Lit & Luz Festival, Chicago, 2016
The Lit & Luz Festival of Language, Literature, and Art, is a unique series of readings, conversations, and performances featuring renowned authors and visual artists from the US and Mexico. This five-day festival takes place in venues throughout Chicago, October 11-15th, 2016.
1. Jim Becker (Chicago), Rachel Galvin (Chicago), and Alejandro Albarrán Polanco perform poems, translations, and music as Los Lejanos Unidos.
Alejandro Albarrán (Mexico City 1985) is a Mexican poet, musician and conceptual artist. He has published Ruido (Mexico City: Bonobos, 2012) and Tengo un Pulmón Que no es el Cielo (FETA, La Ceibita, 2014). He works with textual, visual and sound poetry
Jim Becker is a Chicago-based musician, producer, and sound engineer who has played around town and around the world since the 1980s. He has recorded and collaborated with a long list of rock, folk, experimental, and old-time bands. Jim tours the US and Europe extensively, most recently with Califone and Iron and Wine.
Rachel Galvin is the author of Pulleys & Locomotion and translator of Raymond Queneau’s Hitting the Streets, winner of the Scott Moncrieff Prize. Poetry and the Press in Wartime, 1936-1945 (Oxford UP) and Lost Property Unit (Green Lantern Press) will appear in 2017. She is assistant professor at the University of Chicago.
2. Gabriela Jauregui (Mexico City), Susannah Bielak (Chicago), and Fred Schmalz (Chicago) read their collaborative poem about their respective cities in front of a video projection.
Gabriela Jauregui’s recent works include Leash Seeks Lost Bitch (The Song Cave/Sexto Piso, 2015) and a short story collection, La memoria de las cosas (Sexto Piso, 2015), She works as a correspondent for various cultural publications including the BBC World Service’s Cultural Frontline, Witte de With’s Review, Art Forum, Art Review and others.
Susannah Bielak’s work has been widely exhibited and collected, including by the International Print Center, Luis Adelantado Mexico, San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, among many. Awards include the Highpoint Jerome Fellowship, Jerome Visual Arts Fellowship, and many more. She is the Associate Director of Engagement and Curator of Public Practice at the Block Museum at Northwestern.
Fred Schmalz’s writings have appeared in Compendium, Spinning Jenny, Conduit, Pinwheel, ACM, Chicago Artists Resource, among others. His performances collaborate with dancers, artists, and musicians. His field guide Claes Oldenburg’s Festival of Living Objects was published for a series of gallery walks by the Walker Art Center in 2013.
3. Jorge Mendéz-Blake (Mexico) and Samantha Hill (Chicago) discuss their collaborative visual art and text piece "Conversation" that was projected on two screen simultaneously at the event.
Samantha Hill investigates how memory, location and history intersect within society by collecting oral narratives & personal artifacts. Hill’s current endeavor, the Kinship Project, is an archive of over 150 years of African American family photography, objects and ephemera which she utilize as the foundation for her installation projects.
Jorge Méndez Blake explores the possible connections between literature, visual arts and architecture, fusing different historic and geographical elements, provoking new lectures on the paper of language and history. He has focused his work in the research of the idea of the library, understood as a fragile and contradictory structure.
4. Event hosts and Chicago-based MAKE editors, Daniel Borzutzky and Joel Craig take a turn at reading their own poems. Borzutzky was joined by Mexico City-based poet Luis Felipe Fabre.
Daniel Borzutzky grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, of Chilean heritage. His recent books of poetry are The Ecstasy of Capitulation (2007), The Book of Interfering Bodies (2011), and The Performance of Becoming Human (2016). He is the Intercambio Poetry Editor for MAKE and the 2016 awardee of the National Book Award for Poetry.
Joel Craig lives and works in Chicago and is the author of the poetry collection, The White House (Green Lantern Press, 2012). He is the co-director of MAKE Literary Productions and poetry editor of MAKE.
Luis Felipe Fabre is a poet and critic based in Mexico City. He has published a volume of essays and poetry collections. Recent books of poetry include Poemas de terror y de misterio (2013) and Sor Juana and Other Monsters (2015). The latter was translated by John Pluecker and has been published by Ugly Duckling Presse.
5. MAKE editor Kamilah Foreman is joined by the renowned author Guadalupe Nettel (Mexico City). Kamilah read both Chicago author Vu Tran's piece about immigration and Nettel's translation. They were joined by musician Jim Becker, with a video based on the texts from Amanda Gutiérrez.
Kamilah Foreman is the Senior Editor at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She holds an MA in the Humanities from the University of Chicago.
Amanda Gutiérrez’s artworks often take the form of a dialogue, seeking to consider and, ultimately, to record the experience and memory of immigrants in the process of converting a city or foreign nation into their home. She is currently a PhD candidate in contemporary art studies at the University of Girona.
Guadalupe Nettel’s many awards include Herralde Novel Prize, Gilberto Owen National Literature Prize, and the Antonin Artaud Prize among others. Her much-acclaimed titles Natural Histories (7 Stories Press, NY) and The Body Where I Was Born (7 Stories Press, NY) have been translated into English. She lives and works in Mexico City.
6. Loyola University professor Hector Garcia, reads a piece proceeding a recording of Ignacio Padilla reading his work. Padilla passed away in a car crash before he could join the festival.
7. The audience.
8. The final--and hilarious act--from Daniel Saldaña París (Mexico City) and Jessica Anne (Chicago). Their collaborative piece "How to Be a Performance Artist" was translated into Spanish and English and handed out to the audience, so they could follow along.
Jessica Anne is a writer and theatre artist in Chicago. Her book A Manual for Nothing is forthcoming via Noemi Press. She’s an alumna of the Neo Futurist ensemble (2006-2012) and she holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Roosevelt University. She’s also a co-curator of Lit Crawl Chicago and the nonfiction editor of MAKE.
Daniel Saldaña París es ensayista, poeta y novelista nacido en la Ciudad de México. Es el autor de En medio de extrañas víctimas, traducido del español por Christina MacSweeney y publicado en Estados Unidos por Coffee House Press. Vive en Montreal.