Friday, March 09, 2007

Tennessee, Tejas, Telluride

San Antonio playwright Gregg Barrios's new play, Rancho Pancho, looks at the life of Tennessee Williams and his Mexican- American muse -- Pancho Rodriguez. The play is scheduled for performances on March 30 (8:00 PM) and March 31 (2:30 PM) during the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival, March 28-April 1, 2007.

Rodriguez was the 24-year-old son of a Mexican-American border guard when Williams met him in Texas in 1945. Smitten, Williams invited him to New Orleans, where Pancho became Williams live-in muse and companion for several years. Barrios believes Pancho served as a model for Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire and had tried to persuade Williams to make the character Latino, since there were more Mexican-Americans than Polish-Americans in New Orleans during the time. In his autobiography, Elia Kazan speaks about his difficulty in understanding the love-hate relationship between Stanley and Blanche -- until he witnessed an off-stage altercation between Williams and Rodriguez during rehearsals of Streetcar. If Tennessee was Blanche, Pancho was Stanley, Kazan wrote. Rancho Pancho examines their two-year relationship from the Texas-Mexico border and New Orleans to Hollywood and a Provincetown bungalow dubbed Rancho Pancho by Williams and finally onto Broadway. It concludes when the former companions meet some 30 years later in Jackson Square. John Waters is scheduled to introduce the play on opening night.

Le Petit Theatre Mainstage, 616 St. Peter St., New Orleans. More information on the festival website, here.

Gregg Barrios has been a busy guy. His review of The Virgin of Flames by Chris Abani (Penguin, 2006) recently showed up here. (La Bloga also reviewed this book, which you can find in our archives, here.) And just this week he participated in an event celebrating the recent publication of the Texas Mexican anthology Hecho en Tejas (Dagoberto Gilb, editor, University of New Mexico Press, 2007). The classy night of reading and celebrating featured seven Tejano writers----Gregg Barrios, Norma Cantú, Rose Mary Catacolos, Sandra Cisneros, Diana Lopez, John Phillip Santos, Carmen Tafolla ---- who are included in the new anthology.

The Story Circle Network, in conjunction with the Southwestern Writers Collection at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas, is hosting a writing conference, A Land Full of Stories. The two-day conference program, plus an optional day of field-writing workshops, is online. June 7 -9, 2007.

Kathleen Dean Moore, author of the acclaimed nature studies Pine Island Paradox and Riverwalking: Reflections on Moving Water, will give the keynote address on Friday evening. Participants will choose among twenty-two writing workshops on Friday and Saturday. Optional field-writing sessions will be offered in the Austin-San Marcos area on Thursday, and a session on Thursday night in nearby historic Gruene, TX.

The conference is (in part) a celebration of a new SCN anthology, What Wildness is This: Women Write About the Southwest, recently released by The University of Texas Press. Authors will give readings from the book during the Saturday luncheon.

Full information about the conference is available online, at


April 20-22, 2007 at the historic Sheridan Opera House in Telluride, Colorado

Catch the Denver National Slam Team All-Stars and the outrageously talented Roc'em Soc'em hip-hop word trio at this year's annual Talking Gourds poetry festival in Telluride. Kenny Arkind returns with his fellow National slam team champions, and Day Acoli of Café Nuba fame in Denver accompanies Bianca Mikahn & Oracles Speaks - festival stand-outs last year.

The festival coincides with National Poetry Month and Earth Day, and regional poets, storytellers, singers, actors, dancers, fiction and nature writers, stargazers, ponderers and wanderers will share their work at Talking Gourd circles, on stage, and in interactive workshops.

Other featured performers include Tres Chicas (Joan Logghe, Miriam Sagan & Renee Gregorio) of New Mexico, David Seals of Powwow Highway fame, the Yoolgai Poetry Troupe from the Navajo Nation (zoEy beNally, Tish Ramirez & Curt Yazza), awarding-winning poet Aaron Abeyta from El Valle San Luis, North Beach legend Jack Mueller, Michael Adams of Lafayette, Debbi Brody and Mary McGinnis of Santa Fe, Rita Cantu of Prescott (AZ), Mark Todd of Gunnison, Steven Meyers of Durango, Kim Nuzzo of Aspen, Tara Miller of Paonia, & many more.

The festival will initiate its new Tellus Award for the best poetry film of the year by screening the New Mexico production of "Committing Poetry in a Time of War." The headliner show starts at 8 p.m. in the Sheridan Opera House, with the Grizzly Growlers Poetry Troupe featuring Aaron Abeyta and Carol Guerrero-Murphy and students from the San Luis Valley, followed by the seven-member Denver National Slam Team All-Stars. Night owls can join Mueller and Seals for a late night Poet's Lark.

Sunday morning the festival concludes in Placerville at the Trommer residence for a light brunch and the finale Talking Gourd circle - this event's trademark ritual finale.

A new feature this year will be an outdoor installation Dwelling in Tents, featuring an inhabitable art erection constructed from eight panels of Karankawan pictographs illustrating the Hebrew Genesis as revealed in Arabic to a 17th century Mexican nun. There will also be a performance of the Fatole Women's Fatwa by the creator of the installation, Peggy Powell Dobbins and Kathy Barrett.

For more information about the Talking Gourd Festival, check the website: For info on last year's event, see:

Authors, Photographers and Illustrators Encouraged to Apply by March 15

To be eligible for the award, the primary contributor to the book must be:
· A Colorado resident writer, editor, illustrator or photographer, or
· An individual engaged in ongoing literary work in Colorado, or
· An author whose personal history, identity, or literary work reflects a strong Colorado influence.

Books proposed for the 2007 competition must have a 2006 publication date, be professionally published and assigned an ISBN. Entries must include a completed 2007 Colorado Book Award application, $50 processing fee and 5 copies of the nominated book. Applicants may review the complete eligibility guidelines and download the application form from the Colorado Humanities website.




daniel olivas said...

What a great post! Gracias.

Manuel Ramos said...

Thank you, sir. Just trying to keep up with the high standards set by you all.

norma said...

I met T.Z. Hernandez last summer at an event held by a Chicano owned Indie Literary Press called Noveltown.

You can read about it here:
Stories From Dust

There's great pictures too. He's a very talented Spoken Word performer. Very passionate! I was lucky to get a signed copy of Skin Tax!

Manuel Ramos said...

Norma: That is quite a story and you're right, those are great pictures. Thanks for the link. Tonight should be a memorable evening of poetry, music, etc., all for the Floricanto Naropa.

Norma said...

Keep up the great work on La Bloga. This site, along with Paperback Writer, Noveltown's official blog site are my favorite!

BTW.. I just ordered Brown on Brown and I'm looking forward to reading it!

Thanks again!


msedano said...

Zeta transfigures into a Samoan, and before that Pancho becomes Stanley Kowalski. What is it, we're great in real life but can't cut the mostaza in fiction?

Manuel Ramos said...

That's one reason we have to write it ourselves.