Monday, November 2, 2009

Cyborg Manifesto

(From the files of the Museo del Barrio in New York City, courtesy of intern extraordinaire Carolyn Chin Choy! Wow is all I can say. . .)

I am blown away by the resurgence of the past. . . because Guillermo Gómez-Peña has been there since 1992, my 500th year anniversary of being a cyborg in love (with Roberto Sifuentes, of course). . .

I remember this Saturday afternoon quite distinctly. I met the Village Voice film critic C. Carr at the exhibit. We spoke of, oh, I don't know what. . . the Anthology Film Archives? Paris Is Burning? Mexican performance art?

I love how I fall into performative trances with Guillermo. I love that this one was documented, lost and found (like I am found and lost again). Muy poético, un círculo à la Mircea Eliade, por no decir Richard Brautigan. I love how Carolyn (who was my Spanish student at Fordham, Lincoln Center campus) found this and found me on Facebook!

I love it. I love it. I. . . siento. (¡Viva la Pocha Nostra!)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Michigan Latina/o Studies Silver Symposium, Oct 29-31

You're Invited!
Latina/o Studies Silver Symposium

Past, Present, and Future of the Discipline
Latina and Latino Studies Program in the Program in American Culture
University of Michigan

Thursday, October 29 to Sunday, November 1, 2009
Ann Arbor, MI

Thursday, October 29

Location: 1014 Tisch Hall

4:00 - 5:15pm
Welcome by Dean Terrence McDonald with Address by George J. Sánchez and Ruth Behar

Friday, October 30
Michigan League

9 – 10:30
Mundo de los Recuerdos: Exploring the History of Michigan’s Latina/o Studies Program
Panel: John Chávez, Hector Delgado, Silvia Pedraza, Margarita De la Vega-Hurtado, Eliana Moya Raggio

10:45 – 12:15pm
Where is the Latino Past in the Future?: Trends in Latino/a History and Historiography
Panel: Natalia Molina, Adrián Burgos, Jr., Daniel Ramírez, Pablo Mitchell

1:15 – 2:45
Latino USA?: Politics, Populations, and the Face of the Nation
Panel: Fernando Guerra, Neil Foley, Rodolfo Rosales, Frances Aparicio

3:00 – 4:30
Give Me that Latin Beat: Latinos Make Culture
Panel: Colin Gunckel, Anthony Macías, Yeidy Rivero, Margarita De la Vega-Hurtado

4:30 – 6:00
New Latino/a Histories: Graduate Student Panel
Panel: Aaron Cavin, Christina Abreu, Emma Amador, Isabela Quintana

7:15 – 9:00 pm
Current Films on Latino Issues with Stephanie Alvarez
Location: UMMA

Saturday, October 31:
Michigan League

9 – 10:30
Consuming Latinos: Trends in Latino Cultural Studies
Panel: Lucía Suárez, Jillian Baez, Amy Sara Carroll, Stephanie Alvarez

10:45 – 12:15pm
Sexing it Up: New Approaches to Latino Sexualities
Panel: Jossianna Arroyo, Larry La Fountain, Danny Méndez

1:15 – 2:45
Social Science, Migration, and Latino Lives: Graduate Student Panel
Panel: Kristine Molina, Erik Morales, Sandra Gutierrez

3:00 – 4:30
Taking it to the Streets: Bridging the Gap Between the Academy and the Community
Panel: Estevan Rael-Gálvez, Rosa Rosales, Catherine Benamou, Silvia Pedraza

6:15 – 7:00
Address by Ruth Behar to Latin American and Caribbean Studies Center
Location: Palmer Commons

For more information, contact Anthony Mora ( .

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Queer Ricans in Ann Arbor! Wednesday, Oct 7 at 7 pm

Hope you can join us for this fun event!

SH\aut\ Cabaret and Gallery
325 Braun Court
Across from the \aut\ Bar
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Event sponsored by Common Language Bookstore

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Queer Ricans in the Bronx! Thursday Oct 22, 8 pm

Thursday, October 22,
at 8pm

Admission: Free
Barrier-Breaking Boricuas
Scholar and cultural warrior
Lawrence La Fountain-
Stokes discusses his new
book, Queer Ricans: Cultures
and Sexualities in the
Diaspora, and shares the
work of his subjects
including choreographer
Arthur Aviles, visual artist
Erika Lopez and writer
Manuel Ramos Otero and
many other groundbreaking
queer Puerto Ricans.
Followed by a book signing.

