Friday, October 04, 2013

Praising the Praiseworthy: Montoya, Martinez, Mestizo y Más

Today brings a pair of poetic remembrances from Gloria Velásquez about Chicano legend José Montoya, who passed away on September 25 at the age of 81.  More about Montoya can be found in Tuesday's La Bloga at this link.

Also, long time activist Donaciano Martinez is honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from Out Front; entertainer and activist Daniel Valdez asks for help so he can reissue his classic Mestizo recording along with a video bit of Chicano history; and award-winning poet Nina Serrano performs in the Mission. Plus a reminder of the upcoming Houston LIBROfest.

Remembering José Montoya

Lifers of Xicanismo

Riding high en la locura                                   

Dick Schmidt / The Sacramento Bee

con el RCAF at the
Aztlán Cultural Center
twenty years later en East Los
at the Xicano Film Festival,
remembering César,
the Floricantos de los 70s,
 “You went to Oshkosh with us?”
me pregunta Louie the Foot
and my mind flashes to that year,
the only Xicana in the van
headed for Oshkosh del
Milwaukee Canto Al Pueblo
amidst aquellos vatos locos,
Montoya, Villa, el Rudy,
Juanishi y Louie the Foot.
“Vámonos a Sacra,” Rudy teases,
insisting I hop in the van tonight,
y nos reímos felices as we
talk locura talk
laugh locura laughs,
“Oye, were you at the Reno Club
for the One More Canto en Sacra?”
me pregunta el Rudy,
“Simón,” I answer,
“I used to be the Superwoman Chicana,”
y la locura laugh as we remember
Ricardo Sánchez esa noche y
sus f-yous a todos los borrachos
in the audience who wouldn’t keep quiet
while we recited our locura verses,
Louie the Foot reciting his classic poema,
“Cortés nos chingó in a big way,

We smile nostalgically remembering
those locura days gone by,
“Y qué pasó con la Lorna Dee?”
me dice Louie the Foot, “Sure miss
her Mango Press,”
as we talk about the old camaradas,
wondering if they’re still doing the Xicano thing,
the Juan Felipe que viva la Causa thing,
como nosotros esta noche in East Los
at the Aztlán Cultural Center,
poniéndonos trucha para la marcha,
25th commemoration of the Chicano Movement.
“The City won’t give us a permit,
they want to charge us $30,000 for marching
in our own barrios--but we’re gonna march anyway,”
anuncia uno de los organizadores.
“We’re still in jail,” proclama Montoya as he
accepts his Firme award con pride.
“They couldn’t buy Aztlán so they created a war
and took it,” dice Louie the Foot admiring
his malatov cocktail Firme award,
the one he designed
in a big way--huey.
“Being a Chicano has nothing to do with
speaking Spanish,” dice Moctesuma Esparza,
holding tightly to his own Firme award.

“Where are the Xicanas for the Firme awards?”
the crowd begins to chant and I want to yell out,
“I’m right here, Ese!  Been firme all my life,”
but I remain in the background con el resto de la
bien cansada, oprimida y ahuitada,
thinking about the march on August 26 de
Belevedere Park to Salazar Park.
Been marching all my life,
les quiero gritar,
don’t need no Firme trophy
got my RCAF wings que me dio Villa,
so I’ll fly my own plane, ese,
Xicana style,
Dolores Huerta style,
for those Movimiento days gone by
for all the forgotten pintos
for the welfare single-parent moms
for my Black sisters and brothers,
for the memory of Rubén Salazar.

