Friday, May 29, 2009

Mariachis, Museo, M&Ms, and More

The following book summaries are taken from the UNM Press website -

Santa Fe Nativa: A Collection of Nuevomexicano Writing

Rosalie C. Otero, A. Gabriel Melendez, Enrique R. Lamadrid
University of New Mexico Press, November, 2009

The belief that land is sacred, embodying the memory and inheritance of those who sacrificed to settle it, is common among New Mexican Hispanos, or Nuevomexicanos, and Santa Fe serves as their unique geographic and symbolic center. The city will celebrate the four hundredth anniversary of its founding in 2010 and this anthology honors its role as the foundation of New Mexican Hispanic culture.

Divided into nine parts, this collection reflects the displacement that many Hispanos feel having watched their hometown transform into a tourist and art Mecca. Parts I and II pay homage to Santa Fe through the sentiment that Hispano writers express for the city. Parts III and IV provide historical maps for places that have been reconstructed or obliterated by development, while Part V is dedicated to Santa Fe's distinctive neighborhoods. Parts VI and VII express nostalgia for traditional lifeways. Part VIII illustrates the spirit of Santa Fe and Part IX reflects on traditions that stand the test of time.

Rosalie C. Otero is the director of the University Honors Program, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, and the associate dean of University College. She has written several book chapters, articles, and short fiction.

A. Gabriel Meléndez is professor of American studies at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.

Enrique R. Lamadrid is a literary folklorist and cultural historian in the University of New Mexico's Department of Spanish and Portuguese. In 2005, he was awarded the Americo Paredes Prize by the American Folklore Society in recognition of his work as a cultural activist.

Juan and the Jackalope: A Children's Book in Verse

Rudolfo Anaya
Amy Cordova , Illustrator

University of New Mexico Press, November, 2009

When Rosita, the loveliest gal in the Pecos River Valley, offers her delicious rhubarb pie as first prize for the Great Grasshopper Race, a thousand love-struck vaqueros line up for the competition. Of course everyone believes that the legendary cowboy Pecos Bill, riding his giant grasshopper, Hoppy, is a shoo-in for the grand prize. Sure enough, Bill and Hoppy give an impressive performance, crisscrossing the Southwest in a raucous ride. But young Juan, who is hopelessly in love with Rosita, astonishes them all when he and Jack the Jackalope take a miraculous ride around the world and across the Milky Way. The daring pair return, covered in stardust, to claim the beautiful Rosita and her delicious pie.

Set in New Mexico, Anaya's fanciful story, coupled with Amy Córdova's vivid illustrations, brings the tradition of Southwestern tall tales to a new generation of young readers.

Ages 6 and up

Rudolfo Anaya, widely acclaimed as one of the founders of modern Chicano literature, is professor emeritus of English at the University of New Mexico. Anaya was presented with the National Medal of Arts for literature in 2001 and his novel Alburquerque (the city's original Spanish spelling) won the PEN Center West Award for Fiction. He has also received the Premio Quinto Sol, the national Chicano literary award, the American Book Award from The Before Columbus Foundation, the Mexican Medal of Friendship from the Mexican Consulate, and the Western Literature Association's Distinguished Achievement Award. He is best known for the classic Bless Me Ultima.

Amy Cordova lives in Taos, New Mexico, where she is co-owner of her own gallery, Enger-Cordova Fine Art. She has illustrated many children's books and teaches art to elementary school children at the Yaxche Learning Center.

The Museo de las Américas (Museo) Board of Trustees announced that Maruca Salazar has been selected as the new executive director. Additionally, David Dadone, former director of operations for the Museo, has been promoted to deputy director. Salazar will assume the position in July.

We are delighted that Maruca Salazar will be leading the Museo de las Américas as the new Executive Director, stated George Martinez, Board president. She comes to us with a wealth of artistic, administrative, and curatorial experience. Furthermore, Maruca's relationships with teachers and artists throughout the region will greatly assist us in increasing the scope and reach of our education programs, while expanding our artistic vision.

