All events are free and open to the public, unless otherwise noted. The October 20th Live Magazine Show at the MCA is ticketed. 

Download print program and festival poster (2-sided) here.

Saturday, October 13th


So close, far away exhibition opening at Sector 2337

and Lit & Luz Kick-off and performance


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6–9 p.m.

Sector 2337, 2337 N Milwaukee

So close, far away presents work by a group of emerging and mid-career artists from Mexico and Chicago who explore the parallels and intersections between art, communi­cation and writing. Organized within the framework of the Lit and Luz Festival, the exhibi­tion brings together the multitude of ways in which poetry, art, and literature manifest in artistic practices.

The exhibition title refers to Chicago and Mexico’s shared history of migration and cul­tural exchange, and also poses a question about the relationships between writing and art. How close or how far are these two distinct mediums?

Featuring Alejandra R. Bolaños, Verónica Gerber Bicecci, Ricardo Cuevas, Lucía Hinojosa, Alejandro Jiménez-Flores, Caroline Kent, Iván Krassoievitch, Emilio Rojas, and Tamara Becerra Valdez.

Co-curated by Esteban King (Mexico City) and Mia Lopez (Chicago)

After party at Estereo starting at 8pm.

In partnership with Sector 2337


Sunday, October 14th

Exhibition talk with Mia Lopez and Esteban King


2 p.m.

Sector 2337, 2337 N Milwaukee

This show, featuring the curators of So close, far away, Mia Lopez (DePaul Art Museum, Chicago) and Esteban King (ESPAC, Mexico City),  will include programming discussing the intersections of literature and visual art, performance, and conversations with the curators and select artists: “In this way, the exhibition is understood not only as the display of objects, but as a meeting point that can generate urgent reflections for the world we inhabit.” Moderated by Sharmyn Cruz Rivera

In partnership with Sector 2337


Poetry Reading with Mónica de la Torre, Rachel Galvin, and reginald gibbons


7 p.m.

Ace Hotel Chicago, 311 Morgan

Poetry reading and conversation with Mónica del Torre, Rachel Galvin, and Reginald Gibbons


In partnership with Ace Hotel Chicago and Green Lantern Press


Tuesday, October 16th


1968: We Were There


7 p.m.

Co-prosperity Sphere, 3219 S Morgan

$5 suggested donation

On this 50th anniversary, writers and activists assembled by Lit & Luz’s Dr. Héctor García Chávez and Moira Pujols of Contratiempo discuss what personal and documentary narrative in literature, including Massacre in Mexico by Elena Poniatowska and No One Was Killed: The Democratic National Convention, August 1968 by John Schulz, mean to the tumultuous events that transpired in Chicago and Mexico City in 1968—and why the student revolt in Mexico City is largely under discussed in the United States.

Featuring: Randall Albers, Carlos Arango, Bill Ayers, and Nicole Marroquin

In partnership with Contratiempo and the Public Media Institute


Wednesday, October 17th

Reading and talk with Julián Herbert


5 p.m.

Roosevelt University, 430 S. Michigan Ave, Auditorium 244, The Spertus Lounge.

Join us for a reading with Julián Herbert, who the L.A. Times called "one of the most innovative prose stylists of our time." After, author and musician Tim Kinsella will talk books, bands, and more with Herbert.

In partnership with the Roosevelt University Creative Writing Department


THE BLACK FLOWER AND OTHER ZAPOTEC POEMS:  Poetry reading by award-winning Zapoteca Poet Natalia Toledo


4 p.m.

Cuneo Hall #217, Loyola University Chicago, Lake Shore Campus

Q&A with Dr. Héctor García Chávez, Director, Latin American and Latinx Program, Loyola University Chicago.

In partnership with Loyola University Chicago's Latin American and Latinx Studies Program


Favorite Poems at the Poetry Foundation

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7 p.m.

Poetry Foundation, 61 W Superior

For this event, presented in both Spanish and English, participants read a favorite poem and offer explanation of its personal significance. This popular event brings together poets and “lay people” for a moving evening which recognizes poetry’s relevance and power within everyday life.

Readers include Natalia Toledo (Oaxaca), Fernanda Melchor (Mexico City), Julián Herbert (Saltillo), José Olivarez (Chicago), Stephanie Manriquez (Chicago), Daniel Borzutzky (Chicago), and many more. Hosted by Brenda Lozano and Joel Craig.

Reception to follow courtesy of Cobra Verde, Red & White Wines, Pipeworks Brewery, and Mezcal Mal Bien. With food by Erin Nixon.

