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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: rudolfo anaya, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 14 of 14
1. Comics Take Center Stage For This Year’s Banned Books Week Celebration

banned-comicsThe American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression will celebrate Banned Books Week from September 21st to September 27th.

The organization plans to shine a spotlight on graphic novels and comics. Judith Platt, chair of the Banned Books Week National Committee, had this statement in a press release: “This year we spotlight graphic novels because, despite their serious literary merit and popularity as a genre, they are often subject to censorship.”

The American Library Association recently revealed the top ten list of most frequently challenged books for this year. Jeff Smith’s comic series, Bone, occupies the #10 spot. Earlier this year, Smith designed the cover for Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s Banned Books Week Handbook. Follow this link to access a free digital copy. Check out the entire list after the jump.


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2. Ruben Salazar Mementos. Water&Power. Sci-fi Latinos. Anaya Conference

The Papers That He Kept

Michael Sedano

Wednesday morning select television viewers will wake with knowledge and rekindled interest in Ruben Salazar’s role in U.S. history. That’s the morning after tonight’s PBS showcase of “Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle—A Voces Special Presentation.”

PBS promises the film “removes Salazar from the glare of myth and martyrdom and offers a clear-eyed look at the man and his times. The film, produced and directed by Phillip Rodriguez, includes interviews with Salazar’s friends, colleagues and family members, and Salazar’s own words culled from personal writings” that included a private journal."

USC’s Boeckmann Center for Iberian & Latin American Studies holds Salazar’s personal papers. Doheny Memorial Library catalogs the trove as Correspondence,
Photographs, Realia.

Researchers can cull through the literary and printed ephemera that a man like Ruben Salazar chooses to accumulate, stuff important for a reason--that moment, a smile, a reverie.

The papers tell their own Salazar documentary. There’s the newspaperman’s string book; of hundreds of bylines he keeps a select few, by himself, by other writers.

He keeps his parents’ passports, his high school diploma, a warm letter from Otis Chandler. The family includes something Ruben Salazar never saw, a surveillance frame of the target walking along Whittier Blvd. on August 29, 1970 toward the Silver Dollar Cafe.

Salazar was one of three chicanos killed during a day of police rioting (Lyn Ward and Angel Diaz died in separate incidents). Until that day, Ruben Salazar served as a one-man information resource about chicanos in the sixties. He informed a cross-section of Angelenos while empowering his subject matter.

Salazar introduced chicanos to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, authoring  Stranger in One’s Land.

As a Los Angeles Times reporter, Salazar's beat revolved around the region’s growing raza presence.

When Salazar took over the television news operation for KMEX, Salazar brought informed journalism to the region’s millions of Spanish-speakers.

Some think encouraging the movimiento through fair reporting, and riling up the Mexicans with unbiased news, made Ruben Salazar dangerous. And that got him killed.

Aztlán and Viet Nam:
Chicano and Chicana Experiences of the War. 

Ed. George Mariscal  pp199-200
That "US" in front of the serial number means Draftee. Here 23-year old Ruben Salazar demonstrates superior proficiency in military correspondence over a 35 hour course he completed on December 21, 1951. Pre-information age, every form was typed by hand. The Army churned out so many Military Correspondence students the Certificate is torn from a perforated roll just large enough to contain the words.

The typist—likely Salazar himself—makes a typo, Supeiior, that he overstrikes with an “r.” He's a bit sloppy with his shift key causing some capital letters to jump up off the baseline. Good enough for government work.

Barbara Robinson, who manages the Boeckmann collections, leafs through a binder. The Salazar collection isn’t large, a few lineal feet of shelf space in the vast archives of USC’s Doheny Memorial Library. For me, there’s sweet coincidence—not an irony—Doheny library lies only a few miles south of the places where Salazar spent much of his work life, the Times and KMEX. 

A handful of cardboard boxes, some clear plastic bins, a Samsonite briefcase. This is not the stuff generally found in the public records of Salazar’s accomplishments and memorials. These are Ruben Salazar’s personal papers, the mementoes he kept for himself, his private persona. Here’s his stringbook, his birth certificate, his Army MOS qualification. His parents’ Mexican passports. His high school diploma from El Paso High, jumbled together, each document tells its own story.

El Paso High School diploma, January 1946. His birth registry places that event in Juarez. He enrolls in El Paso public schools. He keeps an elementary school achievement, and his diplomas.

Felix Gutíerrez and Barbara Robinson inspect the Mexican passorts in Salazar's parents names. Gutíerrez, a professor at USC, worked with Los Salazar to bring the papers to the Boeckmann Center.

Doheny Library's ever-growing Chicana Chicano and Latin American Literature collection offers formidable resources for scholarly researchers. Robinson's stewardship of the Boeckmann collection ensures solid holdings of Chicana Chicano titles, as well as a rich store of Spanish language resources.  

Samsonite attaché cases were a useful fashion rage in the late 1960s. Hard shell case and roomy insides protected files, loose change, flat materials. Salazar's was empty.

Salazar's career was reaching apogee in 1970, as this Newsweek magazine article, "Chicano Columnist," indicates. The caption below the foto reads Shake the Establishment, a reputation Salazar earned not as a campaigner but as a working journalist who reported what he saw. 

Everyday ephemera includes notes, postcards, business cards, manila envelopes with folded anonymous papers the journalist and private man kept with him. 

One file folder holds a b&w glossy with Salazar, Otis Chandler, and Marilyn Brant, along with a letter from Otis. There's also a snapshot portrait of Salazar at his typewriter.

In his holiday letter, publisher Otis Chandler congratulates employee Salazar on a string of successes, including returning from Saigon. 

Chandler probably enclosed a check, given the publisher's bonhomie and allusion to Salazar's importance to the paper. The postscript alludes to something Salazar published that drew some judge's ire. Just reporting what's there to report, the p.s. affirms, "Hell, all you did was cut him up beautifully!"

