Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Two bits and our third place writer

Michael Sedano


Los Angelinos still have time to make the easy journey to Highland Park, where Avenue 50 Studio presents

Miccailhuitontli — Spirit of the Children”

a Mejica traditional celebration of Día de los Angelitos. We have asked our artists to produce work that will commemorate, celebrate or mourn children and youth who have died an untimely death due to preventable disease, gang violence, abuse, and/or war.

One wall has a series of beautifully painted portraits. But get close and get uncomfortable. The artist, John Paul Thornton, attaches a photograph of a missing child to each portrait, which depicts what the child would look like today, years after the young soul's disappearance emptied the lives of parents, leaving only memories. The abduction of a child--puro horror. Worse, not knowing what has become of him, her. Worst, seeing those portraits hanging on the wall. But irresistible--I kept turning away, walking to the other wall, but inevitably the portraits drew me back to them. Can a painting really have a soul?
Avenue 50 Studio
131 N. Avenue 50
Highland Park
323 258 1435

Being a refugee from academia, I enjoy seeing the kinds of passions researchers engage themselves with, constantly reminded by an old scientist’s chestnut, “nothing is as practical as a good theory”. Recently, I got this call for papers from MELUS, Society for the Study of the
Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States. I'm especially intrigued by the lead sentence, aren't you?

Sheherazade after 9/11

From the first letters of the imprisoned African Muslims brought as slaves to America, through the Black Arts Movement in the 60’s and 70’s, to the contemporary writing of both immigrant and “native” Muslims living in USA, the existence of Muslim American literature has been questioned, discussed, supported, and opposed. We would like to examine its status in the post-9/11 world, and its importance in regards to human rights, status of woman, terrorism, unjust war(s) or other related subjects of interest.

Thus, we invite 20-minute papers for a panel on Muslim American writers, such as Mohja Kahf, Malcolm X, Elmaz Abinader, Abraham Rihbany, Diana Abu Jabar, Naomi Shihab Nye, Joseph Geha, Shaw J. Dallal, Shanaz Khan or any other American Muslim author, or papers that deal with the following topics:
* Relationship between Muslim art and literature
* Muslims as a new face of USA
* Muslim diaspora: transitional, transnational or multi-national
* Californian identity and public rhetoric in regards to Muslims
* Censorship within/without Muslim communities
* Relationship between American and Muslim American literature
or any of the related topics as presented in the MELUS call for papers, especially:
* Work and (im)migration, dislocation, diaspora, home
* Gender, age, generational differentials and work
* Interrogating and negotiating conflicts, inter-ethnic coalitions.
* Paradigms of colonialism/internal colonialism/post-colonialism.
* Orality, personal narratives, counter narratives . . .
* Technology, globalism, and the literature of work
* Assimilationist, oppositional, exclusionist approaches to the "American Dream" . . .

Send 100-250 word proposals to Lejla Tricic at ltricic@csufresno.edu or to C. Lok Chua at chengc@csufresno.edu by 6 November 2006 (extensions might be negotiated).

MELUS' 2007 conference will come to Fresno in March.

Third Place Winner
A month ago we invited readers to submit their works to our first La Bloga Día de los Muertos Amoxcalli-Descansos Contest. Thank you to all you writers who contributed your work to the contest.

Let our third place writer introduce himself:
Greetings from Raul Sanchez from (Aztlan north), Seattle.

El Dia y la Noche de los Muertos
Raul Sanchez

Under the blanket of the dark cold November night.
surrounded by the smoke of Copal
graves covered with Cempoalxochitl,
fragrance of the night
the cemetery comes alive
in communion with the departed.

Burning ocote, lights up my father’s grave
sweet black smoke
votives and candles, dripping wax
like tears cubren las tumbas

Photos and personal articles de los difuntos,
surrounded by cantares tipicos like:
"Puño de Tierra" "La Muerte”
"Mexico Lindo" "La vida no vale nada”

Guitars, voices, sentiment
of the Mexican people
expressed in a joyful mood
no lament, remorse or regret

We talk to our difuntos as if they were sitting beside us
we share the food
mole, tortillas, sopes, made with nixtamal de metate
salsa de molcajete, dulce de calabaza, tamales
pulque y Tequila pa’ brindar!

Remembrance of times past
adorned with laughter and joy
as sweet as Calaveras de Azucar,
free flowing like Papel Picado,

Procession with the souls of the departed.
a young boy wears a Calavera mask
forehead marked with the sign of the cross
reminder that the end is certain.

We live to remember those
who passed before us,
their life gave us life
we honor their memory


Viva la vida! Viva la Muerte!

Monday, October 30, 2006

El Diá de los Muertos Week 2006

A month ago we invited readers to submit their works to our first La Bloga Día de los Muertos Amoxcalli-Descansos Contest. You responded. We read. The judging is now over. Starting tomorrow we begin posting the three contest winners, in ascending order, with first prizewinner posted on Thursday.

We want to encourage everyone who submitted to keep writing, even if yours didn't receive one of the awards. There's no accounting for taste, as we at La Bloga found out in the last week of slewing Emails at each other back and forth across Aztlán. Of course, you, our readers, are the final judges of how well we did in our selections.

So, this week is our first attempt at stringing a few amoxcalli-descansos along your way to El Día de los Muertos. As we said at the start, these are provided "for consultation by the nobles and priests that make up our audience." (I should add that peones, brujas, curanderas and sorcerers were meant to be included.)

Dan Olivas who we decided needed a deserved break will return next Mon. for his regular post. Though my posts don't aspire to his standards, below I'm adding my contribution to the week's amoxcalli-descansos theme.

Traditionally, another practice in our history concerning El Día, is the publication of obituaries of living, prominent members of society. It's the one-day that it's relatively safe to jab, roast or satirize even local politicians, for instance, without worrying about recrimination or arrest, especially in Mexico. When this tradition wasn't adhered to, as in the case of my grandfather Juan Sauceda, it sometimes added to the migrant stream, which is how I wound up Chicano, not mexicano.

In any event, few years ago I took the liberty of composing una calavera to the great Chicano poet Lalo Delgado (when we could still see him walking alongside us)--a comic attempt to keep the tradition alive. Lalo, his wife and descendants saw it, though I have no idea what they ever thought of it. I offer it as an amoxcalli-descanso, for your consideration, Raza. -- Rudy Ch. Garcia

[For those of you straining your eyes, here's the text.]

Calavera al Poeta de Aztlán

We knew him quite well -- sí, un poco,
Este poeta Lalo -- ay qué loco.
So well-named, y tan delgado
So soft-spoken, el desgraciado.

How thin he split los pelos
Con palabra atracarsada,
His kindly verses -- un buen ejemplo
De como nació -- con boca cerrada.

Y no les dan caso
A Ramos ni Castillo.
El Poeta que ya no baile
No tiró dedo, y nada de pedo.

Pobre San Pedro al aduana celestial,
For not asking Lorca y El Zapata
Si quierían tener una visita
From another guerrero, macho, artista.

Y le hacemos un altar mayor
If they send him back below,
En que cabe, si no todo su cuerpo,
A lo menos, his big brown soul.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Mas Muertos


Danza Mexica Cuauhtemoc Mexica Dance Group
Le Invita Cordialmente a la
Celebración del Día de los Muertos
1 de Noviembre de las 6:00 a las 9:00 PM
Parque de México
En la esquina de la calle North Main y North Misión
North Main y North Missión-En Lincoln Heights
(213) 481 8265
Acompáñenos haciendo su propio altar, trayendo una ofrenda, fotos, recuerdos etc.
Otras celebraciones de Cuauhtemoc
Oct 28
Baldwin Park (626) 862-7276
Oct 29 de 12 to 4:00 PM Long Beach (562) 881-8410
Nov 3 San Fernando (818) 723-5200 or (818) 723 9309
Nov. 4 Ventura (805) 794 8274

Danza Mexica Cuauhtemoc Mexica Dance Group
Invites you to celebrate
Día de los Muertos at Parque de México
Corner of North Main y North Mission in Lincoln Heights (L. A.)
Nov 1st from 5:00 to 9:00 PM (213) 481 8265
Other Cuauhtemoc Ceremonies
Oct. 28 Baldwin Park (626) 862-7276
Oct.29 12 to 4:00 PM Long Beach (562) 881-8410
Nov 3 San Fernando (818) 723-5200
Nov 4 Ventura (805) 794-8274
Los Calacas
Location: Highways Performance Space 1651 18th Street, Santa Monica, CA
When: November 3, 8:30pm
Phone: (310) 315-1459

November 1 - Community Altar Construction
Please bring personal items and offerings for your "Muertos." 4 - 6 pm FREE

November 2 - Visitation to Altar
To honor the memory of our "Muertos." Bring flowers and candles.6 - 7:30 pm FREE

November 3 & 4 - Performance of "Calavereando"Followed by a celebration at the Community Altar in Highways' Gallery. Tamales, champurrado, and pan de muerto will be sold.
8:30 pm Tickets - $20/$15
You can purchase tickets by calling Ticket Customer Service at (310) 315-1459. This performance is written by Paulina Sahagun and directed by Brenda Wooley. Calacas in the performance are: Adrian Acosta; Manuel Baldenegro; Rachel Gonzalez; David Nuñez; César Perez; Monica Sahagun; Paulina Sahagun; and, Lucia Zepeda.Come out and Enjoy El Show!!


Friday, October 27, 2006

There's A Party Goin' On

Manuel Ramos

Herewith, messages from around Aztlán about upcoming parrandas, especially as the holiday season (Día de los Muertos, Halloween, even Xmas) bears down on all of us.

