Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Review: Borderless. Stanford Alumni Read Dear Chavela. On-line Floricanto

Review: Santero Sheds Vestments for Vatos and the Vulgate

Michael Sedano

In hieratical circles, “vulgate” refers to Jerome’s translating the koiné Bible to proto-Italian in the 4th century, and more generally the term alludes to the common person’s everyday language. Jerome's is the first work of Latino literature, ¿sabes?

New Mexico sculptor Luis Tapia has done in wood what Jerome did on parchment, here expanding santero tradition of carving santos and devotional sculpture to include scenes of everyday life and gente.

Art historians call this genre the art of polychrome wood sculpture. I call it heart-breaking.

Every Tapia “polychrome wood sculpture” locates itself in a corner of one’s cultural heart and coaxes incredibly warm sentiment into the open. For la gente the important “message” shouts out loud, that everyday life, as distilled through Tapia’s community iconography, has immense value.

The heart-breaking element might be just personal for me: I’d like to own every piece shown in the MOLAA- published BORDERLESS: The Art of Luis Tapia. Heck, I’d love to own just a single piece!

With a Foreword by Dana Gioia, Introduction by Edward Hayes, Jr. and important essays by Denise Chávez, Lucy Lippard, and Tey Marianna Nunn, BORDERLESS is something everyone can own. $50.00 is a pittance for such exquisite printing, and owning a copy assuages some of the heartache. Idea: put away $15 a month and in December buy BORDERLESS: The Art of Luis Tapia for a loved one who will share it.

What a gorgeous book. BORDERLESS: The Art of Luis Tapia is the catalog raisonné for an exhibition that closes September 3 at Long Beach California’s MOLAA, Museum of Latin American Arte. When it's gone, it's gone. The book gives permanence to the memory, even for those who missed the museum show. Hurry up, please, it's time to get to Longo for the final days.

MOLAA, who in recent years had a repressive policy that forbade Chicana Chicano artists from its exhibitions (link), recently reversed that. MOLAA debuted rationality with exhibitions that included Judithe Hernandez, Frank Romero, and Carlos Almaraz, three of the original five members of Magu’s seminal group, Los Four (link). Is that any way to run a Latin American art museum? It is now.

Tapia's tribute to Magu, qepd, one of the founders of Chicana Chicano art.

Tapia’s work has exhibited at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C., in China and Japan. MOLAA’s webpage notes, “Works by Tapia are in private and public collections nationwide, including the Smithsonian Institution’s American Art Museum and American History Museum; El Museo del Barrio; Museum of American Folk Art and Rockwell Museum of Western Art in New York; Denver Art Museum; Autry National Center of the American West in Los Angeles; Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe and the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque”.

L.A.’s Autry Museum gift shop has at least one Tapia sculpture for sale, but I don’t want to think about that—more heartbreak, no lana. Happily, there’s this book. Get your copy publisher-direct here (link).

According to book designer and packager Hurley Media, BORDERLESS: The Art of Luis Tapia will be readily available through local brick & mortar booksellers. Distribution details, particularly for purchases that arrive in a smirking carton, are at Hurley Media’s website, (link).

St. Francis receiving stigmata

My photographs from the book (the cover foto is from the publisher) do not do justice to the rich colors and sharpness of the plates. The raisonné part, those eloquent and informative essays, make BORDERLESS: The Art of Luis Tapia far more than a gorgeous coffee table book, still, those 101 color plates and two gate-folds enhance one's visual literacy so the book is suitable for all ages.

BORDERLESS: The Art of Luis Tapia. Long Beach: Museum of Latin American Art, 2017.
ISBN: 9780980108088

Stanford Raza Alumni Welcome Sancho

He doesn’t shirk from his history, the one-time single most popular deejay in El Lay radio, Sancho from the Sancho Show on the once-respected KPCC. When the station sold out to “our kind of music,” Sancho was gone with the pedo, draped with the mantle of outsider.

Daniel Castro, Ph.D., opened his conversation with members of The Book Club of the Chicano Latino Stanford University Alumni Association of Southern California underlining how long ago The Sancho Show had been Southern California’s top broadcast venue for raza ears.

