Five things to do in Austin this Thanksgiving

(Photo by: Michelle Garrett)

(Photo by: Michelle Garrett)

By: Paige Velasquez

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is here and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving tradition?  Not sure if you want to dish out that big meal this year? Start a new tradition with one of these Austin Thanksgiving Day activities.

1. Dinner and a movie

Seven courses and twelve hours of Lord of the Rings is a unique way to spend your Thanksgiving. The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is hosting The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Feast. These themed meals will be served only during Hobbit mealtimes, of course.  The celebration starts at 11 a.m.  Get your tickets here!

2. Run off that pumpkin pie

Want to get a head start on working off that big meal? Thundercloud Subs is having their annual Turkey Trot at the Long Center. There is a 5-mile run, a 1-mile walk and a Kids’ K along with raffles, awards and prizes. All proceeds go to Caritas of Austin. Register here!

3. Give thanks and give back

Take your family to serve others on Thanksgiving Day.  Operation Turkey is an Austin company that feeds 40% of the homeless and less fortunate every year. They need volunteers to cook, prepare, pack and deliver hot meals to thousands of people in the Austin community.

4. Lounge in front of the TV

Take a break from all of that cooking and catch the day’s festivities on TV. Start of the day with the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Watching the floats, balloons and entertainment, not the mention getting a glimpse of Santa Clause, is a great tradition to start with your family.  Following the parade, what would Thanksgiving be without football? The Cowboys game airs at 3:30 p.m. CT on CBS and if you cannot make it down to DKR, your Texas Longhorns play at 6:30 p.m. CT on FS1.

5. Leave the cooking to someone else

Take the family out and skip the stress of preparing a perfect meal. There are many restaurants in the Austin area that will be open for business and make you feel right at home.  Check out the list here!


Historia: Día de la Revolución

By: Paige Velasquez

Tomorrow is a day that is important for many who have roots in Mexico. Marking the start of a movement to overthrow the 34 year military rule of dictator José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori, Nov. 20 marks Día de la Revolución in Mexico.

The ten-year revolution began in 1910 and was led by 1911 president, Francisco Madero.  By writing a document that became known as “The Plan of San Luis Potosí” while in exile in San Antonio, Texas, Medrano challenged the residents of Mexico to begin a revolution on Nov. 20 at 6 p.m.

Many took up arms against Díaz such as Emilliano Zapata, who led the struggle to return the lands to the residents through ejidos. Robin Hood outlaw, Pancho Villa showed his support for Madero by heading the revolution in his region.

After Díaz surrendered, Madero set up a provisional government before being elected President of Mexico in 1911.  Even after Madero took power there was heated conflict and limited patience among the different revolution leaders.

Originally appointed to repress the offensive, Victoria Huerta ended up being the biggest traitor during the Mexican Revolution. He captured and killed Madero and his family for a short-lived victory.

The Constitutional Movement caused Huerta to flee Mexico in 1914 and reform the 1917 Constitution. Fighting ended in Mexico leading to the end of the Mexico Revolution in 1920.

To celebrate Día de la Revolución, many attend outdoor festivals where festive food is sold, stories are told and songs are sung about these revolutionary heroes.

¡Viva la revolución! ¡Viva México!

Teatro Vivo Recap: In The Words of Rupert Reyes

By: Brenda Tobar

On Thursday, Nov. 14, Teatro Vivo celebrated Rupert Reyes. The reception showcased the 20th anniversary of his recently published play, Petra’s Pecado, and his dedication to Teatro Vivo and the community.

As Reyes signed copies of Petra’s Pecado for family and friends, there was a lot of work being done behind the scenes. Reyes knew that this was going to be his night but little did he know all of his closest friends and family dedicated a special treat for him.

The night began with a slide show of videos personally recorded by individuals who expressed their love and appreciation for Reyes. This was a complete surprise for him. It was clear that the main themes of the tributes were “partnership, familia, and teatro,” which is exactly what JoAnn, Reyes’s wife stated that their life was built on.

In between the hilarious and thoughtful video messages, Reyes’s previous plays were described to the audience; Petra’s Cuentos, Petra’s Sueno, Vecinos, Crossing the Rio, Two Souls and a Promise, Cuento Navideno, Petra’s Pastorela, Route 307, and Petra’s Pecado. The lucky attendees even got a small preview of the Petra’s Pecado at the end.

