Friday, July 17, 2009

Women of Conscience to Desert Rebels


all blurbs from the publishers

Mujeres de Conciencia/ Women of Conscience
Spanish English parallel text and photography by VictoriaL Alvarado
Floricanto Press, 2008

This is an art book with magnificent black and white photos of prominent Latinas who have made definite and long standing contribution to the Hispanic community and the country at large. This photographic essay constitutes an important collective biography as well, with great journalistic insight and integrity into the lives of leading Latina women in the fields of education, science, literature, business, law, the arts, journalism, politics, and other fields of endeavor. This coffee table monograph, which has been published with art-book quality as a collector's edition, provides stunning artistic, B&W photographs of each subject with a parallel biographic journalistic essay in Spanish and English. The biographies explore the life-changing events of each subject, the personal mix of elements, circumstances, and values which allowed these women to set goals and objectives toward most successful careers and contributions to society. There are 72 leading women included in this collective biography and an extraordinary photographic essay offering the most incredible array of role models to inspire, guide and motivate young Latinas. This title is an important addition to reference collections and individual libraries for they are testament to the vision and values of la mujer Latina.

Recommended to La Bloga by Lucha Corpi. Go here for a list of the women in this project. Quite impressive.

Atria, July 2009

In this mesmerizing debut novel by two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Liz Balmaseda, one woman's hunger for justice becomes a journey into darkness -- and a punishing, soul-searching test of priorities.

Dulce Maria "Mary" Guevara is a woman with nothing left to lose. Wrongly accused of being a cocaine queen, she has lost her job, her reputation, and -- worst of all -- custody of her son. Even after the charges are dropped, suspicion lingers. Desperate to get it all back, she takes what she considers the only path open to her: She goes on a hunt for the real drug queen. Unfortunately, the one person she believes can help her is the last person she wants to see again: Joe Pratts, her ex-fiancé, a man whose connections to the drug world once ended their relationship.

Trying not to fall for Joe again is just the beginning of Mary's challenges, however. Her search leads her through the most deceiving of jungles: suburbia. There, she comes face-to-face with disturbing realities that challenge everything she thinks she knows about her formerly tranquil life. Mary's final dilemma hits closer to home than she ever imagined.

Sweet Mary is a gripping, heartrending story with a noir soul and plenty of surprising twists -- an assured debut from a writer with tremendous experience and talent.

Liz Balmaseda (born January 17, 1959, Puerto Padre, Cuba) is a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, a writer for The Palm Beach Post and a former columnist for The Miami Herald. She was awarded her first Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 1993 for her writings on the plight of Haitian refugees and the Cuban-American population. She shared a second Pulitzer for breaking-news reporting in 2001, for the coverage of the federal raid to seize refugee Elián González.

Alone in the Crowd: An Inspector Espinosa Mystery Henry Holt and Co., July 2009

Inspector Espinosa unwittingly ignites the obsessions of a menacing misanthrope in the latest from the highly acclaimed mystery author.

An elderly lady approaches the front desk at the Twelfth Precinct in Copacabana and demands to speak with the chief. Tired after a long day, she leaves without further explanation, promising to return. Two hours later, Doña Laureta is dead, and witnesses’ accounts vary as to whether she was pushed or fell in front of the bus that killed her on one of the busiest avenues in the city.

Veteran police chief inspector Espinosa quickly pinpoints a suspect in Hugo Breno, an unassuming bank teller whose solitary existence takes on a sinister cast as he shadows the inspector’s movements across the city. Meanwhile Espinosa discovers an unsettling connection from the past between himself and Breno, and must turn his trademark psychological inquiry inward to determine how murky memories of a murder from long ago might play into Doña Laureta’s untimely passing. Chilling and ultimately heart-stopping, Alone in the Crowd presents Espinosa as we have never seen him before, the man of detached expertise and calm self-assurance entangled in a mystery where reason alone will not suffice.

Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza is a bestselling novelist who lives in Rio de Janeiro. His Inspector Espinosa mysteries—The Silence of the Rain, December Heat, Southwesterly Wind, A Window in Copacabana, Pursuit, and Blackout—have been translated into six languages and are available in paperback from Picador.

A Happy Marriage
Rafael Yglesias
Scribner, July 2009

A Happy Marriage
is both intimate and expansive: It is the story of Enrique Sabas and his wife, Margaret, a novel that alternates between the romantic misadventures of the first weeks of their courtship and the final months of Margaret's life as she says good-bye to her family, friends, and children -- and to Enrique. Spanning thirty years, this achingly honest story is about what it means for two people to spend a lifetime together -- and what makes a happy marriage.

