Friday, August 24, 2007

New From Arte Público and Su Teatro at 35

Manuel Ramos

This week I present new books from a well-established publisher and the upcoming season lineup for a well-established community theater group. The idea is to keep reading, go to a play, enjoy life with a bit of cultura.

I'd like to think that La Bloga is getting to be well-established, too, but even if we are, there is always something new happening with the blogueras and blogueros here at La Blogita Casita. Stay tuned.

Arte Público recently released its latest catalog, where I found these forthcoming titles. Plenty of good reading. Everything from the earliest work of an acknowledged literary legend to the poignant non-fiction account of a young, immigrant girl adjusting to life in the U.S.

Dante's Ballad by Eduardo González Viaña, translated by Susan Giersbach-Rascón (September)
On a journey filled with the joy of music and the pain of flashbacks from his small-town life and marital bliss in Mexico, Dante encounters a series of eccentric characters: Josefino and Mariana, known to radio listeners as the Noble Couple, who change their listeners’ luck in an instant; Juan Pablo, a young man who uses his computer genius to rob a Las Vegas casino so he can pay for his college education; and the Pilgrim, a famous balladeer who has crossed the border via underground tunnels so many times that even years later he smells faintly of dirt and death. In this bittersweet tour de force originally published in Spanish as El Corrido de Dante, the First and Third Worlds join hands, and Mexican pueblo life and Internet post-modernity dance together in one of the most memorable fables to shed light on issues such as immigration, cultural assimilation, and the future of the United States with its ever-increasing Latino population.

Some Clarifications y otros poemas, Javier O. Huerta (September)
Fluent in English and Spanish, Huerta writes poems in both languages, and occasionally combines the two in the same poem. In this, his first full-length collection of poetry, he explores themes of dislocation, loss, love, and art. Whether mourning the tragic suffocating deaths of immigrants in a tractor trailer, lamenting the loss of a lover, or writing about childhood fears, Huerta sketches haunting pieces about a bilingual, bicultural experience. Winner of the University of California-Irvine’s 2005 Chicano / Latino Literary Prize, this debut collection marks the arrival of a vibrant new voice in Mexican American literature.

Cantos de adolescencia/Songs of Youth (1932-1937), Américo Paredes (September)
Originally published in 1937 by Librería Española in San Antonio, Texas, this new edition contains the first-ever English translations of the original Spanish poems and an introduction by the translators, scholars and poets in their own right, B.V. Olguín and Omar Vásquez Barbosa. Paredes, who died in 1999 at the age of 84, is widely considered to have been at the forefront of the movement that saw the birth of Chicana/o literary and cultural studies as an academic discipline in the 1970s and 1980s. This collection of poetry written during his teenage years lays the groundwork for themes he explored in later writings: culture conflict, race relations, gender relations, materialism, hybridity, and transnationalism. In his youthful, first-person voice, Paredes explores intimate, angst-filled issues relevant to all young people, such as love, memory, and rebellion.

The Truth About Las Mariposas, Ofelia Dumas Lachtman (October)
Sixteen-year-old Carolina “Caro” Torres is excited about spending six weeks of her summer vacation working for her Tía Matilde. But her excitement turns to bewilderment when she finds her aunt hobbling around on a broken foot and, much to her surprise, the owner of a bed and breakfast called Las Mariposas. For reasons no one understands, the mayor is trying to put her Tía Matilde out of business. His efforts have forced many of the townsfolk to stop doing business with her. A broken foot and a relentless antagonist are too much for Matilde. She is ready to give up her home and her livelihood. Busy with cleaning rooms, buying groceries, and cooking meals for their guests, Caro and her new friends still find time to wonder why the mayor is so determined to run her aunt out of business. When Caro finds a piece of a mysterious, old letter that makes reference to a fortune left to an unknown individual, the young people are sure there’s a connection to the mayor’s attempts to gain ownership of Las Mariposas. Who could have written the letter? What “bequest” is it talking about? Popular young adult author Ofelia Dumas Lachtman has once again crafted an entertaining and intriguing mystery novel for teen readers.

Mi sueno de America/My American Dream,Yuliana Gallegos, translated by Georgina Baeza (October)
Yuliana Gallegos recalls her move from Monterrey, Mexico, to Houston, Texas. Initially excited about moving to Houston, where the huge freeways make her feel like she’s on a roller coaster, her excitement quickly wanes when she starts school. Everything is different at Yuli’s new school, and her discomfort is magnified by her classmates’ stares. And to make matters worse, she learns that in spite of studying English in Mexico, she can’t understand anything that’s being said. All she wants to do is go back to her school in Monterrey.Yuli poignantly records the fear and anguish experienced by all immigrant children as they strive to adjust to a new language and culture. With the help of a compassionate teacher, a Japanese girl who becomes her friend, and her own determination to excel at her studies, Yuli gradually learns to speak English and feel comfortable in her new environment. Accompanied by black-and-white line drawings, this bilingual story will encourage other kids—whether immigrants or not—to write their own stories. Gallegos is a native of Mexico and has lived in Houston, Texas, since she was nine years old. She is currently a sophomore at Bellaire High School. Baeza is a teacher at the San Jacinto Intermediate School.

The catalog also features several bilingual, illustrated children's books scheduled for release in October and November. Go here to look at the listings.

