Palabras: A Latino Literary Festival
What is the state of Chicano arts and letters today? That question is part of what inspired Palabras: A Latino Literary Festival, which takes place for the first time this weekend at Mexic-Arte Museum.
In the Sixties and Seventies, Chicano activists organized Flor y Canto festivals. Literally meaning "flower and song," the festivals brought together poets, performers, and musicians to share the bilingual, bicultural elements of cultural expression that members of the Mexican-American/Chicano community found themselves using not only as a means of creative production, but as a means of survival.
At the turn of this century, several Chicano and Latino writers are now part of the larger literary landscape: Sandra Cisneros, Denise Chavez, Dagoberto Gilb, David Rice, and Ana Castillo, to name a few. But what is the state of Chicano arts and letters today? That question is part of what inspired Palabras: A Latino Literary Festival, which takes place for the first time this weekend. Coordinated by members of the Austin Hispanic Writers' Group, the Pro Arts Collective, the Writers' League of Texas, and the Center for Mexican-American Studies at UT and hosted by Mexic-Arte Museum, Palabras allows Tejano writers and performers to present readings and performances that reflect the diversity of cultural production occurring across the state. In addition, two panel discussions with scholars and writers will address the direction of Chicano arts and letters.
Notable performers and readers include:
All Palabras events take place at Mexic-Arte Museum (Fifth & Congress), and are free and open to the public. For more information, call 480-9373. A detailed schedule follows.
Friday, March 30
6pm: Symposium: "New Directions in Chicano/a Poetry"; Dr. Ben V. Olguin, University of Texas at Austin, leads a panel discussion on the status and future of Chicano/a Poetry
7:30pm: Poetry reading featuring members of the Austin Hispanic Writers' Group and invited guests Gloria Amescua, Francisco Portillo, ire'ne lara silva, Anjela Villareal Ratliff, Steve Vera, Lydia Armendariz, Enrique Cabrera, and Jesse G. Herrera
8:30pm: Reading/performance by Tammy Gomez
9:30pm: Open Mic/Booksigning
4-4:30pm: Bienvenida/Homenaje to Cesar Chavez
Saturday, March 31
4:45pm: Reading by Liliana Valenzuela
5pm: Performance by Rita Vidaurri
5:30pm: Performance by NuShank Theatre Collective of Austin
6pm: Performance/Reading by the Peace Posse, featuring Rodney Garza and Dava D. Hernandez
7pm: Reading by Sarah Cortez
8pm: "Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say"; spotlight includes poets Radames Ortiz, editor of The Bayou Review, Alvaro Saar Rios, and others
9pm: Performance/Reading by Dr. Carmen Tafolla, author of Curandera; To Split a Human: Mitos, Machos, y la Mujer Chicana; Sonnets to Human Beings and Other Selected Works; and Sonnets and Salsa.