Tuesday, May 31, 2005

What a revoltin’ development this turned out to be...


Memorial Day used to put me off until I got over it. It all started during a stroll in Washington DC. My daughter was doing an internship in town and we’d flown out for a visit. My kid walks to my left. I keep The Wall on my right. The monument starts and ends with the first guy killed and the last guy killed. As we near the slabs for 1969-70, the names start to blur and I realize I am crying. I do not want to read the names from my two years. We reach the Lincoln Memorial where I sit on a bench and get my composure back. Damn, what a hard walk that is.

A few years later, Shrub starts rattling sabres and clearly the US is going to war in Iraq again, and just as clearly, our kids will do the fighting and dying. So I want kids to know the military as an option rather than their only choice; I want kids to read and write about the impact of war on their family and community, to know they have a personal stake in the upcoming war. I announce a Read! Raza Essay Contest. Entrants would receive two books from me, Stella Pope Duarte’s Let Their Spirits Dance, and Daniel Cano’s collection of short fiction, Shifting Loyalties. Read, write, win a few bucks.

So I go promoting the contest in likely places, including Huntington Park CA, a Spanish-speaking community just South of my workplace. Working with staff in the public library across the street from HP High School, I arrange an after-school promotion for the contest. That library's always crowded at the end of the day with students from the High School; a perfect place. I figure I’ll show up, do my standard literacy / oracy dog-and-pony-show, segue into a bibliographic talk on Chicana Chicano-produced literature of the Vietnam war, and toss in a few poems. In the end, I figure to recruit five or so kids to take the books home, read them, and maybe write the essay.

The day before my presentation I get an urgent message from one of the staffers. I call. The head Librarian is up in arms. I have been disinvited to appear. The Head Librarian doesn’t want me--nor any "Chicanos" -- in the library, because we cause trouble. My contact tells me please not to make an issue of , "I, I need my job," I’m told, and if I cause trouble, the anti-Chicano Head Librarian will fire my contact.

How does that old song go, "Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose"? Am I too old, too tired? Quien sabe, but I let the matter pass. But I think: I’m glad I served in the Army so that Head Librarians can censor people like me.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Spotlight on Rigoberto González

Monday’s post from Daniel Olivas

Rigoberto González is the author of four books, So Often the Pitcher Goes to Water Until It Breaks, a 1998 National Poetry Series selection (University of Illinois Press, 1999); two bilingual children's books, Soledad Sigh-Sighs / Soledad Suspiros (2003) and Antonio's Card / La Tarjeta de Antonio (2005), both from Children’s Book Press; and a novel, Crossing Vines (University of Oklahoma Press, 2003), which received ForeWord Magazine's Editor's Choice for Fiction Book of the Year Award in 2004. If that weren’t enough, González has three (yes three!) new books forthcoming in 2005: Northwestern University Press will publish his biography of the late Chicano writer, Tomás Rivera; Zoo Press will publish his second collection of poetry, Other Fugitives and Other Strangers; and his memoir, Butterfly Boy, will appear from the University of Wisconsin Press. González has so many awards and other projects (including reviewing books by Latinos for El Paso Times), I don’t have the time to list everything. Just go and visit his Web site for more information and drop him a note and say La Bloga sent you.

NOTICIAS: This week sees the publication of a new novel: The People of Paper (McSweeney’s) by Salvador Plascencia; more on Salvador later but in the meantime, you can read an excerpt. I recently read and loved Carmen Tafolla’s poetry collection, Sonnets and Salsa (Wings Press); a review is forthcoming. The Jewish Journal published an interesting article/review on a new memoir: Jubana!: The Awkwardly True and Dazzling Adventures of a Jewish Cubana Goddess, by Gigi Anders (Rayo/HarperCollins). Sheryl Luna's collection Pity the Drowned Horses won the first Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize sponsored by the Institute for Latino Studies at University of Notre Dame; she currently teaches at the Metropolitan State College of Denver. David Hernandez's second book of poems, Always Danger, won the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry and will be published by Southern Illinois University Press in March 2006. ◘ The editors of the San Francisco Chronicle recommend Luis Alberto Urrea’s brilliant new novel, The Hummingbird’s Daughter (Little, Brown). ◘ Susana Chávez-Silverman’s memoir, Killer Cronicas: Bilingual Memories (University of Wisconsin Press), has been receiving good notices including from Daniel Hernandez, staff writer for the Los Angeles Times.