Included in the documents Salazar kept are a receipt for registry of his birth in Juarez, his Army MOS certificate, a draft of one of his final bylined columns, a 1939 elementary school certification for reading 20 books, a portrait of teenager Ruben Salazar.

The published version of this draft ran in the Times on July 17, 1970. A month later, Salazar will become a hero malgre lui.

Gutíerrez touches Salazar's figure. In the police surveillance photo, Salazar walks from Laguna Park to the Silver Dollar Cafe.

Water&Power Opens May 2

The fourth chicanarte film of 2014 debuts in selected AMC theaters May 2, Richard Montoya's screen adaptation of his taut stage drama Water&Power.

Water&Power comes in the wake of three razacentric offerings, Cesar Chavez, Cesar's Last Fast, and the Ruben Salazar documentary PBS aired last night.

Montoya's project comes with high hopes of setting attendance records for an indie project. Based on the theatrical trailer below, Montoya's noir drama comes with highly stylized cinematography and directorial vision that should be a visual and narrative delight.

La Bloga looks forward to hearing your views, and those of your friends, on Water&Power. Why not Organize a big group of friends to celebrate Cinco de Mayo weekend by taking in dinner and a movie?

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UC Riverside Hosts Latinos in Sci-Fi Wednesday April 30.

Science fiction and speculative fiction writers and readers will convene in room INTS 1113 on the UCRiverside campus for a 10 a.m. panel featuring trailblazing writers of speculative and science fiction.

Following lunch and informal discussion, a short film screening and panel titled “Latinos in Hollywood and Beyond” will take place, featuring Jesús Treviño, writer and director of “Star Trek: Voyager,” “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” “SeaQuest DSV,” and “Babylon 5”; Michael Sedano, La Bloga Latino literature blogger; and UCR Ph.D. candidates Danny Valencia, Rubén Mendoza and Paris Brown, who will address the topics of Latino science fiction, SF as pedagogy in Latino communities, and Mexican dystopias and religion, respectively.

The all day event enjoys sponsorship from Department of English CHASS Tomás Rivera Chair Eaton Collection, UCR Libraries Department of Comparative Literature Department of Media and Cultural Studies Mellon Science Fiction Group, Center for Ideas and Society.

The event is open to the public and is free, other than campus parking fees, and meals.

The Science Fiction and Technoculture Studies (SFTS) program at UC Riverside began in 2007 when College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Studies Dean Stephen Cullenberg decided that the college should have an academic unit to complement the strength of the Eaton Science Fiction Collection in the UCR Libraries, Vint said.

Drawing on faculty from across the college, the SFTS program enables students to develop a critical understanding of the cultures of science and their dialectical exchanges with contemporary popular culture. The program currently offers a designated emphasis at the Ph.D. level and soon will offer an undergraduate minor. The curriculum encompasses courses in the social study of science and medicine, the history of technology, creative expression addressing relevant themes, cultural analysis of print and media texts dealing with science and technology, and the cultural differences in technology, including non-western scientific practices.

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Cal State LA Hosts Anaya Conference Friday and Saturday May 2 and 3

On Friday and Saturday, May 2-3, Cal State L.A. will host a free scholarly and literary forum focusing on well-known Chicano writer Rudolfo Anaya and his literary work, which spans more than 40 years. Anaya belongs to the first generation of Chicano writers who pioneered and charted one of the most vigorous and theoretically-grounded ethnic literatures in the United States.

Featuring scholars representing Asia, Germany, Mexico and the United States, the 2014 Conference on Rudolfo Anaya: Tradition, Modernity, and the Literatures of the U.S. Southwest includes two plenary sessions  on topics ranging from Anaya's novels to Mesoamerica and the U.S. Southwest.

"This conference proposes a re-examination of Anaya's work according to the several phases of his writing, from the early New Mexico trilogy that began with Bless Me, Ultima (1972), to his most recent novels, such as Randy López Goes Home (2011), and The Old Man's Love Story (2013)," explained Professor Roberto Cantú, who is the conference organizer.

The conference opens on Friday, May 2, at 8:30 a.m. with hospitality coffee and pastry, followed by a powerful day of lecture and discussion by a cast of international scholars. Saturday's events likewise commence at 8:30.

Rudolfo Anaya donates two cases to the Librotraficantes who smuggled the books
into Arizona, where Bless Me, Ultima was banned and removed from classrooms

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3. Conference Time. News 'n notes.

Michael Sedano

University Conference on Latino Culture and Science Fiction April 30.

The University of California, Riverside hosts a trailblazing academic inquiry into science fiction and speculative fiction written by raza writers in a gathering of casí all the raza writers of science fiction and speculative literature.

The April 30 conference arrives at a time of literary ferment when writers and readers come to the book market with higher expectations than publishers can understand.

The conference explores how six writers get their books to market, the role of sci-fi and speclit genres in United States letters, the nature of literary exclusion, and stories about what each writer brings to readers.

The morning panel joins almost all raza published authors of the genres into the same room at the same time. Hosted by UCR’s Professor of Science Fiction Media Studies, Sherryl Vint, the discussions will be classics among literary conferences. Mario Acevedo’s and Jésus Treviño’s vampire fiction meets Rudy Ch. García’s and Treviño’s dimensional surrealism. Rosaura Sánchez and Beatrice Pita’s lunar braceros meet el padrino of Chicano sci-fi Ernest Hogan’s mexicas in outerspace. Y más.

In the afternoon, Michael Sedano and UCR graduate students join the circle to include critical perspectives and readerly responses to these sci-fi and speclit genres, and to join the audience in speculation into what directions each sees raza speculative literature and science-fiction taking.

A grand event in the late afternoon, years in the making, puts a capstone on the conference.

See Rudy Ch. Garcia’s Saturday, April 26 column for building/meeting-room specifics.

