Friday, March 21, 2014

Dreamers. Awards. Milestones

Dreaming Sin Fronteras: Stories of Immigration and American Identity

7:30 p.m. March 21 @ North High School
2:00 p.m. March 22
7:30 p.m. March 22

[from Westword]
While on tour, drummer Shawn King of DeVotchKa found inspiration in fellow gypsy-punk band Gogol Bordello’s relentless immigrant-rights advocacy and the slogan “No Human Is Illegal.” Upon returning to Denver, King connected with well-known local director José Antonio Mercado to collaborate on the original play Dreaming Sin Fronteras: Stories of Immigration and American Identity, which premieres tonight (March 21) at Denver's North High School.

For more than a year and a half, Mercado collected the oral histories of “dreamers” — undocumented migrant youth who have lived in the United States since they were children yet have no clear path to citizenship. Dreaming Sin Fronteras is a multimedia extravaganza combining their stories with musical interludes curated by King, who served as music director and recruited a star-studded cast of musicians that includes the Flobots’ Brer Rabbit, Grammy-winning band Ozomatli’s Raúl Pacheco, and Ceci Bastida, formerly of Tijuana No!, one of Mexico’s first punk bands.

“There will be stories that are heavy and make you think. There are also lighter, comic tales about the mash-up of cultures in the States. Having interludes of music will bring the whole thing together,” says King.

Dreaming Sin Fronteras premieres at 7:30 p.m. at North, 2960 Speer Boulevard, and continues with performances at 2 and 7:30 p.m. tomorrow. Tickets are $15 (or $5 for students with ID) and can be purchased at; for more information, visit the event page on Facebook.

Price: $15/$5 Student

You can check out homeboy (North Side) Shawn King's interview with Westword at this link.

And this just in...

Raúl Pacheco of Ozomatli sent in this message to La Bloga's readers about his involvement with this project:

"My role has been to gather musical ideas and cajole them into good stand alone songs. This has required focused engineering, writing and producing skills that have hopefully created some decent music that we can all play loudly, sing along to and be moved by."

This production has been a labor of love, imagination, and commitment for those involved. Our neighbor Shawn has been passionate about this play and I urge community support for what is bound to be a highlight of Denver's cultural, artistic and immigrant advocacy history.


International Latino Book Award - Finalists Announced

 [From Kirk Whisler, Awards Chair]

The 2014 Finalists for the 16th Annual Int'l Latino Book Awards are another reflection of the growing quality of books by and about Latinos. This year's number of entries was 41% more than the previous record year. In order to handle this large number of books, the Awards had 123 judges, nearly double the number from 2013. The vast majority of the judges glowed about the quality of the entries. The Awards celebrates books in English, Spanish and Portuguese. ... Finalists are from across the USA and from 18 countries outside the USA. ... 

The awards are presented by Latino Literacy Now in partnership with Las Comadres Para Las Americas and REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and is an affiliate of the American Library Association.

This year's awards are our biggest ever with 231 Finalists.


And congratulations to La Bloga comrades Xánath Caraza, whose book What The Tide Brings is a finalist in two categories, Best Popular Fiction - Spanish or Bilingual and Best Fiction Book Translation Spanish to English, and to René Colato Laínez, whose Señor Pancho Had a Rancho is a finalist in the Best Children's Fiction Picture Book - Bilingual category.

I'm also proud to acknowledge that my novel, Desperado: A Mile High Noir, is a finalist in the Mystery category.



Earlier this week we reached a million visitors here on La Bloga -- that's something.  We've been live since November, 2004.  That's got to be worth a toast or two, no?  This has been quite an experiment. One I've enjoyed immensely. I am very proud that I was involved in getting this thing up and running back in the days when a blog was a kind-of-new thing, a techie innovation that we were learning how to play with and use in a progressive way. To help commemorate, I'm reprinting a short piece I wrote back in 2066 on the occasion of an award for Best Blog given to us by Tu Ciudad magazine.

Aztec Sol - Birthplace of La Bloga - R.I.P.

Back before there was La Bloga, Rudy G. and I would talk, actually we would drink and occasionally mutter something, and during those times Rudy periodically would send an e-mail missive to various people about various topics -- Rudy likes to do that kind of stuff.