Ariel Robello will read from her collection, My Sweet Unconditional: Poems (Tía Chucha Press, 2005), on Saturday, June 4, 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., at Tía Chucha’s Café Cultural, 12737 Glenoaks Blvd., #22, Sylmar, CA 91342; (818) 362-7060. Ariel received a PEN West Rosenthal Emerging Voices Fellowship in 2002. She teaches poetry in Los Angeles public high schools and English in the garment district.

MEMORIAL DAY: I think of my father who is happy and healthy enjoying his retirement with my mother. Pop enlisted with the Marines in 1950 at the age of 18. He fought in the Korean Conflict. In Sacramento, CA, there’s a war memorial dedicated to Mexican-American veterans. I haven’t been there yet, but here’s the information if you’re up there sometime. It was dedicated on September 16, 1975. The plaque states: "In memory of the American servicemen of Hispanic descent and all others who sacrificed their lives to protect the freedoms we enjoy."

And, finally, LatinoLA has posted my little article on La Bloga. All done. Until next Monday, enjoy the intervening posts from my compadres at La Bloga. ¡Lea un libro!

Sunday, May 29, 2005


Manuel Ramos

Santiago Pérez
National Latino Writers Conference

Santiago Pérez
In a recent post I talked about a train trip to Albuquerque. While spending a few days in a town that my wife and I appreciate more each time we visit, we came across an artist I immediately liked: Santiago Pérez. I saw his work in an exhibit at the National Hispanic Cultural Center and I was duly impressed. Pérez works in different genres and styles. Here's a detail from one of his gothic fantasies or his "magical paintings" as he calls them.

The stories that the paintings portray are weird, wacky and wonderful, and apparently were written by the artist. If you are unfamiliar with the artist, as I was, you can see some of his work on his website here and also on this site. Two of my favorite pieces are Aztec Pilots Search for Quetzalcoatl and First Aztec on the Moon.

National Latino Writers Conference
Speaking of the National Hispanic Cultural Center - it was the site for the third National Latino Writers Conference, a conference I confess I didn't know anything about but that this year featured Rudolfo Anaya, Lucha Corpi and John Nichols, and other poets, screenwriters, and fiction writers. Information on the NHCC site says that "nationally recognized authors, agents and editors will conduct workshops and participate in panel discussions on fiction, poetry, screenwriting, playwriting and memoir. All those who attend will have the opportunity to have three individual appointments with agents, authors and editors." The conference was held May 19 -21.

In New Mexico my wife picked up Chiva by Chellis Glendinning (New Society Publishers). This book is about the heroin epidemic in Chimayó, N.M., and the community's struggle to clean up. I haven't read the book so can't comment on it but the facts behind the book's topic are disturbing. The legend of the holy dirt at the Chimayó mission is well known here in Colorado and New Mexico and the area was famous for its healing and spiritual nature long before the church was built.

Here's a bit of the town's history from the Chimayó website -
"Believed to be built on sacred earth with miraculous healing powers, the legendary shrine El Santuario de Chimayó is probably the most visited church in New Mexico. The crucifix which began the original shrine still resides on the chapel alter, but for some reason its curative powers have been overshadowed by El Posito, the 'sacred sand pit' from which it sprang. Each year during Holy Week thousands of people make a pilgrimage to Chimayó to visit the Santuario and take away a bit of the sacred dirt. Pilgrims walk a few yards or a hundred miles. Many claim to have been cured there of diseases, infirmities and unhappiness. The walls of the sacristy are hung with discarded crutches and before-and-after photographs as evidence of the healing."

