5:30 pm, 11/14 VBB’s next production: A celebration of VBB’s Archives at the University of Houston Library!

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Past Seasons

If you have ideas about shows you’d like to see presented in Houston or would like to participate in community discussions, please call or email our office.

VBB’s Second Decade: 2013-14

To get regular updates about our shows please join our email list.This year, VBB is initiating our Borderlines series that is grounded in homes around Houston's historic Near Northside neighborhood, known for its 1978 political race uprising termed the "Moody Park Riots," which resulted from the brutal murder of a Latino by members of the Houston Police Department.

Borderlines explores the relationship between USA and Mexico as walls continue to rise and families are torn apart in regions that, though once part of Mexico, now belong to the United States. Likewise, looking through the borders that demarcate South Asia, VBB will examine shared histories and cultures in three South Asian nations, India-Pakistan-Bangladesh, where diverging narratives have emerged regarding the circumstances and violence surrounding the 1947 Partition and Bangladesh's 1971 Liberation War.

As VBB explores different layers of history through the creation of new and innovative art, we aim to illuminate local and global connections to bring communities together so that cultural borders can be erased and histories better understood.

Fall 2013

a vbb book launch + benefit
Buy Books! Drink VBB Better!

VBB Arts First Pulication

6:00-10 pm, Sunday, October 6, 2013
Drink Houston Better, Poison Girl, 1641 Westheimer Rd, 77006
$ Free

VBB opens our 2013-14 Season with a celebration + launch of our first two publications, both partially funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, at a special event hosted by Poison Girl's Drink Houston Betterseries. The publications feature two of VBB's most recent living room art productions: Women Under Siege (Spring 2012) and Homes and Histories (Fall 2012/Spring 2013). They include essays written by a large pool of community activists, artists, and academics including Rice University lecturer Anne Chao, architectural historian Stephen Fox, UH Associate Professor Kairn Klieman, performance artist Autumn Knight, VBB Artistic Director/Founder Sehba Sarwar, VBB Co-Founder/Poet Jacsun Shah, Houston Area Women's Center CEO Rebecca White, Planned Parenthood's Senior Director of Security and Facilities Larissa Lindsay, and many more. Some contributing essayists from Pakistan include poet Attiya Dawood, economist Haris Gazdar, researcher Aslam Khwaja, women's rights activist Hilda Saeed, and human rights advocate Zohra Yusuf.

Woven throughout the essays are photographs by Paul Hester, Akbar Baloch, Burnell McCray, Mahwash Rehman, and Katie Plochek as well as links connecting the reader to VBB documentaries by Yunuen Perez Vertti and interactive websites by Angela Martinez. These multimedia features allow the reader to experience VBB's productions as they unfurled!

All drink and book proceeds will go towards the support of VBB and our artists.

This event is hosted by Poison Girl's Drink Houston Better fundraiser, which supports a different non-profit every month.


a vbb Borderlines production
Marking History

Moody Park Riot

12:00-2 pm, October 26, 2013 
Moody Park, 3725 Fulton St, 77009
Curated by Monica Villarreal with support from Jimmy Castillo, Autumn KnightRobert PruittHarbeer Sandhu, Rob Block, and Sehba Sarwar
$ Free | Potluck

VBB kicks off our 2013-14 Borderlines productions with a Saturday social looking back at the events that transpired on May 7, 1978 in Moody Park to shape and contextualize the tenuous border relations of US-Mexico and Pakistan-Bangladesh-India.

The afternoon includes an opening blessing by Danza Azteca Taxcayolotl; a spoken word performance by dee!colonize; Chayn Ki Bansuri, a sound installation conceived by Durriya Kazi, performed by Muzaffer Hussain, and dedicated to bringing peace to Karachi, Pakistan; an altar/shrine installation dedicated to individuals affected by police and border brutality; and, a potluck!

We invite you, no matter where you are in the city of Houston, to bring a meaningful photograph or item for the installation and/or a potluck dish to share. All are welcome!