Even though only a couple of scenes were acted out and there weren’t any costumes, the storyline immediately drew audiences in. Not only was it incredibly funny, but it was also clear that all of the actors were passionate about their role in it. Audiences even got the honor of seeing Reyes perform.

Even with all of the success of the recently published play, Reyes and Teatro Vivo are still finding ways to reach out to the community. Their goal is to have Petra’s Pecado in all of AISD’s schools, so that young storytellers have a chance to see themselves in it.

Reyes has made a huge impact to the community and Latino theater enthusiasts in Austin. Karina Perez Cantu who was an actress in Two Souls and a Promise said, “because of the opportunities and community Rupert and Teatro Vivo gave me, I had a reason to stay in Austin.”

Rob Rowland who has worked with him since he was 14 also shared the same appreciation for Reyes, “everything I know about theater is because of him.”

Not only did Reyes bring together all of these people but he also gave them a home. Todo junto, In the words of Rupert Reyes, was a success. It was filled with a lot of laughter, support and maybe even a few joyous tears from Mr. Reyes, pero shhh, don’t tell him we told you.

If you are interested in helping and getting Petra’s Pecado in schools and libraries in Austin follow this link,  Click Here!

Photo by: Brenda Tobar; Graphic by: Monica Rodriguez

Cultura: Hecho con Amor

With the cold front moving in tomorrow giving Austin a projected high of 55 and low of 37, we wanted to give you a way to keep your home and bodies warm.  Chili con Pollo is a quick and budget friendly recipe guaranteed to keep you cozy through the winter months.

Chili con Pollo

By Frugal Foodie Mama

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes


Los ingredientes:

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 large onion, chopped

1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

2 tbsp of canola oil

2 tsp of Penzeys Arizona Dreaming spice blend (You could also use a combination of chili powder and cumin in lieu of this spice blend.)

2 tbsp of flour

1 1/2 cups of cooked chicken

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 cup of frozen or fresh corn kernels

4 cups of chicken broth

1 tbsp of brown sugar

salt, to taste

Las instrucciones:

Go ahead and chop and mince up all of those veggies. I put the onion and garlic in one bowl and the peppers together in another bowl. Set those aside. In a large stock pot or dutch oven, heat about 2 tbsp of canola oil over medium heat. When oil is heated, add the onions and garlic and saute for about 1 minute.

Next add the jalapeno pepper and red bell pepper, and saute with the onion and garlic for another 2-3 minutes. In a small bowl, mix together the Arizona Dreaming (or your chili powder and cumin) with the flour. Add the flour mixture to the veggies in your pot and cook for another minute.

Now add your cooked chicken to the pot and stir with the pepper mixture for another minute or so.

Pour in the chicken broth and then season with the black pepper. Add the corn kernels. Cook over medium heat for another 10-12 minutes. Towards the end of the cooking time, add the brown sugar. I like to add brown sugar for the slight smoky sweetness it lends to the stew. Taste your broth. Add salt if needed.

This recipe was found on The Frugal Foodie Mama. For more recipes, visit Teatro Vivo’s Pinterest page and check our “Hecho con Amor: comida de casa” board.

Familia Feature Friday: Rupert Reyes

(Photo by:

(Photo by:

By: Paige Velasquez

Co-founder and artistic director of Teatro Vivo, Rupert Reyes is being honored on November 14 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the ESB-MACC.

Rupert will be celebrated with an evening that includes a reception, readings from his famed bilingual play “Petra’s Pecado” and a book signing. En Las Palabras de Rupert Reyes will celebrate his legacy as a renowned playwright, teacher, actor and artistic director.

Having many accomplishments throughout his career, Rupert has been named one of the 25 Most Influential Hispanics in Austin by Austin Community College and has been presented the Community Leadership Award by The University of Texas. Also being the recipient of the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center Raza Award for Artistic Partnership and the City of Austin Partners in the Arts and Humanities Award, Rupert continues to be a prevalent influence throughout the Hispanic community in Austin.

Honoring the 20th anniversary of his award winning two-act bilingual play, “Petra’s Pecado” is now available for purchase. Proceeds from the book will help bring the play to high school library shelves in Austin. You can reserve a signed copy of “Petra’s Pecado” when purchasing a ticket for the En Las Palabras de Rupert Reyes or for $10 each at the event this Thursday.

You can purchase tickets to En Las Palabras de Rupert Reyes online and RSVP on our Facebook event.

