke and the smell of her hair when she hugged me. And of my sister, who, standing there with me, knows I know her as well as I know myself. We, too, are linked even when apart, not just by photographs and written memories and the paintings hung as proof of our fascination with color and expression, but by the knowledge that where we come from is also where we can go back to when we wish to. It was at that moment that I realized that it wasn't that I was used to our separation, but that even in separate cities and houses and countries I knew they were there--extensions of myself. I'll make sure to make my sister feel safe tonight, as we lay in bed, and tell her that there's no such thing as what a family is supposed to be. Families just are.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

"love.doc"

Looking through old files, found under "love.doc"

The convolution of his lies make you gasp with a feeling so painful yet hopeful; a feeling that you know is better than anything and everything else, because it means you are not lying where you used to stand. And this is the only time you would rather things be unpredictable than safe. You impatiently wait for that moment, once again, in which your life is on the line, and you are at peace. Calm. Everything you thought you had and lost, you now realize was nothing. Is nothing. This, today, is everything. There are very few truths in life, and usually they pass you by. This time you are prepared for the beautiful insecurity that arose from this relationship. Between you and him. When he looks at you, you can feel it. The doubt, hesitation. Wondering if there's something better, thinking if maybe he's missing something great while he's with his something good. However, you believe you hold enough hope for the both of you, and as he takes your hand roughly...you oblige. And then you jump back and realize...you deserve more.



I had almost forgotten the inexplicable beauty that lies in the heart of honesty. The good in this boy can be seen through his eyes, those deep brown eyes that in the light of sun turn the sweetest shade of green. Truthfully, I can say that nothing I have felt before has come close to what he makes me feel every day.

Never has so much pain seared in me when someone looks at me with disappointment or anger like when he does...And never has so much joy filled me as it does when he glances at me with a smile. I can tell he is in love with me by the warm sound he makes when my lips touch his, or the way his fingers intertwine with mine so perfectly. His is the only touch that drips with desire as well as love and respect. So intimate, a wonderful security that never loses its utter exhilaration.

It breaks me softly when I see a twinge of doubt in his eye. However unusual, it exists every once in a while. That look of pain when he furrows his brow and his eyes get lost in midair, wishing above all not to be thinking what he's thinking. I have learned to read his every expression; his jaw clenches and his neck stiffens. He turns his head upwards because he dares not face me. I know what he feels. It is an aching so familiar now, but one overshadowed by the immense feeling of trust I have for him.

Never have I wanted something or someone so much that my nightmares taunt my every night; the fear of losing him is palpable. Whenever I awake with the foul taste of last night's nightmare I turn and he's next to me, asleep, dreaming intricate dreams of his own. I pray secretly that they are nothing but kind fantasies, so he is spared what I lived through in mine.

I have always had words that never had a listener. I love to speak, to be heard, to be appreciated. With him I know I have this and more. This wondrous boy knows me like no other. I notice how well he knows me whenever he tells me I am beautiful, those moments that I live for every day. I wait eagerly for the sound of those words. And whenever he forgets to tell me, I fear I have been overlooked or forgotten, I am horrified to be taken for granted. They are terrors of insecurity; the panic of never being enough. And the one true terrible thing about love is that it is an overwhelming combination of feeling safe and comfortable, yet always wanting to be more, enough for him to always be happy and never forget to tell you that you are beautiful to him. Perfect for him.

Deep inside I know I need not hear it every day, that he loves me, that he wants me and forever will. But still, the way I feel my heart sigh whenever I hear it-- there's no feeling quite, quite like that one.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Blessed

No matter how busy I've been, I try to keep up with my writing. My blog has been disregarded lately, but it's been for good reason... work, work, work. School. Fun.
Concert reviews, album reviews, film fests, roadtrips, parties, farewells, another semester gone. I share with you my latest pieces of writing that have been published, proving me once more that everything I set my mind to, I'm gonna get done. I've been lucky, but I'm talented, and I work hard for what I've gotten.

Visit my page at Austin Vida magazine to check up on the latest albums, concerts, and film festivals going on in the great city of Austin, Texas... I had an amazing time getting to meet new people, artists, musicians, producers, and fans of great work.

I've also been working for Red River Noise, a great music blogazine that has taken me in, from the Austin Vida family. Check out my work...

More to come.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Clorofila

Nortec Collective presents "Corridos Urbanos", from Jorge Verdin, also known as Clorofila, who's lent his musical and graphic design talents to Nortec for years. It was an exciting solo release that I thoroughly enjoyed-- make sure to read my full review here in Austin Vida!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I Gotta Go See About a Girl...

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In all the writing workshops I've taken, and all the conversations I've had with writers or teachers or mentors, they always tell me to write-- just fucking write. Without thinking, without erasing, without wanting to take anything back. Without thinking, why would anyone read this? Why would anyone care? Without wondering if you're just being pretentious by even considering someone might be touched or changed by reading what you've got to say.
This is a difficult thought not to think of.
Whenever a person writes something, anything, it's usually because they're going through something so strong all they can do is try to put it into words. If you're happy, or sad, or royally pissed-- you write it. And then you read it-- five minutes later, or a week, or months or seven years later and you inevitably think- What was I thinking? I was so naive, I was so dramatic, I was so...Whatever.
This always happens.

I thought about this a lot today because I found a quote I really loved. It's nothing incredibly special, but I loved it. And I searched and searched and couldn't find whom it was written by. Finally I found it on Helena Kvarnstrom's blog. And this is what she had to say:

"I wrote this. I wrote this when I was twenty-two years old, right before I got married, right after my partner scraped together $400 to fly to California to live on a boat with me and drive all night to Las Vegas and drink hard drinks in Laguna Beach at ten in the morning and I posted it on Livejournal when I had a very public and alarmingly popular one. That was more than seven years ago and this past fall someone transcribed it, made into a JPG and suddenly it was on ffffound and even more suddenly after that it was on thousands of people's blogs. Literally thousands. But it was credited to Anonymous, which I guess is understandable since seven years is a long time to keep track of who wrote something on a Livejournal. My friend Erin found and told me about it, she had remember it all those years ago and at first I was so embarrassed. Of everything I've made why did it have to be this melodramatic thing, made before I really knew anything at all? IT IS SO MELODRAMATIC. But my possessiveness is greater than my self-consciousness because when I see that some people weren't even going along with Anonymous but saying they wrote it themselves I kind of wanted to claw their eyes out. It's my melodrama. (Although one person credited it to Harvey Milk and that was the best).
Anyway, I wrote that."


via styleandsubstance

It's funny. Sometimes what seems so silly to you can be truly appreciated by someone who would never dare put it into words. Who would never even think of actually saying those words out loud.
Never take back what you've written. You never know where it'll take you.

Kvarnstrom's blog: http://inne.day-lab.com/

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Story

When one of my literary gods, Chuck Palahniuk, spoke about Pygmy (2009), his book about a teenage foreign exchange student/secret assassin who works to destroy middle America, he told the story of the inspiration behind the novel.

The author was volunteering in a homeless soup kitchen about 10 years ago, and nobody there knew who he was. He didn't give anything away, and so the workers began making up stories, taking guesses at what was the story behind the man. Palahniuk said some believed he was a sex offender released from prison doing community work, or a murderer, or an arsonist. And he never corrected them or hinted at his innocence-- "I loved their stories better than the truth," he said. And so the character of Pygmy-- an undefined, mysterious, somewhat free character-- was born.

Anyone who knows me (or follows me on Twitter) knows I'm a journalism major with no interest whatsoever in being a journalist. It's the first thing I say when someone asks me what my major is, and a friend once told me it's as if I'm embarrassed people would think I want to be a journalist. It's not that. I just love fiction.

I'm taking a journalism course this semester, and so far we've been working on hard news stories. Yesterday, my professor announced we're starting with features, profiles and soft news. Everyone seemed equally uninterested as if he'd said we were continuing with hard news. Nobody in my class is pursuing a career in print journalism. Most want to be sports broadcast journalists, or want to work for Vogue, or wish to have their own cooking show (to each his own). I'm the only one pursuing fiction. I went into journalism at the suggestion of a beloved teacher who once told me it's a great foundation for creative writers. So far, I'm hating it. But I'm learning.

