10.10.10 Domingo Newsbytes

Hard to focus on the news today, my friend Anita ran the Chicago Marathon and I was much too excited about tracking her progress.  Running is her passion and in addition to family and work commitments, in the last year she carved out time to train for today.  She’s definitely inspired me to indulge in my own artistic interests, set some goals and pursue some creative marathons of my own–these also happen to align with an ongoing dialogue I’ve been having recently with Diana and Coya about creative goals for 2011.  I will be sure to keep you posted.

Creative marathons are not new to me.  In 2010 I was honored to partake in hours of collaboration with the wonderful El Stitch y Bitch for the creation of a knitted and crocheted altar dedicated to our crafty ancestors.  The groups collaboration is the cover story of the November issue of Cafe–the story is not linkable yet so if you want to read it you have to pick up a hard copy of the magazine.  I usually find a free copy at Pilsen restaurants and/or cafe’s.

I was pleasantly surprised to see another Proyecto Latina favorite, Monique Frausto in that issue, she’s part of a story about Latinos reconnecting with their language and heritage.  And there is also a wonderful article on Concha Buika, that recounts a childhood memory that still haunts her, but taught her to seize the moment each and every time she takes the stage.

A random an interesting tid-bit about Google and the word Latina.  I know I’ve turned up questionable searches that include the word Latina in their name.

Seriously? Dear JLO, I’m going to tune-in but for the record I’m uncomfortable and resisting the Latina nanny concept.

Perhaps the life of Alicia Amador, could one day inspire a leading character on prime time tv.  According to Windy City Times, Amador passed away last Thursday of cancer–”her greatest legacy was the impact she had on children and families in the Pilsen community.”  Amador was a staff member at Mujeres Latinas en Accion and founding member of Amigas Latinas.

Finally, I’m counting down for the next Proyecto Latina on Monday, October 18th.  Kansas City poet, Linda Rodriguez will be sharing poetry and a piece title, We’ve Been Here All Along: 13 Ways of Looking at Latinos in the Midwest. I’ve gotten a sneak peek at the work she is sharing and I have to tell you its going to be a special treat. Plan to join us!

I leave you with a first in a series of short films, a project by Proyecto Latina friend and fellow artist extraordinaire, Ricardo Gamboa–who is always on creative marathons.  His most recent project focuses on concerns over immigration issues.

09.26.10 Domingo Newsbytes

09.26.10 Domingo Newsbytes

After a very intense summer I decided it was necessary to “disconnect” in order to re-energize.  So, I took time to enjoy that gorgeous Harvest moon and rejoice over the arrival of my favorite season.  This weekend as I got back onto social networking sites and answered non-work related emails I began to discover all the wonderful projects taking place this fall.

The week ahead is full of activities for Proyecto Latina, you can catch up with Diana and me next weekend at the Little Village Arts Festival (LVAF).

  • LVAF Opening Night Fri., Oct. 1, 2010, 7-9 PM.  Proyecto Latina is part of the evening’s line-up, we are honored to be participating again this year, we will have the following ladies paying literary homage their La Villita roots: Desiree Castro, N. Reyna Amaya and Irasema Gonzalez. Location: Universidad Popular, 801 South Hamlin Avenue.
  • Latinas telling their stories through the arts Sun. Oct. 3, 2010, 2-3  p.m.  The focus of this discussion is Latinas telling their stories through the arts and what impact it has on them as artists as well as what we can do as a community of women in the arts to support creative visions and generate new work to tell our stories. Audience Q&A included. Panelists: Desiree Castro, writer,  Thelma Uranga, fiber arts, Laura Vergara, artist. Moderator: Diana Pando. Held at Catedral Cafe, 2500 S. Christiana.
Earlier in the week you can catch Diana Pando on another panel:
  • Art as a means to resist: Talk-back with Latino/a artist, Sept. 29, 12:30-2:30 p.m. Part of Malcom X’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations, 1900 W. Van Buren, Cultural Center. Panel includes: Diana Pando, Proyecto Latina, Edith Bucio, and Segundas Productions.

image by Thelma Uranga

We also want to let you know about our other Proyecto Latina member Thelma Uranga–she shares with us the photo to the right, taken earlier in the week when she and Jessica Phillips  took El Stitch y Bitch to La Casita at Whittier Elementary in Pilsen.   In a gesture of solidarity they brought knitting supplies, gave lessons and shared a way to pass the time as the waiting continues in a stand-off to save the field house from demolition and have it turned into an adequate school library.

The Whittier sit-in has gone past its tenth day and officials have confirmed that the building will not be demolished without a third assessment.   The parent sit-in continues and mom’s are adamant that they, “don’t want fake grass. They want books.“  Anne Elizabeth Moore at Vocalo,  shares the perspective of nine year-old Monica who is accompanying her mother at La Casita sit-in, she is a fourth grader that says, “I love to read.”

Very reminiscent of the 2001 hunger strike to have the Little Village/Lawndale High School built, it saddens me that almost ten years later these extreme measures still have to be taken  to ensure proper education resources for our community.