For those in other parts of the world who wish to participate in the commemorative installation, feel free to send us images via e-mail: info<@>

Some partnering organizations for the Borderlines series include: Arte Público Press, Avenue CDC, BorderSenses (El Paso), KPFT Pacifica Radio 90.1 FM, Houston Institute for Culture, and The Station Museum.


a vbb living room art | Borderlines production
Exploring Rituals

Borderlines Exploring Rituals
Photos by Mahwash Rahman and Katie Plochek

2:00-5 pm, December 7, 2013
At the homes of Frank Aguilar and Arlene and Mario Zamora; parking at the Leonel Castillo Community Center, 2101 South St., Houston, 77009
$ Free

Curated by Robert Pruitt and Sehba Sarwar with support from Rob Block, Jimmy Castillo, Autumn Knight, Harbeer Sandhu, and Monica Villarreal
Participating artists include The Asaro Collective, Britto Arts Trust, Chhobir Haat, Erika Harrsch, Naila Mahmood, Sadya Mizan, Punjabi Cultural Society, Tentative Collective, M'Kina Tapscott, Vasl Artists' Collective and many more

Participate in the transformation of two neighboring Near Northside homes in a Borderlines production that explores how ritual commemorations - shrines, altars, ritablos, temples, performances and gestures -  mediate history and memory along two border regions: US-Mexico and India-Pakistan-Bangladesh.

If inspired, please join us by dressing in a way significant to a ritual you celebrate, or come as you are. Celebrate with us and remember your culture's rituals!

Original prints by Asaro Collective will be on sale!

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Venga y participe en la transformación de dos casas vecinas localizadas en el “Near Northside”, en una producción de Borderlines que explora cómo los rituales conmemorativos- santuarios, altares, retablos, actuaciones y gestos- median la historia y la memoria de las regiones fronterizas: EUA-México y India-Pakistán-Bangladesh.

Si se inspira, favor de vestirse de acuerdo a las tradiciones de los rituales que usted celebre. ¡Celebre con nosotros y recuerde sus rituales culturales!

Láminas originales por Asaro Collective estarán en vente.

Co-Sponsored by | Patrocinada por:Avenue CDC, KPFT Pacifica Radio 90.1 FM, Houston Institute for Culture, Neighborhood Centers Inc., and The Station Museum.

Food and drinks are donated by Trader Joe's and St. Arnold's Brewery.


Spring 2014

a vbb reading
Reading at Brazos Bookstore!

Borderlines Shared Histories

7:00 PM, February 11, 2014
Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet, Houston, 77005
$ Free

On Tuesday, February 11, 2014, join us for a reading at Brazos Bookstore featuring essayists from our Homes and Histories art catalogue: Anne S. Chao + Stephen Fox!

Beer will be available compliments of Saint Arnold's Brewery!

About the Catalogue

Homes and Histories further expands VBB's Fall 2012/Spring 2013 living room art production that took place on the streets of Freedmen's Town, Houston with digital links to Lyari, Karachi (Pakistan) and to villages outside of Karachi. Freedmen's Town was founded and built by enslaved peoples immediately after Emancipation in the 1860s, while Lyari is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Karachi and home to a large Baloch community whose roots are in east Africa. VBB's exciting new catalogue features essayists who explore issues related to both communities; academics who discuss the history of Freedmen's Town and the African diaspora; writings by curators involved in VBB's production; and transcripted interviews with residents of both Freedmen's Town and Lyari. The publication captures the ground-breaking two-part event and includes stunning photographs and links to digital media.


a vbb Writing for Self-Discovery workshop
Writing for Self-Discovery Teacher Workshop

Writing for SelfDiscovery

Beginning Thursday, February 20, 2014 from 5-7 PM
Wharton K-8 Dual Language Academy, 900 W. Gray, Houston 77019
$ Free | Limited Spaces

Kicking off on Thursday, February 20th, our Writing for Self-Discovery (WSD) Teacher Workshop is free and open to public school educators. WSD offers teachers the tools they need to enrich literacy experiences for students as well as for themselves.

The workshop includes 8 weekly workshops on Thursdays from 5-7 PM and one 3-hour Saturday retreat; one certificate for 17 professional development hours; and the opportunity to perform writings at our annual Teachers and Students Speak Out series.

The teacher workshops will be led by performance artist Marcela Descalzi and visual artist Jennifer Palermo (MA, LPC)

This workshop is co-sponsored by Poets and Writers and Wharton K-8 Dual Language Academy.


a vbb cultural narratives production
David Barsamian
+ Don Sanders at HIC!


7 PM, Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Houston Institute for Culture, 708-C Telephone Rd., 77023
$ Free


Don't miss an exciting opportunity to catch David Barsamian on his national tour as he visits Houston to discuss the recent publication, Power Systems: Conversations on Global Democratic Uprisings and the New Challenges to U.S. Empire, featuring interviews between Barsamian and Noam Chomsky. After the discussion, Barsamian will answer questions from the audience, and sign books.