So yesterday, after noticing our carelessness, my professor oh-so-wisely said, "Everyone has a story." He slowly walked around our work table and then stopped, pointed, and asked one of my classmates, "You. What's your life's theme?"
The girl was embarrassed, put on the spot, and stuttered. "I don't know."
He didn't give us a moment to think, he just pointed and asked. Love, confusion, indecisiveness, hatred, independence, awesomeness (guess whose that was?). And then stories emerged. With soft voices at first, tentative, stories about testing out 11 different majors at four different universities. Stories about divorce, tragic (and shit- I mean tragic) family deaths, success, finding comfort in extraordinary places. Stories spilled out from these people I'm with every Monday and Wednesday for 2-and-a-half hours and always wonder what their stories are. Some people are surprised to hear stories from people they never really think about. I think about everyone I see-- it's annoying at times. I see people in the street or in my class, or in the pages of a book, and I want to know.

There's a boy in my class who wears a Spurs something every day-- Spurs jersey, Spurs hat, Spurs button, Spurs sweatshirt. He's fascinating. What does he like other than the Spurs?

There's a girl in my class with a perfect middle part in her perfectly even brown hair. She's fascinating. Does she have a problem with disorder, is she obsessed with perfection, would she freak if I walked up to her and messed up her perfect hair?

There's a boy in my class who writes notes to the girl who sits beside him every class, and thinks no one is noticing. I am. He's fascinating. Does he have a girlfriend and wishes he could cheat?

There's a girl in my class who's so loud and so, so skinny. She's fascinating. Does she overcompensate for her tiny figure with her booming voice? Is she a middle child, and why does she moisturize with her L'Occitane hand lotion so often? Does she suffer from chronic dryness?

These are the people who surround me every Monday and Wednesday afternoon, and yesterday, I learned their stories. Not all of their stories, and they were probably just tiny snippets of their lives, or maybe broken versions of the truth. But as they spoke, their voices changed. Maybe they had never been asked before. Maybe they had never thought they were worthy of an interview, or a profile, or to be the focus of class conversation.

Yesterday I found out journalism is not necessarily just in reading the newspaper or watching 60 Minutes. It's not about glorifying The New York Times or giving a 15 minute recap of what's going on in the Middle East. It's about stories. It's about asking hard questions, or any kind of question that might bring out a story, whether it be the truth-- or an incredible lie that just sounds far better than the truth. I remember reading Palahniuk wrote all of his books based on real research- hands-on, going to AA or Sex Addicts Anonymous, full-on research. He asked the uncomfortable questions. He pretends to be one of them. That was the beauty of Hunter S. Thompson's work too, wasn't it?

Stories are everywhere, in every one, behind every action and every decision, no matter how insignificant or worthy of worship one might appear to be. So maybe this journalism thing ain't so bad. I just wish we didn't have news quizzes every freakin' Monday.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

MTY Showcase in ATX

The time has come, The Vilah says, to bring more bands from MTY.
Come to STUBBS Wednesday March 31st to watch Sexy Marvin, Rubik and Vinyl Dharma, presented by Austin Vida and Go Hispano. Make sure to stop by our Facebook event to check out the full details!


Friday, March 12, 2010

Honey You Are a Rock

When I was 13, I was going through hell.

Music saves you. And when I was 13, only "Green Eyes" could soothe me, calm me, relax me, and give me a moment to think and breathe and rethink the screams that were building up inside me. "Green Eyes" was not the first Coldplay song I heard. It wasn't the first Coldplay song I fell in love with, or the reason I began to buy their records. But "Green Eyes" had the power of making me feel at home.

It's been said that there are more people in the world who hate Coldplay than those who love them. I, for one, do not understand who these people are. I've met these people, and some are friends. I've heard people say Coldplay's music is depressing, or pretentious, or stupid. I, for one, do not understand why these people believe this.

I've been waiting for years for Coldplay to come to my city. And I've been planning that concert with my best friend, whom I made a pact with that we would not go to our first Coldplay concert without each other. Which is why, after many opportunities of seeing them live in other cities, we waited until we could both go to Coldplay's first concert in Monterrey. That was last night, March 11 2010, when the band played at Estadio Universitario to close their Viva la Vida tour.