More recently, Chimayó has had the highest per capita rate for deaths from overdoses in a state that leads the country in this category.

Glendinning is a Chimayó resident who has written four previous books including Off the Map: An Expedition Deep into Empire and the Global Economy, which won a National Federation of Press Women 2000 Book Award. Her 1977 Honda Civic won 3rd place in Chimayó's Santiago/Santa Ana Fiesta low-rider car show in 2001.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Deborah Santana - Space Between the Stars


From the Tattered Cover (Denver) website:

Time: Wednesday, June 1, 2005 7:30 PM
Location: Cherry Creek
Title of Event: Deborah Santana - Space Between the Stars: My Journey to an Open Heart

Deborah Santana, best known for her thirty-year marriage to music icon Carlos Santana, will discuss and sign her memoir Space Between the Stars: My Journey to an Open Heart (One World). In this beautiful, haunting memoir, Santana shares for the first time her early experiences with racial intolerance, her romantic involvement with musician Sly Stone, her adventures in the freewheeling 1960s, and her spiritual awakening founded in the Civil Rights movement. This book is also available as an abridged audio CD, which contains original music from Carlos Santana, and classic songs from Deborah’s father - the legendary blues guitarist Saunders King.

Request a signed copy: books@tatteredcover.com

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Francisco Aragón is in the House...an early post from Olivas

My regular posts will usually be on Monday so I hope that my cyber compadres don't get all mad at me for doing this...pero, I got word the other day that Poetry Daily was featuring the great Latino poet, Francisco Aragón. Aragón's verse has graced the pages of several chapbooks and innumerable literary journals not to mention anthologies published by W.W. Norton, Heyday Books and Soft Skull Press. Aragón is also the founding editor and publisher of Momotombo Press which promotes emerging Latino writers and is housed at the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame where Aragón is a Visiting Fellow. Click the title of this post to read some of Aragón's poetry on Poetry Daily and to learn about his first full-length book of verse, Puerta del Sol (Bilingual Press). You can also read my review of his book on the literary blog, Moorishgirl. Speaking of Moorishgirl, Laila has posted a guest column by Peter Laufer, author of The Case for Opening the Mexican-American Border, sharing his thoughts about the Minuteman Project, "which California’s immigrant governor has recently praised, and which has been denounced by civil rights groups." And finally, the great Luis Rodriguez is interviewed on poeticdiversity. Okay, I'm done. Hasta....

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

La Bloga Welcomes Bloguista Daniel Olivas

Is "Bloguista" a word? Maybe it should be La Bloga Welcomes "Blogalero" Daniel Olivas. La Bloga Welcomes Blogger Daniel Olivas, but that sounds too... too. I'm sure you notice the common thread running through our bienvenidos to our new Bloguista. It was only a few posts ago that we were talking about Daniel's well-received collection "Devil Talk: Stories" from Bilingual Press. For details, see Manuel Ramos' La Bloga piece, or, better yet, get it straight from Daniel's website , linked to the right, or if none of the links work, http://danielolivas.com/.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Gil's All Fright Diner - A. Lee Martinez

Manuel Ramos

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.
"Something Evil (that's with a capital E) is stalking Gil's All Night Diner in Martinez's terrific debut, a comic horror-fantasy novel. Heading the delightfully eccentric cast are buddies Earl (aka the Earl of Vampires) and Duke (aka the Duke of Werewolves), who are looking for a place to eat as they drive through Rockwood, a small desert community besieged by cosmically weird stuff. Soon after stopping at Gil's Diner, the pair help Loretta, the formidable owner-operator, fend off a zombie attack. Determined to do the right thing, the two supernatural misfits take on further challenges, such as trying to prevent Tammy (aka Mistress Lilith, Queen of the Night) and her loyal but dumb boyfriend, Chad, from ending the world. The fast-paced plot is full of memorable incidents (e.g., a ghost and a vampire fall in love; a Magic 8-Ball becomes a message vehicle for trapped spirits) and such wonderful observations as 'this whole undead stuff sounds good on paper, but it ain't all it's cracked up to be.' Fans of Douglas Adams and Joe R. Lansdale, who supplies a blurb, will happily sink their teeth into this combo platter of raunchy laughs and ectoplasmic ecstasy. (May 11) "
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved

Nightmare Alley

Manuel Ramos

How about this for a summer read? Nightmare Alley by William Lindsay Gresham was published in 1946. It was controversial, shocking, and unforgettable. The dark tale of carnival life in the United States was boosted to even more notoriety when the movie appeared in 1947 starring, in a role strictly against type, Tyrone Power, fresh off his huge success in The Razor's Edge. The novel became a cult classic and when The Library of America collected books for its Crime Novels series, Nightmare Alley appeared in the volume American Noir of the 1930s and 1940s, right along such quintessential American Literature as The Postman Always Rings Twice (James M. Cain), They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (Horace McCoy), and I Married a Dead Man (Cornell Woolrich).

The book tells the story of Stan Carlisle, a man who rises to the pinnacle of con man success as the Great Stanton, magician and mentalist, and then falls to the depths of depravity, degradation and "geekdom." What more could you ask for in the good ole summertime? Those traveling carny shows come around every summer and this is a great way to celebrate the side show life.

The version of the book for the summer is the 2003 graphic novel adaptation by Manuel "Spain" Rodriguez. The renowned underground comics artist is probably best-known for his Trashman comics, but his adapatation of Gresham's novel is right on the mark. Gresham's sordid and doomed portrayal of the "American dream" finds a fitting home in Rodriguez's detailed and crisp artwork, almost too much for the reader to soak in all at once. I found out on this website that Rodriguez was born in 1940 in Mexico, grew up in Buffalo, NY, and in the 1960s hung out with R. Crumb and other underground comic artists in San Francisco. According to the Introduction to the graphic novel, Rodriguez spent seven years working on the adaptation, on and off. The book was published by Fantagraphics Books, which also publishes Los Bros Hernandez.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Last in Translation, Or After Many a Summer Grows the List?


Last week was a bad week and a good week for this reader of the NY Times Book Review. The bad part is my list of books to read got enlarged by two more titles and I'm way behind, wey. The good part is my list of books to read got enlarged by two -- or more -- titles and I'll find way, wey. First, I noticed an article on Hector Tobar's Translation Nation and Gregory Rabassa’s, If this Be Treason. Translation and Its Dyscontents. A Memoir.

I know Tobar from his novel, The Tattooed Soldier , that deserves reading. Antonio discovers his family massacred in their hut. Fearing the assassins will find him if he remains in Guatemala, Antonio boards the first bus out of town. From the window he spots the assassin but escapes notice and flees to Los Angeles. Longoria, the tattooed assassin, as a teenager, was kidnapped from his village and trained to be a government killer, also ends up in Los Angeles. Antonio's life continues an aimless downward spiral until one day, the bitter refugee is observing the old men playing chess at MacArthur Park in LA. When he spies Longoria's tattoo from that day at the bus station, Antonio plans his revenge, which comes with the madness of the Rodney King riots. Tobar wrote such a masterly novel that I told myself, "Self, you gotta check out Hector's nonfiction work." So I added Translation Nation to the list, despite the Times reviewer’s reservations.

Gregory Rabassa's story grows out of being the translator of Latin American luminaries like Miguel Angel Asturias and Gabriel Garcia Marquez Julio Cortazar, Mario Vargas Llosa, Jorge Amado, Antonio Lobo Antunes. Garcia Marquez is reported to prefer the English translation to his Spanish original of One Hundred Years of Solitude. Hence Rabassa's title.

