Monday, December 03, 2007

It’s a “Brown Christmas” at Tongue and Groove

Don't miss the latest installment of Conrad Romo's reading series, Tongue and Groove. (Romo pictured below.)

Four compelling figures in contemporary Chicano culture will lend their voices to the December 9 installment of Tongue and Groove’s monthly reading series at the Hotel Café: poet Jose Montoya (co-founder of the Rebel Chicano Art Front), his son, Richard Montoya, of the comic troupe Culture Clash, writer Luis Rodriguez (Always Running), and Mario Rocha, subject of the documentary Mario’s Story.

The lives and work of each of these men testify not only to the power of an artist engaged in one’s community, but to the transforming power of the written word—whether it’s Jose Montoya, back in the Bay Area after the Korean War, drawn to the influence of the Beats; his son, Richard, using biting satire to stir up the cultural pot; Luis Rodriguez, saved from the ravages of la vida loca by a stroll into an East LA bookstore; or Mario Rocha, who enrolled in a writing program while serving nine years in prison on a wrongful conviction.

The December 9 evening presents a rare blend of voices from the Chicano community—voices that span generations and genres:

Poet Jose Montoya is one of the premier cultural activists in the Chicano movement. He co-founded the Rebel Chicano Art Front (later known as the Royal Chicano Air Force), an internationally recognized artists’ collective. His work helped lay the foundation for contemporary Chicano culture, through visual art, poetry and songwriting. He’s the author of three collections of poetry, including the highly acclaimed In Formation: 20 years of Joda. He is also featured in over 40 anthologies.

His son, Richard Montoya, is a member of the comedy troupe, Culture Clash, whose shows include Radio Mambo, Anthem, and Zorro in Hell. He is a mayoral appointee to the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Commission.

Luis Rodriguez is the author of 13 books, including Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A. and is a recipient of the Carl Sandburg Literary Award. He is the founder of Tia Chucha Press and the Tia Chucha Cultural Center.

Mario Rocha is the subject of the award-winning documentary Mario’s Story, which portrays his struggle to overturn a wrongful conviction for murder and his emergence as a writer under the tutelage of a prison writing program.

The Details:

When: Sunday, December 9th, 6:00 to 7:30 pm
Where: The Hotel Café, 1623 ½ N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood, CA
Cover: $5.00

Tongue and Groove is the creation of Conrad Romo. For more information, visit the Tongue and Groove's website. You may also drop an e-mail to Conrad Romo or call him at 323-937-0136.


Diaz, Danticat earn book awards and an Argentine poet wins the Cervantes Prize

Junot Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao was named the year's best work of fiction, and Edwidge Danticat's memoir Brother, I'm Dying won as best nonfiction work in a poll of more than 100 authors and critics conducted by the National Book Critics Circle.

Among the writers who participated were John Updike, Anne Tyler, Walter Isaacson, Jane Smiley, Cynthia Ozick, Jonathan Lethem and Sue Miller.

"Best-seller lists really only show people what's selling, not what people are reading. Recommendations are personal because it means someone has actually read that book. And who better to ask than award-winning poets, novelists, historians and critics?" said John Freeman, president of the National Book Critics Circle.

Three works tied in the poetry category: Robert Hass' Time and Materials, the late Zbigniew Herbert's Collected Poems and Robert Pinsky's Gulf Music.

And in Spain, the Argentine poet Juan Gelman, who wrote about the pain of loss under his country's military juntas, has won the Cervantes Prize.

The Spanish-speaking world's top literary award, with a cash prize of $133,000, was announced Thursday by Spanish Culture Minister Cesar Antonio Molina.

Gelman, 77, has published more than 20 books of poetry since 1956, and is widely considered to be Argentina's leading contemporary poet.

[Thanks to Gregg Barrios for the tip.]


Storytelling Time: The CSRC Library will host “An Event of Traditional Storytelling” on Thursday, December 6, 10:00–11:00 a.m., in 144 Haines Hall. Students enrolled in Chicana/o Studies 109, “Chicano Folklore,” will present stories from the Mexican oral tradition. The event is open to the public. For more information, visit the CSRC’s website. Other contact information: UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center • 193 Haines Hall • Box 951544 • Los Angeles, CA 90095-1544 • Tel: (310) 825-2363 • Fax: (310) 206-1784.

◙ The December/January issue of Tu Ciudad, the English-language guide to Latino L.A., shares a few travel destinations in Mexico for unique getaways. From wine tasting in Baja’s thriving region and eco-friendly resorts in Loreto to culinary treats and modern architecture in historical Puebla, these new discoveries provide luxury and adventure.

“We wanted to focus on nearby destinations In Baja, and also on Puebla, a classic colonial city that is becoming hip,” comments Editor-in-Chief Oscar Garza. “We felt that it’s important to highlight the charm and luxury available to travelers interested in experiencing the new with the old. It’s a chance for U.S.-born Mexicans to get back to their roots no matter what generation they are.”

A gem from Mexico’s cultural scene happens to be on exhibit this holiday season at The Getty Museum and is the focus of the issue’s second feature story. Writer Josh Kun visits acclaimed photographer Garciela Iturbide at her home in Mexico City in preparation for the opening of “The Goat’s Dance,” a retrospective of her work. All this and more is available in the latest issue of Tu Ciudad Magazine, now on newsstands and sold at stores throughout Southern California including Ralphs, Albertson’s, Vons, Rite-Aid, Barnes & Noble, and Borders throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties. Visit the magazine’s website for more information.

◙ My holiday book suggestions appeared in yesterday’s El Paso Times.

◙ The new issue of Somos Primos is now live online and packed with interesting articles. Edited by Mimi Lozano, Somos Primos is “dedicated to Hispanic heritage and diversity issues” and is sponsored by the Society of Hispanic Historical and Ancestral Research.

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


Lisa Alvarado said...

Jose Montoya, Luis Rodriguez, Mario Rocha -- What a triple threat! Yet another reason I should figure out some way to get out to the west Coast. (I won't mention the snow and sleeting rain we're having...)

Junot Diaz deserves every great thing that's happening right now, and any readers haven't laid their hands on 'Oscar Wao,' go do it!

And 'Tongue and Groove' is the best name for a joint/venue...EVER!

Another great column, Daniel!

Sustenance Scout said...

Hi from Denver, Daniel! I just featured this post's reference to Junot Diaz and Edwidge Danticat's awards (as well as your upcoming anthology, which looks FANTASTIC!!)on my blog. Feel free to check out the 12/8 post for all sorts of links back here. Thanks for all you! K.