Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Chingonas because they are. Conjunto Festival! On-Line Floricanto.

Amigos de Siquieros Honor Gloria Molina with Valiente Award

Michael Sedano

Dolores Huerta, Gloria Molina
“She kicked ass.” That’s what Dolores Huerta said explains the unparalleled achievements of another pioneering chicana politica, the first woman elected to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. And the first chicana elected to the California State Assembly. And the first chicana elected to the Los Angeles City Council. Gloria Molina.

Antonia Hernandez
Huerta, along with Antonia Hernandez and Suzanna Guzmán, joined a stellar court of honor that included Mark Guerrero, Dan Guerrero, Herbert Sigüenza and the Student Chamber Ensemble of the LA County High School of the Arts, honoring Molina with the Valiente Award. And they all kicked ass.

The Los Angeles County High School of the Arts ensemble includes Jacob Kalick, Alex Ping, Patrice Chang, Gracia Serrano Navarro. They are alumni or currently enrolled at the LACHSA.

Valiente Award sponsors Amigos de Siquieros gratefully acknowledge Molina’s leadership in bringing to la placita, as locals name the area, a multi-million dollar museum of Mexican and chicana chicano history. La Plaza de Cultura y Artes at El Pueblo Historic Monument complements the sponsors' work to conserve David Alfaro Siquieros’ América Tropical, across the plaza on Olvera Street.

Dan Guerrero, Herbert Siguenza
The city was founded here, in 1781. Today, Olvera Street merchants struggle to profit in the colorful pueblo architecture. $8.00 parking lots and the 101 freeway isolate the site from nearby Chinatown, J-Town, and the courts. Now the area's doldrums appear to be lifting. The mural and museum represent a genuine renaissance for the real estate. Molina's political skill accounts for much of the optimism. No one mentions the bones dug up in a scandal linked to the soon-to-open museum.

Herbert Siguenza, one-third of Culture Clash, kicks Molina’s ass in a good way. For sure he cracks her up in his Cantinflas persona. Siguenza’s fast-talking satire perfectly mirrors Cantinflas' vocalics and style, updated to include an iPhone call from Tony, who didn't show up. Siguenza's appearance comes at extra dedication from the artist. Siguenza's A Weekend With Pablo Picasso opens the same evening and he rushes off to the LATC.

The Getty / Amigos de Siquieros mural project unveils the faded eighty foot long 18 foot high treasure next year. Painted in 1932, the airbrushed mural features an indio crucified on a double cross. In LA, drivers see a recreation on the west face of the old Self Help Graphics building on Gage & Chavez. The mural is the only Siqueiros in the US. Its decay has gone untended too long to allow restoration. The piece is undergoing conservation.

With completion of mural and museum, and so close to trains, the area can become an international cultural tourism destination. With the Obregon Monument installed on the walk between Calle Olvera and Union Station sounding a sobering greeting, the area is primed once again to play a vibrant role in a public's imagination. Who knows, maybe Pancho Lopez will return to Olvera Street in 2012?

Carol Jacques, 3d from left, organized the event.
Events like this fundraiser call forth local politicos. Kevin de Leon attended. The Chair of the California Assembly Appropriations Committee is a good friend to have, plus he’s a major supporter of the mural project. De Leon is also Molina’s Assemblyperson, so the evening helped serve a constituent. Gil Cedillo, Molina’s State Senator, similarly makes his appearance. Both bring beautifully framed ornate certificates.

Bianca Galicia, Suzanna Guzmán
Serendipity shows its beautiful rostro in the presence of Suzanna Guzmán and her student, El Sereno's Bianca Galicia, in her first-year at East Los Angeles College. The moment is stunning. Guzmán introduces the musicians to desultory chatting in the audience. She pauses, the strings strike the opening measures and the two women begin singing. The SRO audience quiets to rapt silence, drinking in the promise of greatness. Bianca Galicia, standing on that podium singing note for note with her renowned teacher--another girl from El Sereno--Bianca made magic.

The singers' final notes linger in the air, the women pass quickly through the crowd, and they are gone. Greatness.


Conjunto Festival Scheduled for May in San Anto

La Bloga friend Juan Tejeda, the indefatigable impresario and publisher, sends along this notice on the fabulous Tejano musica festival in San Antonio.

