Friday, February 24, 2012

Translations, Conjunto Music and Lit, New Theater

Recent Books In Translation

The Third Reich
Roberto Bolaño
translated from Spanish by Natasha Wimmer
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
November, 2011

[from the publisher]

On vacation with his girlfriend, Ingeborg, the German war games champion Udo Berger returns to a small town on the Costa Brava where he spent the summers of his childhood. Soon they meet another vacationing German couple, Charly and Hanna, who introduce them to a band of locals—the Wolf, the Lamb, and El Quemado—and to the darker side of life in a resort town.

Late one night, Charly disappears without a trace, and Udo’s well-ordered life is thrown into upheaval; while Ingeborg and Hanna return to their lives in Germany, he refuses to leave the hotel. Soon he and El Quemado are enmeshed in a round of Third Reich, Udo’s favorite World War II strategy game, and Udo discovers that the game’s consequences may be all too real.

Written in 1989 and found among Roberto Bolaño’s papers after his death, The Third Reich is a stunning exploration of memory and violence. Reading this quick, visceral novel, we see a world-class writer coming into his own—and exploring for the first time the themes that would define his masterpieces The Savage Detectives and 2666.

The Potter's Field

Andrea Camilleri
translated from Italian by Stephen Satarelli
September, 2011

[from the publisher]

Witty and entertaining, the Montalbano novels by Andrea Camilleri - a master of the Italian detective story - have become favorites of mystery fans everywhere. In this latest installment, an unidentified corpse is found near Vigàta, a town known for its soil rich with potter's clay. Meanwhile, a woman reports the disappearance of her husband, a Colombian man with Sicilian origins who turns out to be related to a local mobster. Then Inspector Montalbano remembers the story from the Bible-Judas's betrayal, the act of remorse, and the money for the potter's field, where those of unknown or foreign origin are to be buried-and slowly, through myriad betrayals, finds his way to the solution to the crime.

[from Publishers Weekly]

Camilleri’s clever 13th Inspector Montalbano mystery (after 2010’s The Track of Sand) opens with the discovery of an unidentified body, cut into 30 pieces, in a remote field near the Sicilian town of Vigàta, known for soil rich with potter’s clay. Montalbano, who has a knack for finding gallows humor in even the most grotesque situations, believes the hacked-up body signifies the 30 pieces of silver Judas was paid for his betrayal. Later, Dolores Alfano, a stunning woman whose skin has “the faint scent of cinnamon,” reports that her husband, a sailor with ties to a local mobster, is missing. That Mimi Augello, one of Mantalbano’s most trusted inspectors, is in a permanent rage complicates matters. As usual, Montalbano wants to wrap up both cases quickly so he can get back to his real work—sleeping, eating, drinking, and dealing with his long-distance girlfriend, Livia.

Anne Holt
translated from Norwegian by Marlaine Delargy
December, 2011

[from the publisher]

From Norway’s bestselling female crime writer comes a suspenseful locked-room mystery set in an isolated hotel in Norway, where guests stranded during a monumental snowstorm start turning up dead. A train on its way to the northern reaches of Norway derails during a massive blizzard, 1,222 meters above sea level. The passengers abandon the train for a nearby hotel, centuries-old and practically empty, except for the staff. With plenty of food and shelter from the storm, the passengers think they are safe, until one of them is found dead the next morning. With no sign of rescue, and the storm continuing to rage, retired police inspector Hanne Wilhelmsen is asked to investigate. Paralysed by a bullet lodged in her spine, Hanne has no desire to get involved. But she is slowly coaxed back into her old habits as her curiosity and natural talent for observation force her to take an interest in the passengers and their secrets. When another body turns up, Hanne realizes that time is running out, and she must act fast before panic takes over. Complicating things is the presence of a mysterious guest, who had travelled in a private rail car at the end of the train and was evacuated first to the top floor of the hotel. No one knows who the guest is, or why armed guards are needed, but it is making everyone uneasy. Hanne has her suspicions, but she keeps them to herself. Trapped in her wheelchair, trapped by the storm, and now trapped with a killer, Hanne must fit the pieces of the puzzle together before the killer strikes again.

[from the Washington Post]
It must be spooky in Scandinavia, but Holt, Norway’s best-selling female crime writer and a former minister of justice, has a goofy streak that changes the tone of this beguiling book. There are lots of helicopters toward the end and cops running around and worldwide implications (the only weak part is a contrived conversation about America as a world power). The fun goes on in the lobby, where peculiar people conspire, and just outside the hotel, where people hide corpses, or try to. I really loved this snowbound book.

