Friday, October 21, 2005

fridays are mine

So it's been a month since I started school and I am still alive! I am taking 11 hours which is something I haven't done since my BA days. My classes are time consuming but not as challenging. It's probably because alot of the material isn't new to me. In doctoral programs, the classes start at a masters' level, so much of the stuff is review for me. I have grown to appreciate my master's experience because it gave me such a good preparation for this new adventure. I see alot of these students straight from undergrad and I notice how young and eager they are. It should make me feel old, but I recognize how hard it was to start off in a new school, new city, the work is hard and you have to preform as soon as you start. My fellow students are smart and funny, that's a good thing-humor keeps you sane. My fellow students are mostly female (like most of the profession) and white. Like my professors. The latinas who are in the program (i can count them one hand) keep to themselves. I try to connect with them but they don't seem to care or shy. Maybe it's a regional thing, chicanos are rare here, most Latinos are from Central America especially from El Salvador.
I have something to do every evening, weekends are spent working on papers, reading, getting ready for classes. So I look forward for some free time, I decided that fridays will be mine. I may want to see a movie. It must be the season of character actors. Looks like Capote is the one to see. The buzz is that Philip Seymour Hoffman is going to get an Oscar for this. I really liked him in Boogie Nights (which is one of my favorite movies). Charlize Theron (a.k.a. gorgeous)who played everyone's favorite lesbian hooker serial killer with a bad job (didn't she freak you out on how uncanny she was?) is playing a minnesotan miner also with a bad job. Sadly, i'll probably end up watching Discovery Health Channel. It's quite addicting, where else can you see kids with no faces, face eating tumors or extra heads! It's American like apple pie and disaster movies...watching others in their time of pain/crisis/suffering...plastic surgeries, super obese people, medical oddities, autopsies. I could write a good analysis about how watching this stuff is our attempt to forget about the our inevitable demise and that this denial has permeated all areas of our culture but there's a show on the harlequin baby in a few minutes.

picture of the day... i took this at coney island, new york

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

the business of country dancing

I went to a country bar this past weekend with my girlfriend and my friend. Not by choice, mind you, we went because a fundraiser was held there. I couldn't get away from stepping into one living in Texas, it was part of the culture there. Even if you didn't like country music, you knew who were the big stars and even hum a few bars of the songs. It was hard to avoid it, the music is piped in the grocery stores. The queer country bars Texas were known to be overwhelmingly white, working/middle class and racist. Most Chicanos I knew wouldn't step into those bars, unless they were dating white people who is into country (that is a whole other topic), we knew we wouldn't feel welcome. I figure that was a regional thing, being the south and all. Which brings us to our experience at the lesbian country bar in Maryland Saturday night. I might as well have been in Texas. All country bars look the same don't they? This one had country decor with wooden wheels on the wall and twisted rope. As soon as we stepped into the place, I noticed that we were the only people of color in this bar. But since it was a queer bar, I thought I would give it the benefit of the doubt. What really bothered me were all the rules- all the protocols in this place. It's all about conformity. You must dance in a circle, you must keep in step with everyone else, you must either follow or lead, and god help you if you stand out. If you did stand out you will be made an example. Case in point: my girlfriend and I decided to take the plunge and dance to a song, with the limited 2 step skills that we both had. As soon as we started to dance, a woman came up to us and rudely pushed us to the middle, telling us that we were supposed to follow the circle. Since we didn't keep pace with the rest of the mindless country dancing robots, we stood out and were shamed into the circle. It made me realize how much this culture values assimilation and conformity. Look at line dancing, with these regimented almost military steps to a song (any song really, they can line dance to gregorian chants if given the chance) ,there is no room for difference, no room for creativity. If you decide to add a little twist not only will you stand out, you bring on the ire of the similarly clad mostly white middle class lesbians who will make sure you know you are breaking the well established pattern by shaming you.
Needless to say, I dislike country dancing...