On Friday, June 10th at 5:00, we'll be showing El Andalon, which won the Santa Cruz Film Festival's Audience Award for Best Short Documentary. It's a beautiful and heartwarming presentation of Sergio Castro. He grew up as an orphan in Chiapas but has become a godfather to 80 children through his work in healing, building schools, and using his many languages to foster understanding. The respect and humor with which he treats patients in his free clinic/museum is genuine and endearing.
Consuelo Alba and John Speyer, the film's directors, will show their film, which has won nine awards and counting on the Film Festival circuit. All funds raised by FitH will go directly to Sergio for medical supplies to continue his humanitarian work.
We also have a guest chef, the fearless voyager Betsy McNair. Her My Mexico tours have brought people from around the world to Sergio's museum, where he displays the indigenous clothing that's been given to him and explains the diverse cultures of Chiapas. It was through her tours that Consuelo and John discovered Sergio.
Her tours also include regular visits to Diana Kennedy, the Julia Child of Mexico. Her colorful cookbook, Mexicocina, is subtitled "The spirit and style of the Mexican kitchen." Betsy herself is full of both spirit and style. This menu of hers was featured in Bon Appetit magazine.
On to the menu!
You can view the trailer here. I have the DVD, which would be great to show before the dinner if anyone would like to offer a viewing space. It's an inspirational half-hour and the indefatigable Betsy McNair will be helping to prepare an appropriately Mexican feast.
Thanks to my core FitHies for raising $80 for the Office of the Americas for Blaise and Theresa Bonpane. Thanks especially to Janna Hoadley, who stayed after the Sentinel photo shoot to help cook. The Sentinel article was on the Urban Garden Share project that connects willing gardeners with garden space. I've already claimed Janna, but if you'd like to put your garden space or gardening skills up for adoption, it's easy to post a listing on the site. If you happened to have your first date this weekend, you could also list it as an action on the 350 challenge!
For our cause this week we'll be revisiting my favorite charity - Rights Action. With a staff of only two or three people, they seem to be everywhere in Latin America. Recent articles talk about the worsening repression in Honduras, the mining exploitation in Guatemala, the anti-drug war movement in Mexico, and Haiti's new US-backed strongman President. I'm reminded of Margaret Mead's phrase, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world." But she should have added "feisty and stubborn" when it comes to Grahame Russell and Annie Bird.
We'll be out on the front lawn again this Friday the 13th from 4:00 to 6:00. I'm missing my to-go crew, who I don't get to see with my sit-down dinners! The menu is from an all-vegetarian cookbook called Super Naturals by Heidi Swanson, who also has the website 101 Cookbooks. She's revolutionized my thinking about healthy foods, especially exotic grains and oils. So I wanted to share her tasty ideas with you.
This FitH Friday happens to be the day after my 54th birthday (or is that FitHieForth?) It seems like forever ago that I did my first fundraiser event for my 50th. We had art, music, homemade pizza from Randall and Chinshu, cream puffs from Jean Q, my friend Alice organizing the white elephant auction, and David from Peru there to talk about the reforesting project that we were supporting. How is it possible that I didn't know all of you then? I remember thinking that this could be the start of a new phase in my life, and I remember thinking that I would never in a million years do this again. Fortunately the second feeling passed.
Thanks to all of you for proving to me that things I dream up really can happen. And also - thanks to your nominations, I'm top of the list of speakers for the TEDx Santa Cruz talks in June. I'll keep you posted!
This week we'll be raising funds for the Office of the Americas for the frugal and fearless Theresa and Blase Bonpane. Before they were husband and wife they were a priest and nun working together in Latin America. For 28 years they've operated a nonprofit on a shoestring, started by one donation from Martin Sheen. They led a march from one end of South America to the other. One day their teenage son asked where Dad was and the other son answered, "It's Wednesday, so he must be in jail" - there's the life of an activist.
But Charity Navigator wouldn't approve of the OOA. According to Charity Navigator, a nonprofit needs $250 million or a year's operating expenses in the bank in order to rate a 10. Blase and Theresa have foregone their salaries, laid off the paid staff, and even lent the nonprofit money so it could support other organizations in need. But they find themselves with $40,000 of expenses in arrears. So I'm joining with Ed Asner, Noam Chomsky, and 25 illustrious others to make sure they aren't left on the hook. I prefer my charities to navigate like Dorothy Day did: steam ahead now and figure out how to pay the bills later.
At the SF Green Festival this weekend I seized my book-signing moment to talk with Amy Goodman. She'd already signed my books at the Capitola BookCafe and at the DC Green Festival, when I told her how Veronica and I listen to Democracy Now and cook for our neighborhood fundraiser. This time I had the chance to introduce her to Veronica. She was excited to hear that we'd raised $200 last week for the Aristede Foundation and that this week we'll be raising funds for the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti. They're at 93% of their $30,000 goal to prosecute Baby Doc Duvalier. We could be the last little bit they need!
The Grammy-winning band Arcade Fire has featured Haiti in a song and talked about the IJDH's work to bring Duvalier to justice.
This week will be a sit-down dinner starting at 7:00 for the first 10 people who respond. I've found that it's been difficult to have food ready to-go and also keep it hot to serve in courses. So I'm simplifying by doing either a dinner party, like this one, or having a take-out dinner, as we'll be doing more in the summer when the weather's better.
On to the food, which is all from the cookbook Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Suzanne Goin. You can see their current menu here and calculate how much you're saving from their $45 a person price tag - and all the while bringing down dictators!
We've been working like dogs to get the new Hood Dining Hall painted. No, that's not true. I know a lot of dogs and they eat, sleep, and play. We've been working like people... and it's finally done!
For the 100th anniversary of Women's Day, we made $100 for the Global Fund for Women. And we had a wonderful time with new FitHers Jerry and Regla, who's promised to help cook a Cuban Feast-in-the-Hood in the future.
This week we'll be eating Pacific Asian food in solidarity with the victims of the triple tragedy - earthquake, tsunami, radiation. Our hearts are breaking for the people of Japan. Keep eating that nori and miso as natural ways to boost our iodine. We need to stay strong and healthy so we can keep helping others. The world needs us!
While we snack on this Chinese-Thai-Vietnamese-Hawaiian-Indian-Roman fusion, we'd like to benefit the Aristide Foundation in Haiti. Welcome back, President Jean-Bertrand! And check out the interview on Democracy Now with the first among ladies, Mildred Aristide. What a woman!
This is also First Friday for Art Tours. I had no idea what a beautiful and well-stocked website they had. So much to look at! So many different ways to perceive! We'll be having our FitH from 5 - 8, so you can start here and nibble your way through a night of tasty morsels for all of the senses.