Should you trust translation? My wife and I laugh at memories of a week we spent in Tokyo learning to mistrust translators. It was the week I was on R&R from Korea. She flew across the Pacific to join me. We attended a production of Hair, in Japanese. The program had the English lyrics with Japanese translations. Lengthy passages were translated with a few chracters; in other songs, a brief line required several lines of Japanese script. They left in all the "la la la’s". Then we attended a subtitled On Her Majesty's Secret Service. There's James Bond cussing out a bad guy for several hundred words. The subtitles: a couple of Japanese characters. The the bad guy spits out something threatening in a brief speech. The subtitles: lengthy collections of characters. We laughed and enjoyed the spectacle. It was the best part of a bad movie at a bad time.

I'm sure that's the point. If you like it, does it matter what you might be missing? Should I challenge myself to read One Hundred Years in Spanish, if the author thinks the translation is a better book? Then, there’s the problem that, having read Rabassa’s story, I’m gonna have to read all those other guys, too. Gonna be a busy summer.

OK, pues, hay les wachamos.


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Latino Crime Spree

Manuel Ramos

Hate-mongers and racists have come out in force recently here in Denver. Their vitriol is directed at undocumented immigrants, the Spanish language and Latinos in general. There are days I get depressed as hell. It's reached a point so low that a big problem for some folks is that a high school yearbook has some Spanish (and English) - in a school that is 87% Hispanic.

I was going to write an essay entitled "What's Really Changed?" but decided that was a step backward.

I'd rather note that Crime Spree Magazine #6 is about ready to hit the streets and, under the guidance of Jon Jordan, the magazine pays tribute to Latino Books Month (May) by having an article on Latino detectives written by Steven Torres in Spanish (the English version is on the web). Jon Jordan is a very cool fella - knows crime literature in depth, has an unabashed love for books and respect for writers, and supports writers and their works in tangible ways - Crime Spree being one of the most prominent. Muchisimas gracias, Jon.

Steven's article, El Detective Latino - Vida en el borde, The Latino Detective - Life on the Border, had its genesis in a panel that took place at Left Coast Crime in El Paso earlier this year, and he does a very good job of connecting the dots among the books of Michele Martinez, Alicia Gaspar de Alba, his own novels, and a couple of mine. I think it is a great follow-up to an essay I wrote a few years ago (The Postman and the Mex: From Hard-Boiled to Huevos Rancheros in Detective Fiction) and that you can still find on my website.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Summer Diversions

Manuel Ramos

Summer Reading
I've been asked by a local newspaper for a recommendation for summer reading. I have a couple of ideas but would be interested in others. What book would you suggest to someone who says, "I need a good book for the summer"? Read into that phrase whatever conditions you want. Thanks for any suggestions.

Cocaine Chronicles
This may be news to some of you - I have a story in the recently published anthology The Cocaine Chronicles, edited by Jervey Tervalon and Gary Phillips. This collection kicks and, as you might guess, the topic lends itself to stories that just won't let go of the reader. Phillips and Tervalon have brought together some excellent writers and I don't hesitate to recommend it, even if you pass on my story. The piece by Detrice Jones, Just Surviving Another Day, will blow you away (no pun intended), more so because this is the author's first published story, it was written while Ms. Jones was a student in Tervalon's class at UCLA, and it's based on her own life experiences.

The publisher is Akashic Books, an adventurous outfit doing some unique publishing projects under the guidance of Johnny Temple. For example, Akashic published Adios Muchachos by Daniel Chavarría, which won an Edgar Award. Here's some of the publishing blurb for Adios Muchachos:"The first suspense novel in English-translation by internationally acclaimed Uruguayan mystery writer Daniel Chavarría, Adios Muchachos is a dark, erotic, brutally funny romp through the sexual underworld and black-market boardrooms of post-Cold War Cuba."