In a different fight for justice, Esperanza Medina made the news two years ago as an acid assault victim.  This week she removed veils that have concealed her face and injuries and stepped out publicly to share the story of her lengthy recovery.  She plans on wearing a sleeveless dress and pulling her hair back to reveal all scars when she attends court next week where she will confront her alleged attackers.

Chika A Day by Naomi Martinez.

Another woman who flipped the tables from victim to victor was Ingrid Betancourt.   She details the story of her kidnapping and six and a half years in captivity in a new book.

Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa shares that, “violence in Mexico is connected to vast shipments of weapons from the United States.“  She also points out that there are no links between high crime rates in and immigration.

On a way lighter note, some  final side-note items:

Ely Guerra‘s most recent Chicago concert was last night, in an interview with Jose Luis Benavides for Gozamos, she shies away from talking about future plans but ultimately shares that future creative pursuits include food and perfume, Guerra says, “Making perfume is like making music.”

For Hispanic Heritage Month, Amor Montes de Oca, from Arte y Vida Chicago will be Tony Sarabia’s guest for October 1 edition of Radio M for a  survey of Hispanic Legacy.

Artist Naomi Martinez is ten days into a self-imposed  30 day challenge, where she posts a doodle of her trademark Monstrochikas daily through Oct. 17th.  In today’s post Naomi announced that she will be also be conducting an art workshop for next week’s Little Village Art Festival where she will show attendees how to make felt plush animals–she promises to post details for that soon.

Finally, remember to save-the-date and join us the third Monday in October for Proyecto Latina reading series.  Our out-of-town guest of honor is the intensely fierce poet, Linda Rodriguez.  Get the full scoop of event details here.

09.12.10 Domingo Newsbytes

09.12.10 Domingo Newsbytes

photo credit: Vivian Zapata.

Its been a whirlwind weekend for me but it was a beautiful way to close-out the summer and kick-off the fall.

Last night Proyecto Latina hosted Adelita Pata de Perro at the Carlos y Dominguez Fine Art Gallery in Pilsen.  I got to see new work by Jenny Priego and see the many beautiful friends that stopped by to check it out.  There were two things that made this night exceptional:  it was our first exhibit opening for a monthly feature and second it was the first time we moved our third Monday night date to a Saturday–just so you know we are back to our regularly scheduled program in October.

Last night’s raffle winner for two tickets to Aguijon Theatre’s, Las Soldaderas is: Janine Garcia.

photo credit: Jessica Phillips.

Also, on Friday I was at the opening night for Vida Breve, the Day of the Dead exhibit at the National Museum of Mexican Art.  I was excited to see the culmination of  months worth of work with the great women from El Stitch y Bitch for an altar dedicated to our crafty ancestors.  Although I had seen different parts of the project be developed the amazing final outcome–when all elements came together–left me awed. The icing on the cake for this project was to have Naomi Martinez aka Monstrochika share her wonderful skill to painting an altar element that included my poem.

This September’s Mexican Independence celebrations in the city have placed a special emphasis on the bicentennial and an unexpected occurrence was the focus on Adelita–check out Catalina Maria Johnson’s story on 848 and learn about local projects that are Celebrating the Heroines of the Mexican Revolution. Stephanie Manriquez also explores the  subject of Soldaderas and the origins of Mexican Cuisine in this week’s Extra News.

And the revolutionary wavelength continues beyond the fiestas patrias

  • This week Chicago Mayor Richard Daley announced he will retire.  Looking at his legacy is a good way for Latinas to start schooling ourselves as we prepare to vote for the next city leader: The Chicago News Cooperative summarizes it nicely by topic.
  • I wonder if the city’s new leader will share anything in common with Monica Marquez who is,  “the first out lesbian and the first Latina to sit on the Colorado supreme court,” according to Advocate.com.
  • Failing to hire adequate and qualified translators has been a need that I’ve observed in my local press,  public hearings and instructions for a new piece of furniture.  So, its not really surprising that its also on a list of recommendations for the Hispanic National Bar Associations report on Few and Far Between: The Reality of Latina Lawyers.

A couple of not-to-be-missed events this coming week are:

  • Strong and Chata: We Are All Narizona, artists respond to immigration policies that attempt to erode dignity and strength.  Curated by Paloma Martinez-Cruz and includes work by Jackie Orozco.  Opening reception is next Saturday, Sept. 18, 8-12 p.m. at The Beer Run Gallery, 1104 W. 18th St.
  • Bless Me Madrina a new play by Yolanda Nieves.  opens Friday, Sept. 17th from 7-10pm at the Chicago Center for Performing Arts.

Finally, we are raffling two tickets to Bless Me Madrina for next Friday, Sept. 17th.  To enter your name into this drawing, leave a comment that includes a way to contact you: an email or link back to a website/blog.  We close the drawing at 11:59 p.m., Tuesday, September 14, 2010.

09.05.10: Doming Newsbytes

09.05.10: Doming Newsbytes

We hope you are unwinding and indulging on a lazy Labor Day weekend!

