Alter the Altar Arte by Rudy M. Herrera, 2023.
Bienvenidxs a Ruby City + Spare Parts annual Bubble Fest (At Home) 2021!
We got fancier this year and hired GIV Productions to shoot a bubbly backyard all-vinyl DJ set as the sun was setting on another Saturday en San Anto.
My set from Spring 2020 was so sincere and tender, but this time I wanted to turn up the optimism & grooviness & effervescence.
I wore Christopher John Rogers + Target, tied the Kimberly Drew style, and iridescent acrylic paper picado earrings by Neon Dragon.
For the last installment of guest spots on WFMU's Radio Row, I commissioned Rafael Delagarza to make a collage to commemorate the theme of travel, both literal and metaphorical, and he outdid himself with this paper theater set to the song that inspired the entire show (but didn't make the cut), Calle 13's "La Vuelta al Mundo."
It's been surreal making radio for WFMU, I'm profoundly grateful to DJ Sheila B, Olivia Bradley-Skill, my fam, the musicians, and all the listeners for this opportunity.
Incognito is URBAN-15's annual dance party, and I was so happy to be part of the video production.
My all-vinyl set includes: Sávila, Los Angeles Azules, El Mesquite, La Sonora Santanera, Conjunto Tierra Blanca, Celso Piña, Lila Downs, El Michels Affair, Antibalas + Mayra Vega, Los Destellos, El Hijo de la Cumbia, Juan Gabriel, Brown Sugar, Marinero, Kali Uchis, Selena, Fito Olivares, Steve Jordan, Flaco Jimenez, Aniceto Molina, Gloria Estefan, King Africa. Calle 13, Celia & Johnny, Kaoma.
On February 25, 2021, I had the privilege of being interviewed by Xico González of Radio Xicanismo. He asked me 12 preguntas and I played 12 rolas (13, actually, because a viewer requested Ramón Ayala!) that trace my Tejana DJ origin story.
I broke up the sets into categories because that's my pleasure:
1. The Gateways / Bridges to Latin (for lack of a better word) Music.
2. Los Tíos Rowdies
3. Las Tías Divas
4. Lxs Sobrinxs / Next Wave
You can watch the show here!
Join me as I trace my Tejana rebirth roots through música, memories, poetry, storytelling, and chisme. I cite my sources and share songs that helped pull me through, helped push me into the cenote, and up and out again.
This is the soundtrack of one San Antonian on her journey to overcome history, trust her ancestors, and find herself in four sets:
1. Gifted: Burned CDs from 2004-2009 ft. Ash DeLeon
2. The Only Mix Manny Ever Made Me, aka The Rowdy Mix
3. The Bar America Jukebox, the songs I'd always select.
4. The Many Loves of DJ Despeinada: tracks of my tears.
KSTX radio documentary about San Anto Cultural Arts
Blues Poems, Everyman's Library Pocket Poets, 2005
Readings for Remembrance, ed. Eleanor Munro, 2000
Cien Sonetos de Amor, Pablo Neruda, 1959
Mixcloud Radio Show
for Manuel Diosdado Castillo, Jr.
& Everyone He Ever Loved.
On Sunday, November 1, 2020, All Saints’ Day and Día de los Muertos Eve, I presented a show entitled “Missing my Muertos” on WFMU’s Radio Row.
El Día de los Muertos has ancient indigenous roots in what is now known as México with rituals and iconography that evolved after the European conquest and subsequent colonialism. More recently, the sacred season has morphed even further due to Coco-fication (thanks, Disney), also known as the pizza effect, in the form of plastic calaveras and Day of the Dead-themed paraphernalia sold at dollar stores and high-end boutiques alike.
But the bottom line remains the same: this is the season when the dead come home.
The show features music I gathered from my own private playlist of grieving and healing. I am building a bicultural/bilingual ofrenda, an offering of songs, which represents my own personal muertitos whose absence still kill me, and whose yearly visitations are cause for pause and celebration.
Oh, how I miss my rancho schoolteacher great-grandma, and my favorite tío, the fisherman, and my loco father who died alone in his easy chair, and my secret hero lover man, and my puro Mexicano grandpa who wept at Hank Williams’ songs, and my bad abuela who showed me where to look among the garbage and the flowers, and my sad clown tío who only recently joined this army of angels.
Distance keeps me from visiting cemeteries and cleaning graves, and some of my muertos aren’t buried anywhere anyway, so that part of the tradition dies with me.
In San Antonio, the wind starts to shift around mid-October, and I feel this glittery feeling as I prepare to build a home altar that is a centerpiece of memory. The idea is to tempt the spirits, or at least remind them, of their former earthly delights.
Photos, artifacts, favorite foods and libations to jog their senses, candles and cempasúchil (marigolds) to help them navigate the fog, water to parch the dusty thirst, and music, always music.
Ofrendas and altars are a way of sending signals through the wispy veil, but I like the idea that “Missing My Muertos” will be transmitted over radio and Internet waves. And then archived!
The songs themselves will flow out and mirror the now debunked, but still relevant, Kübler-Ross Five Stages of Grief, and I find it achingly appropriate that I use my airtime to acknowledge the dead and dedicate songs to them during the 2020 pandemic.
Who didn’t feel denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and (finally, maybe) acceptance over the past months in quarantine?
In my research I found that there is a proposed sixth stage: meaning.
Maybe I want my show to mean something in the face of all this loss.
Mainstream and subculture, American and Latinx, dead and living, women and men, we all lose what we love most, and that includes this earthly existence. The encroaching appropriation of a Mexican holiday with indigenous roots is only tapping into a universal, though long buried, part of life on earth.
As Nick Cave and friends insist: death is not the end.
Recording "Missing My Muertos" from my casita.
Tejana Dream 45 RPM by Regina Román @flojalife
August 7, 2020
I was hired by Diana Lopez to curate a medicinal mix of music for the community of Southwest Workers Union.
Musicians of color from all eras and representing multiple genres are centered in the six hour mix, and I wove in audio clips of voices of activists such as Angela Davis, James Baldwin, and Cherrie Moraga in order to add texture to the mix and remind listeners that we have been here before, and we will get through it again.
Click the Spotify link here.
DJ Despeinada spins vinyl soundscapes of the borderlands.
In her sets, she centers women/identified artists of color, both in response to DJs who primarily amplify male voices and musicians, but also because it SOUNDS really good, healing, and inspiring to remember and reconnect with all the mothers and sisters and daughters who created beautiful songs throughout eras, cultures, and across genres.
DJ Despeinada is currently booking gig and accepting commissions for digital DJ sets & curated playlists.
Special rates available for non-profit organizations.
DJ Despeinada has collaborated with countless San Anto organizations and curated sets for many unforgettable private parties.
Some of her most cherished partnerships include:
Saluté International Bar (where she honed her DJ identity)
Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center (which helped catapult her career)
Evergreen Garden (the home of Siempre Verde)
Muertos Fest/Galaxy Productions (the home of Nicho Sonido)
Esperanza Peace and Justice Center
Presa House Gallery
Centro San Antonio
Marfa Public Radio
McNay Art Museum
City of San Antonio Dept. of Arts & Culture
San Anto Cultural Arts
University of Texas at San Antonio
San Antonio AIDS Foundation
Martinez Street Women's Center/Empower House
San Antonio Public Library
Southwest Worker's Union
Southwest School of Art
San Antonio Museum of Art
San Antonio Current
Contemporary Art Month
International Women's Day March SA
Trinity University Press
Copyright © 2023 Bonnie Ilza Cisneros - All Rights Reserved.