You can find several good reviews of the Cocaine Chronicles on the web and I suggest you also listen to the NPR interview of Tervalon and Phillips, which is archived at this link. And visit Gary Phillips' website.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Books and Trains and Artists

Manuel Ramos
The Southwest Chief
Olivas on Aldama on Islas
Lorna Dee on Luis Cervantes

The Southwest Chief
Last week I rode the Southwest Chief, the Amtrak line that connects Chicago and Los Angeles, although I only rode from Lamar, CO to Albuquerque, NM, and back. Here's a photo of the Chief climbing Raton Pass (courtesy of the Crewten web page):

On the way south, the train announcer gave us details about the Santa Fe Trail, the Dick Wooten Ranch, the Battle of Glorieta Pass, and so on. He directed our attention to a gravemarker near the Wooten Ranch - the Cruz Torres gravesite. His story was that the tombstone simply said, "He stole the payroll." I don't think that's right - here's a link to a picture of the tombstone. This epitaph says, "Murdered" and something about the 1st N.M. Cav.

On the return trip, a couple from Farmington, NM who were riding the train from Albuquerque to somewhere in North Carolina told their version of how Raton Pass got its name. According to them, travelers along the old Santa Fe trail were overwhelmed? disgusted? amazed? by the numerous marmots along the trail. Somehow, the marmot population transposed into generic rodents (in the minds of the pioneers), and eventually the area was known as Raton Pass.

On the way back our fellow passengers included an Amish family, a group of tough-looking young men with buzzed hair and tattoos who seemed bored more than anything else, and a large group of African-American youth and older women, going up north to Chicago.

The trip in both directions was a quiet, peaceful journey. The weather put on quite a show: gray overcast, a snowstorm, rain, clear sunny skies and the beginning blooms of mountain wild flowers and cactus blossoms. In terms of wildlife, I didn't see all that much from the train except for a small herd of antelope north of Santa Fe and a group of buffalo in Southeast Colorado. My only complaint was that I couldn't read in the swaying train - can't read in cars or busses either.

Olivas on Aldama on Islas
The Elegant Variation has posted Daniel Olivas's review of Dancing With Ghosts by Frederic Luis Aldama. The review's conclusion certainly speaks highly of the book and the job done by Aldama: "Islas was plagued with self-hate and was often moody, manipulative, narcissistic and unpredictable. Yet he could be brilliant, gentle, soft-spoken and, above all, generous. Aldama succeeds in synthesizing the disparate elements of Arturo Islas to produce what doubtless will become a seminal biographical study."

Lorna Dee on Luis Cervantes
Lorna Dee Cervantes pays tribute to her father Luis Cervantes over on her blog. You should read it - she does a much better job than I ever could. Here's the beginning of one of her blog posts on the admired and beloved artist who passed away April 27:

"Luis Cervantes: 'All I Know Is That I'm an Artist & I'm an Indian'
Don't believe everything you read in the newspapers. He would not want to be remembered as a muralist, although he painted murals, and though he was the other eye in the co-founding of Precita Eyes Muralists, he considered Susan to be the Master Muralist. He was a fine arts artist, and probably one of the first postmodern artists, having come to it under siege in Antwerp, and in the sense that his art by it's very nature resists classifications, hierarchies & hegemonies. He would have spoken up, right away, interrupted the speaker had she or he called him a 'Chicano' artist. 'Call it what it is,' as he put it the last time I spoke with him, 'I'm Mexican and I'm an American (a certified WWII war hero) so I guess that makes me a "Mexican American", and that other guy over there, well, you'll just have to ask him where he comes from and where he's at.' (hearty laughter)."

