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

Octavio Romano

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

El Paso Writers Update for Week of March 13





El Paso Writer News
News on John Rechy, Carolina Monsivais, Luis J. Rodríguez, Rafael Jesús González and more.

Alma Guillermoprieto, Luis J. Rodríguez Readings Tomorrow

Wed, Mar. 16, 7:30pm. Alma Guillermoprieto, recognized as one of the world's leading Latin American journalists will speak about the violent drug war in Mexico at New Mexico State University's Corbett Center Student Union Ballroom in Las Cruces, NM. 

Guillermoprieto, a political writer and an authority on the narco culture in Mexico has also written for The New Yorker. She is a MacArthur Fellow and winner of the George Polk Award for Foreign Reporting. Her books include Looking for History and The Heart that Bleeds. Free and open to the public. Info: (575) 646-2005.

In a separate reading, this one in Chicago, Luis J. Rodriguez will read March 16 for a special reading 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM. UIC Hull House Museum Residents' Dining Hall 800 S Halsted St Chicago, IL 60607.  

Rodriguez will also read at 4pm, March 23 at Lincoln High School, in LA at 3501 N Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90031. More info.

Border Book Festival

April 8-10 Border Book Festival in Mesilla, NM featuring Sandra Cisneros, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, and Martín Espada, Christina Garcia.

Two Reading by Monsivais in El Paso: One with Corral and Reyes

Carolina Monsivais will participate in two readings in the next few weeks. Poetry Reading with Todd McKinney and Carolina Monsivais April 7 at 5:30pm at ASC Building A, Boardroom (I found this on the El Paso Community College events calendar so I think the ASC building is at EPCC). For more information, please contact Charlie Miller at 915-831-2028. 

Wed, April 13, 2011, 7pm. UT El Paso's Undergraduate Creative Writing Society presents The Buttered Toast Reading Series with special guests, Eduardo C. Corral, Carolina Monsivais, Barbara Jane Reyes at the UTEP Centennial Museum [Tom Lea Gallery].



Paredes calls next generation of poor unable to attend college the "Lost Generation"

"Raymund Paredes, Texas commissioner of higher education, has said the cuts will create a “lost generation” of students, mostly poor minorities who are the first in their families to attend college. Many have been prepped for this moment by the state itself, through an array of college readiness initiatives, day camps on university campuses and public relations campaigns." (San Antonio Express News). READ MORE. Related stories: "Texas needs much better college outcomes"; "Proposed Texas education cuts imperil Latino students’ future"



John Rechy Reviewed

City of Night was published in 1963 and it still garners reviews. Check out Amos Lassen's review of the John Rechy classic: "When I first read this book I had to hide it for I was afraid that someone might discover y secret. By the time I finished it, I did not much care who knew about me—I felt liberated. Rechy’s story of the world was one that I had always hoped existed but I was not man enough to go and look for it. By chance, I sat back yesterday and reread the book. For the second time, I could not stop reading and when I closed the covers I could not help think about how far we have come."

Also, a Facebook page has been created for John's Rechy's book Sexual Outlaw. See it now.

Also if interest is something we found on Project Muse. Kevin Arnold's article ""Male and Male and Male": John Rechy and the Scene of Representation": "
John rechy's notoriety as a writer has seemingly been based on his documentation of gay male subcultures in the 1960s and '70s. The jacket cover to the first edition of City of Night, for example, declares the novel a "bold . . . account of the urban underworld of male prostitution" and "an unforgettable look at life on the edge." It would seem that Rechy's essential contribution to American letters was quite simply to bring his own "true-life" experiences with gay sex to respectable middle class readers, presumably unfamiliar with such "underworlds" in 1963, yet inexplicably curious about them. Since this is what Rechy is typically praised for (if usually in less stark terms), one wonders whether, without this ethnographic and even autobiographic aspect, Rechy's novels would have been the success that they were? Rechy, for one, seems to authorize and validate this truth-value in his novels. He explicitly describes his most philosophical text, The Sexual Outlaw, as a "prose-documentary," recording for the reader "sex-hunts throughout Los Angeles for three days and nights" (15). It is well-known, as it was at the time he was writing, that Rechy participated first-hand in the worlds he describes: California body-building culture, hustling and cruising on the streets of Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, etc. And Rechy's most notorious display of his own life in his novels occurs on the jacket cover, where Rechy often posed shirtless in the very same style as the hustlers he writes about. Undoubtedly, as Ricardo Ortiz notes, "Rechy loves to offer himself up as an erotic image" ("Sexuality" 114)." READ MORE.



