April 2012: Victoria Martinez

Welcome poetry month!  Get your poems ready and bring them with you to the next Proyecto Latina because we want to hear them.  Then you are welcome to chime-in on the collaborative poem we are creating in response to the work of our featured artist Victoria Martinez, who is exhibiting a new body of work at Cobalt Studio in April.  Excited to integrate poetry into her work, Victoria is providing pieces of cloth for this activity that will be pieced together to create an exquisite corpse.  As for the Chisme Box–she will be front row, center and provide kudos and a high five if your chismes are in haiku format!

When: Monday, April 16, 2012
Where: Cobalt Studio, 1950 W. 21st St.
Time: 7 p.m.

Victoria Martinez is an interdisciplinary artist from Pilsen who received her BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. She is also a teaching artist who will be collaborating with youth from Yollocalli Arts Reach to create a soft sculpture installation to be exhibited at The Center for Advanced Hindsight at Duke University this summer.

Other Side Breathing a body of work inspired by various sites around Pilsen. They include alleyways, the abandoned mini mall on Cermak, the late La Unica taco shack, a flower shop and convenient stores. Upon the completion of exhibit, installations will be planted at designated sites and left to rest, live or disappear.

10.17.11: Spotlight on multi-media maven Stephanie Manriquez

photo credit: Thelma Uranga

Sometimes we like to go “backstage” and scout out the Latina talent in the wings–the people with the skills to make those in the spotlight shine a little brighter.  These are the shyer counterparts to limelight lovers and often the work they do is equally amazing and just as important.  We are pretty excited to hear that Stephanie Manriquez, the Proyecto Latina feature in October will be arriving with a multi-media presentation of her work.  Our reading series continues to tour the south side and we are thrilled to be returning to  the Carlos and Dominguez Fine Arts Gallery.  As always the Chisme Box will be taking your confessional and gossipy bits.  We want to know what you’ve been working on so make sure to ask about Open mic sign-up if you plan to participate.

Monday, October 17, 2011 @ 7 p.m.

Carlos & Dominguez Fine Arts Gallery
1538 W. Cullerton
Chicago, Il 60608

Stephanie Manriquez is a writer and an independent radio producer, a cultural worker and social activist.  A native of Mexico City  where she also obtained a degree in Marketing from the Instituto Politécnico Nacional at the age of sixteen.  In 2001 she moved to the Chicago and began her work with public radio— during her tenure at Radio Arte, WRTE Chicago, she participated in programs such as Homofrecuencia ultimately becoming a co-producer, Chronicles of an Announced Interview and Polyforum —a program dedicated to the local arts scene and recognized for its original direction and production

While working at Radio Arte, Stephanie satisfied her quest for shedding light on social justice issues that affect the Latino communities such as the anti-immigrant movement here in the United States.

Due to a lack of contemporary spaces within the Latino communities in Chicago and in conjuction with other independent artists she decided to organize the first Festival of Latino Electronic Music in 2007.  This summer marked its 4th anniversary with over 13 Latin American artists of international stature that imparted workshops and conducted discussions on digital,  experimental and audiovisual art plus presented electronic music of different genres.

She has participated with audio pieces and/or audio documentaries at many sites such as the National Museum of Mexican Art, Pilsen Open Studios and in a compilation of audio work from CONACULTA Chihuahua with her piece titled, Tribute to Juarez Women.

Currently she collaborates with several publications such as El Extra Newspaper, Chi-remezcla, Pilsen Portal and Revista Contratiempo. As part of her collaboration with Contratiempo (2008) and as member of their editorial team (2010), she sharpens her focus on issues of the Pilsen community, its art and its people.

06.20.10 Domingo Newsbytes

06.20.10 Domingo Newsbytes

A few weeks back I sat down with Luz Chavez, reporter for Gozamos.com and we talked about everything that Proyecto Latina does. If you have never attended but wondered, or better yet, if you joined us and now think its something your friend, prima or sister will like and can’t quite find a good way to explain what its all about–Luz captures it precisely. Hopefully then you will plan to join us tomorrow, June 21st for our first summer reading with Alicia Tellez of La Dulce Palabra. Bring something for the chisme box and note that we love to discover new talent via the open mic.

This week, we also posted our interview with architect Alicia Ponce. An interesting and bonus tidbit about Alicia Ponce is that she’s an alumna of Proyecto Latina, we featured her a few years back and besides leading the way in green construction with her consulting firm, I can personally vouch that she’s a pretty funny writer.

