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Final ABR speaker coincides with Community Pachanga

By KBell
April 18, 2011 at 3:04 p.m.
Updated April 17, 2011 at 11:18 p.m.


For more information about the American Book Review Reading Series, visit

For more information about Centro Victoria, visit


Community Pachanga

Tuesday, noon: TV and film writer, director and producer Jesús Treviño will speak in the Alcorn Auditorium, 3001 N. Ben Wilson St.

Wednesday, 7 p.m.: Screenings of Treviño's Showtime movie "Resurrection Blvd." at UHV with a Q-and-A to follow.

Thursday, noon: Rolando Hinojosa-Smith speaking in Alcorn Auditorium

5 p.m.: Alternative musician and songwriter Davíd Garza of Austin will perform at LuRaq's, 13861 N. U.S. Highway 77

Friday, 7 p.m.: Screenings of Josefina López's "Real Women Have Curves" at UHV.


From one of Rolando Hinojosa-Smith's books, "Becky and her Friends"

Becky Caldwell, a Catholic at age 37, decides she and her two children, a boy, 11, and a girl, 9, will no longer live with Ira, her husband.

A former social climber, Becky discovers she has a talent for business. There is no narrator, instead, a Listener visits 38 townspeople. Apart from her mother and two priests, and herself, at the end, the remaining characters offer their views regarding Becky's actions.

The fictional Klail City in the Lower Ro Grande Valley serves as the backdrop for the tale. Some of the characters are in her favor and others are not, but, since they are typical human beings, all of them have something to say. Interwoven views on the matter and the Valley's long history and politics, are developed through the monologs. The Listener introduces the speakers, gives brief biographies of them but takes no sides in the quarrel. Irony abounds as does satire; in regard to wit, Valleyites are freewheeling chatterers who never miss an opportunity to contradict themselves and do so without so much as a by-your-leave. Was she right? Was she wrong? Preaching for or against Becky's doings is not only not called for, it is forbidden. Hence, it's up to the reader, not to the writer, nor to the Listener to render judgment on Becky's decision.

Author Rolando Hinojosa-Smith will be the final speaker in University of Houston-Victoria's American Book Review series, but his lecture is just the beginning of an effort to bring more Mexican-American culture to the area.

Hinojosa, the so-called dean of Texas Mexican-American letters, is a University of Texas creative writing professor who has written more than 20 books.

"He represents who we are probably better than most because he comes from a bicultural background," said Christine Granados, co-coordinator for Centro Victoria.

His talk at UHV falls in the middle of four days of celebration at Centro Victoria, called Community Pachanga.

The pachanga is "to introduce us to the community, so they know we're here and to celebrate the Mexican-American culture and arts," Granados said.

Hinojosa was born to an Anglo mother and Mexican-American father, both of whom were fluent in English and Spanish.

The bilingual author has published books, poetry and essays. At the UHV event, the military veteran will read two new pieces about Korea.

But Hinojosa, who grew up in the South Texas town of Mercedes, specializes in literature of the area, teaching the "Life and Literature of the Southwest" classes at UT.

Granados said Centro Victoria hopes to promote such literature in the Crossroads.

"They can understand, first of all, who they are - the Mexican-Americans," Granados said. "And the people who are not Mexican-American can understand who they're living with and have been living with for years and years."

This fall, Centro Victoria will release a literary journal, called Huizache, that aims to get more students interested in literature, like Hinojosa said he grew up with.

"I came from a family of readers, and it was really two English teachers in high school who encouraged me to write," he was quoted as saying in a UHV news release. "I was omnivorous and read whatever there was, from the Hardy Boys mysteries to poetry."

Granados said she and several other UHV faculty are excited for the community to enjoy their year-long project making Centro Victoria a cultural hub for the Crossroads.

"It's just a re-awakening of the Mexican-American spirit, culture and community," she said.



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