Los Norteños Latino Writers Celebrate El Día de los Muertos
November, 4, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., the Northwest Latino writers group Los Norteños partners with the Seattle Public Library and Starbucks to present short stories, poetry, and drama starring La Muerte (Death) in all its incarnations, from restless spirits, to petulant gods, to lovers that not even La Muerte can part. The Day of the Dead Literary Reading is free to the public, and will be held in the Microsoft Auditorium on Level 1 of the Seattle Public Library, located at 1000 Fourth Avenue, in downtown Seattle. Refreshments are provided courtesy of Starbucks. Musician Jacque Larrainzar's evocative mix of Spanish guitar and Latin songs accompanies the readers.

Among those reading are internationally recognized authors Kathleen Alcalá and Flor Fernandez Barrios; award-winning playwright Joann Farías; popular nationally published writers Carmen Carrión, Donna Miscolta, Raúl Sánchez, and José Carillo; novelist María Victoria Muguira; and the emerging and established voices of writers Jaime Gallardo, Rose Cano, Heidi Hanson, Joseph de León, Stephan Magcosta, Laura Gonzalez, and Maijah Merino.

Los Norteños is a Seattle-based organization of Latino writers in the Northwest. Members include novelists, poets, playwrights, and screenwriters at different stages of their writing careers. Some members have multiple publications and production credits, while others are emerging voices on the Latino literary scene. Los Norteños sponsors several readings each year, and have received funding and support from numerous national and local sources, including the Ford Foundation and the Allied Arts Foundation.

October 28th: Three members of Los Norteños will perform at the Seattle Center House Main Stage for the Day of the Dead Festival on at 1:15 PM. They will read a poem written by TLALTECATZIN an Aztec poet from the mid 1400's. Raúl Sánchez will read the Nahuatl language, Laura Gonzalez will read in Spanish and Maijah Merino will read in English.

Museo de las Américas
October 27, 6PM-9PM
Opening Reception for
Mapping Nativity

October 27 – December 31, Members Free/General $4
Mapping Nativity presents over 100 dioramas of traditional and non-traditional nativities from the collections of Dr. La Meta Lubchenco, Florence Hernandez-Ramos, and Laura Edmondson. These miniatures underscore the diverse methods, materials and iconography practiced in Latin America and the American Southwest.

Three contemporary artists deconstruct the physical and conceptual manifestations of the nativity with perceptions of family, giving, light and hope.
ARTISTS:Martín Bonadeo (AR), Gwylym Cano (US), Virginia Valdes (US)

Day of the Dead Celebration Saturday, October 28 12 Noon - 4pm FREE with Museum Admission

Meet the Collectors Saturday, November 18 11am Join La Meta Lubchenco, Florence Hernandez-Ramos, and Laura Edmondson as they discuss their families’ penchants for collecting nativity scenes.

Museo de las Américas 861 Santa Fe Drive Denver CO 80204

CHAC - Chicano Humanities and Arts Council
Los "Vivos" Muertos
October 25th-November 4, 2006 Opening reception October 27, from 6-10 PM. CHAC's annual El Día De Los Muertos Celebration! Join us for this exciting annual exhibit featuring Traditional Aztec Dancers, great artwork, altars, pan de muertos and traditional hot chocolate!

October 31 - November 5th "Los Muertos, Los Poetas y Yo" "The Dead, The Poets and I" - poetry, theatre, and fun! directed by Chicano Performance Artist, Héktor Muñoz, and featuring performances by Dan Martinez, Susana Vega, Marie Valencia, Ricky Schoettner, Avalon, Star, Tear, Linda and Margarita Barcelo. Tickets $10.00 general admission.

October 31st, 8:00PM (Calaveras Ball)

November 3, from 6-10 PM. First Friday Fun with Los "Vivos" Muertos Exhibit Day of the Dead celebration on First Friday. Come see the dead and stay for the living, music, crowds, art and fun!

November 18th
from 3-5 PM. Cookies and Leche series: Sugar Skull Workshop
Sugar skulls are a traditional folk art used to celebrate Day of the Dead and are a must-have for any Dia de los Muertos ofrenda or fiesta. The palm-size calacas (skulls) are made from granulated sugar, water and touch of meringue powder and then decorated with bright icing. Learn all about our tasty calaveras and then decorate one of your own. Kids of all ages welcome!

CHAC/772 Santa Fe Drive Denver, Colorado

Also, check out the annual altar exhibit at Pirate, one of the longest running día de los muertos events in the Denver area. Many more Denver events at this link.

Altares, ofrendas,
calaveras, flores,
pan de muerto,
chocolate, visual arts,
poetry, and music.

Observed on November 2nd, with exhibits and events continuing throughout the month; Día De Los Muertos is a colorful flurry of traditional and contemporary festivities that celebrate ancestral remembrance and harvest season rituals from Central Mexico’s indigenous cultures.

Organized since 1978 by Centro Cultural Aztlán, with altars and exhibits on display all over the city, Día De Los Muertos is a mainstay of San Antonio’s folklore and a vivid expression of its cultural heritage.

For more information please visit our web site: www.sacalaveras.com [this is an excellent site -- visit it for details about the many events happening in one of La Bloga's favorite cities.]

Transcending Borders: 7th Annual Día de Los Muertos Festival Exhibit
For the past seven years, the Arizona State University Museum of Anthropology has hosted an annual Día de Los Muertos (or Day of the Dead) Festival Exhibit. For this year’s exhibit, Transcending Borders, altars will be created to represent the notion of ‘borders’ -- borders between living and dead, neighboring countries, cultures and generations. The exhibit will occupy two galleries: one for traditional altars and the other for more contemporary pieces. Altars can be made using any type of object and we encourage the use of audio and visual technologies for contemporary altars.

Transcending Borders will bring together Chicana/o artists, people from the community and students in the creation of highly inventive and elaborate altarpieces. The subject-matter and design of each altar is entirely the choice of its creator. In the past, these altars have reflected a broad array of individual styles, personal meanings, and socially shared concerns.
The altars will be on display at the Museum of Anthropology located on the ASU Tempe Campus from October 26, 2006 through January 15, 2007. An exhibit opening celebration will be held on October 26th, and will include music, poetry and food.
For more details, call the Museum at 480-965-6224 or visit: www.asu.edu/clas/shesc/asuma
The 7th Annual Día de los Muertos Festival Exhibit is a joint collaboration between the ASU Museum of Anthropology, the ASU Chicana/o Studies Department, the Calaca Cultural Center and the community.

Many more Arizona Day of the Dead events at this link.

From Christine Granados, this bit of writing news:

A new online literary journal,The Front Porch Journal. Now accepting submissions in fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction essays. The website has all the info.
Finally, in the spirit of Halloween -- not Day of the Dead -- my short story, La Visíon de mi Madre, can be found here.

I'll be at the New Orleans Words & Music Literary Feast November 1-4, talking about La Bloga, crime fiction and even some poetry. So, I may not have a post here next Friday. But next week all of my fellow blogistos y la blogista will have special Día de Los Muertos pieces, plus the selected stories and poems from our writing contest.

The photo below is by Denver photographer Molly French -- Rocky Mountain High.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Dia de Los Muertos Chicano Hodgepodge

I’m currently in the middle of what seems to be 1001 things to do to get ready for dia de los muertos, so I thought I’d make my post about as jumbled as my life right now.

I always make pan de muertos and lots of it. My granddaughter loves to shape the little bones for the bread.

Pan de Muertos Receta

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
5 to 5-1/2 cups flour
2 packages dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon whole anise seed
1/2 cup sugar
4 eggs

In a saucepan over medium flame, heat the butter, milk and water until very warm but not boiling. Meanwhile, measure out 1-1/2 cups flour and set the rest aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine the 1-1/2 cups flour, yeast, salt, anise seed and sugar. Beat in the warm liquid until well combined. Add the eggs and beat in another 1 cup of flour. Continue adding more flour until dough is soft but not sticky. Knead on lightly floured board for ten minutes until smooth and elastic. Lightly grease a bowl and place dough in it, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1-1/2 hours.

Punch the dough down and shape into loaves resembling skulls, skeletons or round loaves with "bones" placed ornamentally around the top. Let these loaves rise for 1 hour. The bones are a good way to let kids have fun and let them feel a part of your baking efforts. Kids and masa just go together, no?

Bake in a preheated 350 F degree oven for about 40 minutes. Remove from oven and paint on glaze.

1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons grated orange zest

Bring to a boil for 2 minutes, then cool completely. Add one egg yolk and apply to bread with a pastry brush.

Another thing we make in our home for day of the dead is buñuelos with miel and atole blanco. It’s a family tradition that I started in memory of my grandmother Lupe. She usually made the buñuelos with a hot, sweet syrup she called miel and the plain, flavorless atole blanco on New Year’s Eve. What she told me was that we ate the sweet buñuelos to bring a sweet new year and the atole blanco, being so flavorless was to remind us that the troubles of the past year were gone and over with. It’s a beautiful story and I do make it at New Years but also at dia de los muertos because it reminds me of her. I’ve decided to share something with you all and give you her special secret for her lighter, fluffier and more delicious than anyone’s buñuelos that she so carefully guarded.

I think times have changed so much that we’re losing some of our culture and history in terms of the old recetas and way people did things. I want to make sure my grandma’s secret trick to her buñuelos gets out there. I think she wants it that way. Okay here goes, the Gonzales secret to perfect buñuelos is to boil the husks of tomatillos in water and use that water in your masa. That’s it. Simple and kind of weird, but it really, really makes your buñuelos lighter, crisper and with more of the bubujas (bubbles) that are the trademark of a really good buñuelo. Oh yeah, and use lard not shortening. Lard makes all the difference and it’s only a big and once, maybe twice a year won’t kill you.

