Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Beatlick Travel Report #2 (2008 Series)

Las Cruces
San Rafael

After we moved into the van and out of our little "casita" on Van Patten Ave. we relocated to the campus of New Mexico State University for four days. Joe volunteered to work the Fifteenth Annual International Mariachi Conference. He was thrilled to be back on campus at his alma mater and spent hours in the libraries.

On Sunday we attended a Mariachi Mass. About 7,000 filed into the Pan American Center greeted at the entrance with a troupe of twenty or more dancers dressed in huge feather headdresses at least three feet high and costumes that appeared to be Aztec, but I'm not sure. Their ankles were covered with rattling nut shells.

The mass honored all the 15-year-olds, quinceaneras and quinceaneros who were born the year the conference began. On stage Mariachi Cobre of Epcot Center and Mariachi Real de Chihuahua performed before a mass administered by the Most Rev. Ricardo Ramirez, the Bishop of Las Cruces. Tears were streaming down my cheeks as a choir sang "Ava Maria."

The pageantry was overwhelming. Young girls were dressed in beautiful white dresses and veils. Female dancers were enveloped in the colorful ruffled skirts, men wore sashes and conquistador like hats with blue feathers. A procession of priests in flowing white robes were followed by a subdued parade of women in black.

The Hispanic culture is so rich. I watched in amazement as the beautiful women of all ages managed their three and four inch stiletto heels up and down the stadium walkways! A procession of numerous groups approached the alter to bring gifts such as pumpkins, flowers, fruit, wine, and sundry other items. It was a fitting exit from Las Cruces, so moving and majestic, we felt blessed, humbled, and happy as we finally left town.

After three days in San Rafael visiting my friend Andrew, whom I met in Alaska back in the 80s, we are currently urban camping in Albuquerque before heading out to Placitas. So we continue to roam New Mexico.


Beatlick Pamela

(Joe Speers & Pamela Hurst: publishingpamela@yahoo.com)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Jake's Word: Rant (on the nature of being)

Another Pointless Act of Desperation
Jake Berry

In response to a section of Jon Berry’s Fang Mask of Black Venus

Anyone that is awake recognizes the delicious trap, the explicit message - just sit back and watch the show, everything has been arranged - when it is time to work take your time for work medicine and go to work - when it is time to go home take your go home medicine and go home, turn on the big screen and slide back into your cheaply manufactured cocoon and enjoy the colorful images. It doesn't matter if those images are hi-def or dream so long as you follow the line your education (i.e. indoctrination) has prepared for you. Should you break with this sequence of events the whole world crumbles into ash and dust, the fantasy disappears and we are timid creatures with our backs to the wall in a safe cave. In short, we see ourselves as we are. The spectacle is our safe harbor and we will do anything to protect it. We will pay any amount of money, even if it means going into great debt, debt that can never be paid. We will kill to protect it. We will amass great armies and send them halfway across the planet to kill on our behalf. We have to keep the screen on, keep the images coming. Once you are aware that this is happening you can no longer take any joy in it, everything is reduced to its fundamental particles, the illusion, the screen has been shattered and try as you might you can never return it to full operational order.

It has been widely broadcast for several generations that there is no one behind the curtain. The horror comes when we recognize there is no one in front of it either. Such is the nature of reality. Too much reality makes you too human and therefore distances you from the rest of the species. In fact (ah, facts), you are quite insane. You have become unreasonable. By becoming a rational being you have lost touch with the others - those from which you came. It renders you alien to them and to yourself. Immediately you try to escape this dilemma, but it is too late. Not even suicide will fix it. Suicides are just another type of failure of the system, just so much trash to be discarded. As long as you are breathing and feeling, you are present, standing in front of your own broken screen, back to it now, facing the crowd, blocking the view of their own screens and therefore disrupting their comfort. If you persist they will remove you. Being awake, you are aware of this so you walk away and allow them to slip back into the collective coma and forget what just happened.

We perch on the edge of a high cliff overlooking a great field of humans all sitting watching the screens. We turn away from them and walk around in the hills, turning over the rocks. Fossils! Sweet reminders that something happened long ago, left its trace, left its joke. We know it is a joke, but do not know its language except that it is the language of all last jokes. The herd grazes with their eyes. The sun rises. We continue. We make our homes in the cliff face. We wonder far away for days at a time, but we always return to our home in the cliffs. We etch pictures and scrawl symbols on the wall for no reason at all. If there were a reason there would be no point in doing it because we would only be perpetuating the virus, the virus of blindness that is the sustenance of those that dwell in the valley. Your pictures and symbols are indecipherable. But there will come another, another kind in another world who will look upon the pictures and symbols and read them the way we read the fossils. They will indicate something vacant and precious. They might even be preserved the way we may carry a fossil home and set it on a shelf and look at it from time to time remembering something that it is entirely impossible for us to remember.

Jake Berry is the author of Brambu Drezi, Liminal Blue and other works of extraordinary insight.