Su Teatro is a rock-solid cultural institution. The dedicated people of Su Teatro are a proud bunch and they have good reason. This is genuine community theater with national ties and a formidable international reputation. In honor of their longevity, here's their latest press release.

In 1972, a group of student activists from the University of Colorado at Denver, inspired by the agitprop work of groups like El Teatro Campesino and Teatro de la Esperanza, started a theater company aimed at articulating the concerns of Denver’s marginalized Chicano community. 35 years later, Su Teatro is, more than ever, a relevant and revolutionary voice in the Denver arts community.

In celebration of this landmark year, Su Teatro proudly announces its 2007 – 2008 35th Anniversary Season. This season offers all the best of what Denver has come to expect from Su Teatro—groundbreaking new works, world premier performances, divine comedies, delectable dramas, and tantalizing satires, as well as national and international visiting artists.

This season Su Teatro brings you musical pioneer Daniel Valdez, national recording artist Tish Hinojosa, and screen star Jesse Borrego, as well as the regional premiere of a cutting edge performance straight from Mexico City. A Denver institution for almost four decades, Su Teatro throws everything into the ring this year. Don’t miss Su Teatro 35—Colorado theater at its finest.

Sept 20 – Oct 27: A Bowl of Beings written by Culture Clash, directed by Hugo E. Carbajal. El Centro Su Teatro, 4725 High Street, Thur, Fri, and Sat nights at 8:05 pm. The irreverent comedy that takes Chicano icons, stereotypes, and history, stirs them up and serves them like a hot bowl of frijoles. Featuring comic takeoffs of Christopher Columbus, Ché Guevara, Carlos Santana, Edward James Olmos, and more.

Dec 14 – 23: Á Colorado en una Noche de Navidad Written by Tish Hinojosa and Anthony J. Garcia, Directed by Anthony J. Garcia, and featuring Tish Hinojosa and the Su Teatro coro. The King Center at Auraria, 855 Lawrence Way. A special theatrical interpretation of renowned recording artist Tish Hinojosa’s Christmas album Aquella Noche.

Feb 14 – March 22: Ollin written and directed by Daniel Valdez. El Centro Su Teatro, 4725 High Street, Thur, Fri, and Sat nights at 8:05 pm. World-renowned composer Daniel Valdez returns to Denver to direct his original play. Ollin is a poetic interpretation of the fateful meeting of Hernan Cortez and Moctezuma—“a musical performance bordering between performance art and theater…a creation story, the birth of the Mestizo…in 80 days.”

April 24 – May 3: Little Hands Hold the Wind written by Anthony J. Garcia, directed by Laura Cuetara. El Centro Su Teatro, 4725 High Street, Thur, Fri, and Sat nights at 8:05 pm. In the small Texas town of Alma, El Viento arrives amid a gust of hope and excitement, unraveling the complicated lives of the locals, including 7-year-old Amalia whose one wish to San Antonio (patron saint of lost things) is that he return what she has lost and must find—her papi.

Visiting Artists Series

November 1 – 3: Drive My Coche written by Roy Conboy, directed by Anthony J. Garcia, and featuring film and television star Jesse Borrego. El Centro Su Teatro, 4725 High Street, Thur, Fri, and Sat nights at 8:05 pm. Jesse Borrego and Valeria Hernandez return to perform the engaging tale of a young Chicano on the eve of his induction into the army as the Vietnam war rages.

Feb 7 – 9: Las Chicas de 3.5” Floppies by DramaFest from Mexico City. El Centro Su Teatro, 4725 High Street, Thur, Fri, and Sat nights at 8:05 pm A funny and edgy theatrical production where traditional mores meet the modern age. Dangerously skirting the boundaries between existential comedy, Mexican telenovela, and social documentary, this play exposes the human repercussions of globalization and poverty with incisive humor and relentless honesty. Performed in Spanish with English subtitles.

Special and Annual Events

Oct 7: Catástrofe written by Samuel Beckett, translated by José Luís Suarez-Garcia, directed by Eric Prince and José Luís Suarez-Garcia, presented by CSU. El Centro Su Teatro, 4725 High Street. From Nobel Prize winner and master of the absurd, Samuel Beckett, comes a short play about authoritarianism and the degradation of the human spirit. Back to back performances—one in Spanish, one in English.

April 5 – 8: XicanIndie FilmFest 10. Starz FilmCenter, 900 Auraria Parkway. One word says it all. It’s Chicano Independent film; it’s Mexican Cine de Oro; it’s Latino World Cinema—it’s the XicanIndie.

April 17 – 19: Neruda Poetry Festival. El Centro Su Teatro, 4725 High Street. Nationally recognized spoken word artists join the hottest local word slingers for this annual rhythm and rhyme feast.

August 7 – 10: 12th Annual Chicano Music Festival and Auction. Location to be announced. The best party of the year returns with son, huapango, mariachi, and rock n roll.

For more information about Su Teatro’s 35th Anniversary Season, give us a call at (303) 296-0219, or email us at Please also visit



Anonymous said...

Great stuff, Ese. Wish I could get to all of it.

Anonymous said...

Hey TIME magazine just reviewed Junot Dias.,9171,1655718,00.html

Manuel Ramos said...

I have just heard that Diaz will read and sign in Denver in September.