Tejeda's team is finalizing plans and preparations for the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center's historic 30th Annual Tejano Conjunto Festival en San Antonio 2011 which will take place May 10-15 at the Guadalupe Theatre and Rosedale Park.

This year's winning poster design comes from Al Rendón and Robert Herzick, featuring Narciso Martínez "El Huracán del Valle," one of the "Fathers of Conjunto Music," on accordion. Here is the complete schedule with musical line-up and times, plus workshop and pricing information.

Tejeda points out that the Conjunto Festival, unlike a Los Angeles Dodgers game, is a family event for música y cultura, showcasing the very best in Conjunto Music.

On-Line Floricanto April 5

Sabrina Vourvoulias, Angelo J. Sandoval, Maritza Rivera, Joseph Ross Jesus Cortez

1. "Guatemala to Arizona" by Sabrina Vourvoulias

2. "The Immigrant Cross" by Angelo J. Sandoval

3. Three Haikus: "The Price of Freedom," "Senseless Census," and "Triangle" by Maritza Rivera

4. "If Bending Is A Sacred Act: For Cesar Chavez, 1927-1993" by Joseph Ross

5. "Roots" by Jesus Cortez

Guatemala to Arizona
by Sabrina Vourvoulias

Cross the line.

This transgression is drafted
on granite-grained tablets
carved with the words
of exiles.

People who knew the charge
for turning away angels.

The other offense: stamped
on a passport. Dates
faded to cerulean on pink
watermarked paper.
An impermanent thing,
bound to ephemera.

Remember how it coded
to freedom?
How it held flight,
and with it,
our lives?

But maybe shoe leather
is what bears the mark
of transit.

Different book, same passage.

Two weeks ago, the call
came in from an immigrant.
This is what I can tell you:
His words held the music of home;
his skin, a memory ground
and toasted to fine meal.

“And if I’m stopped?” he asks.
“And if here, again, they want
to disappear me?”

There are prayers
and parables of wanderers.
Wayfarers. People prodigal
with journeys before even

I tuck my wings under my jacket, careful
to hide their alien luminosity.
This is remembered territory --
how some are counted worthy
to exist, others not.

When I look into the shadows,
I see here and there, among other denizens
of heart and hope and nightmare,
we’ve taken up residence.
Creatures with the wings of angel

or fairy or djinn
hidden under our clothes.

This religion of flight
recognizes no border.
No home except the one
opened in the hard
land of heart.

Not with genuflection.
Not with atonement.
Not with law.
But with the flesh
we hold in common,
under the feathers.

All beings deserve shelter.

The Immigrant Cross
© Angelo J. Sandoval 2011

Immigration a subject
An issue, a reality.
I have been watching
To the debate about
And many more dehumanizing
titles given to people
Families looking
A better life for their familias.

Spring break 2011
I found myself in
El Paso’s Segundo Barrio.
In El Segundo Barrio
Sits a house, a building
Named the Annunciation House,
A safe haven for our brothers
And sisters and their familias.
These individuals and familias are
Undocumented, looking for a better life.

As I toured the house
I went to a room,
A room designated as the Chapel
The alter at the back
A picture of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe,
A statue of San Judas Tadeo.

On the main alter,
A huge cross,
Made of wire mesh boxes,
5 boxes total.
The story behind the cross,
The story within each
Box that made the cross
In each box I saw a
Yes a Shoe.
What did this mean, shoes
In the wire mess boxes?
The answer, simple
Yet complex.
Each shoe belonged to
And individual who,
Died crossing the desert
Between El Paso and Ciudad Juarez
The hot dry Chihuahua Desert
Has claimed many lives.
Esta cruz del desierto
Representa las vidas que,
Que se han perdido
Lives that have been
Lost, in search for
El sueño Americano,
The American Dream.
On this day, the 18th of March, 2011.
The true stories of migration
Became real, the death of
People, gente looking to better their
Lives, no long a news story
An article a facebook page.
Today the realities of
Immigration, the negative
Impact became reality, a reality
To know we must fight for
Immigration reform, that is
Responsible, humane, and dignified.
Esta cruz tiene los recuerdos
De la gente que no llega al
Sueño pero llega a su pesadilla.

Three Haikus: "The Price of Freedom," "Senseless Census," and "Triangle" by Maritza Rivera

The Price of Freedom

To buy coyotes
and ensure a safe passage
no pesos are spared.

