Personal Pedagogy

I didn’t get into grad school.

I’ve been researching MFA programs ever since I finished undergrad at USC in 2006.  I’ve looked at Columbia, Yale, Hunter College, NYU, UCLA, Otis, Art Center, CalArts, UC Irvine, and a few others.  An older artist friend of mine told me that the biggest mistake that she made was completing her graduate art degree and then moving to a different city; basically, get your MFA where you plan on settling.  It made sense (still does), so I crossed the East Coast schools off my list and focused on the ones more centered around Los Angeles.  When thinking of my career goals, I decided that any grad program that I participate in must offer me the following:

  • an emphasis in film photography
  • labs where I can do my own printing
  • a lax attitude toward interdisciplinary work
  • paid TA positions

Those are the four major components that must be present for my graduate education.  After all was said and done, UCLA’s MFA program was the only one left standing among my original choices.  Besides, if accepted, I could ride my bike between my place and the grad studios.  It’s the only place I applied.  Their MFA program is notoriously hard to get into.  I still cried when I got the rejection email.  For about five minutes.  Five minutes of whatamIgonnadowhatamIgonnadowhatamIgonnadowhatamIgonnado.

When I thought of my immediate future, I visualized the summer camp I’ll be working, my trip to Brazil, my trip to Germany and Italy immediately after, and coming back to begin my post-graduate education.  My rejection means an almost-certain return to an existence I haven’t had to deal with for a while, an existence where I’m wondering where in the hell I’m going to get my next meal, how in the hell am I going to pay my landlady, how in the hell will I be able to afford to get from point A to B, around to C, and onward to D before getting back to A.  That existence was marginally bearable, and wasn’t the most fun thing ever.  Unless I book another national commercial or my first ad campaign, this is what I’ll have to look forward to come September.  Grad school was going to be my physical savior.


FAT HO BURGERS: A Special Comment

As you may well know, I'm black, female, pushing 30, and a Dallas native living in Los Angeles. I am here to explain the Texas black colloquial term, "ho."  Believe it or not, the word "ho" is a catch-all noun. It can be a person, place, or thing; many times, people use it to refer to a place or thing. Par example:    

[we see two men in their mid-20s working on the engine of a car, tools littering the driveway that it's parked in]    

Young Man 1: Yo Brandon, hand me that ho right there.    

Brandon: (pointing at a monkey wrench) this ho?    

Young Man 1: Yeah, thanks.    

Example Deux:  [two teenage girls sit on a park bench, having an animated conversation]   

Girl 1: Girl, you missed it last night!!    

Girl 2: You know I got sick, I was so pissed! What happened?    

Girl 1: Giiirrrrlll, everybody must have heard about that party, 'cause by the time I showed up, that ho was sweaty as hell and 'bout to bust!!    



Perceptions of Black Women

via Kiss My Black Ads

In BRAINWASHED, we explore the portrayal of African American women as sexual objects in the chapter Studs and Sluts. Check out this Fan-Made movie short that was inspired by the book. This is a fantastic example of what can be done with a little ingenuity and access to a computer!

From http://www.stopthebrainwash.com/

It cannot be repeated enough: these images and portrayals are NOT harmless!


My Greek Name on a “Real Housewife”

Greetings.  In a nod to the new look of my blog, we shall take some time to ponder the Greek name in question.

Alexia Echevarria













…siiiggghhhh.  My general opinion of most of the women featured on the “Real Housewives” franchise is pretty low, and for reasons that you don’t even have to guess.  You know.  So when I was watching Bravo one day, and the commercial promoting the upcoming season featuring a brand new city (at the time) came on, and I saw that one of these women had the audacity share my name while making an idiot of herself on national television, I was incensed, I tell you!  How dare she!

I caught an episode.

I’m so glad I was wrong.  I can’t believe I’m typing this, but this Alexia is a welcome breath of fresh air among these women, most of whom seem to be oblivious, tactless, and not too thoughtful.  Now, it’s not like I know this woman personally, and people being people, I’m sure there are aspects of her personality that could use improving.  Just like me, you, and everyone else in this world. Plus, this. But I get this sense that she has been and is a hard worker.  She could be a little less indulgent toward her son, but at least she calls him out when necessary.  She’s decidedly more down-to-earth than her fellow “housewives”, and doesn’t seem to take her personal feelings out on others.  In other words, she doesn’t behave like an emotionally immature seventh grader with privilege for ages.  Maybe that’s all we can ask for anymore.

