Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Discarded Dreams Book Tour. Siqueiros Mural ATIC. On-Line Floricanto

Late Breaking News
Memorial Honors Frank Sifuentes, QEPD

Last Tuesday, La Bloga published a hail and farewell message to Frank Sifuentes. Frank did not have the time to read it. He died on Monday, the day prior. 

Tempus fugit que no?

Frank's long-time friend, Jesus Treviño, has compiled a memorial including messages from all five of Frank's friends, and a video. Click the links to Frank's spoken word recordings at the USC digital library and Nuestrafamilia.


QEPD, Frank.

Michael Sedano

Over there, across a couple of blinded-by-the-light grey roofs and assorted HVAC ducts, underneath the canopy, all old and faded. Behold the remains of América Tropical, a mural painted on a Los Angeles wall by David Alfaro Siqueiros 80 years ago and whitewashed shortly thereafter.

"In a way, the whitewashing preserved it," one docent avers, pointing to the richer coloring at the right, a section that had been whitewashed earlier by disillusioned patrons whose vision of tropical America included lovely colorful people and happy native dancing girls.

What America got from el maestro is an undulating jungle surrounding a native nailed to a double cross upon whose crown perches a fierce eagle. ¡Ajua! 

The mural also signals the benefits of painting on wall substrates. Nelson Rockefeller jackhammered a Diego Rivera fresco off the walls of that arts patron's building in Manhattan. In El Lay, where easy solutions prevail, city powers tagged the wall with their own gang color. 

The mural, the only publicly accessible Siqueiros mural in the United States, is conserved. Numerous visitors ask about preservation, or repainting. The mural, whitewashed and exposed to ample ultaviolence by its south-facing wall, has faded past the point of ever being more than what it is.

A Getty-led conservation team  has managed to remove the obscuring layer of paint and some tar stains, and has protected what remains from further degradation now that it once again finds the sun and elements. Black and white fotos exist of the mural, making impossible any ill-conceived wild hair notion to repaint.

Visitors to the observation platform must simply marvel at what that wall once said in its own voice. Downstairs, in the interpretive center, a trio of Siqueiros' muralist descendants--Barbara Carrasco, Wayne Healy, John Valadez--recreate America Tropical in grand scale, reproducing those B&W frames taken back in 1932.

Opening day packed the space shoulder-to-shoulder. Such heavy demand must account for the elevator being out of service on my second visit. Access to the viewing deck, without that elevator, is restricted to able-bodied gente. 

The spectacular corn mural in the stairwell is the compensation for stressed knees. Below, Angelica Garcia, a principal in a Fontana tax firm, takes a breather for a snapshot with her daughter.

ATIC adds an important cultural dimension to school field trips to the birthplace of Los Angeles. I visited in 4th grade around '54. The place remains largely unchanged, a single file of curio and dulces-selling puestos down a cobbled pasillo flanked by restaurants, mid-scale boutiques, and recuerdos. ATIC fills a space midway down the street, next door where my primos' shop, Casa de Sousa, used to sell quality artifacts and espresso.

Thelma Reyna Reviews Pat Mora's Borders

La Bloga friend and guest columnist Thelma Reyna continues with her exploration of classic works by Chicanas, a project Thelma's engaged in conjunction with Latinopia. The multifaceted Latinopia features historical and historic video features picked from filmmaker Jesus Treviños exhaustive archive of the movimiento, along with coverage of art, food, music, literature; la cultura en general.

Among the beauties of reassessing classic works is the likelihood of introducing readers new to these seminal expressions, to foundation literature that has influenced what they read today. Beginning at the beginning helps develop an informed critical understanding of everything read.

Among the classics Dr. Reyna has reviewed are House on Mango Street, Nilda, Loving In the War Years. Latinopia currently features Thelma's appreciation of Pat Mora's poetry collection, Borders.

Her book goes on to evoke and explore borders large and small, known and unknown, old and new, faint and glaring. The poet draws on her lifetime of living on and near borders, beginning with her birth in El Paso, Texas, her home for most of her life before moving to Santa Fe, New Mexico. The granddaughter of Mexican immigrants, Mora has straddled the border between cultures and languages, has navigated the “like” and “unlike” for her entire life. As her book depicts, borders can be cruel or innocuous, but they ultimately reveal us to ourselves.

Cruel Borders of Hardship

Her book is filled with snapshots of people from all walks of life, people identifiable for their hardships as much as for their triumphs. Mora starts with the famous pioneering author and university leader, Tomás Rivera, whose hands “knew about the harvest,/ tasted the laborer’s sweat” but also “gathered books at city dumps

You can read Thelma Reyna's full review at Latinopia here. The classics series also features polymath Luis Torres, who reviews male writers, with Thelma Reyna covering women writers. La Bloga encourages gente to visit Latinopia's literary cornucopia.

Count on La Bloga to continue our de vez en cuando reviews of the old stuff, too. You can join in as a reader, or a guest columnist. For comments and questions, click the Comments link below, and be sure to subscribe to your comment to receive reader comments.