Rechy Yearbook

The year book of El Paso High School 1948 is on auction on Ebay: Check it Out. It is touted as the "Spur 1948 ~ El Paso High School ~ John Rechy Yearbook!"



Rich Yañez' Cross Over Water

Don't forget that Richard Yañez novel Cross Over Water just came out. Luis Alberto Urrea says, “The writing is excellent. Very sly story-telling, assured, calm, and enveloping.” 

Fellow El Pasoan, Alicia Gaspar de Alba says, “An intimate portrait of a young boy’s coming of age in El Paso, rich with details of the body and the landscape of the border. The rollercoaster in Ascarate Park, the murals of El Segundo Barrio, the ASARCO smokestacks, Chicos Tacos, the Cristo Rey monument. I felt transported back to the games and silences of my own childhood in that place-in-between.” READ MORE.



Ruben Salazar  Stuff
More on the recent report on the killing of Ruben Salazar.  Interesting stuff, one new org says they were given 4 hours to inspect the files: "Ruben Salazar Investigative Documents Examined." Related stories: "Poor tactics cited in Ruben Salazar’s death report" (LA Wave).



Dated Review on Gilb's The Flowers
I found this dated book review of Dagoberto Gilb's The Flower: "...he'll admit he's not a product of the MFA system, delineating the difference between “people who write out of experience, off the noisy streets and crappy jobs, the working class, and those who write out of the imagination alone, the writing class, who get into it as an academic decision like choosing philosophy or geology [so that] ‘creative writing’ [has become] a kind of genre fiction … like detective and crime and horror.” READ MORE.



Facebook Pages of Interest

Facebook Page for Luis J. Rodríguez' Always Running. Also a Facebook Page of Rodriguez' Music of the Mill. Also check out the FB page on Carlos Munoz, Jr.



Oscar Zeta Acosta and Hunter S. Thompson

Spoiler Alert

Rumor is that the fear and loathing duel make a cameo in the animated film Rango.

Also, a review has been posted of Frederick Luis Aldama's Postethnic Narrative Criticism: Magicorealism in Oscar "Zeta" Acosta, Ana Castillo, Julie Dash, Hanif Kureishi, and Salman Rushdie: "The most engaging and controversial aspect of Aldama's book is his argument concerning "lo real maravilloso," a term and a theory coined by Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier (1904-1980). Miguel Angel Asturias's (1899-1974) ideas on the topic are also under Aldama's rigorous scrutiny. Aldama suggests that Carpentier's and Asturias's work and theories played the "unintended role" of "fixing and justifying the political propaganda of colonialists and neocolonialists everywhere." He goes on to say that Carpentier "needed a manifesto to promote his book," that he was successful "among the urban-dwelling Latino male elite," and that he along with Asturias wrote fiction "for a white readership.""READ MORE.

Sáenz and Serros on Panel

Sometimes I don't get to this news until after the fact, but it looks like Ben Saenz and Michelle Serros participated in a panal at the University of Arizona. Here's the article mentioning it, but if more focuses on Serros: "Serros upends stereotypes with serious humor." 



Solis at the Pacific Playwrights Festival
Octavio Solis will participate in the South Coast Repertory Theatre' Pacific Playwrights Festival. His Cloudlands will be read which I think is a musical with music by Adam Gwon and lyrics by Octavio Solis. The reading is Sunday, May 1, at 10:30am on the Segerstrom Stage. The plot description says, "The mystery of her mother’s secret life leads a young woman to become lost in the labyrinth of her own heart in this stunning new musical drama about desire and its transgressions." More info.