The Fat Years
Chan Koonchung, translated from Chinese by Michael S. Duke
January, 2012

[from the publisher]

Banned in China, this controversial and politically charged novel tells the story of the search for an entire month erased from official Chinese history.

Beijing, sometime in the near future: a month has gone missing from official records. No one has any memory of it, and no one could care less—except for a small circle of friends, who will stop at nothing to get to the bottom of the sinister cheerfulness and amnesia that have possessed the Chinese nation. When they kidnap a high-ranking official and force him to reveal all, what they learn—not only about their leaders, but also about their own people—stuns them to the core. It is a message that will astound the world.

A kind of Brave New World reflecting the China of our times, The Fat Years is a complex novel of ideas that reveals all too chillingly the machinations of the postmodern totalitarian state, and sets in sharp relief the importance of remembering the past to protect the future.

[from The Observer]

Sitting in the comfortable west, it is easy for critics of China to be censorious about the way so many people accept the rush for wealth accumulation and close an eye to the regime's political record and its human rights abuses. But the crude fact is that, after a terrible century and a quarter up to 1978, in which China went through the worst protracted experience of any nation in history, the present era may, indeed, seem like the "fat years".

To touch on so many issues, either directly or by implication, in such a compelling narrative is a triumph, abetted by an excellent translation by Michael Duke. One can only hope that Chan, who was born in Shanghai and raised in Hong Kong, continues to write about the China of today from his current vantage point in Beijing. That will, in its way, be a test of whether the warnings of The Fat Years come true. We can only hope not.

All Yours
Claudia Piñiero
Translated from Spanish by Miranda France
Bitter Lemon Press
January, 2012

[from the publisher]

Inés is convinced that every wife is bound to be betrayed one day, so she is not surprised to find a note in her husband Ernesto’s briefcase with a heart smeared in lipstick crossed by the words “All Yours”. Following him to a park in Buenos Aires on a rainy winter evening, she witnesses a violent quarrel between her husband and another woman. The woman collapses; Ernesto sinks her body in a nearby lake.

When Ernesto becomes a suspect in the case Inés provides him with an alibi. After all, hatred can bring people together as urgently as love. But Ernesto cannot bring his sexual adventures to an end, so Inés concocts a plan for revenge from which there is no return.

Claudia Piñeiro was a journalist, playwright and television scriptwriter and in 1992 won the prestigious Pléyade journalism award. She has more recently turned to fiction and is the author of literary crime novels that are all bestsellers in Latin America and have been translated into four languages. Thursday Night Widows won the Clarin Prize for fiction and is her first title to be available in English.

A note from Juan Tejeda of the Conjunto Music Festival:
Camaradas: just wanted to send you the official schedule for the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center's 31st Annual Tejano Conjunto Festival en San Antonio 2012 which will take place from May 15-20 at the Guadalupe Theatre and Rosedale Park. We hope that you and your familia can be with us in May. The new winning poster design for 2012 will be released in early March. I'm also looking for some literature on conjunto music: poetry, short stories, articles (academic and otherwise), etc., for possible publication in the TCF Magazine this year. E-mail me your favorite conjunto story to Please spread the palabra and schedule to your friends. Gracias. Juan




Tentative Schedule

Tuesday, May 15/Guadalupe Theatre/10am-12pm/Free for Seniors

Seniors Conjunto Dance

Los Conjunto Kingz de Flavio Longoria

with Rachel Longoria

Tuesday, May 15/Guadalupe Theatre/7pm/Free Admission

The Making of Juanito’s Lab

Producers/Directors Guillermina Zabala and Enrique Lopetegui

discuss the making of Juanito’s Lab, a new documentary film

about Juanito Castillo, the 22-year-old blind button accordionist

and musical wiz-kid konjunto jazz loko karnal de San Anto.

Some footage from the still-in-the-making documentary will be shown.

Wednesday, May 16/Guadalupe Theatre/7:30-11pm/$10 pre-sale $15 at the door

New Directions in Conjunto Music

7:30 Nick Gaitán and The Umbrella Man (Houston)

8:30 Piñata Protest (San Antonio)

9:30 La Santa Cecilia (Los Ángeles)

Thursday, May 17/Guadalupe Theatre/6:30-9pm/$65 & $100**

Special 31st Annual Gala Celebration Dinner & Baile

Honoring the Inductees into the Conjunto Music Hall of Fame

Best of the 30th Annual Tejano Conjunto Festival 2011 CD Release Party

8:15 Bernardo y sus Compadres

9:00 Rick De la Rosa y Los D Boyz

Friday, May 18/Rosedale Park/6pm-12am/$15 per person*

5:30 Opening Ceremonies/Poster Contest Exhibit & Awards

Puro Conjunto Pesado: Dos de Houston, Corpitos y el Valle

6:00 Impozzible (Houston)

