Proyecto Latina Reading Series -April

April showers brings poeta power! It’s National Poetry Month and this month we will be featuring Dr. Yolanda Nieves. She will be reading from her book The Spoken Body and as always we’ll do a little Q&A with Yolanda about her book. Let’s celebrate National Poetry month together so remember to tell your comadres to swing by.

Monday, April 18th  @7pm

Proyecto Latina Reading Series

Catedral Café

2500 South Christianna Avenue

Chicago, IL 60623

Street parking / #60 Blue Island Bus

Come and connect with Latinas in the arts and beyond.

Remember to get there early and sign up for the open mic and bring your chismes for the chisme box!

Tell us who your favorite poet is or what poem makes you melt?

Yolanda Nieves is a one of Chicago’s most prominent second generation Puerto Rican playwrights.  Born and raised in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood, Yolanda Nieves is a poet, playwright, director, educator, actress, and creative director of The Vida Bella Ensemble.  Featured on Vocalo, WGN TV News, and NPR, Yolanda is the winner of the highly regarded American Educational Research Association’s 2010 Arts-Based Dissertation of the Year Award for the performance-text, The Brown Girls’ Chronicles:  Puerto Rican Women & Resilience.  The Brown Girls’ Chronicles has been performed coast-to-coast, and continues to receive interest and be an influential tool for disturbing political and historical consciousness for audiences in the U.S. and abroad.

In 2010, Yolanda’s second play, Bless Me, Madrina!, also a performance –text, played to sold-out audiences at the Chicago Center for the Performing Arts. Based on research, the play emanated the dreams and desires that Latinas think about, but don’t necessarily act upon.  She is currently involved in Teatro Luna’s PlayLab series and will have her play La Matadora/Steel Flags produced by Chicago’s Landmark Project in the Fall of 2011.

Her first love, however, is poetry. As a poet, Yolanda has two books of poetry to her credit:  Dove over Clouds (2008), and The Spoken Body (2010) both published by Plainview Press.  She writes poetry that promises to stay with you long after you’ve put down the book. Yolanda holds a doctorate of education from National-Louis University, a master’s of reading from Northeastern Illinois University, a master’s in Organizational Development from Loyola University, and a Bachelor of Arts from Loyola University in English and Education.

Dr. Nieves believes in the power of performance and poetry as tool for liberatory education.  She is committed to using the oral tradition on stage as a way to create consciousness of who we are as women, as a community, and as a people.   She writes not to conform to theater, but to disturb the status quo and to democratize spaces where Others have been marginalized.

Remember tell us who your favorite poet is or what poem makes you melt?

Special Thanks To Our Venue Sponsor:


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

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!