Showing posts with label Latino. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Latino. Show all posts

Friday, January 31, 2014

#FridayReads: Thirteen Ways of Looking at Latino Art

Out next month, in Thirteen Ways of Looking at Latino Art Paperback, the essayist and cultural commentator Ilan Stavans and the analytic philosopher Jorge J. E. Gracia share long-standing interests in the intersection of art and ideas. Here they take thirteen pieces of Latino art, each reproduced in color, as occasions for thematic discussions. 

Whether the work at the center of a particular conversation is a triptych created by the brothers Einar and Jamex de la Torre, Andrés Serrano's controversial Piss Christ, a mural by the graffiti artist BEAR TCK, or Above All Things, a photograph by María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Stavans and Gracia's exchanges inevitably open out to literature, history, ethics, politics, religion, and visual culture more broadly. 

Autobiographical details pepper Stavans and Gracia's conversations, as one or the other tells what he finds meaningful in a given work. Sparkling with insight, their exchanges allow the reader to eavesdrop on two celebrated intellectuals—worldly, erudite, and unafraid to disagree—as they reflect on the pleasures of seeing.

Ilan Stavans is Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College. He has written, edited, and translated many books, including Spanglish: The Making of a New American Language, The Poetry of Pablo Neruda, and The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature. 

 Jorge J. E. Gracia is Samuel P. Capen Chair and SUNY Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Literature at the State University of New York at Buffalo. His many books include Painting Borges: Philosophy Interpreting Art Interpreting Literature, Images of Thought: Philosophical Interpretations of Carlos Estévez's Art, and Latinos in America: Philosophy and Social Identity.

Friday, October 11, 2013

#FridayReads: Hunting Season: Immigration and Murder in an All-American Town By Mirta Ojito

Library Reads describes Hunting Season: Immigration and Murder in an All-American Town By Mirta Ojito, as a book which, "chronicles the events leading up to the 2008 murder of an undocumented Ecuadorian immigrant on Long Island, detailing the reactions of family and community members, government officials, civic leaders and public library staff. A nuanced and in-depth look at hate crimes, and a powerful story that deserves to be told.”

The true story of an immigrant's murder that turned a quaint village on the Long Island shore into ground zero in the war on immigration 

In November 2008, Marcelo Lucero, a thirty-seven-year-old undocumented Ecuadorean immigrant, was attacked and murdered by a group of teenagers as he walked the streets of the Long Island village of Patchogue accompanied by a childhood friend. The attackers were out “hunting for beaners.” Chasing, harassing, and assaulting defenseless “beaners”—their slur for Latinos—was part of their weekly entertainment, some of the teenagers later confessed. Latinos—primarily men and not all of them immigrants—have become the target of hate crimes in recent years as the nation wrestles with swelling numbers of undocumented immigrants, the suburbs become the newcomers’ first destination, and public figures advance their careers by spewing anti-immigration rhetoric. 

Lucero, an unassuming worker at a dry cleaner’s, became yet another victim of anti-immigration fever. In the wake of his death, Patchogue was catapulted into the national limelight as this formerly unremarkable suburb of New York became ground zero in the war on immigration. In death, Lucero became a symbol of everything that was wrong with our broken immigration system: fewer opportunities to obtain visas to travel to the United States, porous borders, a growing dependency on cheap labor, and the rise of bigotry. 

Drawing on firsthand interviews and on-the-ground reporting, journalist Mirta Ojito has crafted an unflinching portrait of one community struggling to reconcile the hate and fear underlying the idyllic veneer of their all-American town. With a strong commitment to telling all sides of the story, Ojito unravels the engrossing narrative with objectivity and insight, providing an invaluable look at one of America’s most pressing issues. 

Mirta "Ojito has received several awards, including the American Society of Newspaper Editor's writing award for best foreign reporting in 1999 for her stories about life in Cuba, and a shared Pulitzer for national reporting in 2001 for a New York Times series about race in America. She is a graduate of Florida Atlantic University and of the mid-career master's degree program at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she now works as a full time assistant professor. You can tweet her @MirtaOjito

Start reading!

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Become a part of the LATINO AMERICANS PBS project

LATINO AMERICANS is a landmark six-hour documentary featuring interviews with nearly 100 Latinos and more than 500 years of History, narrated by actor Benjamin Bratt, will air nationally on PBS on three consecutive Tuesdays, premiering on September 17, September 24 and October 1.

Become a part of the LATINO AMERICANS project. Make a video describing what being Latino means to you, share your family traditions, tell us how you celebrate your heritage and culture or let us know about your role models. Share your story and become part of #LatinosPBS.

Get the DVR ready!


Monday, May 06, 2013

New Book: Jenni Rivera: The Incredible Story of a Warrior Butterfly

Jenni Rivera was the top-selling artist within the Regional Mexican music genre. With a weekly radio show, her own reality show, a makeup and clothing line, and her own foundation, she was at the height of her career and life. Everything she had conquered, with blood, sweat, tears, and smiles, hap¬pened, as she said, with God leading her by the hand. However her life, her dreams, and the joy she shared with so many came to a tragic end just before dawn on December 9, 2012.

In Jenni Rivera: The Incredible Story of a Warrior Butterfly, Leila Cobo—pianist, TV host, and Executive Director for Latino content and programming at Billboard—brings us Jenni Rivera’s intimate and moving biography, reflecting on the party girl, the elegant woman, the great diva, the friend, the mother, and the grandmother. 

A Fulbright scholar from Cali, Colombia, Leila Cobo is a novelist, pianist, TV host  and executive Editor for Latin Content and Programming for Billboard. Under her tenure, Billboard has expanded its coverage of Latin Music and for the first time in its more than 100-year history, the magazine has a complete weekly section dedicated solely to Latin music. 

As an author Ms. Cobo’s first novel, Tell Me Something True, was published Oct. 1 to critical acclaim by Grand Central Publishing/Hatchette and is now in its third printing. Her second novel, The Second Time We Met, was published in 2012.

Prior to Billboard, Leila wrote for the Los Angeles Times and was later the pop music critic at the Miami Herald. She’s written liner notes for Ricky Martin, Shakira, Julio Iglesias and Selena among others, and collaborates closely with Grammy in the Schools and Teach for America, among other projects.

Ms. Cobo is also one of the authors of the Billboard Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music and a guest writer on the anthology Quinceañera.

Monday, January 21, 2013

New Book: Juan in a Hundred: The Representation of Latinos on Network News

A timely new read: Juan in a Hundred: The Representation of Latinos on Network News by Otto Santa Ana

Latinos constitute the fastest-growing and largest ethnic minority in the United States, yet less than one percent of network news coverage deals with Latinos as the focus of a story. Out of that one percent, even fewer stories are positive in either content or tone. 

Author of the acclaimed Brown Tide Rising: Metaphors of Latinos in Contemporary American Public Discourse, Otto Santa Ana has completed a comprehensive analysis of this situation, blending quantitative research with semiotic readings and ultimately applying cognitive science and humanist theory to explain the repercussions of this marginal, negative coverage.

Santa Ana's choice of network evening news as the foundation for Juan in a Hundred is significant because that medium is currently the single most authoritative and influential source of opinion-generating content. In his 2004 research, Santa Ana calculated that among approximately 12,000 stories airing across four networks (ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC), only 118 dealt with Latinos, a ratio that has remained stagnant over the past fifteen years. 

Examining the content of the stories, from briefs to features, reveals that Latino-tagged events are apparently only broadcast when national politics or human calamity are involved, and even then, the Latino issue is often tangential to a news story as a whole. On global events involving Latin America, U.S. networks often remain silent while BBC correspondents prepare fully developed, humanizing coverage. 

The book concludes by demonstrating how this obscurity and misinformation perpetuate maligned perceptions about Latinos. Santa Ana's inspiring calls for reform are poised to change the face of network news in America.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Si Se Puede - Rock the Vote - Hispanic Heritage Draft

It's Hispanic Heritage Month and what better to celebrate your Latinidad than by flexing our political and civic muscles this election year. In partnership with Voto Latino, you can register to vote right here, right now. (Then get ready to hit the polling booths on Election Day, and don't forget to bring Mami, Abuela and the rest of the registered voters in your family along with you). Together we make a major impact on the future of America.