After a 10-hour bus ride from Austin and a 10-hour wait outside and in the stadium, my back out, my legs and feet sore, my eyes red and puffy from the lack of sleep, my mouth dry, the lights went out and I heard screams.

Coldplay's songs are not about sex. Coldplay's songs do not have the word "bitch" in every other verse. Coldplay's songs are not about getting wasted, or the curve of a fine ass.

Coldplay's songs speak of hope and urgency, confusion and dreams, they speak of loss and about finding a way back. They speak of belonging, friendship, possibility and politics and wishful thinking. They speak of freedom. They speak of fairness.

Chris Martin's voice is not the finest. It's far from perfect. Weird, even.
Chris Martin's voice is pure and honest, the sound of heartbreak. The sound of peace.

When you see the four boys live, they look like just that- boys. Boys running around the stage, smiling tiny secret smiles when listening to the thousands of voices that know their music by heart.

Last night I cried. At first I cried of frustration, pain, tiredness, and because my best friend was nowhere to be seen. In midst of the madness, we lost each other. And then I cried for the music. And no, I was not the only one. And no, it was not only girls that cried last night. Coldplay's music does not only speak to girls, it does not only speak to gay men (like many straight Coldplay-hating men would think). It speaks to the hopeless, or the worried, the excited and eager, the joyful, the madly in love, the indecisive.

I tightly grasped a friend's hand last night while "Fix You" was playing. The lights bright and Martin at the piano, there was a silent wish that could be heard through everybody's singing.

The beauty of their music lies in the impact it has in its listeners. After seeing them live, all I wanted to do was write. Write while the memory of "Shiver" was still fresh in my mind and the image of Will Champion's smile was still infectious. And like I wanted to get home and write, I bet a lot of people left wanting to play the guitar, or paint, or take a photography course, or dance and laugh, or play football with more drive and confidence than they had before, or with a greater reassurance that one day they will accomplish what they've been wanting to accomplish.

"Green Eyes" wasn't played last night, and neither was "See You Soon", another one of my favorites. But it was an amazing night, a memorable night. And when I found my best friend outside the stadium after the concert, it did feel like the plan didn't go 100% like we wanted it to. But there'll be more nights like this, without the 10-hour bus ride and the sore feet.

And for those who say they hate Coldplay, I hope for their own sake that they give their music another listen.

All music has the potential of saving someone.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

For those who didn't watch it...

Para aquellos que no vieron el tributo a John Hughes en los Oscars 2010, aquí está. Es uno de mis escritores y directores favoritos, murió en el verano del 2009. También pueden leer mi propio tributo a él aquí.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

LA GUERRILLA

I recently caught La Guerrilla live at Sixth street music venue Mi Casa. I'd never heard of them before that night, and then just a few days later I had their EP in my hands.The band's mix of raggae/ska and latin rock has been growing to be one of Austin's favorite live shows...Read my full review here at Austin Vida!


Monday, March 8, 2010

Austin Vida showcase!

April 1st will be Austin Vida's next showcase! You gotta get out to La Ruta Maya to check out bands La Guerrilla, Maneja Beto, Este Vato and El Tule, starting at 9 pm. To get the full info, check out Austin Vida's Facebook page or the announcement at Austin Vida webpage!

Here are some videos for you to check out, just to get a little taste...











Monday, March 1, 2010

LFC


Los Fabulosos Cadillacs have been around for a while, over 20 years-- and that's earned them a little sumthin': a tribute album to be released tomorrow, March 2nd, from Nacional Records that brings together versions of LFC classics by latin american artists like Los Amigos Invisibles, Massacre and Andrés Calamaro. Read my full review here on Austin Vida!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Listening Party


Hey guys, Austin Vida is having a Nacional Records Listening Party on March 2 at Mi Casa on 6th!
We are giving away 2 tickets to see Los Amigos Invisibles and you must be present to win. Check out our Austin Vida events on Facebook for the deets.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Suicidal Tendencies

Lo poco que he escrito en el mes de febrero, ha sido para la revista donde trabajo ahora, Austin Vida. La oportunidad surgió de la manera más rara... o bueno, no rara. Just unexpectedly. Mi editor me encontró por aquí, mi blog, y me buscó por twitter. Ah, thank God for modern times. Lo que más recuerdo es que el día que recibí su mensaje fue cuando escribí el post Green Eyed Monster, un día de malas noticias. Al final del post escribí: things just happen. En el momento, estaba pensando en cosas negativas-- shit happens.

