Friday, November 15, 2013

Weekend Update

From an awesome gathering of Latinos concerned about the environment to poetic cops, writers, music (always music), and adventurous publishing start-ups,  la cultura is happening around the country -- onward, never backtrack.


This weekend, where can you find Guillermo Gómez Peña, Junot Díaz, Reyna Grande, Laura Esquivel, Sonia Nazario, Ray Suarez, and many, many other Latina/o writers, artists, musicians, and environmental scholars and activists? Only in Denver and Boulder, Colorado. The Americas Latino Festival is a massive event focused on environmental awareness in the Latino community. Tickets are $15 per day - students only $5. Here's a bit of information about the festival - for more details go to the event's website.

The mission of the Americas Latino Festival is to promote environmental awareness and create a platform for dialogue and mobilization for a just society to ensure that everyone has access to a healthy environment.

The Americas Latino Festival promotes environmental awareness and unites diverse communities for a sustainable future through dialogue on the environment, health, education, culture, and small business entrepreneurship. To be held November 15-19, 2013, this will be the first environmental justice Latino-themed festival in the United States with novel programming components bridging the gap between academia, K-12 education, arts, policy, business and Latino and non-Latino communities.

For four days and throughout two cities, the festival will illuminate the “Latino corridor” between Boulder and Denver with a variety of events, performances, and activities for all ages, races, economic backgrounds, and interests. Components comprise an environmental and social justice documentary Film Forum, Conscious Conversations, Arts Exhibits, Family Day, Performances, an ECO K-12 Exhibition, and a University Call2Action Student Showcase.

Americas Latino Festival Inaugural Festival and Benefit Event Programming 
Denver Highlights at McNichols Civic Center Building

Saturday, November 16, 1-10pm

1pm Conscious Talk - Ray Suarez and Reyna Grande

Latino Americans and The Distance Between Us

2:15pm Homero Aridjis – Keynote Speaker

Noticias de la Tierra/Earth Posts: Literature and Environmental Activism

3:30pm Conscious Talk - Laura Esquivel

Testimonies of Encounters: West-East/North-South

5pm Screening of Hecho en Mexico with Talkback featuring Director Duncan Bridgeman

7:30pm Reception and performances by Dafnis Prieto and Heatherlyn

Sunday, November 17, 1-7:30pm

1pm Sonia Nazario – Keynote Speaker

Crossing Borders: Immigration and Children Rights in the Americas

2:15pm Junot Díaz – Keynote Speaker

Writing the New Americas

3:30pm Conscious Talk - Graciela Tiscareño-Sato and Nayelli Gonzalez

Creative Latino Culture Sparking the Green Economy: Role Models & Lessons to Inspire Your Career Path and Community

4:45pm Performance by Comedian Rick Najera

Legally Brown with Rick Najera

6pm Screening of Amazon Gold with Talkback featuring Director Reuben Aaronson and Lead Scientist Enrique Ortiz

$15 per one day pass/$5 students/Kids free

American Sabor:  Latinos  in U.S. Popular Music

Sunny and the Sunliners

Local L.A. artists Alice Bag, Los Lobos, Los Illegals, Quetzal and more featured in exhibit

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 31, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music," a traveling exhibition that showcases the profound influence Latino musicians have had on traditional genres of music in the U.S., will be on display Nov. 16 through Feb. 9, 2014 in California State University, Los Angeles' (CSULA) Fine Arts Gallery. The University will host a public open house, Nov. 16, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (agenda below). The day-long celebration will include guided tours of the exhibition, and feature Latino music, art, film and dance.

Developed by EMP Museum and the University of Washington, and organized for travel by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Services (SITES), "American Sabor," its national tour and related programs are made possible by Ford Motor Company Fund.  The exhibit showcases the musical contributions of Latinos from the 1940s to the present and the influence they have had on such genres as jazz, rhythm and blues, rock 'n' roll, and hip-hop. "American Sabor" also explores the social history and individual creativity that produced renowned musicians and performers, such as Tito Puente, Ritchie Valens, Celia Cruz, Carlos Santana and Selena. Musician Mark Guerrero, a CSULA alumnus and son of the legendary Mexican American musician Lalo Guerrero, is also featured in the exhibit. 

"Cal State L.A. is excited to partner with 'American Sabor' in celebration of the rich music and cultural heritage of Latinos in the U.S. Much like 'American Sabor' itself, the university provides the exhibit a perfect venue that incorporates art, music and learning for students and the community," said Peter McAllister, dean of the College of Arts and Letters at CSULA. "We are also proud to host the exhibition in Los Angeles, which makes sense since many renowned Latino musicians have their roots in Los Angeles. Some have performed their first gigs in the university's backyard." 

"American Sabor" (sabor is the Spanish word for taste or flavor, commonly used to describe good music) is a 2,500-square-foot learning experience designed for smaller museums and cultural centers. With engaging bilingual (English and Spanish) text panels, striking graphics and photographs, a dance floor and compelling listening stations and films, the exhibition celebrates the true flavor, or "sabor," of Latin music in the United States.

The exhibition also documents the roles of post-World War II U.S. Latino musicians as interpreters and disseminators of Latin American genres while highlighting their innovations in various traditional U.S. genres.

"The impact of Latino musicians on American popular music moves beyond the unmistakable rhythms and dance," said Anna R. Cohn, director of SITES. "'American Sabor' tells the broader story of Latino communities and how their artistry expresses their experiences as Americans."

"American Sabor" focuses on five major centers of Latino popular music production—New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, San Antonio and San Francisco—that represent the remarkable diversity of this music. Each city section explores the broader histories and cultures that created the music from those areas, including how the musical innovations of Latino youths crossed ethnic and racial boundaries and helped shape American popular music, how immigration and migration influenced Latino and U.S. popular music and the ways in which Latinos have musically expressed their experiences as Americans.

"Ford Motor Company Fund is proud to support 'American Sabor' as part of our long-standing commitment to Hispanic arts and culture," said Jim Vella, president, Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services. "Visitors to the exhibition will experience the many contributions that Hispanic musicians have made to American music and the richness of Latino sounds."

The exhibition is complemented by an interactive website ( that includes expanded exhibition content, historic photographs, lesson plans, video oral histories from Latin music stars, a jukebox featuring a special "American Sabor" playlist and a mixing-board interactive activity.
Nov. 16 Open House Agenda:
  • 10 a.m.: "American Sabor" opens to the public – Fine Arts Gallery
  • 10 a.m.: Salsa Performance – Walkway Concert Area
  • 11 a.m.: Latin Drumming Workshop – Music Recital Hall
  • 11:30 a.m.: Cha Cha Dance Workshop – King Hall Dance Studio 1
  • 12:30 p.m.: CSULA Mariachi Ensemble – Walkway Concert Area
  • 1:30 p.m.: Salsa Dance Workshop – King Hall Dance Studio 1
  • 2 p.m.: Latin Jazz Music Workshop – Music Recital Hall
  • 3 p.m.: CSULA Salsa Club Performance – Walkway Concert Area
  • 4 p.m.: Salsa Dance Workshop – King Hall Dance Studio 1
  • 5:30 p.m.: CSULA Afro-Latin Ensemble – Walkway Concert Area
The exhibition at CSULA is bolstered through dynamic community and educational programs. For a listing of the music concert series, speaker forums, dance workshops, film series and a music contest, go to:

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter at #AmericanSabor.

The exhibit is located in CSULA's Fine Arts Gallery, building 9A.The University is located at 5151 State University Drive, Los Angeles, at the interchange of the 10 and 710 Freeways. Exit Eastern Avenue from the 10 Freeway. Free parking permits for the media are available at the Info/Welcome Center on Paseo Rancho Castilla Ave. Park in Parking Structure C or Lot 5. For a campus map:   
Paul Browning, Media Relations Director,
Margie Low, Public Affairs Specialist,
SOURCE California State University, Los Angeles.

Cold Blue Steel

A Poetry Reading from Cold Blue Steel by Sarah Cortez

November 19, Rice University, 6100 Main St., Houston, TX Fondern Library, Kyle Morrow Room
6:30 P.M. Reading and signing - books available for purchase

Sponsored by the Society of Latino Alumni of Rice and Community Relations in the Office of Public Affairs. For further info, contact Jan West in Public Affairs at
As a police officer, writer, and editor ... Cortez provides a unique perspective on the front lines of law enforcement in Houston.

No dry recital of a police blotter, Cortez's poetry is wry, edgy, and perceptive, refusing to soften or spin a trying, yet rewarding, profession in a harsh world.  The truth is blunt and rocky, and Cortez delivers.  Cold Blue Steel is a marvelous achievement, and comes highly recommended.
                                                     Rattle: Poetry for the 21st Century

La Bloga recently got this note from Charlie Vázquez, New York writer and cultural warrior:

I’m writing to inform you that the Latino media executive Marlena Fitzpatrick and I launched Editorial Trance last week, a new Latino digital publishing company that seeks to expand our representation on the page in different literary genres via e-books.
Our first release is titled Demystifying a Diva: The Truth Behind the Myth of La Lupe, by the award-winning journalist and author Juan Moreno-Velazquez. This book takes a much different look at this controversial female icon, by interviewing the people closest to her, in order to better focus the lens on her life with a lot more clarity.

*Also, if you happen to be in New York City this coming Friday the 15th, we’ll be celebrating the book launch at Camaradas El Barrio (2241 First Avenue) from 7-9pm with the author himself.

Charlie Luis Vázquez
Editorial Trance CCO and NYC Coordinator for Festival de la Palabra de Puerto Rico

Rising Literary Voices In Sunny Venice California - Sunday

This and that ...

Placita Olvera. Main St. & Cesar E. Chavez Ave. Downtown Los Angeles, CA 90012
Sunday November 17th 2013 (10:00am - 6:00pm)

Los Lobos -  
The band celebrates 40 years with a new live recording:  Disconnected in New York City. Still going strong.

Su Teatro - 
Doña Rosita’s Jalapeño Kitchen at 7:30 p.m., November 14-16, at the Su Teatro Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive, Denver. Featuring actress Ruby Nelda Perez, the one-woman play is about a big decision that Doña Rosita must make – to sell out to a big-time developer or maintain her corner of Salsipuedes. As she contemplates her future, she dishes out delicious recipes, juicy stories and chisme about her neighbors, her life and her loves. Tickets are $20.00 per person, with $17.00 discount tickets available to seniors and students. Call (303) 296-0219.    

Looking forward to meeting with the Book Club of the Stanford Chicano/Latino Alumni Association of Southern California this coming Sunday afternoon in beautiful Long Beach. We'll be talking about Desperado - and what really happens at the end of that book? Among other things. And I think my interview with Daniel Chacón for Words On A Wire is scheduled for broadcast this Sunday. More info on the KTEP website.

Get out there and celebrate.


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