The New Republic has a story out about a collaboration between photographer Richard Misrach and composer Guillermo Galindo: “Their images, music, and sculptures give voice to the millions of border-crossers for whom the journey signifies the difference between money and poverty, safety and death.” As they traveled the length of the border between Mexico and the United States, Misrach took photos and Galindo collected artifacts that he used to create music and even musical instruments. I worry about this travel-the-border-while-having-very-deep-thoughts journey becoming a cliché (which is not to say I haven’t walked along the fence in El Paso thinking deeply and taking photographs!), but the beauty of Misrach’s photos (and their clear superiority over mine!) won me over at least this one time. The one above is from Brownsville, but it reminds me of an admittedly less-green part of San Elizario, where the fence runs right up against people’s yards. It’s also a good reminder of one of the scary aspects of the fence, which is the fact that it hides the Rio Grande from towns like Brownsville or El Paso which only exist of it. So maybe they’re nothing to be too cheery about, but enjoy the great photos anyway!
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.
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.