CSRC Newsletter - November 2008
Volume 7, Number 2
The October Surprise came to Los Angeles last week when the Los Angeles Times laid off seventy-five editorial employees, including Agustin Gurza, the only Latino writer remaining in the Calendar section. Gurza’s “Culture Mix” column on Saturdays provided a regular venue for explorations of Latino arts and entertainment. In a city that is more than 47 percent Latino, a once-a-week column hardly seemed enough, but it was something. Not content to merely champion Latino arts and culture, Gurza could be critical and edgy, and he was always honest. He brought attention to the Latin superstars (themselves barely known at the Times) as well as the community-based musicians, artists, and actors who help make Los Angeles one of the most diverse and vibrant cultural arenas in the world. These layoffs at the Times are the latest fallout from our economic crisis—but layoffs at the Times are not new. Since 2001 the newspaper has cut editorial staff by 50 percent. These are hard times, but it is unclear why they should have a disproportionate impact on Latino employees and Latino coverage. The same week that the Times laid off Gurza, it also implemented a new design for the paper, one that harkens back to the 1950s. This seems an odd way to appeal to current demographics, not to mention the increasingly on-line readership. The concurrent seven-part series on the mid-century Gangster Squad did not help that impression. While the Times editorial board looked to the future in endorsing Barack Obama, the business side looked to the past in terms of its marketing, employment practices, and editorial coverage. That leaves the present unaddressed, a present that in Los Angeles is defined by a significant Latino cultural presence.
Director and Professor
The CSRC is excited to announce its acceptance of a $225,000 grant from the Getty Foundation. The grant will support research and planning for Los Angeles: The Mexican Presence in L.A., 1945–80, a three-part exhibition scheduled for January through April 2012 at the Claremont Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), and the UCLA Fowler Museum. For more information see recent media coverage by La Opinión, the Los Angeles Times, and local radio station KPCC. The Getty Foundation also provides funding for CSRC projects focusing on community archiving and collecting oral histories.
Phantom Sightings: Art after the Chicano Movement, the first comprehensive consideration of Chicano art in almost two decades, opened at the Tamayo Museum in Mexico City on October 16 and continues through January 9, 2009. The exhibition, which originated at LACMA, is curated by Chon A. Noriega, Rita Gonzalez, and Howard N. Fox. For reviews in the Mexican media, click here, here, and here. A review published in Proceso is available at the CSRC website. To read previous reviews of Phantom Sightings in Los Angeles visit LA Weekly, Frieze, and Art Review websites.
Cuban multimedia artist Raúl Ferrera-Balanquet explored the concept of “Cine Imperfecto” with students in Maria Elena de las Carreras’s class on Asian, African, and Latin American cinema on October 20. Mr. Ferrera-Balanquet discussed the concept, which contextualizes the theory and practice of 1960s Cuban cinema, and its implications when contemporary films and filmmakers challenge the conventions of established narrative paradigms. Dr. de las Carreras is an assistant visiting professor in the UCLA Department of Film, Television, and Digital Media; Mr. Ferrera-Balanquet is curator of Arte Nuevo InteractivA, the Latin American biennale in Mérida, Mexico. The talk was co-sponsored by the CSRC.
Congratulations to Reynaldo Macías, co-founder of Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies and acting dean of the UCLA Division of Social Sciences, and Fernando Torres-Gil, CSRC faculty associate and director of the Center for Policy Research on Aging, who were named two of the nation's 100 most influential Hispanics by Hispanic Business magazine this month.
Two faculty members from the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine have been elected to the prestigious Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors in the field of health and medicine. William Vega, a member of the CSRC Faculty Advisory Committee, and Jose J. Escarce are among sixty-five new members who were honored for their outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service.
CSRC colleague Lizette Guerra has been selected as one of the U.S. librarians who will attend the Guadalajara Book Fair as an AFA-FIL Free Pass Program participant. The Guadalajara Book Fair, which runs from November 29 through December 3, is the largest Spanish-language book fair in the western hemisphere. It provides an unparalleled opportunity for librarians to evaluate books, reference materials, videos, CDs, and more for their students and users.
Join us for the CSRC’s annual Open House and Welcome Reception on Wednesday, November 5, 4:00–6:00 p.m., in 144 Haines Hall and the north patio. This year’s celebration will feature the music of Willie Herrón III of Los Illegals and Teresa Covarrubias of The Brat. Refreshments will be provided by Casablanca. Please drop by to learn about upcoming programs and projects and to meet CSRC scholars and staff. Campus parking can be purchased for $9 at the Westholme Dr.–Hilgard Ave. kiosk; closest available parking is in parking structure 2.
Rubén Hernández-León, UCLA professor of sociology and author of Metropolitan Migrants: The Migration of Urban Mexicans to the United States (University of California Press, 2008) will discuss his book with critics Roger Waldinger, UCLA professor of sociology, and Devra Weber, UCR professor of history, on Friday, November 7, 12:00–1:30 p.m., in 279 Haines Hall. The session is co-sponsored by the CSRC, the UCLA Migration Study Group, and the UCLA International Institute. A reception will follow.
