Quarantine Life

CA Lockdown – Day 35

I’m excited to interview one of my cultural heroes!

El Vez: The original Tiger King

Dreamocracy in America‘s star-spangled guest is Robert Lopez! Known as El Vez (the Mexican Elvis) and co-founder of the legendary punk group The Zeros, Lopez joins us for a chat about his trailblazing work & his plans for the 2020 El Vez 4 Prez tour.

My partner Victor Payan knows Robert from growing up in San Diego. We can always count on an El Vez holiday show at the Casbah every Christmas, as that’s usually when Lopez visits his folks in the South Bay. He comes from a musical family too, with his relatives being Sheila E from Prince and the Revolution, Alejandro Escovedo and Pete Escovedo.

Sheila E – “The Glamorous Life”
Prince with Sheila E on drums

I love Robert’s El Vez persona for its intoxicating cross cultural mashups.

I live for hybrid culture.

My first meetup with Robert was at the Bowl of Beings after-party in the early 1990’s. I still have his autographed headshot from that night. Lopez has always been pure fire and an inspiration to behold.

Feel the magic for yourself tomorrow!

You can register on the Dreamocracy In America website.

Quarantine Life

CA Lockdown – Day 29

It’s our big Zoom show day with Herbert Siguenza!

We had sketches, excerpts of his plays and visual poetry in our weekly installment of Dreamocracy In America.

Our special guest Herbert Siguenza!

Here’s the video:


Quarantine Life

CA Lockdown – Day 27

I’m dreaming of a Gothic Garden. Black flowers only.

Our cloudy skies are seeding dreams of dark and velvety blossoms. My inner goth is pining for a pretty spot to brood.

The internet picked up on my dark desire and sent me this lovely Twitter thread on the topic of black flowers. What synchronicity!

I’ve recreated the thread here for our pleasure:

Black Persian Lilies

Black Wizard Lily

Onyx Odyssey Black Hellebore

Black Star Calla Lilies

Black Baccara Roses

Queen of the Night Tulip

Black Beauty Tulips

Raven Girl Iris

Black Iris

Black HollyHock

Black Burgundy Dahlias

Debonair Black Cherry Petunias

Black Velvet Petunias

Black Cherry Petunias

Black Cosmos that smell like Chocolate

Jack In The Pulpit

I’m OBSESSED with the idea of a Gothic Garden. My grandmother’s rose garden has mostly died off and left the perfect spot to cultivate these dark beauties.

After I get my Victory Garden producing, I’m going to start sourcing these exotic flowers. In the meantime, enjoy this fun little film about Gothic Ladies, old and new.

Sweet Goth kisses!

Quarantine Life

CA Lockdown – Day 26

I’m craving berries.

Lockdown has not been a time of convenience. It seems reckless to pop out for every craving, so these dark delights just pile up on the wish list.

Right now my wish list includes:

Strawberries, Raspberries, Blueberries, Doritos, Pepperoni, Cesar Dressing, Ice Cream, Granola, Prosciutto, Kashi Cereal, Twinnings English Breakfast Tea, Swedish Ginger Cookies, Whipped Cream, Wasa Crisp Bread, Dark Chocolate Chips, Puff Pastry Dough and some Lambrusco.

These things aren’t essentials, but indulgence takes the edge off confinement. However, constant indulgence creates its own vicious cycle, so I’m going to balance all this out with some time in the garden.

After prepping some old wine crates as raised beds, I planted bare root strawberries today. They’re inexpensive compared to buying full size strawberry plants. Hopefully they are not too delicate. It’s been drizzling pretty steadily, so I’m gambling that these babies will thrive.

Garden bliss.

La madre tierra.

Quarantine Life

CA Lockdown – Day 25

It’s a food foraging day.

This pandemic is making sourcing ingredients a challenge. Stepping up to fill the void are restaurants!

Even though yesterday’s cinnamon rolls used up an entire cup of sourdough discard, they also devoured our last envelope of yeast. So I was excited to find The Filling Station was selling two pound bags of active dry yeast PLUS 25 pound bags of flour!

This should keep me baking awhile…

Even our local Norms is offering groceries.

Besides the lack of yeast, eggs, milk and toilet paper have been in short supply. I’m sure y’all have seen the crazy videos of American shoppers in a feeding frenzy over these items.

We’ve been totally craving diner food so how could I resist?

Filled our fridge! We easily got 10 quality breakfasts out of this so it was a great deal. Norms seems determined to stay in business and is also offering other take home options.

Santa Ana’s Avila’s El Ranchito is also offering takeout. Their Facebook page is on fire with tasty Mexican options, even margaritas & Taco Tuesday so definately check ’em out.

Not to be left out is OC favorite, Villa Roma.

They are even offering groceries!

Can’t wait to savor this South American comfort food and explore other to-go options. The lockdown has devastated local restaurants so I’m down to support their efforts to stay afloat as much as possible.

Give your local spots some love!

Quarantine Life

CA Lockdown – Day 24

It’s a Sourdough Easter Sunday! He is risen & it is risen!!

I have loads of sourdough discard and found a great cinnamon roll recipe to make with it. It’s on my Pinterest along with other yummy recipes.

