Tuesday, August 28, 2018

An August La Palabra. The Gluten-free Chicano Cooks. Actors Read Ramos-O'Briant. 50/73.

La Palabra at Avenue 50 Studio Features Four & Open Mic
Michael Sedano

Advice to first-time visitors to Northeast Los Angeles' cultural treasure, Avenue 50 Studio:

There's ample parking behind the gallery. I overheard a couple of first-timers remarking on how far they'd walked from their cars. The Gold Line parallels the gallery building; the driveway separates the railroad from the gallery.

Advice to Los Angeles' poetry readers and Open Mic seekers: No matter where you park or how far you get to walk, Avenue 50 Studio's La Palabra Poetry Series (link) runs on the fourth Sunday of the month from 2 to 4 p.m.

Now in its 17th year of continuous growth, La Palabra arrives with a few innovations as Host Angelina Sáenz settles into her element. 

Amplification has become a standard option. If someone has a lavaliere RF mic to donate that would markedly improve the utility of the boom box.

A videographer documented the featured readers, and perhaps the Open Mic readers. I look for Avenue 50 Studio one day to have an archive of La Palabra and the gallery's other reading series, Bluebird. RF mic'ing would serve that video soundtrack wonderfully. Anyone have a splitter to contribute?

Sáenz introduced a 'Zine complement on Sunday. The 'Zine included one poem from each of the features. That's a great idea, easily worth the $5.00, some of which is shared with the poets. 

More advice: bring money. I didn't have the cash today. Next reading, I'll get my 'Zine before the reading to follow along with the text when the reader gets there. Bring your credit card because the art is for sale, and affordable.

Featured Poets
Ron Baca, Angelina Sáenz, Melinda Palacio, Matt Sedillo, Irene Monica Sánchez

Four featured poets took center stage at Sunday's iteration of the ongoing poetry tradition. 

In addition to an afternoon of engaging political discourse and Palacio's lyrical gems, the reading offered a clinic to beginning readers on using the microphone and occupying their speaking space.
Irene Monica Sánchez
Sánchez read from her phone screen and paper manuscript.  She lowered the lectern to minimize the visual barrier between her audience and her poems. She knows her material well enough to allow her generous eye contact and directness, a benefit with cerebral works like those Sánchez chooses for La Palabra.

Matt Sedillo
Matt Sedillo is a veteran of spoken word performance competitions. His accomplished style uses memorization, which could eliminate the lectern if he chose. Sedillo's technique today is to plant himself at "home base" and require listeners focus on the aural flow of ideas and delight in Sedillo's lexical cleverness. 

Ron Baca
Ron Baca and I go back to the  mid-1970s when I was Director of Teatro A La Brava in El Sereno and Cal State LA, and Ron was a student-actor in el teatro. It's great seeing him regularly at Avenue 50 and now in the spotlight.

Ron's work reflects his career teaching at Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights, his home town.

Melinda Palacio
La Bloga Friday Columnist, with Manuel Ramos, novelist-poet Melinda Palacio, lands in Highland Park today, a stop on her cross-country book tour for Bird Forgiveness (link). Palacio has read Bird Forgiveness in New Orleans, Santa Barbara, and now El Lay. 

There's always excitement when a poet introduces a new collection, particularly a poet with Palacio's reputation for producing thoughtfully delightful work. Birds--caged, freed, wild--are among peoples' favorite animals. Now Palacio's poetry adds dimension to one's delight. Vuela, vuela pajarillo...

Melinda Palacio checks her phone before the reading begins.
Readings at Avenue 50 Gallery share space with reliably stunning paintings and drawing.

Open Mic Portraits
These unidentified, for the most part, artists, have up to three minutes to share one or two works. Open Mic gives opportunities to try out new stuff, work on a delivery issue, share a favored piece with a new audience, or just give in to a message that demands to be let free.

Mary Torregrossa reads in the upper left hand foto. A few years ago I wrote something that offended the heck out of the poet. I said something thoughtlessly boorish about her delivery. 

Torregrossa's delivery, as her portrait illustrates, is a superb example of using the speaking space. She's shoved the lectern over to the side to allow herself the full technology of her body. It's a risk for some speakers but a wondrous method to grow comfortable in front of audiences, as well as enhance effectiveness. 

Electing to hold the manuscript at comfortable reading level enables good eye contact. She gets good audio from the mic, which keeps her in one spot. The mic at a lower level works just as well.

She gestures off to the side, or high enough to make the emphasis contribute something to the line. Often readers gesture at waist level, or under the lectern and the audience misses the point.

The reader holding the mic, Tongo, does it out of necessity, but it's an excellent strategy for a poet who works from memory.

