Thursday, February 22, 2024

Chicanonautica: Zooming into the Mex Files

by Ernest Hogan

I’ve been a fan of Guillermo Gómez-Peña, La Pocha Nostra, and his radio program the Mex Files for a long time. He’s also a fan of my work. He and his wife Balitronica were instrumental in getting me into the world of Zoom video during the pandemic. When Bali texted me about being on the program, I was delighted.

The timing was perfect. Guerrilla Mural of a Siren’s Song had just come out, I was scrambling for ways to publicize it, and for this breakout into the wider worlds of public radio listeners, performance art enthusiasts, and Latinx culturistas. 

They wanted me to present Chicano\Latinofuturistic visions of the future from my work. The story “Uno! dos! . . . One-Two! Tres! Cuatro!” a gonzo reaction the rise of Donald Trump, seemed perfect. Of course, it was way too long, but there was good cliffhanger cutoff point. Leave ‘em hanging, tell them to buy the book. Muhuhahahahaha!

And it was all to be done through that miracle of our age, Zoom. I could do it sitting in front of my computer at humble Hacienda Hogan.

It was quite futuristic. Guillermo and Balitrónica were in San Francisco, Alex Rivera, director of the film Sleep Dealer in LA (first in his car, then at his house), I was in Glendale, Arizona, a La Pocha Nostra technician was in Mexico City, and Lumpen Radio engineer was in Chicago. Borders were erased. Space was warped. The Global Barrio manifested.

Some new kind of futurism here. Chicano? Latino? Latinx? What brave, new word . . .

What would Borges have  made of this? Beyond the Library of Babel. Is it science fiction? Magic realism? I keep saying that magic realism from a sufficiently technologically advanced culture becomes indistinguishable from science fiction.

They made Alex and me feel comfortable in this alien . .  . tripping over the palabras again . . . environment. We were assured that the techs had AI wizardry that would make us sound good. They did. Though my words sounded better when they said them. Guillermo and Bali also called me maestro.

Alex held up original edition copies Cortez on Jupiter and High Aztech before starting his epic rant on the future and how it affects Latinoid peoples. He mentioned a book, Fully Automated Luxury Communism, that I’ve got to track down.

There was a lot of apocalyptic dystopianism, in keeping with our current world predicament, but we also are optimistic and eager to take part in creating a future that's un poco utopian—of course, of a wild rasquache kind.

And the completed show is a joy to listen to!

It’s also available as a podcast -- the 01-17-2024 episode, Chicano Latino Futurismo: The Other Sci-Fi--that I’m hoping goes viral and inspires listeners to confront the looming future and make it their own.

Buy my book, too.

Ernest Hogan is also the author of High Aztech, Smoking Mirror Blues, and Cortez on Jupiter.

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