Gloria L. Velásquez
written in East Los on July 7, 1995 

Two Days Con Montoya

La Rascuachi Queen yo
con el mero mero Pachuco, José.
Two days and nights of bliss y locura
en mi cantón en San Luis Obispo
jamming en mis guitarras
con su Lulac Cadillac
y mi Uprising rola,
los dos compadres de Floricanto
Days gone by,
sharing poeta locura cura stories,
“Were you there in Chicago cuando Ricardo Sánchez
had us autograph his apartment walls?”
Montoya y su comadrita sharing meals juntos,
“I’m not known for my cooking,” le admito a José
as he raves about my arroz con pollo curry
a la Superwoman Xicana on the Run style
y “Esta ensalda está de aquellas,” me dice José
and I give him one of my traviesa smiles.
Two days of camarada love and respect,
“Are these tamales de Trader Joe’s?”
me pregunta the next day as we eat breakfast.
“Los voy a buscar,” me promete y le platico
de mis Trader Joe’s frozen comidas for one,
“Buy the curry rice dinners,” le aconsejo
as he asks about the tortilla he’s eating,
 “Trader Joes’s!” I proudly admit.
Y en la tarde sentado on the couch con mis nietos,
Atzi y Beto, who are terrified of José.
“Es un abuelito,” les digo y José se los repite
as they finally warm up to him,
retratándolos con el Maestro so that one day
they’ll remember dancing to his Lulac Cadillac
or watching us jam to Atzi’s very own song,
“Hay viene Atzi, Atzi en Aztlán...”
At Mass in the Mission Church kneeling next to José 
“Me atreví,” me dice after he takes communion conmigo,
los dos rezando por mi hijo,
“I don’t know how I’m going to do this,” I whisper
y el wise Maestro me dice, “You’re already doing it,”
y le cuento de Mom’s story, about that day  in 1968
cuando se quiso matar al perder al Fini en Vietnam,
only she didn’t.
“I realize I’m as strong as Mom,”
le digo a José and he nods,
reminding me que soy Adelita y siempre lo seré.
Más noche pisteando con unas Coronitas,
laughing at those Floricanto desvelada days
at Louie the Foot’s locura,
“Did we already give you your wings?”
me pregunta el Maestro as I’m proudly inducted
into the RCAF for the second time around.
Two days con Montoya
nuestras vidas unidas forever,
más viejitos ya but still soaring high,
“Dile a Estebán, al Rudy y a todos en Sacra
that I’ve still got my cape y flyin’ high,”
le digo a José as I drive him to the train station,
dándole un abrazo fuerte
un beso profundo that has to last
until we fly juntos again.

Written on May 13, 2007
by Gloria L. Velásquez


Honoring Donaciano Martinez

[press release from La Gente Unida]
A LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD will be presented to longtime activist Donaciano Martinez at a public event on Saturday, October 5, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., at the Exdo Event Center located at the corner of Walnut and 35th Streets in Denver.

Sponsored by Out Front – Colorado’s oldest and largest GLBT news organization and network – the event is titled “Power Party” at which State Senator Pat Steadman also will receive a special award for his enduring legislative work on the Colorado Civil Union Act that became law on May 1 after three years of intense debate. The Power Party is Out Front’s signature event that honors ordinary community members for their extraordinary acts that made a difference by bringing about change in order to improve the world.

An activist in Colorado movements for peace and justice since 1964, Martinez was selected for the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award for being a co-founder of the Gay Liberation Front in Colorado Springs in 1969 and his sustained community activism that will reach the 50-year anniversary next year. The award also recognizes that he has marched in nearly every Denver Pride event since they began in the mid-1970s. He has carried his handmade sign, “I’ve Been Marching for Justice Since 1965,” at Pride parades as well as marches to protest racism and U.S. wars. Although he has taken part in marches since 1965, his activism started in Colorado Springs in 1964 when he was a volunteer in the presidential campaign of the self-proclaimed peace candidate Lyndon Johnson.

Among his other achievements, Martinez was a co-founder of the nonprofit Lambda Services Bureau (LSB) that won a 1970s lengthy legal battle that paved the way for all gay and lesbian nonprofit organizations to obtain IRS tax exemption without having to sign a longtime-required form that restricted free speech. LSB was a forerunner of the Pride Center, which still operates in Colorado Springs. Martinez was active in Unity, the ad hoc committee that started Denver’s GLBT Community Center. In 1980 he co-founded the Chicano gay men’s support group called Ambiente Latino, and in 1991 he co-founded the Chicano/a GLBT nonprofit La Gente Unida for which he has been the board secretary for 20 years.

“I first met Senator Steadman when he was just a babe in arms getting started with his activism in 1991 during the campaign that opposed the anti-gay Amendment 2,” said Martinez. “Pat was very quiet and shy back then, but nowadays he is totally opposite as a very outspoken and extremely articulate State Senator.”