In partnership with the Poetry Foundation and the University of Chicago’s Writer’s Studio


Thursday, October 18th

Una lectura y charla con la autora Fernanda Melchor


12:30 p.m.

Northwestern University— Kresge Hall 1-515


 En español

 Su más reciente novela, Temporada de huracanes, fue considerada por diversos medios como la mejor novela mexicana del 2017.

In partnership with the Northwestern University Department of Spanish and Portuguese


Reading & Interview with Natalia Toledo, Spanish and Zapotec Language Poet


3 p.m.

NEIU, Angelina Pedroso Center, 5500 North St. Louis, Building B*

Join us for a reading and conversation with renowned poet Natalia Toledo, who Ida Kozlowska-Day called "one of the most recognized contemporary poets in the native languages of Mexico." Even will be presented in Spanish with simultaneous interpretation. Toledo will be interviewed by student writer Lizett Carmona, and the event will be interpreted by WLC graduate student Vianny Anaya

*Angelina Pedroso Center is located in building B, Suite 159; just inside the doors facing the intersection of St. Louis and Catalpa. For more detail, please see the University’s Campus Map.  

In partnership with the Northeastern Illinois University English Department/The 82, the Creative Writing Minor's literary series, World Languages and Cultures, and Angelina Pedroso Center for Diversity and Intercultural Affairs


Disruption of the Literary Canon: On Missing Sergio Pitol


7 p.m.

Open Books Pilsen, 905 w 19th

$5 suggested donation

This roundtable conversation, lead by Luis Madrigal takes a critical look at literary tradition in the United States, asks why so few Latin American authors are included, and what that could mean for how the US collectively views Latin American citizens and culture. Mexican authors Julián Herbert and Fernanda Melchor join Rey Andujar to discuss the recently passed and iconic Mexican writer, Sergio Pitol, and the dominating presence of American literature.

Reception to follow courtesy of Cobra Verde, Red & White Wines, Pipeworks Brewery, and Mezcal Mal Bien.

In partnership with Loyola University Chicago's Latin American and Latinx Studies Program and Open Books Pilsen

Contemporary ArT, Mexico

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7 p.m.

Co-prosperity Sphere, 3219 S Morgan

$5 suggested donation

This roundtable conversation featuring Mexican and Mexican American visual artists, lead by artist and ESPAC curator Esteban King, will discuss what Americans miss when they think of Mexican contemporary art and will ask if the hesitation to embrace contemporary art is universal or cultural. Participants include visual artists Edgar Cobián (Guadalajara), Salvador Jiménez-Flores (Chicago), Libia Bianibi (Chicago/Oaxaca) and more.

Image: Untitled by Alejandro Almanza Pereda

Friday, October 19th

Book Club/Club de lectura:

Face to Face/Cara a cara

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6 p.m.


The Hideout, 1354 Wabansia

$5 suggested donation

The months-long Lit & Luz Book Club culminates with this bilingual conversation and Q & A between its two featured Mexican authors, Fernanda Melchor and Julián Herbert, hosted by Miguel Jiménez at the Hideout. 

In partnership with Volumes Book Cafe, City Lit Books, Pilsen Community Books, and Sem Coop Bookstores

Making Mezcal and Murals:

Juan de la mora


6 p.m.

Frontera Grill, 445 N Clark St

$5 suggested donation

Chicago-based muralist Juan de la Mora will discuss his apprenticeship with Oaxacan mezcal maestro Amando Alvarez and his new Chicago mural series depicting the mezcal-making process.

In partnership with SACRED


Saturday, October 20th



the Live Magazine Show

Click here for a fuller description of the event.

6:00 p.m.

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, 220 E Chicago Ave

$15 Full / $10 MCA Members / $8 Students

Experience Live Magazine Show, the concluding celebration of the Lit & Luz Festival of Language, Literature, and Art. Each year, the Lit & Luz program supports the creation of new collaborative artworks between writers, visual artists, and musicians from Chicago and Mexico. In the months leading up to the festival, teams of participating artists from the two cities work remotely to co-create a performance incorporating their respective mediums. The pieces are presented during the festival in both Spanish and English and they often explore the relationship between the languages, art forms, and cultures of the United States and Mexico.

This iteration is presented in Spanish and English.


José Olivarez + Jimena González

Kristiana Rae Colón + Edgar Cobián 

Edgar Garcia + Mariana Deball Castillo

Emilio Rojas + Natalia Toledo

Daniel Kraus + Fernanda Melchor

Bill MacKay + Julián Herbert

With music from Jim Becker's Lit & Luz Band and special guests Dos Santos Anti-beat Orchestra

In partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago