"Chicano writers from El Paso are the most progressive, open-minded, far-reaching, and inclusive writers of them all."

Octavio Romano

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Writing and Book News, Chicano(a) Book News


Chicano(a) Writing News

Tiburcio Vasquez

The San Jose Mercury News published a review on John Boessenecker's book about 19th-century California bandit Tiburcio Vasquez. "Vasquez emerges here as a Californio who cherished his culture, but not the true rebel or Robin Hood his admirers made him out to be," says reviewer Joe Rodriguez. "He was a handsome, lovable scoundrel who, nonetheless, preyed only on little people. He was smart and literate, a lover of poetry and dance, but he also seduced his own niece and the wives of friends." READ MORE.

Ruben Trejo coffee table book

The Seattle Times ran a article reviewing coffee table books for you holiday season. One of them is Ruben Trejo: Beyond Boundaries/Aztlán y Más Allá edited by Ben Mitchell, essays by Tomás Ybarra-Frausto and John Keeble (Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture/University of Washington Press, 152 pp., $35). READ THE SEGMENT.

Teatro Izcalli at Mesa College

The Mesa Press ran a story about Teatro Izcalli's visit to Mesa College. "The opening act focused on American schools' lack of knowledge about Chicano culture and how that culture has shaped the modern United States," says Rebecca Rios of the Mesa Press. "Each performer played a classroom stereotype such as the bookworm, the blond American, the San Diegan surfer, and the empowered Chicano student that took pride in his history." READ MORE .

Serros on Longoria's divorce

It's been a long time since I heard something from Michelle Serros. She wrote "Why I live Eve Longoria Better Now That She's Getting a Divorice" in Fox News Latino. "I speculate that her recent display of ganas - in the form of filing for divorce (another big no-no in comunidad latina) from her French hubby, San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker – must have," says Serros, "derived from picking up a little something from one of those empowering book titles we’re all required to read as Chicana/o Studies majors. Perhaps the writings of Gloria Anzaldua or poet Bernice Zamora?" READ MORE.

Chicana artist burlesque

Okay, my Chicana carnalas, don't jump on me, but the The Contra Costa Times ran a piece on Cherry Galette, a burlesque artist. This 34-year-old woman of Chicana and Moroccan decent is hoping the new Christina Aguilera movie creates more fans for burlesque. READ MORE.

Maria Melendez in Colorado

The Scribe has an article on Maria Melendez and her visit to to the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. "Her work is filled with wit and humor, gentle irony and sometimes severity," says the article Cartherine Jensen. READ MORE

Literary and Books News

Read It Out Loud: Lloyds of Editing

For what its worth, see Delia Lloyds 5 tips for Productivity Editing Your Writing. "Read your writing out loud. This tip is brought to you by none other than David Sedaris, whose views on the writing process were generously shared by another great writer/blogger, Lisa Romeo Writes. On the topic of reading your work aloud, Sedaris says, 'When I hear myself reading out loud, I hear things I don't hear when I read (silently) to myself. When I read aloud, I always have a pencil in hand. If I feel I'm trying too hard, or I'm being repetitive, I make a mark.'" READ MORE.

Stolen Stories and Gulags

An interesting story of stolen stories, the Gulags, and Polish veterans in Post WWII. See "How The Long Walk became The Way Back" (BBC).

If you wake up from a coma and all the hospital staff are gone...beware

"28 Days Later"

 Considering all the zombie stuff we've posted in the last few months (see An Occasional Off the Chicano Literature Path: Graphic Novels and Jane Austen's Zombies; Vatos and Zombies; Publishers Announce Moratorium on New Book Submissions), The New York Times has now honed in. See "My Zombie, Myself: Why Modern Life Feels Rather Undead." "What if contemporary people are less interested in seeing depictions of their unconscious fears and more attracted to allegories of how their day-to-day existence feels? That would explain why so many people watched that first episode of “The Walking Dead”: They knew they would be able to relate to it." READ MORE

The Walking Dead
I also like this passage, "We all know how this goes: If you awake from a coma, and you don’t immediately see a member of the hospital staff, assume a zombie takeover has transpired during your incapacitation." I had thought the Walking Dead had taken this plot device from 28 Days Later, but apparently, it is from The Day of the Triffids.
Gulliver's Troubles

A note on satire comes from the Huffington Post. Chris Kelly writes "Like brewing your own beer, satire is tricky, time consuming, and not as rewarding as you might expect. Humor is a lousy weapon, and anyone who thinks different is in for a life of one humiliating loss after another. When people talk about humor as a weapon it always makes me think of Jamie Lee Curtis in the closet at the end of Halloween, unfolding a wire hanger to use as a spear. It's better than nothing, but just barely." READ The National Lampoon and Humor Lately

While on the satire topic, take a look at this video satire of How to Write that pokes fun of the publishing industry.

Can Writing be Taught? The System-Theory Realizations of an Insider

Anis Shivani continues his shots across the bow on MFA programs, this time reviewing The Program Era: Postwar Fiction and the Rise of Creative Writing (Harvard University Press) by Mark McGurl. " Shivani, in The Huffington Post, says If MFA programs are popular and expanding and producing prodigious amounts of writing, then this is what the system has ordained, and it can only be for the good. His systems-theory analysis is simultaneously too broad and too narrow, meaningless in either case." READ MORE.

