Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Floricanto of Funny. Newsbits. On-Line Floricanto.

Call for Writers: Floricanto of Funny

Michael Sedano

Other than a good five-cent fair trade cigar, what this country needs is some seriously funny chicana chicano writing.

Not episodic teevee, and definitely not stand-up comedian patter. When writers struggle to be funny for 30 minutes on the tube, 90 minutes on stage, the low-hanging fruit of the funny tree gets picked clean, consumers coming away with the runs.

Chicana chicano literature is funny as a matter of culture; así somos. Humor fills novels and short fiction in bits and flashes woven into the texture of dramatic work. There are hundreds of choice instances: a purse-snatcher pinned against a wall by an irate driver in Naked Ladies; a laugh out loud barroom fight in Let Their Spirits Dance. What's your favorite scene?

Teatro tops anyone’s bill for entertaining writing producing sustained laughter. Richard Montoya and Culture Clash continuously produce seriously funny pieces. Zoot Suit and such Luis Valdez work as Los Vendidos, stand as classics of US literature (at link, acto starts at 05:38).

Fantasy realism comes replete with inherently funny possibilities, like the flying dead baby that launches So Far From God. Sandra Castillo, in fact, shines for infusing her work and characters with humor and funny stuff. Castillo’s stories featuring Carmen la Coja, the one-legged flamenco dancer, glow with warmth that keeps a good-humored smile on a reader’s face.

Full frontal humor comes from Hungry Woman in Paris, where Josefina Lopez cooks up a diet of grown-up erotica. Mario Acevedo starts with ribald and from there it's no-holds-barred in his chicano vampire detective series. And in the wider spectrum of latina latino humor, there's the ribaldry of Daniel Chavarria's Adios Muchachos.

Like teatro, there's a lot of good old stuff. La Bloga recently celebrated humorist José Antonio Burciaga’s classic collection, Drink Cultura. Click here to watch Ron Arias reading his comedy piece, “The Interview,” at the first Festival de Flor y Canto in 1973. 

Michael Jaime-Becerra, Sandra Ramos O'Briant, Estella Gonzáles, all serious at the Autry.
Contemporary writing offers excellent comedic writing. Michael Jaime-Becerra, for example, had the audience in stitches at a recent Latinos in Lotusland reading. Rudy Garcia’s fantasy novel The Closet of Discarded Dreams warpspeeds from one funny-to-odd episode after another, page after page. Olga Garcia’s collection, Falling Angels, has some gems written to be funny and that work.

So there’s quite a range of raza funny, from warm gentle feel-good stuff to funny ha-ha to wild and woolly, and it's out there pa'lla.

All those hangdog faces. We won. They won. They're going to get even. Sheesh. Cut the drama, move to joy. What these times call for is an extended dose of funny. A book that has funny ha-ha to warm fuzzy to Out There, in one place at one time. The first, and only, anthology of chicana chicano humor.

And to give the book a life of its own beyond the pages, do a floricanto; bring all the living writers together to read their best ten minutes. Hence, the following La Bloga project:

A La Bloga Project: “Floricanto of Chistes and Chortles”

Can la raza produce twenty or thirty writers to occupy a two- or three-day festival of chicana chicano humor, plus contribute pages of the first-ever anthology of Chicana Chicano humor?

A ver.

Here’s step one bringing to light an anthology and floricanto of chistes and chortles: nominate yourself or another writer's work.

Call for Writers
La Bloga invites writers to submit work for consideration for Floricanto of Chistes and Chortles, appear in the videolog of the floricanto, and publish in a first-of-a-kind anthology. If you’re a writer with a finished humorous work, published or not yet, send it. If you have a greatly funny idea, send a 25-word proposal and get to writing. The final submittal date is April 1, 2013. By the way, if you feel Floricanto of Chistes and Chortles is a funky name, please suggest away. Take the first step by email. Append your work in PDF or Word-compatible format to Michael Sedano.

Call for Jurors
Maybe you don't write funny but you know funny when you see it. You oughta join the judges panel to help identify work meriting an invitation to the funny floricanto. If you're willing to put in the time--and you guarantees you recognizes funny when you sees it--email here.