This week I had the opportunity to sit down and lunch with Sylvia Puente, Executive Director of Latino Policy Forum, at the Park City Grill in beautiful Millennium Park. We took a moment for ourselves and over iced tea reflected how hectic the year has been.  Slowing down requires extra effort to squeeze it into busy schedules and sometimes you need to bring everything to a screeching halt to maintain your sanity.

If you are a hyper-busy Latina what do you do to catch your breath?

Speaking of Latinas that are on a roll…

  • Performance artist Jenny Priego is getting ready for Adelita Pata de Perro on Saturday, September 11 at the Carlos & Dominguez Gallery in Pilsen and YOU’RE INVITED! Read more…

A voting initiative we came across that we really like is Mujeres Latinas en Acción is now part of a project to register and mobilize new citizen voters. They  are also reaching out to young women through Proyecto Juventud to educate girls about the history of women’s struggle to vote, the voting process and how they can make a difference in their communities when they are of voting age.  Voting is a luxury. Make sure during the next elections that you and your comadres head to the polls.

Other Latinas on the move include:

Our prayers and good vibes are with 24-year-old Gabriela Cedillo from the Little Village neighborhood. She was an extra in the filming of Transformers 3 when she was hit in the head while filming the scene in Hammond, Indiana. She is listed in critical but stable condition at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood.

Remember to tell your hermanas and comadres about Proyecto Latina! You can follow us on Twitter @proyectolatina or sign up for the RSS feed.

As always we are open to story ideas or if you come across news stories about Latinas email us the link at info@proyectolatina.org

08.29.10 Domingo Newsbytes

08.29.10 Domingo Newsbytes

Since mid-summer I’ve had my mind on September because with it comes the culmination of two wonderful and exciting projects.  Consider this your official invitation to come out and join me, so, mark your calendar for the second weekend in September to enjoy two events that promise to be a ton of fun–and if we’ve never met, maybe now’s the time to come over and say hello.
  • Friday, 09.10.10: Vida Breve, opening night celebrations for the annual Day of the Dead exhibit at the NMMA, there will be an altar by El Stitch y Bitch honoring our crafty ancestors. I am honored by the opportunity to contribute my crochet skills and the segment of a poem for the project, which is led by Thelma Uranga and other SYB’ers.  Y un pajarito me cuenta that you will be hearing more about this project in other places around town.
  • Saturday, 09.11.10: Opening night for Adelita Pata de Perro by Jenny Priego, in celebration of the 2010 Mexican Bicentennial.  I’ve talked to Jenny about this project in the past, and I can’t wait to see the new images from Jenny’s travels.  I also sending  a shout out to our venue sponsor, Carlos y Dominguez Fine Arts Gallery and our Madrinas de Vino, The Chicago Foundation for Women, Latina Leadership Council.

Winner of last Sunday’s book raffle for Odalisque in Pieces is Emmanuel Garcia.  (In case you’re wondering I used this nifty tool to pick our winner.)

Is There a Dr. in the House that speaks Spanish? We had linked to a story that reported that only 6% of medical school students are Latino.  This week Yolanda Cardenas provided a response–not much has changed since she was in medical school and she thinks its about time we see those number rise.
In the news…
Someone decided to try and  figure us out–I hope they listen, I mean really listen. Training program director at Radio Arte, Adriana Gallardo is one of three Latino media entrepreneurs that is tapped to demystify the media preferences of the complex Latino audience.  Get a brief scope of Chicago news and events sites,  “Latino indie list” compiled earlier this summer by Gaper’s Block, that happens to include yours truly.
The new Miss Universe is from Mexico, Jimena Navarrete‘s goal, “I want the whole world to know about my country and my people.”  Reminds me of ten-year old Dora the Explorer that has some speculating has helped create an “enlightened” generation that is open to different people and cultures that are not their own.  Maybe Dora and Jimena should have arrived a few decades earlier because  Esther Cepeda continues to get hate mail and we are glad she is not hesitant about responding to the “anti-immigrant” sentiment. Cepeda says, “My standard response has been that while it’s easy to say that the anger and hatred currently aimed at Latinos is about “ILLEGAL” immigration, the fact of the matter is that I, my family, friends, and neighbors have all gotten called terrible names, sent hateful emails or been otherwise snubbed not based on citizenship or residency status, but because we “look foreign.”
Resources
A resource I found via Latinidad: Professor, editor, and organizer of the Festival de la Palabra, Mayra Santos Febres is seeking short stories by new Puerto Rican writers for an anthology that will be published by Siruela Publishing in Spain. (Note this is only for short stories and not for poetry). Writers of Puerto Rican heritage born after 1952 are eligible. For information and submissions, please contact Mayra at: mayra.santosfebres@gmail.com
Our friends over at the Guild Complex are hosting a free Palabra Pura Poetry Writing Workshop on Saturday, September 18, 2010 on, 2-4 p.m. Poet Carlos Cumpián will be the instructor. Held at the Rudy Lozano Library, 1805 S. Loomis St. To register: ppworkshop@guildcomplex.org.