One day, a couple of years ago, at a bar with the serendipitous name of Aztec Sol, I mentioned the blog craze that was sweeping the nation and whether that might not be a good spot for his broadsides -- get them out of my mailbox and on something universal, if you know what I mean. Eventually our thinking and drinking focused on a Chicano Literature blog with the twist of several people contributing so it would not be just one person's blog.

We have a friend who hung out with us and grew tired of the talk -- we have listened to him talk for years, quite patiently, I think, but when the shoe's on the other foot ... and now he says that he motivated us to take the next step -- not quite how I remember it, but the acoustics in Aztec Sol aren't all that good, so it could have happened -- and Rudy set up the blog on Blogger.

We knew right away to ask Michael Sedano to join us. Rudy and I first met Michael, Internet-wise, on CHICLE, the Chicano Lit listserv that we remember fondly and that achieved something of a mythical status while it functioned. Michael and Rudy were notorious on that listserv, in a good way, and we communicated among ourselves long after CHICLE was unplugged. On one of my book trips to L.A., I spent some time with Michael and his wife, and I think Michael and Rudy have a Texas connection, or something, but I don't think they have ever met in person. [The two have since met.]

We started off quietly but almost immediately the Chicano Lit focus got a bit unfocused and we took on all things about la cultura, and politics, of course. When Daniel Olivas started commenting and submitting guest reviews and basically sticking his foot in our door, we knew we had another contributor -- a very smart move on our part, I think.

Daniel and Michael were instrumental in signing up Gina (Ruiz), which added a different and unique perspective -- we are in need of many more perspectives, by the way. I hope our fifteen seconds on Tu Ciudad brings in new contributors, as well as new readers. 

And, in the years since that semi-serious note was penned, we have enjoyed the assistance and participation of many more wonderful contributors, guest writers, interviewees, and friends. Today we stand strong with eleven regular contributors from all parts of the U.S:

Sunday:         Amelia ML Montes or Olga García Echeverría
Monday:        Daniel Olivas or Xánath Caraza
Tuesday:       Michael "Em" Sedano
Wednesday:   René Colato Laínez
Thursday:     Lydia Gil or Ernest Hogan
Friday:         Melinda Palacio or Manuel Ramos
Saturday:     Rudy Ch. Garcia

We celebrate ten years and a million visitors. We're talking about a confluence of bloguistas in Chicago later this summer. More details to come - we hope you can join us. As Em Sedano said earlier this week, "It's been a pleasure these million times, gente. Thank you for reading La Bloga."

One more milestone.  March 31 is my last official day as Director of Advocacy for Colorado Legal Services, the place where I have worked for more than thirty years. My last day in the office is March 27.  We're partying on March 26 and 27.  After that I will be retired, as they say around my house. ¡Adelante!



msedano said...

thank you and felicidades to Las Blogueras Los Blogueros for sharing this space. mvs

Lydia Gil said...

¡Y felicidades a Manuel en su jubilación! Jubilación viene de júbilo, ¿verdad? ¡Salud!

Manuel Ramos said...

Lydia - true dat!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to all! I have read and loved and will continue to read and love La Bloga every day! Gracias, Manolo, Rudy, Michael, Daniel for giving it its first breaths and keeping it alive, and to all early and later Blogueros y Blogueras for keeping La Bloga transforming and thriving! Cheers!

Xánath Caraza said...

A la creatividad y promoción cultural, adelante! Viva La Bloga!

Anonymous said...

I found La Bloga a few years ago as I searched for Latino voices that I could connect with to read and learn. I consider myself so blessed to have found all the talented Blogueros y Blogueras. Thank you all for all your voices. I have been moved to read more, pushed to think pass my comfort zone, and feel deeply about subjects I may have never considered my fight too. I felt welcomed and unafraid to respond when a blog moved me. I write now everyday and feel I can do this thing-write. To be a writer is not easy at any level. I am forever grateful to all the Founders and all at the La Bloga; those who provide proof daily that it can be done and done a million and more strong!
Sincere respect and blessings,