Prior to joining the Museo, Salazar served as the arts coordinator and arts staff developer for Denver Public Schools. During her tenure, Salazar developed an integrated arts education program, and was responsible for the development and stewardship of the $6.5 million arts budget. She holds a Master's of Arts in Multicultural Education from the University of Colorado, Denver; and a Bachelor's of Arts in Multicultural Education from the University of Veracruz, Mexico.

This is the opportunity of a lifetime and a true honor, stated Salazar. As an artist and educator, as well as a long time supporter and participant of the Museo de las Américas, I am committed to advancing Museo's legacy of learning and sharing.

A longtime advocate for the arts, Salazar is a founding member and supporter of the Chicano Humanities and Arts Council, XicanIndie Film Festival, Pirate Gallery, and the Museo de las Américas. As a Visual Artist she has exhibited at local museums and galleries, including the Museo and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver.

This is an exciting time for the Museo, stated Martinez. The Board and staff are confident that Maruca will lead the Museo to new and exciting places, and cement our place as a cornerstone of Denver and the West's cultural community.

About the Museo de las Américas
Museo de las Américas (Museo) is the Rocky Mountain region's foremost museum dedicated to educating its community about the diversity of Latino Americano art and culture from ancient to contemporary. The Museo presents exhibitions and education programs that offer new views on Latin American art, advancing the role of Latino artists in the global cultural dialogue, and becoming a cultural hub for the local, national, and global community. The museum is centrally located in the historic Santa Fe Arts District - one of Denver's oldest Latino neighborhoods - at 861 Santa Fe Drive. For more information, please visit:

Congratulations to Maruca! She's a great fit for the Museo.

On May 21, Mario Acevedo and I read and signed Hit List at the Tattered Cover here in Denver. We promoted the event as the M&M show and free M&M cookies were given to all who attended. I know that Mario and I had a good time and we think our audience did too. We sold a good number of books and read from our stories in the collection. Mario also read from Shortcut to the Moon by Alicia Gaspar de Alba, a prime example of the terrific writing that can be found in this book. Here's a bit from Alicia's story:

When you're from El Paso, you get used to the rough grain of the wind. The leaves turn piss yellow or brittle brown in the fall, not every shade of red and gold and purple, and the winter wind doesn't frostbite your thighs or turn your tears to icicles. In Iowa City, you learn the meaning of seasons. At the Black Angel Cemetery, where I spent untold hours practicing Iowa Writing Workshop techniques that felt like they were making me change from being left-handed to right-handed, the colored leaves of oaks and maples stood out among the headstones like fiery panes of stained glass. What I loved most about that year in Iowa, other than the cornfields and the blizzards and the daffodils blooming under the snow and the juicy double cheeseburgers at George's Bar, was getting blitzed on Cuervo and Colombian with my cousin Ivon in all-night, heart-to-heart sessions that we called "shortcuts to the moon."

I read from A.E. Roman' s Under the Bridge, a story that introduces Chico Santana, the private investigator that plays a lead role in Roman's debut novel, Chinatown Angel. You may recall that I interviewed Roman for La Bloga just before his book came out this past March. The book is great and you should pick it up if you are any kind of reader who appreciates exciting fiction, crime or otherwise. Here's part of what I read to the Tattered Cover audience:

My name is Chico Santana. I'm a private investigator. First off, I'm a nice guy, My wife Ramona says so, and she's part Haitian and part Dominican, so it must be true.

If you look closely at my nose, you can tell it's been broken twice. And if you pay attention to word on th
e street, you'll come to understand that the men who broke my nose are no longer eating anything that won't flow up a straw. I'm not a tough guy. A lot of tough guys are six feet under. I'm just lucky.

And I'm also not one of those PIs that sit at a desk with his feet up
, waiting for his bosses ... to throw him a bone. Nor am I one of those types who are always bragging how close they can come to your chin without hitting you. I have no .38, but I do have a license to bust your ass, and if I have to, I will bust your ass and maybe even the ass of somebody you love.