My grandma never measured and neither do I so I’m making these and my daughter in law tried to measure it out. Hopefully, we can get it right but trust your instincts and go by the feel of your masa. Oyes, and whatever you do, please Santa Virgencita don’t buy tortillas and then fry them! I recently heard people do that and I almost had a heart attack. I heard someone else call them cookies and had the same reaction.


About 3 cups of flour, sifted twice
1 Tablespoon baking powder
Teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon and a half of sugar (use the Mexican kind of beige cane sugar for a better texture)
About ½ cup of manteca (lard)
2 eggs

The boiled water with tomatillo husks (still hot, but only as hot as your hands can stand)

In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Add the eggs one by one, and sprinkle on the sugar. Mix well. Cut in the lard with a fork or pastry cutter. Slowly add the hot water and start amasando or kneading the masa (dough). Add the water little by little or your dough will be too sticky. When it all holds together and is silky smooth without being sticky then it’s ready. I form it into balls and let them rest, covered with a cloth on the wood pastry board for about ten-15 minutes. Get your rolling pin dusted lightly with flour and sprinkle a little on the board. I use a wood board. It’s what my grandma used and it feels right. Make sure there are no splinters though. Roll out your buñuelos as thin and as round as you can. If you hold them up, you should be able to see right through them. Slide gently into hot oil. I use canola oil and a cast iron frying pan. Fry till golden brown on each side. Only turn once or you end up with soggy or overcooked buñuelos. Pull out with tongs and let the oil drip off before placing on a try lined with brown paper to absorb the oil. Don’t use paper towels, use brown paper. It’s better. Set your buñuelos aside and make the miel and atole.

Cinnamon sticks (canela)

You can also add to the miel, si quieres: guayabas, coriander seeds or star anise instead of the cinnamon sticks. I prefer cinnamon, but I make the star anise miel for my son Phillip. My other boy, Bobby loves the miel with guayabas in it. It depends on your taste.

Take about four cones of piloncillo and stand them up in a pan with two or three sticks of cinnamon. Slowly add in just enough water to cover the bottom of the saucepan and turn on the flame to medium. Keep on the stove for about an hour, slowly adding more and more water as it reduces. You should have an almost pancake syrup consistency and your whole house will smell wonderful. You can add more piloncillo if you like. If you add to much water in the beginning you’ll have basically sweet water. At the last minute add in little orange blossoms if you can get them. Ladle the hot syrup over a buñuelo and eat with a spoon. Some people just dust theirs with sugar and cinnamon but this is how we do ours. Warning: Very, very, very sweet and rich. Yum.

Tip: Place the buñuelo in a bowl to keep it swimming in the miel. My daughter used to crack her buñuelo first into pieces and then soak them in syrup to get maximum sweetness. Yes, I spent a fortune with that girl’s dentista!

Atole Blanco
One orange leaf

Boil water and orange leaf in a saucepan to a boil. Slowly sprinkle and whisk in flour (about a ¼ cup to each three cups of boiling water). Whisk quickly and make sure there are no lumps. The atole will be white and almost filmy. Serve in a cup with no sugar, nada, nada and the buñuelos. The buñuelos are so sweet you won’t mind the tastelessness of the atole.

Xispas.com has a wonderful article on the latest discovery of Azteca ruins – read more about our antepasados here: http://www.xispas.com/blog/

Danza Mexica Cuauhtemoc (my group) holds it's annual Dia de Los Muertos ceremonia at the corner of Mission and Valley in Lincoln Heights from 6:00 p.m. to 10:oo p.m. on Wednesday, November 1st. Join us in celebrating our antepasados. I haven't danced in awhile and am really out of shape, so you can swing by and watch La Sol try to keep up

Celebrate Dia de los Muertos 2006 with family, friends and Libreria Martinez!
The 7th Annual Festival de la Gente
October 28, 2006
11:00 AM - 11:00 PM

Historic 6th Street Bridge - The symbolic link between downtown Los Angeles and Boyle Heights/East Los Angeles, the heart of the city’s Latino community.Join Libreria Martinez as we celebrate at the largest Dia de los Muertos event in Southern California and host the following events and activities in and around our booth.The festival will also feature live music, art exhibits, teatro performance, storytelling, arts and crafts demonstrations and traditional Latin American cuisine. Special areas of the event will be dedicated to health, education and community empowerment and will provide interactive activity for children and their families. More info to be found at the Libreria Martinez website

If you haven't made it to this event, head on down - it's amazing and totally in keeping with our Day of the Dead theme

An Unusual Day of the Dead Art Exhibit
Avenue 50 Studio
October 14th, 2006 - November 6th, 2006
Opening Reception: Sat, Oct. 14th, from 7-11 p.m.

Spirit of the Children is an unusual art exhibit at L.A.'s celebrated Ave 50 Studio. Timed to kick-off the city's Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead celebrations, the exhibition features artists that have created works in homage to children "who have died an untimely death due to preventable disease, gang warfare, abuse and war." Kathy Mas-Gallegos, the director of Ave 50 Studio, asked me to create a painting especially for the exhibit, so I produced a small oil I've titled, War Child - a piece memorializing the children who have been slain in warfare. I'm pleased to have my painting shown alongside artworks by Edith and Rob Abeyta, Roberto Delgado, Kathi Flood, Clement Hanami, David Andres Kietzman, Betsy Lohrer Hall, Ricardo Munoz, and John Paul Thornton. More info on Mark Vallen's Art for a Change website.

Saturday, October 28th
4 PM
Tía Chucha Café Cultural
a poetry reading featuring:
Francisco Aragón
Persephone Gonzalez
Harold Terezón

Francisco Aragón is the author of Puerta del Sol (Bilingual Press) and the editor of The Wind Shifts: The New Latino Poetry—forthcoming in February from the University of Arizona Press. His own anthology publications include Inventions of Farewell: A Book of Elegies (W.W. Norton & Company), Under the Fifth Sun: Latino Literature from California (Heyday Books), American Diaspora: Poetry of Displacement (University of Iowa Press), How to Be This Man (Swan Scythe Press), Red, White, & Blues: Poetic Vistas on the Promise of America (University of Iowa Press), Bend, Don’t Shatter (Soft Skull Press) and, most recently, Evensong: Contemporary American Poets on Spirituality (Bottom Dog Press, 2006). He also has work forthcoming in Deep Travel: Contemporary American Poets Abroad (Ninebark Press, 2007). He is the author of three limited edition chapbooks, including: Tertulia (BOOKlyn). His poems and translations have appeared in various places, including, Poetry Daily http://www.poems.com/, Chain, Crab Orchard Review, Chelsea, Heliotrope, Puerto del Sol, Luna, The Journal, ZYZZYVA, and Jacket http://jacketmagazine.com/00/home.shtml. A native of San Francisco and long-time resident of Spain, he currently lives in South Bend, Indiana where he directs Letras Latinas, the literary program at the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

Persephone Gonzalez is a PEN USA Rosenthal Emerging Voices Fellow. She is a poet and educator born in Torrance, California. She has read and performed her work in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. She was a member of the award-winnng Drama DIVAS, a theater group for LGBT youth of color founded by Cherríe Moraga. She is currently working on poetry manuscript titled, Empalaga.

Harold Terezón is a PEN USA Rosenthal Emerging Voices Fellow. He teaches creative writing at San Fernando High School. He is currently working on a poetry manuscript based on his family's experiences in the United States, as well as in El Salvador titled mi casita

Hasta pronto
Feliz dia de los muertos

Gina MarySol Ruiz

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

La Bloga Tuesday News & Notes

Michael Sedano

Sandra Cisneros Lectures in DF

Submissions invited

Denver Dia de los muertos spectacular

Siqueiros’ censored LA murals

Denver Dia de los Muertos Spectacular:

No Para Siempre
Denver - On Friday, October 27, the University of Colorado and North High School will host a legendary musical group from Mexico City, Grupo Jaranero, for a performance of No Para Siempre (Not Forever) in celebration of Dia de Los Muertos.

Grupo Jaranero makes its Denver debut after touring internationally for over 40 years. Their acclaimed show, No Para Siempre, consists of 4 musicians and 4 dancers who perform regional sones (song and dance forms) traditional to the Day of the Dead. The poetry, songs, and dance evoke profound thoughts on the mysteries of life and death, a significant part of this traditional Mexican holiday. Throughout the show, performers of Grupo Jaranero wear traditional masks and perform before an altar built in Mexico City that serves as the production set.

Members of Grupo Jaranero founded the renowned ethnomusicology program at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) in Mexico City. Grupo Jaranero’s spectacle will give Denver a rare taste of the Mexican rituals and traditions.

Where: North High School Auditorium (2700 W. 32nd Avenue, Denver)

When: Friday, October 27 at 7 p.m.

Tickets may be purchased at the door; $10 for adults, $5 for students with student I.D.

Proceeds benefit North High School’s acclaimed theater department, just returned from a successful tour of Scotland, representing Denver at the International Fringe Festival.