 Also, a neat post on the announcement of Solis "Lydia" be staged in  at the Amaryllis Theatre Company in Philadelphia. Lydia runs from April 12 - 23, 2011 (opening night is Wednesday, April 13 at 7 p.m.) at The Playground at the Adrienne, located at 2030 Sansom Street in Philadelphia. All tickets are $10 and are available by calling the Amaryllis box office at (267) 273-9823 or online at www.amaryllistheatre.org. Read more

"In the 1970s on the Texas border separating the United States and Mexico, the Flores family welcomes Lydia, an undocumented maid, into their El Paso home to care for their daughter Ceci, who was tragically disabled in a car accident on the eve of her quinceañera, her fifteenth birthday. Lydia's immediate and seemingly miraculous bond with Ceci sets the entire family on a mysterious and shocking journey of discovery." (http://pennsylvania.broadwayworld.com/article) Amaryllis_Theatre_Company_Presents_Lydia_20010101#ixzz1GhHVIne7)


Photo by Federio Villalba
Readings by Rafael Jesús González

Rafael Jesús González to read at the Ecology Center March 27 with other. More details later. 


González will also be reading at the following event:

Latin@ Printmakers Exhibition: Grabados de Paz y Guerra
The Latin@ Printmakers Exhibition: Grabados de Paz y Guerra, features the work of respected Latina/o printmakers on the topic of war and peace, and is scheduled to take place this spring at Berkeley City College's Jerry Adams Gallery. Curated by artist and BCC visual arts instructor Juana Alicia Araiza, the show comments on war, violence, immigration, international movements of resistance and peace.

The six-week exhibit will be part of an eighteen-month long project at Berkeley City College, entitled Sorrows of War: Joys of Peace, which will include a lecture series, exhibits, curricular offerings and other important activities and events. The exhibit will take place March 14th through April 30th, with an opening reception on March 18th, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. We are honored to announce that renowned Berkeley Poet Rafael Jesús González will be reading his poetry for the reception.

Featured Artists: Ester Hernández, Juan Fuentes. Tirso Araiza, Artemio Rodríguez, Jesús Barraza, Melanie Cervantes, Emmanuel C. Montoya, Gabriel Martínez
The Jerry Adams Gallery

Berkeley City College

2050 Center Street,
between Shattuck and Milvia Streets

Berkeley, California

March 14 through April 30, 2011

Opening Reception, March 18, 6:30 to 8:30 PM

renowned Berkeley poet Rafael Jesús González
will be reading his poetry

González will also read at the Spring Awakening Festival, Sat, April 2, Galilee Lutheran Church 8860 Soda Bay Road, Kelseyville, CA (Near the Riviera).Tickets $10 Advance/$15 @ Door. For More Info Call 707.263.3640 or Visit http://kpfz.org/ ; Advance Tickets Can Be Purchased @ Watershed Books, 350 N. Main Street, Lakeport.



Esther Chávez Cano

Check out this article on Esther Chávez Cano including quotes by Socorro Tabuenca: "Esther Chavez Cano remembered as a powerful force for women in Juarez."



Selfa Chew Protests

A neat article in the Borderzine about he vigils and protests that have been occuring and led (led it a big word, but it sounds good) by author and now doctora Selfa Chew: "Pickets and hunger strikers demand a kidnapped family’s safe return."

Victoria Tester to Reading on Esperanza Lozoya in April

Victoria Tester will read Tues, April 5, 4pm. Reading: At Our Mexico-New Mexico Border: The Hunger Crisis in Palomas, Chihuahua and the Humanitarian Work of Mexican-American Esperanza Lozoya. Reading by Victoria Tester. She will speak about the work being done by La Luz de La Esperanza Palomas Outreach that provides food and more for the people of Palomas. As part of this talk, we will be doing a campus/community-wide food drive. Location; the Nason House at 1200 University Ave. directly across from FedEx/Kinko’s at New Mexico State University in Las Cruses. There will be a food drive, please contact the information phone number or email for a list of items needed. Bring these items to Breland 220 or 222 (New Mexico State University?). Info: spencer@nmsu.edu or (575) 646-2403. Sponsored by CLABS and the Department of Languages and Linguistics.


Gilb comments on University of Houston-Victoria possible switch to Texas A&M System

"Although many agree they don't know what will happen, a few University of Houston-Victoria faculty offered their opinion on what a possible university system switch could mean for their school." (Victoria Advocate). READ MORE.

Muñoz on Blowouts

Check out Carlos Munoz, Jr.'s article "Latino Student Walkouts: In 35 Years, What Has Changed?" "But the walkouts — and the Chicano movement they ignited — did not eliminate Latino educational inequality," says Munoz. READ MORE.

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