Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Migdalia Cruz - Math Major Turned Playwright

In case you've wondered about penning your own play, I thought this a most appropriate time to reach into my vault and share an interview that I did with playwright Migdalia Cruz earlier this summer when her play El Grito del Bronx premiered at the Goodman theatre and was produced by Collaboraction and Teatro Vista.

Diana: I read somewhere that you were originally a math major. How did you go from math major to playwright?

Migdalia:I was also a History minor, and took a class about Beckett. I thought it was about the English historical figure "Thomas A Becket, but instead it was about Samuel Beckett. When I saw how beautifully and poetically Beckett rendered the most horrible of human conditions, I thought becoming a playwright could be an incredible gift. So I dropped the Calculus. When I get stuck on my plays, I sometimes add big numbers. I figure anything on paper is good. It also relaxes me. Strange, huh? Math stresses a lot of people, but not me. But once I faced the fact that writing was what would truly make me happy, I remembered that I had written my first play when I was six years old—a puppet play about Civil Rights. So I suppose I was really just acknowledging what I always knew in my heart. Math was fun, but writing was life.

Diana: What advice do you give to emerging women playwrights?

Migdalia: Respect your history, listen to your ancestors, tell the truth, and write your own story—or someone else will write it and get it all wrong.

Diana: Can you give us a sneak peek at some of the other plays you might be working on?

Migdalia: Hmmm...I'm not sure how much I should tell you— I have been working for a while on an adaptation of Petronius' Satyricon, which will include both reggaeton & the music of Nino Rota. And I have recently started thinking about a play about real Puerto Rican Pirates to whom I am related. Enough said.

'Finding a Method to Your Own Madness.' For more details contact: Megan from Chicago Dramatist at msmith@chicagodramatists.org, or call at 312-206-8959.

Interview by Diana Pando

Saturday, August 29, 2009

La Pocha Nostra

La Pocha Nostra Performance and Artist Residency
October 22 – November 1.
Columbia College Chicago.

Call-For-Applications to the Fall 2009 Workshop is Open!
Click here to submit a request for the application!
For more information call 312-369-8829.

Renowned Mexican-American performance artist Guillermo Gómez-Pena and his San Francisco-based “trans-disciplinary organization,” La Pocha Nostra, will be a Critical Encounters Artist-in-Residence in partnership with the Institute, the Center for Teaching Excellence and the Center for Community Arts Partnerships. La Pocha Nostra will lead an intensive artist workshop incorporating and challenging ideas of race, gender, faith, and boundaries that will continue into the Spring semester and culminate in a group project as part of the 6th annual Gender Fusions. On October 30, La Pocha Nostra will debut a new performance on campus, Corpo/Illicito: The Post-Human Society #69, exploring the legacy of fear inherited by the Bush administration and the emerging culture of home, imagination and faith.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Más Memoir Writing Workshop

Well the lazy days of summer our almost over and with September around the corner it's time to flex those writing muscles. Next month Ana Castillo returns to the Windy City to offer her Más Writing Workshop. Irasema Gonzalez, Coya Paz, Yolanda Cardenas and I had an opportunity to take her last writing workshop. It was thought provoking and very useful for anyone wanting to write memoir.

"We’ll write from our hearts and our minds. And then, we’ll learn to get rid of all the sentimentality and leave on the page what is important for the reader to know about your memoir". -Ana Castillo

This workshop welcomes back previous participants. It will include first time participants. Together, you’ll take a look at writing-in-progress, learn workshop method and discuss new writing tips and techniques.

Sunday, Sept. 20 - 10AM to 2PM - Location TBA.

In memoir, the reader must be persuaded that the narrator is writing honestly, whether or not he/she is, is secondary. It doesn’t matter as much ‘what happened’ as what you make of what you remember may have happened.The workshop will consist of exercises, which help us to know how to get started when desiring to work on a memoir essay.

Persons interested must submit 1 pg writing sample to apply.18 yrs. and up.

All Inquiries and to Apply:

Email: anacastilloworkshops@gmail.com Cost: $175 per person
Limit only 15 per workshop * Exact locations and times will be given once applicant has been accepted.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Little Village Literary Landscaper Irasema Gonzalez Is Featured In July Proyecto Latina Reading Series

Little Village Literary Landscaper Irasema Gonzalez Is Featured In July Proyecto Latina Reading Series

Join Us It's FREE on July 20th @7pm in Little Village

In a neighborhood on the South Side of the city that often gets over looked and arts funding is next to nonexistent Proyecto Latina will host its first reading series in Little Village to reach out to Latinas of all ages and encourage them to come out and share their own writing about their lives and neighborhood.

