By Raymond R. Beltran
Since the release of her first novel House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros has become a writer whose poetry and stories are standard reading in schools and college campuses, throughout the country.
It’s no wonder she visits San Diego this Thursday, March 22, in the month where the world celebrates the contributions of women internationally. Cisneros has produced respected literature on migration, language, sensuality and vivid stories of Latina heroines who come of age amidst Mexican families struggling with coveted secrets, like in House on Mango Street and even her latest 2002 novel Caramelo.
Originally from Chicago, a city with a dense Mexican community, Cisneros says she utilizes her family history and experiences while growing up as the only daughter in a seven person household, a Mexican father and Mexican American mother. Although, her audiences are not limited to the cultural identities tied to the Latina experience, she discovered that she accumulated a broader R-rated readership with erotica poems within the collection, Loose Woman that won Mountain and Plains Booksellers Association’s 1995 regional book award for poetry.
Her work has earned her a variety of titles like the Mac-Arthur Fellowship in 1995, the PEN Center West Award for best fiction in 1991 for Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories and the Chicano Short Story Award from the University of Arizona. She’s also received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Loyola University, Chicago and State University of New York.
But besides the awards and titles, her stories stand on their own as personal pieces of everyday life, that is, if you know what it’s like to discover yourself through deciphering secrets as a child while driving across the Arizona desert with family or adjusting to a new home in an alien neighborhood.
“Many books that you read, they have those disclaimers that say that, ‘None of the events and none of the people are based on real life and so on …’ Well, I don’t believe that,” Cisneros told Robert Birnbaum during a 2002 interview, following the release of the widely acclaimed Caramelo. “I think that as human beings many people touch us, especially people we love the most and we can’t help but do character sketches when we go to our art.”
Her other books include My Wicked Wicked Ways and Hairs/Pelitos. She currently resides in a violet colored house, which she fought for in a historical district, in San Antonio, Texas.
She will be doing a reading of her book House on Mango Street this Thursday, March 22, at the Escondido Public Library (340 North Escondido Blvd), sponsored by the Escondido Reads One Book community project. The reading is free to the public and begins at 7 p.m. For more information, call 760-839-4601. To learn more about Sandra Cisneros, visit her website at www.sandracisneros.com.
It’s been four years since the invasion of Iraq. Thousands of American soldiers dead, many of them Latinos on the front line. The San Diego Coalition for Peace and Justice is sponsoring a Stop the War march and rally this Saturday, March 17th, at 1 p.m. Bring signs and banners, neighbors and friends to assemble at Horton Plaza, downtown, and march to Pantoja Park. For more info, call 619-263-9301. Bring the troops home now!
Come get your funny on with one of the most hilarious comedy troupes in San Diego,
Slip of the Tongue, presented by Emily Calabrese. It’s an edgy improve group with diverse backgrounds and a twisted sense of humor. They allow the audience to set the scene, from kid friendly to outrageous. Hold on to your hats at the Arts and Entertainment Center (3026 University Avenue) this Friday, March 16, at 7:30 p.m.
Expressions of Mexico Gallery invites you to the final weekend of Oaxaca’s Plastic Festival, ending this Saturday, March 17, featuring: Takeda, Matus, Israel Nazario, Ixrael Montes, Rodolfo Morales and many more. The gallery is located at 1122 Cesar E. Chavez Parkway in Barrio Logan. Gallery hours are Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 12 to 6 p.m. For more info, call 619-232-1699 or email them at email@example.com
The 14th Annual San Diego Latino Film Festival runs until this Sunday, March 18. Organized by the Media Arts Center San Diego, films by Latin American directors will be featured on the silk screen at the UltraStar Mission Valley Cinemas (7510 Hazard Center Dr). For movie schedules and ticket prices, call 619-230-1938, ext. 103.
Caballero Music represents some of the finest musicians and performers in the San Diego and Tijuana Metroplex and we invite you to disfrutar our Latin style every Thursday evening at Voz Alta (16th and Broadway) in downtown. Caballero’s Latin Jam starts at 7 p.m. Donations accepted. For more info, call 619-628-8568 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Find out how to confront racial injustice against migrant workers every Wednesday at 7 p.m. with activist group, The Friends of Day Laborers. Meetings are held at Activist Center (4246 Wightman Street). For info, call 619-528-8383.
Help support Chicano Park’s 37th anniversary! Join The Red CalacArts Collective for the 3rd annual Chicano Park Day Fundraiser in Calacalandia (Home of Calaca Press, 502 Rose Dr) in National City next Saturday, March 24, from 12 noon to 4 p.m. Menudo will be served with music by Los Románticos and Acteal. $20.00 per person. Children 12-17 years old, $10. Under 12 free. For more info, call 619-434-9036 or visit redcalacartscollective.org