Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Studio Tour: Armando Baeza. Martín Espada Blesses Truth-tellers. On-Line Floricanto

Sculptor Armando Baeza at 89, Niños del Sol 55

Michael Sedano

Mario Trillo and Michael Sedano enjoy a delightful lunch with Alice and Armando Baeza to honor his 89th birthday.

Sculptor Armando Baeza celebrated his 89th birthday in February. To wish him a happy birthday, artist Mario Trillo and I drove over to share lunch with Baeza and his wife Alice. It was our good fortune to find Armando in the finishing stages of “Niños del Sol”.

No one can buy “Niños del Sol,” the sculpture must be earned. Baeza’s sculpture, mounted on walnut base, comes with an engraved plate for the recipient. The Los Angeles County Bilingual Directors Association recognizes individuals who make remarkable contributions to improving English Learning and for supporting Bilingual Education.

“Niños del Sol” poses two figures back to back, each looks to her left, together suggesting Janus-like perspective. The smiling figures appear to delight in their pose, beholding what lies just within their reach.

The hands and extended arms are a key element. In one pair, a figure holds her arms out shoulder high while her counterpart thrusts her arms toward the earth. In another pair, both figures lean backward supporting one antoher, holding open their inclined arms at contrasting angles.

Such alterations reflect aesthetic decisions that emerge in the sculpting process, as well as Armando's desire to produce a smooth finish in the cast work. Bubbles in the molten bronze rise through the angle of the limb. If a bubble lodges in its path and doesn’t properly evaporate, it mars finish and obscures detail. Corrective rework leads to extra labor and delays bringing the art to its audience.

Armando Baeza shows Mario Trillo "Niños Del Sol." Baeza says another two weeks work may have the model ready to be cast in bronze.

Armando Baeza inspects the model Niños Del Sol." He makes the model in two sections to ensure a cleaner cast.

Armando Baeza explains he's repositioned this hand of "Niños Del Sol." Bubbles in the fingers of an earlier edition forced today's redesign. Baeza remarks that numerous changes over the editions stem from effort to control errors and reduce repair time in the finishing stages of producing "Niños Del Sol."

Armando Baeza holds the model for "Niños Del Sol" in the current state. He is working on the 55th edition since its 1977 debut.

Armando Baeza uses a hot tip to add or remove tiny amounts of wax as he sculpts "Niños Del Sol". Baeza points out he creates the original model in clay or Plastaline. He applies pink wax to finish the small minute details. He then molds this in red wax, and that goes to the foundry.

Armando Baeza shows Mario Trillo how Baeza sculpts the contours of "Niños Del Sol," adding a bit of wax. Baeza uses a cottage cheese container to extend the reach of his exhaust system. The wax emits toxic gas as it melts.. Baeza reminds that all such wax products require effective ventilation. Safety counts.

Armando Baeza sees the final form and uses the hot iron tip to give the wax the finished shape. Baeza eventually will mold and cast a thin hollow model in a special red wax that does not leave residue.

He encases the red wax model in a homogeneous heat resistant material. Pouring molten bronze into the wax produces the sculpture in bronze.

Armando Baeza displays "Apache Horn Player" work in progress.

Armando Baeza examines "Apache Horn Player" work in progress. This is a difficult figure to cast owing to tiny detail in the fingers.

Mold and red wax cast of "Apache Horn Player" foto © Armando Baeza

Armando Baeza points to his workbench. He points out he sometimes works 8 to 10 hours nonstop. He's equipped the studio with key appliances like the heater behind him, a stereo, refrigerator, and cable television.

Armanno Baeza poses with Gil Cedillo's presentation copy of "Niños del sol." Foto: ©Armando Baeza.

"Niños del Sol", the artist's workbench, tools. Foto © Armando Baeza.

Oracy Notebook
Martín Espada Reads Jack Agüeros poem "Blessed Be the Truth-tellers"

When I conduct a "Reading Your Stuff Aloud" workshop I emphasize the importance of going out of your way to attend readings. Assess what others do that moves you, and copy that, adapting to your own comfort range.

La Bloga friend Martín Espada, whose reading of his own stuff marks him as one of the nation's three most effective oral interpreters of their own work, offers a workshop of vocal animation, pause, and phrasing in his reading of "Blessed Be the Truth-tellers," Espada's tribute to Jack Agüeros--the first writer Espada met.