During a recent videotaped interview with Out Front Executive Editor Nic Garcia, Martinez was asked to name one historical event he thought was the most significant. Although Martinez has lived through many historical events in his long life, he cited the 1973 gay revolt at Denver City Council as the most historically-significant event. He maintains that, without that revolt, there would have been a long delay of subsequent historical events (the 1976 founding of Denver’s GLBT Center, Denver’s 1990 passage of the anti-bias ordinance, Colorado’s 1992 anti-gay Amendment 2 campaign that resulted in the 1996 landmark ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, and the 2013 passage of the Colorado Civil Union Act).

In addition to Martinez and Senator Steadman receiving the special awards, other honorees will be: Daneya Esgar for her work on successfully lobbying Pueblo’s City Council to include partner benefits for GLBT employees; Andy Szekeres for his work on growing the funding base for YouthBiz, a nonprofit that helps youth in poverty become entrepreneurs; Sandhya Luther for her work at the nonprofit Colorado Anti Violence Program; the Simon family (Fran, Anna, Jeremy) for their tenacity in lobbying for the Colorado Civil Union Act; the Mathis family (Kathryn, Jeremy, Coy) for their bravery in fighting trans discrimination at the Fountain-Fort Carson school district and winning a landmark decision from the Colorado Civil Rights Division; the nonprofit Shalom Cares health facility for their steadfast commitment to providing a safe and inclusive environment for GLBT elders; and, the nonprofit Imperial Court of the Rocky Mountain Empire for their longtime fundraising efforts for nonprofits and causes other than their own.

The awards ceremony will feature dinner, entertainment, dancing, and free admission to the after party at Tracks Nightclub. Tickets are $65 per person and $120 per couple. For tickets, click the “Power Party” tab on the home page at

The October 2 issue of Out Front will have detailed coverage of the Power Party awards event.


Mestizo 40th Anniversary CD

Project History
Forty years ago this October, marks the original release of the MESTIZO album by Daniel Valdez. In 1972 Daniel Valdez recorded a half hour concert show America de los Indios for Los Angeles television station KCET. This was the first live television concert to be simulcast in stereo on radio stations across the Los Angeles area.  This attracted the ear of the legendary Herb Alpert, a world class musician and half of A & M Records. Alpert would sign Daniel to a recording contract. MESTIZO, the poetic original by Daniel Valdez exemplifies how the indigenous past was engaged by a Chicano artist in the re-telling of that history into an emerging Chicano identity. This 1973 album, the only Chicano Movement recording released by a major recording label, would inspire other groups to record, documenting a new era of Chicano popular music

Why Now?
The voice of MESTIZO is one that captured the Chicano consciousness during a time when music was pivotal to the historical uprising of a culture regaining connection to its roots while re-forging the Mexican-American cultural identity. The 40th year allows for a milestone to reflect and project the lessons of that political and cultural struggle. Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech allowed us to examine the effect on the Civil Rights Movement. For communities of color to continue to advance we must examine those gains and the struggle to make that progress.

About the Project
MESTIZO had a limited release on vinyl in 1973 and only 100,00 copies were pressed. The digital world has since rendered the vinyl copies obsolete. In an effort to preserve the incredible work of Daniel’s musical contribution to Chicano history we would like to have the album digitally re-mastered and pressed to CD. The upcoming 40th anniversary of MESTIZO’s original release also presents us with the opportunity to release a never before heard 1973 “live” performance at the University of Iowa as a bonus CD. The album’s re-release would coincide with a live performance of the album at Su Teatro in Denver, Colorado on October 10th, 2013.

Direct Ask
We invite you to help us raise $4500 to have the album re-mastered and digitally preserved. This re-pressing of MESTIZO would produce both 1000 Double Disc CDs and launch a digital download campaign of these important works. The CD and digital re-mastered work would be released October 10th 2013.

Our Overfunding Strategy
Should the project be overfunded it will allow for an expanded marketing campaign to promote the worldwide double release of MESTIZO, which will include Daniel Valdez Live at the University of Iowa 1973 while providing the opportunity to have the album marketed for Amazon, iTunes and streaming radio.

Our Thanks:
Daniel Valdez would like to thank his friends and supporters, new and old, keeping the spirit of MESTIZO alive all these years. Together we can be a part of this historical occasion. Your contribution will allow for this important work of art to reach and inspire a new generation of voices speaking for social change.