Daniel Castro, Concepción Valadez.
The book club enjoys good food and conversation.
Castro’s book, Dear Chavela, was the book club’s quarterly selection. College grads aren’t the direct audience for the collection’s often lump-in-the-throat epistles. Kids in trouble are the ideal reader. Troubled because they’re in crummy schools with crummy programs that deny them lesson plans that address topics like “who am I?” Or the kid whose mother is “Sally” in California, but when mom and kid travel to Morenci for her father’s funeral, bicultural conflict leads to emotional turmoil. The first person mom and mijo talk to asks, “Ascencíon, is that you?” Powerful stuff, there.

The author, like the deejay, wants to find the words that tell kids like Brandon Swartz that it’s OK to be Mexican. Kids like Jose Limón that it’s more than okay to be a college student instead of putting in 9 to 5 on a paying jale. The audience is lots of other kids who can advance beyond limitations imposed on them, change those ugly facts that "Out of 100 kindergarteners 50 will graduate from HS. 7of those 100 will set foot on a college campus and 2 will attain a BA."

Read La Bloga’s review of Dear Chavela at this link. 

The Book Club of the Chicano/Latino Stanford University Alumni Association of Southern California. (AKA, the Stanford Book Club), meets November 9 to discuss Jesus Treviño’s American Book Award collection Return to Arroyo Grande. Click here for information.

Daniel Castro, front second from right, with the Stanford Book Club: Juanita Naranjo, Concepcíon Valadez, Angelique Flores. Back: Deidre Reyes, Manuel Urrutia, Michael Sedano, Margie Hernandez, Mario Vasquez

On-line Floricanto For August’s Penultimate Tuesday
PW Covington, Jolaoso Prettythunder, Leticia Diaz Perez, Ana Chig, Joe Navarro

Concessions by PW Covington
An Account by Jolaoso Prettythunder
Charlottesville, My Place of Birth by Leticia Diaz Perez
Puente Negro por Ana Chig
Her Last Breath for Justice by Joe Navarro

by PW Covington

The sisters from the Pueblo come down to the river at dusk
Crosses hang from around their necks
Concessions to prevailing forces
that come like the weather
Yet flow, like the waters
That rush off down to the
Rio Grande gorge

The flow rolls
Past indigenous red clay and brown skin,

And that stream shapes the landscape...for a season
Nourishing sage and ocotillo
From Taos mountain to el Golfo
The unquenchable things remain

Like the four directions, the four winds

Those missionary crosses shelter secrets
in smoky, Tiwa, tones

An Account
by Jolaoso Prettythunder

my dna
my luminous body
and essence remembers

being rubbed out as a lesser being Confined to iron bars, reservations, plantations The hangman's noose, beaten with a whip, under the gun, chained, burned in a pit, 25 cents a scalp, hunted in the woods, deserts, bayous and prairies, wrapped in my smallpox blanket, spoon fed crack and anthrax, forced to forget my tongue Dogs and horses commanded to chase me into a New World Order

this isn't the first time
it's happened before

i have been ground down to silica, chalk To oxygen, carbon, hydrogen then shape shifted into magma to stars
to magic and sorcery

in invocation

i am still here
i remember in my bones
i remember in the three worlds
i remember in the 7 Skies
i remember
yes i remember

this isn't a poem
this is an account
flags of hate planted
flags of hate fed with the blood of the People

flags planted to break the Hoop to honor and elevate malady greed, hate, imbalance, fortification, division, war, genocide, annihilation

Charlottesville, My Place of Birth
by Leticia Diaz Perez

my place of birth
what have you done?
burning crosses 1963
drinking fountain
mamá stands in line
--change lines!
change lines ma'am
you're in the wrong line, ma'am!-
everyone is staring at mamá
everyone is staring at her
new language
new country
she just looks down
trying hard not to make eye contact
several people chiming in
louder and louder
--change lines
change lines ma'am
you're in the wrong line, ma'am!-
everyone is staring at mamá
everyone is staring at her
my place of birth
what have you done?

Puente Negro
por Ana Chig

¿Cuál fue el comienzo de la historia de los puentes?
No pensé que esta ciudad tuviese uno marginal,
un puente para trasladar cuerpos de agua
sobre el cauce verde −irascible− del odio.

Yo también sé mentir,
arrastrar agua de otra profundidad
verterla en tu conciencia,
que creas siempre lo que has creído.