The feature includes local writer and Little Village resident, Irasema Gonzalez, on Monday, July 20th at 7pm at the Chicago Public Library Toman Branch, FREE and open to the public.

She will be sharing her reflections on growing up in the Little Village and what it means to be a woman in that part of the city. “I am really hoping that Little Village writers (I know they’re out there and I want to meet them) come out to join me in sharing their work through our open mic," says writer Irasema Gonzalez.

Irasema Gonzalez is a writer and merchant. She is the owner of Tianguis.biz the current incarnation of her former book and teashop in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood"which is also the exclusive distributor for Momotombo Press. She is passionate about books that tell the stories of the Latino community. Also, a founding member of the Proyecto Latina reading series and the co-producer for the Proyecto Latina Radio Show at Radio Arte. Her poems appeared in the Ariel XXVIII (Triton College, 2009), Afternoon Wine: Vicios, Sueños y Confesiones (Maravilla Writing Collective’s chapbook, 2006), and in Between the Heart and the Land: An Anthology of Midwestern Latina Poets by March Abrazo Press, 2000. She has presented featured readings at venues throughout the city including: Palabra Pura, the Sor Juana festival and Poetry Fest at the Chicago Public Library. She is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago, where she earned a B.A. in journalism and creative writing. She resides in Little Village with her family and is giddy about hosting and featuring at Proyecto Latina in La Villita this July.

The reading will be Monday, July 20 at 7pm (FREE) at the Chicago Public Library Toman Branch 2708 S. Pulaski Road Chicago, IL 60623 - (312) 498-4067 / Street Parking Available/60 Blue Island Bus / 31st S. Pulaski Bus

Proyecto Latina provides a platform to showcase work by Latina writers, poets and performers. In its fourth year, the reading series takes place the third Monday of every month, it includes a feature, an open mic and a chisme box! Proyecto Latina proudly features emerging and established artists like: Lisa Alvarado (Poet), Achy Obejas (Writer),Coya Paz (Poet/Performance Artist) Yolanda Cardenas (Poet), Vida Bella Ensemble (Performance) Stephanie Elizondo Griest(Author), Tanya Saracho (Playwright) Liz Ann Acosta (Writer) and many more!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wanted: Latina Artists

NHLI 2009 Executive Leadership Training Conference & Mujer Awards Gala Poster Artwork Contest

The National Hispana Leadership Institute (NHLI) invites Latina artists nationwide to submit artwork (in all media including paintings, sculptures, photography, etc.) that celebrates Latinas/Hispanic women. NHLI – a national 501 (c) 3 organization based in Washington, DC – was established in 1987 to address the underrepresentation of Latinas in the corporate, non-profit and political arenas. NHLI will use the winning image to promote the 2009 Executive Leadership Training Conference and Mujer Awards Gala to be held November 5-6 2009 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. NHLI will credit the artist in promotional materials during and after the conference included but not limited to: 2009 Mujer Award poster, award certificates, program cover, bags, mouse pads, annual report, and NHLI note cards.


  • The call is open to Latina artists 18 years and older from across the United States.
  • Entries will be juried from jpg entries submitted electronically or via CD. No other formats will be accepted.
  • The submitted images will have a minimum of 200 dots per inch (dpi). Image must be able to be reproduced at 300 dpi at a minimum of 18x24 inches, for printing purposes.
  • Each file should be numbered (1, 2, 3) and include entrant’s last name and first name (i.e. lastname_firstname_1.jpg, lastname_firstname_2.jpg and lastname_firstname_3.jpg).
  • Original work cannot exceed 3 feet in any dimension or weigh more than 50 lbs.
  • No frontal nudity or inappropriate images will be accepted.

The deadline for submissions is June 1, 2009, 5:00 PM EST. Artists will be notified of the decision by July 1, 2009.


1st Prize: $1,000 (U.S.) and the opportunity to showcase and exhibit original artwork at the Mujer Awards Gala art reception on Friday, November 6, 2009. The artist will be able to showcase up to 5 pieces at the art reception, including the winning entry. In addition, NHLI will provide an exhibitor’s table for the artist to promote and sell her work during the general conference and tickets to all conference meal, and non-meal functions. NHLI will also provide a full-page advertisement in the conference program for further promotion of the artist and the selected piece. Please note NHLI reserves the right to keep the original artwork.