The beautiful Riverside campus is freeway convenient off the 60/215, in Susan Straight country.

Conference on Rudolfo Anaya: Tradition, Modernity, and the Literatures of the U.S. Southwest May 2-3.

La Bloga friend Roberto Cantú brings the most arrestingly interesting academic conferences to Southern California and the east side of the LA basin. May 2-3, Cantú surpasses himself with a conference dedicated to La Bloga friend Rudolfo Anaya and literature of the US Southwest.

Scholars from New Mexico to old Germany will lecture, moderate, and sit panel presentations.

Four keystone fiction writers take the lectern during the conference, Ana Castillo, Rolando Hinojosa-Smith, Reyna Grande, and Mario Acevedo, fresh from his stunning appearance UCR's raza in spec lit and sci-fi conference.

The Anaya conference on the campus of California State University Los Angeles in El Sereno is free and open to public visitors for just the cost of parking or a short walk from the bus station. There is no light rail serving this campus directly.

A word of caution: parking rules are posted so you can read them and avoid a ticket. Be assured local regulations are strictly enforced.

The conference is sponsored by Cal State L.A.'s Gigi Gaucher-Morales Memorial Conference Series, the College of Arts and Letters, the College of Natural and Social Sciences, the Department of Chicano Studies, the Department of English, the Barry Munitz Fund, and the Emeriti Association.

See the conference website for details.

Writing Workshop With Ana Castillo

© foto: workshop at NLWC in 2011

Working with a seasoned writer to develop ideas, polish writing, glean insights from conversation often comes with the payoff of better writing, an improved attitude. This happens for beginners as well as polished authors.

The opportunity to work with one of Chicana Chicano Literature's most accomplished talents, Ana Castillo, should quickly fill the handful of seats available on May 3 through auspices of La Bloga friend Iris de Anda and Mujeres de Maíz.

 Visit the workshop Facebook page for your invitation. There is a fee for the workshop.

Writing Workshop for Newer Writers in East Los

La Bloga friend Sam Quinones organizes a writing workshop series for those who've never published before, Tell Your True Tale.

Students from recent workshops appear Saturday April 26 at the  East L.A. Public Library at 2:30 pm. The East LA Public Library awaits your attendance at 4837 E 3rd St, LA, 323-264-0155.

Quinones' workshops revolve around insisting stories fit in limited space. Tell Your True Tale approach forces writers to hone their thoughts and imagination, eliminate unnecessary words, make the hard choices that are part of strong writing, no matter the genre.

The Saturday event showcases the students' work with, according to Quinones, stunning variety and quality of stories: A vet returning home from Vietnam; a janitor in Houston trying to find her children in Mexico; of braceros finding their way north and back home again; a man learning confidence as he woos a woman; a bus rider in Los Angeles; a mariachi singing for a heartbroken family on Christmas Eve.

Find details on the workshops here.

Free Poetry Column Follow-Up: Veterans Land.

I noted in La Bloga's coverage of the Grand Park Downtown Bookfest that one organization performs Shakespeare with kids on the grounds of the Veteran's Center and elsewhere. The observation draws a response from the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles Associate Director of Veteran Affairs Kellogg Brengel.

I receive Brengel's words with appreciation for his organization's role in the VA's efforts helping GIs. LA is the homeless GI capital of the world. It's a moral outrage that so many of these men and women are walking wounded soldiers not receiving the care we owe them. I am a Veteran of the US Army but no one needs to be a Veteran to be outraged by this crud.

For Veterans and supporters of Veterans, a critical issue simmers just at the surface of efforts like the Shakespeare Center and other companies. Many, if not all, private or non-Veteran users of the West LA Veterans home lost a federal case and will have to vacate VA land, absent some amicable resolution that benefits Veterans more than others. A commercial laundry, the UCLA baseball team, an exclusive Brentwood girls' school, a theatre, all don't want to leave low-cost Veteran land for market-rate facilities.

Mr. Brengel notes the program goes into its third year on the VA campus, he says, supported by a veteran workforce. Working with the VA's Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, SCLA has hired a total of 61 veterans over the past two summers and because of our free admission policy for  veterans, active military, their families, friends and caregivers/VA employees, SCLA has given away 5,665 tickets to our summer performances.  

The veterans we hire are recruited from the VA's Veterans Community Employment Development program which helps find supported employment opportunities for veterans enrolled in VA services who are chronically unemployed, homeless, and/or receiving psycho-social rehabilitative treatment. 

Veterans receive paid on-the-job training and work in all aspects of the production including: production and venue crews, audio engineer, wardrobe assistant, ushers, parking attendants, and site-specific marketing. The transitional work experience this program provides has been a great success and we are very much looking forward to being back in the Japanese Garden for the summer of 2014. 

A ver.

La Bloga Welcomes Guest Columnists

Thank you for reading La Bloga. When you have a comment, a need to enlarge, clarify, or correct La Bloga's coverage of literatura, cultura, arte, o más, don't hide that light of yours under a bushel basket, dale shine. Contact La Bloga here for particulars of your Guest Column, or email labloga@readraza punto com. Of the eleven daily blogueras blogueros, eight began writing for La Bloga as Guest Columnists.

Late-arriving News

Just as I was putting La Bloga to bed, this opportunity pulls into sight.

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4. Bless Me, Última Week schedule

For this 5 de Mayo, beginning tomorrow, gente all across the Internet can join La Bloga in celebrating the 40th anniversary of TQS’ publication of Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless Me, Última.

Visit La Bloga each day as we share observations reflecting on Rudolfo Anaya’s career, influence and writing. Join the appreciation by leaving Comments for Don Rudy. [You can also contribute to La Bloga's Bless Me, Última Week, April 29–May 5, in honor of Anaya's master work. See Saturday's entry below for info.]