And then this happened.

En el mes que llevo trabajando, he estado muy feliz. He conocido a gente diferente, lugares nuevos, escuchado grupos que nunca antes pensé que me fueran a gustar...un poco de todo. Pero una pequeña historia me hizo sonreír. El viernes pasado fui a un show con mi editor. Tenía que entrevistar a un grupo (se publicará pronto la entrevista), y después de hacerlo, conocí al papá de mi editor.

Él me saludó, yo pensando que el hombre no tenía idea de quién era yo. Y en eso me dice, "Yeah I found your blog, I suscribed a few months ago and I've been reading since then." Me contó que él le avisó a mi editor (su hijo), y él le contestó que también me leía.
Después me dice, "You have some suicidal tendencies in your posts... I read between the lines."

Me dio mucha risa, especialmente porque el día que me enteré de la posibilidad de este trabajo, si había sido un post uber deprimente. Pero al mismo tiempo, me dio algo-- yo sé que es mi decisión escribir sobre mi vida en el internet... no siempre soy específica sobre qué hablo, but still. It's there, for the world to see and read and make fun of. Y hay gente que piensa que soy la persona más feliz del mundo, y otros, que meses después me entero que leen lo que escribo, piensan que estoy al borde del suicidio.

Funny. Creo que soy un poco de los dos.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Far and Wide

California singer-songwriter Rachael Cantu's second album, Far and Wide, was a great listen- her beautifully seductive voice and folksy tunes definitely kept me relaxed through the hectic week. Read my full review here at Austin Vida!


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

WIN Free Tickets to Carnaval Austin from Austin Vida!

Hey people- just wanted to let ya know we at Austin Vida are giving away tickets to Carnaval Austin, which is coming up on February 20th. It's a great event for music, art and meeting different people! Women in body paint a plus.

For the tickets, you have to add Austin Vida on Facebook. Names will be drawn from the group members on February 8th and again on the 15th.

Add Austin Vida on Facebook HERE:

Monday, February 1, 2010

Album Review: 'Magical Radiophonic Heart' by Banda de Turistas



Argentina's Banda de Turistas' first album, Magical Radiophonic Heart, is a refreshing throw-back to the 60's with its cool, quirky beats and simple lyrics. You don't need to be fluent in Spanish or give a crap what the band is saying to enjoy the music- please give it a listen. Guaranteed you'll be put in a freakin' good mood. Read my full review here on Austin Vida

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Watch Him as He Goes

El último domingo, 24 de enero, recibí una llamada a las 4:07 am. Me medio desperté en pleno sueño y contesté el número desconocido. Era un amigo mío llamando desde Monterrey- y cuando oí su voz supe que algo Malo había pasado. "Qué paso? Estás bien?" le pregunté, todavía acostada. "Te tengo que decir algo..." Esto me levantó. "Qué?" insistí, urgiéndolo a que escupa la noticia.
"Johnny Depp se murió."
Mis lágrimas salieron instantáneamente: "QUÉ?" Then hard, aggressive sobs. Histérica. Él nadamás me decía, "Lo siento, lo siento...no me gusta ser el que te da esta noticia, pero lo acabo de ver, está por todas partes- CNN, Facebook--" Lo interrumpo, "Qué le pasó? Qué PASÓ?!" Seguí llorando como idiota. Los siguientes 10 minutos fueron pánico puro, entre que abría la computadora, ya completamente despierta, y buscaba la noticia. Todos sabemos ahora que fue solamente un rumor. A mi ni me cruzó esta posibilidad por la mente, ya jodida por las célebres muertes del 2009.
Una persona "normal" podría interpretar mi reacción como aquella de una vil loca, obsesionada con alguien que no conoce y probablemente nunca conocerá, resultado de influencia de los medios, yada, yada, yada. Ahora recuerdo la voz de mi amigo, su pésame sincero, absoluto. Como si hubiera muerto mi padre.