Through both Voto Latino and National Voter Registration Day’s online voter registration tool, users that complete the online form will receive an emailed PDF with their information filled in. The registrant then simply signs, stamps, and sends the completed form to the address included in their form. That’s it -- the whole process takes less than 5 minutes.
About Voto Latino

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 05:  Taboo of the Bl...
 Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas at Voto Latino's Purple Carpet Bash on Sept 5, 2012. (Getty Images)
Founded in 2004 by actor Rosario Dawson and political analyst Maria Teresa Kumar, Voto Latino is a dynamic and growing organization whose civic engagement campaigns have reached 55 million Latino households.

Rosario Dawson
Rosario Dawson
Driven by the belief that Latino issues and American issues are one and the same, Voto Latino has effectively used volunteers, celebrities, media, and the latest technology to register 120,000 young Latino voters, galvanize Latino youth and their families to be counted in the 2010 Census, and mobilize them to speak out and take action on policies impacting their lives.

* Our regularly scheduled edition of Lit Link & Scoops, will return next week following the PSA.

Monday, August 06, 2012

NYC: Come See Me at The Comadres y Compadres Writers Conference

I will be speaking at the upcoming Comadres y Compadres Writers Conference on October 6, 2012, in New York City, drawing from my experience as social media strategist and former book publicist. I hope you all can make it and would appreciate it if you help spread the word as well.

Time: 8:00 am to 6 pm
Date: Saturday, October 6, 2012
Place: Medgar Evers College
The City University of New York
1650 Bedford Ave. Brooklyn, New York 11225

The Comadres y Compadres Writers Conference, which will take place at the Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York on October 6, 2012, will provide Latino writers with access to published Latino authors as well as agents and editors who have a proven track record of publishing Latino writers.

In addition, the CCWC will offer an insider’s perspective on how best to navigate the particular challenges and opportunities faced by Latino writers in the current publishing landscape, as well as foster a vibrant national community of writers akin to what Las Comadres has already created with its Las Comadres international network and its Las Comadres and Friends National Latino Book Club and Teleconference Series.

Keynote Speaker: Sonia Manzano, Actress and Author.

Having originated the role of “Maria” on Sesame Street, Manzano wrote two children’s books, No Dogs Allowed (Simon and Schuster, 2004) and A Box Full of Kittens (Simon and Schuster, 2007), and will have her first YA novel, The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano, published by Scholastic in Fall 2012.

Participants currently include Johanna Castillo, Vice President & Senior Editor/Atria, Simon & Schuster: Jaime de Pablos, Director/Vintage Español, Knopf Doubleday Group; Adriana Dominguez, Agent/Full Circle Literary; Mercedes Fernandez, Assistant Editor/Dafina Books, Kensington Publishing; Sulay Hernandez, Editor/Other Press; Cheryl Klein, Executive Editor/Arthur A. Levine Books; Selina L. McLemore, Senior Editor/Grand Central Publishing; Christina Morgan, Editor/Harcourt Houghton Mifflin; Lukas Ortiz, Managing Director/Philip G. Spitzer Literary Agency, Inc.;  Diane Stockwell, Founder/Globo Libros Literary Management; and Stacy Whitman, Founder and Editorial Director/Tu Books. (AND ME!)

To register to attend, sponsor or attend as vendor or volunteer, click here for more information.

Save the Date & See who else will be there:

RSVP via LinkedIn
RSVP via Facebook
RSVP via Plancast
Las Comadres Conference Program

Sunday, August 05, 2012

New Book: Latinos, Inc.The Marketing and Making of a People

English: Seal of the United States Census Bure...
English: Seal of the United States Census Bureau. The blazon is defined here as: On a shield an open book beneath which is a lamp of knowledge emitting rays above in base two crossed quills. Around the whole a wreath of single leaves, surrounded by an outer band bearing between two stars the words "U.S. Department of Commerce" in the upper portion and "Bureau of the Census" in the lower portion, the lettering concentric with an inner beaded rim and an outer dentilated rim. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When did Latinos become an ethnic group or we just a segment of a target audience? If you've ever asked yourself this question, this new book by Arlene Dávila, an Assistant Professor of American Studies and Anthropology at New York University, explores theories of identity and ethnicity in the U.S.

