Saturday, March 29, 2008

Margarita Cansino, aka Rita Hayworth

Just a snapshot of Rita, post-electrolysis, that I thought I would add to the Rita-archeology archive:

Al Jaffee in The New York Times

Mad Magazine's Al Jaffee had a profound effect on me growing up back in the day; some of these cool examples will show you why!

21st-Century Blackface: A Concert of Comedy and Racism

Nothing original here, in the story, or from me--just another bothersome tale of cultural metastasis in the early 21st-century.
Bawdy Obama Skit Riles N.D. Campus
Mar 28, 6:14 PM (ET)

FARGO, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota State University is investigating complaints about a campus skit in which a white student in blackface portrayed Barack Obama receiving a lap dance.

The same skit, part of a charity fundraiser held at a campus theater, also featured a depiction of cowboys having sex with each other, witnesses told The Forum newspaper, which first reported the backlash Friday.

"We're trying to find out the right approaches for accountability, but at the same time try to heal wounds that have occurred and allow the campus to move ahead," Janna Stoskopf, NDSU's dean of students, told The Associated Press on Friday.

The March 18 skit involving the NDSU Saddle and Sirloin Club was performed at the Mr. NDSU Pageant, which is sponsored by the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority and raises money for diabetes research.

People who attended it said a pageant contestant from Saddle and Sirloin dressed as a woman from the Internet video "I Got a Crush on Obama" and performed a strip tease for another student, who was wearing dark makeup and an afro wig.

In the background, two male students dressed as cowboys simulated anal sex while holding an Obama sign that one student ripped at the conclusion of the 30-second performance, the Forum reported.

"That seems to be consistent with what's been described to me," Stoskopf said.

The Obama campaign had no comment Friday. Obama is to speak at North Dakota Democrats' state convention in Grand Forks next week.

Josh Reimnitz, who is the NDSU student body president and saw the skit, called it "totally tasteless" and said he and other audience members were shocked.

"Honestly, I still don't know what the intention of the skit was," he said. "It was very silent, and there were some boos. People were looking at each other, not knowing how to act."

The skit does not reflect attitudes on campus, Reimnitz said.

"We're still going to be proactive in student government, as far as diversity education and training," he said. "If there are pockets out there that we don't know about, we want to make sure this doesn't happen again."

NDSU President Joseph Chapman was not immediately available for comment. Messages left by the AP for Russell Danielson, adviser of the Saddle and Sirloin Club, and Malika Carter, an NDSU assistant director of multicultural student services were not immediately returned.

"It doesn't matter if you're rural. It doesn't matter if you're from Fargo or Beulah, N.D.," said Joy Rice, a black Fargo resident and a member of the city's human relations commission. "You still need to respect people of color, in all aspects of life. This is a form of racism, and it's really taking a step back."

The skit follows a complaint filed against a sorority at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, where guests wore Indian costumes and red paint on their faces and bodies. "This falls into the same category," Rice said of the NDSU skit. "It's just as bad."

Stoskopf said she expected the investigation could take until May 9, the end of the school year. "One of the issues here is how do we balance what our policies and expectations about behavior are with the issue of freedom of speech," Stoskopf said. "Where does all of that get us?"

NDSU has 10,403 undergraduates. The student body is 92 percent white, while 1.5 percent identify themselves as black or African-American.

Other views on the event are breaking.

Meanwhile, one can rest assured that the issue of race will continue to pulse in a robust fashion.

Three correctives? Here, here, and here. NPR is on it as well; and, lastly, an American Apparel controversy.


Shazam! Billy Bates weighs in as well...

Friday, March 28, 2008

Powell's Books of Portland...

I have been angling for months to try and snag a reading at Portland's famous bibliophiliac's lair, Powell's Bookstore. To show my love for them and for their generous sales of Tex[t]-Mex, I reproduce here their latest ad in Bitch Magazine!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

More XicanOSMOSIS! Enrique Chagoya @ Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA)!