April 29 Sunday. Amelia Montes.
Teaching Última texts.Amelia's column on the teaching of the book and what other texts complement teaching his and why--especially texts now banned in Arizona and Mexican American/Chicano Studies being outlawed there. Una conversación regarding la literatura!

April 30 Monday. Dan Olivas.
Anaya's influence on authors. Dan has some great comments from writers about the influence of Última on their writing. He's compiled discussions on their relationship to Anaya's novel and its impact on Chicano and Latino writers.

May 1 Tuesday. Michael Sedano.
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5. LA Times Book Prize Winners Revealed

This year’s winners of the Los Angeles Los Angeles Times Book Prizes have been revealed, celebrating the best books of the year.

Below, we’ve linked to free samples of the award-winning books for your reading pleasure. The winners were revealed at ceremony on Friday.

GalleyCat covered the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books all weekend. The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman told us how to pitch a comic book to publishers and three nonfiction writers shared The Only 3 Pieces of Writing Advice You Will Ever Need to Read.


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6. On-Line Floricanto Wrapping March

Librotraficante Phase II – the FU

Michael Sedano

“Something is wrong in this country,” the waiter said, then the headlines screamed Trayvon Martin was gunned down then someone died to give Dick Cheney a heart and gente like that waiter stopped thinking about the banned books that remain banned.

So it goes. Book banning enters the churn.

Now los Librotraficantes and those likewise outraged by Tucson AZ racists banning books face the key stage in any endeavor: FU.

Either Follow Up or Foul Up. Follow Up and keep alive the message. Foul up and become flavor-of-the-month, last month’s causa.

“When Arizona decided to erase our history,” Tony Diaz says, “we decided to make more history.”

Beneath the insouciance glares a serious mission, to make history. Of course, one cannot not make history. The wetbooks imperative holds there be one continuous voice out of the future through the present and into the past to time immemorial. It’s why the current literary movimiento should have staying power.

Moral imperative alone isn't enough. Staying power means a message finds its audience. The audience forms an attitude. For Tony Diaz and the Librotraficante busriders, the opportunity opens to stoke intensity among like-minded listeners.

Los Librotraficantes continue a P.R. program, announcing Phase II of their plan on their website. Houston is home base for los wetbooks right now, with media hubs coming out of Alburquerque and Los Angeles, helping find audiences.

Independently, two video sources enrich the outlook for ongoing expressions from the caravan, the host of the Alburquerque fundraiser, the Alburquerque Cultural Conference, and Latinopia.

Latinopia is the video host of both the ACC-produced fundraiser video and an upcoming series of La

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7. What does he do with the 90 percent?

Albuquerque Journal,  Letters,  March 3, 2012, page A7.
Southwest Studies Better Than Honors
    UNIVERSITY of New Mexico Provost Chaouki Abdallah wants to establish an Honors College. I propose UNM establish a Southwest Studies College.

    The honors program at UNM has greatly benefited the university, but the university will never be recognized in the region as an "honors center."  We could become a center for Southwest studies from California to Texas, from Wyoming to northern Mexico.

    Abdallah goes on to say the honors college would attract the top 10 percent of high school graduates. What does he do with the 90 percent?

    We need to educate all UNM students in the humanities of the Southwest. An education in all facets of Southwest studies would enrich our students and UNM's graduation rate.

    Students who know their history and their role in the region can play important roles in the world. Students grounded in the humanities can pursue any professional career they desire.

    Come on, UNM, let's be a center for this big region we love. Yes, recruit bright students, but don't forget the 90 percent.


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8. Review: Anaya's Billy the Kid. Mural Restored. Champions. On-Line Floricanto.

Review: Rudolfo Anaya. Billy the Kid and other plays.

Rudolfo Anaya. 
Billy the Kid and Other Plays. Afterword By: Cecilia J. Aragón , Robert Con Davis-Undiano. Norman: UOklahoma Press, 2011.
ISBN: 9780806142258

Michael Sedano

There's a burden on Rudolfo Anaya's back that rivals Sisyphus' rock: being "El abuelo" the "founding father" de Chicana Chicano Literature. It is his fault, after all, that Bless Me, Ultima is the megaseller it has become so he must accept that responsibility. Fortunately, unlike that accursed's mythical burden, an ever-inspired Anaya easily shoulders his on to myriad heights.

2012 marks the fortieth anniversary of publication by TQS of Bless Me, Ultima. (Look for a special announcement later at La Bloga.) Aside from illustrating that quality surpasses the limitations of a tiny obscure publisher, Bless Me, Ultima helped bring Chicana Chicano cultura into United States Literature on our own terms.

As if that weren't sufficient career achievement--Harper Lee, recall, published only a single novel in her career--Anaya goes beyond Ultima to bring readers childrens books, warm folktales, travel writing, and edge-of-your-seat detective novels.

Every family should own Serafina's Stories, read it to the kids for bedtime storytime. Once you've read all the way through it, expect the kidlet to request you read it again.

The lesser-known A Chicano in China documents ways a chicano uses his US-bred xenophobia to find bridges across the cultures and personal enchantments. Then there's the uniqueness of it all; how many chicanos are writing about the PRC?

Every reader of detective fiction will want to devour the Sonny Baca novels. From Sonny's first appearance in Alburquerque through the seasons, Zia Summer, Rio Grande Fall, to Jemez Spring. Baca's a great character plus there's fun seeing Anaya in the character "Ben Chavez," and CHICLE-founder Teresa Marquez appear as herself.

Now Rudolfo Anaya's playwriting has been collected in the University of Oklahoma's 2011 Billy the Kid and other plays. The volume is the 10th in the Press' Chicana And Chicano Visions Of The Americas Series. The title piece and "Who Killed Don José?" appeared in The Anaya Reader. Five plays will be new to most readers.

"The Season of La Llorona" is a fitting opening piece for the collection. It echoes the actos of movimiento teatro, and, like any YA piece is transparently designed to instruct. The piece is a visual treat, too, whose setting alternates between Abuelo's lap on Hallowe'en night, and 500 years earlier to Doña Marina and her slavemaster.

A reading through the collection to its final two works, "Billy the Kid" and "Angie,"tracks refinement in the playwrite's art. "Billy" reads vividly. Irrespective of the formalities of a printed script, the narrative flows effortlessly. One hesitates to praise the play for reading like a novel, but Anaya gives the speeches a coherency that fills in the absent narrative.  A play is not prose, but speech. Anaya's ear so effective his characters jump off the page with distinct voices.

Anaya's intent to soften the historical image of cold-blooded murdere

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9. New Books from Heavy Hitters

Thoughts Without Cigarettes: A Memoir
Oscar Hijuelos
Gotham - June, 2011

[from the publisher]
The beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist turns his pen to the real people and places that have influenced his life and, in turn, his literature. Growing up in 1950's working-class New York City to Cuban immigrants, Hijuelos journey to literary acclaim is the evolution of an unlikely writer.

Oscar Hijuelos has enchanted readers with vibrant characters who hunger for success, love, and self-acceptance. In his first work of nonfiction, Hijuelos writes from the heart about the people and places that inspired his international bestselling novels.

Born in Manhattan's Morningside Heights to Cuban immigrants in 1951, Hijuelos introduces readers to the colorful circumstances of his upbringing. The son of a Cuban hotel worker and exuberant poetry- writing mother, his story, played out against the backdrop of an often prejudiced working-class neighborhood, takes on an even richer dimension when his relationship to his family and culture changes forever. During a sojourn in pre-Castro Cuba with his mother, he catches a disease that sends him into a Dickensian home for terminally ill children. The year long stay estranges him from the very language and people he had so loved.

With a cast of characters whose stories are both funny and tragic, Thoughts Without Cigarettes follows Hijuelos's subsequent quest for his true identity into adulthood, through college and beyond-a mystery whose resolution he eventually discovers hidden away in the trappings of his fiction, and which finds its most glorious expression in his best-known book, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love. Illuminating the most dazzling scenes from his novels, Thoughts Without Cigarettes reveals the true stories and indelible memories that shaped a literary genius.

Randy Lopez Goes Home
Rudolfo Anaya
University of Oklahoma Press - June, 2011

[from the publisher]
A new novel by the master storyteller that explores what it means to go home

When he was a young man, Randy Lopez left his village in northern New Mexico to seek his fortune. Since then, he has learned some of the secrets of success in the Anglo world—and even written a book called Life Among the Gringos. But something has been missing. Now he returns to Agua Bendita to reconnect with his past and to find the wisdom the Anglo world has not provided. In t

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10. New from Rudolfo Anaya

The Essays
Rudolfo Anaya
Foreword by Robert Con Davis-Undiano
University of Oklahoma Press

The publisher's announcement:

“The storyteller’s gift is my inheritance,” writes Rudolfo Anaya in his essay Shaman of Words. Although he is best known for Bless Me, Ultima and other novels, his writing also takes the form of nonfiction, and in these 52 essays he draws on both his heritage as a Mexican American and his gift for storytelling. Besides tackling issues such as censorship, racism, education, and sexual politics, Anaya explores the tragedies and triumphs of his own life.

Collected here are Anaya’s published essays. Despite his wide acclaim as the founder of Chicano literature, no previous volume has attempted to gather Anaya’s nonfiction into one edition. A companion to The Man Who Could Fly and Other Stories, the collection of Anaya’s short stories, The Essays is an essential anthology for followers of Anaya and those interested in Chicano literature.

Pieces such as Requiem for a Lowrider, La Llorona, El Kookoóee, and Sexuality, and An American Chicano in King Arthur’s Court take the reader from the llano of eastern New Mexico, where Anaya grew up, to the barrios of Albuquerque, and from the devastating diving accident that nearly ended his life at sixteen to the career he has made as an author and teacher. The point is not autobiography, although a life story is told, nor is it advocacy, although Anaya argues persuasively for cultural change. Instead, the author provides shrewd commentary on modern America in all its complexity. All the while, he employs the elegant, poetic voice and the interweaving of myth and folklore that inspire his fiction. “Stories reveal our human nature and thus become powerful tools for insight and revelation,” writes Anaya. This collection of prose offers abundant new insight and revelation.

Rudolfo Anaya is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of New Mexico. He has received numerous literary awards, including the Premio Quinto Sol and a National Medal of Arts. Anaya and his wife reside in Albuquerque. Robert Con Davis-Undiano, Dean of the Honors College at the University of Oklahoma and Executive Director of World Literature Today, is Neustadt Professor of Comparative Literature.

Anaya has been heavily involved in the Big Read project of the National Endowment for the Arts, including an immensely popular workshop presentation of his play based on Bless Me, Ultima produced by El Centro Su Teatro in Denver. The NEA has posted on its website two versions of A Conversation with Rudolfo Anaya, a film by Lawrence Bridges. You can watch the videos at this link.

The conversation is excellent; I recommend spending the time to watch the video, especially if you are a writer, to gain insight into the process Anaya has used to produce his timeless art and to understand how his intimate relationship with the natural world and his cultural history have infused his writing with the voice and heart of his beloved llano.

Here is the short version of the film:

That's it for this week.


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11. Chicano cultural & literary news!

Libreria Martinez Grand Re-Opening!

We are pleased to inform you, your family and friends about our new address: 1200 N. Main Street Ste. 100D, Santa Ana, CA, formally the children’s bookstore.

In celebration of our new home we are having a Grand Re-Opening event this upcoming week.
It will be Saturday, February 21st with Noche Bohemia featuring newly published author José E. Grijalva author of Vivencias Reflejadas: Una Colección de Poemas en Español, Poet Maricela Loeaza with her works "Poemas por Amor" and Claudia Carbonell with her book "Casa Magica." Also featured will be guitar-maker Monica Esparza, exhibiting her classical and Spanish guitars. 5:00-8:00 pm.

Tenemos el placer de anunciarles a todos nuestros amigos y colaboradores que nos hemos mudado a 1200 N. Main Street Ste. 100D, Santa Ana , CA, antes conocido como la Libreria de los niños.

Con motivo de nuestra Gran Re-Apertura le invitamos a un importante evento a realizarce el Sabado, 21 de Febrero: Noche Bohemia Con protagonista José E. Grijalva autor de Vivencias Reflejadas. Una Colección de Poemas en Español, Poeta Maricela Loeaza y su libro "Poemas por Amor" y Claudia Carbonell con su libro "Casa Magica". Tambien habra exposicion de guitarras clasicas de Monica Esparza. 5:00 - 8:00 pm Libreria Martinez 1200 N. Main St. Suite 100-D Santa Ana , CA, 714.973.7900.

Acevedo fangs again!

Authors' signing event: Sunday, March 1, 2009, 3:00
Denver Book Mall, 32 Broadway (between 1st and Ellsworth Aves), 303-733-3808.

Mario Acevedo will sign Jailbait Zombie, his latest novel about Felix, the vampire PI based in Colorado.
Carrie Vaughn signs Kitty Raises Hell, her sixth book in her internationally loved series about a talk show host who was forced to “come out” as a werewolf. Pre-orders and mail orders always welcome.

Nina Else, Denver Book Mall, 303-733-3808 for any questions.

Free Nymphos!

Also from Mario comes word that "Through 2/24, my publisher is offering a free online read (not a download) of my first book Nymphos of Rocky Flats." Here's the link.

Su Teatro extends Bless Me, Ultima

Because of the excitement and outstanding response (phones are ringing off the hook!) about our new show based on Rudolfo Anaya's Ultima, it will bless us for a few more days.

Su Teatro announces Bless Me, Ultima, the extension!
Added dates (all others sold out): Sunday, March 1 at 3pm Friday, March 13 at 8:05pm Saturday, March 14 at 8:05pm Friday, March 20 at 8:05pm Saturday, March 21 at 8:05pm

Don’t wait. Order your tickets today: 303.296.0219
$18, students/seniors $15, or 12 for $12
El Centro Su Teatro
4725 High Street, Denver

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12. More censoring of Ultima

To the accompaniment of Su Teatro's production of Bless Me, Ultima opening in Denver this week, comes word of Rudolfo Anaya's beloved coming-of-age novel receiving the medieval slap of censorship in California. How much longer before such decayed minds follow the path of the more honorable, but extinct, dinosaurs?

The Chicano classic has sold over a third of a million copies, yet its reputability is often questioned by small minds. Assumedly, its Spanish expletives rank on those who similarly detest the presence of Mexicans in an economy that owes its survive to them.

You can read the whole story here, but as journalist Seema Mehta summarizes in her Feb. 4th article: "Parent Nancy Corgiat first complained to the superintendent about vulgar language, sexually explicit scenes and anti-Catholic bias in the book last summer, and reportedly told the school board in January that the book’s themes 'undermine the conservative family values in our homes.' ” Family values like censorship, no doubt.

All this, despite the fact that the 1972 novel "was spotlighted on former First Lady Laura Bush's must-read list and is the literature selection for this year's state high school Academic Decathlon competition" and was also "chosen by the National Endowment for the Arts as part of its 'Big Read' program. Can we expect the Superintendent and school board of that district to next cut Grapes of Wrath? Oh wait, that was written by an Anglo.

Two-thirds of the rural Newman school district is "Latino," which might be a relevant reason for its former inclusion on required reading lists for schools there. The censorship doesn't pull it off Orestimba High School library shelves, at least, not for the moment. But apparently, "teachers are worried about district plans to review all literature taught in the classroom."

So, if you want to let the school's Principal Terra know what you think of this, Email him at his publicly available address: [email protected]
If you want to contact the Superintendent and school board members, go here.
You might also want to leave a comment below if you want to send Anaya your support, and we'll try to see that he's aware of them.

And if you're in the school area, buy copies of the Ultima as gifts, because "there has been a run on the book at the school library, with a waiting list of students eager to check out the novel."

As one student commented on a school-linked website, "Our school sucks. I demand a better education!" We couldn't agree with him more.

(Thanks to Donaldo Urioste, Professor of Spanish & Chicano Literature at the School of World Languages & Cultures, California State University, Monterey Bay, for bringing this to our attention.)

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13. Lotusland in the Rockies; New from New Mexico


On May 21, Rudy Ch. Garcia and I hosted a reading and signing event for Latinos In Lotusland at the Colfax Avenue version of the Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver. The bookstore people, as always, were gracious and accommodating; the audience was attentive and eager to hear about this amazing collection of short stories that features more than thirty writers; and the night turned into one of those where everything fell into place and a great time was had by all. Camaraderie and affection filled the air as old friends greeted one another with enthusiastic hugs, while strangers shook hands and introduced themselves. Everyone was primed for a literary evening, and no one left disappointed.

A great crowd showed up for the event.

I opened the evening with some comments about Daniel Olivas's original call for "provocative stories ... from social realism to cuentos de fantasma and anything in between" as long as Los Angeles played an integral role. I pointed out that one of Daniel's goals was to bring together some of the "best contemporary Latino fiction" about Los Angeles. And then Rudy and I set out to demonstrate to the audience how well Daniel had succeeded in reaching his goal.

We had decided to give our audience as broad a taste as possible of the varied delicacies in the book by reading short samples from several of the stories. My selections focused on stories about writers, so I proceeded with the opening paragraphs from Luis J. Rodriguez's Miss East L.A., which made the audience laugh, even though there was a certain edge to the laughter. Then a few pithy paragraphs from Wayne Rapp's Just Seven Minutes that made the audience smile knowingly and laugh again; and finally a couple of paragraphs from my own The 405 Is Locked Down.

Rudy continued, in his inimitable style, with more short pieces. He opened with a page from Luis Alberto Urrea's The White Girl, quickly moved to several paragraphs from Frederick Luis Aldama (A Long Story Cut Short); came on strong with choice words from Kathleen de Azevedo's The True Story; and finished with his own LAX Confidential. We both wished we had more time to read more selections, but the ones we did manage to fit in were applauded enthusiastically by the audience. Later, several attendees told us that they appreciated the way we presented the stories, whetting their appetites, leaving them with the desire to hear more and, thus, to buy and read the book.

We answered questions: were there any pachuco stories in the collection (check out Kid Zopilote by Mario Suárez); why is profanity necessary in some stories and not in others (Rudy handled that); would we rather write short stories or novels (we like shorts, we like novels, we just want to write); is there a bias in the publishing world against writers from mid-America (h-m-m-m).

We finished by signing books for those who wanted autographs. We mingled a bit, took a few photos, then several of us ended up at the nearby Neighborhood Flix Café bar, where old and sometimes classic movies show continuously on the walls, and you can take your beverage of choice into the theater to watch movies like The Favor, Anamorph and 21. We toasted the book, toasted one another, and speculated about another short story collection, maybe something like Latinos in the Rocky Mountains. What a night.

Rudy surrounded by his proud family at his first reading for a published story.

The following is from the UNM Press Fall 2008 catalog:

The Song of Jonah
Gene Guerin
In this modern retelling of the Book of Jonah, Fr. Jon, like his biblical counterpart, rejects the call from God to his own “Nineveh.” In an ironic echoing of Jonah’s fate, the priest is swallowed up by a metaphorical whale and deposited on the very shores of the place he was determined to avoid. Nueve Niños, with its long-standing reputation for mistreating its pastors, is an alien world that will prove his ultimate testing ground. Through his slow, often reluctant immersion into the lives of the villagers, Fr. Jon eventually gains insight into himself and his ultimate calling.

Gene Guerin’s novel Cottonwood Saints (UNM Press) won the Mountains and Plains 2007 Regional Book Award for Adult Fiction and the 2006 Premio Aztlán for first-time Hispanic writers. Born and raised in New Mexico, he presently lives in Denver.

ChupaCabra and the Roswell UFO
Rudolfo Anaya

In this second ChupaCabra mystery, Professor Rosa Medina has just arrived in Santa Fe where she meets Nadine, a mysterious sixteen-year-old who insists that the two of them travel to Roswell, New Mexico. Nadine is convinced that C-Force, a secret government agency, has decoded the DNA of ChupaCabra and an extraterrestrial. If the two genomes are combined, a new and horrific life form will be created.

In this fast-paced mystery, Anaya expands the ChupaCabra folklore into a metaphor that deals with the new powers inherent in science. Is ChupaCabra a beast in Latino folktales, used to frighten children, or a lost species being manipulated by C-Force? Rosa’s life hangs in the balance as she and her young accomplice try to find a way to stop C-Force before its mad scientists create a monster.

Rudolfo Anaya has received numerous awards, including the Premio Quinto Sol, the national Chicano literary award, the National Medal of Arts for literature, the PEN Center West Award for Fiction, the American Book Award from The Before Columbus Foundation, the Mexican Medal of Friendship from the Mexican Consulate, and the Western Literature Association’s Distinguished Achievement Award.

Juan the Bear and the Water of Life La Acequia de Juan del Oso
Retold and Translated by Enrique R. Lamadrid and Juan Estevan Arellano; Illustrated by Amy Córdova

La Acequia del Rito y la Sierra in the Mora Valley is the highest and most famous traditional irrigation system in New Mexico. It carries water up and over a mountain ridge and across a sub-continental divide, from the tributaries of the Río Grande to the immense watershed of the Mora, Canadian, Arkansas, and Mississippi Rivers. The names and stories of those who created this acequia to sustain their communities have mostly been lost and replaced by myths and legends. Now, when children ask, some parents attribute the task of moving mountains and changing the course of rivers to Juan del Oso, the stouthearted man whose father was
a bear.

From the mountains of northern Spain to the Andes in South America, Spanish-speaking people have told ancient legends of Juan del Oso and his friends. In this children’s tale, agriculturalist Juan Estevan Arellano and folklorist Enrique Lamadrid share a unique version of a celebrated story that has been told in northern New Mexico for centuries.

Enrique R. Lamadrid, professor of Spanish folklore and literature at the University of New Mexico, was awarded the Americo Paredes Prize in recognition of his work as a cultural activist. Juan Estevan Arellano, a native of Embudo, New Mexico, is a poet, artist, writer, and agronomist. He is an expert in traditional Spanish/Moorish agriculture and the sustaining of traditional crops originally brought to New Mexico from Europe and Central Mexico. Amy Córdova lives in Taos, New Mexico, where she is co-owner of Enger-Córdova Fine Art. She is also an educator and has illustrated many children’s books.


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14. strikes and scripts and stuff

I'm feeling like a particularly bad sort of striker. The WGA strike was called the day before I left LA for the UK, and I've not been within a thousand miles of anywhere that we're picketing since. I get nice emails every day telling me where in New York the pickets are going to be, but New York's a long way away -- for the time span of most of the emails, it's not even in the same country as I am. And now I'm starting to get a bit frantic about the last couple of chapters of THE GRAVEYARD BOOK, I may go to ground to finish them and vanish completely.

But in case anyone had any questions (and judging from the FAQ line, a few people have), yes I wholeheartedly endorse and approve of the strike, and, for whatever it's worth, voted for the strike powers (along with about 95% of the WGA membership, so no surprise there).

