Laredo Little Theatre, Chairs and Flamenco

11902444_1114850768545071_4654123207355029908_n(NOTE: Crossposting will occur with until site is fully transitioned.  Thank you for your patience.)

Saturday, August 22nd was a night of passion and tradition at the Laredo Little Theatre.  Illeana Gomez, a native Laredoan, was featured in an annual Flamenco show held at the Laredo Little Theatre.  I was curious when my friend invited me go because I was unfamiliar with the tremendous talent.  I had heard the name as part of a small group of recognized Flamenco dancers originating from our border community.  The opening piece, though, was a treat by local lovers of Flamenco – the Altagracia Azios Garcia Castanet Ensemble, composed of local women who play them for the love of musical art that castanets produce.

All I can say is that it was an extraordinary show – every step was punctuated by another “Bravo!”  Dance is not my forte but this show was awesome! A big congratulations to the talented Kayla Lyall, Manuel Gutierrez, Alejandro Pais Iriart, Carlos Menchaca, Jose Cortes and Laredo’s own Illeana Gomez.


 That awesomeness was marred only by one little annoyance: the squeaky seats.

The Laredo Little Theater literally is a small-sized theater so no seat is a bad seat to watch whatever magic may be on stage.  Personally, I found the seats comfortable and the squeakiness was not too distracting but as part of the renovation, new seats will be installed.  What our eyes usually miss, though, is the wear and tear of the years of service the seats have provided.  The fun surprise were the gobs of gum accumulated under seats, on the carpet and even walls after seeing decades of theatre goers – gross but a fact of public seating.  The interior renovations will be a welcomed brightening to one of the few non-profits bringing quality plays and performances to Laredo audiences.  Sponsors ($250 Seat Patron) are still being sought for the new seats and an explanation of what will happen to the ones removed follow in the video:

Or you can connect with the Laredo Little Theater at, 956-723-1342,, or

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

This will some day be my past life: Regressive Hypnosis in Laredo

The newest post can be viewed at or  If you are subscribed here, please take the time to subscribe on the new site (note: is still under heavy construction)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Laredo Little Theater’s Beauty and the Beast Jr.: Be Their Guest

As you now, we have been moving things around.  The new site is now self-hosted and can be found at and the last post is:


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Decriminalizing Marijuana in Texas: a ‘Divine’ Cause?

While the legalization of marijuana campaign continues to gain steam as multiple states, including Colorado and Washington (having moved past the “medical” portion of the argument and included “recreational use” as part of their revamped laws), many in Texas believed that the Lone Star State would not be considering any form of legalization soon. Texas remains one of the true bastions of far-right traditionalism and has furthered the move to the outer limit of right conservatism under Tea Party rule. Therefore, it was a bit of a shock when House Bill 2165, an act that would completely legalize adult use of marijuana, was proposed and actually gained some traction.

The bill was not the only marijuana decriminalization proposed this legislative session (see House Bill 507), but it was the only one that touted full toleration of “weed” for adults.

The statute was the creation of David Simpson, a Christian conservative Republican out of Longview, Texas, with strong ties to the Tea Party. During an interview with the Texas Observer in May 2015, Simpson rationalized, “Right now, you can’t legally use the plant responsibly to help people with PTSD, epilepsy, cancer or pain.” He added, “We need to change that.”

As is the case with the vast majority of conservative Christian politicians and their supporters, the separation of church and state tends to be a mere suggestion and Simpson’s reasoning for the legislation had a religious foundation. During the same interview, Simpson was quoted as saying, “I don’t believe that when God made marijuana, he made a mistake government needs to fix.”

As bizarre as that may sound to some non-Christian conservative right-wingers, one thing is for sure: according to Simpson, one can now add divinity as a legitimate argument for the decriminalization of marijuana. The masterful blending of church and state, Texas style.

Amen, anyone?