You're the Only Chance We've Got

Leslie Nielsen died this past week. See the New York Times homage to him at Unsinkable Captain of Spoofs. I have to admit, no, many of you who know me and know I was a fan. I'm trying to think of Nielsen's interaction with Chicanos in his films, and I was able to recall a few, as well as some interactions with African Americans (not the OJ ones, but I will recount one but I'll mention one). At the end of the Naked Gun II, when OJ and Nielsen run into the hospital where Nielsen's (Lt. Frank Drebin) wife is in labor. OJ and Dreben go into the wrong delivery room and the baby they help to deliver is African American, which leads Drebin to chase OJ out of the room.

I think it was the third installment of the "Naked Gun" when Nielsen escapes from prison and he emerges with the movie's villain from a manhole and they both are wondering where they have ended up. One of them says, "It looks like a Los Angeles high school." They immediately realize the danger they are in and try to flee for their lives while Chicano students (including the honors club) takes out their cuetes and start shooting at them. In "Wrongfully Accused" he is placed in a line up with four huge African American men flanking him at each side. Also, in the Scary Movie franchise, Nielsen parody's George W. Bush being told about the September 11, 2001 attacks during a reading for children at a elementary school.

Also see, Remembering Leslie Nielsen: The Master of the Art of NOT Being Funny on NPR. Hearing this story, I did not know that Nielsen won the Nobel Prize for Acting.

More book Censorship

I found this link to this USA Today story: Those challenging books find strength in numbers, but I could not find when this article was written. Being that Banned Book Week has already passed, this is still an interesting article. "'Candi Cushman, education analyst for Focus on the Family, a Christian ministry in Colorado, says it's "healthy and normal for parents to want to weigh in on what their kids are exposed to at taxpayer-funded schools, especially when we talk about materials that are sexually explicit.'" READ MORE. See our posts for Banned Books Week with five Chicano(a)-authored books that have been banned or challenged.

Cohen Brothers Take a Shot at Portis Novel True Grit

The novel True Grit by Charles Portis makes it to the screen for the second time in Hollywood's history. Despite its conservatism John Wayne, I like the 1969 version, but I'm excited about the Cohen brothers version. See Coen Brothers Saddle Up a Revenge Story (or Two) which gives a little more on the cultural aspects of John Wayne and "True Grit."

It's in the Numbers, Victoria

An interesting look at an analysis of various words in Victorian literature. See Analyzing Literature by Words and Numbers.

Grants for Persecuted Writers

Human Rights Watch called today for nominations for the prestigious Hellman/Hammett grants for 2011, for writers who have suffered persecution because of their work and are in financial need. READ MORE.

Princess' Brown Hair

Disney's latest venture into the princess genre gains some pop culture analysis in NPR's pop culture panel. HEAR NOW. "Tangled" actually has a princess that does not get married at 15 (you can't do that even in Texas anymore, thanks RLDS!). There are been several good article by Chicana scholars on Disney movies. One thing that I did notice, which brings up the Clark Doll Test, was when Rapunzel's blond-golden hair is cut and her hair turns brown. I heard one little girl get mad and say "she (Rapunzel) is no longer beautiful."

Literature Literacy: How Good Are You? Take the Quiz


Okay, A quiz on the "snow" in literature. I did not do good on this one. Where's Felipe Ortego when you need him? See if you are up to par in The Guardian's quiz on snow and literature. TAKE THE QUIZ.

As libraries are on the chopping block due to funding, take this quiz on libraries and literature. Here's the first question: "Librarians serve a terrific role in our communities, bringing books and readers together as well as inspiring many literary characters. The main protagonist in the Kingsley Amis novel That Uncertain Feeling is an assistant librarian tempted towards adultery. What is his name?" TAKE THE QUIZ.

"I don't like black people." It's Good to Know, or Is It?

Pretty bold racist comments from South African writer Annelie Botes: "'I don't like black people,' she told the paper, when asked what sort of people she disliked. 'I don’t understand them! ... I know they are people just like me. I know they have the same rights as me. But I do not understand them. And then I do not like them. I avoid them because I am scared of them.'" READ MORE (NEWS24.COM).

New Media

Net Neutrality

"The Federal Communications Commission is being accused of abandoning 'net neutrality' rules that would ensure a free and open internet," says Democracy Now. "On Wednesday, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski unveiled proposals that would allow internet service providers to charge higher fees for faster access to online content." READ MORE.

E-book Wars

Another entry into the e-book war is Google. See Google to move into the ebook market at end of year. Also see Google e-book venture to level the playing field (San Francisco Chronicle).

Also see The Nook, Barnes and Nobel's Biggest Mistake (New York Post). "...the Nook's quick growth has come at a price. Yesterday, Barnes and Nobel reported a wider-than-expected quarterly loss, and said losses for the current fiscal year could surpass $50 million -- twice as steep as the previous forecast -- as B&N invests heavily in the Nook." READ MORE.

Open Source Digital Textbooks

California is on the road leading the digital textbook movement. See California Embraces Open Source Digital Textbooks.

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