The Closet of Discarded Dreams Book Tour Makes Pasadena Stop

Author Rudy Garcia joined a handful of guests--writers and artists--in Pasadena to talk books, science fiction fantasy writing, Rudy's novel, and the upcoming Latino Book & Family Festival. 

Hugo Garcia tells J. Michael Walker and
Alfredo Lascano about La Dolce Vita.
One aspiring novelist arrived early, expressly to quiz Rudy on the mechanics of getting his first book published.

Garcia replied with the classic question, "what's your book about, in 25 words or less?"

Rudy stopped the novice around the 800th word. The lessons from pro to beginner: know your own stuff and get it written, then worry about the rights.

Rudy Garcia noted the rarity of Chicana Chicano science fiction and fantasy titles, making The Closet of Discarded Dreams a pleasingly unique opportunity for scifi readership, but uniqueness an obstacle to publisher decision-making.

Discussion ranged widely across writers, titles, and story lines, then divagated to revolutionary new waves in film, and authenticity in historical fiction, and other genres.

Discussion segued into an ideal moment for Rudy to take the floor and read two passages he selected that illustrate his book's surreal exposition and the author's ability to write funny.

Short story writer and poet Angel Guerrero basks in the ambiente of good friends, new friends, good reading and listening. Then cracks up at one of Rudy's funny passages.

Painter, cartographer, portratist, J. Michael Walker absorbs the performance from his artist's eye.

Novelist Sandra Ramos O'Briant observes as Jesus Treviño documents Rudy Garcia's reading in this living room setting. Treviño will showcase the reading in a future Latinopia.

Beyond the reading at Casa Sedano, Rudy appeared at Tia Chucha's Open Mic on Friday, the LB&FF, then a reading at Tia Chucha's Sunday afternoon. The Closet of Discarded Dreams heads to a science fiction writers conference in Colorado then San Antonio.

Banned Book Update

Still banned.

No big news out of Tucson. Vote like Freedom depends on it, because it does. Give Obama a Democratic Congress and let the nation see the return of bipartisanship to government. Give the GOP power and they will ban more books, just as a beginning.

La Bloga On-Line Floricanto Mid-October 2012
Avotcja, Sharon Elliott, Tara Evonne Trudell, Andrea Mauk, Tom Sheldon

ALGO DE TI, Avotcja
The Fence, Sharon Elliott
Dual Citizenship, Tara Evonne Trudell
Second Story, Andrea Mauk
Columbus through tiny eyes, Tom Sheldon

by Avotcja

Tu pelo,
Abrazando su propia negrura
Como el color de medianoche en la manígua
Tu ser,
Un cuento vestido en sabiduría anciana
Una sabiduría agridulce
Sabiduría con sabor a colores de miles de flores
Bestial y arrogante
Una seda desenvoltura
A la vez inmóvil, pero misteriosa
Y como la noche de luna
Esclava de nadie
Eternamente libre como el viento
¿Y Otoño?
Siempre hay otoño,
Riendo, llorando, y bailando
En la negrura de tus ojos Indios
Tus ojos sabios
Tus ojos orgullosos
Tus pies ya caminaron por unos miles de siglos
En las tierras de tres continentes
Por los sueños de los afortunados
Por las pesadillas de los que nos engañan
Y porque tu eres quien eres tu,
Crecen las flores donde caminaste
Los Dioses me dicen
Que tu piel tiene el sabor de miel salvaje
Mientras que el viento canta tu nombre
Como yo ..… como yo
Y tu eres el color de amor
El color Moreno
El color prieto
El color Indio
El color de mi felicidad
El color de amor ….. eres tu

by Avotcja

Your hair,
Embracing its own blackness
Like the color of a jungle midnight
Your being,
A story dressed in ancient wisdom
A bittersweet wisdom
Wisdom that
Tastes like the colors of thousands of flowers
Arrogant & wild
A smooth flowing freedom
That's at the same time stubborn, but mysterious
And like the moonlight
A slave of nobody
Infinitely free just like the wind
And Autumn?
Autumn is always laughing, crying & dancing
In the blackness of your Indian eyes
Your wise eyes
Your proud eyes
Your feet have walked
Through thousands of centuries
On the lands of three continents
Through the dreams of the fortunate
Through the nightmares of those who deceive us
And because you are who you are,
Wherever you’ve walked flowers grow
The Gods tell me,
That your skin tastes like wild honey
While even the wind sings your name
And so do I ….. so do I
And you are the color of love
The color brown
Very dark brown
A dark red Indian brown
The color of my happiness
You ….. are the color of love!