Enrique Chagoya's art is proof positive that a heady matrix of xicanosmotic fecundity is going to re-write the history of art in the early 21st-century:

"Chagoya . . . borrows from the canon of Western art, adapting works by Francisco Goya and Philip Guston (satirizing, respectively, Napoleon’s invasion of Spain and the Nixon administration) to contemporary political contexts (the Reagan and current administrations). He also often utilizes traditional Mexican approaches to art making; his paintings on aluminum directly refer to the folk art tradition of the ex-voto or retablo, while his paintings on amate—fig bark—allude to the ancient Aztec and Mayan codex books. Drawing on the rich tradition of Mexican political prints, particularly José Guadalupe Posada, Chagoya’s intelligent and witty narratives send up and, at times, celebrate the complicated cultural and psychological consequences of more than 500 years of contact and influence between worlds." original source

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Passive Aggressive Mexicans, Xenophobes, and the Beguiling Mystery of Latinos' Love for Booths!

Avid Tex[t]-Mex Galleryblog correspondent Ruth Welte (whose day-job finds her spinning semiotic riffs at Time Out Chicago) writes in today to spike my poor eyes with a site called and a dodgy post from Califas that reveals, among other things, the mystery of Mexican seating preferences in restaurants. We Mesicans, apparently, show a deep and abiding affinity for booths--something I know to be true from my days of Austin and SoCal dive-bar spelunking (nothing beats the secure feeling of lush naugahyde in dark gin palaces during the pre-twilight glories of happy hour). The other note in Welte's cited/sighted site headsup, a stinking "fucking Mexican" note from, of course, San Diego, speaks for itself.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Xicanosmosis! If Arellano Can Do Video, then Nericcio Can Do a TV Commercial!

A brilliant film student alum from SDSU had me act in an indyfilm style "commercial" last year--the results are, um, curious! My love to Sean Desmond for sensing and acting upon his hunch that I was, am, and will always be, a frustrated actor! Lights, Camera, Action...

Maria, The Porcelain Mexican or Tales of Ersatz, Collectible "Mexicans"

(original posting December 12, 2007)

There, floating to your right, your very own porcelain "Mexican," the fabled "Maria," from the Danbury Mint, that famed ceramic purveyor of "collectible" figurines like lil' Miss Patriot (left). One of the more curious "Mexican" artifacts and collectibles in the history of American mass culture, "Maria" appears in one of the "Seductive Hallucination" gallery-chapters in Tex[t]-Mex: Seductive Hallucinations of the "Mexican" in America (2007)--two image-heavy, quick-hit, bloggish subsection respites from the super-sized, theory-doused chapters in the rest of the book.

Since the book appeared, a wonderful graduate student/mentee of mine, Farhang Pernoon (dig his IMDB credits) went to the trouble of reading and deciphering my gnarled/gnarly footnotes in the University of Texas volume and actually ordering and shipping me one these "Mexican" facsimiles--a fetching ersatz somatic wonder that allows me to play Latino Pygmalion on cold winter nights. Think Lars and the Real Doll 'gone Mexico way.' Yikes.

Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Hanukkah shoppers can squire their own "Maria" by pointing their mouse here; Maria's "African," "Asian," and "Native," "brothers" and "sisters" can be found here.

Festivus observers will be sure to give this a pass!

I am utterly in debt to Pernoon for outing my burgeoning fetish for counterfeited "Mexicans." Holy Geppetto, Batman, I am out of here....


If anyone even thinks twice of getting me "Anna," I will eat this blog!

Progressive Semiotics: Machismo and Future of Love in Mexico

One of the more pandemic Mexican and Latino stereotypes is that of the heterosexist, bandit, macho; as a corrective tonic for this allow me to feature here a splash from The New York Times from last March. The next time someone touts the sexual politics of the U.S. over that of Mexico, send them the link to this blog! Órale! More on the couple from the BBC here.

In the one step forward, two steps back department, I offer this peculiar "comedy" from the pages of Stuff Magazine featuring the comely and uncompensated figures of Enrique Iglesias and Anna Kournikova--this, so that no one loses their cynicism with regard to ubiquitous nefarious, and "funny" "Mexican" stereotypes:

Get your hands on one of my books ...