Bronx Academy of Arts & Dance
841 Barretto Street, Bronx, NY 10474

Take #6 train to Hunts Point Avenue. Cross under
Bruckner Expwy to 1st block (Garrison Ave.).
Make right on Garrison and go 2 blocks to Barretto
Street. Make left on Barretto Street to
841 Barretto in the middle of the block, right hand side,
large warehouse, red door.


Monday, September 28, 2009

The Journey of Queer Ricans - Feast of Fun #1064

Every year thousands of Puerto Ricans emigrate from the the Island of Puerto Rico to other parts of the world in search of a better life. Their quest mirrors that of many queer folks who travel from their hometowns to other places to express their identity.

But with modern times, we see that this type of travel isn’t always a one way trip and now we see people are living the life they want in their hometown or anywhere they choose.

On today’s show we’re talking to the ever giddy and delightful Larry La Fountain-Stokes, professor of queer studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. His new book Queer Ricans-Cultures and Sexualities in the Diaspora, explores the cultural expression of Puerto Rican queerness and how sexuality has shaped and defined the Puerto Rican experience in the United States.

In his book Larry examines the lives of queer artists of the 60s through the present day whose work is flavored by their Puerto Rican-ness, whether living on the island or in major urban Puerto Rican communities.

Listen as we discuss how Puerto Ricans’ love of the derriere has influenced American culture by giving the backside the respect and admiration it so greatly deserves.

Does gay American culture overly sexualize or fetishize Puerto Rican men? Is there anything wrong with that?

To listen go to:

Feast of Fun Show #1064 - 09.28.09

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

IRN-AFRICA Conference 2009: Genders

IRN-AFRICA Conference 2009:
Hosted by Empire State College, Central New York Center, Syracuse, NY, U.S.A.
October 1st through October 3rd, 2009

The International Resource Network in Africa (IRN-Africa) aims to link people doing research (both academic and community based) in areas related to gender and sexuality in Africa. We promote international communication and exchange through scholarship to expand knowledge building, foster comparative and collaborative projects among researchers, advance curricular and course development, and widen the availability of scholarly resources.

The IRN-Africa 2009 conference will bring together researchers, activists and thinkers whose intellectual work and political engagement are centered around issues of gender and sexuality, including gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered (LGBTQ) peoples in Africa and the Diaspora. The conference seeks to explore new opportunities arising from the internalization of research on sexualities in Africa, new challenges we are encountering in the 21st century, and new partnerships drawing from our diverse experiences in the Diaspora. Presenters include scholars, public intellectuals, and artists whose work defines new critical pathways to constructing a utilitarian and collective knowledge about sexuality, gender, society, and human agency.

The International Research Network in Africa (IRN-Africa) is funded by the Ford Foundation and works in partnership with Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS) at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York City University of New York (CUNY) in the United States of America. Empire State College (SUNY) is generously hosting the second meeting of IRN-Africa in Syracuse, NY, with paper presentations taking place Thursday, October 1st through Saturday, October 3rd. The conference is open to the public, and will include an art reception featuring Zanele Muholi’s photographic essay, “Faces & Phases, 2006-2009”, on Friday, October 2nd at 6:00pm. More info here.

Scholars will present papers as a panel within the following topical areas. (For a complete list of papers, please visit our website)

Women & Desire

Artistic Interventions: sexuality, art & media

Sexuality in Africa: Queer Methods

Sexuality & Human Rights

HIV/AIDS: culture and activism

Queering Religious Discourses

Queer Identities in Africa & the Diaspora

To register for the paper presentations please visit our website

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Entrevista y Lectura en Bogotá, Colombia (2009)

Fragmento (grabación) de entrevista sobre Uñas pintadas de azul realizada en la Fundación Universitaria del Area Andina, Bogotá, Colombia, el miércoles 26 de agosto de 2009. ¡Gracias a Kevin Sedeño Guillén por la invitación a su universidad y por facilitar mi lectura allí! No dejen de visitar el blog de Kevin, titulado Bojeo a la isla.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Josu Sein y Uñas pintadas de azul

Josu Sein escribe en su Fotolog (¡¡¡gracias, Josu!!!):

Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes: "Uñas pintadas de azul"

Larry es un puertorriqueño afincado si no me equivoco en Nueva York (y si no en los alrededores). Aunque personalmente es en lo que menos me fijo, Larry dice que su literatura está marcada por 2 características que influyen en toda su obra; que es puertorriqueño (un latino, como dirían en EEUU), y que es homosexual. Para él es necesario remarcarlo y sentirse orgulloso de ello para que la gente entienda su literatura. Y es que no es una lectura fácil. Este libro en concreto, escrito originalmente en castellano pero traducido por él también al inglés y publicado en edición bilingüe (se ha de adquirir por internet, en España no está editado), está basado en diversos relatos en los que aunque se repiten algunos nombres y anécdotas, no están relacionados entre sí. Es el estilo y lo que sientes al leer los relatos lo que le da una coherencia.