This was my first time making these and the rolls were pure perfection. With all the cinnamon sugar already in the recipe, I didn’t top them off with frosting. That’s overkill.

It’s a beautiful treat for this special day.

Normally, Easter is spent in the park. A Tejano amigo, Robert B Gonzales, summed this annual ritual up perfectly in this hilarious animation. It’s so South Texas!

Happy Easter y’all!

Quarantine Life

CA Lockdown – Day 23

The Border Arts Workshop keeps being a source of inspiration. Another member is gracing our vida with his knowledge.

Producer/Director Isaac Artenstein is lecturing to our Media Arts Santa Ana MILPA (Millennial Producers Academy) today.

Isaac is an award-winning producer who’s first feature film “Break of Dawn” was about Mexican-American radio trailblazer, Pedro J. Gonzalez. He went on to do a ton of documentaries, tv series, and the camp indie hit “A Day Without A Mexican.”

Isaac also used to run a legendary micro-cinema and cultural cafe, the Cafe Cinema in San Diego. They used to screen my art videos in the mid-90’s and it’s where I first met my husband, Victor Payan.

It’s fun to see how this friendship has come full circle. Payan and I have a media non-profit in Orange County and we’re presenting Isaac, our longtime production mentor to our students. Artenstein’s lecture will cover the Business and Art of Producing.

The full video of Isaac Artenstein’s presentation is below:

Quarantine Life

CA Lockdown – Day 22

Puro Pocha Power!

We had a fabulous and historic episode today on Dreamocracy In America with the infamous Border Brujo himself, Guillermo Gomez Peña, founder of La Pocha Nostra.

Almost as exciting as having Guillermo on the show, were all the folks who tuned in from around the globe. Six continents represented!

It was Marshall McLuhan‘s Global Village brought to life!

I’ll post the video below as soon as it’s edited.

Quarantine Life

CA Lockdown – Day 21

It’s a Puro Pocha Party today!

I have a long history with performance art legend Guillermo Gomez Peña. First exhibiting our video art together for the Vigo international film festival in Spain. The show was put together by Latino film scholar and former UCLA Chicano Research Center director Chon Noriega. It was sometime in the early to mid-90’s, after I’d already returned to the U.S. after years attending art school in Madrid.

Guillermo was a part of the Border Arts Workshop in San Diego, CA. We were both a part of the Centro Cultural de La Raza community and the performance art world that orbited SUSHI gallery in downtown. I attended undergrad at UC San Diego. It was an era of increased militarization around the US/Mexico border. That’s when the immigrant crossing signs started appearing on the highway.

Since that first show together decades ago, our trajectories have intersected frequently. I consider GGP a mentor and cherished source of inspiration. A creative art-primo, with whom I share a surname.

GGP as El Border Brujo

Many of the folks who comprise this Border Brujo‘s creative entourage also cross into mine. Isaac Artenstein, his frequent collaborator, exhibited my work at his Cafe Cinema. Gustavo Vasquez (featured below) showcased my videos at CineFestival in Texas. We’re all a part of the same Art Familia.

Guillermo barely made it back before the border shut down. He jetted in at the last possible hour from his chateau in Mexico City. Most of the time GGP is touring but COVID shut all that down. The upside is that this literal genius won the MacArthur “Genius” Award and continues to redefine what performance art is in the 21st century.

LA POCHA NOSTRA: GGP, Saul y Balitronica

Guillermo Gomez Peña’s performance troupe is called “La Pocha Nostra” or “La Pocha” for short. As you know, I’m “Pocha Peña” and have been using that moniker for several decades. Viva Cross Pollination!

I’m beyond thrilled to have this cultural superstar on our Dreamocracy In America show tomorrow!! Here’s a cheeky promo we shot for it:

As we wrap up rehearsing for tomorrow’s performance, I can assure you it will be a magical exchange. Here’s the show graphic:

See y’all tomorrow!

Quarantine Life

CA Lockdown – Day 20

The Decameron is blazing in our gestalt.

How Can Boccaccio’s 14th Century Decameron Help Us Live Through COVID-19?

These Sacred Cycles are eternally repeating.

Would that we all had a charming Italian villa to escape to.

Meanwhile in modern-day Italy, the situation is intense. Italians have one of the highest COVID infection rates in Europe. To follow the drama in Rome through the eyes of a visual artist, I recommend the painter Cynthia Korzekwa’s blog:

Art for Housewives

Ballpoint pen drawing: drinking tequila with Frida Kahlo in a Mexican cantina – © 2015 Cynthia Korzekwa –

A Tejana Ex-Pat, Cynthia Korzekwa‘s poetic observations and vivid paintings are a powerful way to experience the eternal city. Before moving to Italy some 30 years ago, the beautiful Cynthia was a part of the legendary Chicano art collective Con Safos in San Antonio, Texas. She is an all-around fascinating mujer!

Korzekwa also featured me on her blog:

Coronavirus, Conspiracy & Pocharte

I met Korzekwa in the flesh over a decade ago, while I lived in Rome. It was a beautiful summer of working on an opera and exploring the city’s treasures. I loved the Spanish Steps most of all, with its Keats Shelley House and Caffe Greco.

I can hardly wait until travel restrictions are fully lifted. My wanderlust is in overdrive.