Tuesday, September 13, 2011

HOWL: Allen Ginsberg & Beyond--A Fundraiser for KFCF 88.1

For Immediate Release

Howl: Allen Ginsberg and Beyond: A Fundraiser for KFCF 88.1FM is an event commemorating the anniversary of Howl's first public reading (October 7, 1955) and the ruling of the landmark censorship case indicting Lawrence Felinghetti (publisher and owner of the famous City Lights Bookstore/Press in SF) and Allen Ginsberg (Oct. 4, 1957) of which, the poet/publisher won.
Where: Machinists Union 544 W. Olive Ave. Fresno, CA 93728 (Across from DMV)
When: October 7, 2011, 7pm-10pm

Realizing the famous poem's impact on the ARTS, Fresno poets, visual artists, and KFCF are collaborating in this one of a kind event!
Local poets/writers will kick the evening off with a reading of the famous poem, “Howl” by Allen Ginsberg.
Participating Writers/Poets:
Marisol Baca: Fresno City College instructor and author of “Revalato”.
Nick Belardes: Author of the first literary Twitter novel, “Small Places” (2010) and an illustrator for a NY Times best selling novel, “West of Here” by Jonathon Evison West.
Lee Herrick: Author of “This Many Miles From Desire (World Tech Communications 2007) and teaches English at Fresno City College
Bryan Medina: Founder of the Inner Ear Poetry Jam/ The Beatdown Slam, making the event one of the longest running poetry open mics in the country!
Michael Medrano: Author of “Born in the Cavity of Sunsets” (2009 Bilingual Press) and is host of the literary arts interview show, Pakatelas, which airs every 2nd & 4th Thursdays at 3pm on KFCF 88.,1 FM.
Patricia Wakida: Associate Curator of History at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. She is also at work on the biography on Shig Murao, longtime employee/mgr of City Lights Books and the one who sold the copy of Howl that initiated the charges in the first place. Wakida will do a short 15 minute slide presentation on that Shig Murao.

Visual Arts

Fresno visual artist, Aileen Imperatrice, will curate a group of 4-6 renown artists who will have work in response to issues involving censorship. The art will be displayed around throughout the venue.
*After the reading, we will watch the landmark film, HOWL, starring James Franco as Allen Ginsberg.
Food and beverages will be available. Donations will be appreciated.
Admission: $10/$5 for students w/ valid student I.D.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Upcoming reading & booksigning in Sacramento!!!

From Escritores del Nuevo Sol / Writers of the New Sun
News Release August 18, 2010 ; Release Date: Now
Contact: JoAnn Anglin, 916-451-1372 Michael Medrano: 559-577-3347

Mexican Independence Day
Fresno Chicano Poet in Sacramento on September 16, 2010

Fresno Native Michael Luis Medrano, poet and author of Born in the Cavity of Sunsets, is featured for a Mexican Independence Day reading, presented by Escritores del Nuevo Sol/Writers of the New Sun. Medrano will read both published and unpublished poems and will answer questions abut his writing.

When: Thursday, September 16, 2010; 7 pm
Where: La Raza Galeria Posada, 1022-1024 22nd St., Midtown Sacramento Cost: Free; donations encouraged.

Michael Luis Medrano was born in Fresno, California, the heart of the San Joaquin Valley. His MFA in creative writing is from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. He has presented his work at Stanford University, The Loft Literary Arts Center in Minneapolis, the Sacramento Poetry Center, and the University of Colorado, Boulder.
His first book of poetry, Born in the Cavity of Sunsets (Bilingual Press 2009) is a finalist for the ForeWord Magazine Book Award. An instructor in developmental reading and essay writing at Fresno City College, he is working on a novel and another poetry collection. Medrano’s heroes include his parents and grandparents, and such writers as Pablo Neruda, Walt Whitman, Federico Garcia Lorca, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Herman Hesse, James Wright, and the late Andres Montoya. There will be copies of the book to buy and have signed. This event is open to the public.

His poems have appeared in Rattle; North American Review; The Cortland Review; Bilingual Review, Poetry Motel, and Bombay Gin. He hosts a literary radio show, Pakatelas, in Fresno.

Escritores del Nuevo Sol/Writers of the New Sun is made up of writers in many genres. Established in 1993, the local writing group, which meets monthly, especially supports and encourages writers of Latino/Chicano themes and backgrounds. Coming events: Introduction of a music CD on El Dia de la Raza, October 12, by Latin Jazz group Nagual, will celebrate and honor the memory of the late Phil Goldvarg. On October 1, Francisco Alarcon reads from Ce•Uno•One, his poetry collection published by Swan Scythe Press. October 29 is the poetry reading for El Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), and a later reading will be by Woodland novelist-artist Maceo Montoya. For information about this group, contact Graciela Ramirez, 916-456-5323.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Upcoming Readings

Lunadas @ Galeria de la Raza
w/ Joël Barraquiel Tan & Jaime Cortez
October 3rd
Mission District, San Francisco

Book Release Party!!!
w/Corrine Clegg Hales, Marisol Baca & Lance Canales
Hosted by Tim Z Hernandez
October 17th
Palaminos Restaurant/Bar
Tower District, Fresno, CA

Chicano Literary Conference
Fresno City College
w/ Gary Soto, Alex Espinoza, & Teresa Tarazi
November 4th
Fresno, CA

Interview w/ Miguel Jimenez
sponsored by Chicano Writers & Artists Association
CSU, Fresno
November 12th
Fresno, CA

Sacramento Poetry Center
w/ Lee Herrick
November 23rd
Sacramento, CA

California State University, Fresno
w/ Sasha Pimentel Chacon
February 5, 2010
Fresno, CA

University of Minnesota
"First Books" Reading Series
Reading & classroom visit
March 25, 2010
Minneapolis, MN

Born in the Cavity of Sunsets Out This Month!

Bilingual Review Press
Hispanic Research Center, Arizona State University, P.O. Box 875303, Tempe, Arizona 85287-5303
Voice: (480) 965-3867, Fax: (480) 965-0315, Web: www.asu.edu/brp, E-mail: brp@asu.edu

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Amy Phillips, amy.k.phillips@asu.edu

Born in the Cavity of Sunsets
poetry by Michael Luis Medrano
$11.00, paper, ISBN 978-1-931010-66-5, 80 pp.

The Bilingual Review Press is pleased to announce the release of Michael Luis Medrano's first book of poetry, Born in the Cavity of Sunsets, a powerful and haunting collection written in the vein of such luminaries as Pablo Neruda and Allen Ginsberg. In these poems, Medrano shows us life in his hometown of Fresno, California, in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley. There one can never see the actual moment when the sun slips beyond the horizon because too many buildings block the view. "In Fresno we don’t say, 'Let’s go watch the sun set,' like they do in San Diego," Medrano explains.

The poet's Fresno is not a bustling, vibrant place. Instead, we read of broken sidewalks, warring gangs, brothels, booze and despair. In edgy verse, Medrano reveals a world of shadow and sacrifice, but he also shows us light, hope and humor with a wry voice. Born in the Cavity of Sunsets is poetry for the people, but what a reader takes from it is up to the individual. "I’ve been told that these poems form an elegy, a letter. I've heard people say that there’s anger in this collection, that it’s embedded in generosity, that I’m a voice for the contemporary Chicana or Chicano and that I’m not," Medrano says. "All I know is that I’m a storyteller and these tales are told in a way that also pays homage to my own, personal rhythms as a poet. It’s language, breath, wisdom and reconciliation; it’s also light and shadow and sacrifice."

Michael Luis Medrano holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and he has performed his work at Stanford University, The Loft Literary Arts Center in Minneapolis and the University of Colorado, Boulder. He served as poetry editor for the literary journal Flies, Cockroaches, & Poets, is featured on the spoken word CD "The Central Chakrah Project" (Metamorfosis Productions) and has taught writing workshops in Fresno and Minneapolis. Once again based in Fresno, Medrano is teaching, hosting a literary radio show and writing a novel and a second collection of poetry.

"This collection is amazing. It soars, leaps, and also bows down to the earth and its dark bones. What I love about Medrano’s work is his sincerity and his touching reach, his tender voices. . . . Medrano is ahead of his cadre. His reach is expansive."
—Juan Felipe Herrera, University of California, Riverside

"Michael Medrano reawakens what it means to be a poet in America. As we go into a new century, it is this kind of poetry that is required reading. . . . When we close [his] book, we have reestablished who we are as citizens of a rich, poetic landscape."
—Ray González, author of Consideration of the Guitar: New and Selected Poems

"Michael Medrano is an impressive voice—his poetry is witty and wry without losing any heart and soul. He vividly brings up stereotypes, then dashes them to pieces. . . . He takes you on journeys with a wink and a smile and his arm clasped around your back."
—Bao Phi, featured on HBO's Def Poetry

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Pakatelas & Co. meets The San Francisco Mime Troupe: A Review of the July 8, 2009 performance @ CSU Summer Arts, Fresno, CA.

I sat at the top of the John Wright Theater at Fresno State and had the time of my life. Yeah, this one of those reviews riddled with cliches, those overused metaphors I try to avoid. I am an English teacher so I should know better. And my girlfriend, who went with me to see the world famous San Francisco Mime Troupe, who also has a degree in English, couldn’t help to avoid the cliché herself.
“Are they going to act without talking?” She mimes as if she were in a box, trapped and banging to be let out. We have all seen this and I laugh outloud because I can picture her on stage.
She had never seen nor heard of the troupe. I only read about the famous performances; benefit plays for the Black Panthers in the sixties, their radically political dramas. So, in essence, we were only familiar with our carbon-cutout references.
Not only did the San Francisco Mime Troupe talk, they sang! The actors danced and weaved with spider-like precision; they were true masters in the art of slapstick and physical comedy and the capacity crowd, whether a longtime fan or new ones like me and Esmeralda; dare I say cliché #2?: felt as if we were in the presence of greatness. Even the energy in the theater topped a Patrick Contreras concert (who is quickly becoming the standard in Fresno’s rock scene); the SFMT are the best of the best, are laying it down, are taking names and running away with the title.
Oh, how the English majors are cringing in their literary britches! Frankly, my bookworm darlings, I don’t give a damn! The San Francisco Mime Troupe rocked and I got the lipstick tattoo on the cheek to prove it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The United States of America is a giant piece of poo!

