Tag Archives: El Ojito Springs

Randy-writer as self-promoter

I tried for a long time to promote my play ON THE EDGE.   Except for readings I arranged, it has not been produced.   Maybe it is because of the nature of the play that it hasn’t been.   Maybe not.   In this regard, actors and members of the audience agreed that the subject matter and the explicit nature of it made the play difficult to watch; one friend even suggested that I change the ending so that audience wouldn’t leave the theater so depressed.   However, positive responses from audiences and professors and readers tell me I haven’t written a dud.

The reasons why I wrote the play and why I would like to see it produced are the same.   (One director shot me down when I said the play was important.)   My promoting it has moderated, significantly, now that I have a theater of my own and can produce it myself.   I no longer have to knock on the doors of theaters, present myself as a playwright, and have no one acknowledge me.   So I no longer expect a welcome or that a business card or my personality will carry any weight, and I’ve decided promotional tours by and large are a waste of time.

The creation of a theater/creative community arts center in Tucson hasn’t been smooth and swift. From the start, and with me spending a considerable of my own money, there was a reluctance of people to participate in the effort, even after an initial expression of excitement and saying it (the venue) was something they had been looking for.   For now I am content when three or four actors show up and we’re able to explore something new: of course with financial support we could reach out more.   So, I may not have progressed as far as I might’ve hoped (my play still has not been produced and the theater/creative community arts center may still be in its infancy), but I am still me, naïve maybe, and I won’t give up.   I still have my acting workshop this evening to give and feel some original ideas I have about acting are clicking.   Original?   I think so, but there is a good chance I’m wrong.   The germ for my concepts came from Angna Enters, America’s first solo mime artist, with whom I studied under at Baylor University.   She was fond of saying, “mime (to me movement also works) is everything the actor does on stage beyond words.”

Randy Ford

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Randy-writing as part of a performance

On the Irving High School parking lot I would park my 1953 blue Chevy convertible every morning and pealed out every afternoon; I bought the car with five hundred dollars I earned at Safeway.   Not many kids my age owned their own car, even fewer paid for it themselves.   As I sped down the streets to work my radio blasted the new sounds of Rock and Roll.   The boy in the car knocked a hole in his muffler on purpose and replaced custom hubcaps with spinners, all to attract attention and girls.   For me this attention seeking was serious business; my buddies, to attract members of the opposite sex, had far less to work with.   And yet I don’t think I was ever satisfied: Larry was a football star; Cecile was smarter; and A.J. led the clique to belong to.   Feelings of inferiority often attracted ridicule in my case.   And when I wanted to be a member of the clique and the star of the football team and obviously couldn’t be either one, my self-image plummeted.   I was a junior; I felt excluded; but I had to become famous.

On Friday nights during football season, I always took off work to become a keeper of Big Irvi, the school’s mascot.   Big Irvi, the most beloved stuffed tiger in town needed someone like me.   Sure.   All I know is that standing on the sidelines during a football game in my orange overalls suited me more than sitting in the stands.   Actively participating in the event rather than watching it satisfied a basic need I had then.   The first grader, who as I remember played Santa without a suit in the Christmas play (see the YOU BETTER WATCH OUT blog) also had the same drive.   The drive was the same that led me to write my first snippets of dialogue; each time I had an audience.   Playing before an audience seems important to me, as does the theater.   For most of my life I have had a strong need to perform, and yet until recently I haven’t felt comfortable performing.

Self-consciousness, starving for attention and writing became intertwined in me.   From my earliest exaggeration to my most recent creative attempts, including my motivation for creating El Ojito Springs, I have sought the limelight…the limelight that so often corrupts and leads to compromise.   And my writing has been part of that.   And luckily as I’ve aged I’ve become less driven and more self-effacing, and more often than not, I have sought fame vicariously; this has led me to showcasing other people’s work before my own.

These past two years have been good to me.   I have helped many artists, musicians, and writers by providing them an outlet for their work.   Now, as this evolves, I’m very happy and satisfied with what I’ve done.

Good night, Randy Ford

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Randy-a writer with too many choices and not enough time

        I have written about the Sulus, China, Sumatra, Spain.   (And how enjoyable it is to revisit places I’ve been and some as in China and Spain that I haven’t, even though I am only transported there now by my imagination.)   I have written about all kinds of things.   Like my childhood friend Bobby’s emulation and idolization of James Dean: a boy, with a limp and disability, who was a lot more complex than I realized when I wrote my play based on him.   With what I know now, EPITAPH could easily be expanded.   Then that work, along with almost every thing else I have written, could be improved by my revisiting it; I’ve intended to go there; I’ve intended to go back to many projects that I know that I’ll never get to.   There are realities that I face every day that will keep from reaching all of my goals.   But that doesn’t stop me from trying.   But age, Parkinson’s, heart trouble, and living on a fixed incoming (after blowing an inheritance by pumping it into the cultural scene of Tucson) will limit what I can do, in spite of all my efforts and, contrary to how it may seem here, my optimism.