Mario's story leads off the collection. Oh, Yeah is a short piece but it has plenty of humor, surprises, and tension to whet your appetite for the rest of the stories. My story, The Skull of Pancho Villa, features Gus Corral, a character I've grown fond of and who is starring in the novel I've just started. Here are a couple of photos from the event.

Manuel Ramos and Mario Acevedo at the Tattered Cover, May 21, 2009

Mario and Manuel sign copies of Hit List: The Best of Latino Mystery


Buy The Lineup on Lulu.

Edited by Gerald So with Patrick Shawn Bagley, R. Narvaez, and Anthony Rainone

ISSN 1945-7510 6" x 9", 36 pages, saddle-stitched $6.00

Available from and fine independent bookstores

Help promote The Lineup

The Lineup: Poems on Crime, Issue 02, has arrived. What does poetry have to do with crime? As Patrick Shawn Bagley says in his introduction to the latest issue of this chapbook, Poets do not ask that question. People for whom poetry is a vital part of their reading life do not ask that question. ... So why do we write crime fiction, let alone crime poetry? One may as well ask why we write -- or read -- anything at all. We do it in an attempt to understand. We do it to find some kind of meaning in events that all too often leave victims, perpetrators and everyone around them damaged or destroyed. ... Here you will find proof beyond any reasonable doubt of poetry's relevance to modern life.

Get your hands on this book and dig deep into serious, provocative images. I'm honored that my poem, The Smell of Onions, is included. The Lineup has quite a lineup of contributors: Amy MacLennan, Jennifer L. Knox, Deshant Paul, Stephen D. Rogers, Sophie Hannah, Christopher Watkins, Carol Novack, John Harvey, reed Farrel Coleman, Patrick Carrington, Karen Petersen, Janis Butler Holm. I hear that issue 03 will have Sarah Cortez as one of the editors. Sarah is the co-editor of Hit List: The Best of Latino Mystery.


Mariachi Classics: Mariachi Real de San Diego
Review by Flo, host of Cancion Mexicana, KUVO 89.3 fm, Denver

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but music is worth a thousand pictures. This is aptly illustrated by Mariachi Classics, a 2009 CD released by Mariachi Real of San Diego on the Mardi Gras Records label.

The CD has sixteen covers of songs that should be in the repertoire of any mariachi worth its salt. Many of the tunes evoke visions of girls in bright yellow, red, and blue swirling skirts with colorful satin ribbons in their hair. Others conjure up a snorting, prancing horse that rears up on its hind legs straddled by a charro waving his sombrero just as the Mariachi comes to a crescendo.

The table is set by the opening song, Las Mañanitas, signaling that what is coming is indeed a taste of old Mexico. In Mexico where most people follow the Catholic calendar, Las Mañanitas is traditionally sung to those celebrating the feast day of the Saint whose name they bear. In the United States, for people of Mexican heritage, no matter by how many generations or by how many miles they are distanced from Mexico, Las Mañanitas has become the “birthday” song.

All of the canciones on the CD are standards and the Mariachi Real de San Diego gives exciting renditions. A song becomes a standard by being played over and over again and in this case for decades. The songs have survived wars, crossed borders and been passed from generation to generation. Yet each time they are sung they sound as exciting as the first time but familiar enough that we know every word.

No matter how you translate it, the Mariachi Real de San Diego lives up to its name. In Spanish “real” means royal. This Mariachi’s vocal and instrumental mastery blend together seamlessly to create solid, soul-stirring renditions of these Mexican standards. If you only speak English, you’re also right - this is truly a REAL mariachi.
Thanks, Flo - here's a video of Mariachi Real de San Diego



Anonymous said...

Hey who is this Flo? She writes good music stuff!
How come you don't have her as a regular?

msedano said...

Esa, Flo! Thanks for bringing this real mariachi to my attention.And welcome to La Bloga. Hope to read more musica from your pen.