There, I said it, that three letter word that might bring me down for good one day. Who knows, I may go down like the rest who spoke the truth, like Tommy Chong; former seller of glass water pipes. He was brought down by the Federales because he got rich selling bongs but moreover, he was Tommy Chong, the one from the movies and old Cheech & Chong records, who made a living poking at paranoid government officials like Sargent Stadanko.

I still remember the scene in Up in Smoke where Stadanko and his crew keeping surveilance on the party-happy duo, using an old laundry truck as a decoy vehicle. On the outside was a pair of blue jeans and the bumbling detective would pull the zipper down from the inside and shout out "Shoot the Moon! Shoot the Moon!" Movie watchers laughing their asses in theatres, and now, in living rooms around the world.

As funny as that scene in Up and Smoke was, what isn't funny is that that kind of attitude, that paranoia from our government has leaked over from Nixon's seventies through the 21st century. Chong did time, (nine months federal time) for selling glass! Glass. America will arrest you for selling glass. Not only will being in the glass business get you busted, but if you have a successful comedic career and play a landmark role that is arguably more memorable than John Wayne cowboy movies, you may have to serve time. After watching the documentary "AKA Tommy Chong" I am reminded now that our constituional rights are not worth the paper they are written on. It's a facade, a sham. To see Federal prosecutors spend 12 million dollars to bust Mr. Chong is absolutely ridiculous; this makes Sargent Stadanko look like Columbo.

Now, obviously, the title of today's blog is an attention grabber (a device I teach my writing students) to not only make a statement but to reel the reader in. My only question to my readership, do you believe that statement. Should I be arrested and charged with being unpatriotic, for being a traitor for claiming that this country is a piece of poo? I might. Accoriding to the U.S. Patriot Act, Section 802, which states that domestic terrorism intends to "(i.) intimidate or coerce a civilian population" so, with that said, if any citizen of this country finds that language intimidating and offensive I may be subjected to federal prosecution under the Patriot Act. In Up and Smoke, Chong fires up a giant joint, Cheech takes a hit and asks what he's smoking.

"You're smoking Labrador. My dog ate my stash and I had to follow the little mother fucker until I got it back."
"You mean we're smoking dog shit?"

Dog shit. Poo. Tommy Chong getting busted for glass pipes and his movie career and America laughs because they see through all of this; the haze, the gall of Federal prosecutors and other politicians who have linked Marijuana use w/ terrorism; who have linked Tommy Chong, a true hero of free speech as an outsider. The irony is not that the U.S. government got its man, the number one on their hit list, but rather, that common everyday Americans (many of them avid smokers) are saying, with hands raised in surrender, "Country, what are you smoking?"

I imagaine Tommy Chong, with that sly, troublemakers grin, his horn rimed glasses of the seventies getting fogged up in a cipher of smoke saying, "Their smoking Labrador, man, dog shit!"

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Having A Beer At The Landmark

I had a beer earlier tonight at the Landmark with my friend Gene. The last time we met at our usual hangout I told him I was on the wagon, that I was protesting beer, how it done me wrong, how it took me down like a bully, how I let it, and how I wanted to correct that. So I told him that I put myself on the wagon; I drank their strong coffee all night, until closing.

I think telling Gene about the wagon was a little hard for him to take; for example, I can see him think to himself, "Who's gonna drink w/ me?" though I was indeed drinking, not beer, but a coffeee so caffeineted, who needed beer? A week ago I was proud to be a passenger on that wagon of chicken farmers and former bootleggers, tonight, I stumbled off, or plainly put, I stumbled on the 24th. Did it matter? I did limit my intake, one beer and I was out. I put a fiver on a Bass, chatted about my day.

Gene told me they let him out early at work because someone called in a bomb threat. Imagine that, a bomb threat at Cesar Chavez Adult School. Somebody didn't want to go to school tonight. I didn't bother asking how my brother was doing, the Laker game was on, they were playing the Trailblazers, Greg Odom's first game. I think the bartender responded, "Again?" He was smiling, I figured the sarcasm.

Despite my insensitivity, we did have a lively discussion about the novel "Kiss of the Spiderwoman" by Manuel Puig. Gene told me he was interested in using that book for a future class; my ears perked and I posed the question if he thought the book would be appropriate for English 1A students being that the novel is purely dialogue. He agreed and I made a mental note to adopt Spiderwoman for the spring or future semesters.

Mmm, a cold beer, the holy grail of any bar. Goes great with Laker games; literary speakeasy's; and Tuesday evening bomb threats.


Michael Medrano

I listened to "Los Ritmos Calientes" by Cal Tjader
during this blog.