Espada recently shared several performances with public television's Bill Moyers. Moyers' "Poets in Performance" segment features a diverse line-up of US poets. La Bloga readers will find a rich archive of superb readings at Latinopia.

Diosa Workshop in Highland Park

La Bloga friends Vanessa Acosta and Naomi Quiñonez email to share news of their workshop, Women, Poetry And Spirituality. A Poetry Workshop for Tapping Into The Sacred Feminine.

Poet-scholar Naomi Quiñonez promises a workshop that will help women tap into their Sacred Feminine (La Diosa in every woman) through the creative medium of poetry. Participants will be guided to recognize their creative and divine powers through readings, discussions, meditation, writing exercises and writing poetry. The workshop will support each woman in realizing her true value and worth within herself, her family and her community.

The $45.00 registration assures full participation in Dr. Quiñonez' workshop and the reading. Poet, educator, activist Quiñonez practices Mestiza spirituality fusing indigenous and Buddhists practices. She creates and facilitates moon circles and ceremonies principally for women of color. Quiñonez holds a Ph.D in American Studies from Claremont Graduate University and is the author of several collections of poetry and articles on Latina/os in the United States.

The Sunday, March 10 workshop begins at 7:00 p.m. at the American Indian Families Partnership on North Figueroa. Direct queries for more information and student rates to Naomi Quiñonez or Vanessa Acosta or telephone 323.602.6899.

¡Presente! Calling the Names of 28 Deportees

La Bloga friend Tim Z. Hernandez talks about the incredibly interesting idea for his current work-in-progress, recounting the lives of each of the "Mexican Nationals" killed in the Los Gatos plane crash memorialized in a Woody Guthrie song, Plane Wreck at Los Gatos (The Deportee Song).

Hernandez seeks to raise $10,000 to install a cemetery stone with the 28 names. Read details at Hernandez' website.

La Bloga On-line Floricanto First of Five for March 2013
Patrick Fontes, Richard Vargas, Andrea Mauk, David Romero, Mario A. Escobar

You Cannot Deport Their Spirits by Patrick Fontes
not a medal, but a poem by Richard Vargas
Bless Me, Grandmother Moon by Andrea Mauk
An Open Letter to Edward James Olmos by David Romero
The Cucaracha by Mario A. Escobar

You Cannot Deport Their Spirits
By Patrick Fontes

At twilight mantled candles beckon prayer
glimmer ghost dancing shadows flit across walls
healing a modern man's toil-wearied heart
resting my mind meditation empty of time
and space across the veil invoking haunting touch
two great grandfather Yaquis to possess
my awaiting body yielding pliant on edge
for imparted ancient unspeakable truths
without papers illegal to the racist state
bisabuelo Luna tall strong hands resurrected
Sonoran Rodriguez dark morose thinker
on both sides whispering “Miiiijoooooo eeeescuuchame”
Apache bisabuela rising against a Phoenix sunset
blowing through brilliant hued Arizonan ravines
banshee-like screams at the sight of dessert dead
flies across borders to visit her hijo
dead silence except wise ancestors who rise
across generations traversing barbed frontiers
freely floating cutting through wired parcels
no gringo harassment grabs hold arrests
our native ancestors who do not recognize
arrogant drawn political lines across their lands
no walls hold back their native force
joining me in my sweetest pillowed dreams
boldly crossing national borders rendezvous
a secret hushed ritual fills me
with ancient Yaqui Apache wisdom
each night beginning at phantom Twilight

not a medal, but a poem
by Richard Vargas

these children of the high desert
dressed in their best clothes
chasing each other around
tables and chairs where the
wedding party sits surrounded
by family and friends
this day to celebrate and remember
turned to grief and shock with
a flash a boom a puff of smoke
a little shoe flying through the air

these families with mud brick homes
demolished into dust and rubble
where bodies crushed and mangled
were pulled out only to be covered with
the same blankets they slept under
only a few hours ago
smothered in their dream
of malevolent angels
soaring above

these uniformed video game junkies
sitting in rooms across an ocean
and in the middle of another desert
surrounded by monitors
keyboards and hi-tech joy sticks
where words like “alleged” and
“probable” increase the pressure
of a thumb on a trigger button
until a child obliterated is written
up as the equivalent
of a dead goat

for actions degrading our humanity
and standing in the global community
uncle sam
i pin this poem on your chest
sorry for the prick
it will only bleed
a little bit

