Friday, January 11, 2008

Immigrants, Chicas, Silk Screen and Banned Books

John F. Kennedy
Introduction by Edward M. Kennedy

Foreword by Abraham H. Foxman
Harper Perennial, January, 2008

Harper Perennial has announced the publication of John Kennedy's important essay about the immigrant core of the U.S. Here's the publisher's blurb:

"At a time when the issue of immigration and immigrants has taken center stage in this country, the message of President John F. Kennedy’s classic essay A Nation of Immigrants is as relevant today as it was 50 years ago. That is why the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and publisher Harper Perennial have reissued this landmark essay on the contribution of immigrants to American society.

"With a new introduction by Senator Edward M. Kennedy, A Nation of Immigrants (Harper Perennial) offers inspiring suggestions for immigration policy and presents a chronology of the main events in the history of immigration in America.

"Written by Kennedy in 1958 after ADL reached out to the then-junior senator from Massachusetts asking him to highlight the contribution of immigrants at a time when the country was locked in a debate about the direction its policy should take, it is the last manuscript President Kennedy ever wrote, and the book was first published posthumously.

"Throughout his presidency, John F. Kennedy was passionate about the issue of immigration reform. He believed that America is a nation of people who value both tradition and the exploration of new frontiers, people who deserve the freedom to build better lives for themselves in their adopted homeland. This modern edition of his posthumously published, timeless work -- with a new introduction by Senator Edward M. Kennedy and a foreword by Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director -- offers the late president’s inspiring suggestions for immigration policy and presents a chronology of the main events in the history of immigration in America.

"As continued debates on immigration engulf the nation, this paean to the importance of immigrants to our nation's prominence and success is as timely as ever."


Our friends at Su Teatro sent us the following notice about an upcoming theatrical event that sounds exciting and too good to pass up.

"El Centro Su Teatro proudly presents an innovative new work from Mexico City: Las Chicas del 3.5" Floppies, one weekend only, February 14, 15, and 16. The Las Chicas production represents a unique opportunity for Denver audiences to experience original and exciting international theater right in their own backyard.

"Written by acclaimed young playwright Luis Enrique Gutiérrez Ortiz Monasterio (LEGOM)—dubbed by the press as the enfant terrible of contemporary Mexican theater, Las Chicas del 3.5" Floppies is a funny, edgy, and slightly unsettling story in which 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.

"Su Teatro brings Las Chicas to Denver as part of the Performing Americas program of the National Performance Network (NPN) with additional support from the Western States Arts Federation. El Centro Su Teatro is one of six NPN partner organizations chosen as curators for the program, whose aim is to encourage interaction between U.S. and Latin American theaters. Su Teatro Organizational Manager Mica Garcia de Benavidez has traveled to Brazil, Venezuela, and Uruguay as part of the Performing Americas program, meeting with other theater professionals and targeting the strongest performances for international exchange.

"The Mexico City theater company DramaFest, featuring actors Aída Lopez and Gabriela Murray, will take Las Chicas from Denver to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and then on to 7 Stages in Atlanta on this NPN sponsored tour.

"Performed in Spanish with English surtitles, Las Chicas del 3.5" Floppies is accessible to Spanish-speaking, English-speaking and bilingual audiences—particularly those interested in an exclusive and contemporary slice of life from one of the world’s largest urban communities.

"This production marks Su Teatro’s second international collaboration in a year and a half (Grupo Zero, June 2006), and is part of the organization’s ongoing commitment to bring Denver audiences the most innovative cultural performances—from the local Chicano community to the Latino world.

"Las Chicas del 3.5" Floppies, February 14 – 16 at El Centro Su Teatro, 4725 High Street. Tickets are $18 general and $15 students/seniors. Special comadre group rates are available. The Saturday, February 16 performance is featured as part of Su Teatro’s annual Dia de San Valentin dinner. For tickets and information call El Centro Su Teatro at (303) 296-0219 and visit and

Julia Alvarez's highly acclaimed and universally respected novel, How the García Girls Lost Their Accents ((Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books, 1991)), has been banned by the Johnston School District in North Carolina. According to an article at, by Leslie Parnell, the book was "taken out of the school district after a West Johnston High School student's parents challenged its sexual content and profane language to the school board. The county schools staff has now launched a district-wide book title review." The same article includes Ms. Alvarez's response: "Alvarez said she is dismayed over the banning of her book in Johnston County schools. Literature is about story telling to human beings and story telling is rich because humans come from many different tribes, she said.

"Johnston County probably made its decision to ban the book based on selected passages, Mrs. Alvarez said, and as a result, the school system may have deprived all students of a positive learning experience.

"'(Parents) have their concerns. I do think they are misguided. I think they are out of context,' Mrs. Alvarez said.

"The National Coalition Against Censorship sent a letter to the Johnston County Board of Education dated Dec. 21, 2007, expressing concern about the ban and that school administrators are now checking commonly challenged books.

"'This isn't just an issue of my particular novel's merit, but a bigger one about the curtailment of civil liberties and an erosion of the best values and principles of this free country,' Mrs. Alvarez said."

There's also an article by Lisa Sorg about the ban at the Independent Weekly entitled Banned Books, Blank Minds.

The Serie Project
, Inc., of Austin, Texas is a 501(c)(3) non-profit Latino arts organization that produces, promotes, and exhibits serigraph (silk screen) prints created by established and emerging artists.

A collaborative workshop format is the setting used to foster diverse artists’ development and creativity through exposure to the serigraph technique. Each participating artist creates a limited edition serigraph print and The Serie Project, in turn, is able to make the fine art available to the public through these affordable, signed and numbered prints.

The prints are also exhibited throughout the year at various museums and galleries in and outside of Texas. All of this is accomplished at no cost to the artist.

Such an exhibit is scheduled for Denver from January 15 - February 22 at the O'Sullivan Art Gallery on the campus of Regis University. The Opening Reception is set for January 24, 4:30 - 7:00 PM and a gallery talk by George Rivera, Ph.D. on the topic of Deconstructing the Chicano Visual Experience, will take place on February 7 at 7:00 PM.

Regis University is on West 50th Avenue between Federal Boulevard and Lowell Boulevard. For information: 303-964-3634 or this website.

Image: Gravity by Jimmy Peña.


1 comment:

Gonzalo Barr said...

It saddens me to learn that the threshold for banning a book in some quarters is a teary complaint by a fifteen-year. I wonder if many of these parents have the same tripwire sensitivity when it comes to the television shows they allow their children to watch.