Take the Idea and Run!
If there’s a C/S Departamento jefa jefe who wants to jump in at the get-go and sponsor this floricanto of funny, let’s get that ball rolling, too. Ideally, the floricanto will enrich author readings with interactions between writers and audience like workshops and discussion panels, and published proceedings. Trailblazing opportunities like Floricanto of Chistes and Chortles are few and far between, gente. Carpe diem.

Veterans Day Chowhounds, Bennies

Vietnam era Veteran Bob Handy sends along a list he's compiled of restaurants offering free food to uniformed military and military Veterans.

Some offers are for Sunday, November 11, others for Monday, November 12. With proper ID, an ex-GI can eat free both days, with Sunday pancakes at IHOP, lunch at Chili's, and dinner at Applebee's, and Monday pancakes at Denny's, lunch at Golden Corral, and dine at Olive Garden or TGIF.

My aching knee won't get me anything, but my DD-214 probably qualifies me--and any aging Vet--for boneless service at Hooters. They're not kidding, but your local Hooters might not be joining in the discounts.

Veterans need to check their local franchise in case there's no free lunch at that location. For Handy's full PDF, click here.

Veterans Day is Sunday, November 11. 2012.

Sylmar Links With Kansas City on November 10

La Bloga friend and Guest Columnist Xánath Caraza makes a whirlwind tour to the West coast, stopping long enough in Sylmar, California, to conduct a poetry writing workshop and a reading from Caraza's recently celebrated collection Conjuro.

La Bloga friend Palabra Literary Magazine provides details of the poet's activities at Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural Bookstore at the northeastern leg of the San Fernando Valley.

When: Saturday, November 10, 2012
What: Writing Workshop led by Xánath Caraza
Where: Tia Chuca's Centro Cultural Bookstore
Time: 12:30-3:30p.m.

What: Xánath Caraza reading from her book, Conjuro
When: (same day--Saturday, November 10th)
Time: 5p.m.
Where: Tia Chuca's Centro Cultural Bookstore

For Tia Chucha's website and contact datos click here.

Innovative Fundraising Idea: Don't Share Donations With Banks

Bloguero René Colato Laínez recently shared news  of La Bloga friend and Guest Columnist Claudia D. Hernandez' project to produce an empowering book about mujerismo for young women.

As with most fundraiser/kickstarter programs, anyone who wants to donate money is forced to contribute to Meg Whitman's purse via PayPal, or see some of the donation stick to the fingers of the credit card company blocking your gift until the bank takes its cut.

Just send a check, or cold hard cash? While donors would love to fund directly to the artist, it's genuinely unsafe for an artist to disclose residential datos. There are some really sick stalkers out there.

Claudia comes up with a perfect solution--an electronic bank transfer. In fact, Hernandez' plan is perfect for people who would like to make a direct donation to the project without having to pay a % to Paypal or credit card processors.

Hernandez emails me:

I nicknamed the account- PROJECT FUNDS. I'm going to try to persuade my bank to make a donation as well. Wish me luck!

Here's the information people need:

So here's a way to support Claudia's important project Revolutionary Women of Color and see 100% of your donation go to the artist. Contact your bank and learn how to do an electronic payment.

Here's hoping your bank doesn't charge you for the privilege of spending your own money to help Claudia's project.

La Bloga On-Line Floricanto for November’s First Tuesday
Carmen Calatayud, Avotcja, Iván Torres, Sharon Elliott, Erika Garza-Johnson

La Bloga's On-Line Floricanto endeavors to provide an opportunity for poets to showcase themselves via their work, a mug shot, and biographical details. While each poem stands on its own, readers generally appreciate knowing more about the poet and the context within which one works. La Bloga apologizes for the absence of supporting materials from some of today's floricanto poets.

"Commitment Otra Vez" by Carmen Calatayud
"Ancestral Reflections" by Avotcja
"Los Muertos" por Iván Torres
"Staircase" by Sharon Elliott
“Waiting for the Apocalypse (or My Poetic Nightmare)” by Erika Garza-Johnson

"Commitment Otra Vez"
by Carmen Calatayud

For R.V.

Some generations ago,
you were a Zapatista
inside your great-grandmother’s
womb, black eye sockets of
revolution, carrying roses
with the pink blown out,
dando gritos in earshot
of the Americas.

But now your doubt
is strewn across the room
like petals from dead maravillas,
even in this space you rent
where spiritual warriors
pray for your country
and you can finally sleep
through the night.