Está escrito con una prosa poética no apta para todos los públicos, para qué engañarnos, al igual que mucha gente sigue sin entender la literatura de mi amadísimo William Burroughs. Se parece a él en muchos aspectos. Frases "aparentemente" (sólo aparentemente) inconexas y estructuradas de una manera a la que la mayoría no estamos acostumbrados, ausencia de puntos y mayúsculas en algún relato, homosexualidad, pornografía y vampirismo en algunos casos, etc. Quizás los cuentos más aptos para todos los públicos, ya que no se anda con rodeos y son muy fácilmente comprensibles, sean "De un pájaro las dos alas", sobre la situación actual de Cuba, y "ñeca", sobre un tío que queda en una sauna con un desconocido y hace de todo con todos menos con el hombre con el que había quedado a través del chat.

Lo que a mi entender le da coherencia a todo el libro, es el deseo de dejar de sentirse solo mientras caes en sórdidas experiencias sexuales.

"Siento, sin embargo, cuando camino por la calle, que a veces soy otros: William Burroughs, Truman Capote, René Marqués. Puto, paseante, drogadicto, artista, excritor, genio, pornógrafo, homosexual (por poco se me olvida-¡qué despiste!) y otras cosas que podría tardar años en enumerar. Ah, y criminal, cómo no mencionarlo
las anécdotas de mi diario, de mis viajes por América, esa America tan perversa de Blue Velvet y Nan Goldin y Walt Whitman, de esos bares de negros y marineros por donde anduvo Lorca..."

Ya ha mencionado a David Lynch, William Burroughs y Nan Goldin, 3 de mis grandes ídolos y referencias... ¿Cómo no sentirme identificado con mucho de lo que escribe?

Y bueno, para cambiar un poco de tema y hablar de mis textos además de los de otros escritores, he de decir que a Consuelo, gran amiga de /norl, le han gustado muchos de mis textos, por lo que de momento uno de ellos, "Carta a David", relacionada con mis 2 actualizaciones anteriores, ha sido publicado en la publicación digital Nos Queda La Palabra. Ya no recuerdo si alguna vez lo puse por aquí, es probable que sí, o no, o quizás en el fotolog que me cerraron, pero de todas maneras éste es el link:

Bueno, y ahora voy a comer gazpacho, faláfel, humus, y quinoa con verduras y algas. Mmmmm... :-)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Blue Fingernail Polish

dig my fingernails
into the armpit of america
let down ur hair
hang on 4 the ride
concorde takeoff
plastered 2 the back of my seat
blue fingernail polish

--poem by my friend Giuseppe Campuzano, author of the Museo travesti del Perú (Lima, Perú). ¡Gracias, Giuseppe!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Queer Ricans!

Queer Ricans..à la Larry La Fountain

[Blogpost by Charlie Vázquez:
Queer Latino Musings on Literature…and more…

Puerto Rican writer and scholar Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes’s latest tome Queer Ricans (University of Minnesota, 2009) takes a playful and critical look at the creative works of queer diasporic Puerto Ricans in the United States—New York to San Francisco, the 1960s to the 1990s, male and female, island-born and mainlander. This complex and fascinating study discusses homophobia, AIDS, feminism, sexism, racism, and a variety of other agents of marginalization, which although are scornful by nature, inspired the creation of that unique dimension from which queer Puerto Rican artists operate. Entrenched and seething island homophobia inspired migrations of queer Puerto Ricans to the mainland—and many were artists. And although the majority might have settled in New York—others found themselves in other locales such as Philadelphia, Chicago, and San Francisco.

Beginning with a dissection of the writings of Manuel Ramos Otero (who succumbed to AIDS in 1990), La Fountain weaves a rich tapestry of art criticism that ultimately leads to a kind of “Oz”, a Nuyorican Oz, as interpreted by Boricua lesbian performance artist Elizabeth Marrero. The fanning out of Puerto Ricans on the mainland, as they both assimilated into and resisted white mainstream America, begat yet another wave of artistic output shaped by birthplace, gender, race, and dominant language (Spanish vs. English). From Manuel Ramos Otero’s fiction to Erika López’s punk-informed subversive imagery and writing, the queer Puerto Rican canon of literature and art in America is more diverse than I ever imagined. Applause for Larry’s La Fountain’s groundbreaking cultural breakthrough!

I had a few questions for him…

CV: So before we get serious—I had no idea that Miguel Algarín and Miguel Piñero were bisexual. Was this an openly discussed thing in Manhattan underground Latino culture, and how did their Lower East Side base abstract them from other Puerto Rican artists based in El Barrio or the Bronx?

