About Victoria Delgadillo

I'm lost, but I keep looking ahead confidently, like I know where I'm going. My best character trait is that I remember everything, my worse one is that I remember everything. Sometimes I dream that I am blue. I fear no art. My hobby is vestir santos.

La Isla Bonita

In 2008, a few of us took an illegal trip to Cuba for the Decimotercero Festival Internacional de la Poesia, a plein air annual poetry festival in Havana, Cuba. I say “illegal” because the US Presidents George grande y el chico, were sticking to the strict rule of penalizing US citizens [who traveled to Cuba without permission] with a $10,000 fine.

At that point many artist and musician friends had been going back and forth all this time, to visit and attend the historically rich music, art and cultural events sponsored by the Cuban government. Their stories made me salivate with desire to follow their footsteps. After all, we are not people to be held back from where we want to go, because of some ridiculous rules and regulations.

When some local eastside poets got invited to go to this poetry festival in 2008—I latched my wagon onto theirs. Calls were made to the Cuban festival organizers from Tijuana about accommodations, schedules, side cultural trips, todo—and we were all set. Hopping over, on one of Mexico’s daily flights to Cuba still had its risks, because the US could request Mexico’s flight manifestos where our names would be listed and we would be so busted. Ni modo.

I wanted to see Cuba before Castro died, before it changed into another commercial beach resort dotted with European style hotels. It could happen! So here are my photos. Photos I was too afraid to share with you on LAeastside in 2008—because I did not want to be caught for doing this supposedly un-American thing. My courage comes from Obama easing the penalties on Americans traveling to Cuba a few weeks ago and legitimate flights being organized for non-profits to go to Cuba from the USA on cultural exchanges. Yay!
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Words that Wound, Words that Heal

“But at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized — at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who happen to think differently than we do — it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we’re talking with each other in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds. (Applause.)” – from President Obama’s Arizona Memorial Speech, January 13, 2011

The above quote by Barack Obama urges us to measure our words—because words are very powerful and we affect those around us with the words we use. A point in reference within our recent history was the affront of “bitches” used in hip hop songs, every other word. Political rappers took the stance to banish this word from their music because it disrespected and diminished woman-hood.
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What’s on Your San Marcos?

For those of you who do not know someone on the eastside, more than likely you have never seen a plush, faux-mink blanket from Korea called a San Marcos. These blankets come in the most garish colors and eye-hurting mural prints such as wolves, elephants, Statue of Liberty, cheetahs, Raiders logo, Elvis, Scarface, pandas, zebras stripes, American Flag, Tupac, y La Virgen to name some.  One blanket can take up a whole closet when stored—but they are the warmest, snuggliest and cozy luxury on cold winter nights.
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“Fun, Guns, Alcohol, Liquor”

Maybe its me, but given the violence throughout Mexico with the Cartel wars and the fact that more deaths related to this war have occurred (28,228 since 2007) than in Iraq—is a gun to suck on really appropriate now? “Fun, guns, alcohol, liquor” are the actual search engine words for this product on-line.  I understand that this is a commemorative limited edition tequila, meant to celebrate the 100th year of the Mexican Revolution, meant to sum up who we are as the children of that revolution–but, as represented here,  is violence and aggression our only legacy?
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Day of the Dead Workshops for the WHOLE familia start THIS Saturday in ELA!

I know that Random Hero has posted the cold hard facts about Self Help Graphics & Art’s Day of the Dead workshops starting this Saturday at 11am (right below this).  All his data you can get from FBing Self Help Graphics or going to their website.  VyalONE’s Saturday aerosol spray-paint class has made a sign announcing this  fact too (see Random’s blog).  Random always says he can write better, if he gets paid for it.  Me?  I have a passion for art and everything Self Help Graphics, so I will give you a more personal account as to why this is one of the greatest events taking place in the heart of East LA.  Above (and below when you click on “more”)) are some images of joyous Day of the Dead workshops past and the kind of artisan skills you and your little ones can gain by attending. Continue reading

100 Years of Food & Revolution

Self Help Graphics & Art begins celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the Mexican Revolution with a dialogue, art, performance, pan dulce y chocolate!