Soy oscura y extrema en las palabras,
un pez agazapado en la derrota.
He llenado de piedras mi cordura
estoy sumergida en tu río, en este malestar segregado,
en la búsqueda febril que abruma desde afuera.

Her Last Breath for Justice
by Joe Navarro

Heather Heyer
Had awakened believing
She would stand for justice
In Charlotteville, Virginia
Knowing in her heart
That white nationalist bigots
Were fundamentally detrimental
To this nation

John Brown must
Have whispered
Freedom thoughts
Into her dreams
Before this day
While justice overcame
Her fears of personal harm

Heather Heyer
Intended to hurt no one
Let alone being hurt
She must have wondered
If she had the courage
To stand up to
Racist violent fanatics

I wonder if
She was able to kiss
And embrace her mother's
Love during her last breath
For justice
As the Charger plowed
Into her

Did America see
A foolish idealistic
Young white woman, or
A freedom fighter
Who intended to live
To tell about her
Heroic stand in defense
Of peace, justice, democracy
And ending national oppression?

Love for humanity
Compassion and passion
Quest for justice
Anti-racism, anti-fascism
In an unintended heroic act
As the world watched
Leaving America to mourn
While celebrating the
Life and ideals of a human being
For social justice

Concessions by PW Covington
An Account by Jolaoso Prettythunder
Charlottesville, My Place of Birth by Leticia Diaz Perez
Puente Negro por Ana Chig
Her Last Breath for Justice by Joe Navarro

PW Covington is an activist writer that draws inspiration from the Beat tradition of the US highway.
His short fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart prize and he has been invited to read his poetry from Standing Rock, ND to the Texas/Mexico border, and from the Beat Museum in San Francisco to Philadelphia. Covington's last full length poetry collection is titled "Sacred Wounds" and is published by Slough Press. He lives in northern New Mexico, two blocks off Route 66.

Jolaoso Pretty Thunder is a common earth-woman. She lives in the woods of Northern California with her family and two dogs Rosie Farstar and Ilumina Holy Dog. She’s a practitioner and student of herbal medicine (Western, Vedic, TCM, and Lukumi). She is also an ordained minister of the First Nations Church, and founder of The Cloud Women’s Dream Society. She is a well-traveled though reluctant poet, who loves southern rock, porch swings, pickup trucks, cooking, campfires, lightning, steak, gathering and making medicine, and singing with friends and family.

Leticia Diaz-Perez was born in Charlottesville, Virginia,and grew up in Michigan.She taught Spanish at the University of Michigan,but her best memories of teaching were the 4th grade bilngual classes she taught to a beautiful group of Dominican children in New York City.She is currently living in Argentina and working on a new poetry chapbook.

Ana Chig es una poeta, editora, creativa gráfica y promotora cultural. En 2012, fundó la revista mensual de poesía Frontera Esquina, en la que participan escritores, poetas, ensayistas y artistas plásticos de la región fronteriza de Baja California y Califonia, Estados Unidos. Se ha desempeñado como coordinadora de Poetry Borders en La Casa del Túnel Art Center, en Tijuana. Es directora del proyecto editorial independiente Nódulo Ediciones, que publica poesía, cuento, ensayo, novela, periodismo cultural y literatura infantil. En 2015 formó parte del jurado para el Premio Nacional de Poesía Tijuana, convocado por el Instituto Municipal de Arte y Cultura.

Joe Navarro is a Literary Vato Loco, creative writer, poet and teacher in Hayward, CA. His writing style and cultural persuasions are rooted in a tradition of social justice poetry, inflenced by Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Lalo Delgado, Avotcja, the Last Poets, Beat Poets and others.


Manuel Ramos said...

The MOOLAA Tapia exhibit is amazing. I hope those of you in the area can check it out before it closes, which will happen soon. The book is beautiful and seeing the pieces "in the flesh" is also a beautiful experience.

Peace in Pieces said...

I was at this place last week. This is such a joy as a place for food! I had a beautiful time at San Francisco event venues here. It reminded me of another center in Memphis, Tennessee. A beautiful, wonderful place that had excellent atmosphere.

Unknown said...

What a powerful Floricanto. Thank you for your support, Em, and providing a place for poesia. Abrazos.