Dagoberto Gilb fondly recalls the motivation for naming his magazine after the palo verde tree that shitkickers irritably call the "Wee-satch." The Huizache tree is tough to eradicate; cut it down and where one once stood, five new trees spring from the attempt to wipe it out. Resistance!
The tree is a metaphor for raza. The Huizache, like raza, insists on its right to grow, in its own space, in your face, cowboy. ¡Aqui estamos y no nos vamos, cabrones!
|Dagoberto Gilb holds H6|
Gilb’s project out of Centro Victoria in Victoria TX is exactly like its namesake. Publishers want nothing to do with raza authors not named Junot, so they cut them off at the knees content to let them resurface at some other house. But Huizache keeps coming and coming.
Now in its sixth issue since 2011, Huizache, the Magazine of Latino Literature, celebrated H6 in a festive gathering dubbed “Pachanga Huizache” at the Los Angeles home of Virginia Espino and Héctor Tobar on Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend.
|Hosts Héctor Tobar and Virginia Espino react to Gilb's introduction|
Joining the hosts in their art- and book-filled living room and outdoor patios were four readers from H6, musicians from El-Haru Kuroi, and deliciously spicy, aromatic catering from Vegan Moni. Except for some empanadas, Moni’s food was gluten-free and beautifully presented.
Masterfully emceed by Abel Salas, publisher of the eastside’s Brooklyn & Boyle literary newspaper, Pachanga Huizache brought together friends and colleagues in a dynamic assortment of literary, art, and political personalities,
|Claude Fiddler and Vegan Moni|
Claude Fiddler, one of Gilb’s long-time Los Angeles friends, recounted how he and the author went door to door, to coffee houses and independent booksellers, selling Gilb’s first book, a self-published collection of stories.
|Maria Cabildo, Candidate for House of Representatives 34th Congressional District|
La comadre of the hosts, Maria Cabildo, took the floor to speak movingly about her run for Congress in the local district vacated by California’s new Attorney General. Cabildo drew laughs and knowing head nods when she disclosed that local politicos discouraged her entry, crying, “It’s Jimmy's turn!” Whoever Jimmy is, Jimmy doesn’t stand a chance faced with Cabildo’s fervor and record of providing housing for disadvantaged gente.
Emerging writers Nikolai Garcia and Josephine Nericcio kicked off the readings with powerful work. Nericcio gives voice to raza who've died along the border. It's fascinating work.
You can read Garcia’s powerful “The Sound of an American Flag Burning” here. Garcia is also published in The Coiled Serpent, published by Luis J. Rodriguez’ Tia Chucha Press.
Dagoberto Gilb provided the entracte, relating the “wee-satch” legend and regañando those people who speak Texan instead of Chicano. He shared that Junot Diaz had planned to join the festivities that evening but circumstances pulled him away. Diaz' work is not in H6.
Veteran writers Lisa Alvarez and Jesus Treviño capped off the reading part of the program. Alvarez read from H6 along with a new piece. Treviño, who filmed the readings for Latinopia, read from his story published in H6.
|Jesus Treviño in camera monitor|
Ordering Huizache is fast and easy via the magazine’swebsite. Single copies and back issues are only $15.00. Two-year subscriptions run $25 and ensure getting each issue hot off the press.
When Dago handed me the first Huizache—in Tucson during the Librotraficante book smuggling tour—I knew it had greatness written all over it.
|Librotraficantes, Dagoberto Gilb, Tony Diaz|
Time has proven that absochingaolutely accurate. Every issue has engaging poetry, arresting fiction, artwork, and amazing covers by artists such as Patssi Valdez, Linda Gamboa, and for the current issue, John Valadez.
Huizache makes a great Valentine’s Day present for everyone who loves Chicana Chicano Literature. You can prove your love, of literature and the recipient, by giving a complete set of Huizache, while supplies last.
A long time ago there was a magazine named Con Safos. A brilliant collective of writers, artists, and visionaries brought it out. But C/S went by the wayside. Raza, don’t allow Huizache to fade. Buy, subscribe, give it to friends, tell your librarian to stock Huizache.
Stand in a grocery store line, visit the library, it's easily seen that the market is flooded with popular consumer magazines. There is only one magazine of Chicana Chicano, Latina Latino literature: Huizache.
At my fifth birthday party, an older kid named Johnny Roque scratched something on the stucco wall of the garage. I could read the letters but didn’t know what they meant. Johnny explained that c/s meant “you don’t mess with this.” I took a rock and scratched across the letters, at which point the little pachuco picked up an empty nickel deposit bottle and clunked me on the head with it. I tearfully realized he was serious about not messing with placas protected by C/S.
That lesson lurked at the back of my mind when I returned to the United States from Korea in 1970. That was when I learned that in my absence a magazine called Con Safos had gained popularity. I was delighted to learn C/S was a sterling exemplar of community-based media featuring raza arts and letters. C/S had stories, essays, drawings, photographs, and cartoons. Amidst all the good stuff—and there was a montón of good stuff--one cartoon stood out, Arnie and Porfi.
Drawn and scripted by Sergio Hernandez, the strip unraveled the continuing misadventures of street-wise Porfi and a Chicanerd named Arnie. It was the fabulous furry freak brothers but without the drugs and movidas, and puro Chicano. A few years back, Hernandez revived the strip at Latinopia, about the same time the surviving C/S editorial staff began stirring the waters looking to bring back the seminal magazine.
Although C/S hasn’t yet made it all the way back, there is a book about its history, penned with the cooperation of the C/S veteranos, by Maxine Borowsky Junge, Voices From the Barrio. The $32 book from internet publisher Amazon, launches at Los Angeles’ LA Plaza de Arte y Cultura on Thursday, January 19th.
Arnie and Porfi will make a live appearance, along with original members of the production team. Serge tells me he's still writing the dialog. I'm guessing Serge will carry el papel de Porfi and Michael Sedano will be Arnie. Or vice versa. Come Thursday and see.
Kid’s Opera In Limited Run
La Bloga friend Teresa Marquez turned us on to the opera-in-progress of Bless Me, Ultima that was featured in last week’s La Bloga-Tuesday. Teresa commends to your attention Opera Cultura’s March 2017 children’s opera, The Coyotes and The Rabbits, A bilingual Children's Opera.
Only two performances mean it’s time to hop to it, getting tickets for the Mexican Heritage Theater - School of Arts & Culture auditorium in San Jose , CA 95116.
From Opera Cultura's website:
Hector Armienta has adapted one of the oldest Mexican folk tales known, The Coyote and the Rabbit, and turned into a lesson about the value of an education. It is told by two mischievous but well intentioned rabbits known as Chiquita and Banana. The story begins when a young Coyote, named Scrawny, is visited by his cousin, Loco. When Loco finds out that Scrawny is learning how to read, something no decent Coyote would ever do, Loco has made it his mission to set his cousin on the “right path”. What follows are a series of misadventures, due to Loco’s inability to read and his ignorance. In the end, Scrawny realizes that an education is the key to long and fruitful life.
Buy your affordable tickets on-line via Opera Cultura’s website: http://www.operacultura.org
Watch excerpts from The Coyotes and The Rabbits here: