What's it like to grow up in Little Village?

 

Early 90's: Primas and photobooth silliness at Ford City Mall.


Love in the time of Aqua Net and Crushed Cherries
was a piece I wrote a few years back when my friend Diana Pando posed the question, “What’s it like to grow up in the Little Village neighborhood?”  I didn’t start off writing about love–it’s a theme that emerged as the piece evolved and I allowed the creative process to guide me on a journey that ultimately led me back to my youth.  Below is the segment that includes the radio edit of this story–it aired on Vocalo on WBEZ a couple of weeks back.

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Did you grow up in Little Village?  Perhaps you grew up elsewhere but what was it like for you?  How does that story compare to what you read and see on the news and media?

You can share with us via the comments or drop us a line if you would like to guest blog.  Another avenue you might be interested in: Vocalo Storytelling Workshop is currently recruiting for a new group of storytellers deadline is April 16th.

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

08.01.10 Domingo Newsbytes

08.01.10 Domingo Newsbytes

“They’ve towed my car with Chisme Box in the trunk!”  That was the alarmed text I sent Diana and Coya on Wednesday afternoon when I walked out of work and discovered that street parking had been restricted due to a neighborhood festival and I had missed the (minute) signage in the morning.  Both stepped in like champions, you see I was due at the  Guild Complex’s, B.Y.O.P event.  Proyecto Latina had an invitation to present with Dancing Girl Press.

While I navigated a huge dusty yard of impounded cars, in my brand new sandals, trying to recover my vehicle, Diana was at the California Clipper posing a very important question, “How many of you have attended a literary event in Little Village, Back of the Yards or Pilsen?”  She tells me no one raised their hand.  I so wish I had been there to be part of the discussion.

But Diana did bring back a very important resource to share with all you poetas out there:  Dancing Girl Press is not only an amazing initiative they also  publish 10-20 chapbooks per year.  Submission guidelines are here, the deadline is August 30th.

There seems to be a business and work theme in the news this week:

image via brownsvilleherald.com

Finally, some shameless self-promotion: I’ve shared in the previous weeks that Thelma Uranga and me are instructing a six week ASM program, Tejer y Poder at Pros Arts Studio.  Its been an amazing and unique experience, and a privilege to work with 30 talented youth in teaching them knitting and crochet skills as well as encouraging them to take creative risks.  Our final showcase is scheduled for Friday, August 6th, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Dvorak Park–its free and open to the community.  You can find event details here, in the days leading up to the final showcase students will be posting interviews with family and community members that knit/crochet.

06.06.10 Domingo Newsbytes

06.06.10 Domingo Newsbytes

I was born, raised, and continue to reside in Little Village, I recall that fifteen years ago, June meant the end of school, warm summer days to sit on front steps of my home and join my friends to take endless strolls on 26th street.  The days were long and I spent long stretches watching daytime soaps and reading books, managed somehow to keep myself out of trouble when there was so little to keep me occupied.  I remember thinking, there had to be something more, its something I probably wrote into the journal I kept, because I filled a lot of my time writing  diary entries and fiction stories in wire-bound notebooks.  As a teen, I didn’t have a community of writers, I didn’t know it was something I was missing, but many years later when I finally found them I rejoiced.

That said,  I can’t tell you how excited I am that we have another opportunity to have our Proyecto Latina, third Monday reading series on home turf.  When Cafe Catedral agreed to be our venue sponsor and our feature, Alicia Tellez Vega happen to mention she lived nearby–I knew it was meant to be.  Its on Monday, June 21st, we posted the full event details here, earlier this week.  Make sure you mark your calendar and plan to join us.

My Proyecto Latina partners in crime are doing amazing stuff:

-Coya Paz made her debut as Vocalo’s new commentator on race, pop culture, and the media this past Thursday.  She’s scheduled to air weekly, you can tune into 89.5 FM to listen.  As soon as her spots become linkable we will make sure to share as well.

-Diana Pando is moderating the From Newsletter to Newspaper panel at the upcoming Making Media Connections conference.

-This week Thelma Uranga photographed Alicia Tellez Vega, (photo posted above) and she also shared news that El Stitch y Bitch, will be creating an altar for Dia de los Muertos at the National Museum of Mexican Art next fall. I’m also excited to be co-teaching with Thelma this summer, the ASM program, Tejer y Poder at Pros Arts Studios.

And beyond our immediate microcosm the news included the following this week:

Violence against women: sometimes its obvious, as is the case for 21 year-old Peruvian girl, Stephany Flores, and sometimes its damage is a little harder to determine, Debrahlee Lorenzana gets fired for speaking up against sexual harrassment–her male colleagues were not made accountable when they couldn’t resist her “distracting” beauty.

Latinas delay doctor visits because we are kinda finnicky, not only do we prefer alternative therapies, and we seem to have a low tolerance to experiences we deem as “discrimination in a clinical setting” but we have prefer the doctor that looks and talks like us.

Sonia Sotomayor,  is posing tough questions of the Miranda ruling that proves that, “America’s, she’s got your back.  Wish we could say the same for BP, according to Jesse Jackson, BP wants to drill in Lake Michigan despite the trouble its having cleaning up its current mess.  Last I checked oil is drifting to the Florida panhandle, and there’s nothing like pictures to make reality sink in.

06.21.10: Alicia's Dulce Palabras

06.21.10: Alicia's Dulce Palabras

The third Monday in June is going to be extra sweet for Proyecto Latina. We are featuring Alicia Tellez Vega from La Dulce Palabra Spoken Word ensemble and we are taking our reading series back into Little Village, we are being hosted at the lovely Cafe Catedral. Get the full scoop below and plan to join us.

Date: Monday, June 21, 2010
Time: 7 p.m.
Place: Cafe Catedral, 2500 S. Christiana, Chicago, Il

Alicia Tellez Vega of La Dulce Palabra is the Proyecto Latina feature for June 2010.

Alicia Tellez Vega was raised on the southwest side of Chicago and comes from a large Mexican family. She uses her creative energy to express her sexuality, inner conflicts and sensuality through words and dramatic performances. As a advocate for youth, she also uses her writings and performances to release the negative energy that is can often be carried internally from working with young trauma victims. She is currently a member of La Dulce Palabra Spoken Word Ensemble, board member of Amigas Latinas and the Youth Program Director at Center on Halsted.

Reading will include Identity Crisis, a monologue about the struggles to give identity to the unnamed female zone. I will also be reading sections from Las Dulces Palabras, Volume 1, a self published collection of original writings from La Dulce Palabra Spoken Word Ensemble.

Proyecto Latina venue sponsor for June 2010.