Revolutionaries el bamba - Keep on Bookin - El Paso Scene


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King of the Road: Adventures Along New Mexico’s Friendly Byways by Lesley S. King (New Mexico Magazine). This sturdy little book is not so much a guide, but one woman’s narrative on her encounters with some of the state’s scenic points of interest. No real surprises in the regional findings -- Christmas on the Pecos, The Lodge in Cloudcroft, Double Eagle in Old Mesilla, Lake Roberts near Silver City, among others -- but the conversation with some of the friendly locals makes this book a stand-out. In conversation with Lodge bartender (and former Californian) Greg Stoner, Stoner says “My dad told me it would take me a couple of years before I learned how to mosey.” Includes a brief reference of her recommended lodging and dining and, in some cases, reading opportunities.

-- Lisa Kay Tate

The World in Pancho’s Eye by . Brown (University of New Mexico Press). At age 77, Arizona author, and one-time El Paso reporter Brown offers a sort of “autobiographical” fiction in which the life of young protagonist Mikey mirrors his own childhood. Although set in Depression-era Arizona, area readers will relate to the hard-edged ethos of life on the -Mexico border, as young Mikey witnesses the strength of his mother, the betrayal of some of the adults in his life, his own struggles with growth a self-reliability. The books title refers to the young boy’s horse and the beautiful other world that can be seen when looking into the beast’s eye. Filled with some very humorous and also very painful moments, the book ends with one satisfying and loving act on the part of Mikey’s mother.

-- Lisa Kay Tate

Field Guide to the Saints by Kate Rushford Murray with artwork by Krystyna Robbins (KRM Guides). Intended as a guide to travelers who wonder who all the saints are that they see in cathedrals and in various religious art, this book will interest anyone curious about these venerated heroes of faith. El Paso’s own artist Krystyna Robbins painted about 80 originals to illustrate the book, from Acacius (a converted Roman soldier known for carrying a crown of thorns, hence a patron saint of headache sufferers) to Wilgefortis (who prayed that God would make her so ugly that her husband-to-be would reject her). An “Object Clue List” at the back of the book reference each saint to objects associated with them and their characteristic attributes. For more information on the book, go to .

-- Randy Limbird

AbeCedarios: Mexican Folk Art ABCs in English and Spanish by Cynthia Weill and . Basseches, with wood sculptures from Oaxaca by Moisés and Armando Jiménez (Cinco Puntos Press). Although the title and credits are longer than the book’s content, don’t let its simplicity fool you. This colorful little ABC book took a goodly amount of preparation, with each wooden folk animal (depicting both real and mythical beasts) carved especially for the publication, photographed by Basseches and compiled by Weill. The result is an attractive and effective way to introduce beginner reading, foreign language skills and art appreciation to kids. I even learned something new myself -- “ll,” “ch” and “rr” haven’t been recognized letters in the Spanish alphabet since 1994, but are nonetheless still used by Spanish speaker. “¿Por que?” How come I never got that memo?

-- Lisa Kay Tate
“The Confessional” by . Powers (Knopf). The novel focuses on the interior lives of six teen-age boys attending a fictional counterpart of Cathedral High School in El Paso, nearly a year after a terrorist attack on a border bridge that has fueled anti-Mexican feelings.
  An Anglo student is mysteriously slain shortly after his vicious beating of a Hispanic classmate. In the chaotic aftermath, each of the novel’s characters examines his own life and the lives of their friends, with everyone suddenly suspect -- if not of the murder itself, perhaps in some way as an accomplice.
  In her debut novel, Powers successfully takes the readers into the hearts and minds of these six narrators. While the story is a whodunit, the propelling elements of the story are the contrasting characters and the different ways they express teen-age angst.
  The novel is billed as “young adult” fiction, although parents and teachers might be taken aback by the harsh language throughout the book. So don’t look for it on any required reading lists, particularly at Cathedral High.
  Teens themselves, however, will find plenty to identify with. So will any El Pasoan who enjoys a story saturated by border culture and local landmarks.
  Powers’ writing should not be unfamiliar to long-time Scene readers -- Jessica wrote several feature stories for the Scene a few years ago. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in African History at Stanford University.