Listen, amigo de los desamparados,
this is your time, again,
beyond gut-level fear
and black and white film:
The explosions just keep coming,
and you are chewing on history,
and never let it be said
that all you could do was cry.

Copyright 2012 by Carmen Calatayud
Originally published in In the Company of Spirits by Press 53
and featured as Split This Rock Poem of the Week 10-19-12

In Honor of El Dia De Los Muertos
"Ancestral Reflections"
by Avotcja

calling in the Spirits of Anacaona, Papa Kémoko Sano, Nina Simone, Cortijo, Abdoulaye “Papa” Camara, Lord Invader, Melba Liston, Sabu Martinez, John Hicks, Olatunji, Linda Hill, Don Rafael Cepeda, Shirley Horne, Malonga Cascalourde, Eddie Moore, Jim Pepper, Pedro Juan Pietri, Hazel Scott, Sun Ra, Lucho Gatica, Bob Bray, Miriam Makeba, Syvia del Villard, Floyd Red Crow Westerman, Joy Holland, Pearl Primus, Eleo Pomare, Alicia Pierce, Arturo Schomburg, Ramito, Horace Tapscott, Eric Dolphy, James Baldwin, Caspar Banjo & Annalee Walker

Can you feel them???
Ancestral suggestion trying to guide us
They’re everywhere
Walking through us, right beside us
They are the essence of us
Got the intensity of their legacy in everything
All over our stuff
They’re in us, with us
All the time
Our Ancestors never sleep
They want us to know all they’ve ever known
Been trying to show the way so we don’t have to fall
They need us to feel them
Won’t let us go ‘til we let them know we need them
There’s still too much work that has to be done
They’ve got their busy fingers in all our business
Whether we want them there or not
And they’re always listening … watching … looking
Checking in on us … won’t let us forget
Got to make sure their existence made a difference
Can you feel them???
They’re sitting in on our everything
The Ancestors are always here … they’re everywhere
Making sure we’re making sure
Their influence is obvious every time we open our eyes
They need us to be aware
They gave their everything for us
They lived & died for us
They smile
Each & every time they see their lives alive in us
Feel them … they’re here
Crying for us … Singing to us … Laughing at us
And right now they’re dancing with us
As we carry the tradition of honoring their presence
And proudly praise & celebrate the vision they continue to give us
We humbly take on the mantle of the undying strength of their legacy
And pray always to be worthy of the gifts of their artistry
Can you feel them???
Insistent Ancestral suggestion on top of us, encouraging us
They’re everywhere
Agitating … trying through us to make a better way
Help us create a better day
Hardheaded, gregarious Spirits got their fingers in our everything
Relentless & instigating & they won’t go away
They’ve been in it for the long haul
Paid the price of their tickets in commitment & blood
And they’re in us … always with us
Can you feel them???
Our Ancestors are never asleep
And we
Got to make sure their existence made a difference

Copyright © Avotcja

"Los Muertos"
por Iván Torres

Dedicado a todos los que estuvieron aqui, pero que ya estan en todas partes...

Los muertos:
son vasijas quebradas,
raices cortadas.
Son polvo, son llama
son llanto y son calma.
Los muertos se entierran
descienden, luego vuelan.
Son aves, son luces
son piedras y cruces.
Los muertos no sienten
no hablan, ni mienten;
son misterio y verdad
son incierta ansiedad.
Los muertos nos cuidan
nos arropan, nos miran
desde arriba, a lo alto
o abajo, sobre el asfalto.
Los muertos son queridos,
son familia, son amigos.
Son quienes nos compadecen,
son eternos, no languidecen.
Ellos miran que sufrimos,
que no amamos, ni vivimos.
Ven como nos odiamos
nos herimos y despedazamos.
Los muertos no son los otros:
los muertos somos nosotros.

By Sharon Elliott

through the skull
of my pelvis

orbits shaped like crocodiles kissing
or horses rubbing noses
without any skin

a staircase of wonder
descending through hips and valleys
of a thousand turgid nights
evening caught in memories
between pubis and tailbone
a never ending transverse journey
follows graying links
of cartilage
into the unknown

I long for
open upon possibility
recumbent bowl of fleshless salvation
filled with absent organs
of pleasure and partition

everything soft has melted
leaving hard unyielding bone
picked clean by scavengers

yet flexibility lingers


I live at the top of the path
it takes only courage
to climb down and through
stay in the center
avoid the pitfalls on either side
better yet
gaze down into them
as a reminder of where not to go
forge ahead
until the pitfalls disappear
the only thing left
is where I am supposed to be

Copyright © 2012 Sharon Elliott. All Rights Reserved.