Bless Me, Grandmother Moon
By Andrea Mauk

I look at you
and you smile
as always.
We understand each other
both living with our heads
bobbing in the sky.
I am ragged today,
and I want you to bless me.
I kneel beneath you,
let your light bathe me in blue,
touch the tips of my hair
and the depths of my heart.
I want to live, Coyolxauhqui.
I have so much to do still,
and I am scared.
There is pain even when I breathe
and I am a giver,
so how can I ask for my energy back?
Where would I begin?
I fill the bathwater,
the old clawfoot tub
and add a cheesecloth sachet of
basil and white sage,
just enough herb-of-grace,
let it seep like té.
I add the seeds of luna rosa
so beauty can take hold
around me.
Tides flow through my core.
I soak and release
The walls of my house lie down.
The roof is retracted.
Now it's just me
and Grandmother Moon
and sleepy stars watching
high above my rose garden.

Forgive me and cleanse me,
Creator of life,
surround me with the guardians' auras
of light, love, healing, protection
and wisdom,
help me let go of all
that I no longer need
and open to destiny,
open to love, unselfish and true,
let go of hurt and anguish,
feed me clarity and harmony,
spirulina and chia,
let me touch the faces
of the ancestors that dance
in the sky.
Let copal smoke clear
the stale air,
let Grandmother Moon's
hands coax healing waves
upon the oceans
and massage the lands
until we are clean
and there is only love.
I want to live,
There is so much to do
and I've barely begun.

An Open Letter to Edward James Olmos
by David Romero

Dear Edward James Olmos,
It has come to my attention
That you took a private jet
With Jan Brewer from the Super Bowl
Back to Arizona
I may have been deceived
You are such an accomplished actor
It would appear that was your arm
Hanging over plush and white cushions
Draped over Brewer’s slippery shoulders
I may have been deceived
You are such an accomplished actor
It looks like you two
Are smiling like old friends
In your Instagram
Picture together
Como se dice “Sell out?”
Como se dice “Race traitor?”
Como se dice
Then threw-us-under
Headed for Arizona?”
Sounds like Moctezuma
Looks like nostrils flaring
Feels like saliva and mocos
Gathered up in mouth
And hurled at your feet
You have betrayed us
Edward James Olmos
“Now boarding”
Did you feel something
In the marrow of your bones
Telling you not to get on that plane?
Stories of corpses haunting the desert?
Of Minutemen patrols?
Did their victims give you pause?
Could you feel something
Tugging at your heartstrings?
Those violins
Serenading another funeral party
Did they move you?
Could you feel something
Like a knife stabbing into your traitor’s belly?
Did it stab into you like you were driving home
In front of red and blue lights flashing
Frozen in terror
Watching as they came?
Did it hit you
Edward James Olmos
After you took the photo?
Did you excuse yourself?
Did you wipe the sin off of your hands
And lose yourself in a swirling drain of remorse?
Edward James Olmos
Of course you didn’t
Edward James Olmos
You felt fine
Flying high
Jan Brewer never gets stopped
Governor Bruja can fly over borders
She gets what she wants
Travels with impunity
Because she owns the law
And besides… what’s the plight of your people
When you get an easy flight
Back from the Super Bowl?
Edward James Olmos
Chicano actor
What will you tell us?
That in that cramped airplane compartment
You maneuvered through niceties?
Dialogued about racial understanding
And social policy?
Or, will you tell us that you cursed her
Through those smiling teeth of yours?
Is that what you did?
Edward James Olmos
Because that would take… ganas
Ganas you apparently left in New Orleans
But if we are to tell stories
Here is one for you
Your plane never touched down in Arizona
It was grounded
It fit a profile
Of the 1%
And sell-outs like yourself
A loud voice boomed
We need to see your papers and ID”
Jan Brewer was escorted from the plane
Belligerent and brought out in handcuffs
For her crimes against humanity
And you, Edward James Olmos?
We stripped you of your zoot suit
Of names we had held close to our hearts
For so many years
El Pachuco
Edward James Olmos
All we were left with
Was your sad carcass
An empty plane
And the realization
You had never been
The first Chicano

The Cucaracha
by Mario A. Escobar

You survived the heat of the desert
Nature’s microwave
Nothing interrupts your breathing
Bloomed brown jasmine
Running through the devil’s garden
Between the empty bottles of the century
Running through Dante’s nine circles
While singing the journey with madness,
In silence hissing the chemical trail
Because no matter how many times
The boot oppresses
A new generation is born to follow
The wheel of dreams