This past Thursday, I made it out to the Latina Leadership Council’s fundraiser for the Maria Mangual Unidas Fund, it included a special performance of Teatro Luna’s, Generic Latina 2010. After grabbing a quick bite and saying hello to a few friends I went to take my seat next to Diana when it occurred to me, “We went to see this show together the first time around.”

Diana’s eyes widened, “Oh my god, you’re right. Has it really been ten years?”

Yes, it has–and more on the play below–but first I gotta tell you that since then my Proyecto Latina co-founder, Diana Pando has been my personal oracle when I want to know about all Latin@ arts events taking place in this city. We recently started a conversation, that is still ongoing, about reviewing Latin@ theater that we hope to include you in on very soon.

Now speaking of reviews, back to Thursday night’s play. This summer, Miranda Gonzalez debuts as director of GL 2010 Not your Generic Latina, you can catch a review of the show here. That’s Diana in the comments section jumping into the conversation.

Also, in this week’s edition of Time Out Chicago, Theater editor, Kris Vire asks the following question about Tanya Saracho: “Why hasn’t a writer this talented gotten broader notice yet?” Believe me, we’ve been asking this question about a lot writers we know, Tanya’s answer is surprisingly simple and I hope escritoras will take note and carve out more time to nurture your art. Tanya also graced the cover of the same issue, I asked her what it felt like to be a cover girl, her response, “It feels like you wanna have that RuPaul ding in repeat WORK COVERGIRL.”

And while we are still on the topic of theater, I want to make sure to alert you to the project of another Proyecto Latina alumna, Yolanda Nieves‘ reading of her play-in-progress, Almost Broken will take place next Saturday, June 26th details below.  I had the opportunity to talk to to Yolanda some time back when she was mounting the first production of Vida Bella’s, The Brown Girls Chronicles, check it out.

And moving on to a completely different topic. I’ve read countless news stories on the hopeless situation in the Gulf of Mexico but there’s nothing like a well-told story to put some things into perspective. CNN posted this story as told by the survivors of the oil rig that ultimately lost 11 men the night of the explosion.  A haunting detail, one of the survivors says the following: “This well did not want to be drilled…It just seemed like we were messing with Mother Nature.”

That’s all for this week. Hope you are having a wonderful Father’s day!

05.09.10 Domingo Newsbytes

05.09.10 Domingo Newsbytes

Last night was The Great Collaboration: creative justice roundtable and celebration benefit.  What an amazing vibe, we met  an army of enlightened creatives, there was a scrumptious spread of food, and it was a great honor to be included in the talent line-up.  We brought the chisme box with us and got a head-start on chisme’s for May’s Proyecto Latina.

SPEAK UP & SPEAK OUT! is our theme for this month’s Proyecto Latina, which is only a week away on Monday, May 17th. Speaking up and the importance of sharing our opinions was a discussion that came up between members of the Proyecto Latina family recently, when we thought about how to respond to the Arizona law.  We have invited some special guests to join us that evening and will be featuring our community’s collective voice–you are invited to chime in.

This week we spotlighted two women that are doing an exceptional job of speaking up through virtual platforms: Cindy Mosqueda is the author of her blog Loteria Chicana and Monique Frausto is the creator of the online directory Blogs by Latinas.   Check out our interviews with them and let us know what you think.

Its also mother’s day this weekend. Did you know that our generation of mujeres is mixing it up a little? So, the next time familia inquires about when you plan to have that baby, calm their fears and let them know that according to a study by the Pew Research Center there are distinct shifts in the U.S. mommy demographic.  While there is a significant jump in the number of Latina mommy’s–13% increase since 1990– more women from all race/ethnic categories are waiting until their late thirties and early forties for a stork delivery.  Something else to consider if you are of child-bearing age, a different study finds that Latinas are at a higher risk for gestational diabetes.

Cultural attitudes about sex also place Latinas at high risk for something else, over 15 years ago Claudia Moreno was asked to create an HIV prevention intervention program for Latinas.  And something else we kinda already know about, but feel its worth repeating: poor Latina and Black women obtain abortions at a disproportionate level.

Kinda leaves you wondering: What is the real status of Latinas’ health today? A May 10th event in Pilsen, that is also open to the public, and sponsored by the Chicago Foundation for Women and Mujeres Latinas en Accion will tackle that question.

Have a great week!

04.19.10: Sandra Posadas & the Chisme Box challenge

04.19.10: Sandra Posadas & the Chisme Box challenge

Sandra Posadas is the Proyecto Latina feature for April 2010. In the spirit of National Poetry Month we are presenting our first ever Chisme Box Haiku Challenge: We want your chismes in the celebrated 5-7-5 format.  Join us on Monday, April 19th @ 7 p.m at Cedahalia’s Cafe 1010-12 S. Western.