La última vez que escribí un tributo a un ícono en mi blog fue sobre John Hughes (aquí), y conté la historia de la fuerte amistad que comparto con mi maestro de AP English, que comenzó gracias a nuestro amor por The Breakfast Club.
Hoy murió JD Salinger, autor de (for those who live in obscurity) trabajos muy reconocidos como Franny and Zooey, Nine Stories, y el inolvidable Catcher in the Rye.
Mi maestro de AP English, amante de palabras sobre todas las cosas, admiraba a Salinger como nunca otra persona ha admirado a un autor. Catcher in the Rye era una de las novelas incluídas en el currículum para mi segundo año de prepa, y mi maestro se quejaba que no había suficiente tiempo en el año para hablar sobre ella. Un día nos contó que decidió hacer un road trip y se paró en casa de Salinger, en New Hampshire, para dejarle al autor una caja de sus donas favoritas. Ya que para este entonces Salinger ya vivía como recluso, mi querido maestro dejó las donas en el buzón. Hoy, día de la muerte del autor, chequé la página de Facebook de mi maestro, LLENA de mensajes de sus estudiantes. All saying "I'm so sorry", "I hope you're doing okay", "at least you gave him donuts".

Again, esta historia podría escucharse como rara, o un poco patética y enfermiza para un lector cualquiera. Por qué todo el drama? Yes, Johnny Depp is just an actor, and JD Salinger was just a writer-- pero les quiero decir la verdad: I hate the word "just".
Me desespera cuando leo una entrevista en que le preguntan al sujeto quién es su ídolo, o a quién admiran más en el mundo, o quién le cambió su vida, y responden con: "My mother is the strongest person I know...she truly believes in me...she's my hero, every day." No offense to mommas (and to those who are actually being sincere in this phony-sounding response), but Forrest Gump stole that answer many, many years ago. Por qué hay una mala asociación, o eres considerado superficial, si dices "tal actor cambió mi vida" (sin ser tu un actor)? Claro, la persona más fuerte que conozco y a la cual más admiro no es una celebridad ni un artista, pero mi ser es resultado de todo tipo de experiencias y todo tipo de personas-- and yes, I'm not sad to say, writers and musicians and actors are at the top of the list.

Supongo que la razón por la cual nos apegamos a estas personas que no conocemos es porque tenemos la libertad de siempre asociarlos con una imagen de perfección. All we know is their work, and that's all we wanna know. Supongo que la razón por la cual nos apegamos a estas personas que no conocemos es porque existe el bello concepto de Posibilidad. They give us hope. No de fama o de dinero, de belleza o moda. Simplemente la esperanza de que puedes llegar a ser alguien reconocido por tu pasión. Por tu innovación. Por tu maravilloso talento para escoger personajes poco convencionales. Por escribir una novela que muchos piensan solo trata de un adolescente atormentado, y otros consideran es La Novela sobre la pérdida de inocencia (en mi opinión, siempre será Lord of the Flies). La esperanza que existe al ver individuos que decidieron irse por un camino un poco peligroso e inseguro. They're not lawyers or doctors or engineers. And they did good.

La belleza de su trabajo es otro tema.

So here's to Jerome David Salinger, escritor y héroe para muchos, tema morboso para otros (John Lennon assassination).
"Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody." You told us, we miss you.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Words

"Funny how we scare ourselves as children with ghoulish visions, I thought...Funny, when what usually undoes us as adults is something that's been alongside us the whole time, always familiar and often beloved. We lose the luxury of monsters."- Michael Redhill (Martin Sloane)

Hoy estuve hojeando libros en mi cuarto, escogiéndolos al azar, y entre ellos encontré el primero que leí llegando a Austin. Recuerdo que hace año y medio llegué a mi departamento por primera vez, y el día siguiente, después de desempacar mis cosas, fui a la librería de la esquina. Lo leí durante mis primeros 3 días aquí, mientras me acostumbraba a un lugar nuevo, cuando mi departamento aún no tenía sillas y no había comida en el refri. La página 201 estaba doblada, y esta frase subrayada.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Green Eyed Monster