Alexia is a shortened form of Alexandria, the female version of Alexander.  It means defender of mankind.  I’m sorry; I’m leftist and all, and I respect all people as people, but a lot of y’all can go to hell.  My mommy wanted to name me Alexandria, but her mother, the late, great Mollie, the grandmother I feared and still love, said that it was too long a name for a little baby, so no.  So my mommy shortened it.  I wonder why Mrs. Echevarria’s parents went with this name.  It’s not very common:  I’ve only met three other people who shared it.

In conclusion, my name still rocks, and isn’t sullied by the Miami socialite who shares it with me.


In Memoriam


My absolute favoritest song from the DPG.

Rest In Peace, Hey


Under The Dome: Best. Stephen King Novel. Ever.


I have been an avid bookworm since I started learning to read in kindergarten.  I have been a Stephen King fangirl since I was nine years old.  This was the year that my mom remarried, that we moved down to the suburbs of Houston.  It was the first time that my sister and I actually lived in a house, and we thought it was so cool.  There were five rooms!  And a kitchen and a breakfast room and a living room and a dining room and a den upstairs!  And Otis (my step-dad) had a big screen TV!  With cable!

Sometimes, they would let us watch movies late at night on Fridays and/or Saturdays.  One night, we settled down in our pajamas in front of a movie that had started 30 minutes prior.  It was Kubrick’s The Shining.  My sis and I LOVE scary movies, and it pleasantly freaked the hell out of us.  It dawned on me that I had seen this title in what we were calling the “office”, on a bookshelf; a thick yellow book that proclaimed THE SHINING by Stephen King.  I wasn’t daunted by the length of the book – I was reading “The Baby-Sitter’s Club”, and there’s all kinds of chapters in that!  I wanted to see how hallways of blood would be described.  So I picked it up.

It was the first novel that kept me up for hours at night, hanging on to every word, dread and suspense in my heart; not just because of the subject matter, but because of the King’s use of language.  After I was well into it, my mother saw what I was reading and expressed concern.  Didn’t they talk about sex?  Isn’t there cussing?  (What’s funny is that my mom never tried to censor my choice in literature, but when it came to music and film, the above was NOT acceptable no matter WHAT the context.)  She never told me to stop reading it, though.  After I was done, I took on The Stand, and then The Dead Zone.  I loved each dearly, and I was hooked.  I’ve read almost ever novel, novella, and short story written by Stephen King since then – excluding the Dark Tower series – and although my opinion has changed about a number of his stories that I enjoyed at first (Rose Madder? The Tommyknockers? Desperation/The Regulators?  blegh!!!), I’m still his number one fan.  Cell, Lisey’s Story, Just After Sunset, and Full Dark, No Stars are all must-reads.  You must read them.  I’m telling you.  Go.  Now.

Wait- not yet!!  First, my take.

Under The Dome is the shit!!!! Under The Dome is classic King!  Under The Dome pulls no punches, never patronizes, never proselytizes, and breaks your heart.  And the ending doesn’t make me feel all stabby with rage.

I don’t want to spoil anything, so here’s the story’s skeleton: one day, out of seemingly nowhere, an invisible yet solid force-field of a dome covers a small New England town, sealing them off from the rest of America.  Shit gets started immediately.  Throw in a town selectman with delusions of grandeur, his entitled son’s grudge against an outsider trapped in, and some good old political corruption, and you’ve got a hell of a story.  I’ve always loved the characters that Stephen King creates, mainly because you can tell that these people could exist in real life and probably do.  He knows Maine because that’s where he’s from, he knows small towns populated by working class to working poor folks, because that’s his background also.  There are several characters in Dome that are central to the story, and he makes them drive the novel in such a way that it transcends being just a sci-fi type of “whatarewegonnado???” survival story.  Every single thing that they do, you expect them to because of who they are, because they’re not just stereotypical archetypes.  That’s what this novel is all about.  Different kinds of people, and what they do together and individually under duress.

This isn’t a full-on review because that’s not how I operate.  I don’t like to give away anything except the super basicness when it comes to books or movies, and I hate giving plot summaries.  One thing I love about this novel, and several others, is that when it’s all over, there’s this fulfilled feeling, a closure in spite of the fact that not all mysteries are necessarily solved within the story.  For that reason, I love going into a new book (or film, or even new CD [Yes.  I still buy CDs.]) knowing as little as possible about it.  For that reason, you’re just going to have to buy the book – or check it out from the library – for details ‘cause you ain’t gittin’ ‘em from me, playboy.

So go.  Now.