-- Randy Limbird

“Beating the Devil” by W. C. Jameson. (University of New Mexico Press). Jameson has been a songwriter, editor and non-fiction author for several years, but “Devil” is his first stab at fiction. A young El Paso -area man named Carlos, disillusioned and embittered with his childhood in the United States, crosses to Mexico for a more genuine existence. What he finds is the stark reality of blurred lines between good and evil as he joins a band of guerilla vigilantes battling to reclaim their land against a the land-grabbing hacendado Joaquin Mueller and his henchmen. He befriends an ill-fated dwarf, El Enano, and guerilla leader Chávez in a quest for vengeance against Mueller, learning about the complexities of a country marked by everything from unimaginable violence to unconditional loyalty.
  Jameson’s narrative reads like an oncoming storm, filled will a sense of overwhelming darkness, and a few bright spots, followed by violent bursts of intense rage and finally a quiet, and somewhat unsettling, calm.
  Unfortunately, like life, this book comes not to a satisfying, tidy conclusion, but rather a look back with mix of both nostalgia and regret in a land, Carlos refers to as one of “poverty and passion, of repression and conflict, of celebration and mourning, of mystery and magic...of death and rebirth.”

— Lisa Kay Tate

“El Paso in Pictures” by Frank Mangan (TCU Press). Originally published in 1971, El Paso in Pictures served as the definitive pictorial album of the Sun City, spanning nearly 100 years of photography. TCU Press has reissued the book, which now is entirely a historical collection rather than an up-to-the-present reference. Nevertheless, the reprint will be a boon to anyone’s “border bookshelf,” featuring many photographs unavailable anywhere else.
  Mangan himself has done more than nearly anyone else to preserve and promote the history of the El Paso region. He and his wife Judy owned Mangan Books for years, publishing many of Leon Metz’s works of El Paso history, and also Frank’s own books, among others.
  “El Paso in Pictures” begins with woodcuts and drawings illustrating the first European expeditions into the Pass of the North, then skipping forward quickly to the era of the railroads and El Paso’s rapid growth. The days of the gunfighters, the Mexican Revolution that took place in plain view of El Paso’s balconies, the development of downtown, UTEP and residential neighborhoods are all faithfully recorded through photos and accompanying text.
  The final chapter is a snapshot of El Paso as it entered the 1970s. Much has happened in the generation since, but an update bridging the book’s content to the 21st century remains a task for another day.
— Randy Limbird

“The Face of Pancho Villa: A History in Photographs and Words” by Friedrich Katz (Cinco Puntos Press). This is another good choice for those who prefer their history well illustrated. El Paso’s own Cinco Puntos Press has published an English-language version of “Imagenes de Pancho Villa” first published in 1999.
  The book’s 80 pages include 20 pages of text by Katz, professor emeritus of Latin American History at the University of Chicago, and 42 archival photographs, selected from the archives of the Casasola Collection owned by the Mexican government. The Mexican Revolution was the world’s first major conflict to be recorded so freely by camera.
  This book is the third offering in Cinco Puntos’ Mexican Revolution Collection, which also features David Romo’s “Ringside Seat to a Revolution” and Elena Poniatowska’s “Las Soldaderas.”
— Randy Limbird

“The Long Journey of Mister Poop/El Gran Viaje del Señor Caca” by Angéle Delaunois and Marie LaFrance (Cinco Puntos Press). At last, a bilingual companion to the popular children’s picture book “Everybody Poops.” All kidding aside, this kid-friendly journey through the digestive system is actually a pretty practical little item dotted with several little pieces of science knowledge and simple diagrams of parts of the body in both English and Spanish. It works on several levels: kids can get their mischievous chuckles reading about an apple slipping through the body on its way to the “final exit,” basic anatomy and physiology can be discovered, and simple Spanish (or English) skills can be strengthened. LaFrance’s illustrations are both endearing and rather nauseating, but on this level, they work. I’m not exactly sure how the Lobo doctor factors in, or if seeing a little pair or legs sticking out of beret-clad piece of feces will cause some permanent emotional damage to a potty training toddler, but this book doesn’t stink (no pun intended). I’m just glad the authors had the good taste to demonstrate with an apple instead of corn.
— Lisa Kay Tate

“There’s A Yak in my Bed” by K. Pluta with illustrations by Christy Stallop (Blooming Tree Press). El Paso native Christy Stallop offers her endearing artwork to the tale of a young boy trying to coax a stubborn yak out of his bed, that eventually leads to the large animal following him to breakfast and school. Poking fun at adults’ inability to see the extraordinary in life, no matter how “in their face” it is, this playful and silly book is as much fun for parents to read to their children as it is for beginning readers to romp through on their own.