Doors open at 6:30- Houston's own Don Sanders will perform at 7, followed by David Barsamian at 7:30. Beer will be served courtesy of Saint Arnold's Brewery!

One of America's most tireless and wide-ranging journalists, Barsamian has altered the independent media landscape, both with his weekly radio program and his books with Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Tariq Ali, Edward Said, Eqbal Ahmad, and Arundhati Roy. His articles and interviews appear in The Progressive, The Sun, and other magazines and journals. Barsamian also serves on VBB’s Advisory Board and is director of Alternative Radio and author of many books of interviews, including Targeting Iran.

Don Sanders has been performing in and around Houston since the '60s. A central figure in the Texas singer-songwriter milieu, Sanders is best known for his story and song performances in schools, festivals, and theaters throughout the Southwest. Over the years he has shared the stage with Lyle Lovett, Nanci Griffith, Pete Seeger, Arlo Gutherie, Lightin' Hopkins, Guy Clark, Eric Taylor, Vince Bell, Townes Van Zandt, and Janis Joplin. He was also featured in the award winning documentary For the Sake of the Song about Houston's legendary venue, Anderson Fair.

This Cultural Narrative is organized by Wally James host of Progressive Forum and Michael Woodson host of Living Art, both shows can be heard on KPFT Pacifica Radio 90.1 FM, and is cosponsored by KPFT Pacifica Radio 90.1 FM and Houston Institute for Culture.


a vbb-Avenue CDC community workshop
Borderlines: Community Workshop

Borderlines Shared Histories

Beginning March 10, 2014, Closed Workshop

This Spring, VBB is partnering with Avenue CDC to host a community arts and writing workshop facilitated by Stalina Villarreal for Spanish-speaking mothers in the Northside.

Participants will have the opportunity to share their work with a larger audience at our Spring 2014 living room art production and Near Northside's annual Sabor del Northside festival!

This workshop is co-sponsored by Avenue CDC, Go! Neighborhoods, and LISC.


a vbb live art production
Teachers and Students Speak Out 6

VBB Teachers and Students Speak Out 6

3-6 PM, Saturday, April 26, 2014
At the home of Marna + Mike Marsh, 3426 Wichita, 77004
$ Free | Suggested donation: $5

Join VBB's workshop facilitators Marcela Descalzi, Jennifer Palermo, and Nicole Zaza for our 6th annual Teachers and Students Speak Out production, a unique, art filled afternoon featuring performances and readings by teachers and students from VBB's Writing for Self Discovery workshops.

Teachers and Students Speak Out has provided a space for the voices of teachers and students to be heard since its inception in 2009---Be a part of their journey!

Light refreshments and beer donated by Saint Arnold's Brewery will be served following the performances.

Thanks to our co-sponsors at KPFT Pacifica Radio 90.1 FM, Poets + Writers, Wharton K-8 Dual Language Academy, and Houston Institute for Culture.


a vbb Borderlines screening + panel
Shared Histories

Jose Campos Torres
Image by Monica Villarreal

7-9 PM, Thursday, May 8, 2014
Moody Park Community Center, 3725 Fulton St, 77009
$ Free

Join us for a screening of The Case of Joe Campos Torres, a film by award-winning filmmaker and local activist Carlos Calbillo. This powerful documentary chronicles one of the most infamous cases of police misconduct in Houston history by tracing the events and subsequent community-protest meetings, community/police department negotiations, and legal actions taken by the Torres family against the Houston Police Department and the City of Houston.

After the screening, stay for a panel discussion moderated by Robinson Block, featuring long time community activists Daniel Bustamante + Gloria Rubac, University of Houston professor Raúl Ramos, and nephew of the late Jose Campos Torres, Richard Molina. The panel will further explore the tensions surrounding the murder of Jose Campos Torres, the Moody Park Rebellion, and the lasting impact of both in local and international contexts.

