Book Review: Kafka in a Skirt: Stories from the Wall, by Daniel Chacón

 

By Lucrecia Guerrero

Kafka in a Skirt, Daniel Chacon’s most recent collection of short stories, opens with a bang that lights up a corner of the existential darkness, but only enough to make us wonder if indeed there is nothing, nada. “In the Closet,” one of the numerous flash fiction pieces in the book, gives us an adolescent protagonist who has been ordered by his mother to clean that “chingadera” out of his closet. He tells the reader that even though he got down on his knees to search his closet, he “didn’t know what [he] was looking for, but [he] somehow knew [he] would spend the rest of [his] life looking for it.”

I read somewhere that it’s often said that readers read to gain insight into others but that, in fact, readers read to gain insight into themselves. I suspect there is considerable truth to that. Have not many readers, at some time in their lives, feared that they will spend, or have already spent, most of their lives looking for an elusive and indefinable something?

Kiki’s – How a little neighborhood restaurant grew to be a community tradition

El Paso is a city packed with mom-and-pop Mexican restaurants – humble spots tucked in amid neighborhood shops that many non-locals might not even notice as they drive by. Places, like Kiki’s at 2719 N. Piedras. It is off the beaten path, but after more than 40 years, this Central El Paso eatery has grown into a local institution that attracts fans from across the city. Kiki’s Mexican Restaurant and Bar was established by Paula Yardeni in 1976. The name Kiki’s comes from Yardeni’s daughter who was just a toddler at the time.

How El Paso’s Thanksgiving Day Parade comes to life

Twenty volunteers have been working in a Central El Paso warehouse since May to get floats ready the Sun Bowl Association’s 83rd annual Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade is one of the organization’s premiere events to promote the Tony the Tiger Sunbowl football game Dec. 31. This year the holiday event theme is Bobble Heads on Parade. The Sun Bowl Association welcomes Hyundai of El Paso as the new sponsor.

Gloria Osuna Pérez honored with exhibit reminding us of her artistic legacy in El Paso

Gloria Osuna Pérez spent less than 15 of her 52 years on earth in El Paso. But the Chicana artist continues to be celebrated as a local treasure decades after her passing. Marking the twentieth anniversary of her death from ovarian cancer, the El Paso Museum of Art is featuring “Beyond Portaits,” an exhibition in honor of her work and iconic style. Osuna Pérez was born in Madera, California in 1947. As the child of migrant farm workers she worked the fields picking fruit and witnessed the rise of the Mexican-American civil rights movement.

SoldierCon: Comic books and cosplay for the troops

FORT BLISS, Texas – Sgt. Joshua Rodriguez dresses up in his Texas National Guard uniform every day but at the recent SoldierCon, he dressed up as an Umbrella Corporation mercenary from the Resident Evil video game series. Rodriguez has served in the guard for six years as a transportation operator and this is the first year he attended SoldierCon – a convention that invited plenty of cosplay, where comic book super hero fans dressed up as their favorite character. “It has given me a new outlet to explore my cosplay. It’s amazing to see the creativity,” Rodriguez said.

Momentum grows for Border Tuner public art project linking El Paso, Juárez

Border Tuner, a major new public artwork by internationally renowned visual artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, is set to take place in El Paso and Ciudad Juárez in November 2019. The interactive art installation will highlight the complex connections between Juárez and El Paso through a series of nightly conversations and performances that involve residents from both sides of the border and beyond.  

The project is designed to shine a light on unity between the two sister cities and the people of both the U.S. and Mexico and aims to help the border community reclaim its own narrative in the national spotlight. “Those of us who live and work here in the El Paso-Juárez border know how interlinked our two communities are and know how important we are to one another’s culture and history,” said Kerry Doyle, director of the Rubin Center for Visual Arts at the University of Texas at El Paso. “As the nation’s attention has turned to the border increasingly in 2019, its important that we share our story and reclaim our narrative as one border community. This project aims to highlight the many ways in which Juárez and El Paso are interconnected.”

 

What is Border Tuner?

Music Beyond Borders brings together student musicians

LAS CRUCES — The Esperanza Azteca Symphony Orchestra of Ciudad Juarez and New Mexico State University Philharmonic Orchestra came together to highlight “Music Beyond Borders” with joint concerts on both sides of the U.S., Mexico border. More than 100 student musicians performed a variety of pieces including Dvorak’s New World Symphony, Márquez’s Danzón 2, Gershwin’s Summertime conducted under the baton of teachers Simón Gollo of NMSU and Maestro Jove García of Esperanza Azteca. “This concert means a lot to me because it represents the union of these two countries and how we see each other,”said Grace Garcia, a student in Azteca Esperanza orchestra. Student musicians aged 12 to 24 years-old performed together. “Everyone is really talented I had the pleasure to play with them, I felt really comfortable and I loved all the pieces that we play,” said Ana Patricia Gonzalez, a University of Texas at El Paso student.

Mom remembers when Hollywood came for El Paso’s babies in filming ‘The Border’

Martha Romero’s favorite movie star is her son. Nicholas Romero was only six weeks old when he debuted in “The Border,” a movie filmed in El Paso in 1980 starring Jack Nicholson, Valerie Perrine and Elpidia Carillo. Nicholas was one of several infants used to play Carillo’s son. “Aw, that’s my baby,” Romero recalled saying when she saw the movie for the first time. Romero said that having her newborn in a movie was a fascinating experience.