Sandra Cisneros to Lecture in Sor Juana’s Honor

La Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana, a través del Colegio de Filosofía, Letras Humanidades, les hace una cordial invitación para que asistan a la Presentación y lectura en vivo de la destacada escritora chicana Sandra Cisneros

Liliana Valenzuela (traductora) y Claire Joysmith (investigadora)

Jueves 26 de octubre, 13:00 horas
Aula Magna
Entrada Libre

Sandra Cisneros nació en Chicago en 1954. Aclamada internacionalmente por su poesía y su ficción, ha recibido numerosos premios literarios, entre ellos el Lannan Foundation Literary Award y el American Book Award, así como becas del Nacional Endowment for the Arts y la MacArthur Foundation. Cisneros es la autora de La Casa en Mango Street, Loose Woman, El Arroyo de la Llorona y otros cuentos, My Wicked, Wicked Ways, Caramelo, así como el libro infantil, Hairs/Pelitos. Sus obras se han traducido a más de una decena de otros idiomas y al español por Elena Poniatowska y Liliana Valenzuela. Su libro La Casa en Mango Street ha vendido más de dos millones de copias y se ha convertido en libro de texto para las escuelas estadounidenses, desde el nivel de primaria hasta el universitario. Vive en San Antonio, Texas.

Liliana Valenzuela ha traducido al español a varias autoras chicanas y latinas, entre ellas casi toda la obra de Sandra Cisneros.

Claire Joysmith es investigadora en el Centro de Investigaciones Sobre América del Norte (CISAN), UNAM.

Mayores informes
Dra. Rocío Olivares
Directora del Colegio de Filosofía, Letras y Humanidades


Siquieros’ Censored Murals Focus of LA Discussion


The first, maybe annual, La Bloga Día de los Muertos Amoxcalli-Descansos Contest. Here's your chance to get exposure for your great piece relating to el Día de los Muertos. Through Oct. 24th we will accept prose, poetry, essay, in English or Spanish or Spanglish--just about anything concerning this indigenous/modern tradition. Fantasy, children's stories, young adult, horror, serious, or not so--anything you want to share on La Bloga. Shorter pieces are preferred (less than 500 words), since we are the editorial staff and will base decisions on quality and how little work is required of us. We will feature one prize winner each day of the week of Day of the Dead. Email your submission to lablogaATreadrazaDOTcom.


See you next week with one of La Bloga's Dia de los Muertos writing contest guests.


Monday, October 23, 2006


Monday's post from Daniel Olivas...

I have previously spotlighted the work of Michael Nava, the author of the award-winning Henry Rios murder mysteries. Nava, a Phi Beta Kappa from The Colorado College, went on to earn his law degree from Stanford University in 1981. From there, he worked with the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, a prestigious private appellate law firm, and then as a research attorney first with the California Court of Appeal and now with the California Supreme Court as a judicial staff attorney for Associate Justice Carlos Moreno.

While studying for the California Bar right out of law school, Nava started writing his first book which began his seven-volume series featuring his openly gay Henry Rios. His novels were published to great critical acclaim and include The Little Death (1986), Goldenboy (1988), How Town (1990), The Hidden Law (1992), The Death of Friends (1996), The Burning Plain (1997), and Rag and Bone (2001). The novels are discussed in a number of critical and scholarly works including Contemporary Gay Novelists, Emmanuel Nelson, ed. (Greenwood Press, 1993), and Brown Gumshoes: Detective Fiction and the Search for Chicano/a Identity, Ralph Rodriguez, ed. (University of Texas Press, 2005).

Nava is also the co-author of Created Equal: Why Gay Rights Matter to America (1994) (with Professor Robert Dawidoff). On October 7, 2006, Nava gave the Diversity Awards Address at the California State Bar’s annual meeting. Nava very kindly agreed to allow his speech to be reprinted on La Bloga:

Diversity Awards Address, State Bar Convention
October 7, 2006
Delivered by Michael Nava

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.

I am honored and humbled to be asked to speak to you tonight and I would like to begin my remarks by talking about heroes. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a hero is someone “who exhibits greatness of soul in any course of action.” Certainly, that definition fits tonight’s diversity award recipients, Alfred Jenkins and Bill Lann Lee. They are not the only heroes in this room, however. This room is filled with heroes.

Many of you who sit here tonight as lawyers and judges arrived at these positions against great odds. You persevered against the external challenges of poverty and discrimination, and the internal challenges of discouragement and doubt, to achieve a goal that, for most people of color, remains as out of reach as the summit of Everest. What makes yours a hero’s story, and not merely a story of rags to respectability, however, is that you knew that it was not for yourselves alone that you made this climb. You blazed these trails so that others like you, the children of the poor and of communities of color, could follow in your path. And once you achieved the summit, you extended your hands to those coming behind. You have all exhibited the greatness of soul that is the mark of the hero, not only in what you have accomplished for yourselves, but, like Alfred Jenkins and Bill Lann Lee, in what you have given back.

I do not make this point to flatter you. My theme tonight is diversity and democracy and a vision of America in which diversity and democracy are symbiotic. The point I want to make is that your story – which is my story, too – is the story of America. American democracy is an idea formed by the words of the Declaration of Independence that all people are created equal and that each person possesses the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These words encapsulate the promise of America , a promise made to everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. The diverse audience in this room is proof that this is a promise America can still keep. Our diversity is, in turn, evidence that American democracy is still a beacon to the world.

Our story – the outsider’s story – is not simply a story of personal success, it is a story made possible by the guarantees of equality, freedom and equal access to opportunity that are the natal values of our country. Therefore, creating a society in which people of all ethnicities and races, women as well as men, and gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons as well as heterosexuals can succeed is not just good policy or good politics, it is the very definition of America.

The American assertion that all people are created equal, and all equally entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, necessarily encourages a diverse population because it was not made to a particular group, but to all humankind. The American assertion licenses human beings of every stripe to pursue, not just their material dreams, but their deepest sense of themselves, and to assert that self with pride and dignity. Thus, our democratic values contemplate, welcome and encourage diversity. In the two-hundred odd years since America’s call has gone out, millions have answered from every quarter of the earth and in the process created the most diverse society in human history.

Diversity, in turn, is the life-blood of our democracy. America is a dream reborn in the hearts of every generation of outsiders, whether they are immigrants, or members of racial, ethnic or sexual minorities, or women. The promises of equality, freedom and equal opportunity are promises that beat most powerfully in the hearts of those who are in need of them. The great stories of our history are not the stories of the privileged few who enjoyed the fruits of their position and prestige. The great stories of our history are the stories of people who came from nothing and achieved greatness in some sphere of life. Today, as at every point in our history, the true test of our democratic ideals is how well they operate when they are invoked by the outcast, the marginalized and the discriminated against.

My linking of democracy and diversity may seem obvious to those of us here. It is, however, a point that often seems to get lost in the debate surrounding the future of America in light of shifting demographics that will ultimately make the rest of the country what California is today – a society of minorities. In this debate, it is crucial to reiterate the point that democracy and diversity go hand-in-hand to counter another, darker strain of American thought. This strain of thought rejects the idea that a diverse population is part of the democratic ideal. In this view, outsider groups threaten American democracy with their customs, beliefs, practices, and values. Proponents of this view would limit physical access to America by immigrants and repress their fellow Americans whose values or way of life are different than their own.

The desire to exclude immigrants has all too often been wedded to racist notions of who deserves to be an American. This racist ideology has found expression in such phenomena as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the 1924 Immigration Act that limited immigrants from Southern Europe, the mass deportation of Mexican immigrants during the Depression and the internment of Japanese-Americans. The repressive strain of this ideology has been expressed in the legal treatment of American women throughout much of our history, and the criminalization of sexual practices that served, until recently, as the justification for widespread discrimination against gay and lesbian Americans. And, of course, both the racist and repressive parts of this ideology found their fullest and most shameful expression in the segregation of African-Americans and the consignment of those Americans to second-class citizenship.
Our society’s shifting demographics and the assertiveness of people of color, women, and gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people have reawakened in many Americans the anxieties that have encouraged these destructive and oppressive responses to diversity in the past. As proponents of diversity, the task of understanding and countering these fears falls upon our shoulders. In our political culture, the burden of persuasion for greater inclusiveness falls upon those demanding inclusion because, while the democratic ideals proclaimed in the declaration are “self-evident,” they are not self-executing.

Before we can respond to the fears of our fellow Americans, we must understand them. There are, of course, still crude proponents of racism and repression. But I believe that relatively few white Americans consciously entertain a philosophy of white racial supremacy as the basis of their anxieties. Rather, there are two strands that create these fears. The first is simply a fear of the unknown which, in this case, means people from other races and ethnicities. The fear is expressed in unconsciously equating true Americans with Americans of a particular race and regarding everyone else as an intruder. I think of this not so much as racism, but as tribalism. The second strand is the fear that these people from another tribe will take away what you have or prevent you from getting what you want. Kofi Annan was referring to this second strand when he observed in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech that: “The obstacles to democracy have very little to do with culture or religion, and much more to do with the desire of those in power to maintain their position at any cost.”

How do we address these anxieties. Well, first, as I have already suggested, we address them when we uphold the alternative view of an American democracy that welcomes and embraces diversity, instead of fearing and repressing it. This vision of America, after all, has history on its side. Everyone in this country, except for the indigenous people, has been, at one point or another, an outsider, an immigrant. From the point of view of American history, there is no difference between the American child of Vietnamese “boat people” and the descendant of the English “boat people” who arrived on the Mayflower.

Another way in which the opponents of diversity assert their status as “true” Americans is to label the rest of us as special interest groups pursing a special interest agenda. This is a particular rhetorical trick of the religious right when it accuses gay rights advocates of promoting a “homosexual agenda.” When Professor Robert Dawidoff and I wrote about gay rights in our book Created Equal, we addressed this characterization directly by explaining that “what is sought by gays and lesbians is not new or special rights but the extension of existing rights guaranteed to all American citizens by the Constitution and identified by the Declaration of Independence as the purpose, not the gift of government.” This observation applies with equal force to people of color and women. Equality, freedom and equal opportunity are not items on a special interest agenda; they are the birthright and the sacred responsibility of all Americans.