Latinos, Inc.: The Marketing and Making of a People

Both Hollywood and corporate America are taking note of the marketing power of the growing Latino population in the United States. And as salsa takes over both the dance floor and the condiment shelf, the influence of Latin culture is gaining momentum in American society as a whole. 

Yet the increasing visibility of Latinos in mainstream culture has not been accompanied by a similar level of economic parity or political enfranchisement. In this important, original, and entertaining book, Arlene Dávila provides a critical examination of the Hispanic marketing industry and of its role in the making and marketing of U.S. Latinos.

Dávila finds that Latinos' increased popularity in the marketplace is simultaneously accompanied by their growing exotification and invisibility. She scrutinizes the complex interests that are involved in the public representation of Latinos as a generic and culturally distinct people and questions the homogeneity of the different Latino subnationalities that supposedly comprise the same people and group of consumers. 

In a fascinating discussion of how populations have become reconfigured as market segments, she shows that the market and marketing discourse become important terrains where Latinos debate their social identities and public standing.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

MAMITAS: Movie Debut

I wished I would've had the chance to see Mamitas last year at the New York Latino International Film Festival where it was nominated as Best Narrative Feature Film.

Since then the small indie film has gone on to win accolades at the Independent Spirit Awards, the 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival, the 2011 Urbanworld Film Festival, and the 2011 Napa Valley Film Festival.

 This is the first movie from Nicholas Ozeki, a latino USC film student, who wrote and directed the film. The cast includes: Pedro Armendáriz Jr., EJ Bonilla, Veronica Diaz-Carranza, Jennifer Esposito, among others.

The story follows an East LA High School boy and his struggles in life. Set in Echo Park and against Los Angeles' downtown skyline, this beguiling coming-of-age romance introduces two phenomenal young actors in EJ Bonilla and Veronica Diaz-Carranza. At school, Jordin (Bonilla) is a cocky but charming guy; One day Jordin meets Felipa (Diaz-Carranza), a bookish, no-nonsense New York girl who sees past the swaggering facade. The two immediately embark on an unlikely friendship that inspires Jordin to find out who he really is.

A movie about Latino identity, featuring a bookish, street smart Latina New Yorker, what? I am so in!


 The film opens: April 27 in select theaters in LA. More information available at

Monday, March 01, 2010

Tostitos Salsa & the Carmen Miranda/Chiquita Banana/Sexy Señorita Image

As someone who has almost zero interest in sports or watching them on TV, it was only this weekend that I happened to spot this Frito Lay Salsa commercial, created for the football season:

At first glance, I thought it was really creative and cool, had great music, and I love the animation, but it also stirred some discomfort in me that I had to process and I would love to hear your thoughts on...

First, the Carmen Miranda/Chiquita Banana/Sexy Señorita image has always both fascinated and repulsed me.

On one hand, she is beautiful, sultry, and seductive.

On the other, she only perpetuates the "stereotypical images of Latinos as perpetual fun-seekers, flirts, and flamboyant dancers,” always coming across as sexualized objects of entertainment and servitude.

As a Latina woman, the issues go even deeper: She is always overtly sexual. The singing and dancing while working theme is a direct tie to image of the slave, "happily" toiling and singing in the fields.

Since the stereotype is always associated with fruit and food, it only serves to sustain the image of the Latina, as the cook, the maid, always in the kitchen and perhaps the picking fields, always "dishing" it out. The fact that she's got on full make-up, tats, a flamenco outfit, high heels, and dancing, gives it a humiliating caricaturisating Sambo touch.

Then there is the slicing and dicing, yet another link to another stereotype: A Latina who will cut you. Only this time, it's her skirt that is doing the chopping. A nod to the vagina dentata archetype, perhaps?

She blooms in the garden, opening up like that "Spanish Harlem Rose" that's been neglected and waiting to be cultivated, lending some element of magical realism that is only apropos of the animation and ninja stylized stunts. (After all, we all know that Latinas and all people of color have magical powers, see Magical Negro).

She's one with nature, dancing and spinning like some insatiable whirling dervish, picking "fruit" off trees - a salute to Eve and her sin? Hot as hell but tempting too, no?

And even the music is muy caliente - The Weatherston Hays' track used is "Hot Sauce," described on their site as a "spicy blend of hot and hotter." Yum! Gotta love that blend!