Teatro Vivo News: ESB-MACC Partnership

(Photo provided by: ESB-MACC)

(Photo provided by: ESB-MACC)

By: Paige Velasquez

The Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center (ESB-MACC) celebrates and supports Latino arts in the Austin community. The ESB-MACC created a residency program in August 2011 to increase awareness of local Latino arts organizations. The creation of the ESB-MACC Latino Arts Residency Program will attribute to the vision of Austin being recognized as the main center for Latino Arts.

Teatro Vivo’s partnership with the ESB-MACC was announced on July 13 through the Latino Arts residency program process. Being a part of the residency will influence growth in the Latino arts community and engage Austin audiences in celebrating our culture.

JoAnn Reyes, Executive Director of Teatro Vivo says that the partnership is beneficial because, “We establish a presence in one location that is great for our audience and great for the MACC in establishing a consistent arts program.”

Free parking is available for those attending Teatro Vivo productions at the ESB-MACC.

Teatro Vivo is partnering with the ESB-MACC for their 2013 program. Below are some dates to remember:

October 4-5: Yadira De La Riva  – One Journey – Stitching Stores across the Mexican American Border

November 14: In the words of Rupert Reyes

March 2014:  The Mexicentrics

May 2014: The Austin Latino New Play Festival

August 2014:  Main Stage Performance of The Dancer (working title) by Rupert Reyes

Familia Feature Friday: Aisha San Roma


Screen Shot 2014-05-06 at 11.18.40 PMBy: Paige Velasquez

Congratulations are in order for Teatro Vivo’s production, “Mariachi Girl!” Nominations for The B. Iden Payne Awards were announced for the 2012-2013 season on Oct. 9. The B. Iden Payne Awards Council recognizes excellence in Austin’s theatre community by having a volunteer committee nominate outstanding performances. Teatro Vivo’s “Mariachi Girl” brought in four nominations.

  • Aisha San Roma for Outstanding Performer
  • Brant Pope for Outstanding Director
  • Outstanding Production
  • Héctor Martínez Morales for Outstanding Original Score.

We caught up with the Outstanding Performer nominee, Aisha San Roma to get her reaction on the recent nomination.

How did you feel when you learned that you were nominated for a B. Iden Payne award?

“Honestly, I was very surprised, excited, and nervous! I thought they had contacted the wrong person.  I had to read the email a few times just to make sure.”

Describe the effect that the role of Carmensita in “Mariachi Girl” had on your career. 

 “I have been blessed that the role of Carmencita has produced invitations to audition for other bilingual plays. “Mariachi Girl” broadened my age range by allowing me to play an 8 year old which was completely new to me. The experience I got from this show will constantly show up in the future of my career because I learned so much from it.”

What is a quote that you live by?

“And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.- John Steinbeck”  “I like this quote a lot because some times the pressure to be perfect that you put on yourself or that others put on you is too much.  It makes you go insane with doubt because perfection is something you can’t live up to. This reminds me to take a step back and be proud of myself, imperfections and all.”

What do you love about Teatro Vivo?

“I love that Teatro Vivo gives a voice to Latinos. They provide a platform for the stories of our people to be told.  And because many of their productions are bilingual, anyone can enjoy them. I think that is awesome!”

Visit Teatro Vivo’s Pinterest page and check our “Tribute to Mariachi Girl” board.

A Cultura Series Post: Día de Los Muertos

By: Paige Velasquez

The Latino community is gearing up to celebrate the tradition that originated in Mexico, Día de los Muertos. On October 31, November 1 and 2, we celebrate the cycle of life and the loved ones that have passed.

Bright colored ofrendas are displayed around cemeteries and festivals to honor loved ones.  The ofrendas display pictures and memorabilia and are decorated with candles, marigolds, sugar skulls and flowers along with the deceased’s favorite foods. It is believed that lighting the candles will help loved one’s souls find their way back home.

Calaveras are a popular symbol for the holiday. These sugar skulls are crafted and given as gifts to both the living and the dead. Many that attend the Día de Los Muertos festivities paint their faces like sugar skulls and dress in costume. You can find Día de Los Muertos makeup tutorials and ofrendas ideas on Teatro Vivo’s Pinterest page under the “¡Enfiestate! Special Feature: Día de Los Muertos” board.

Austin is a multicultural city and offers various community events during the Día de Los Muertos’ festivities. These community events involve processions, shrines, live music, food, traditional dancing and costume contests.  Here are a few you might want to check out:

  • Show off your classic ride and celebrate Día de Los Muertos at MACC on Nov. 2
  • Join the procession for Día de Los Muertos Round Rock on Nov. 2 at Centennial Plaza
  • Participate in making an alter de muertos to honor your loved ones. Presented by Austin Public Library’s Literature Live, Noche de Muertos is on Oct. 30 at Southeast Branch

Cultura: Hecho con Amor

teatro vivo

(Photo by:

This year, Hispanic Heritage Month was celebrated from September 15th  through October 15th. Some gathered with la familia, others with fiestas y música. No matter the tradition, food is always on the table. What better way to relive Hispanic Heritage Month than by appreciating our heritage’s food?

For the on-the-go cook or busy stay-at-home mom, we found a simple recipe that has minimum prep time and leisure to cook from your morning cup of coffee to family dinnertime. The recipe below makes the equivalent of two large cans of store bought enchilada sauce.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce in the Slow Cooker

Makes enough sauce for two 9×13 pans of enchiladas


2 large yellow onions

4 jalapenos

4 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed

1/2 cup of chili powder

3 tablespoons of cumin

2 tablespoons of sugar

2 32 oz cans of tomato sauce

2 cups of chicken broth

2 teaspoons of Better Than Bullion

1 teaspoon of salt

Additional salt and pepper to taste

Fresh cilantro


1. Cut onions in half and remove skins. Cut jalapenos in half and remove seeds. Note: Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and wash hands immediately. You can also use gloves to handle the jalapenos.

2. Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker and cook 8 hours on low, or 4-5 hours on high. Stir once during cooking time to make sure spices are disbursed throughout the sauce.

3. Strain sauce through a colander and discard onions, garlic, and jalapeno.

4. Optional, stir in two tablespoon of chopped cilantro.

5. Divide sauce and set aside or freeze 1/2 for later use.

This recipe was found on For more recipes, visit Teatro Vivo’s Pinterest page and check our “Hecho con Amor: comida de casa” board.

Meet Yadira De La Riva

Teatro Vivo is honored to present “One Journey: Stitching Stories Across the Mexican ‘American’ Border,” a one woman show written and performed by Yadira De La Riva.

Yadira De La Riva is an artista and educator from El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz and was an intern for Theater of the Oppressed in Brazil in 2002. She has taught theater workshops in California, New York, Mexico, Brazil, Cuba and Ethiopia. Yadira recently obtained her Master’s Degree in Artivism: Performance as Cultural Resistance at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study as a Newington-Cropsey Fellow. As part of her Master’s thesis she wrote, performed and produced “One Journey: Stitching Stories Across the Mexican ‘American’ Border.”

Photo by: Noé Lomelí; Graphic by: Monica Rodriguez

This is Yadira’s Journey:

I began writing for theater in a creative effort to understand my identity as an American from the U.S./Mexico borderland of El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua. Living on the margins of the United States and Mexico, I often felt ignored or completely overlooked by mainstream media in both countries. What did it mean for me to live in a small community divided by a fence that separated my family by nationality, and for us to compromise our cultural heritages depending on what side of the border we were on and for our bi-national lifestyles to be directly impacted by border enforcement every day?

Theater has provided the vehicle for me to address U.S./Mexico border identity and issues such as immigration, labor, femicide (mass killing of women) and the recent war on drugs. These issues have impacted my community for generations and continue to inform the artist I am today. In the lack of women’s voices like mine, I am inspired to represent these marginalized American stories and to use the stage to universalize our personal experiences in the larger global context.

One Journey: Stitching Stories Across the Mexican “American” Border began as an idea, a seed planted in El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, nourished in the Bay Area, California and harvested in New York City. After ten years of digging for my history through insightful family and community interviews, I was determined to transform the richness of their stories into a dramatic interpretation that became this one-woman show.

One Journey had its world premiere in 2010 with an independently produced collaborative project entitled Emerging Identities: Bodies on the Line. Since then I have had the privilege of perform One Journey in different theaters, community centers and universities throughout the United States to raise awareness of the socio-political realities of border life. My vision is to reach international audiences, promote women’s stories and question the meaning of borders in today’s world through the lens of theater.

For more information on Yadira go to: and and buy your tickets to One Journey Here!