We must also recognize the degree to which the exclusionary view is a firmly entrenched and insidious one. For example, media references to the Midwest as America’s “heartland” and the repository of “traditional American values,” can be read as a code that equates America with Anglo-Saxon, politically conservative, heterosexual Protestants and dismisses the rest of us as interlopers. This equation is wrong as a matter of history because the cradle of American democracy is in places like Massachusetts, not Kansas. Thus the Midwest has no particular historical claim on “traditional American values” if, by that phrase, we are talking about democratic values.

Moreover, I would argue that the laboratory of our democratic ideals is to be found here, in California, where the peoples of the world have gathered to create a multicultural society. In California, the very notion of ethnic and racial minorities itself has become a misnomer to the extent that that label applies only to non-white Californians. The fact is that white Californians themselves are simply another racial minority in a state now composed of minorities.

Where everyone is equally a Californian, no one can invoke the label of “minority” to denigrate another group or to imply that that group’s values and points of view are entitled to less respect than those of others. Rather, here in California, our different values and points of view rub against each other, sometimes, yes, provoking conflict, but just as often producing those sparks of creativity that have made this state one of the most dynamic societies on earth and a place we are privileged to call our home. (I speak here with pride as a third-generation Californian.) I submit that if the “heartland” of America is the place where America’s future is being played out today, then we should look for that heartland in Los Angeles, not in Omaha.

Inevitably, the objection will come that, if we are all Americans, why should race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation enter into our civic discussion at all. This was another argument Professor Dawidoff and I addressed in Created Equal, to counter the claim that gay and lesbian activists were making a public spectacle out of the private matter of sexuality. We observed that it was not gays and lesbians, but the state that had made sexual orientation a public issue by enacting laws that criminalized homosexual practices and discriminated against gays and lesbians. We argued that sexual orientation can hardly be characterized as a private matter as long as the church and state are on their knees peering through the keyholes into the bedrooms of gays and lesbian Americans.

Of course, the same observations are true of race, ethnicity and gender. If the state has singled out particular groups and promoted discrimination against them, the state cannot be heard to then complain that the effects of that discrimination are no longer relevant simply because discriminatory laws have been repealed and discriminatory practices banned. Justice Thurgood Marshall made this point eloquently when he wrote in his separate opinion in the Bakke decision that: “It is because of a legacy of unequal treatment that we must now permit the institutions of this society to give consideration to race in making decisions about who will hold the positions of influence, affluence, and prestige in America.”

Finally, how do we respond to the fears of those who believe that a diverse society in which everyone has equal access to opportunity will require them to surrender their privilege. I would respond that the unequal distribution of a society’s goods creates a volatile situation in which, ultimately, no one is safe in his person or property. We see already the growing concentration of wealth and power in this country into fewer and fewer hands, most of them white. Not only is this situation profoundly anti-democratic, it cannot endure without increasingly alienating America’s have-nots, most of them people of color, and leading to an explosion in anti-social behavior including criminal violence. This, in turn, will require more and more repressive measures to maintain an unjust status quo. The result is that we will end up creating in America a de facto system of apartheid. Surely, this is not the society imagined by the words of the Declaration nor is it a society in which any of us would want to live.

Diversity is a fact of life in this country. The choice we have as a society is whether to embrace or repress it. Our history teaches us that when we choose repression, whether, for example, in the form of Jim Crow laws or interning Japanese-Americans, both those who repress and those who are the victims of repression pay the price of their humanity. Therefore, at this moment of our history when the debate is again joined about who belongs to the American family, let us choose the path of inclusiveness. Let us remember that our history also teaches us that often it is the very people who have been rejected, marginalized and discriminated against who, rising above these challenges, have been responsible for America’s moral greatness. Over and over again we see in the American story, that “the very stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” For many of us in this room, this vein of the American story is our own personal story. Our responsibility is to ensure that the story does not end with us. Let us take as our rallying cry the words that the great, gay African-American writer James Baldwin wrote about America. He said: “This is your home, my friend, do not be driven from it; great men have done great things here, and will again, and we can make America what America must become.”

Thank you.

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Good, Bad, and Indifferent

One Week Before the First Snow

PEN Center USA announced the winners and finalists of its 2006 Literary Awards competition honoring outstanding works published or produced in 2005 by writers who live west of the Mississippi River. The awards will be presented at PEN USA's December 12 Literary Festival gala at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA. Viola Canales won the award in the Children's Literature category for her book The Tequila Worm (Random House Children's Books/Wendy Lamb Books).

Here's the publisher's summary of this acclaimed book:

"Sofia comes from a family of storytellers. Here are her tales of growing up in the barrio in McAllen, Texas, full of the magic and mystery of family traditions: making Easter cascarones, celebrating el Día de los Muertos, preparing for quinceañera, rejoicing in the Christmas nacimiento, and curing homesickness by eating the tequila worm. When Sofia is singled out to receive a scholarship to boarding school, she longs to explore life beyond the barrio, even though it means leaving her family to navigate a strange world of rich, privileged kids. It’s a different mundo, but one where Sofia’s traditions take on new meaning and illuminate her path. WINNER 2006 - Texas TAYSHAS High School Reading List; WINNER 2006 - Pura Belpre Narrative Award; WINNER 2006 - ALA Notable Children's Book."

One Book, One Denver 2006 has selected The Milagro Beanfield War by John Nichols as this year's title. Mayor Hickenlooper announced the selection at the Denver Public Library, telling the crowd it's his goal "to enlarge the circle of readers in our city." Several events are planned including An Evening of Milagros with John Nichols at West High School on November 13 at 7:00 PM, a screening of the movie based on the book on November 19, and a special Stories on Stage featuring readings from the book by Tony Garcia of El Centro Su Teatro on November 20. Go here for details. Last year's selection, Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros, was considered a popular and very successful selection for this annual event.

Letter threatens immigrant voters
By The Associated Press

Santa Ana, Calif.- State investigators have linked a Republican campaign to letters sent to thousands of Orange County Hispanics warning them they could go to jail or be deported if they vote next month, a spokesman for the attorney general said.

"We have identified where we believe the mailing list was obtained," said Nathan Barankin, spokesman for Attorney General Bill Lockyer.

He declined to identify the specific Republican campaign Wednesday, citing the ongoing investigation. The Los Angeles Times and The Orange County Register both reported today that the investigation appeared to be focused on the campaign of Tan D. Nguyen, a Republican challenger to Democratic U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez.

The letter, written in Spanish, tells recipients: "You are advised that if your residence in this country is illegal or you are an immigrant, voting in a federal election is a crime that could result in jail time." In fact, immigrants who are naturalized U.S. citizens can vote.

Read the entire article here.

Meanwhile ...

Voting drive fails to rally masses
By Jim Spencer

The goals were lofty. Volunteers from El Voto Latino planned to register 750 to 1,000 new Latino voters in Weld County (Colorado) before the 2006 elections. Altogether, they planned to add 5,000 Hispanics to the voting rolls before the 2008 presidential race.

The men and women of El Voto Latino dreamed of brown power.

So far, they've found ethnic indifference.

When the registration deadline for the Nov. 7 election passed last week, Voto Latino had signed up just 377 new Latino voters in a county with roughly 34,000 unregistered voting- age Hispanics.

"For every person we actually registered, we probably talked to 20 to 30 people," said Voto Latino executive director David Gutierrez.

"I wish I understood why."

Enlightenment may only lead to more disappointment. If the angry, sometimes racist, immigration debate in this country hasn't already signaled to Latinos their need to register and vote, it's hard to figure what more Gutierrez and his troops can say.

Read this article here.

Ironic, no?

The first, maybe annual, La Bloga Día de los Muertos Amoxcalli-Descansos Contest. Here's your chance to get exposure for your great piece relating to el Día de los Muertos. Through Oct. 24th we will accept prose, poetry, essay, in English or Spanish or Spanglish--just about anything concerning this indigenous/modern tradition. Fantasy, children's stories, young adult, horror, serious, or not so--anything you want to share on La Bloga. Shorter pieces are preferred (less than 500 words), since we are the editorial staff and will base decisions on quality and how little work is required of us. We will feature one prize winner each day of the week of Day of the Dead. Email your submission to lablogaATreadrazaDOTcom.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Mariela Rubio's Un Lapso de Silencio

Michael Sedano

Dia de los Muertos remembers dead loved ones but most gente prefer to be the observer than the observee. Today, meet Mariela Rubio, a woman who seemed a candidate for an untimely altar herself and whose story of illness and recovery celebrates the fact she and her mother can set up altars together and remember when Mariela lay virtually dead.

When she was 22, Mariela Rubio fell ill in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. Negligent medical care sent the young woman's life into a tailspin, starting with a six-month coma. Doctors confirmed their diagnosis: the patient doesn't talk, doesn't move, cannot feed herself and is probably blind. Her mother prayed that her child be restored while friends thought it would be best for the child to die and end her suffering.

But Mariela was not suffering--she was only asleep! In fact, as she lay in the hospital, Rubio was conscious of her surroundings but helpless to do anything. She could not complain, breathing was a struggle, but she knew what was going around her. She had moments when she'd waken and try to communicate, but she was as helpless as a baby. This baby, however, was aware, and slowly her mind took over and she focused her thoughts on a single objective: to live a full life.