Saturday, September 18, A free screening of Like Water for Chocolate/Como Agua Para Chocolate at 5pm, where delicious Mexican cooking and La Revolución fuse into mood enhancing cuisine. read more The film screening is followed at 7pm with light refreshments of pan dulce y chocolate and a short talk with CSULA History & Latin American Studies teacher Enrique C. Ochoa, whose main focus are issues of power & culture in the tortilla industry and revolución.  He is the author of Feeding Mexico: The Political Uses of Food Since 1910.

After, please stay and enjoy the fiber exhibit of 100 Years of  Food & Revolution until 11pm. The exhibit artists are:  Leslie Gutierrez Saiz, Poli Marichal, Victoria Delgadillo & Yolanda Gonzalez.  This collection of art celebrates the Mexican Revolution Centennial and acts of revolution in and out of the kitchen.  The 100 Years of Food & Revolution exhibit runs from September 14 to October 15.  Come feed your mind and your soul.

Tuesday September 21, catch an interview (en Español) of 100 years of Food & Revolution co-curator Victoria Delgadillo,  Artist Poli Marichal and Erendira Bernal of Border Corps on Radio Insurgencia Femenina, 9pm to 9:30pm,  KPFK 90.7 FM.
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The Patriots of Ciudad Juarez

As most of you know, I am an art activist regarding the femicides in Ciudad Juarez. After a caravan to and 3 day protest in Ciudad Juarez in early 2002, I came back to LA with a fervor for creating art and inviting others to join me in this dialogue—but mostly my choice of art as an activist tool was out of desperation to help in whatever way I could.

I have met many revolucionarias and revolutionarios on this long-ass, no-light-at-the-end- of-the-tunnel road. Many of the activists I have met are victim mothers and artists (like me) that dedicate many of their hours trying to figure out how to end these seemingly senseless murders through our words, our research, our writings, our appeals, our pleas, and our diligence not to forget these families. Its one step forward and one step back most times.

My friend and El Paso Times reporter Diana Washington Valdez (who I have mentioned many times on LAeastside) sent me a copy of her recent article for the newspaper. This week, which should be the most joyous and celebratory time for all Mexicans everywhere, because its the 100th anniversary of the 1910 Mexican Revolution—comes with a morbid reminder that drugs and power fuel the dark forces. They are the killers of any ray of hope and fairness in the world.
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How Does Your Garden Grow? Eastside Style!

I know one of my birthrights is being one of the people  of the sun, but my DNA has definitely dealt me the “thrives in shady areas” genes.  No joke.  My grandfather Jose Delgadillo would walk to the store in 100 degrees (Lemon Grove, CA) with a long sleeve Dicky shirt & pants, a sombrero, umbrella and shades, because he had an allergy to the sun.  One of my favorite parts of the summer is attending friends’ backyard patio parties.  Especially because most of my friends are artists and create their outdoor spaces as if they are creating a great work of art.  Its perfect for me —-NO sun and a yearly changing green canvas.

I got inspired to do this piece after I spend the 4th of July at Artist Raul Baltazar’s house.  Raul is known for his murals, political performances, personal fashion style (he put the ‘Chic’ in ‘Chicano’), his furry Tochtlli 7 the Aztec bunny, and for being a source of much of my writings in the 90’s.   Yeah,  I don’t know why it took me so long to write about him on LAeastside.  Everyone knows he’s one of my muses. He grew up in El Sereno, now relocated to Echo Parque. On arriving to his July 4th BBQ this year, I see an unknown man tending luscious rows of various vegetable plants in Raul’s yard. As Raul is helping me unload my car, I whisper “Who is that?” looking towards the gardener—and Raul says matter-of-fact, “Oh, I started a community garden in my yard. All the neighbors come over to tend the vegetables.”     Continue reading

Judge Bolton Blocks SB1070

On Tuesday of this week, Judge Susan Bolton of the Federal District Court blocked the police in Arizona from becoming self-appointed immigration judge and jury.  The entire  SB1070 was not overthrown, but today Arizona residents will not be stopped for being Mexican.  Read all the details in yesterday’s New York Times.

Part II this morning (Friday) is that Sheriff Joe is defying the decision.  [Hope part III in this saga is that they arrest his ass.]  Read the story in Yahoo News.