The Fence
by Sharon Elliott

sin vergüenza

Germany pulled theirs down
artifact of Nazis
with joy
Berlin united
pieces of brick
and stone
now inhabit the globe
in memory
of tyranny overcome

construct new fences
of wire and steel
to keep out ciudadanos
los que son
dueños de esta tierra
quienes que nos dieron
una bienvenida de corazón
nos cuidaron
nos regalaron una cama para acostarnos
nos alimentaron
con maíz y amor compartido

y que hicimos nosotros?
what did we do?
we accepted their gracious gifts
then stole their land
pushed them off
enslaved them
and their children
treated them as interlopers
in their own home

now we build fences
to keep them away
from what is rightly theirs

what hardened our hearts
blinded our eyes
withered our souls

money is a simple answer
privilege and power
more complex
yet the
foundation of those fences
bears more scrutiny

es una pobreza de alma
corazones sin sangre
como podemos vivir así
sin lo que alimenta a uno o el otro

tear those fences down
stand in our humanity
wield sledgehammers
wire cutters
y en un solo golpe
tear those fences down

until we do
we will not be whole
we will continue to be ghosts
fragmented spirits
and afraid

Dual Citizenship
by Tara Evonne Trudell

Answers lie
when their truths
don't add up
whitewashing politicians
intelligent thoughts
puppet shows
who's in control
slandering smiles
blinding white
Americans hanging on
to every word
taking their minds
off humanity
the wanting
of righteous law
breaking politics
playing ping pong
hitting hard
manipulating tactics
of manifest destiny
corporate sponsors
running the game
people backed up
invisible walls
guns drawn
border agents
playing warfare
targeting migrants
killing softly
our song
500 years
of proving
we belong
to our earth
erasing their borders
in sand
willing breaths
we fall
before we stand
in barrios
in canyons
in homes
dual citizenship
their make believe
their misleading debate
loudly continues on
in a world
our spirits
do not belong.

Second Story
by Andrea Mauk

No matter where you live,
you exist on top of a
failed, conquered civilization.
You walk upon footsteps of buried wisdom,
upon people who understood
the whispers of the winds,
the nutritional medicinal value of
each plant and
the reason to respect each animal,
upon 'pagan' engineers, architects and astronomers
who learned the formulas taught
by the sun and moon and stars.

You walk on the skulls of those
sacrificed in ceremonies
we will never fully understand,
you guffaw at their Gods and
their nectars and their dances
as you marvel at the
modern technology that
distracts you away from the fact
that our planet, our earth,
our way of life is spinning out of control,
and you are standing on top of
land grabbed without regard to
the wisdom of civilizations
who may have understood
our existence
than we.

Columbus through tiny eyes
by Tom Sheldon

sister Marie taught us about an Italian sailor
who shaved every day and carried a bible
he brought us pork n beans
warm blankets n fry bread
he brought farmers and soldiers
and discovered us
bringing Original sin and horses n dogs too
all on ships sent to aid the white man’s domination of Mother earth...
Is it entirely appropriate that this most auspicious day, be a day of mourning, ashes and weeping.

ALGO DE TI by Avotcja
The Fence by Sharon Elliott
Dual Citizenship by Tara Evonne Trudell
Second Story by Andrea Mauk
Columbus through tiny eyes by Tom Sheldon

Avotcja (pronounced Avacha) is a card carrying New York born Music fanatic/sound junkie & popular Bay Area Radio DeeJay & member of the award winning group Avotcja & Modúpue. She’s a lifelong Musician/Writer/Educator/Storyteller & is on a shamelessly Spirit driven melodic mission to heal herself. Avotcja talks to the Trees & listens to the Wind against the concrete & when they answer it usually winds up in a Poem or Short Story.
Website: www.Avotcja.org Email: mailto:LaVerdadMusical@yahoo.com

Born and raised in Seattle, Sharon Elliott has written since childhood. Four years in the Peace Corps in Nicaragua and Ecuador laid the foundation for her activism. As an initiated Lukumi priest, she has learned about her ancestral Scottish history, reinforcing her belief that borders are created by men, enforcing them is simply wrong.

Andrea García Mauk grew up in Arizona, where both the immense beauty and harsh realities of living in the desert shaped her artistic soul. She calls Los Angeles home, but has also lived in Chicago, New York and Boston. She has worked in the music industry, and on various film and television productions. She writes short fiction, poetry, original screenplays and adaptations, and is currently finishing two novels. Her writing and artwork has been published and viewed in a variety of places such as on The Late, Late Show with Tom Snyder; The Journal of School Psychologists and Victorian Homes Magazine. Both her poetry and artwork have won awards. Several of her poems and a memoir are included in the 2011 anthology, Our Spirit, Our Reality, and her poetry is featured in the 2012 Mujeres de Maiz “‘Zine.” She is also a moderator of Diving Deeper, an online workshop for writers, and has written extensively about music, especially jazz, while working in the entertainment industry. Her production company, Dancing Horse Media Group, is currently in pre-production of her independent film, “Beautiful Dreamer,” based on her original screenplay and manuscript, and along with her partners, is producing a unique cookbook that blends healthful recipes with poetry and prose.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great poem from Tara Trudell; wonderfully worded and hits the proverbial nail on the head. -B