Olga García Echeverría
It's a beautiful Sunday and if you're wondering what's going on in the City of Angels today in relation to arte, here are a few things you won't want to miss.
Oedipus El Rey by Luis Alfaro
Boston Court Performing Arts Center
70 North Mentor Avenue
If you're feeling art-deprived because you still haven't checked out Luis Alfaro's modern adaptation of Sophocle's classic play Oedipus Rex, don't despair. Originally, the play's last LA showing was scheduled for today, but due to sold out box offices, the production has been extended until Sunday April 11th. Yay! My roommate and I had the opportunity to see the play last night and both of us gave it a solid thumbs up. Among other things, I loved the way Alfaro takes the classic Greek myth and barrioizes it. When asked why he chose to delve into and re-envision the Greek myth, Alfaro shares "I wanted to do something about the prison system. I read this horrible statistic that the recidivism rate in California is something like 65%. It’s shocking, and 47% of those returning to prison are Latino. 22% of those released from prison also go back within hours. So, I started thinking about where the new kingdoms are and how there’s an alternate society where some people grow up. I was exploring why the California prison system is an industry and the whole bit and that got me writing and thinking about Oedipus, a young king, who gets out of prison and is looking for his new territory, some place to conquer. I took all the beats of Oepidus, who kills his father, marries his mother, etc. and it all kind of came together and made sense." Aside from Alfaro's unique adaptation, I also found the performance by Marlene Forte (who plays Jocasta, Oedipus' mother) superb. To read more about Alfaro's play, check out Michael Sedano's earlier bloga on Oedipus El Rey http://labloga.blogspot.com/2008/02/oedipus-pinto.html
Also happening in the city today...
La Palabra Poetry Reading Series features Liz Gonzalez
Co-hosted by Laura L. Longoria and Don Newton
Sunday March 28th
Avenue 50 Studio
131 Avenue 50
Highland Park, CA
Liz Gonzalez' work recently appeared in Bordersense and Cooweescoowee, and her fiction recently appeared in Women on the Edge: Writing from Los Angeles. Her awards include the Arts Council for Long Beach's 2005 Professional Artist Fellowship and a wrting grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation. She is a member of the Macondo Foundation, founded by Sandra Cisneros. Currently Liz is the 2009/2010 Puente English instructor at Long Beach City College, and a creative writing instructor through the UCLA Writer's Extension Program. For more info: lizgonzalez.com
Two Great Openings Today at ChimMaya Gallery
The Art of Healing...Mind, Body, and Soul
In 1982 a Bolivian immigrant named Jaime Escalante made national news because 18 of his high school students passed the Advanced Placement exam in calculus. Actually, the sensational news was that they were all inner-city L.A. Chicano kids. The corporate testers, Educational Testing Service, threw out their scores, since it's common knowledge, even to this day, that poor brown kids can't do, or in this case, outdo what preppy, rich Anglo kids do, at least academically.
If you never heard about this, then you've never seen the film Stand and Deliver, starring Ed Olmos as Escalante. You can remedy this gap in your education by at least watching the movie, directed by Ramón Menéndez. Briefly though, here's what rolls past before the credits at the end:
- Twelve of those students that year retook the exam and their original scores were reinstated.
To learn more about Escalante's work, his students and their accomplishments, there's books on the subject. I found the Mathews' book much more informative:
- In 1983, 30 students passed the Advanced Placement test.
Escalante: The Best Teacher in America by Jay Mathews (Owl Book - 1989)
Jaime Escalante: Sensational Teacher by Ann Byers (Library Binding - 1996)
Of course, every teacher should know about Escalante, and especially about ganas, which is so often heard in the movie. Ganas de aprender translates as being willing to learn, have the yearning to succeed. What's obvious in the film though is more; it's the eagerness, the thirst, the passion for knowledge, and that must have been more like what happened in Esclante's classroom.
La Carpa de los Rasquachis,
written by Luis Valdez
, directed by Anthony J. Garcia
stars in the regional premiere of Luis Valdez's classic farm worker tale of an everyman immigrant told in rollicking corridos and performed in the classic Mexican tent-show style.