The mic stand didn't stay elevated so Tongo was able to walk around the speaking space for visual variety. Movement was useful to add interest to Tongo's lengthy non-stop eloquence. If someone's got a functioning mic stand, that donation is tax-deductible.

A lavaliere microphone pins to a collar and transmits wirelessly to a receiver that plugs into the boombox. That would allow all the speakers the freedom, and benefit, of movement. Movement not only enriches the gestural vocabulary, moving releases nervous energy and tension that builds when standing in one place.

Lower left, La Palabra Host Angelina Sáenz

The Gluten-free Chicano Cooks
A gluten-free crustless quiche makes a company-quality main dish in an hour. With hatch and other New Mexico chiles coming to market right now, make the version called "Chile relleno casserole" quiche. When ready for the horno, it looks like this:

Preheat oven to 350º
Prep a baking dish with non-stick spray or oil

In a mixing bowl or deep saucepan:

Whip to frothy 6 eggs
Mix in:
¼ cup heavy cream
2 Tbs sour cream
½ cup (lactose-free) milk
pinch sea salt, pepper, ground cayenne, big pinch garlic powder

Slice ¼ lb or more burrata or fresh mozzarella

Slice or grate ¼ lb or so sharp cheddar cheese

Chop two cups peeled chiles. 

I buy the "mild" and trust to the label. 

Often, the sack has a mix of too damn hot and ok, so chop and taste.

Put the chopped chiles and the cheddar cheese into the bottom of the casserole dish. (If some people get asco from eating chile, layer half the bottom with chile. That way some get the flavor without the vegetable.)

Cover with the egg and cream mixture.

Dot the surface with burrata, or float slices of fresh mozzarella.

Distribute tomato slices attractively. If you made a half/half, put halved tomatoes on the not-chile'd half.

Sprinkle with coarsely ground pepper and garlic powder as needed.

Bake for 45 minutes on a cookie sheet in case of boil-over, and to make handling the hot casserole easier.

How do I know the quiche is done? 

•Shake the cookie sheet. A done quiche doesn't wiggle.
•Slip a thin knife blade into the center. If the steel comes out clean, it's done. The quiche keeps cooking so if the knife is a little wet, it's done. Let it rest while you get the dishes laid out.

This recipe has a paucity of carbohydrates. Lots of gente watch carbs, so serve this to the watchful.


New Short Fiction Series September 16

There's a load of fun in store for visitors to North Hollywood's The Federal Bar at 5303 Lankershim Blvd on September 16 when a set of actors turns La Bloga friend Sandra Ramos O'Briant's fiction into stage readings.

For the writer, the experience is a reminder that once those words leave her keyboard they belong to the reader. Ramos relates that she'll be invited to a single rehearsal, to observe.

Blogueros Daniel Olivas and Michael Sedano have engaged the New Short Fiction Series. Olivas' work took the spotlight at a Beverly Hills reading, and Sedano hosted a reading (link) at UCLA's Fowler museum.

The Federal Bar serves food and drink. Reservations for the 7 p.m. show, 818-980-2555, can provide parking details and menu datos.

Fifty Years, Seventy-Three Suns

By the time I see you next Tuesday, if everything goes according to plan and global warming doesn't get me, I will have passed my seventy-third year avoiding the Sphinx' riddle. I'm still on my feet.

Far more importantly, on my birthday my first wife and I celebrate our Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary.

What a trip it's been. We got married in a fever hotter than a pepper sprout but it was in Isla Vista we met. I proposed, she said "yes," he mother said "no," I said "ni modo" the Monsignor said "Marriage is like a barbeque" and it was the hottest day of the year. The coals grow hotter and then the groom gets Drafted.

We were married on August 31. On October 15 I got the notice from Selective Service. Report and eat Thanksgiving Dinner in the Army. I managed to postpone induction until January 1969. 

I spent my first wedding anniversary sitting atop the world's highest anti-aircraft missile site. Adventurous, but not what I'd envisioned the year before. Darn sight far from what she imagined. But it was what it was.

That foto is newlywed Barbara just after I opened the brown envelope that read, "Greeting: From the President of the United States." We were going to the Santa Barbara arboretum and she said, "Don't get the mail, let's get it when we get back."

Love, honor, and cherish, in sickness, in health, all the days of our lives. 


Andrea Mauk said...

I love hearing the description of La Palabra. I know where to park. Great tip about the artwork. I will attempt the Hatch chile relleno quiche. Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary, Michael!

msedano said...

thank you, my friend.

sandraramosobriant said...

Happy Birthday, Em. You're incredible! I'll never forget the reading and luncheon at your home, what was it, 7 years ago? Words and joy, chile and hot joy, sweet smokes and green joy.

msedano said...

thank you, sandra. you know you can see yourself at Rudy's reading on Latinopia. when the sandoval sisters find a sequel we should do a reading here, too.

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