Sunday, August 12, 2007

Beyond Boundaries

I took another long break from blogging but I'm not going to offer any excuses or apologies because I do this all the time. I write when the mood strikes me and when I have the time and when I get busy with something else, I take a little break. I think you have to allow yourself the option to step away from time to time, otherwise it just becomes a chore and more of an obligation than something fun. In fact, my husband recently told me that my blog had been linked by another, very widely read blog and suggested that I might want to write a new entry, so here I am snatching a few minutes of writing time while we drive back from Tucson, eating a lunch of (close your eyes, Jenny Lens!) Cheetos with a side order of salsa verde Doritos and washing it all down with a diet RockStar.

While I'm on the subject of food, I'll relate this little anecdote. We stopped into a roadside cafe on the outskirts of Tucson called Lupe's Mexican Food. I noticed that the girl behind the counter had the word "FUCK" tattooed on the side of her hand. I asked her, "what's on the other hand - YOU or OFF?" She smiled a little timidly and said "off" and sort of started to apologize, but I smiled back and said it would be really cool to be able to put your knuckles together and tell someone to fuck off with your fists and then her face lit up and we struck up a conversation. So if you're around Tucson on the 79 and Oracle, stop in and say hi to the girl with Fuck Off on her hands.

I got to spend time with my two stepdaughters who were visiting their grandmother in Tucson. We all drove down to Tubac, AZ to hear an old high school friend of mine perform a set of acoustic music. It was nice reconnecting with her and meeting her husband. Becky Reyes has a beautiful voice and her husband Scott plays a mean blues harmonica.

My stepdaughters, who spend quite a bit of time on Myspace, were cracking up about the fact that my image appears in a video for a song called "Lean Like a Chola," which is making the rounds on Myspace and Youtube. I'm not sure how I ended up in this video but some of the lyrics are a bit questionable. I think it's meant to be tongue in cheek but I might be insulted by the words if I was a real Chola. Let's just say it perpetuates some negative stereotypes. I only dressed up as a Chola for a different video I made with El Vez many years ago, I never dressed this way in real life.

Me dressed as a chola, video shoot for "En El Barrio" by El Vez.

In truth, my costume is such an exaggerated version of what a Chola is supposed to look like that I thought it would be obvious that I'm not the real thing. But Chola style can be fierce - just ask Gwen Stefani, who incorporated elements of it at one time.

Gwen Stefani, chola style.

Growing up in East LA, I got to see the real thing and Cholas can pull off a strong, beautiful warrior style like no one else.

I never had a chance to respond to the numerous comments on my blog about health care in the U.S. I am still firmly convinced that socialized medicine is the way to go. I'm sure that people can cite cases where socialized medicine has failed or provided less than optimal care but the vast majority of people who enjoy national health care would not trade it for privatized medicine like we have in the U.S. They consider health care (like education) a right, not an industry designed to create profits for drug manufacturers, insurers and their respective shareholders.

There are those who will say that America offers the best health care in the world and that people come from all over to take advantage of our state of the art facilities and top notch specialists and that is true, but the people who can afford those facilities and physicians are far from the average individual. The fact that an oil-rich Arab sheik can fly his private jet to get treatment at Cedars Sinai in Beverly Hills is meaningless when someone you know and love is denied access to a potentially life-saving course of treatment because his or her insurance won't cover it. The sheik doesn't need to worry about insurance because he's got endless amounts of money, but the average American citizen doesn't have access to that same quality of medical care. The irony is that even though top notch care is offered within that American's national boundaries, it is outside of his or her financial boundaries. Those boundaries are defined not by medical need nor the location of the best doctors or medical facilities, but by what an insurance company is willing to pay the providers of these services. And that is the heart of the matter. Access to quality medical care in the U.S. is restricted to those within certain financial boundaries and the vast majority of the population might as well be living in a different country.


Geo said...

Yes! Alice is back!!! So glad to read that your insightful opinions are back and in the forefront.

Speaking of medical care, please take a look my blog, for insight into what I am going through, or what I call the "Lump blues."

Always a Fan, L.A. Geo

Jenny Lens said...

Oh Alice, you know how to make me laugh when I need it the most! I have always been truly envious you can eat what you eat and still look so hot and do so much!

As you know, things are a bit difficult these days, so I literally used pennies to pay for celery from Trader Joe's today. I could only spend $14 at the farmer's market last Saturday, not like past summers when I spent at least twice that much (and prices a tad lower). I couldn't even look at the nectarines, peaches or figs. But I eat too much fruit although I hate missing out on these during summer.

The good part is I'm losing weight again! If I ate like you, I'd fart all the time, be bloated, pimply face and struggle to keep up my energy. Cos that's what happened when I went back to cooked or processed food.

So I'm losing weight that I gained the last two years from sometimes eating like everyone else. Or what we raw foodies called SAD: standard American diet.

I pulled some Patti photos because a former member of her band asked to see scans many months ago. I came across color xerox prints, along with the stack of prints I made back in in '76. I quickly looked at my color Patti slides, which no one has seen. I cried, they are so beautiful.

Patti will be playing this Thursday, free, at the Santa Monica Pier. It's only $1.50 round-trip on the bus, but I'm not in the mood.

I remember when I gave up seeing "A Chorus Line" for the third time to be in the darkroom, printing these photos, November 1976. Now what do I listen to? "A Chorus Line" and Broadway musicals more often than any other music.

And now I'll give up seeing her. So much work to do. It's ok, I'm just not into hanging out at the beach at night. And I'll be too hungry and too tempted cos there's so much food by the beach.

So you eat what you want and I'll vicariously enjoy it. But the weird thing is, when I really get into my raw foods, and focus on veggies, I lose my appetite, plus I'm exercising every day. So I much rather do this than eat what you eat. Cos I can't get away with it! Never could.

I actually forget to eat. Now that is a miracle and not something I take for granted nor lightly. I rarely eat dinner, interesting how we can live if we are motivated.

Just as you write when you feel like it, we eat according to our needs. I just love being a raw foods vegan. And that is the best part about having no money!

Glad to hear your blog is being linked (wonder where?). My biggest grief is not being able to afford yet to change my website to a WordPress blog. It will take time, and I'm itchin' to do it. Gotta do some other things first.

It's always something! My best to all of you! And thanks for mentioning me!

Final note: I truly think the only reason I'm still living is cos of my dedication to veggies. I remember shooting speed and drinking freshly made carrot juice back in 79-80. My hands turned orange cos the drugs were messing up my system. But the carrot juice and refusal to ever eat at Top Taco kept me alive.

Top Jimmy kept a lot of punks alive, but I couldn't eat that greasy food. Not unless I'm really drunk, so booze is out too. Ha ha, the things I do for my art.

PS Turd blossom quit. Now if we could only get him to do the frog march/perp walk. These are the times I pray karma really exists.

Love ya all!
jen ;-)

Anonymous said...

Nice to have you back on the web, Ms. Bag. Thanks again for a thoughtful rebuttal to the "America - love it or leave it" mentality.

Yes, we already do have a form of socialized medicine in Medicare, but how does that help the average person who makes too much to qualify for Medicare, but too little to afford adequate insurance?

Health care reform is a huge issue that needs to be addressed but probably won't because we are heading into an election year and no candidate will want to risk alienating the big drug and insurance lobbyists.

godoggo said...

I just got back from Patti at the pier. Between songs she stressed that it's important to eat fiber every day, and remember to drink lots of water. Words to live by.