-- Lisa Kay Tate


“Latina Mistress” by . Sanchez (Floricanto Press). Veteran sportswriter Ray Sanchez’s first novel since “The Gods of Racing” in the early 1980s, is a tale of a young family spanning nations, cultures and generations. Although Sanchez is admired by El Paso readers for his sports columns that have appeared in a variety of local publications, he is also a surprisingly gifted storyteller who can paint vivid and familiar pictures of the border culture. Those who think they are familiar with his style will be surprised by his very serious handling of such issues as bigotry, cross-cultural marriage and sexual matters. Filled with local references from landmarks to favorite restaurants, the novel proves that Sanchez’s writing talents span more than a love for UTEP and the Dallas Cowboys and encompass a unique (and often melancholy) nature of the area.

“Antonio’s Gun and Delfino’s Dream: True Tales of Mexican Migration,” by Sam Quinones (University of New Mexico Press). Quinones, a freelance journalist, has spent more than 10 years traveling among Mexico’s rural towns and villages where migration affects everyday life. Although his nonjudgmental observations and stories come from all along the Mexico-. Border, as well as from Mexico City to Kansas, there is plenty of familiar territory for El Paso readers. such as a look at the “Old Colony” Mennonites, and a melancholy story of Juarez velvet painter Chuy Morán and his El Paso counterpart Doyle Harden. Quinones’s writings are similar to adventure traveling, sharing experiences that are not always pleasurable but often unforgettable.

“The Desert Remembers My Name: On Family and Writing” by Kathleen Alcalá, (University of Arizona Press). Known for her Southwest novels and short stories, Alcalá’s first nonfiction endeavor blends her life’s memoirs with a subtle creative writing lesson. With many of the essays previously published in various journals, newsletters and other publications, the subject matter is as varied as one’s own memories, ranging from bilingualism and literacy to spiritual matters. Her writing is both comforting and comfortable, and is by no means geared towards writers or writing students. Her writing observations just naturally fall into her life’s history and passion. As she describes in her essay “A Woman Called Concha,” “I want my writing to insinuate itself into the subconscious of the people of the Southwest, so that we might remember who we were and who we will be... I feel as strongly about this as any fanatic. This is my job.” Well done, indeed.

Teen:

“The Line Between” by Kelsie Nygren. (The Benchmark Group LLC). Part of a Young Writers Series of books penned for teens by teens, 16-year-old La Union area high school student’s fantasy offering is slim but very readable. The story is of a young 21st century warrior, Jo Whitaker, who belongs to Rytra Organization to Defeat Darkness (RODD). Gifted with the power to control the elements of light to fight evil, she also possesses a strong, fiery personality worthy of any modern teen’s approval. Those with an overly-critical eye will find many standard “beginning writer mistakes” such as some rushed conclusions, but Nygren’s offering to this series released in March holds its own with the other young authors’ contributions to the series, and has been getting enthusiastic response from teens, the book’s intended readers. With one book under her belt, and the encouragement from peers to keep going, Nygren’s has plenty of motivation to keep up her writing pursuit.

Children:

“The Bee Tree” by Stephen Buchmann and Diana Cohn, illustrated by Paul Mirocha. El Paso’s Cinco Puntos Press offers this beautifully illustrated book inspired by Pak Ten, the leader of a honey hunting clan in Malaysia. The book tells the legend and traditions of this fascinating ritual of collecting honey from towering tualang trees. A bit wordy for some younger readers, this ecology and anthropology-minded book is a good choice for reading to (or with) your kids. What appealed to me more than the story itself was the textbook style information on Malaysia, the rainforest and the honey hunters themselves that follows the main story; a nice feature that will encourage children to keep this “sweet” read around even after they’ve outgrown most picture books.

-- Lisa Kay Tate


In the hands of his successor, Ignacio Cervantes Kawanagh, the piano idiom related to the contradanza achieved even greater sophistication. Cervantes was called by Aaron Copland a "Cuban Chopin " because of his Chopinesque piano compositions. Cervantes' reputation today rests almost solely upon his famous forty-one Danzas Cubanas , which Carpentier said, "...occupy the place that the Norwegian Dances of Grieg or the Slavic Dances of Dvořák occupy in the musics of their respective countries". Cervantes' never-finished opera, Maledetto , is forgotten. [8]


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