This production is co-sponsored by Moody Park Community Center and Southwest Alternate Media Project (SWAMP).


a vbb living room art | Borderlines production
Crossing the Lines

VBB Borderlines Crossing Lines
Photos: Mahwash Rahman and Katie Plochek

2-5 PM, Saturday, May 17, 2014
At the home of Lionardo Matamores, 415 Quitman, 77009
Parking at Bible Days Church, 501 Quitman, 77009; Leonel Castillo Community Center, 2101 South St., 77009 (a few-block walk); or take MetroRail's Red Line to the Quitman Stop (2-block walk)
$ Free | Suggested donation: $5

Curated by Sehba Sarwar, Rob Block, Jimmy Castillo, Michelle Garcia, Karen Martinez, and Monica Villarreal.

Participating artists include Devil Killing Moth, Harbeer Sandhu, and Samhita Sunya (Houston); Sabina Haque and Naila Mahmood (Pakistan); Britto Arts Trust, Shadhin Chowdhury and Sadya Mizan + Tanvir Murad Topu (Bangladesh); Peace Street (Afghanistan); Patricia Vázquez (Portland/Mexico City); and, Adriana Trujillo + José Inerzia, Mónica Arreola, and Alejandro Cossio (Mexico).

In this living room art production, local and international artists work together to transform a historical Near Northside home by interpreting the phrase, Crossing the Lines, as it relates to art, politics, and social issues. Addressing how humans traverse, avoid, or manipulate the borders and barriers we create for ourselves, these artists seek to compel audiences out of their comfort zones to trigger an exploration of how boundaries shape our physical spaces and our socio-political identities. Please bring your family and join us for an afternoon filled with art, community, food and Saint Arnold's beer!

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En esta producción de living room art, artistas locales e internacionales trabajan juntos para transformar un casa histórica del Near Northside al interpretar la frase, Crossing the Lines (Cruzando Líneas), en lo que se refiere al arte, la política, y asuntos sociales. Dirigiéndose a como el humano atraviesa, evita, o manipula fronteras y barreras que creamos para nosotros mismos, estos artistas buscan obligar audiencias a salir de sus zonas de confort y provocar una exploración de cómo límites forman nuestros espacios físicos y entidades sociopolíticas. Por favor acompáñenos con su familia para una tarde llena de arte, comunidad, comida y Cerveza Saint Arnold.

CoSponsored by | Patrocinada por Arte Público Press, Avenue CDC, KPFT Pacifica Radio 90.1 FM, Houston Institute for Culture, Tahirih Justice Center, Leonel Castillo Community Center, and Poets and Writers.


vbb's annual fundraising event
La Valiente 2014 :: Writers Who Persevere


7-10 PM, Saturday, August 23, 2014
At the home of Mehnaz Shafi + Muzaffar Qazilbash
Home of Mehnaz Shafi + Muzaffar Qazilbash,
6348 Westchester Ave., 77005

Since 2003, VBB and our Board have honored artists and activists who reflect our organization's passionate commitment to speaking out and inciting social change through art. This year, we return to our literary roots (VBB began with a poem and a bookstore, after all) by honoring Gwendolyn Zepeda and Rich Levy, two writers + poets whose works give voice to the quotidian by privileging the individual, thereby democratizing the genres they embrace. Undeterred by personal challenges, both writers continue persevering to carve out spaces for their work because of their belief in the written word's ability to reflect and examine the issues that matter to our community and beyond

We invite you to join us on Saturday, August 23rd as we honor these two renowned Houston writers to celebrate their achievements!

For more information on joining our hosting committee or sponsoring the event, please visit our La Valiente 2014 page!

La Valiente 2014 Planning Committee includes Yolanda Alvarado, Carmen Peña Abrego, Kathy Harrison, Ana Laurel, Sehba Sarwar, Jacsun Shah, and Katherine Yzaguirre.


2013-14 Co-Sponsorships

Diverse Works on Wednesdays: Words for Peace

6:00 pm, September 11, 2013
Diverse Works, 4102 Fannin, #200, 77004
$ Free

On September 11, 2013, DiverseWorks and Voices Breaking Boundaries will revisit Words for Peace.

Voices Breaking Boundaries (VBB) organized the inaugural Words for Peace event on Sunday, September 22, 2002 at DiverseWorks, in response to the increasingly frightening political climate in the U.S. following September 11, 2001. The event featured spoken word, dance, and music and included live telephone readings by 1997 Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roy, Jewish poet Irena Klepfisz, Palestinian American poet Naomi Shihab Nye, award-winning historian and social activist Howard Zinn, and award-winning journalist Ahmed Rashid.  It was curated by Troy Gooden, Chuck Jackson, Rich Levy, Sehba Sarwar, Oskar Sonnen, Sandra Tarlin, and Michael Woodson.