And while the initial justifications are far more accepted and utilized in the fight for marijuana decriminalization, it is likely “pot” pundits will accept any reason they can if it means it will help the cause. Bill 2165 made it out of the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee by a 5-2 vote but met its end in the House Calendars Committee: a graveyard for bills that lawmakers do not wish to tackle publicly. It’s a failsafe area used by the government to avoid “hot topic” issues deemed not ready for public debate.   Buried alongside 2165 was HB 507 (Sponsor: El Paso Democrat Joe Moody), which would have made possession of less than 1 once of cannabis a civil offense.

Regardless of the outcome of both pieces of legislation, the fact that two Texas bills harvested support to decriminalize marijuana suggests that lawmakers will have to debate this issue in the near future.

What are your thoughts on the legalization of marijuana in Texas?

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Laredo Animal Protective Society: Keeping Positive despite Daily Struggles

LAPS 3Despite the “dog days” of summer heat, the Laredo Animal Protective Society (LAPS) pressed forward with the “Pooches on the Patio” pet adoption drive. The event was held at the parking lot of the Border Foundry Restaurant and Bar located at 7718 McPherson Road. Initially, LAPS arrived to the location with over 30 dogs, ranging from little puppies to the more seasoned of canines, looking for a “forever home.”

Unfortunately, the doggie mobile unit used to transport the pooches had technical difficulties; the generator that powers the air conditioning unit used to keep the dogs cool would not ignite. This led to most of the dogs being returned to the shelter prematurely and only seven bow-wows were left at the site.

As Laredo’s only “no-kill” shelter, LAPS continuously puts on adoption drives in an effort to keep their ever-growing animal population in check. Being a “no-kill” establishment does have its challenges as no matter how noble a cause, everything still depends on money to survive.

LAPS 1Prior to 2012, the non-profit did not have to worry much about finances as the City of Laredo would cover the monthly expenses, at a cost: many dogs and cats were euthanized on a monthly basis. Ultimately, disagreements between city leaders and shelter management led to a divorce. Since the split, LAPS has marched on leaving the euthanizing behind and focusing on finding families for all of the shelter residents.

Monica Mondragon is the newest Executive Director of the shelter; she is a few days shy of her third month at the helm of the day-to-day operations. Mondragon was not part of LAPS in 2012, but appreciates that the shelter is a “no kill” foundation.   Mondragon added that she was “very fortunate to have come in at the right time” as she could not have been involved with LAPS knowing that “some of [the animals] were going to be put down just to make space.”

Mondragon stated that so far, her tenure as director has been “exciting” and “rewarding” but also reported that it is not “easy” as the shelter consistently runs short on funds and “struggles to make it every month.” She informed that the monthly budget ranges from $11,000 – $13,000 and with expenses including food, medicine, spay, neutering, vaccinating, paying employees, water, and electricity. Mondragon added that overhead tends to spike during the summer due to a higher number of animals arriving to the shelter.

LAPS 2Because of the constantly strained budget, LAPS depends heavily on volunteers which is something that the non-profit never has to worry about.

“We’re very blessed, as the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts are a huge help,” Mondragon said. She added that LAPS also gets a lot of support from FFA students and the Junior Honor Society, just to name a few.

Even though the struggle of making ends meet is real, Mondragon keeps a positive attitude: “We do struggle but it is definitively worthwhile as anything worth doing is worth struggling for.” Mondragon added, “We’re very grateful to everyone who adopts and helps us.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Trump Sets Out Immigration Policy… Sort Of

Love him or hate him, Donald Trump continues to dominate the media airways and national Republican polls in key battleground states. The unrelenting billionaire has actually shown some restraint in the past few days, toning down the insults towards his fellow republican rivals and presenting a more controlled persona during interviews.

Trump was recently interviewed by CNN’s Dana Bash. One of the key things that Bash discussed with top Republican candidate was immigration. The CNN reporter pressured Trump regarding immigration, requesting for specific policies the real-estate tycoon would implement regarding the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants.

Trump reiterated that there are a lot of “bad dudes” illegally in the United States so he would ensure their banishment from this country. He pledged that these criminals would not return to the United States but did not present how he would accomplish this.

