Dream + Act: Film, Videos, and Activism on Immigration

(To see a larger pic click here.)

In the on going discussions about the Federal Dream Act, Freewaves, Self Help Graphics & Art, La Causa and The East LA Society of Film and Arts (TELA SOFA) are convening artist, activist and film makers in a sort of free for all that discusses the issues around the Dream Act, immigration in the U.S., the connections between art and activism and the affects they all have in communities. These are all pretty broad topics as it is, but the panel discussion, which I’m on, the screening of short films and the discussion with the film makers will narrow down the conversations and encourage healthy dialogue that is lacking at times because of the strong passions Dream and immigration bring up. I won’t go into much detail about what is going to be discussed because even I don’t really know, but I know it’ll be good conversation none the less.

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Eastside icon: Lysa Flores

Lysa Flores has been a staple and a major voice in the Eastside music scene since the early 90’s. Her popularity as a musician and voice for Chicana artists hit a zenith after her scene stealing turn as the sister in the controversial film (for its time) “Star Maps.” She was also the music supervisor for the film which helped set the groundwork for the emerging Latin Rock explosion of the 90’s.

Her exposure to the global music scene was in part due to her touring with El Vez, the Mexican Elvis, as an El Vette. Spending months overseas, and opening for David Bowie at one point, taught Flores much about the music business.

Throughout the years, upon returning from, and in between touring the world, she started her own label “Bring Your Love,” played at various causa events for La Raza and even painted collector editions paintings at Self Help Graphics. The respect she earned as a talented singer, song writer and guitarist opened doors for her to work with X front man John Doe and drummer DJ Bonebrake, as well as Flaco Jimenez, Jonathan Richman, Bill Frisell, and David Hidalgo to list just a few.

In other words this woman works non stop!
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Peel Here 2010 Fotos

With approximately a thousand people coming through to Self Help Graphics, Peel Here 2010 was a gargantuan success. Peeps from all over L.A. and a few surrounding cities and states came through to get their sticker on. Stickers were traded, posted and seen in this one of a kind show, made possible by Sticky Rick, Zan, family and friends. Since I was having too much fun that night, I completely forgot to take any pictures. Course, that hardly matters since El Rafa was shooting pics the entire night. He took more than 900 pictures and uploaded more than 300 bad ass pics. So, even if you couldn’t make it out to the event, here’s your chance to see what you missed. Peel Here 2011 … brace yourself, again.

From the Bay to L.A. and AZ: Print Marathon at Self Help Graphics and Art

In a show of solidarity against the anti-Latino/a and immigrant sentiment in Arizona and the 30 days 30 actions campaign currently going on,  artist from here in East L.A. and the Bay area organized a 12 hour print-a-thon, silk screening more than 1,000 posters, some stickers and shirts with various designs for the July 29 action taking place in AZ against SB 1070. Joel “Rage” Garcia and Melanie Cervantes first got the ball rolling for the print marathon after discussing solidarity work with the AZ coming up. Garcia along his partner/artist FelicaMontes , musician Olmeca and Vyal have been working with artist in AZ for the last few months. Doing organizing, connecting with artist there and helping them get the resources not found in AZ. Cervantes and her partner Jesus Barraza at the same time have been working on the AZ campaign as well providing artistic resources and support with groups, orgs and individuals in AZ along with frequent partner and collaborator Favianna Rodriguez. Initially the plan was for everyone to go to AZ and do the work there, but contributing artist Ernesto Yerena warned them that the weather conditions and the AZ boycott would impede their productivity. Soon enough the conversation turned to printing here in L.A. and with the help of artist Dewey Tafoya, Self Help opened their doors to use the space and the marathon was on.

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1.8 Million Dreams Fundraiser

Live performances by:
Conjunto Nueva Ola
La Santa Cecilia
Pilar Diaz
Concepto Tambor

Hosted by: Gustavo Arellano (“Ask a Mexican!”)

Rani D. (Soul in the Park)
Glenn Red (AfroFunke, Eclectica)

Entrance fee: $10
All benefits will go towards the 1.8 MILLION DREAMS Project

1.8 Million Dreams is a collaborative project that serves as a creative multi-media outlet for undocumented students (in the U.S.) to share their stories. Additionally, this project serves as a resource for those currently working on undocumented student issues at the state and federal level.

