Monday, April 23, 2007


Monday's post from Daniel Olivas...

It’s that time of year again when UCLA’s magnificent Westwood campus becomes one, big world of books. Visit the Festival’s webpage for details on obtaining free tickets to panels, directions, parking, etc. Many friends of La Bloga will be participating on panels and signing books. Though it can be a bit daunting at times because of the huge number of folks who show up, it's worth the effort to spend a day or two meeting and listening to your favorite authors. There's also plenty of good comida and lots of activities for the children. Here are a few of the panels that you might be interested in attending (in no particular order, but Chicano/Latino authors are highlighted for your convenience...feel free to post a comment regarding any interesting panels or appearances that I might have missed):

Saturday Panels:

Panel 1093 - 1:00 PM
Fiction: Hopes and Disappointments in the Promised Land
Moderator: Ariel Swartley
Panelists: Richard Rayner, Luis J. Rodriguez and Carolyn See

Panel 1102 - 11:30 AM
Fiction: Writing Across Genres
Moderator: Denise Hamilton
Panelists: Francesca Lia Block, S.E. Hinton, Cynthia Kadohata and Demetria Martinez

Sunday Panels:

Panel 2034 - 2:30 PM
Crossing the Border: Immigrant Lives
Moderator: William Deverell
Panelists: Gustavo Arellano, Sam Quiñones and Gabriel Thompson

Panel 2111 - 10:30 AM
Inland Empire Fiction: The Other California
Moderator: Tod Goldberg
Panelists: Gayle Brandeis, Michael Jaime-Becerra and Susan Straight

Panel 2074 - 2:30 PM
Fiction: Taking On the World
Moderator: Yxta Maya Murray
Panelists: Chris Abani, Bruce Bauman, Tony D'Souza and Cristina Garcia

Panel 2061 - 10:30 AM
The Power of Fiction
Moderator: Ellen Slezak
Panelists: Liam Callanan, Alex Espinoza and James D. Houston

Panel 2063 - 1:30 PM
Fiction: Outside the Margins
Moderator: Michael Silverblatt
Panelists: Tom Drury, Brad Kessler and Helena María Viramontes

And there will be many other fine authors signing books including Max Benavidez who will appear with the artist Gronk at the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center's booth (Booth # 630) on Saturday where they will sign Benavidez’s book on Gronk.

◙ In addition to appearing at the Festival of Books, Gustavo Arellano, OC Weekly columnist and author of ¡Ask a Mexican! (Scribner), which is based on his nationally syndicated column of the same name, will be out promoting his book in May at the following venues:

May 3: Libreria Martinez, 1110 N. Main St., Santa Ana, 714-973-7900, 7 pm

May 7: Borders Pico Rivera, 8852 Washington Blvd., Pico Rivera, (562) 942-9919

May 9: Bookworks, 4022 Rio Grande NW, Albuquerque, (505) 344-8139, 7pm

May 10: Barnes & Noble Webster, 1441 W. Webster Ave., Chicago, (773) 871-3610, 7pm

May 13: Third Place Books, 17171 Bothell Way NE, Lake View (near Seattle), 206-366-3333, 5:30 pm

May 16: Barnes & Noble Westheimer, 7626 Westheimer, Houston, (713) 783-6016

I hope to have a little interview with Arellano soon.

◙ In conjunction with the recent release of his novel, Lost City Radio (HarperCollins), Daniel Alarcón will be appearing in the following venues with other writers sponsored by PEN American Center:

April 24, 8:30 p.m.
Granta’s Best of the Young American Novelists
Panel with Nell Freudenberger, Olga Grushin, Gary Shteyngart, Uzodinma Iweala, Gabe Hudson, Jess Row, and Akhil Sharma
Tischman Auditorium, The New School
Additional Information

April 27, 1:30 p. m.
Gritty Realism
Panel with Francisco Goldman, Guillermo Arriaga, Jorge Franco, and Patricio Mello
Walter Reade Theater, Lincoln Center
Additional Information