2nd Prize: $500 (U.S.) and the opportunity to showcase and exhibit original artwork at the Mujer Awards Gala art reception on Friday, November 6, 2009. The artist will be able to showcase up to 3 pieces at the art reception. In addition, NHLI will provide an exhibitor’s table for the artist to promote and sell her work and tickets to all conference meal, and non-meal functions.

3rd Prize: $300 (U.S.) and the opportunity to showcase and exhibit original artwork at the Mujer Awards Gala art reception on Friday, November 6, 2009. The artist will be able to showcase up to 2 pieces at the art reception. In addition, NHLI will provide an exhibitor’s table for the artist to promote and sell her work and tickets to all conference meal, and non-meal functions.

Please note artists are responsible for transporting the art pieces (including insurance and handling costs) themselves to the 2009 NHLI Executive Leadership Training Conference and Mujer Awards Gala to be held November 5-6, 2009 in Albuquerque, NM.

The entry fee is $25.00 for up to 3 jpgs. Checks will be accepted. The fee will cover administrative costs associated with the contest. Jpg submissions will not be returned and will remain property of NHLI (please refer to release and rights form attached).

For electronic submissions, e-mail nhli@nhli.org or mail your application/release form attached, CD, and your check payable to:

National Hispana Leadership Institute:
NHLI 2009 Mujer Awards Art Call for Entries
1601 N. Kent Street, Suite 803
Arlington, VA 22209

Friday, April 17, 2009

Mangos, Chismes y Mucho Más

This month’s Proyecto Latina honors Sandra Cisneros and includes a sneak peak at Tanya Saracho's adaptation of The House on Mango Street. We encourage you to bring your Mango themed poems, stories and chisme! As always it's FREE and we look forward to seeing you!

Join us on Monday, April 20, 2009 @ 7 p.m. Held at Radio Arte, 1401 W. 18th Street.

Proyecto Latina welcomes Tanya Saracho back this April, we will be featuring a sampling of the full-length play and her adaptatation of the Sandra Cisnero's book The House on Mango Street. Tanya will also share the art process of how she took a lyrical narrative and modified it for the stage.

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros is celebrating its 25th anniversary in print. This Spring its been chosen as the One Book One Chicago for the city to read.

Tanya Saracho
was born in Sinaloa, México and moved to Texas in the late 80's . She is the Co-Founding Artistic Director of Teatro Luna: Chicago's All-Latina Theatre, and a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists and Teatro Vista. Tanya's writing has been featured in most of Teatro Luna's ensemble-built works including "Generic Latina," "Dejame Contarte," "The Maria Chronicles," "SOLO Latinas," "SOLO Tú," "S-E-X-Oh!" and "Lunatic(a)s." Her plays include: "Our Lady of The Underpass" with Teatro Vista (2009), "Surface Day" with Chicago Children's Humanity Festival (2008 ), and "Jarred (A Hoodoo Comedy)" with Teatro Luna (2008). Tanya's play "Kita y Fernanda," a finalist for the 2003 Nuestras Voces playwrighting competition, received productions at Teatro Luna (2003) and 16th Street Theatre (2008). Other Awards include: The Ofner Prize given by the Goodman Theatre, Finalist for the Christopher B. Wolk Award at Abingdon Theatre in NYC, nominee for the Wasserstein Prize and winner of the Khan Award. Saracho's solo play "Quita Mitos" received a world premier with Teatro Luna in November of 2006 and has toured colleges and festivals, including the International Hispanic Theatre Festival and the Goodman's Latino Theatre Festival. Tanya is working on a fellowship in a collaboration between The Goodman Theatre and the Institute for Women and Gender Studies at Columbia College on an interview-based piece titled "27" where she will interview one woman from each of the 27 countries that make up the Latin Diaspora. She is also under commission from Steppenwolf Theatre to craft a musical adaptation Sandra Cisnero's "The House on Mango Street" slated to open in the fall of 2009. Directing/co-directing credits include: "SOLO Tú," "S-E-X-Oh!" and "Lunatic(a)s." the remount of "Generic Latina," "The Maria Chronicles," "Jarred (A Hoodoo Comdey)" and "SÓLO Latinas." Tanya's performing credits include: Neil Labutte's "Fat Pig" with Renaissance Theatreworks in Milwaukee, Migdalia Cruz' "Another Part of the House" with Teatro Vista, "Living Out" with American Theatre Co./Teatro Vista, "Electricidad" at Goodman Theatre and "La Casa De Bernarda Alba" with Aguijon Theater. Tanya's voice can be heard around the country in radio and television commercials.

