Friday, August 02, 2013

La Raza in Nueva Orleans

Melinda Palacio

Two weeks ago, when Nora Comstock of Las Comadres Para Las Americas called me to say she was going to the NCLR (National Council of La Raza) conference in New Orleans and would I help her find a place to stay, I gladly offered my condo. La Comadre Nora helped me couch surf during my first book tour and put me and Reyna Grande up in her home for the Texas Book Festival last year. I was happy to do something for la Comadre Nora who does so much for Latino books and literacy.

It was a good thing Nora told me about the conference in New Orleans. Unfortunately, advertising for this event was somewhat dismal and I probably would not have heard about it had it not been for Nora's last minute decision to attend. While the exhibits were free to the public, there were several ticketed events that were a bit pricey and hard to get into, especially the final event, a speech by First Lady Michele Obama. While I couldn't use my press pass to get into this event, I was able to enjoy the brunch with keynote speaker, Rita Moreno.
Rita Moreno 

Rita Moreno.  I was impressed by her speech and delivery. I didn't mind at all that she took extra time, telling stories about the golden years of Hollywood, and promoting her memoir of the same theme. Her big screen life and struggle of a young Puerto Rican girl named Rosita Dolores Alverio, turned Rita Moreno, was delightful, especially since I've seen several of her films, including West Side Story,  and her dynamic role on the HBO series Oz. The 81-year-old singer, dancer, actress, and author is a natural storyteller and public speaker. She talked about how she 'hated' the early roles she was offered, but took them anyway, knowing a stronger role for a Latina would come along and how she developed accents for every role assigned to her over the past six decades as an actor. She also had no trouble promoting her book: Rita Morena: A Memoir. The book is doing well, but not as well as Jenni Rivera's Memoir: Unbreakable translated into Spanish by La Bloga friend, Reyna Grande. Rivera's memoir hit an unprecedented Number One Best Seller by a Latina on Amazon.
Jose Torres Tama
 In conjunction with the NCLR in New Orleans, Jose Torres Tama gave an off-site performance of his one-man show, Aliens, Immigrants & Other Evildoers. I was so pleased I finally had the opportunity to see this important theatrical piece. I had already seen Torres Tama's accompanying exhibit, Somos Humanos/ We Are Human: Latino Immigrants and the Reconstruction of New Orleans at Barrister's Gallery.

Upcoming Events:

Next Tuesday, August 6 in New Orleans: Melinda Palacio and Nancy Harris read at Octavia Books, at 6pm. Nancy Harris runs the Maple Leaf Reading Series in New Orleans. Her new book, Beauty Eating Beauty is out from Portals Press.

Next month: In California

September 8, Bluebird Reading Series. I'm excited to join this reading series. I will be wearing my dress with birds on it. If you have a dress or shirt with birds, join in. Hostess Jessica Ceballos promises to wear her blue bird dress as well. Sunday, September 8 at 2pm, I will join Cara Van Le and the Blue Bird readers at Avenue 50 Studios, Highland Park, CA. Open mike to follow, bird motifs not required.

September 14, over at Granada Books, the new bookstore in Santa Barbara, downtown, on State Street, I have the pleasure of being the featured reader at the Poetry Zone, 4pm. Open mike to follow.


D.M. SOLIS said...

If we can be there, we will be. It will be inspired, I know, and inspiring to hear and see.


One Latina's Pen said...
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Mona AlvaradoFrazier said...

Thanks for the links to the biographies. The books received excellent reviews and are now on my TBR list. I'm marking my calendar to remind me of your reading at the new bookstore in SB. Keep us posted.