Para cualquier persona que alguna vez en su vida ha recibido malas noticias, que creo que somos todos, llega la pregunta: cómo lidiar?
En el mundo tan pequeño que me ha envuelto desde chica, han llegado momentos que he pensado que estoy sola- cuando me siento en un lugar y veo pasar a gente pacífica, tranquila...y por esos minutos u horas te aseguras que nadie más tiene problemas- you and your burdens are alone. Más tiempo pasa y entiendes que cada quien tiene sus propias dudas y cargas, y que a pesar de que no hablen de ellas, ahí están, un peso interminable sobre sus hombros.

No sé si alguien recuerde la primera escena de la película Stand By Me, basada en la novela de Stephen King, The Body. El narrador comienza la historia diciendo, "I was 12 going on 13 the first time I saw a dead human being..." Recuerdo que una vez al ver esta película con mi papá, él comentó que era tan buena línea, íncreible forma de comenzar una historia. Creo que hasta ahora puedo decir que estoy 100% de acuerdo con él, porque ahora entiendo que lo bueno de esa línea es que entre las palabras del guionista y el tono de Richard Dreyfuss puedes sentir el impacto que algo así pudo haber tenido en un niño de 12 años. Es una historia de una pequeña aventura que se convierte en algo que deja marcado al niño de por vida, y en esa corta línea te dice todo...

Ahorita me encuentro leyendo la última novela autobiográfica de un autor que disfruto siempre, Augusten Burroughs, acerca de su relación con su padre. A Wolf At The Table, se llama. Comparto un fragmento:

"We had to get away from your father. He's not safe to be around right now."
This is my first clear memory of my father: I am in Mexico, I am five, and he is not safe to be around.
I could not fathom what this meant. The things I knew that weren't safe included furious dogs, putting a fork in a toaster, rushing water. How was he like these things?

Me llamó la atención esta pequeña parte del libro porque el autor deja muy en claro la forma de pensar de un niño, la forma de relacionar las cosas. Un tipo de problema que tal vez a los 5 años pudiste acomodar y organizar y despedazar, llegar a un tipo de conclusión que capáz y no es correcta, but then again, a los 50 años llegas a una conclusión no más sensata o clara...nunca llegas a entenderlo bien. Creo que todos recordamos que de niños, nuestros padres nos decían de vez en cuando, "lo entenderás de más grande", o nos tratan de proteger de un evento o situación porque "no estamos listos".

When the fuck are we ready?

I say never. No estoy diciendo que he tenido una vida llena de problemas, ni de más dificultades que el de alado. He tenido una vida increíble, feliz, y llena de cosas que me han ayudado a comprender otras, no sé si comprenderlas más o mejor, pero mínimo a tratar de comprenderlas sin volverme loca en el intento. Lo que sí trato de decir es que, creo que para todos llega un momento en cual las cosas se sienten ya tan tranquilas que de una manera, no sé, you stop preparing for the unexpected. Y entonces una mala noticia rodeada de previas malas noticias no te afecta tanto...estabas algo preparada, no sé si ya por cinicismo o por un tipo de defense mechanism...pero una vez que entra la calma, se te olvida que puede llegar otra tormenta.

Y entonces, ahora qué? You swallow, take a deep breath, offer words of wisdom? Me encantaría poder manejar las cosas así siempre. Pero esta vez, se ha tardado el llanto, sigue el nudo en la garganta que no te deja tragar tu comida, y no hay consejos ni palabras que tranquilicen. Y entonces ves Stand By Me, y lees Wolf At The Table, y esperas que Gordie Lachance y Augusten Burroughs hayan llegado a un tipo de epiphany, un momento de claridad en algún punto de sus vidas, y esperas que eso te llegue a ti algún día. De seguro se tardaron en llegar ahí, ya que no hay edad para comprender las cosas, no hay momento específico en cual decir, "Ah, ya. So this is why shit happens." Lo único que queda por entender es que there are things that happen which have no explanation, there are things that happen that you will never understand, and yes- things just happen.