Check out our interview with Tanya here.

Proyecto Latina provides a platform to showcase work by Latinas. In it's fourth year, the reading series takes place the third Monday of every month, it includes a feature, an open mic and a a chisme box! Proyecto Latina Radio Airs Sundays @ 6 p.m. on WRTE, 90.5 F.M.

Sunday, March 08, 2009


Everyone needs a little S-E-X-OH in their life...

Originally produced to great acclaim and sold-out houses, S-E-X-Oh! is Teatro Luna’s fourth original ensemble built show, taking up the intersections between sex, gender, and latinidad. Based on Teatro Luna's true life stories, plus a few strategic re-imaginings, S-E-X-Oh! takes aim at sexuality in irreverent and fearless Teatro Luna fashion: Anything from the Virgin Mary, to Biblical Stories; from Video Games to Trader Joe's is up for grabs.

I saw the show the first time it was produced and really enjoyed it. I'm excited to see the new cast which
features a new crop of Latina Talent: Stephanie Gentry Fernandez, Hannah Gomez, Diane Herrera, Christina Nieves, Maria Enriquez, and Selene Mojica

S-E-X-Oh! has some strong language and is presented in English with a sprinkle of Spanish

Ensemble members Yadira Correa (MACHOS, Jarred) and Dana Cruz (SOLO Tu, Jarred) revamp this Luna classic along with associate director Tanya Saracho (Jarred, Quita Mitos) and designers Tamara Roberts (Sound Design), Mac Vaughey (Lighting Design), and Angela Erickson (Set Design).

At the 16th Street Theater in the Berwyn Cultural Center, 6420 16th Street, Berwyn

Plays March 6 – 29, 2009

Previews March 6 @ 7:30 pm & March 7th @ 5:00 pm

Thursdays & Fridays at 7:30 PM

Saturdays at 5:00 PM and 8:00 PM

Sundays at 5:00 PM

CO-DIRECTED BY: Yadira Correa & Dana Cruz
CREATED BY: El Teatro Luna


$16 (See website for ticket specials)

Online at www.16thstreettheater.org and www.teatroluna.org
or, In Person at North Berwyn Park District, 1619 Wesley Ave, Berwyn, IL 60402

For More Information, call (708) 795-6704

Please visit www.16thstreettheater.org and www.teatroluna.org

Brown Girl Chronicles

The Vida Bella Ensemble announces the world premier of the
stage production ofThe Brown Girls' Chronicles: Puerto Rican
Women and Resilience at the Chicago Center for the

Performing Arts on March 5, 2009 at 7:30 p.m.

The Brown Girls' Chronicles: Puerto Rican Women and Resilience
is a collection of the stories, voices and songs that long to be heard;
the stories of how race, ethnicity, gender, and colonialism shape the
lives of marginalized women.

Written and directed by Yolanda Nieves, The Brown Girls' Chronicles
are the stories of second generation Puerto Rican women who in their
day-to-day lives are the embodiment of struggle for independence of mind,
soul, heart and body.

The Brown Girls' Chronicles is the long-time realized desire of Nieves to
continue the construction of her identity, a desire shared by her generation
and by the youth of Chicago too. The show, based on the collection of
interviews from scores of second generation Puerto Rican women, is
perfectly described as "…a vibrant and truthful perspective of the Puerto Rican
woman's experience in Chicago..." by cultural/artistic activist Carlos Flores, "
...it eradicates an existing void."

Opening night tickets are $25 and include a post-show Q&A session and reception
with the director and The Vida Bella Ensemble cast. For premier night tickets,
contact browngirlschronicles@gmail.com.

Performances will take place March 5-7 at 7:30 p.m. and March 8 at 3:30 p.m. at
the Chicago Center for the Performing Arts at 777 N. Green St., Chicago, IL.
Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door and $10 for students.

Tickets may be purchased online at www.theaterland.com.

About The Vida Bella Ensemble: The Vida Bella Ensemble is an all-female
Chicago-based collective of inter-generational artists committed to communicating
the stories of the trials and triumphs of the urban woman.

In collaborative partnership the stories of such experiences are told through the
performance of poetry, dialogue, monologue, song and movement.

For more information about The Vida Bella Ensemble
visit www.myspace.com/browngirlschronicles or
email browngirlschronicles@gmail.com