The political passion of Eva Longoria | 1843

It’s not often that any Chicano politics, make it into the international press, so it’s pretty cool to see a good profile of the most famous daughter of Corpus Christi in 1843 Magazine, a recent offshoot of the UK-based Economist. (On the other hand, maybe it’s sad that articles like this have to come from the United Kingdom?). Eva Longoria has long been active in the Chicano community and in 2013 even went to CSU Northridge and got herself a Master’s degree in political science and Chicano studies with a thesis on “the obstacles that keep young Latina women from studying science, mathematics and engineering”. And what’s more:

Her volumes of anthropology, immigration policy, Chicano poetry and Latino politics bristle with colour-coded Post-it bookmarks, and their pages are dense with highlighter pen notes.

That’s right, “volumes of…Chicano poetry”! OMG!! Someone (ahem, Mr. Bastón) get this woman a gift subscription to Huizache!

Once the World’s Most Dangerous City, Juárez Returns to Life

Sam Quiñones gives a (mostly) hopeful portrait of El Paso’s sister city in this month’s National Geographic.

For many El Pasoans like myself, Juárez has always felt partly like a neighbor and largely like an exotic land on another planet. The big crime waves of the last decades–first all the maquila violence of the 90s and then the cartel wars of the 00s–heightened that sense of Juárez’ other-worldliness, even while it brought many people and businesses from Juárez into El Paso. So, for those of us who dream that the two cities will get closer in the future, that the border will get de-militarized, and even that the Río Grande can be cleared of enough Border Patrol cars and fences and barbed wire to once again look like a Río, articles like this one are cause for happiness.

Quinõnes has always done fantastic reporting on cultural crossings between the US and Mexico, both along the physical border and far from it. His book Dreamland recently won the National Book Critics Circle Award. And even more significantly (well, maybe not) than winning one of the biggest nonfiction prizes in the country, it was reviewed by yours truly in the Texas Observer a few months back.

Emilio Navaira, Tejano Star on Both Sides of Border, Dies at 53 – The New York Times

The news is sad, but the fact that this made the news is good. Great that Emilio Navaira, who was born in San Anto and studied music and Texas State, achieved such success making Tejano music and helped bring some attention to the cultura of Tejas. According to the article, Navaira

disputed the idea that a Spanish-language artist like him could not find mainstream success in the United States. “Hey, man,” he said. “I was born in America, too.”

Send love to the family down in South Texas, and enjoy the videos in the articles.

Source: Emilio Navaira, Tejano Star on Both Sides of Border, Dies at 53 – The New York Times

My 10 Favorite Books: Marlon James

Marlon James, whose most recent novel A Brief History of Seven Killings, is winning every prize a novel can win, shows he’s not just a great writing talent but a man of impeccable taste in literature. In this little piece for the NY Times about “the titles he’d most want with him on a desert island” (a side note–I can’t help thinking it’d make more sense to ask a Jamaicans books he’d take to the mainland), he writes:

I sometimes wonder if I’m the only person to realize that the collected Palomar stories, from one half of Los Bros Hernandez, adds up to the finest American novel of the past 30 years?

He’s probably not the only person that loves Gilbert Hernandez’ Palomar: The Heartbreak Soup Stories, but there are certainly not enough others. Read the whole thing at the NYT site: My 10 Favorite Books: Marlon James.

Gina Chavez on NPR

Gina Chavez, Tiny Desk Concert

Over the last few months a lot of people around the country have been discovering Austin-based singer Gina Chavez. Her album Up.Rooted, which also has the sounds of Austin legends Grupo Fantasma, sounds great, and she was recently featured on NPR’s show/podcast alt.latino. Even more importantly she did one of those wonderful NPR Tiny Desk Concerts. This seemed a good time to encourage everyone to check her out since she just did a couple of shows out here in East Texas (in Austin and Houston). Wherever you are, I hope you get to make it to one of her shows!

Lysa Flores

Lysa Flores

Lysa Flores just played a great show for the Huizache launch party (thanks again Lysa!). In this internet age, there’s no reason why all of you who missed the party need to miss out on Lysa’s music. You can listen to a lot of her tracks at her own website, and YouTube has a cool video of her covering the Joy Division classic Love Will Tear Us Apart. The audio’s not perfect, but the video gives you an idea how great a performer Lysa is, and if you watch closely, you can see Alfredo Ortiz, who also played the launch party, on drums.

THIS WEEK ON LATINOPIA 1.24.16

The good folks over at latinopia.com have just posted a video of me talking about Mexican American Literature: A Portable Anthology, an awesome new book I co-edited with Huizache EIC Dagoberto Gilb.

If you don’t know Latinopia, you’ve been missing out. Latinopia is an incredible online resource, full of video interviews, profiles, readings, recipes, music, blogs and all sorts other things Chicano and Latino, with more stuff getting added all the time. The site owes its existence to the tremendous effort and talents of producer Jesus Treviño. Jesus has been gathering materials for pretty much forever, so the site has decades of images and videos that you would never find if not for the site. One of my favorites is a video of José Montoya reading his legendary poem “El Louie” about a pachuco who, just like me and Jesus, is from ol’ EPT.

Huizache Comes to Los Angeles!

Huizache is not just a plant and not just a magazine–it’s a party, too! Last week we held a launch party for Huizache #5 in Los Angeles, complete with magazines, tacos al pastor, and music by the beautiful and talented Lysa Flores! ¿Que mas se puede pedir? This was the second time we’ve done this in LA, and we hope to bring the party to other cities throughout the year. For those of you that missed out, we’ve got pictures from the event.

Here’s singer/songwriter/guitarist/badass-punk-rocker Lysa Flores. She’s backed by the great Alfredo Ortiz (of Ozomatli and Beastie Boys fame) on drums and Giovanni (likely to be famous in the future for his own guitar and singing talents) on bass guitar:

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Vickie Vértiz gave an emotional reading of one of her own poems along with a translation of one by her husband:

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We also had readings from two poets who appear in the latest issue of Huizache:

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And here’s Dagoberto Gilb with one of our hosts, Héctor Tobar:

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Rediscovered: Los Lobos Podcast

This may be old news for some, but I just found came across it so it’s new news to me! There’s a great podcast called “The Latin Alternative” coming out of Albany, New York and there’s an entire episode from early 2014 devoted to the great Angeleno band Los Lobos, starring Louis Perez, the band’s singer and guitarist. Perez and the host get through the obligatory mention of La Bamba right away, and then go through the forty year (!) history of the band, tell some stories and play some tracks from old and newer albums.  The interview is great, the music is great, and Louis Perez even says something great that reminded me of the whole project of Huizache:

There’s this whole thing that’s happening that there’s like a new generation of Latin […or…] Chicano artists that are moving way beyond where one would expect…Chicano music to go, while still maintaining a lot of their integrity and sensibilities to the community and their culture, which is a lot like what we’ve done. And it’s just great to see young people just carrying that torch on forward, and there’s a lot of amazing groups out there.

As in music, so in literature! Here’s the whole interview:

 

The hosts of the podcast note the curious place of American-born music within the Latin Alternative genre (ie, it is mostly ignored), so it’s great to see Los Lobos getting their propers on the show. All the episodes of the podcast, with tons of excellent music chosen by hosts Josh Norek and Ernesto Lechner, can be found here, and the show’s homepage is here.

from Huizache #5

Suzi Writes a Poem

Jessica Helen Lopez

for Resolana Heartfire, in solidarity with Katrina Guarascio,
notorious corrupter of children

Suzi write a poem
Write a poem Suzi

You will need a pencil
lined paper and the ability
to abide by the rules

Suzi listen
Follow Suzi follow
my instruction Suzi squeeze
your poem like a baby bird
between the palm
That’s a simile Suzi
Write a simile Suzi

Sarah follow suit Sarah
Sarah follow Suzi

Sarah write a poem
Write a poem Sarah

No Suzi you may not write
about the dream you dreamed
last night Suzi
No Sarah no poems
about Bengal tigers and
motorcycle gangs
no whips chains or politics Suzi
Suzi what did I say Suzi
Be a positive role model for Tommy

Tommy write a poem Tommy

No Tommy you may not write about your father Tommy
Suzi your poem is on fire Suzi
We don’t like poems that self-immolate Suzi
Suzi your poem is bleeding all over the floor Suzi
Sarah sanitize Suzi for the sake of
Common Core and all that is good in the world
Wash your poem Suzi

Tommy take a tip from Suzi
Tommy be clean Tommy

Tommy take it to the river
beat your poem against the
sun-bleached stones Tommy
Suzi your poem is too hot
Suzi
too dirty

Suzi
too dark
too tell it on the mountain Suzi
too syllabic Suzi
too Nora Zeale Hurston for me Suzi
too multilingual Suzi
too narrative
too satirical
too surreal
too real

Sarah I said to write a poem
follow appropriate instructions Sara
Suzi like baking a cake
be a good girl Suzi
Write your poem
Suzi
Here let me
Tommy
Sarah
Suzi

let me
add a pinch of personification
write metaphor with moderation
forgo too much alliteration Suzi
too much alliteration sounds too Spanglish Suzi
sounds like rap Suzi

like hip-hop
like a bastard tongue
like a patois
like a borderland
like a poem with no passport
You don’t want your poem deported, now do you Tommy?
Suzi?
Sarah?
Tommy
Tommy

Write about safe things Suzi
Suzi write of chaste things Suzi
Sarah write about Sarah but not too much Sarah, Sarah

And for Christ’s Sake don’t write about Christ
Don’t crucify your poem, Suzi

Suzi stop staring at clouds
No you may not write about clouds Suzi
No not about burning tongues and raised fists Sarah
No not about flying guitars and anarchy Tommy
No not about razor blades or vaginas Suzi
Yes, I know you have a vagina Suzi
Don’t write it about it Suzi

What are you feminist?
We don’t write about the F word, Suzi
Sarah

Sarah
Suzi
Tommy

We don’t write about war or APD police brutality or the homeless
We don’t write about sex or sexuality or sexual orientation

No depression, Sarah
No cutting, Tommy
No teenage pregnancy, Suzi

We just
don’t Suzi

We don’t
We don’t
We don’t

Suzi standardize your poem Suzi

Suzi write a poem
dear heart
write a poem
Suzi

Jessica Helen Lopez is a slam poet from New Mexico. Her first collection of poetry was Always Messing With Them Boys, and her second was Cunt. Bomb. Her most recent collection, The Language of Bleeding: Poems for the International Poetry Festival, Nicaragua, is a limited release. The founder of La Palabra: The Word Is a Woman Collective, Lopez is Albuquerque’s poet laureate.