Now a 30 year old psychologist, Rubio has written her story in Un lapso de silencio. She recounts her months of awareness trapped in physical helplessness, responds to the hopelessness that surrounded her with pity--pity was the last thing she needed--and recounts her determination as she worked to rise from a wheelchair, learn to use her body again, and finally be able to walk on her own two legs.

Mariela Rubio is looking for a publisher of this inspiring story of a mother's love and a patient's determination to win back her life. Rubio will be reading from her work October 21, 6:00 p.m. at the Galeria de la Ciudad, Centro Cultural Riviera, in Ensenada, BC Mexico. For the author's statement of the above (in Spanish), visit Mariela's story in the newsletter from CICESE -- Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada.

The first, maybe annual, La Bloga Día de los Muertos Amoxcalli-Descansos Contest. Here's your chance to get exposure for your great piece relating to el Día de los Muertos. Through Oct. 24th we will accept prose, poetry, essay, in English or Spanish or Spanglish--just about anything concerning this indigenous/modern tradition. Fantasy, children's stories, young adult, horror, serious, or not so--anything you want to share on La Bloga. Shorter pieces are preferred (less than 500 words), since we are the editorial staff and will base decisions on quality and how little work is required of us. We will feature one prize winner each day of the week of Day of the Dead. Email your submission to labloga@readraza.com.

Guest Blogueras Blogueros Welcome
Don't forget, if you have an essay or review of a favorite novel, poetry collection, or related thoughts, send them to La Bloga. We welcome guest columnists and writing of note. Look for news about our Weekend Writers' La Bloga feature, soon!

There's Tuesday, October 17, 2006, a day like any other day, except you are here. Thanks for visiting La Bloga.


Monday, October 16, 2006


Book Review

By Daniel Olivas

Brides and Sinners in El Chuco
By Christine Granados
University of Arizona Press
118 pp., paperback

In this gritty yet often comical debut collection, Christine Granados offers sharp, honest portraits of the people who cobble together decidedly unglamorous lives in El Paso known as “El Chuco” by its Mexican American inhabitants. Granados sets the tone with the first story, “The Bride,” where the narrator recounts her older sister’s dream to have a wedding like the ones pictured in glossy bride magazines:

“Rochelle was obsessed. Because all these ridiculous magazines never listed mariachis or dollar dances, she decided her wedding was going to have a string quartet, no bajo, horns, or anything, no dollar dance, and it was going to be in October. . . . I wasn’t going to tell her there is no ‘elegance’ to autumn in El Paso.”

Despite such planning and dreaming, Rochelle’s “perfect” wedding gives way to tarnished, unplanned reality that she unblinkingly accepts.

Granados’s women sometime prefer familiar abuse over healthy, mutually fulfilling relationships. In “Comfort,” Courtney has a history of dating men who beat and degrade her. But when her new boyfriend, Eliseo, fails to follow this pattern, she grows bored: “Respect. Something every girl wanted but didn’t really need. What Courtney wanted was passion.” She decides to push Eliseo to the breaking point, make him lose control, by needling him and challenging his manhood. Similarly, in “Love Web,” a receptionist falls for the office’s womanizer and willingly accepts sexual degradation just to be part of his life. These two women believe they are control of their private lives, and in many respects they are no matter how misguided they may seem. Granados allows her audience to understand how these women got to this place without preaching about the importance of self-respect. In other words, she trusts the intelligence of her readers to come to their own conclusions.

Not all of Granados’s women suffer at the hands of men. In “Small Time,” a mother forces her daughter to learn how to scam department stores by “returning” stolen merchandise. And in “Inner View,” a young woman cannot escape the inept and unintentionally humorous meddling of her family as she tries to interview for a well-paying paralegal position. But in neither of these stories does Granados implore us to pity these women because, in the end, they do not pity themselves.

Granados is a gifted writer who refuses to sugarcoat the lives of her characters. These stories are potent little portraits of brides and sinners who struggle through ordinary lives propelled by nothing more than a vague hope for something better. Granados is a writer to watch.

Friday, October 13, 2006


Manuel Ramos

Those of us in Denver were very impressed by Reyna Grande during her recent visit to the Tattered Cover bookstore. Not only were all of us excited by her reading from her book, Across A Hundred Mountains, but we were able to talk and socialize a bit. What an inspiration. If she is participating in an event near you, you owe it to yourself to make time to go to her reading and, of course, buy her book and then read it. She has very personal stories about life as an immigrant child, the long-lasting impact on the family that such a move can have, and how she has succeeded when all the odds were against her.

Francisco Lomelí has been named the recipient of the Critica Nueva Award. The Critica Nueva Award was established by Rudolfo and Patricia Anaya in 1997 to bring the foremost scholars in Chicana/Chicano Literary criticism to the University of New Mexico. The Critica Nueva Award has been reinstituted by the University of New Mexico Libraries in honor of
Rudolfo and Patricia Anaya.

This year’s honoree is Dr. Francisco Lomelí, Professor of Chicana/Chicano Studies at the University of California-Santa Barbara. He will return to the University of New Mexico on Oct. 25 at 4 p.m. to deliver the Critica Nueva Lecture in the Willard Room of Zimmerman Library. The title of his lecture is Miguel de Quintana: Early New Mexican Poet in a State of Disenchantment. Lomelí taught at UNM during the 1980’s, and in 2005 wrote a book about Quintana in collaboration with Clark A. Colahan. The book is titled, Defying the Inquisition in Colonial New Mexico.

Quintana came to New Mexico with Diego de Vargas in 1694. He settled in Santa Cruz de la Cañada, where he became a farmer, a notary and an assistant to both the civil and ecclesiastical authorities. Quintana was one of the very few settlers who could read or write and he was
investigated by the Holy Office or Inquisition in the 1730s as someone who tested the limitations of free thinking in the Spanish colonial world with his poetry.

Lomelí and Colahan translate and discuss Quintana’s poetry in their book. Lomelí has written or edited a number of books, including a major reference work on Chicano Literature. The UNM Bookstore will have several of his books for sale after the lecture.

The lecture and discussion are free and and open to the public.

For more information contact:
Teresa Marquez, (505) 277-0582
Media Contact: Karen Wentworth, (505) 277-5627

Last year, PBS aired the first part of the documentary La Raza de Colorado - la Historia which was produced by Lisa Olken along with the help of a number of local and nationally recognized Chicanos community activists and educators. This year, UMASyMEChA invites you to share an evening with Lisa Olken and two of those contributors to the documentary, Freddie "Freak" Trujillo and Jose Esteban Ortega to view parts of the second part of La Raza de Colorado - El Movimiento and to have the opportunity to be a part of a conversation about their first-hand experiences with the people who made the Chicano Movement come alive! Freddie and Jose have an extensive archive of photos, magazines, newpapers, recordings, articles and other memorabilia housed in Pueblo, Colorado along with their exclusive personal knowledge of the people involved in the Chicano Movement of the late 1960s into the 1970s, especially as it happened on the CU-Boulder campus. Included will be the Chicano movimiento music created and sung by local Chicano musician, Agustín Córdova.

Join UMASyMEChA on this historical journey on October 19, 6:00-8:00, Humanities 250, University of Colorado, Boulder

The first, maybe annual, La Bloga Día de los Muertos Amoxcalli-Descansos Contest. Here's your chance to get exposure for your great piece relating to el Día de los Muertos. Through Oct. 24th we will accept prose, poetry, essay, in English or Spanish or Spanglish--just about anything concerning this indigenous/modern tradition. Fantasy, children's stories, young adult, horror, serious, or not so--anything you want to share on La Bloga. Shorter pieces are preferred (less than 500 words), since we are the editorial staff and will base decisions on quality and how little work is required of us. We will feature one prize winner each day of the week of Day of the Dead. For more details, see the September 28 issue of La Bloga. Send to labloga AT readraza DOT com.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Culture Clash’s Zorro in Hell

Review: Culture Clash’s Zorro in Hell

Michael Sedano
News & Notes & Announcement

Culture Clash's
Created, Written and Performed
by Culture Clash
Directed by Tony Taccone
A co-production with Berkeley Repertory Theatre

Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre
La Jolla Playhouse

It was an asco moment that built in awful inevitability with Herbert Siguenza and Sharon Lockwood approaching stage right. . .

The Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre stage begins at floor level, three feet from my seat in the middle of the first row. It is not an altogether exquisite way to enjoy the wild comedy of Culture Clash, but there I was, in the middle of the action. So in the middle that, just before Richard Montoya leaps into the house to climb up to the box seats, his frenzied character ad libs “the audience is using the stage as a footrest!” True enough. And during several sword fights I worried that an errant foil would swipe its “Z” on my forehead!

Saturday evening, I sat front and center in the La Jolla Playhouse entertained by Culture Clash’s Zorro in Hell, hoping not to catch any of the spit that sparkled from the spotlighted actors’ lips. I was lucky until the action stopped in front of me. The line called for a sound effect, “ghaaaa” accompanied by bright drops arcing in the spotlight in a trajectory destined for my bare arm.

Have I traveled from Los Angeles to sunny San Diego to be spit on? Evidently. With relish, mas o menos. More mas than menos. I chocked up the casual reference to Clasher performing oral sex on Kyle (the Bear) to humor. More menos did I enjoy the scene where Kyle (the Bear) mounts Thrasher in an extended nightmare sequence.

Such moments of menos aside (chacun a son gout que no?), Culture Clash’s Zorro in hell brings extended hilarity to an agitprop dreamatization of early California history and Zorro.

Historian Crasher has a bad case of writer’s block. He’s traveled to a rustic inn in whose historic location he hopes to finish his book on the Zorro myth. Instead, he meets the 200 year old woman-- who’s bedded every notable character from Neiztsche to Joaquin Murrieta-- and her staff, Don Ringo, the Original Chicano.

The innkeeper and her minion invade the writer’s dreams with best of intentions. Theirs has been the inspiration for the world’s greatest storytellers. Leo. Eugene. Tennessee. Ding! with their help, Crasher can pen the definitive Zorro story and with it illuminate the history of chicanas chicanos in California. But contemporary culture erects a challenging barrier. Don Ringo, the Original Chicano at one point asks the hapless writer, “Cuantos años tienes mi’jo?” and Crasher looks at his watch to offer, “ten o’clock.”

Culture is a growing, forgiving thing, and something of a sham, the story reminds us. The Zorro story, Crasher argues with his ghosts, was written by a white guy, and the hero’s Spanish, not Mexican. Logic and romance aside, the Chicano writer has to struggle with the material he’s got. Where else do the nightmares come from? When the sleeping Mexican comes alive, the serape rises, the sombrero turns and there stands the imposing voice of indigenous California handing a sombrero of invisibility like a f*cking Harry Potter. Then again, that might have been a different scene. The exact sequence truly doesn’t matter, the action is nonstop for both acts, and completely engaging. the fifteen minute intermission is welcome respite to catch one's breath.

Sadly, words lack the kinetic energy that pulsates off the stage wherever Culture Clash performs. Each time Siguenza’s character’s name comes up he strikes a proudly statuesque posture to proclaim, “the Original Chicano”, then resumes the business of the scene. The name dropping game is hilarious, a musical motif sounding from the heavens each time a notable’s name comes out. Joaquin Murrieta. Ding! Neiztsche. Ding! Ding! Ding! all evening.

I don’t remember if Roger Hedgecock got dinged. Hedgecock will be anonymous to all but locals. Culture Clash regionalizes its performance with a helping of insider referents like the local ex-con GOP pol and radio host. The performance bills itself a “world premiere” but it will play differently in your city, if it ever gets to you.

Happily, the ensemble will re-run the action until October 29. And you can take home a copy of the free program with the cut-out of your own Zorro mask on pagel… on page… there was a hilarious moment when Montoya had seized a program, ad libbing frantic banter as he riffled for the mask cut-out on page…

News & Notes & La Bloga Announcement

East LA Rep presents the workshop production of

¡Quinceañera! The Musical

Book & Lyrics
Jesus A. Reyes & Roxanna E. Sanchez

Music by Julie Kenol
Additional Music & Lyrics
Juan E. Carrillo & Scott Sener

Jesus A. Reyes

Roxana Aguilar, Jean Altadel, Miriam Alvarez , Alejandro Cardenas, Mia Castro,
Lynn Haro, Tina D’Marco, Sheila Korsi, Ryan Miller, Matt Phillips,
Monica Sanchez, Raquel Sanchez, Tom Sandoval, Felix Sotelo, and Hector C. Torres.

The guest arrive to the quinceañera celebration expecting tamales and cake when suddenly the father can’t be found, the caterers don’t arrive, and the city inspector tries to shut it down. This is not a play, this is not the movie, and this isn’t your typical musical, this is an event where anything can happen and probably will. East LA Rep presents the first homegrown musical from East Los Angeles in a long time – maybe ever!

Oct. 20 – Nov. 19, 2006
Friday & Saturday @ 8pm
Sunday @ 3pm
Admission: $8-$20 Sliding Scale

El Gallo Plaza Theater
4545 E. Cesar Chavez Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90022
info/rsvp: (323) 788-3880


Pomona, CA. (September 28, 2006) – The Los Angeles Latino Book & Family Festival (LA-LBFF) takes will take place on October 14 and 15, 2006 at the Fairplex in Pomona, CA. Celebrating it’s 10th anniversary, LA-LBFF continues the tradition of bringing together authors, booksellers, cultural entertainment and other vendors to create an eclectic family atmosphere of fun and appreciation of reading books. The Festival is open to the public from 10:00am to 6:00pm on Saturday and from 10:00am to 5:00pm on Sunday.
. . . .
Among the authors scheduled to appear are: Tommy Chong, Ruben Navarrette Jr., Yasmin Davidds, Mabel Katz, Reyna Grande, Al Martinez, Lara Rios, Art Rodriguez, Maria Ercilla , Maria Enriquez, Jorge Argueta and Sam Quinones,
. . . .
The Los Angeles Latino Book & Family Festival is sponsored by Amtrak, CVS Pharmacy, PFF, Continental Airlines, Pizza Hut, the California Teachers Association, Pampered Chef, Pacific Oaks College, LATV, Impacto USA, Para Todos, Los Kitos, Ethos Fuel Reformulator, the San Fernando Valley Sun, Jerzees, La Banda Elastica, Hispanic Lifestyle Magazine, Warehouse Shoe Sales and Velázquez Press.

Log on to www.lbff.us, and click on “Los Angeles” on the left, for more information and an up-to-date schedule of events and exciting news about authors and performers added to the program.

The first, maybe annual, La Bloga Día de los Muertos Amoxcalli-Descansos Contest. Here's your chance to get exposure for your great piece relating to el Día de los Muertos. Through Oct. 24th we will accept prose, poetry, essay, in English or Spanish or Spanglish--just about anything concerning this indigenous/modern tradition. Fantasy, children's stories, young adult, horror, serious, or not so--anything you want to share on La Bloga. Shorter pieces are preferred (less than 500 words), since we are the editorial staff and will base decisions on quality and how little work is required of us. We will feature one prize winner each day of the week of Day of the Dead. For more details, see the September 28 issue of La Bloga. Send to mailto:labloga@readraza.com

Look for La Bloga's Events page upcoming. We'll calendar and catalog an assemblage of Dia de los Muertos events from Long Island Cemetery to the Endless Sea.

And so it goes, another Tuesday. I'm heading downrange until next week.


Monday, October 09, 2006


I just received an e-mail newsletter from Chon A. Noriega, Professor and Director of UCLA’s Chicano Studies Research Center (“CSRC”), and it’s so full of wonderful news and opportunities that I want to dedicate my entire post for Monday to what’s happening at the CSRC. Support your local Chicano Studies Department! -DAO

◙ Guillermo E. Hernández Memorial Scholarship Fund: UCLA Professor of Spanish, Director Emeritus of the CSRC, and leading expert on corridos and Chicano literature Guillermo E. Hernández passed away on July 16, 2006, in Mexico City. Hernández was one of the longest serving directors (1992–2002) in the center's almost forty-year history. An exhibition on his life and academic works will be in the CSRC Library through the fall quarter; a selection of his writings is available online. Donations can be made to a scholarship fund in his name at the CSRC. Checks should be made out to the UCLA Foundation/The Guillermo E. Hernández Memorial Scholarship and mailed to UCLA, 1309 Murphy Hall, Los Angeles, California 90095.

◙ Professor Edward Telles Takes Top Sociology Book Awards: UCLA scholar Edward Telles has won a number of awards for his book Race in Another America: The Significance of Skin Color in Brazil, including the American Sociological Association Distinguished Scholarly Publication award (2006) for the single best English-language book in sociology over the past three years, the ASA Population Section Otis Dudley Duncan Prize (2005), and the ASA Racial and Ethnic Minorities Oliver Cromwell Cox Prize (2006). Professor Telles and Vilma Ortiz, both in the sociology department, head the Mexican American Study Project (MASP) at the CSRC. The MASP is a study of generational change and persistence in ethnic identity and behavior as well as socioeconomic mobility among Mexican Americans in Los Angeles and San Antonio. It is the first major survey to systematically examine changes in long-term intragenerational and intergenerational socioeconomic status and ethnic identity within any ethnic group. The resulting publication will be released in 2007.

◙ Ford Foundation Supports Film Recovery Project: CSRC has been awarded a $20,000 grant by the Ford Foundation in support of the completion of the Chicano Cinema Recovery Project. Building upon earlier collaborative efforts to successfully preserve and archive the films of Efraín Gutiérrez, the additional funding will allow the CSRC to expand the project to serve as a national model for other independent and public interest media preservation efforts. The grant will also enable the release of the restored Gutiérrez films on DVD in spring 2007, expanding access to these films and creating a revenue stream for future preservation work in this area.

◙ CSRC Co-sponsors Community Service Award: A double major in Spanish and Chicana/o Studies, Emily Villagraña is this year’s recipient of the UCLA Department of Spanish and Portuguese Community Service Award. Co-sponsored by the CSRC, the $300 prize is awarded in June to the graduating senior with the best record of sustained service to the Latino community. Villagraña organized and oversaw numerous programs at Conciencia Libre, coordinated Dia de los Muertos events and Border Reality tours, facilitated events with Raza Womyn de UCLA, designed and implemented ESL classes for day laborers with Proyecto Jornaleros, and made many other contributions to the Latino community.

◙ Summer Interns at UCLA: This summer’s Getty intern, Natalie Sanchez, worked on two CSRC projects: A Ver: Revisioning Art History, a book series on Latina/o artists; and Phantom Sightings: Art after the Chicano Movement, an exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) scheduled for spring 2008. For both projects, she assisted in compiling artist biographies and selected bibliographies, corresponding with artists about checklists, collecting images for each artist, and researching the credit information for images. Also, three high school students—Haziel Bustillo, Erica Smith, and Jeanette Rodriguez—from the UCLA Summer Youth Program interned at the center for six weeks this summer. They were a tremendous help with filing, data entry, archiving, and other odd jobs around the center. The program’s sponsors are the UCLA Community Based Learning Program, UCLA Government and Community Relations, UCLA Campus Human Resources, and UCLA Healthcare Human Resources.

◙ Latino Public Policy Conference: The CSRC hosted the 2006 Senator Richard G. Polanco Fellows Orientation Program on September 6 and 7. The program is designed to help participants, selected annually from across California, develop as leaders, learn how the legislative process works, and create an understanding of the role of public policy in society. This year’s fellows are Amber Rose Gonzalez, who graduated from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, with a major in gender, ethnicity, and multicultural studies and an emphasis in Chicano/Latino studies; Armando Chavez, who graduated from UC Berkeley with a double major in ethnic studies and Chicano studies; Erica Alfaro, who graduated from UC Davis School of Law with a J.D. in 2005 and UC Davis with a major in political science and a minor in Chicana/o studies in 2001; Jamie Zamora, who graduated from San Diego State University with a major in political science and a minor in Chicana/o studies; Marvin Pineda, who graduated from UC Riverside with a double major in history and Spanish literature; and Liza Bolanos, who graduated from California State University Fresno with a double major in sociology and Chicano/Latino studies.

◙ Professor Morales to Attend Migration and Health Forum: CSRC Faculty Associate Leo Morales will represent the CSRC at the Binational Policy Forum on Migration and Health in Oaxaca, Mexico, on October 9–10, 2006. This event is co-sponsored by the Mexican Secretary of Health and the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, through the Institute for Mexicans Abroad (IME), the government of Oaxaca, and the California-Mexico Health Initiative (CMHI), among other institutions. The goal of this year’s forum is to convene key stakeholders from the United States and Mexico to discuss the health challenges of migrants and immigrants and to explore opportunities to work collaboratively to improve the health and well-being of this population. High-level representatives from federal, state, and community organizations from both countries are slated to participate in this year’s forum. Key international leaders are expected to attend, including Central American representatives.

◙ Twentieth-Century Latin American and Latino Art Conference: The third annual conference on Documents of Twentieth-Century Art of Latin American and Latino Art will be held at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, on October 16–18, 2006. CSRC researchers will highlight their most relevant findings of the past year during a new public session to be held on Monday, October 16. The CSRC is coordinating four university-based research teams for the U.S.-based Latino component of a project, sponsored by the museum, to identify and digitize key documents related to U.S. Latino art history, including that of Chicano, Cuban American, Dominican, and Puerto Rican communities.

◙ The Soundtrack of Modern Los Angeles: Thursday, October 12, 5:00 pm, 1230 Schoenberg Music Building (“Green Room”), with a tapas themed reception to follow. Visiting UCLA Professor Elijah Wald will be talking about “Strange Bedfellows: Louis Armstrong Loves Guy Lombardo and the Mexican Corrido Meets Gangsta Rap. Critics and historians who celebrate African-American music tend to dismiss Lombardo's music as boring. How have such prejudices affected our views of the past? Now marketers have coined terms like “banda rap” and “urban regional” in an attempt to capture one of American music's most daring fusions: Central European polka, classic border balladry, and the toughest urban beats. Could this be the soundtrack of modern Los Angeles and a signpost to the future of American music?

◙ New Directions for Bilingual Education in California: Saturday, October 14, 8:00 am–3:00 pm, Corinne A. Seeds University Elementary School, UCLA. Seeds UES’s Learning in Two Languages Program and the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, in association with the CSRC, will present a conference for educators, parents, community members, and advocates for English learners. CSRC Associate Director Daniel Solórzano will be the keynote speaker. Seating is limited, so register today. Registration is available online at the UES School, or email for more information.

◙ Fiesta de Inspiracion 2006 Scholarship Dinner: Thursday, October 19, 6:00 pm, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles. The UCLA Latino Alumni Association invites you to attend the 2006 celebration of Latino leadership. This year’s honorees are Councilmember Ed Reyes, Senior Vice President Danielle Campos, and UCLA Professor Raymond Rocco. Email the association for tickets.

◙ Institute of American Cultures Welcome Reception: Wednesday, November 8, 4:00–6:00 pm, UCLA Faculty Center, Downstairs. Vice Chancellor Claudia Mitchell-Kernan and Associate Dean Shirley Hune announce a reception in honor of the 2006–07 visiting scholars, postdoctoral, predoctoral, and graduate fellows, and research grant awardees in the IAC program. The CSRC welcomes visiting scholar Horacio N. Roque Ramirez from UC Santa Barbara.

◙ Workshop on the Chicana/o Educational Pipeline: Wednesday, November 8, 6:00 pm, CSRC Library, 144 Haines Hall. This workshop on the Chicana/o educational pipeline is designed to promote a better understanding of the policy issues related to the education of Chicana/os throughout the pipeline, from K-12 and community college, to undergraduate and graduate school. The authors of the 2006 CSRC Research Report Falling Through the Cracks: Critical Transitions in the Educational Pipeline will discuss the pipeline and the policies that work for Chicana/o students. CSRC Associate Director Daniel Solórzano will be the moderator, and the panel will include doctoral students Lindsay Perez Huber, Ofelia Huidor, Maria C. Malagon, and Gloria Sanchez. The readings for the workshop include the CSRC Research Report no. 7 and the CSRC Latino Policy & Issues Brief no. 13, both of which are available online at CSRC’s website.

◙ The Queer Latina/o Archive Panel Discussion: Wednesday, November 15, 1:00–5:00 pm, CSRC Library, 144 Haines Hall.

◙ CSRC Annual Reception: Thursday, November 16, 4:00–7:00 pm, CSRC Offices, 144 and 179 Haines Hall.

◙ CSRC Library & Archive - New Archival Collections Donated: Over the summer, several collections were donated to the CSRC Library. They will be available to the public after they are archived. Finding aids will be developed and posted on the CSRC website. The collections are:

Ricardo Muñoz Papers. A collection of almost fifty linear feet representing almost twenty-five years of the work of the respected Los Angeles jurist, including his legal writings and bench decisions.

Elena Popp Papers. A collection of almost seventy-five linear feet representing the life and work of the indefatigable housing activist, Legal Aid attorney, and political candidate.

El Otro México Videotape Collection. A collection of fifty-one mini-DV master tapes donated by the television show’s director, Juan González. El Otro México is a continuing program that addresses major events in the Chicano/Latino community and presents emerging artists and musicians. This collection will be copied to DVD and VHS for researchers.

ADOBE LA Papers. A collection of papers on deposit while the co-founder and design principal of ADOBE LA (Artists, Architects, and Designers Opening the Border Edge of Los Angeles), Ulises de Jesús Díaz, is a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University. As a community and urban activist, artist, and architect, Díaz has worked to strengthen the voice of an expanding and diverse Latino community in Los Angeles, focusing on the presence of Mexicans and Chicana/os in the cultural and environmental landscapes of Southern California.

Guillermo E. Hernández Papers. A collection of Professor Hernández’s papers and books, selected in conjunction with his family. The collection highlights his groundbreaking research on corridos and the Frontera Digitization Project.

◙ CSRC Press - Aztlán Going Online: The press is pleased to announce that after several years of planning, the journal of record in the field of Chicano studies is now online! To read all issues of Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, please go to the journal hosting site. If your library subscribes, and you are accessing the site through your university network, you should be able to read articles right away. If not, this may mean that your library has yet to turn on its access. Why not email your librarian and ask him or her to do so? If your library doesn’t subscribe, but you do, please email us so that we can give you your password. You will then be able to register at MetaPress to search and read the content of every issue of Aztlán, from 1970 through 2006. All subscribers will continue to get a print copy of the journal.

◙ CSRC Store Online: The press is also pleased to announce that all CSRC products are now available online at our own CSRC Store! The CSRC receives all the earnings from items ordered from this financially secure site (unlike products purchased from Amazon.com, for instance). Please visit the site! In honor of the launch, the CSRC is offering all friends of the center a one-time 40 percent discount on all books, DVDs, and t-shirts. Just browse the products, add them to your shopping cart, enter the discount code “launchdeal,” and pay with your credit card. You don’t need to leave home! The discount can only be used in the next two weeks, so don’t wait! If you have any problems at all, please email the CSRC Store. Since this is the beta version, the CSRC is expecting a few glitches and your assistance in notifying the CSRC of any problems will be greatly appreciated!

◙ Café Press Store: A variety of products with our con safos logo can be purchased at Cafepress, an online marketplace that allows organizations to create unique print-on-demand products. The CSRC earns a portion of the proceeds, so check it out!

◙ Fall 2006 Issue of Aztlán: All subscribers should have received the fall issue of Aztlán in their mailboxes. If you are not a subscriber, you won’t have a chance to read Edward Telles’s response to Harvard University professor Samuel P. Huntington’s contention that Mexicans are “overwhelming American borders”; Rosaura Sánchez and Beatrice Pita’s political proposal to construct the growing Latina/o population in the United States as a “bloc” of fluid identities in order to “more effectively address the hostile political environment”; Miroslava Chávez-García’s case study of Mexican and Mexican American youth who attempted to escape from California’s leading reform school between 1890 and 1920; and Diana Palaversich’s examination of the Mexican and Mexico-related “narconovela.” The dossier section offers excerpts from the CSRC Press’s forthcoming book on Latino aesthetics, Chicano Manual of Style. To subscribe to Aztlán, you can do so easily by visiting the online store and using your credit card. You can also email your postal address and the CSRC will send you a subscription package.