Senseless Census

I counted blossoms
on each tip of the branches
of a dogwood tree.


Sonoran deserts
still kill immigrant women
for crossing borders.

If Bending Is A Sacred Act
For Cesar Chavez, 1927-1993
by Joseph Ross

If bending is a sacred act,
then your back and legs

are relics of a holiness
known only in fields.

If hope is like holy water,
quenching tongue and fist,

then workers can dream of
loving the dirt on their fingers.

If one can break open
a globe of lettuce

with hands like maps,
and share the pieces

with those marching
in a demonstration

the size of a conscience,
then your quiet smile,

breaking across the
brown field of your face,

is just the night prayer
every farm worker

who ever stooped in a
field, has been waiting for.

Joseph Ross

“Some say the blacker the berry the sweeter the juice,
I say the darker the flesh and the deeper the roots”—Tupac Shakur
by Jesus Cortez

I was born from the soil
with the sugar cane...

after they burnt me,
they cut me down to

transport me to the

where I
would become a
sugary sweet


of the pain I had endured.

Jesus Cortez


1. "Guatemala to Arizona" by Sabrina Vourvoulias

2. "The Immigrant Cross" by Angelo J. Sandoval

3. Three Haikus: "The Price of Freedom," "Senseless Census," and "Triangle" by Maritza Rivera

4. "If Bending Is A Sacred Act: For Cesar Chavez, 1927-1993" by Joseph Ross

5. "Roots" by Jesus Cortez

Sabrina Vourvoulias Sabrina Vourvoulias was born in Bangkok, Thailand -- the daughter of a Mexican-Guatemalan visual artist and an American entrepreneur. She grew up in Guatemala and moved to the United States when she was 15.
Her poetry has appeared in Dappled Things, Graham House Review and in Scheherezade's Bequest at Cabinet des Fees; her fiction in Crossed Genres #24, the Crossed Genres Year Two anthology and forthcoming in GUD magazine. Read her blog at www.followingthelede.blogspot.com or on twitter @followthelede.

Angelo J. Sandoval My name is Angelo J. Sandoval, I am from San Antonio de Padua del Pueblo Quemado, today known as Cordova, New Mexico. I am a father of two beautiful little girls, Esperanza and Isabella. I have the most wonderful and beautiful girlfriend and partner Amanda Salinas. I am a licenced practical nurse. I am currently attending New Mexico Highlands University. I am working on a master's degree in Social Worker with a concentration on Bilingual/Bicultural clinical practice. I graduate on May 14th, 2011.

The poetry I write is my thoughts put on paper from events in my life, people i meet and places i have traveled to . I was inspired to write poetry from some of my friends who were a part of the Slam circuit in Albuqueque. My lack of word magic is compensated for the passion of the subject of the poem.

The Immigrant Cross is an example of how events, stories, and places inspire my poetry. My poetry is spontanious and in the moment.

Maritza Rivera Maritza Rivera is a Puerto Rican poet who has been writing poetry for over 30 years. She has read her work in poetry venues in the DC area, New York and Tucson, AZ. Her work has appeared in literary magazines, anthologies and online publications as well as on local radio stations and cable channels. She is the author of two poetry collections: About You in 1998 and A Mother's War, in 2009 and is a contributor to Poets Responding to SB 1070 on Facebook.

Joseph Ross Joseph Ross is a poet and writer in Washington, D.C. He has been nominated for a 2012 Pushcart Prize and his poems appear in many journals and anthologies including Poetic Voices Without Borders 1 and 2, Drumvoices Revue, Poet Lore, Beltway Poetry Quarterly and Full Moon on K Street. In 2007, he co-edited Cut Loose the Body: An Anthology of Poems on Torture and Fernando Botero’s Abu Ghraib. He teaches in the College Writing Program at American University and writes regularly at www.JosephRoss.net.

Jesus Cortez Jesus Cortez is a poet from West Anaheim, California. He uses poetry to communicate with the community the issues that he finds within the communities he is a part of: the student, the immigrant, the men of color communities. His Poetry has strong Hip Hop influences, but is also influenced by life as a son of a single mother, and from the various experiences found in the urban landscape. The poetry of Jesus Cortez explores the ways immigrants react to humilliation, frustration, condemnation, segregation, and persecution.

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