Written 45 years ago, La Carpa de los Rasquachis
toured the world and gave birth to the Teatro Chicano movement.
If you ever liked anything Su Teatro has performed, come see the play that started it all.March 19 - April 17
- Thursday, Friday and Saturday - 7:30 p.m.
The Denver Civic Theater -721 Santa Fe Dr.
Tickets - $18 general - $15 students and seniors
Groups of 12 or more people $12 each
Special promotional rates available upon request.John Moore
in the Denver Post gave the play three stars:
" Best of all, Su Teatro has come home to the westside neighborhood from where it was long ago displaced,
along with much of its community, for the Auraria campus. A historic move calls for a historic production,
and Luis Valdez's La Carpa de los Rasquachis,
considered by many the masterpiece of the Chicano theater, qualifies." La Voz Femenina 7
- an east end live art productionMarch 28th
, 5 pm Café Flores 6606 Lawndale Street, Houston, TX 77023 $ FreeVoices Breaking Boundaries
(VBB) is pleased to announce the second installment of its spring 2010 East End Live Art series, La Voz Femenina 7. Each year VBB collaborates with Arte Público Press to celebrate International Women’s Month. This year’s show includes films, art exhibits, open mic, and discussion, featuring Erica Fletcher, Liana Lopez, Delilah Montoya
and Brian Parras. VBB’s Founding Director, Sehba Sarwar,
will host the evening. “La Voz Femenina, now in its seventh year, is a powerful tradition of collaboration with Arte Público. VBB was founded by women, and to celebrate and recognize women’s struggle is an integral part of what we do,” says Sarwar.
La Voz Femenina 7 is cosponsored by Arte Público Press, Houston Institute for Culture, KPFT Pacifica Radio 90.1 FM, and Café Flores. The program is curated by Samina Mahmood, Gunjen Mittal, Selina Pishori,
and Jacsun Shah.
0 Comments on Rasquache as of 1/1/1900
A little over one year ago, two Latina moms, who had recently retired from TV and print journalism, decided to share their journey of bilingual parenting--roadblocks and all!--through SpanglishBaby
, an online community dedicated to the joys and concerns of raising bilingual children. Their fast-growing blog offers something new everyday to parents and teachers interested in bilingualism, with content organized in categories such as "Daily Learning
", "Ask an Expert
", "Must Reads
", "Your Story
", and even a "Forum
" where readers can connect and share stories.
As new mothers, Roxana Soto and Ana Flores realized that, in spite of what demographics would suggest, there was great misinformation and few resources for parents determined to raise bilingual, bicultural children in the US. And that's how SpanglishBaby was born.
According to Soto, Spanglish Baby's first year has been full of both challenges and surprises. Among the former she cites the typical trials of starting a blog: building consistent traffic and creating fresh and interesting content. A loyal readership has emerged over the past months and, to celebrate this and its successful first year, Soto and Flores completely redesigned the blog, allowing readers to navigate the site more easily and to have a more participatory role. They've also added five regular contributors who, according to the editors, provide fresh perspectives on bilingual parenting on a weekly basis.
"We're also working on a major campaign through which we hope to bring bilingual resources in the form of books, toys and games to deserving schools in need," adds Soto.
For their second year, Soto would also like to increase SpanglishBaby's male readership and, hopefully, add a male contributor to its weekly lineup.
For the rest, Soto and Flores hope SpanglishBaby continues to be the community they envisioned from the beginning: a place where parents raising bilingual/bicultural children can feel supported, understood and welcomed to participate and share.
Keep up the great work, ladies!