The CSRC invites you to two events related to Caras Vemos, Corazones No Sabemos: Faces Seen, Hearts Unknown, currently on view at the UCLA Fowler Museum. The exhibition includes compelling works that depict the struggles and lives of immigrants. More than forty artists are represented. For information about Caras Vemos, Corazones No Sabemos and related events visit the Fowler Museum website.
The CSRC, the UCLA Latin American Institute, and the UCLA Center for the Study of Women will present a special free screening of Ela Troyano’s La Lupe, Queen of Latin Soul (2007) on Wednesday, November 12, 4:00–6:00 p.m., in 314 Royce. La Lupe—Lupe Yolí—first gained fame in the 1950s in her native Cuba. In the 1960s she moved to the United States, where she became known for her campy, emotional performances of Latin music. She made several successful albums with Tito Puente, recording classics such as “My Way,” “Fever,” and “Going Out of My Head.” Ms. Troyano’s one-hour documentary draws on interviews and archival footage to present a vivid portrait of La Lupe’s rise to fame and her subsequent decline. Ms. Troyano, who will discuss her work after the screening, is a New York-based, Cuban-born filmmaker whose films and performances have been shown throughout the United States and at international festivals. Campus parking can be purchased for $9 at the entrance to structure 4 or at any parking kiosk; closest available parking is in structure 5.
Join us for “An Afternoon of Chicana/o Teatro,” a performance by Chicano Secret Service, on Thursday, November 13, 2:00–4:00 p.m., at the CSRC Library (144 Haines Hall). This special event will integrate performance and linguistic and cultural analysis to examine language, identity, and style in Chicana/o teatro. The Chicano Secret Service’s performance of “Starting Pleito and Being Trucha” will be followed by a panel presentation with Carla Jonsson (assistant professor of education in languages and language development, Stockholm University, Sweden), Lauren Mason Carris (doctoral candidate, applied linguistics, UCLA), and members of Chicano Secret Service: Tomás Carrasco (doctoral student, Chicana/o studies, UCSB), Elias Serna (doctoral student, English, UCR), and Susan Carrasco (master's student, counseling, LaVerne University). The CSRC is a co-sponsor for the event. Campus parking can be purchased for $9 at the Westholme Dr.–Hilgard Ave. kiosk; closest available parking is in structure 2.
The CSRC joins the UCLA Asian American Studies Center and the Charles E. Young Research Library to present a program on the WWII internment of Japanese Latin Americans and the Campaign for Justice on Thursday, November 13, 5:00–6:30 p.m., in the UCLA Young Research Library (YRL) Presentation Room. The program will include a half-hour screening of Hidden Internment: The Art Shibayama Story, followed by discussion with Mr. Shibayama. There will also be a special spoken-word presentation by Traci Kato-Kiriyama about the Japanese Peruvian experience. This event is free and open to the public. Campus parking can be purchased for $9 at the Wyton Ave.–Hilgard Ave. kiosk; closest available parking is in structure 3.
The CSRC is proud to present Casa Libre/Freedom House, a new one-hour documentary about a unique homeless shelter for unaccompanied, undocumented minors in Los Angeles. The film will screen on Thursday, November 20, 2:00 p.m., in the CSRC Library (144 Haines Hall). A Q&A with the filmmakers will follow. Casa Libre/Freedom House is directed by Roberto S. Oregel, who received an MFA from UCLA’s Department of Film, Television, and Digital Media, and produced by Chon A. Noriega, CSRC director, and Peter Schey, president of the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law (CHRCL). The film is an outgrowth of a community partnership between the CSRC and the CHRCL, which runs Casa Libre. Funding for the film was provided by the UCLA Center for Community Partnerships (CCP). A news item about the film is posted on the La Opinión website. Campus parking can be purchased for $9 at the Westholme Dr.–Hilgard Ave. kiosk; closest available parking is in structure 2.
The CSRC will co-sponsor “Actions of Transfer: Women’s Performance in the Americas,” Thursday, November 20, through Sunday, November 23, at UCLA. This event, presented by the UCLA Center for Performance Studies, will include performances, lectures by invited speakers, roundtable discussions, and workshops. It brings together women performers and activists from throughout the Americas with scholars who think about performance as a mode of embodied transmission and social intervention. The event will explore issues of indigeneity, gender and sexuality, transnational/global encounters, labor, domestic violence, and access to material resources. To register for “Action of Transfer” and to obtain a list of featured performers and participants visit the event’s webpage.