"Waiting for the Apocalypse (or My Poetic Nightmare)"
by Erika Garza-Johnson

Four horsemen walk into a bar.

Scratch that.

There are no more words. You stole them all. You.
Over there. Yes. The guilty one with the stack of poems.
Are those your poems? Where did you get them?

No. The words, they have been eaten
up by a fat, scary, hairy, politician.
No. A vampire. Yes. Chris Christie with fangs.

In that trash can, along with aborted fetuses,
hypodermic needles, last weeks leftover barbacoa.

My words, gone.

Words like azure, cobalt, esperanza, opalescent, jacaranda.

They are in my father’s garden that no longer exists.
They are hanging
on the lasso
with my childhood dresses.
Yes. On the frilly, yellow one I wore when I fell in the mud.

The words. Are gone. Are in a Depeche Mode song.

The river is dry. The river is soot and bones.
There is a wall and I can’t climb over it to see more words.

Over there.
A ghost accordion plays corridos, muertitos bailan.
Pero se acabaron los tacos. Corn won’t grow.
There are no more wooden crucifixes, strands of garlic.
No one is selling bejeweled bows or cat whistles.

My words have evaporated with the drought.
My words have been murdered by the cartel.
My words have been slain, hung, decayed.

Shit. I forgot my bayonet.

There is no end to this fear that the words have run out.
Time has run out.

The horsemen are here.

"Commitment Otra Vez" by Carmen Calatayud
"Ancestral Reflections" by Avotcja
"Los Muertos" por Iván Torres
"Staircase" by Sharon Elliott
“Waiting for the Apocalypse (or My Poetic Nightmare)” by Erika Garza-Johnson

Carmen Calatayud's first poetry collection In the Company of Spirits was published in October 2012 by Press 53. Her book was a runner-up for the Academy of American Poets Walt Whitman Award. Her poetry has appeared in journals such as Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts, La Bloga, PALABRA: A Magazine of Chicano and Latino Literary Art, and the anthology DC Poets Against the War. She is a Larry Neal Poetry Award winner and recipient of a Virginia Center for the Creative Arts fellowship. Calatayud is a poet moderator for Poets Responding to SB 1070, a Facebook group that features poetry and news about Arizona’s controversial immigration law that legalizes racial profiling. Born to a Spanish father and Irish mother in the U.S., Calatayud works and writes in Washington, DC.

Iván Torres was born on September 17, 1981, in El Paso, TX. Raised in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, he grew up in a middle class household and attended Mexican public school all the way up to high school. Afterwards, he attended The University of Texas at El Paso and earned a Bachelors degree in Print media with a minor in Translation and Interpretation Studies. His writing is influenced by life experiences, religion, myths, dreams and emotions. Having been raised by his grandmother, Ivan’s writing also reflects a passion for his ancestry and the traditions that characterize the Mexican culture, rife with sayings, customs and devotions

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.


Anonymous said...

Your Funny post is right on. In Houston last week I had the opportunity to talk at length with Nicolás Canelos of Arte Público Press. I asked him what kind of submissions he didn't see enough of. His answer: Chicano humor.
BTW, thanks for mentioning The Closet of Discarded Dreams as a "funny."

Anonymous said...

Fantasy realism comes replete with inherently funny possibilities, like the flying dead baby that launches So Far From God. Sandra Castillo, in fact, shines for infusing her work and characters with humor and funny stuff. Castillo’s stories featuring Carmen la Coja, the one-legged flamenco dancer, glow with warmth that keeps a good-humored smile on a reader’s face.

Hey, Amigos, is ANA Castillo not the hybrid!Although the combo is funny. Ana Castillo has a one of a kind sense of humor that, in my funny cosmic carcajada view, is unique!

msedano said...

Anonymous, is, of course right, and analytic. Don't know if Sandra Castillo is writing, haven't seen her since 3d grade.

Ana Castillo. funny error.