In reference to the law abiding undocumented immigrants, the Republican frontrunner told Bash that he would proceed to deport all persons illegally in the U.S. but would allow them to apply for legal re-entry into the country via an “expedited process.” Trump clarified that an actual path to citizenship was not part of his plan, but that these “good ones” (referring to the non-criminal immigrant) would be allowed to live in the U.S. legally.

Bash also questioned the mogul about the undocumented immigrants that came to the U.S. as children but have been educated and assimilated to American culture, identifying more as Americans than from their countries of origin. Most of these individuals are positive members of their communities and are seeking to obtain citizenship in order to further their financial and educational goals in a legal fashion.

Trump appeared perplexed and stated that this scenario presented a “tough situation” but remained firm that all undocumented immigrants needed to be deported and then allowed to apply for legal entry under his equivocal “expedited process.”

Although this was a very broad account of the policies he would implement if elected president, at the very least Trump provided a framework as to what he intends to do with all undocumented persons residing in the country.

The question: Do you agree with Donald Trump’s potential policies? Why or why not?

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Trump Visits Laredo and Controversy Ensues

By: The County Reporter

Common sense dictated that polarizing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s visit to Laredo, Texas, on July 23, 2015, would not be void of controversy and the billionaire mogul’s “tour of the border” did not disappoint. Trouble bubbled early after Trump’s initial host, the National Border Patrol Council Local 2455, got cold feet and reneged on their invite.

Local 2455 released a statement that, after communications with members of the National Border Patrol Council at the National Level and “careful consideration of all the factors involved in this event,” the organization decided to “pull out of all events involving Donald Trump.” The statement further added that the intentions of Local 2455 was to provide a “Boots on the Ground perspective” to the presidential hopeful and all the media involved. The organization further clarified that “an endorsement was never discussed” and that “Local 2455 does not endorse candidates for any political office.”

Trump’s incendiary comments about Mexicans and immigration have sent many Latinos into an uproar. When Trump arrived, protesters from Mexico, Laredo, and other areas in South Texas were present to show their disdain for his characterization that the Mexicans coming to this country illegally are mostly criminals and “rapists.” His assertion implicates the Mexican government as “sending” this element out of their country and into the United States.

Trump offered little-to-no information on actual policies he intends to push if elected outside of building a fence between the two countries. The candidate added that he would get Mexico to “pay” for the construction of this fence but did not say how he intended to accomplish this.

Trump had been greeted by Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz, newly-appointed City Manager Jesus Olivarez and Council Members Alex Perez and Juan Narvaez. Considering the sentiments towards Trump from Latinos at large, the fact that these Hispanic city leaders appeared star struck in the presence of the Republican candidate – with no indication that any of them challenged Trump’s assertions – led to some quick backlash from both local and national Hispanic leaders.

United States Congressman Joaquin Castro (San Antonio, TX) tweeted the following: “@MayorPeteSanez Donald Trump just used you and the other councilmembers to make him look good. Embarrassing for South Texas and Hispanics.”

Laredo Council Member Roque Vela Jr. (District 5) shared on Facebook that he was disappointed with how city officials “came off with this whole Donald Trump fiasco.” Vela Jr. took issue with the perception that a “message” was sent to the country that Laredo city leaders “agree” with Trump’s views on immigration. The council member added that he would have liked to have seen city officials “call [Trump] out in a classy manner.” Vela Jr. further stated that after meeting with city officials the day before, “I was under the impression that the city was going to have little-to-no involvement in this fiasco.”

Laredo’s own United States Congressman Henry Cuellar (Democrat) was not present during Trump’s visit. Considering the criticism bolstered by a fellow U.S. Congressman, Cuellar was approached for comment. Congressman Cuellar stated, “Both Mayor Saenz and Congressman Castro are good friends of mine and I respect their point of views. I have very publicly stated that I do not agree with Donald Trump’s comments about Mexican immigrants. I do not agree with Donald Trump’s comments about Mexican immigrants. National crime statistics clearly show that the border is far safer than every large county in Texas and even exponentially safer than New York City. We are all entitled to our own opinion, but not our own facts. Laredo and the border are safe for families and businesses.”

The question: What is your take of these Laredo City leaders? Do you agree with Congressman Castro and Council Member Vela Jr.?

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments