Saturday, November 24, 2007

San Antonio Peace Market

I was kind of sad that we wouldn't be participating in this year's Puente Hacia La Esperanza Anti-Mall craft sale, put on by those lovely Caracol folks. It's always been a treat to see all the familiar faces and reconnect with our gente in LA over the holidays. Ni modo, we're "Tejanos" now and are branching out into a new community. Thankfully, the folks at the Esperanza host a pretty badass event called the Peace Market. Yay!

Virgen earrings

I've been working on some cute religious theme jewelry and want to share it with the world. Each item features gold or silver plated findings, semi-precious stones and delicately detailed catholic medals. Some even have genuine coffee beans on them! It's been suuuper fun making these.

Scapular Earrings

Check out my Etsy to order online - I promise to post items on this new etsy page soon!

"Crown of Mexico" pillow featuring Maximillian and Carlota

The Peace Market just wrapped today, so I'm kinda wiped out as I write this. 30 of my 32 pillows sold! First to go were my Hapsburg Family portraits. I hadn't realized that there's lotsa German folk here in San Antonio. Dass good ;-)

The mexi-pop back of the "Crown of Mexico" pillow

We got to connect with a whole new crowd and actually ran into a few folks we've met before. Payan's Keep on Crossin' gear proved quite the hit. Thank you San Antonio!

Keep on Crossin' fan

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Spirits Rising: A Tribute to Raul R. Salinas

Poet, Writer, Activist - Raul R. Salinas

Tonight Payan put together a wonderful tribute and fundraiser for Austin poet Raul R. Salinas. He's been very ill this past year and unable to keep up his public appearance schedule. As a result, Raul's independently owned bookstore and publishing house have fallen on hard times.

Payan, Salinas y Pocha

I first met Salinas a few years ago while attending the NALAC Leadership Institute in San Antonio. He came out to do a poetry reading and blew my mind with his gentle presence and powerful imagery. Hanging out with Raul afterward he revealed a joyful spirit and wicked sense of humor.

Payan passes over several thousand dollars in donations

It's an honor to help Raul keep his dream alive, and a joy to see so many good people come together in celebrating his work. The Esperanza Peace and Justice Center was the location for this night's event which drew a sizable crowd.

Salinas y su artistic familia

The best part of the evening was seeing Raul connect with everyone. He was smiling like a little kid! After all the pain and toxicidy of his treatments, it was good to have his spirit uplifted. Salinas wasn't able to perform his poetry of liberation this evening, but we captured a performance earlier in the year at Ruta Maya coffee house. Check out "Hail Pachuco" below...

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Day of the Dead 2007

Pocha's 2007 Altar

As a child, Halloween was always one of my faaavorite holidays -- then I discovered "Day of the Dead" while at college and embraced it. I was overjoyed that there existed a tradition where I could "visit" with my dead ancestors, celebrate life and put forth postive intention for the coming year. It was like Easter, Thanksgiving and New Year all rolled into one -- eerily comforting, centering and enlightening!

A cigarette, tea and coffee for our Muertitos

I grew up watching my maternal grandmother pull out her rosary every Monday and sit down before her home-made altar, always filled with fresh flowers, fading photos and religious icons. I would hear her speaking in quiet Aymara, her speech puctuated by familiar grandfather, aunts and uncles. She would even call upon my father's family and ask that they watch over me. I asked her why she would do this and she said it was a Bolivian tradition to remember and honor your dead on Mondays.

Day of the Dead bread

One year I made my dad drive all over Tijuana searching for Day of the Dead bread only to be greated by amused and patronizing comments about how these superstitions were only practiced by indians in the countryside. That was over two decades ago! Now Day of the Dead is a chic and popular annual event. I even wrote about it for Tu Cuidad magazine.

Victor Payan Sr. - R.I.P

It's been fun over the years to use this day to reconnect with the memories of those who have passed on. I set up their photos (or in this year of moving out of state, their names written on paper), flowers and offerings -- tell them all about my year and what I hope to achieve in the next one. I play music for them, brew them coffee and scatter marigold petals to guide their way. Since I'm a newlywed, this was the first year I included images from my husband's family. His dead are now my dead.

Lanterns made by San Anto students and staff

This was also the first Day of the Dead we celebrated with the San Antonio Arts Community, where we participated in San Anto's annual procession. "El Dia de Los Muertos" is now a poetic tradition in the heart of the Westside.

SA's most glamorous muertos

Of course, altars these days aren't limited to family anymore. It's typical to see heros and rock stars illuminated in the night.

Joe Strummer - R.I.P.

Our video students even screened a sweet version of our delightful autumn short "Trick or Tweet" for the occasion.

Still from "Trick or Tweet"

Its a story about a witchy mom and what she does to her daughter's boyfriends. Southern Gothic at its best, and made with a crew of four 15 year olds, two instructors and a parent! Check it out below and have a happy Day of the Dead!