Volunteer at Self Help for Dia de los Muertos

SHG DOD INVITE_inside(Corrected)

This year, Self Help Graphics & Arts celebrates its 36th Annual Dia De Los Muertos in a new location–the East Los Angeles Civic Center, in Belvedere Lakeside Park. With so much space we are able to expand SHG booths to accommodate more of our faithful vendors, increase the kid’s arts space, and expand the entertainment area. This year, we need many more volunteers than ever before. As an experienced Day of the Dead volunteer, we are asking that you join our efforts by giving us your time to make our signature event a dynamic and memorable evening for all who participate. Our main event will take place on Monday, November 2, 2009 between 5 PM-11 PM. We can use your help with event set up, event design and décor installation, face painting, vendor assistance, entrance guardians and event breakdown. For those who cannot assist in the main event, other opportunities to volunteer at Self Help Graphics & Art (in the Upper Level of the building located at 3802 E. Cesar E. Chavez Ave., Los Angeles, 90063) are:

· Workshop assistants on Saturdays in October between 12 PM – 4 PM

· Noche De Ofrenda, Saturday, October 24th, 2009 5 PM to 10 PM

· Deadly Stylish Art Exhibit Opening, Sunday, November 1st 4-8 PM

· Deadly Stylish Art Exhibit Docent, Tuesday, November 3-28*

*Additional training required, Docent schedules to be determined upon availability. As you can see, there are many opportunities for you to participate in. We are requesting:

· A three-hour commitment per shift and

· Attendance to one brief Volunteer Training Session at Self Help Graphics on:

Tuesday, October 20, at 7 PM or Thursday, October 22 at 7 PM. If you’re interested in volunteering, please read and fill out the attached volunteer form, email it to volunteer@selfhelpgraphics.com.

Click here to download volunteer application

Muy Agradecidos,

Day of the Dead Volunteer Committee

Self Help Graphics & Art

Dia de los Muertos 09 at Self Help Graphics & Art

~click on flier for bigger version ~ Image: Deadly Stylish by Diane Gamboa, 2009

I remember last years Dia de los Muertos. I got my face painted, got a kiss from Leo Limon, ate tamales, rocked out to the bands on stage and hung out with Viki D. and P-3000 through-out the night. I can’t wait to see what this years celebration will bring. That’s why I’m excited about the workshops because it’s like a count down to the big night on Nov. 1 and 2. These workshops are kick ass because you spend an afternoon creating art, something I suck at because the calavera I painted looked like crap. Any who, the workshops are on Saturdays from 1 to 3 p.m. and they’re always a lot of fun. So check self helps site for UP TO DATE INFO and what’s going on and mark your calender. No one does Dia de los Muertos like SHG. I wonder how many M.J. altars I’ll see ?? Continue reading

Mexica New Year 09 @ Self Help Graphics

Mexica New Year @ Self Help Graphics 09

Me : Hey ! I saw Rosannas facebook and it said there’s aztec dancers at Self Help right now, is it still going on? 

Victoria : Yeah dude I was there earlier it was crazy. 

Me  : So why didn’t you tell me or announce it !?

Victoria : I forgot. I’m too busy writing up blog post that I can’t keep track of everything. 

Me : Yeah cause you post SOO much hahahah

Victoria : Anyway I though you worked on the weekends ?

Me : I do, I just got out and I was checking facebook through my phone at work. So i’d figure I’d call you and get the down low. 

Victoria : Well go down and check it out. I bet your girlfriend Pachuco 3000 will be there. I know you guys hang out together as if your lovers.

Me : Sigh…just cause we hang out every now and then doesn’t mean we’re lovers. Besides I’m sure he’s up to something already. 

Victoria : Ohhh I see.

Me : So did I wake you up just now ?

Victoria : Not really. I was taking a power nap because I rode my bike six miles today. Man my ass hurts.

Me : Damn !! you rode around that much ?!?!

Victoria : Nah, I have an exercise bike in my house. My knees are killing me tambien

Me : Ohh so is there anything else going on tonight ?

Victoria : Umm I’m not sure, but I’ll just end up staying home or doing something.

Me : Aight. I’ma head down to self help then and go take pictures.

Victoria : Ok puez. Give us your report about it.  

Follow the link to see my report….

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Win a Dream Date with El Random Hero y otros. . . .


Calling ALL Singles! If you are interested in playing the dating game and are looking for some real hombres from ELA—-stop playing roulette with your love life—get in on this once in a lifetime opportunity to meet a REALLY NICE GUY or two. Continue reading

Botanica de Amor or How we do Valentine’s Day on the Eastside

This Saturday, February 7, noon to 5pm come to La Botanica de Amor and find that someone special you have been looking for. You’ll have to start off with a limpia para el amor, a sangria punch, poetry for inspiration, Continue reading

Dia de los Muertos


~ Alter from Teocintlis Dia de los Muertos celebration ~

I love Dia de los Muertos. The beautiful art work, the food and of course the unity of family and friends remembering loved ones. It’s a celebration of life because your not really dead until people forget about you. As long as family and friends honor their loved ones, they’ll never be gone. Doña Junta knows exactly what I’m talking about because she built one of her own and it looks awesome. Whether it’s personal or communal,big or small as long as your heart is in it it’ll be a wondrous sight to behold. Ofelia Esparza and her family have been gaining recognition since 1980 for their beautiful alters at Self Help Graphics and all over the world. I never really knew the full meaning behind the celebration until I saw her give a presentation at ELAC last year. The following is excerpts edited together from the story I wrote for the school paper last year. 

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