Sponsored in part by Saint Arnold's Brewing Company.


Writing New Voices: A Conversation

VBB Borderlines Crossing Lines

6:00 pm, November 14, 2013
Store Project, 2501 Holman St, 77004
$ Free | Catalogues for purchase

The reading, hosted by TSU's The Wheel Project, will feature three essayists from our Homes and Histories art catalogue: Gordon Anderson, Dr. Kairn Klieman, and Dr. Michael Woodson. The featured speakers will also be available to sign copies afterward.

A limited number of books will be available for purchase during the event, or you can buy an advanced copy here + pick it up at the reading!

Homes and Histories is an art catalogue that further expands VBB's Fall 2012/Spring 2013 living room art production, which was held on the streets of Freedmen's Town, Houston with digital links to Lyari, Karachi (Pakistan) as well as to villages outside of Karachi. Freedmen's Town was founded and built by enslaved peoples immediately after Emancipation in the 1860s, while Lyari is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Karachi and home to a large Baloch community whose roots are in east Africa. The catalogue features essayists who explore issues related to both communities; academics who discuss the history of Freedmen's Town and the African diaspora; writings by curators involved in VBB's production; and transcripted interviews with residents of both Freedmen's Town and Lyari. The publication also includes production photographs.



We, the Women: Voices & Vision


6-8 pm, Thursday, March 27, 2014
Houston Public Library- Central , 500 McKinney St., 77002
4th Floor Program Place
$ Free | Catalogues for purchase

In honor of Women's HerStory Month, join us for this special World Cafe event featuring VBB and Rails girls. VBB's Managing Director, Ana Laurel, will talk about VBB's mission, followed by a paneled discussion with audience members.

After the discussion, you will be able to purchase copies of Women Under Siege, our living room art catalogue based on our Spring 2012 production of the same name, at our special event price of $15.

For those who want to arrive early, at 4 PM the library will be screening Girl Rising, the widely-acclaimed film about ordinary girls who confront tremendous challenges and overcome nearly impossible odds to pursue their dreams.

This event is co-sponsored by Houston Public Library and United Nations Association.



Sabor del Northside 2014


11-4 PM, Saturday, April 12
Castillo Park, 1100 Quitman, 77009
$ Free | Catalogues for purchase

Join VBB at Near Northside's annual Sabor del Northside, a free, public festival that brings together residents, businesses, schools, and community organizations of Houston's Northside neighborhood in celebration of its vibrant culture. Stop by VBB's table to purchase copies of our living room art catalogues at our special event price of $15. We will also be selling magnets, t-shirts, and signing up volunteers for our Borderlines living room art production, Crossing the Lines.

At 2 PM, participants from VBB's Borderlines Community Workshop will present bilingual works in a special performance on Sabor's stage led by co-facilitators Stalina Villarreal and Dee!Colonize.

Come by, bring your family, and enjoy a day filled with art, literature, and food to support Near Northside and learn how you can get involved!


a fundraising event
Karaoke ConMigo with VBB

VBB karaoke

8 PM - 12 AM, Saturday, May 24, 2014
At the home of Jose + Lupe Hernandez, 515 Turner, 77076
$20 for food, drinks, and fun!

Join VBB's Production Manager Armando Silva in a fundraiser benefitting Voices Breaking Boundaries (VBB) where $20 will buy food, (including mole, tamales, and more) and beer/wine, and 100% of the proceeds will go towards VBB.

Guest DJ Kris DjSuga'Boy Taylor will be spinning some of everyone's favorite tunes.


VBB is in the process of confirming residential homes and dates in Near Northside through a partnership with Avenue CDC, a neighborhood-based non-profit organization that has committed to assisting VBB in securing homes and venues and helping with neighborhood outreach.

VBB Radio

Open Journal: Think Global — Act Local! VBB radio

VBB Radio
Photos: Mahwash Rahman and Katie Plochek

Throughout its season, VBB will also host radio shows on Open Journal (9:30 – 10 am) on KPFT 90.1 FM Pacifica Radio. Dates will be announced as they are scheduled. For more details, stay tuned to our website.


Copyright ©2011 Voices Breaking Boundaries
Designed by Shaila Abdullah

VBB is a multidisciplinary arts organization. Our mission is to
cross borders, sustain dialogue and incite social justice through art.