Lorna Dee has posted several different pieces about the artist. It's quite a tribute. And, you can read more about Cervantes in the San Francisco Chronicle obituary.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Junior High School Career Day


I remember junior high school. Pranks and silliness. Sitting still for a visitor posed too great a challenge. No visit could pass without a smartass remark from my mouth. Even if I had to save it until the end. Like the time in 9th grade some dentistry students stopped in to check our teeth. As they departed that March day, I cheerily wished them "Merry Christmas!" The door clicked behind them when the teacher whirled red-faced at me. "Those people are from Loma Linda, they’re Seventh Day Adventists!" he shouted.

I’ve visited the school before. The teachers follow up with a touching collection of handwritten notes from the students. I remember pointing out one girl, sitting off to the side. I told her I knew why she was isolated–she was a misbehaver. Then I told her about my many, many time-outs, isolations, and punishments for being an asshole disrupter. Her note to me said something like, "Remember me? I was the misbehaver. Some days are so bad. Thank you for telling me you were bad too. I know I can make it."

I think of Yeats’ Among Schoolchildren. Here I am, an almost-60-year-old smiling private industry man, being guided to the classroom by a junior high kid doing community service. I’ll tell them a the dumb brothers joke, "the sign read ‘Bear Left’ so they turned around and went home", and maybe the story about my friend the drunken giraffe, "you’re not gonna leave that lying there, are you? That’s no lion, that’s a giraffe!" then segue into language arts. That’s my career field. I want these kids to read, talk, and write.

The school suggests I prepare to talk about questions like, "1. The importance of learning basic academic skills, getting along with others, and following directions." Plus, they want to know what kind of money I make. Should I tell them about Willy Loman and commissions? Or maybe direct them to read about the poet Silver, and his picaresque adventures in Gary Soto’s novels, Nickel and Dime, The Poetry Lover? Do we want kids to read about failure?

Fourteen- and fifteen-year old kids. In four or five years, will they see military service as the only way out of southeast LA’s working class desperation? Maybe I should tell them about a couple of Vietnam novels, Patricia Santana’s Motorcycle Ride on the Sea of Tranquility, or Stella Pope Duarte’s Let Their Spirits Dance, or Charley Trujillo’s blood-curdling novel, Dogs from Illusion? Alfredo Vea’s Gods Go Begging?

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Luis J. Rodriguez in Denver

The Tattered Cover Book Store gushes about the upcoming appearance of Luis J. Rodriguez at its Cherry Creek store. Here's the blurb from the Tattered's website:

"Luis J. Rodriguez, the author of several critically acclaimed books, including Always Running, The Republic of East L.A., and Hearts and Hands, will read from and sign his new novel Music of the Mill (Rayo). In this stunning literary achievement - with a power and scope in the tradition of John Steinbeck and Theodore Dreiser - Rodriguez has captured the soul of a community and a little-known era in America's history in an epic novel about love, family, workers' rights, industrial strife, and cultural dislocation."

May 9, 2005 7:30 PM

Sounds like an event that should not be missed.

Pedazo y Pedacito

Manuel Ramos

All In The Family
Film producer, director, screenwriter Severo Perez (...and the earth did not swallow him; Rudy Perez, Countdown, Reflections on a Life in Dance) reports that his son is doing the artist thing in NYC. Here's a website for Rafael Perez that showcases some of his alluring art.

Laura Canales
A short note on the recent passing of one of the great Tejano singers. Here's the lead from a story in the Washington Post:"Laura Canales, 50, a soulful Tejano singer who stormed the stage at a time when men tended to hog the Tejano limelight, died April 16 of complications from bladder surgery at Christus Spohn Hospital in Corpus Christi, Tex. Known in the 1980s as La reina de la onda tejana (Queen of the Tejano Wave), she blazed a trail for other female musicians, including Selena, the Tejano superstar who was shot to death a decade ago. " Other stories in the N.Y. Times, the Houston Chronicle (which comments, "Although she was predated by pioneers Chelo Silva and Lydia Mendoza, Laura Canales was the first widely popular female singer in the macho world of Tejano music"), and the Brownsville (TX) Herald.

Descanse en paz.