April 27, 3:00 p.m.
Imaginary Geographies
Panel with Arthur Japin, Tatyana Tolstaya, and Deborah Treisman
Walter Reade Theater, Lincoln Center
Additional Information

Rigoberto González reviews Alex Espinoza’s debut novel, Still Water Saints (Random House) in the El Paso Times. González notes: “Espinoza's strength is in giving each voice its individuality and in painting a durable portrait of the contemporary multifaceted American town. This is an excellent novel.” My review of Espinoza's novel will come out in the next issue of the MultiCultural Review.

◙ Belinda Acosta interviews Helena María Viramontes for The Austin Chronicle regarding her new novel, Their Dogs Came With Them (Atria Books). Of the novel, Acosta observes:

“[T]o fully appreciate it, approach it like a mural. While the grandness of a mural is what first commands attention, the viewer enters through its image details. After which, the viewer can then step back and reflect on the whole. The same is true of Viramontes' startling second novel. Twenty-five characters take turns standing in relief, written with extraordinary precision and profound compassion.”

If you missed it, you can read La Bloga’s interview with Viramontes here. I also note that Viramontes graces the cover of the new issue of Poets & Writers magazine with a profile by Renee Shea.

◙ Over at Poetry Foundation, Francisco Aragón interviews Victor Hernández Cruz. Hernández Cruz has published nine books, including his most recent collection, this year’s The Mountain in the Sea (Coffee House Press), and currently divides his time between Morocco and Puerto Rico. The interview touches on the interests most vital to the poet—the history of the Caribbean, stories of migration, and encounters between cultures.

◙ The new issue of the MultiCultural Review is out and I have several reviews featured of the following books: Come Together, Fall Apart (Riverhead) by Cristina Henríquez; The King of Things / El rey de las cosas (Cinco Puntos Press) by Artemio Rodríguez; Farmworker’s Daughter (Heyday Books) by Rose Castillo Guilbault; and Tales Our Abuelitas Told (Simon & Schuster/Atheneum) by F. Isabel Campoy and Alma Flor Ada.

◙ In the Los Angeles Times, Agustin Gurza writes about comedian Cheech Marin donating 50 sets of high-quality digital prints of Chicano works to museums and universities. Gurza observes:

“For a time, Marin, 60, was sounding like the Rodney Dangerfield of the art world, always complaining that he can't get no respect from the arts establishment. Nobody's laughing nowadays. For the past five years, the actor has taken his personal art collection on tour in an exhibition titled ‘Chicano Visions: American Painters on the Verge,’ which appeared at major galleries, drew strong attendance and garnered generally positive reviews.”

◙ The El Paso Times informs us that the El Paso Holocaust Museum and Study Center, which teaches the lessons of the Holocaust, needs your help. Founded in 1984 by a Holocaust survivor, Henry Kellen, the museum will open its new facility before the end of the summer. Temporarily at 101 S. Kansas in the Centre Court building, the Center relies on a small, dedicated group of volunteers to lead visitors through the galleries. For information on volunteering as a docent, or as a worker in the store or library, drop an e-mail to Leslie Novick, the Center’s executive director.

◙ Espresso Mi Cultura will be opening its doors in Montebello, California this summer, so they are searching for a part time Coffeehouse Manager (the full time position has a been filled). This position requires coffeehouse experience. For more information on qualifications, please visit here and click on "jobs available" to view the job description. On a personal note, I had one of my first book readings at EMC. Happy to see that they will continue to offer coffee, culture and literature.

◙ Gregg Barrios interviews Oscar Hijuelos over at the San Antonio Current. After his critically praised debut novel Our House in the Last World, Hijuelos wrote his masterpiece, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love. Hijuelos, a New York City native of Cuban heritage, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1989 for Mambo Kings. He was the first Latino to receive that honor.

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

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