For more info and to contribute:   jump to this link. 

Litquake, the West Coast's most daring, innovative, and exciting literary festival is coming to the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts on Friday, October 18TH @ 7PM, to celebrate the new book publications of Nina Serrano and Terresa Palazzo. 

Poetry-Woman /Poema Mujer is a party to launch their new books. The event is free of charge with light refreshments and a no-host wine bar. The poets will also give you a small taste of their memorable poems. All are welcome.

Nina Serrano is signing two poetry books: Heart’s Journey: 1980-1999, which won the 2013 book award from Artist Embassy International as well as Heart Strong (2000-2012) published by Estuary Press. Teresa Palazzo Conti is signing Alegato de Mujer/ A Woman’s Plea published by Mariposa Blanca Press.

Nina Serrano (“Best local poet” Oakland Magazine) hosts a monthly literature program on KPFA-FM and is one of co-founders of the Mission Cultural Center. Alameda poet laureate Mary Rudge said, “Nina Serrano’s poems center on the great adventure of being a woman. Nina’s poems and drawings take you through the intricate passages of life’s mysteries. This intimate journey of mind and heart is a book to cherish.” These two books complete her poetic trilogy, Heart Suite

Teresa Palazzo Conti lives in Argentina. She has won international awards. San Francisco poet Laureate Alejandro Murguia, says of her book Alegato de Mujer/ A Woman’s Plea: “These totally unique poems are rich in language and voice and chart the passions of contemporary Latin American women like few ever have. As such, this book of poems redefine contemporary Latin American poetry and nudge it into the 21st century… And rarely have photos been such an important part of a poetry text--but in this case Adrian Arias's work adds a beautiful texture to the words."

For more information:

contact: Pedro Reyes:


Houston LibroFEST 2013
Houston Public Library
Central Library Plaza
500 McKinney Street
Houston, TX  77002

Saturday, October 5, 1-5 pm
LibroFEST 2013 Program
*Visit with exhibitors*Meet Happy the Clown*Join in mini writers’ workshops*
*Order food by GrandE Tamales!*

1:10 PM:             Opening Remarks                                                                                                           Main Stage

1:15-1:45            Solero Flamenco presented by Society for Performing Arts (SPA)         Main Stage

1:30 PM               SpeakOUT with Open Mic: Houston LGBT Poetry Event                 Julia Ideson BLDG.

Lupe Mendez, who works with Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say, the Word Around Town (WAT) Poetry Tour and the Brazilian Arts Foundation, promotes poetry events, advocates for literacy/literature and organizes creative writing workshops. Mendez will discuss his experiences as a writer and will read selections from his favorite poems.

1:45                       Houston Poet Laureate Gwendolyn Zepeda                                                   Main Stage
Zepeda reads from her debut collection, Falling in Love with Fellow Prisoners: Poems

2 PM:                    Houston Grand Opera Presents a Bilingual Story Time          1st Floor Gallery Area

2:15                       Guadalupe Garcia McCall & René Saldaña, Jr.                          Main Stage
Heroes, Villains and Monsters: Latino Authors on Their Work
From fantastic creatures to folk heroes and villains, discover the characters in books by Garcia McCall and Saldaña: their work features La Llorona, el Diablo and more!

3 PM:                    SPA mariachi performance                                                                        Main Stage

3:30                       Sarah Cortez & Manuel Ramos                                                           Main Stage
                                Cops and Desperados
Cortez and Ramos talk crime! The poet and novelist discuss the intersection of writing poetry and fiction rooted in the law enforcement world.

3:45                       René Saldaña, Jr.                                                                                  1st Floor Gallery Area
¿Quiere ser detective? ¡Conoce a Mickey Rangel, detective privado! / So You Want to Be a Private Investigator? Meet Mickey Rangel, Kid Detective!
Bilingual presentation geared for kids in grades 2-5 based on popular Mickey Rangel Mystery series.

4:15 PM               EXPRESS Children’s Theatre                                                                     Main Stage
Legends of Wind & Fire written by Edith W. Pross, is a bilingual retelling of classic Argentinian and Brazilian fables, told by Millartray and Mapú, two rambunctious Native American youth.


1 comment:

msedano said...

only 10,000 copies, and i own one. still sounds good, not obsolete at all. i like scratchy music.