08.22.10 Domingo Newsbytes

08.22.10 Domingo Newsbytes

Photo via MeanlittleBumbleBee

We had a fantastic Proyecto Latina this past week at Catedral Café featuring guest curator Sandra Treviño who decided to spotlight some Latina artists she was very excited about including:  Elizabeth Colin of Grupo Atroz, Mariel “La Gitana” Zavala, the women of bomba group Buya.  For a full recap we encourage you to read MeanLittleBumbleBee’s blog.

Next month, in light of a special program, we are having an opening night for our first featured visual artists–also our first featured artists via an art exhibit– we will be deviating from our normal Monday night schedule and hanging out on the weekend instead!  So mark your calendars and come out to join us.

Date:  Saturday, September 11, 2010
Why:  Jenny Priego presents Adelita Pata de Perro
Where:  Carlos and Dominguez Fine Art Gallery, 1538 W. Cullerton St.
Get the full scoop here…

I’m working on a piece about anchor babies and it’s made me reflect on moms, fertility and how women of color are often criminalized for it. Michelle Chen, a writer, for Colorlines decided to explore this when she wrote The Right’s Long, Racist History of Calling Moms Criminals .

Also, this week the Southern Poverty Law Center today filed a federal lawsuit against Mississippi authorities who took a newborn baby from a Mexican immigrant mother Baltazar Cruz. Apparently the reason they took the child was because Cruz speaks limited Spanish and virtually no English but she does speaks Chatino, an indigenous language in Mexico.  Turns out that the child was placed with a white couple  and since then Cruz has finally been able to get her child back.

Why is there more focus on stigmatizing Latinas and pregnancy than empowering Latinas to manage their fertility? asks Silvia Henriquez, Executive Director of National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. In her write up Latinas and the High Cost of Birth Control she calls for more affordable access to birth control.

Moving on to Latinos in Social Media (LATISM) released a study on Latina bloggers. The report looks like an interesting read so download it today and check out the latest trends in Latina Bloggers!

On a personal note FELICIDADES to the beautiful bride and Proyecto Latina contributor Ericka Sanchez! Yesterday she got married,  we wish her lots of happiness with her new hubby!

Lastly, a little special something for your two cents this Sunday. Anyone leaving a comment on this Domingo Newsbytes post will be  entered in a raffle for a free book.  Its a new title by University of Arizona Press, and debut poetry collection by Carmen Giménez Smith, Odalisque in Pieces.

When leaving your comment make sure to leave a way (email/link to a blog) to contact you in case you win.  Raffle will close on Friday, August 28th, 2010 at 11:59 p.m.  Winner will be announced in next week’s Domingo Newsbytes.

08.15.10 Domingo Newsbytes

08.15.10 Domingo Newsbytes

Ever since my mom pointed it out in a norteña song long ago I’ve been smitten with the accordion.  I happened to mention this to Sandra Treviño earlier this year, when I first sat down with her to explore the way in which we could feature her on the Proyecto Latina platform .  Her eyes lit up and she expressed an affinity for the instrument as well.  For now I’m going to live vicariously through her since she’s about to embark on learning how to play it–this was one of the factoids that emerged when I hung out with her earlier this week.  She honored the request for an interview and I’m so glad I asked because this was one of the most interesting features I have ever done.  There were so many great things uncovered during the short while we were together.

Sandra is our first guest curator for our monthly reading series.  I can’t wait to see what has in store for us tomorrow.  Hope to see you there.

I’m going to get a head start on the chisme this week and let you know that:

This week Ragdale announced the recipients of its 3Arts Fellowships for 2010, and one is Proyecto Latina’s very own Coya Paz! Two fellowships were granted in each of the areas of music, theater, and visual arts to Chicago artists,  Fellowships at Ragdale include two weeks of residency, uninterrupted time and space, and a $700 stipend. No excuses now for not bringing new material to the open mic!

Cynthia Nambo hugs a graduate from the class of 2010 at Little Village/Lawndale High School.

I’m still super bummed that the Little Village/Lawndale High School in my neighborhood lost four of its administrators as a result of budget cuts.  Before leaving her post as vice principal, Cynthia Nambo–also one of many key players in the creation of the community designed  school–finally got to attend graduating ceremonies.  She describes hugging a graduate from the school, a dream come true.  As for life after her post at the high school, Cynthia says:

“Turned this budget cut into triumph! Now as Instructional Coach in Area 21, I am ready to create authentic relationships with teachers in North Lawndale, Hyde Park, and the North Side of Chicago. I will be giving teachers the focused support they need to grow exponentially and with vigor. In addition, I was accepted to the School Leadership Program at the University of Chicago. This model is innovative and sustainable. It’s focus is to improve neighborhood schools through training highly effective interdisciplinary administrative teams. Whew that was a mouthful! Most leadership programs train individuals not teams. Both of these endeavors will build my capacity to serve our teachers, our students, our families, and our communities to reach new levels of excellence! Educacion es mi pasion.”

In the news

  • For some time now, I’ve been wondering about the lack of Latinas on these day-time talk shows, Esther breaks it down very eloquently as she calls Obama on it and makes a call for Latinas on tv.  And by a look at the women mentioned in this post so far, there is no lack of a qualified person to fill the spot. Maybe someone in tv-land needs to note how Today’s Chicago Woman did it when they recognized a very diverse group of Six Women Changing the World, including Mayra Garcia Guzman, general manager at Chicago Transit Authority for Diversity and Small Business Compliance Programs Department.
  • Veronica Arreola launched Summer of Feminista back in June, an experiment on her blog that invited Latinas to address their relationship with feminism through a written submission.  Although, she is still accepting submissions, she posted a summary quoting the best-of what the submissions have turned up so far at Ms. Magazine.  Arreola writes, “A central theme emerged in these six tales: All these women had other strong women in their lives guiding them. Even if those women role models said one thing and did another, the message to be self-reliant shone through.”
  • Last Spring, we shared this interview with blogger, Cindy Mosqueda who decided to interview her grandfather and father when the Story Corps bus arrived to her city.  This week an excerpt from the interview with her father was aired on NPR.  Listen to the story of her grandfather un sobador dedicated to easing others’ pain.
  • Finally, last but not least the benefits of going to school and pursuing a higher education are sometimes a little less obvious and unexpected.  Students are spared amid an increase in deportations. My personal wish is that the use of that pesky and loaded word illegal be diminished in these news stories.

Have a wonderful week! See you at Proyecto Latina on Monday!

Sandra Treviño: music and writing rhapsodies

“When I grow up I want to be a classical violin player,” Sandra Treviño, 38, quotes her younger self.

As a young girl in Houston she always knew she wanted to work with music and it has always been a part of her life.  She would go into her room, turn on the radio and listen to two types of music: heavy metal and classical.  She eventually learned to play the violin and participated in her school orchestra for many years.  More recently she’s expressed interest in picking up the accordion.  A band member of the music group she manages, Descarga, offered to let her borrow the one he owns.  So, Sandra has been looking online for instructions on the accordion, from the proper way to pick it up to playing it.

Her Texas childhood also included a very religious upbringing.  When she was a teen the tasks of the sound engineer at her church caught her attention.  She asked church officials if she could help out with those duties, she was informed that only males were allowed to do that job.

“I knew I could do it better,” she explains.  She was persistent and continued to ask about it.  Eventually, a council of church elders came to her home to explain the church policy and warn her about her insubordination.

She decided not to return to church with her parents, instead she began exploring life beyond church regulated music and books and embarked on a journey that eventually led her back to Chicago, the city where she was born.  It was the impetus to her present vocation to music, something she works and sacrifices hard for despite parent disapproval.

That wouldn’t be the last of the resistance she encountered.   On a completely unrelated note she shares the story about managing a station for Autobuses Tornado back in Houston.  She was told to learn to drive a bus just in case there was an emergency one day.  Then the day came that she had to get behind the wheel, and as the passengers boarded the bus the Mexican men began asking, “Who are you?”

“The bus driver,” She responded.   Some of the men made a big fuss about it and ultimately they decided to get off.  She still drove the bus on its scheduled trip from Houston to San Antonio.


Upon arriving to the Windy City, Sandra started attending local underground concerts.   She was so impressed with local band Descarga that she was moved to create a fan page.

Sandra Treviño is the Proyecto Latina feature for August 2010.

Band leader, Hector Garcia says, “her fan page was cooler than the one we created for ourselves.” Impressed with her initiative Hector decided to ask Sandra if she would manage the band.

“I told him, I didn’t know anything about managing bands,” Sandra remembers. “He said, neither do I, but we’ll learn together.”

Hector gave Sandra a few names and numbers with instructions on how to get started but it wasn’t until she attended the first band meeting at the old Earwax Café and she heard the band members discussing their agenda and goals that it sunk in.

Hector describes what followed next, like a domino effect, the way managing a band led to producing two television shows and the website, Enchufate.com.  The band couldn’t get air time because there was no television coverage for local Latin alternative bands. Hector put his background in video and film to work and decided, why not create their own show and thus, Errores no Eliminados or ENE was born.

Hector recalls the first episode, “The audio was horrible, the images were bad, but we were the only ones out there–at these local shows– with a video camera.” He also didn’t think twice about teaching Sandra how to plug-in sound equipment or record and edit video.

“I learned how to edit, record, set up sound. When you’re involved in this business you should know how to set up sound systems, cables, lighting,” says Sandra.

For Hector it was about being practical, “If I’m not available you need to know how to edit.  It was about having a more informed team.”

Long gone were the days of exclusive church rules or doubtful male passengers.  Sandra was knee deep in the music world, her hands full with an appointment book, a growing list of contacts,cables and wires that needed to be kept untangled and properly connected. She also began finding herself in front of the camera with a microphone in hand interviewing local acts and later snagging interviews with international bands and singers.

And while she enjoys interviewing musicians because she likes to get to know more about them, she reveals one very surprising fact, “Video and editing is not my forte, I do it, and I don’t mind doing it but it’s not me—I’d rather write.”

She prefers to write longhand and pens poetry and journals about what’s going on around her.  She feels, “Everyone should be keeping a history of what’s going on.”  Her current dilemma is balancing how much to reveal in a book she’s writing about the Latin Alternative music scene in Chicago for the last ten years.  Sandra says, she’s got a lot of stories and has seen a lot in that time.   She expects to have a completed manuscript by the Summer of 2011.


After working with Sandra for over ten years Hector learned that, “she puts a magnifying glass on some things others wouldn’t notice.”  She has also kept him accountable, asking about tasks and pushing him and goes on to quote her, “If you say you want something you don’t stop until you get it. You try again tomorrow.”

Sandra says, this attitude got her backlash from the music community, “When I first started I was attacked for asking questions. Now, I don’t care if people don’t like or disapprove of what I’m doing.”

Stephanie Celis, a 19 year-old college student, had a different take on Sandra’s work when she approached her and inquired about an internship with Enchufate and ENE.  “She’s very organized she knows how to execute events.”   One of Stephanie’s first lessons was to always carry a notepad for notes and impromptu interviews if the opportunity presented itself.

Something else Sandra feels passionate about, “I think it’s important that we support each other. We, as mujeres and as people working in a field that is not lucrative and that’s about passion should support each other more.  If I know there’s an opportunity I am the first to knock but I leave the door open so you can follow me in.”

Sandra Treviños is the Proyecto Latina feature and first guest curator on Monday, August 16, 2010–event details and complete bio.

08.16.10 The Sandra Treviño Hour

08.16.10 The Sandra Treviño Hour

Sandra A. Treviño is the first guest curator for Proyecto Latina this Mon, Aug 16th.

We are putting a twist on our August 16th edition of Proyecto Latina and welcoming our first guest curator.  Sandra Treviño–an authority on Chicago’s Latin Alternative music scene for over ten years–has hand-picked three emerging Latina musicians she wants to see spotlighted–there will be live music and a q&a.  As always, the chisme box will be there and the open-mic list will only have four spots, so arrive early to sign-up.

Date: Monday, August 16, 2010
Time: 7 p.m.
Place: Cafe Catedral, 2500 S. Christiana, Chicago, Il

Sandra A. Treviño began her career on the business side of music as the band manager for local rock band [.DESCARGA.].  The underground concerts she attended inspired her to begin writing and reporting on new music releases and interviewing local bands, her coverage eventually included the movement of Latin Alternative music across the US, as well as dishing out the glam and not-so-glamorous side of music and entertainment. She is the co-founder of Enchufate.com, Chicago’s first Latin Alternative media and entertainment portal. A site that began as a follow-up to E>N>E (Errores No Eliminados), a television program that focused on Chicago’s independent music movement, specifically rock en español–via interviews, reviews and event promotions, Enchufate reported on local bands as well as international acts including Cafe Tacuba, Aterciopelados, and Calle 13.

Sandra’s repertoire also includes concert organizing, spinning as DJ Angelfuk and she hosts the radio segment, “Sandra’s Seven in Seven” on Vocalo.org’s radio stream on 89.5FM.  She is currently working on her first book, Music & More, in collaboration with the upcoming documentary, REC: Rock En Español.  Sandra has contributed to the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, Illinois Entertainer, Extra Newspaper, Red Eye, Metromix, LATV, Contratiempo, Cafe & Mas Magazine and most of Chicago’s independent radio programs. She is the Midwest representative for Nacional Records, the country’s first Latin Alternative boutique music label.

Presently, Sandra uses television and radio journalism to spotlight the amazing world of Latin Alternative music and especially of Latinas working in the scene.  Her focus continues to be music production and the growth of women in music through Enchufate, writing and social networking.

In her spare time Sandra pretends to sleep.

7.25.10 Domingo Newsbytes

7.25.10 Domingo Newsbytes

Cast of Thirst: Left-To-Right: Claudia Martinez, Josie Dykas front Diane Herrar and Diana Pando in the back

I woke up this morning  reflecting on this week  and I can’t help but be blown away by the amazing amount of Latina talent and creativity that is emerging. Here are some quick highlights:

This week our reading series was packed over at Café Catedral. Folks got to see our feature writer Cristina Correa read her work and hear some new emerging Latina talent during the open mic portion like Awilda Gonzalez and Laura Nuñez.

Later during the week, I had the opportunity to see Aguijón Theater perform Soldaderas at the Goodman Theatre. The play is based on texts by Elena Poniatowska and performed in Spanish. Yesterday, my ten-minute play THIRST was performed by Josie Dykas, Claudie Martinez and Diane Herrera and directed by Nilsa Reyna at Teatro Luna’s first 10×10 play festival.  These ladies spent hours in the sweltering heat with no a/c rehearsing and one of them even came as far away as Elgin. Mil gracias! With all of these things in mind I encourage all of you to continue to keep creating and making sure you find an outlet to tell your story.

In August we will be hosting Sandra Treviño, guest curator for Proyecto Latina, she is lining up some musical features that will be performing at Café Catedral. Also, coming up the pipeline in September is Adelita Pata de Perro by Jenny Priego at the lovely Carlos & Dominguez Fine Arts Gallery in the Pilsen neighborhood. Check back for more details this week!

Finally, we are starting to draft up the schedule for our 2011 reading series, if you know someone that deserves to be nominated let us know and tell us why? Send your recommendations to info@proyectolatina.org


Felicidades to Carmen Giménez Smith her memoir Bring Down The Little Birds is coming out on August 5. The book asks, “How does a contemporary woman with a career as a poet, professor, and editor experience motherhood with one small child, another soon to be born, and her own mother suddenly diagnosed with a brain tumor and Alzheimer’s? Sounds like a good end of summer read!  Preview an excerpt.

While the Latina population continues to rise our visibility in mainstream media is pretty slim. A perfect example of this is the new CBS daily talk show that’s being lined up. The six hosts include: Julie Chen (CBS Morning Anchor), Holly Robinson-Peate (actress), Sara Gilbert (actress), Marissa Jaret Winokur (actress), Leah Remini (Actress) and Sharon Osbourne (Reality Star, Wife of Rocker). Why are there no Latinas on this daily talk show? I’m sure there is a Latina that is more than qualified to do this job. Drop the folks at CBS a line and ask them why there are no Latinas on the show?

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This week I was wandering around the Macy’s store on State Street when I passed by the MAC counter and cringed at their distasteful makeup line based on Júarez. While both MAC/RodArte have issued apologies and will change the name of the new makeup line it’s a great story of a bad marketing idea gone wrong and viral.  Latinas used their voice to give it a big thumbs down! We hope MAC keeps it’s promise and donates $100,000 to a cause in Juarez. Our friends over at Wise Latinas Linked also had an opinion on the MAC/RodArte makeup line fiasco. Here’s what they had to say…