Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Don't EVEN Think of Missing July's Palabra Pura

Calling all wordsmiths and lovers of poesia! Don't miss July's Palabra Pura

Wednesday, July 16, 2008 - 7:00pm

Note Corrected Time: Reading starts at 7:00 PM
Cost: Free admission.
Location: Center on Halsted, Chicago's LGBT Community Center, 3656 N. Halsted, Chicago

In 1996, Emanuel Xavier took the New York City spoken word scene by storm, quickly becoming one of the most significant voices to emerge from the neo-Nuyorican poetry movement. Following in the tradition of writers/performers like Miguel Piñero, Xavier captivated audiences with a fresh and poignant brand of art that celebrated sexuality, Latino heritage, and the often brutal streets of New York.

A painful past of sexual abuse at the hands of an older cousin, rejection by a devoutly religious mother, homelessness, and a life of prostitution and drug-dealing, are among some of the experiences that served as inspiration for the vibrant and emotionally raw poems for which Xavier became famous.

Pier Queen, released in 1997, was Emanuel’s debut anthology, which included many of the poems that earned him the Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe Grand Slam Championship.

In 1998, he founded The House of Xavier, a collective of poets, and created the annual Glam Slam which fuses the excitement of the ballroom scene with the energy of the spoken word movement.

In 1999, Xavier released the semi-autobiographical novel Christlike, which garnered a Lambda Literary Award nomination. A year later, these achievements prompted PAPER magazine to choose Emanuel Xavier as one of its “50 Most Beautiful People.”

In 2002, six years after he first graced the stages of smoky cafes and independent theaters that made up New York’s underground poetry scene, Suspect Thoughts Press released his second collection of work, Americano. With Americano, the self-proclaimed Pier Queen grew up. With thirty-five new poems, Emanuel Xavier considered what it means to be American- but Latino; Latino- but gay; Nuyorican- but Ecuadorian; revolutionary- but not an activist. In essence, it was the next chapter in the life of a native son surviving the contradictions of his homeland.

In 2005, he edited Bullets & Butterflies: queer spoken word poetry featuring the likes of Regie Cabico, Alix Olson, Daphne Gottlieb, and Staceyann Chin.

Emanuel Xavier’s publications have also appeared in Drumvoices Revue, Genre, Urban Latino Magazine, James White Review, Long Shot, Men on Men 7, Blood & Tears, Besame Mucho, Virgins, Guerrillas & Locas, Of The Flesh, The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name, Coloring Book: An Eclectic Anthology of Fiction and Poetry and Bad Boys.

Emanuel Xavier has performed as a spoken word artist throughout the country at venues such as: Austin's Resistencia Bookstore and Tillery Street Theatre, San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; New Orleans's Le Petit Theatre; Chicago's DePaul University and the University of Chicago; Brown University; Hartford Public Library; University of Massachusetts; New York's Lincoln Center, Riker's Island Prison, Central Park Summerstage, Washington Square Park, The American Crafts Museum, Barnes & Noble, Queensborough Public Library, Dixon Place, Columbia University, St. Mark’s Poetry Project, Irving Plaza, The Henry Miller Theater, Bar 13 Lounge, The Blue Ox Bar, Joe's Pub, Aaron Davis Hall, Bowery Poetry Club and Nuyorican Poets Cafe, where he became a two-time Grand Slam winner.

He has also appeared on PBS's In The Life and Russell Simmons presents Def Poetry on HBO (Seasons 3 & 5). He will also be featured in the forthcoming Wolfgang Busch documentary about the ballroom community, How Do I Look? and Maurice Jamal's independent feature film, The Ski Trip. The spoken word CD, 5 Past 13- a little bit LOUDER: Volume 1, features a live performance of his poem, "Americano."

He has produced several spoken word events in New York City such as: OUTSPOKEN, the Realness & Rhythms monthly series at A Different Light Bookstore, the House of Xavier’s annual Glam Slam competition and the Words To Comfort benefit which brought together poet laureates, spoken word artists and celebrities such as Lou Reed and Claire Danes to raise money for the World Trade Center Relief Fund. He has also hosted the Lambda Literary Awards, Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors and an episode of PBS's In The Life.

Emanuel Xavier is recipient of the Marsha A. Gomez Cultural Heritage Award for his contributions to gay and Latino culture and received a City Council Citation for his contributions to the gay and lesbian community of New York City.

After working as a cubicle drone and toiling away vainly under bad fluorescent lights and glass ceilings Irasema Gonzalez combusted. The mid-twenties melt-down that followed resulted in extraordinary things: she quit her job, awarded herself a sabbatical, and ultimately opened Tianguis, the bookstore she always longed to walk into. She is a founding member of the Proyecto Latina reading series, a collaborative between Tianguis Books, Teatro Luna and Mariposa Atomica Ink. Her poems appeared in Between the Heart and the Land, an anthology by March Abrazo Press featuring Midwestern Latina poets. She is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago where she earned a B.A. in journalism and creative writing. She resides in Little Village with her husband and two cats.

Lisa Alvarado

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