In the end, perhaps, I've gone overboard. Perhaps, I just like to analyze and scrutinize art too much and it's all a stretch here. Maybe the makers of the ad were acutely aware of all of this and it's all actually commentary turned over on its head to promote a product that is ultimately Latino in essence, making it genius...

Or is it just the same old, historical stereotype refined and digitized for a new generation?

You decide...

Updated to add one more thought:

I remembered after a comment from a fellow blogger via email that I left one an additional issue. Rampant throughout the commercial is the transmogrification of Latino culture. We know Latinos to be a diverse group with diverse cultures, traditions and history. Yet we have a commercial for salsa (Mexican cuisine) with a dancer in a flamenco dress(Spain), dancing to some "latin" music...treating the Latino aspect as a whole, one homogenous synthesis of all they could fit in.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Un Poquito de Todo

News via Criticas:

New Literary Award to Honor Spanish-language Literature
By María Elena Cruz — February 15, 2007

Grupo Planeta and Casa de América have announced the formation of a new literary prize, the Premio Iberoamericano Planeta Casa de América de Narrativa. The contest is open to unpublished, Spanish-language works; this year’s deadline is set for March 15. Winners will be announced every year on April 23 in a different Spanish-speaking country; this year’s winners will be revealed in Bogotá, Colombia—named 2007 Book Capital of the World by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The first place winner and finalist will receive US$200,000 and US$50,000, respectively. Submissions will be accepted at all of Planeta’s offices (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Perú, Portugal, Spain, United States, Uruguay, and Venezuela).

Casa de América is a Spanish consortium that serves as a forum for ideas and debates concerning cultural, economic, political, scientific, and technological matters of Spain and Latin America.

Latino Literacy Now Announces 9th Latino Book Awards

Nominations for the International Latino Book Awards for books published in 2006 are now open. The results of the 58 categories the award comprises will be announced during BookExpo America 2007, which will take place this June at the Javits Center in New York City. The purpose of this award, organized by Latino Literacy Now, is to recognize the positive contributions made to Latino literature by publishers and writers worldwide. Thanks to the rise in nominations of literary works from different parts of the American continent and Spain, the award’s name was changed in 2006 to International Latino Book Awards. Nominations will be open until March 16. For more information go to

Contest via Academy of American Poets:

In anticipation of National Poetry Month 2007, The Academy of American Poets is looking for America’s biggest poetry fans: people who demonstrate a passion for poetry that goes beyond the usual.

We’ll select America’s biggest poetry fans to receive prize packages including poetry books, CDs, t-shirts and tote bags. In addition, selected fans will have their submissions and profiles posted on We're hoping to choose one winner for each of the most popular poets on

Emily Dickinson
Walt Whitman
Langston Hughes
William Carlos Williams
Sylvia Plath
Pablo Neruda
William Shakespeare
Dylan Thomas
E. E. Cummings
Robert Frost
W.H. Auden

You don't see your favorite poet on the list? You can still enter. Write to us about your favorite poet. In addition to those above, we’ll select a fan of one other poet listed on Click here for a full list of eligible poets. (Note: you can’t vote for yourself.)

How to Enter

Email a short essay to by March 15, 2007 describing in 250 words or less why you (or you and a friend—or, if you are a teacher, you and your class) are the number one fan or fans of the poet you have chosen.

We’re looking for the most compelling and creative entries and welcome the use of supporting materials such as photographs or videos after you have submitted your essay. Just mention you would like to submit supporting material in your email and an invitation to post on our or group pages will be emailed to you.


Books to check out:

The Mosaic Virus by Carlos, T. Mock
Article on author of The Virgin of Flames, Chris Abani

Thursday, February 08, 2007

NYC Free Event: Latino Lit (Tomorrow)

WHAT: Guest speaker, Marcela Landres will discuss
"Latino Literature: Trends vs. Tradition" during which she will provide an overview of Latino publishing in the U.S. followed by a Q&A.

* Sponsored by the NYC Latina Writers Group,

WHEN: Friday, February 9, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

WHERE: Hue-Man Bookstore & Café, 2319 Frederick Douglass Boulevard,
Between 124th and 125th Streets, New York, NY

QUESTIONS: Contact Alicia Anabel at
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