Friday, June 15, 2007

This And That

Manuel Ramos


Here's an announcement about a new project I recently joined and a plug for the project's first event featuring Lorna Dee Cervantes -- an excellent beginning.

El Laboratorio: Thinking En Público, a new Latino arts and culture center housed within The Lab at Belmar, will host some of Colorado's most acclaimed Latino writers, artists and scholars for literary workshops, public readings, and conversations beginning in summer, 2007. Each event will feature readings by an award-winning author or artist who is reshaping or extending our understanding of the literary arts of the United States. Themes will include avant-garde poetry, experimental novels, drama, the spoken word, storytelling, and slam poetry. In partnership with Arte Público Press, the oldest Latino press in the U.S., El Laboratorio aims to be a premier space where both Latino artists and the general public can gain insights into the ways Latino culture is changing the landscape of the U.S.

Lorna Dee Cervantes, acclaimed poet, teacher, and author will read from her Pulitzer Prize-nominated book, Drive, followed by a conversation with John-Michael Rivera, the Creative Director of El Laboratorio, on June 23, 6:00 PM reception, 6:30 - 8:00 PM main event, $10 ($5 members). The Lab is at 404 Upham Street, Lakewood, CO 303-934-1777.

And I just read on Lorna Dee's blog that she is moving to Berkeley, CA. Our loss is the Bay Area's gain. I'm hopeful she will keep her ties to Colorado -- the cultural scene around here now has a big hole because of her leaving.

Lisa Hernández
Arte Público Press, 2007
Speaking of the oldest Latino press in the U.S., the following message showed up recently on my computer screen and I pass it along to you.

This debut story collection explores issues of migration and identity from a Mexican and Mexican-American perspective. It is the winner of the University of California Irvine’s Chicano/Latino Literary Prize. Past and present are interwoven in the eleven stories dealing with migration across geographical and cultural boundaries. Set in California and Mexico, the characters in these stories struggle with all that life throws their way, including abusive boyfriends, separation from loved ones, and unfaithful spouses, all in an uneasy search for a balance between a Mexican past and a Mexican-American future. With vivid brushstrokes, Hernández paints a collage of Latinas who work vigorously to overcome drastic situations. A woman is convinced that her brother-in-law’s constant fooling around with co-eds caused her sister’s heart attack, and she obsesses about getting revenge even if it means turning to brujería. A young woman who has flunked out of college multiple times finally goes home to confront the memories of her father’s sexual abuse that she hasn’t been able to flee or forget. On her deathbed, Chata reveals to her daughter that when she was growing up in a small Mexican village, her first love was a beautiful prostitute. Themes of survival, identity, and cultural conflict are woven through the stories in this intriguing and entertaining collection. Publisher’s Weekly gave the book an excellent review, and said “Short and affecting, Hernández’s tales are as ardent as they are prosaic and unflinching.” Lisa Hernández is a native of Pasadena, California, where she lives with her husband and daughter. She teaches English at Los Angeles Community College and coordinates literacy programs for the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Time: Saturday, June 16, 2007 10:00 AM - all day
Location: Cultural Legacy Booksellers, 3633 W. 32nd Ave, Denver
Art from Ashes is a Denver-based, high-risk youth empowerment through poetry organization, and Cultural Legacy is supporting the group with a fundraiser on June 16, the date of the Highlands Street Fair. At 3 pm, there will be an Art from Ashes poetry performance.

Come to Cultural Legacy, meet local authors and enjoy their books! Wellington Webb, Christine Loomis, Charlene Porter and others will be there.
The entire event will run from 10 am until dusk. The fundraising will extend to purchases on-line until midnight. Join us to support this great organization.

I'm one of the "others" and will be at the bookstore signing books (even mine if you have them) at 2:00 PM.

Author Fest of the Rockies 2007 in Manitou Springs, CO, to be held
October 19-20, at the Cliff House Hotel. The organizers are looking for authors,
illustrators, poets, editors, publishers, agents, and anyone interested in the business
of books. They have made a call for proposals from those wishing to
participate as a workshop presenter.

The Friends of the MSPL sponsor this event as a fundraiser for the Carnegie
building's preservation, restoration, and expansion campaign. The library building is almost 100 years old, and the Friends of the MSPL are attempting to update it to meet ADA
requirements, and to expand the infrastructure necessary to meet today's
library technological needs.

The theme of this year's conference is Writing As Art, and you can get an application to make a proposal for a presentation from the library's website.

Rolando Hinojosa sends word that his article, De noche todos los gatos son pardos, con excepciones,will appear in Ventana Abierta (UCSB) Vol. VI, NMo.22, Primavera 2007/Inmigrantes.

Some of you may recall that in last week's column I challenged writers to write an ending to the first page of a story that I posted. Well, two of my comrades here on La Bloga accepted the challenge and wrote up a couple of imaginative endings to my little beginning. You can read how Lisa Alvarado and Michael Sedano ended the story in the comments to my column, here. Sad to say, however, no one else took up the challenge. Oh well.



Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your involvement with El Laboratorio - sounds like a project with great potential - please keep us posted.
I intended to respond to your challenge by ending the story but found that my creative juices weren't in synch with the timeline - maybe next time you can give us more time?

Lisa Alvarado said...

M -- it looks like with you joining Thinking En Público, they've acquired an important contributor. The organization and its focus sounds fantastic....I only wish there was something similar in Chicago.

Manuel Ramos said...

I was surprised when I was asked to participate in El Laboratorio -- the terrific lineup of writers, so far, includes Sheryl Luna, Angel Vigil, Aaron Abeyta, Tony Garcia, Lorna Dee, Tim Hernandez, Emma Perez and John-Michael Rivera. I will continue to report on what comes out of this project and the different events it sponsors. There are so many talented people involved that the energy level will be very high, no doubt.