Showing posts from September, 2015

HUIZACHE Magazine Brings Luminaries to SF for LitQuake 2015

Each year, literature fans, writers and scholars from across the state and the country descend upon the San Francisco Bay Area to attend the aptly named Litquake literary festival, which takes place in venues throughout the Bay Area over a week-long period in October. Joining those spaces that host events as part of this unique literary gathering, the historic San Francisco Elks Lodge will welcome some of the strongest voices in Latino literature today, with a not-to-be-missed evening program titled  “No Burritos: a Night with HUIZACHE Magazine.” The program and reading will be held on October 14th from 6:30 pm. to 9:00 pm. HUIZACHE —which has been called “the Paris Review of Latino Literature”—seeks to explode ethnic, gender and social stereotypes with world-caliber fiction, poetry, essays and prose. On October 14th, LitQuake proudly presents the celebration of HUIZACHE ’s fifth issue with readings by San Francisco’s Poet Laureate Alejandro Murguía, former Poet Laureate devorah m

Gentrification is Not Inevitable

by Richard Vásquez   Is there an alternative to gentrification?  As gentrification sweeps through the Eastside, look at the power held by people acting with agency as individuals and in concert with one another to move the markers that signal where their interests end and redevelopment responding to a growing demand for proximity to the downtown core begins.  It is a constantly moving target and a source of great consternation to members of communities with historically little hope of fighting back, much less defeating, gentrification.  So what is the alternative?   Two words:  social capital.  The Kennedy School of Government approaches it this way: “Social capital may be defined as those resources inherent in social relations and networks which facilitate collective action.”  Defined another way, it is the collective voice of a million souls and the pulse of a psychic force beating within a people whose determination is to build community and prosper where they are.  Levera

Greg, Alone

by George B. Sánchez-Tello The sound is unmistakable: the crush of sand, soil, clay and pebbles under heel, the wheezing rub of pant material caught between thighs and the short gasp of air in the struggle to breathe. Greg is hiking. His pace echoes through the canyon, sending creatures fleeing. Slow from the end of another survived night of foraging – they crawl between cracks, scurry over boulders, huddle in mounds and race across the wide open path. Between the breathe and the exhale, a thought enters his mind. “Breathe deep, the summit is upon us.” Greg knows not where the thought comes from. He is preoccupied with his lungs, opening and collapsing like an accordion chamber. Akin to a whisper in a crowded party, the thought barely registers. But Greg heeds the advice. He stops, straightens his back and follows the words his, yet not his own. Greg walks with purpose though the end is unclear. He follows the trail instinctively. Rather, the trail guides him. The path began years

Isabel Avila Focuses Her Lens on LA

Interview by Pancho Lipschitz In a society that doesn’t value art, it’s very difficult to be a professional artist. Even when you are in group shows and solo shows and museum shows, you can still be left with a lack of funds and a pile of student loans. I sat down with the photographer Isabel Avila. Since she was featured in the Vincent Price Museum’s Hoy Space back in 2012 she’s been trying to balance work as a professional photographer with making time to make personal work and looking for new opportunities to show her work. Ultimately, she opted to go back to school for an M.F.A. . Pancho Lipschitz: I read that you went to the high school for the arts. How was that? Isabel Avila: It was great. I went to Alhambra High my first two years and I hated it. I felt really miserable there. I felt like cattle. PL: I went to Alhambra High School so I know what you mean. It’s kind of a prison industrial complex. IA: I got accepted to LACHSA and that was a huge difference. It was real

Reluctant Ex-patriot or Undocumented Immigrant?

Part One by Abraham Torres Mom: You want me to go where?  No.  No.  No. I am very happy here, and I don’t know why YOU want to go. WE have a good life here. YOU have a good life here! Are you crazy? He’s only two years old! We can’t travel, much less live in another country. We have no good reason to go.  Maybe when he gets a little older, but not now, it’s a not a good time.    Mom: (Several weeks later) I said, No!   Look at you, you’ve been there a week and been caught three times.  You think I’m going to share your experience with a two-year-old in my arms?  I don’t care if you’ve been  “told” it’s great over there and worth the effort.  I know you think we’ll have a better life, a better life than you had growing up after your father was killed in a gunfight, a better life for our son, a better life for me. I know you think I’ll like it there, and we can be more secure because we’ll be making much more money than what your current job is giving you, but I don’t care. We’ll

Cuba Then & Now: An LA Writer Reflects

by William Alexander Yankes “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and n---?” this court interpreter asked the Cuban witness, in Spanish, as he was about to testify. Before I could finish imparting the oath, he cut in vehemently. “Si me atrevo a mentir, que se desmorone la iglesia!” (If I dare to lie, may the church crumble down to pieces!), declared the Cuban stoutly. In December 2000, I attended an interpreters’ seminar in Cuba. Fidel Castro was still in power and George W. Bush was the U.S. President. We arrived in Havana as evening fell. The grim landscape appeared symbolic of a culture made dark by, according to some, Castro’s harsh policies as well as what many others would identify as the stifling choke-hold of the American embargo. As I disembarked in Havana, a semi-circle of armed soldiers stood before us. It would be my first indelible memory of Cuba. For some odd reason, I worried that someone would follow me and watch me. I wondered if agents would observe