Yglesias's career as a novelist began in 1970 when he wrote an autobiographical novel at sixteen, hailed by critics for its stunning and revelatory depiction of adolescence. A Happy Marriage, his first work of fiction in thirteen years, was inspired by his relationship with his wife, Margaret, who died in 2004. Bold, elegiac, and emotionally suspenseful, even though we know what happens, Yglesias's beautiful novel will break every reader's heart -- while encouraging all of us with its clear-eyed evocation of the enduring value of marriage.


Coming From Reality
Light In The Attic, 2009 (1971)

I recently picked up this CD because I read an article about a Chicano hippie (Sixto Rodriguez) from Detroit who was compared to Dylan back in the 1970s. Hey, I like it. This guy's music will grow on you. He's getting a lot of press now, apparently more than he ever got back when he recorded these songs. Check out Rolling Stone and Oxford American. I admit I didn't know about him and it seems strange that I missed him back when I collected everything that had any hint of Chicanismo - music, books, art. Second chances are great.

Here's what his record company says about him:

Back in 1971, Coming From Reality was Rodriguez's last gasp, the follow-up to Cold Fact and the final album he was allowed to record for the Sussex label. Unearthed, once again, by Light In The Attic Records, it's another treat for fans new and old, designed - at the time - as Rodriguez's vision of a perfect pop album. Coming From Reality found Rodriguez decamping from Detroit to London's Lansdowne Studios, where the album was recorded with some of the UK's top talent including Chris Spedding (Sex Pistols, Dusty Springfield, Harry Nils son) and producer Steve Rowland (The Pretty Things, PJ Proby and the man who discovered The Cure), who recalls Coming From Reality as his favourite ever recording project. Highlights include the super-poppy "To Whom It May Concern", the "Rocky Raccoon"-inspired "A Most Disgusting Song" and period piece "Heikki's Suburbia Bus Tour". The CD reissue also includes three previously unreleased bonus tracks recorded in Detroit in 1972 with Cold Fact collaborators Mike Theodore & Dennis Coffey, representing the last thing they ever did together. Meanwhile, the Rodriguez story keeps gathering pace. A Swedish documentary company are working on a feature length documentary about the enigmatic performer's life and music, and Rodriguez is planning to bring his live show to the UK and Europe come Spring/Summer 2009, along with further North America touring. "It's an extraordinary trip," says Rodriguez of his new lease on life. "It feels like Picasso, Monet. All these exciting new thoughts coming at me. It's global. I'm lucky to have this second chance. It's very real and totally unexpected."

Aman Iman: Water is Life

World Village Music, 2007

Tuareg rebels who play the blues? Who were forced underground for years because of their lyrics and guitar virtuosity? Who created a new musical genre that is overtaking the world? How could I not like this group? Their record company agrees:

Born in a region plagued by exile, constant warfare and ceaseless droughts, the music of Tinariwen vocalizes the political plight of the Tuareg people. For over a century, these tribes of the southern Sahara have searched the barren landscape for every weapon available, be it touba swords or the words of Che Guevara and Nasser, to maintain hope in the midst of ethnic cleansing and public executions. With the dawn of 21st Century communications, the Tuaregs have turned to the global circuit. A Tinariwen song claims, “If I could sing so that those in London could hear, then the whole world would hear my song.” Tinariwen formed in 1982, but they were forced to remain underground (Mali and Algeria banned the political lyrics) until the group moved to the Malian capital of Bamako in 1999. There the ten members drew on a rebel rock sensibility, openly playing their passionate, trance-like desert blues. Soon they became musical revolutionaries, creating a new style of music called ‘Tishoumaren’, or simply ‘guitar.’ The songs of Tinariwen have become a rallying cry for Tuareg youth. In a land void of laptops and TVs, cheap cassette recordings spread hope and determination, sick of the suffering caused by armed rebellion, the music of Tinariwen is the new weapon of choice.

These guys are all over the 'net. How about this video featuring Tinariwen and Carlos Santana at the Montreux Jazz Festival - way cool.

Latino Rhythms Heritage Festival

The Denver Office of Cultural Affairs presents the Sixth Annual Latino Rhythms Heritage Festival this Saturday, July 18, from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Lincoln Park (La Alma Park) at 11th and Mariposa Streets near downtown Denver. This event is free and open to the public!

The Latino Rhythms Heritage Festival highlights Latino music, dance and heritage. The 2009 list of performers includes:

Fiesta Colorado
The Rick Garcia Band
Jazz del Barrio
Sabor de la Calle

Latino Rhythms Heritage Festival is fun for the whole family! Children's activities will be provided by La Alma Recreation Center and Denver Parks and Recreation. The event will also feature food and community booths.

Free parking will be available on the Auraria Campus in Lots H & L. The festival can be accessed via light rail, exit 10th Avenue and Osage Street.

After the festival, The Rick Garcia Band will perform at Rick's Tavern, 6762 Lowell Boulevard, Denver, from 9:00 pm to 1:30 am! Information is at

Heed the need to read.


1 comment:

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