7:00 Los Tremendos Cinco (Corpus Christi)

8:00 Los Monarcas de Pete y Mario Díaz (Houston)

9:00 Los Fantasmas del Valle (Mercedes)

10:00 Boni Mauricio y Los Máximos (Corpus Christi)

11:00 Los Dos Gilbertos (Edinburg)

Saturday, May 19/Rosedale Park/1pm-12am/$18 per person*

Puro Conjunto Pesado: Hecho en Tejas

1:00 Student Showcase: Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center * Conjunto Heritage Taller

Conjunto Palo Alto/Palo Alto College * Estrellas de Acordeón/Houston Accordion Performers Palmview High School/La Joya Independent School District

3:00 La Familia Mauricio (Corpus Christi)

3:30 Crystal n The Crew (Pasadena)

4:10 Los Conjunto Kidz (Victoria)

5:00 Susan Torres y Conjunto Clemencia (Austin)

6:00 Conjunto Prestigio (Dallas)

7:00 Edgar Vásquez y sus Muchachos (Laredo)

8:00 Rubén De la Cruz y su Conjunto (Edcouch)

9:00 Joel Guzmán Sarah Fox y Conjuntazzo (Austin)

10:00 Rio Jordán featuring Juanito Castillo (San Antonio)

11:00 Albert Zamora (Corpus Christi)

Sunday, May 20/Rosedale Park/1-11pm/$18 per person*

Puro Conjunto Pesado: Así se baila en San Anto

1:00 Los Padrinos

1:40 Los Hermanos De León

2:40 Eddie “Lalo” Torres y Anita Paiz y su Conjunto

special presentation by Salvador García y Los Pavos Reales

3:40 Lobo IV

4:40 Eva Ybarra y su Conjunto

5:40 Max Baca y Los Texmaniacs

special presentation by Dwayne Verheyden

6:40 Santiago Jiménez Jr. y su Conjunto

7:40 Bene Medina y el Conjunto Águila

special presentation by Nick Villarreal

8:40 Mingo Saldívar y sus Tremendos Cuatro Espadas

9:40 Flaco Jiménez y su Conjunto

10:30 Accordion Conjunto Jam


Saturday, May 19/Guadalupe Theatre/9-10:30am/$40

Accordion Tuning, Maintenance & Repair Workshop

Tim Schofield, Hohner Accordion Repair and Parts Supervisor,
will teach you how to tune the reeds of your accordion and
maintain it in tip-top playing shape. Accordion tuning kits
will be available for purchase. For registration, call 210.271.3151.

Saturday, May 19/Guadalupe Theatre/10:30am-12:30pm/$40

Button Accordion & Bajo Sexto Workshops

Master Button Accordion and Bajo Sexto maestros Joel Guzmán

and Max Baca will conduct this concurrent two-hour workshop.

Basic chords and scales will be explored, along with the playing and

accompaniment of different conjunto rhythms. The two workshops will

come together at the end for an impromptu performance and conjunto jam.

For registration, call 210.271.3151.

* 3-Day Rosedale All-Events Pass

$35 GCAC Members

$40 Non-Members

** $65 Conjunto Music Hall of Fame Dinner & Baile,

plus, a Best of the Tejano Conjunto Festival CD and TCF 2012 Magazine

$100 Conjunto Music Hall of Fame Dinner & Baile,

plus, a 3-Day Rosedale All-Events Pass,

a Best of the Tejano Conjunto Festival CD and a TCF 2012 Magazine

For reservations call 210.271.3151. Limited Seating

For info, 210.271.3151

Water & Power


A horrid double cross propels two brothers headlong into desire and revenge. A tale of the violence and corruption of L.A. politics and of ruthless ambition. Dark, hilarious, political, satirical and fearless.

water and power
Water and Power

Su teatro logo

Water & Power
Written by Richard Montoya for Culture Clash
Directed by Phil Luna and Anthony J. Garcia

March 8-25
TH., FRI., and SAT. 7:30 p.m.

$20 gen. $17 stu/sen COMADRES!!!! 12 tix - $12 each
2-4-1 Thursdays when you ask for discount (off of general admission).

Su Teatro Performing and Cultural Arts Center
721 Santa Fe Dr.
Denver, CO 80204

Gearing Up For Spring - photo by Flo

That's it for the exciting, cold, and wet month of February. Later.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good meaty post, Ramos.