Monday, February 20, 2006


Monday’s post from Daniel Olivas

Kathleen de Azevedo was born in Rio de Janeiro but has lived most of her life in the United States. Consequently, she notes that “my work often reflects the conflict between the Brazilian and the American culture: the sensual and the pragmatic; the myth of self- determination and the myth of El Dorado.” She currently lives in San Francisco with her husband, Lewis Campbell, director of Multi-Ethnic Theatre. De Azevedo teaches English at Skyline College in San Bruno. Her non-writing interests include hiking, traveling and dancing the tango (and samba too, of course!).De Azevedo’s work has appeared in numerous publications including the Los Angeles Times, Américas, Boston Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Greensboro Review, Cream City Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, Gulf Coast, Tampa Review and Green Mountains Review. In 1992, her poetry was featured in the Best American Poetry series. She received a grant for Stanford University's Center of Latin American Studies to research Literatura de Cordel, folklore poetry of Northeast Brazil.

De Azevedo’s debut novel is Samba Dreamers (University of Arizona Press). This is what she says about her book:

Samba Dreamers started off as a short story “Rosea Socorro Katz, Coconut” which I wrote for my MFA fiction writing class at the University of Washington. The inspiration for the short story came from an NPR broadcast about Carmen Miranda, that told the sad story of her life. As a child, my mother was very homesick for her native Brazil and every showing of Road to Rio–which included a cameo appearance by Carmen Miranda–was a special occasion. I knew Carmen Miranda was a stereotype, but she was all Brazilians in America had back then.I wanted turn “Rosea Socorro Katz Coconut” into a novel. I wrote snippets and poems about a Brazilian tour guide, but nothing came to pass. In the meantime, I wrote two novels, none of which were of Brazil, and none of which got published. Finally I decided that in order to write about the Brazil in my heart, I needed to relearn the Portuguese language. For about a year, I taught myself Portuguese then decided to return to Brazil for a visit, the first time since my childhood. My cousin picked me up at the airport and as we were passing the beautiful Botofogo Bay, she told me of the time she was in college during the military dictatorship and a group of military police came into the classroom, made the students line up against the wall, and took several of the students away. At that moment, Samba Dreamers was born in my jet lagged brain.I wrote and researched a lot of this novel while I was teaching at three schools. I carried a disk around, found a word processor and worked on small sections of the novel. It was strange to be writing about torture, then facing my night class later on that evening. I could really feel how relatively “free” they all were! For a year after my Brazil trip, I studied Portuguese with a tutor who introduced me to Caetano Veloso’s song: “Debaixo Dos Caracóis Dos Seus Cabelos” (Under The Curls of Your Hair) about a Brazilian exile dreaming of sinking his face into her girlfriend’s hair. I was already on the last drafts of the novel, but at that moment, I knew I got it right.

THE PLAY’S THE THING: In L.A. REAL, a contemporary Latina uncovers her family’s past cemented over by 250 years of L.A. history. Original theaterwork produced by About Productions. Performed by Rose Portillo. Written/directed by Theresa Chavez.

Feb 17 through March 5, 2006
Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.
Sundays at 2 p.m.
[Inside] the Ford at the Ford Amphitheatre
2580 Cahuenga Blvd.
EastHollywood, CA 90068

"...laced with a kind of pragmatic irony that never takes itself too seriously, full of rancor for the savaging of the land, imbued with the richness of the past, poetic but never so lyrical as to be out of step with present reality." - L.A. Times

Tickets: $20
Students/seniors: $15
323-461-3673 (Box office open Wednesday through Sunday)
INFO: or

About Productions is a proud member of the Ensemble Theatre Collective at [Inside] The Ford, a collaboration of the five member companies and Los Angeles County Arts Commission, with support from the Flintridge Foundation.

WE WILL ALL SURVIVE: Alvaro Huerta’s latest essay, “Parents anxious to start early on getting kids into top college,” appears in UCLA Today. Huerta is a graduate student in urban planning and a budding fiction writer.

WRITERS INTRODUCING WRITERS: Sergio Troncoso will be introducing Jamaica Kincaid at an event for the Hudson Valley Writers' Center, where Troncoso is on the board:

February 28, 2006
8:00 p.m.
The Masters School
49 Clinton Avenue
Dobbs Ferry, NY

For more info see Also, the Hudson Valley Writers' Center has decided to honor University of Arizona's Camino Del Sol for the great work they have done. The Writers' Center honors a small press each year, and last year it was Curbstone Press. For Camino Del Sol, there will have a special event in November 2006 to highlight the mission of the press, and to promote its authors. See the Writers' Center website above for details.

Finally, Troncoso has decided to donate, effective January 2006, all proceeds from his webpage and (both URLs lead to the same web page) to Hudson River Healthcare, which provides free healthcare to migrant farmworkers in New York's Hudson Valley.

READY FOR MY CLOSE UP: Cine-Lit VI is an International Conference on Hispanic Film and Fiction (February 21-24, 2007) organized by Portland State University, Oregon State University, and Northwest Film Center/Portland International Film Festival. Cine-Lit VI has issued a call for papers:

You are invited to submit an abstract of a paper on any aspect of the relationship between Hispanic literature and film. Please provide three copies of a 300-word abstract along with one 3 x 5 card listing the following: Title of paper, your name, academic affiliation, address, and telephone and FAX numbers.

Deadline: December 1, 2006.

Cine-Lit VI will be organized around the following sessions: Women Cineastes, Cinema and Theatre, Cinema and Ideologies, Cinematographic Adaptations, Marginalized Voices in Cinema, New Films and Directors, Hispanic Cinema in the U.S., and Hispanic Cinema in the Classroom. A committee will consider requests for the formation of special sessions dealing with a specific author/work, director/film, or other pertinent topics examining the connection between the visual and written image. They should be submitted as soon as possible. Reading time of papers will be limited to 15 minutes. A selection of papers read at the conference will be published in Cine-Lit VI: Essays on Hispanic Film and Fiction.

Please send submissions or inquiries to:

Oscar Fernández


Guy H. Wood

For more information, visit Cine-Lit’s website.

NOT YOUR FATHER'S SPIDER-MAN: Susan Thomsen, creator of Chicken Spaghetti, a blog dedicated to children’s literature, let me know that the Quiet Bubble posts on the newest graphic novel by Jaime Hernandez, co-creator of Love and Rockets.

FINALMENTE: The Southern Cross Review has a new issue out and has reprinted in bilingual format my short story, The Plumed Serpent of Los Angeles / La Serpiente emplumada de Los Angeles. SCR was one of the first journals to published my work. This little story ended up in my collection, Devil Talk (Bilingual Press, 2004).

All done. So, until next Monday, enjoy the intervening posts from my compadres y comadre at La Bloga. ¡Lea un libro!

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