You Cannot Deport Their Spirits by Patrick Fontes
not a medal, but a poem by Richard Vargas
Bless Me, Grandmother Moon by Andrea Mauk
An Open Letter to Edward James Olmos by David Romero
The Cucaracha by Mario A. Escobar

Currently I am a PhD candidate in history at Stanford University. My research
involves border issues, Mexican religion, the Virgin Mary, immigration into the
Southwest, and the criminalization of Chicano culture.
I grew up in Fresno, in a working class Chicano home. My father was a
construction worker, my mom, a waitress. My father grew up in makeshift tent
communities, picking crops up and down California in the 1950s and 1960s.
During the Mexican revolution my great grandfather, Jesus Luna, crossed the
border from Chihuahua into El Paso, then on to Fresno. In 1920 Jesus built a
Mexican style adobe house on the outskirts of the city, it is still our family’s
home and the center of our Mexican identity today. Nine decades of memories
adorn the plastered walls inside. In one corner, a photo of Bobby Kennedy hangs
next to an image of La Virgen de Zapopan; in another, an imposing altar to
The smells, voices, sounds, hopes and ghosts of familia who have gone before me
saturate my poems.

Richard Vargas was born and raised in So. California. He has published two collections of poetry: McLife, 2005, and American Jesus, 2007. He graduated from the University of New Mexico Creative Writing program with an MFA/Poetry, in 2010. His poetry has appeared in various literary journals, reviews, and anthologies. He was recipient of the 2011 Hispanic Writers Award / Taos Summer Writers Conference. He also was on the faculty of the 10th National Latino Writers Conference, May 2012. He just edited/published the 6th issue of The Más Tequila Review, a bi-annual poetry magazine featuring poets from across the country, and a few from beyond. He currently resides in Albuquerque, NM, looking for a job and a publisher for his third collection of poetry, Guernica, revisited. For more about Richard, check out his website http://rvargas54.wix.com/rvargas54

Andrea García Mauk grew up in Arizona, where both the immense beauty and harsh realities of living in the desert shaped her artistic soul. She calls Los Angeles home, but has also lived in Chicago, New York and Boston. She has worked in the music industry, and on various film and television productions. She writes short fiction, poetry, original screenplays and adaptations, and is currently finishing two novels. Her writing and artwork has been published and viewed in a variety of places such as on The Late, Late Show with Tom Snyder; The Journal of School Psychologists and Victorian Homes Magazine. Both her poetry and artwork have won awards. Several of her poems and a memoir are included in the 2011 anthology, Our Spirit, Our Reality, and her poetry is featured in the 2012 Mujeres de Maiz “‘Zine.” She is a regular contributor to Poets responding to SB 1070. Her poems have been chosen for publication on La Bloga’s Tuesday Floricanto numerous times. She is also a moderator of Diving Deeper, an online workshop for writers, and has written extensively about music, especially jazz, while working in the entertainment industry. Her production company, Dancing Horse Media Group, is currently in pre-production of her independent film, “Beautiful Dreamer,” based on her original screenplay and manuscript, and along with her partners, is producing a unique cookbook that blends healthful recipes with poetry and prose from the community.

Mario A. Escobar is the author of Gritos Interiores (Cuzcatlan Press, 2005), a book of poems written in response to California Proposition 187 and the novel Paciente 1980 (Orbis Press, 2012).His work has been featured in the anthology of poetry Desde el Epicentro(2008), and Underground Undergrads (UC Press, 2007), La Bloga (2012), Beltway Poetry Quarterly (2012). Born in El Salvador, he is a child of civil war who came to the US at age 12 and was raised in South Central and East Los Angeles, attaining asylum in this country in 2006. He holds a BA in Spanish Literature and Chicano Studies from UCLA, a Masters degree from Arizona State University. Escobar has lectured on the trauma of child soldiers at the University of Santa Barbara, the University of Los Angeles, the University of Southern California, and Arizona State University.


msedano said...

Thank you Armando for hospitality and time. Thank you poets and moderators of "Poets Responding to SB 1070 Poetry of Resistance" for a scintillating lineup.

Odilia Galván Rodríguez said...

Thank you Em for all you do!

Abrazos, Odilia