Friday, April 24, 2009

Bits and Pieces

Books on the way, each potentially a great read.

Dance With Snakes
Horacio Castellanos Moya
, first English translation by Lee Paula Springer
Biblioasis, September, 2009

As El Salvador returns to peace after more than a decade of civil war, Eduardo Sosa, an unemployed sociologist, becomes fascinated by a homeless man who lives in a beat-up yellow Chevrolet parked across the street from his sister's apartment. An unexpected turn of events causes Sosa to assume the other man's identity. When he becomes the driver of the mysterious yellow Chevrolet, Sosa discovers that it is home to four poisonous snakes. With the snakes as accomplices, Sosa unleashes a reign of terror on the city of San Salvador. Dance With Snakes is a macabre high-speed romp in which violence and comedy become almost indistinguishable. The non-stop action raises provocative questions about social exclusion and the role of the media, but this novel by the author of the acclaimed Senselessness also evokes the tenderness of relations among those on society's margins.

Horacio Castellanos Moya has published eight novels and is now living in exile as part of the City of Asylum project in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Honor Comes Hard: Writings From California Prison System's Honor Yard
Edited by Lucinda Thomas and Luis J. Rodriguez
Tia Chucha Press, October, 2009

Prison writing has a long and illustrious history in the United States -- home of the modern correctional system. In the first decade of the 21st century, this country also garnered the distinction of having more prisoners per capita than any other nation in the world. From poems, to stories, to novel excerpts, to reportage, to personal essays -- and a few drawings -- Honor Comes Hard depicts what can happen to people who are given, as Clarence Darrow expressed many years ago, "a chance to live." The work is drawn from writing classes that Lucinda Thomas helped organize in the Honor Yard of the California State Prison over several years, and from workshops conducted by Luis J. Rodriguez on most Sundays, for eight hours a day, through eight months in 2007 - 2008.

Lucinda Thomas is the Arts Education Director at the California State Prison, Los Angeles County.

Luis J. Rodriguez is a acclaimed essayist, poet, memoirist, children's book writer, novelist, and short story writer. He's founder/editor of Tia Chucha Press.

Andean Express
Juan de Recacoechea, translated by Adrian Althoff
Akashic, April, 2009

Set in 1952, this is the story of a tragic overnight train journey that unfolds in an environment at once carnivalesque and sinister. Beginning near La Paz, Bolivia, the austere Andean plateau serves as a surreal backdrop for most of the trip before giving way to a winding descent to the Chilean coast. Ricardo Beintigoitia, a recent high school graduate from a prosperous La Paz family, unwittingly becomes ensnared in the personal drama of one of his peers, a captivating girl named Gulietta Carletti who has been forced into an arranged marriage with a man she despises.

On the Andean Express, everybody wants something and no one is exactly who he seems. Recacoechea's lean, elegant prose crackles with sharp dialogue and entertaining exchanges among a disparate cast of characters, each with his own ax to grind. The train is a microcosm of Bolivia itself, with people from all walks of life, from peasants to politicians, forming a circus of personalities and intrigue in which tragedy seems inevitable, and improbable liaisons become reality.

Juan de Recacoechea was born in La Paz, Bolivia, and worked as a journalist in Europe for almost twenty years. After returning to his native country, he helped found Bolivia's first state-run television network and dedicated himself to fiction writing. His novel American Visa won Bolivia's National Book Prize, was adapted into an award-winning film, and was translated into English and published by Akashic Books to great critical acclaim.

written by Josefina López

Explore the connection and the responsibility of women to nature and the potential change they can create in a volatile world.

Directed by Elsa Martinez Phillips
Assistant Directed by Diana Alvarez
Produced by Sara Guerrero, Elsa Martinez Phillips, and Diana Alvarez
Artwork by Josefina López

Cast Includes:
Amy Shu, Angela Imperial, Diana Alvarez, Melita Sagar, Brenda Banda, Analy Garcia, Melita Sagar, and Dominique DeAlba Caporrimo

Friday, April 17 thru Saturday May 2
Friday and Saturday @ 8 PM
(April 17, 18, 24, 25, May 1 & 2)
Sunday @ 3pm (April 26 only)
General Admission: $15
Seniors / Students (w/ valid ID): $10 Group Rates Available

Breath of Fire Theater
310 W 5th Street (2nd Floor)
Santa Ana, Ca 92701
Near the corner of 5th & Broadway.

For directions:

For reservations click:
Or Email:
Or Call:
(714) 600-0129

Homeboy Industries traces its roots to Jobs For A Future (JFF), a program created in 1988 by Father Gregory Boyle while he was serving as pastor of Dolores Mission parish in Boyle Heights. Begun as a jobs program in 1988, offering alternatives to gang violence in one of the toughest neighborhoods in the city, the program soon grew beyond the parish. Homeboy became an independent nonprofit in August of 2001, and has since grown into a national model. This year, we will celebrate our 20th anniversary as an organization in our new headquarters located in downtown Los Angeles, just two blocks from Union Station.

The Homeboy fundraiser is called Lo Maximo 2009 and will be held on Saturday, April 25, beginning with a Mass at 5:30 p.m., cocktail reception at 6:30 p.m.; dinner at 7:30 p.m. at beautiful Union Station, Los Angeles. For reservations and ticket information, call Homeboy at 323-526-1254 ext. 312 or 313.

For more information, go to

Sunday, April 26, 12:00 pm

From noon to 4 pm, enjoy free admission and family-friendly programming that celebrates children from around the world. At the Denver Art Museum, the Denver Public Library, the Colorado History Museum, and the Byers-Evans House Museum.

International dance and music performances
Art activities, storytelling, costumes, tours
Bilingual volunteers at all four locations

Free. For more information, call 720-913-0169 or e-mail