The bit of this that puzzles me most is that elsewhere in the world, the idea that the writers get paid when the work is watched online is one that's been taken for granted. If I wrote a TV series for the UK, I'd get less money upfront (not much less) but I'd be well recompensed for repeats, DVDs, internet downloads and so forth. (For whatever it's worth, I get 125 times as much in royalties on a hardback novel as I'd on an equivalently priced DVD.)

At the very end of this post -- in case they break the various RSS feeds -- I'll put two  video summaries of the issues. Partisan, of course. 


Hi Neil,
I went to see Beowulf as soon as it came out and I liked though it didn't quite match up to Stardust which blew me away.
Anyway I thought I had found two mistakes in Beowulf.The first was the mountains of Denmark. This is something Denmark is famous for not having and is a major point for jokes by Icelanders as myself about the country which used to rule us. But then somebody pointed out on the imdb.com forums that though this does not conform to reality it does fit the poem which says:
"'......sailors now could see the land, sea-cliffs shining, steep high hills, headlands broad.' "

Oral tradition does these things to poems. The version was probably not written down by anyone who had ever seen Denmark. Somewhere there might have been versions that speak of the great flatness of Denmark but those are forever lost to us. The other point might be a little harder to explain away by the poem. Iceland is mentioned at least twice in the movie which is out of place since it was probably not inhabited at that time nor is it likely that anyone who might have known of it would have called it by this name. Was it just your love of the country that made you mention it or are there other reasons? Or will you take the high road and blame your co-author? Icelanders will probably not be offended as they do like to hear the country mentioned. Anyway, thanks for writing this journal, it is especially fun for me since you tend to mention both folklore (I am a folklorist) and libraries (I am a library and information scientist) a lot and very favorably too.
warm regards from Cork, Ireland,
Óli Gneisti Sóleyjarson

Yes, the cliffs and high hills are from the poem.

In the script the line of dialogue was,

"They sing our shame from the middle sea to the ice-lands of the north."

I'm not sure whether that's what Anthony Hopkins actually says in the film, though. (And I have no idea where the just-as-anachronistic Vinland line from the Skylding's Watch came from, either. Wasn't in any draft by Roger or me.)

Incidentally, I thought I'd mention again that the Beowulf script book has a lot of the answers to this kind of thing in it, and that none of the descriptions of it currently online seem to explain what kind of thing the book is. 

I found a review (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07320/834312-44.stm) which says, 

How does a script filled with guts and gore and f-bombs become PG-13 animated fare? Witness "Beowulf: The Script Book" (HarperCollins Entertainment, $16.95), which is actually two scripts, both by graphic novelist/author Neil Gaiman and Oscar-winning screenwriter Roger Avary.

The first script is what you get when you combine the writer of "Pulp Fiction" (Avary) and the writer of "Sandman," "Stardust" and "American Gods" (Gaiman), with no rules or outside interference. The second is their draft of the final studio script.

Avary provides a Foreword and "Middleword" that describe his decades-long obsession with "Beowulf" -- a centuries-old, 3,000-line poem -- and his growing compulsion to re-create it onscreen. He eventually, wrenchingly, gives up on directing "Beowulf" in the face of Steven Bing's big bucks and director Robert Zemeckis' passion for the project. Gaiman gives the Afterword, in which he says of the introduction, "Roger Avary is much too honest about getting the script made. That's because Roger is a Holy Madman."

Gaiman and Avary first huddled in Mexico in 1997 to create the tequila-fueled first draft, in which the monster Grendel's penchant for human flesh knows no censorship. It does, however, follow the timeline of the original Old English poem.

Later, they have Zemeckis' input about taking cinematic liberties, along with his blessing to let their imaginations run wild, as his innovative Performance Capture animation process (as seen in "The Polar Express" film) knows no bounds.

The timeline and the setting is changed in the final draft -- instead of a story in two parts and in two countries, Beowulf begins and ends in King Hrothgar's court. Beowulf is awarded Hrothgar's throne rather than return home. Instead of meeting Beowulf as the strapping dragonslayer he becomes, we first meet old King Beowulf in his court ... and it's apparent you're in for a different experience than in the first script.

Just as intriguing as the script changes are those honest Avary moments. For instance, he finally finds peace with giving up his "baby" to Zemeckis when "Z." agrees to use Crispin Glover to portray the monster Grendel. The director had a contentious relationship with the eccentric actor during "Back to the Future 2," which resulted in Glover suing Zemeckis when the director inserted the actor's image into scenes. "To this day, the verdict protects actors from having their likeness used without their blessing," Avary writes.

Still, Glover got the job, and Zemeckis used his newfangled technology to make him into a monster onscreen, which may have been payback enough.

The book of "Beowulf" scripts also contains artist Stephen Norrington's renderings that were commissioned by Avary when he believed he would be directing his first version, further fueling the question asked by presenting two visions back-to-back: "What if ...?"

(The mention in the song, though, is completely my fault. Sorry.)


Hi Neil, I'm a Swedish fan who was hoping to buy some your books from Audible.com, but apparently Audible doesn't sell them to Swedish people. Can you tell me why this is? As there is no Swedish or even European reseller of your books in audio form, this mean nobody gets my money and I'm stuck listening to Orson Scott Card.

There are lots of rights issues around the world that mean that companies don't always sell everything everywhere. On the audio books, you can always buy the CDs and rip them yourself. And there are even some audio books that come with MP3 CDs so you don't have to rip them, just drag them to your MP3 player. (I just checked and Amazon is curently discounting the ANANSI BOYS MP3 CDs, so it's the cheapest way of buying the Anansi Boys audio.)

Neil, I was wondering what you thought about Philip Pullman's books and and the controversy in the united states about the new movie based on his first book.

I like Philip Pullman very much, I like his books ditto, and I think the controversy is stupid. Does that help? 


And here are the videos:

and here's another,

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