CSRC Library and Archive
Miguel Juárez resigned his position as CSRC librarian on September 26. While at the CSRC Miguel was instrumental in creating a pipeline for future CSRC Press publications. He also participated in the writing of two grants to support the processing of collections, sold CSRC Press books at conferences, and coordinated the acquisition of five archival collections for the CSRC Library and one for the Young Research Library Special Collections. The CSRC was recognized for his presentations to Spanish-speaking parents of school-age children. Miguel has returned to El Paso, Texas, where he plans to pursue an advanced degree and complete several books. We wish Miguel much success in his future endeavors.
The CSRC Library is pleased to announce the acquisition of the Alex Donis Papers. Mr. Donis is a Los Angeles-based visual artist whose work examines and redefines the boundaries set within religion, politics, race, and sexuality. His work is often influenced by a tri-cultural (pop, Latin, and queer) experience. Mr. Donis, who is interested in undermining the relationship between society and icons, has worked extensively in a variety of media including painting, installation, video, and works on paper. This collection of approximately ten linear feet of materials consists of papers, journals, photographs, videos, paintings, and three-dimensional objects. Archive staff will be digitizing Mr. Donis’s video art collection. We look forward to preserving and making this important collection available to students and researchers around the world.
Finding aids for the following collections have recently been posted to the Online Archive of California:
· The Jose Luis Sedano Papers
· The Richards Griswold del Castillo Papers
· The Grace Davis Papers
· The Roberto Gutierrez Papers
· The Francesco X. Siqueiros Papers
· The Paule Cruz Takash Papers
Carlos M. Haro’s historic interview with educator and leader Sal Castro has just been released on video; the interview is part of the CSRC Library’s academic video series. Dr. Haro, former assistant director of the CSRC, is currently a CSRC postdoctoral scholar-in-residence.
The CSRC has recently acquired the Yolanda Retter-Vargas Book Collection. Dr. Retter-Vargas was the librarian and archivist at the CSRC Library from 2003 to 2007. She contributed her knowledge and talents toward the empowerment of students and the growth of the library until she passed away due to illness. Dr. Retter-Vargas was a lifelong learner with many diverse interests. Her books will be integrated into the monograph collection and will serve as a valuable resource for students, faculty, and researchers who are interested in studying the history and culture of Chicana/os and Latina/os.
The CSRC Library was recently awarded a Ford Foundation Grant to expand efforts to increase its LGBTIQ and women’s archival collections. A project initiated by former librarian and archivist Yolanda Retter-Vargas, the initiatives will serve to document the histories of an underserved community whose presence is lacking in the archival record. As part of this effort, the CSRC will be processing and providing access to several new collections, including the Yolanda Retter-Vargas Book Collection, the Alex Donis Papers, the Laura Aguilar Collection, and the Queer Nation Collection. This two-year project will result in the creation of a guide for community archiving that will provide repositories and community organizations with the professional and culturally sensitive tools needed to document and preserve the stories of underserved communities. For more information, contact Lizette Guerra, acting librarian.
CSRC Associate Director Javier Iribarren, with co-authors Paolo Prolo, Cynthia Ann Telles, and Francesco Chiappelli, explore Latinos’ use of the Internet to increase their health-related knowledge in Latino Policy & Issues Brief No. 22, Latinos’ Access to Web-Based Healthcare Information. As access to the Internet grows, Americans are increasingly going online to find information about their heath and their healthcare options. This study discovers that access to this type of information is markedly lower for primary Spanish speakers in Los Angeles than it is for primary English speakers. Latino Policy & Issues Brief No. 22 will be available in PDF in mid-November at the CSRC Press website.
The CSRC Press is pleased to announce that the first downloadable teacher’s guide for the A Ver series will be available in November. The Teacher’s Guide for Gronk, prepared by arts educators Veronica Alvarez and Theresa Soto, presents three lessons filled with hands-on activities for students in grades 6 through 12. Each lesson explores a different aspect of Gronk’s art and art making. Lesson 1, “Collective Art and Social Commentary,” examines Gronk’s collaborative art forms in a wide range of media and guides students as they develop a grant proposal and a group art project. Lesson 2, “Depicting La Tormenta, Constructing Identity,” analyzes Gronk’s alter ego and encourages students to explore their own identities. Lesson 3, “A Neighborhood Archaeologist’s Sketchbook,” focuses on Gronk’s activities as an urban archaeologist and inspires students to investigate the neighborhoods in which they live and learn. Follow the links on the CSRC home page to access the Teacher’s Guide for Gronk.
The second volume in CSRC Press’s acclaimed A Ver: Revisioning Art History series is now on press. In Yolanda M. López, author Karen Mary Davalos explores how López’s experiences informed her art, which ranges from posters to portraiture and the highly influential Guadalupe Series to later installations. Davalos’s analysis of López’s work illuminates the importance of the artist’s contributions to Chicana/o art, Chicana feminism, conceptual art, and the politics of representation. Yolanda M. López features sixty-seven illustrations, most in full color, plus an extensive bibliography and exhibition history; it is available in hard cover and soft cover editions. The book, which will ship in early 2009, may be pre-ordered from University of Minnesota Press.