       I’ve had my successes.   Several careers in my lifetime, adventures abroad, a family, a son, and grandchildren, at sixty-five I can look back on a full, fulfilling life.   And truthfully I don’t have anything to complain about when I look ahead either.   What’s my problem then?   I don’t know where to start; but I understand that that’s not really a problem considering….   Considering what?

       It doesn’t matter where I start.   I would like to revisit all of the dangerous places around the world that I’ve been (and I’ve been to plenty); I would write about then and now; but I don’t have the money to go and, if I had, the money would have to go elsewhere.   (My financial misadventures would require that.)   There is also the matter of Teatro Carmen here in Tucson, the oldest theater building in the Southwest; and it sits dark, used for storage, and in need of restoration.   This neglect sticks in my craw, and I’ve spent the past three years, with no success, trying to do something about it.   Teatro Carmen should be a community cultural center that is never dark.   (I created El Ojito Springs Center (named after the origin of Tucson) to show on a small scale what programming could look like at a fully-restored and operating Teatro Carmen.)   So far I have failed and spent most of my money; but does that mean that I leave the project and move onto something else, especially considering everything else I want to accomplish?

      Then doesn’t it come down to choice?   And aren’t we all limited to what we have to work with?   But for someone who is as unsatisfied with him-or-herself as I am, choosing can be extremely difficult?   So why not just go with flow?   That’s how I’ve lived most of my life, and it has worked and it hasn’t.

Enough said, Randy Ford

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Randy-Curt Stubbs, a poet who writes passionately about the gay experience

      Curt Stubbs has been reading his poetry at the Open Mic series of El Ojito Springs for over a year.   He has not always been willing to share his work.   This shy man says he always liked poetry.   But until his mid-thirties he says he wouldn’t even allow himself to read poetry because “it was too faggy, too queer.”   Somehow he thought people would find out that he was gay.   Around then he married a woman so that no one would suspect his sexual preference.   Before he came out he had one sexual experience with men: he was raped by two of them.   Through his poetry Curt has been able to chronicle his gay experience.   His work has been published in the TUCSON WEEKLY, THE PHOENIX COLLEGE OWL, and THE RATTLESNAKE REVIEW.

      Curt Stubbs generally writes his poems while watching television.   He blocks it out and writes.   According to him, a phase or word gets stuck in his head and he thinks it is neat and belongs in a poem.   He says it then runs around his head for a while until he has the first three or four lines.   His poems grow from there and “come out fairly fast.”  Most of the time his poems are written in one installment.   Curt has a BA in creative writing from the University of Arizona.   He can be reached by writing him at 3880 N. Park Ave. #A Tucson, Arizona 85719.   He has no computer, typewriter, car, or working stereo.  Even his television is 19 inches.

      Here are three examples of poems by Curt Stubbs.   The first one he is really fond of.  It is based on personal experience.



The rope sings through the pitons.

The wind shrieks curses in our ears,

                    and we climb

                    seek to reach that peak

                    that looms in the leading edge of vision.

                    Our toes grasp desperately at the slightest ledge.

                    Our fingers grip knuckle deep in every cranny,

                    and the rope

                    stretched taut from man to man

                    bonds just as tightly as the smiles that light our faces.

                     Our muscles shake with strain, exhaustion.

                      Nervous sweat stains our clothing,

                      and you say

                      that you can’t make it,

                      as though expecting us to cut the rope and let you fall.

                      Having reached this peak we see others looming taller,

                      Making this mountain less than we had thought,

                      but we know

                      having this one together

                      that no mountain need be feared, no peak left unassailed.

      The next poem won Curt an Honorable Mention at the Tucson Poetry Festival and was publish in THE TUCSON WEEKLY.


Its never been acknowledged

but Adam and I

were lovers. You pooh-pooh me,

but I was there. Sometimes

when Eve slept, he would come

to me and we’d make love under

the paw-paw tree. Above us the monkeys

would jibber their foreign language

and throw paw-paw fruit at us.

Oh, she knew what we were doing,

her husband and I, but as long

as she didn’t see us she could

accept it. Life was sweet then,

in the Garden, two of everything (except me)

and still there was enough to eat.

He and I talked about it, we thought

it would never end.

When my friend the serpent,

dapper in his tails and white tie,

had his way with Eve and then Adam

Big G. said it was my fault.