By: Manuel Ramos,
Blog: La Bloga
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This week I have a bit of news about new books and book events and a guest column from Pocho Joe, the Denver DJ who produces La Raza Rocks for radio station KUVO (89.3 FM, www.kuvo.org) every Sunday, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm (Denver time) along with his co-host, Gabe. Pocho Joe pays tribute to Bobby Espinosa, the guiding light and one of the original members of El Chicano, who recently passed away. By the way, a memorial service for Bobby will be held Saturday, March 20, 2010 at 1:00 p.m. at Saint Alphonsus Catholic Church, 532 S. Atlantic Blvd., East Los Angeles, 90022. Reception after service at Steven's Steak House, 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm 5332 E. Stevens Place, Commerce, Ca. 90040
Bobby Espinosa Tribute – Aired on KUVO March 14, 2010
In the 1960’s a group of San Gabriel High School students led by bassist Freddy Sanchez
formed a Chicano band called the VIP’s
. The VIP’s included guitarist Micky Lespron
. Their Mexican-American rhythm and blues style of music was missing a key component. Freddy met a keyboardist from a Chicano surf band (Micky & the Invaders
) and invited him to join the VIP’s. His name was Bobby Espinosa
. This began a life-long professional and personal friendship and brotherhood.
With an expanded line-up, the VIP’s were invited to Eddie Davis
’ recording studio in Hollywood to record a rendition of Gerald Wilson
’s song Viva Tirado
. Gerald had written this jazz piece to honor the great Mexican bullfighter, Jose Ramon Tirado
, who refused to kill the bull he was fighting. The recording session was magic and Eddie saw so much talent in this group of young Chicanos.
Eddie Davis recognized how racist our American society was towards Mexican-Americans. He knew that previous Latin groups had to hide their cultural identity just to get airplay in regional markets. He convinced the VIP’s to change their name to El Chicano
in a daring move in order to confront the music industry and help American listeners come to grips with America’s second largest minority at that time.
El Chicano was born in a burst of cultural pride in 1970. Keep in mind that until the Chicano civil rights movement in the 1960’s and ‘70’s, the term Chicano had a negative connotation. Mexicanos used Chicano as a put down for Mexican Americans and Anglo society viewed Chicano as a radical and anti-American term. This group of six musicians helped us to understand ‘somos Chicanos’.
KAPP Records released the album Viva Tirado by El Chicano
. The group’s original line-up included: Ersi Arvisu
on tambourine and maracas and vocals on later productions; Andre Baeza
on congas; John DeLuna
on drums; Little Micky Lespron
on guitar; Freddy Sanchez
on electric bass; and
guest column by Xánath Caraza
The Latino Writers Collective (LWC), Kansas City, MO, has been very active at the end of winter this year. As part of the Cuarta Página Reading Series, and in an attempt to contrast the long winter in Kansas City, the LWC has brought color, empowerment, poetry, fiction, and exquisite discussions through the presentations and words of Fred Arroyo and Demetria Martínez.
In chronological order, first, the LWC, in partnership with Kansas City’s Riverfront Reading Series, invited Fred Arroyo for the evening of February 26, 2010 at the Writers Place. Fred Arroyo is a professor at Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa. His novel, The Region of Lost Names (University of Arizona Press, 2008) was a finalist for the 2008 Premio Aztlán and a finalist for the 2008 One Brown Book, One Nation Reading Program. Arroyo read exerpts of his novel and his new short story A Case of Consolation.
The Writers Place had a full house the evening of the event. An exquisite Q&A session followed Arroyo’s reading to finalize the night with a book signing session. The next day, February 27, the LWC met with Arroyo again at the Writers Place for a friendly potluck and discussion session. LWC members were enthusiastic with their questions about habits needed to develop as a writer. Arroyo, a renaissance man himself, very graciously shared his own experiences in becoming a writer with LWC members.
“Inspiration is always welcome but developing your own rituals as a writer is an important part of becoming one” in Arroyo’s words. Miguel Morales, a LWC member, asked Arroyo about telling stories that have already been told many times in the past by others. What Arroyo shared with the LWC was that even while some of the experiences of Latinos are similar and may have been written before, Latino authors have to keep telling these stories because each author adds freshness and insight out of the unique experience and perspective of the author.
LWC members always enrich and grow as writers from the opportunity to exchange experiences with and listen to established authors such as Fred Arroyo and Demetria Martínez.
LWC’s next Cuarta Página event was the evening of March 3rd in collaboration with the wonderful