He taught the newlyweds shame

and made love between them more fragile.

G made the serpent a bottom,

crawling on his belly. Me He made

an outcast cut off from my lover,

from my best friend and my neighbor.

I still see Adam sometimes,

at the mall, on the street, but G.

has shrouded his eyes so he

doesn’t know me or remember how much

he once loved me. Eve never knew

me so she just thinks I don’t exist.

My old friend the serpent has changed

his diet from apples to rodents

and now all his thoughts are of dull,

small, furry creatures. We have nothing

left to talk about. G.’s the only

one left from the first days. We talk

a lot about the good old days

and the restoration of the Garden

when the others are ready.

      The last poem is Curt’s favorite.   It was part of the Writer Series on KXCI radio Tucson, Arizona.


I was arrested in the neon high sun

by a rookie policeman who said he didn’t

know poetry. He and his old lady read

best sellers, he said, when they read at all.

He told me if I didn’t quit screaming verses

at him things would go hard on me and then he

banged my head on the door jamb of his squad car.

I stood there stupid with a mouth full of words

and no one I could say them to.

I was arraigned in a room where the walls were stained gray

by the lives of the ones who’d been arraigned there before me.

The back of the bench in front of me had teeth marks,

a full set, where someone else had bit back their words,

when they found out the judge didn’t know poetry either.

The judge said his name was Stud Poker and he didn’t

tolerate laughter when justice was being dealt out.

I was found guilty by a jury who also didn’t

Know poetry but still thought they were my peers.

The foreman was a trim black woman who wore

haute couture fashion but still thought poetry

wasn’t being written these days. She said the last

of the poets died before this country was born.

She didn’t know that poetry is not written but lived.

I was sentenced to confinement in a single cell,

And to have my eyes blindered, my hands shackled,

and my mind laundered. Judge Poker thanked the jury.

My mother shed tears and begged him for mercy, but

what does she know about poetry anyway?

      Yes, Curt, you’re right. Poetry is not written but lived.   Good night, Randy Ford


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Guitar Summit at New El Ojito Springs Location

Gabriel Ayala

Gabriel Ayala

“Concierto a La Alhambra de Tucson” presented by El Ojito Springs at ArtFare, 39 N. 6th Avenue, Tucson Arizona. Featuring the following guitarists: Gabriel Ayala: Tango/Flamenco, Jocelyn Celaya: Radical Classical, Andres Lemons: Flamenco. Three Genres in one night ending with a collaboration of all three styles. September 12, 2008 at 7:30 pm, tickets available at the door-$15 or -$10 in advance. A Master Class will be presented on September 13, 2008. $25 if you wish to perform for evaluation (limited number of tickets available) or $10 to audit. Visit www.elojitosprings.com for more information.

Gabriel Ayala, who will be playing classical, flamenco and tango guitar, performs regularly throughout the United States and has appeared at the Kennedy Center for the Arts, National Museum for the American Indian, ASU Keer Cultural Center, and Meyer Theatre in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  He has been recognized by the State of Arizona and Governor Janet Napolitano for his musical achievements and has been named a Tucson Citizen of the Month as well as Artist of the Month for the IICOC (Indigenous Internet Chamber of Commerce). Ayala resides in Tucson, Arizona.

Ayala’s first CD, “Gabriel Ayala,” was nominated for a Native American Music Award, Best Independent Recording in 2003. Ayala’s most recent release, 2008 “Tango!” includes many original arrangements by Ayala and was released by Canyon Records. Gabriel’s website is www.ayalaguitarist.com

Jocelyn Celaya is a Radical Classical guitarist and vocalist, born in San Diego, Ca and Rosarito, Mexico. She performs a unique fusion of methods and styles that have a classical foundation and combines this with her own brand of vocal accompaniment. She has toured Europe and has played for Queen Elizabeth twice, the second time by special invitation. Her website is www.jocelyncelaya.net

Jocelyn Celaya

Jocelyn Celaya

Andrés Perches Lemons started playing flamenco guitar nine years ago. However, his first interest in music was the electric guitar, which he began playing at age 12. Andrés has visited and studied in Sevilla, Spain. Andrés has performed with several Flamenco ensembles and accompanies Flamenco Singers/Dancers on a regular basis. Besides flamenco, Andrés has an interest in jazz, Brazilian music, and rock. You can contact him via his myspace account at: http://www.myspace.com/andreslemons

Andres Lemons

Andres Lemons

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Randy—the nature of a writer

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Art Exhibit – Opening and Reception, August 16, Tucson – El Ojito Springs Gallery

Art Exhibit, El Ojito Springs Gallery, Tucson - August 16

Art Exhibit, El Ojito Springs Gallery, Tucson - August 16

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