LLFS: Wow, this is a complicated question—much more serious than you suggest! Let me clarify a couple of things. I can tell you for a fact that people currently discuss Miguel Piñero’s bisexuality (or his attraction to and relationships or encounters with men and women); León Ichaso portrays this in his biopic Piñero (2001), for example. I cannot tell you that Piñero himself used the word “bisexual” or considered himself to be one. Regardless of this, the word is useful to describe his life and his sexual activities.

In the case of Miguel Algarín (who is still alive), I can tell you that Algarín’s literature has been suggesting this since the 1970s, in classic works such as Mongo Affair (where he talks about loving, i.e., feeling intense feelings towards an elderly black man in Puerto Rico) and of course in his extraordinary Love Is Hard Work: Memorias de Loisaida (1997), where he engages his experiences as an HIV-positive man who has sex with men and women. But just as the case with Piñero, I don’t know that Algarín personally uses the label “bisexual” to describe himself; I have never asked him and quite frankly would feel a little bit shy about bringing up the topic with him.

My suspicion (and understanding) about this matter is that it was a tacit subject, un secreto a voces or open secret, in other words, something that people know but don’t discuss a lot, unless you prompt them (or in my case, tell them what my book is about!). Then people start to tell you all sorts of things.

CV: As a punk culture aficionado (and as a Latino) I was very moved by San Francisco artist Erika López’s work, especially “A Postcard from the Welfare Line” which is loaded with tons of political symbolism. How did you learn about her and what is she doing now?

LLFS: Erika Lopez is an absolutely amazing artist! I first learned about her in 1997 when her first novel Flaming Iguanas and her book of comics Lap Dancing for Mommy came out. My friend Celinés Pimentel bought a copy at St. Mark’s Bookstore in New York City and both of us got hooked. Erika quickly came out with the sequel to her novel, They Call Me Mad Dog! in 1998. We just could not believe a queer Boricua was publishing this stuff and that it was illustrated to boot! I’ve been a fan of Erika’s ever since. You’re absolutely right that there is a fascinating political slant to her work. I think people sometimes don’t notice that right away because of her humor and allegiance to pop culture and to cartoons. For me, she’s as invested in social change and social justice as anyone else, particularly when compared to dour, serious artists. As to what Erika’s up to nowadays, I can tell you she’s working on making a film and she also writes a cartoon blog that she calls a clog! You can check her out at and at

CV: Queer Ricans covers a diverse range of work and personalities—from the prolific filmmaker Frances Negrón-Muntaner to modern dancer Arthur Avilés, who is based at the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (BAAD). You apparently know many of the subjects of whom you write. Was this book a result of your own fascination as a queer Puerto Rican scholar and writer, and did you feel a conscious need to unify in one book the stories and works of these agents of Puerto Rican queer art history?

LLFS: At the very, very, very beginning, I thought I was going to write an exhaustive encyclopedia on homosexual literature and culture from all of Latin America and the Caribbean! As you can imagine, the prospect was so overwhelming that I was basically paralyzed. My dissertation advisor, the feminist scholar Jean Franco, suggested I focus on Puerto Rico and Cuba. Even that seemed like too much for me. I narrowed it down to Puerto Rico, and settled on the issue of queer migration. I also had to give up my initial impulse to write about every single LGBT Puerto Rican artist and writer—it was just too much. I started writing Queer Ricans in 1995 and did not really get finished until 2007 (or 2009, if you count the months I spent earlier this year indexing the book).

It really started out as an exploration of queer Puerto Rican literature, and morphed as it went along, in part because of the recurrent themes that kept coming up, especially migration, but also because I was living in New York City, and I was immersed in an environment that was exploding with queer Puerto Rican artists and writers and filmmakers and activists as well as with queer Puerto Rican scholars who were presenting very pioneering, groundbreaking research on queer Puerto Rican, U.S. Latina/o, and Latin American culture. The mid 1990s were just an incredible moment in terms of Latina/o queer culture in the U.S., and New York City just seemed to be the epicenter of it all. It all clicked together when I got a fellowship from the Social Science Research Council and got to spend several weeks during the summer of 1997 in North Carolina discussing issues of international migration.

But to answer your question: some of the people I knew, or met along the way, like Luis Rafael Sánchez, Luz María Umpierre, Frances Negrón-Muntaner, Rose Troche, Erika López, Elizabeth Marrero, and Arthur Avilés; some were already dead, like Manuel Ramos Otero (but were so present in my mind and in my readings and in people’s stories that it’s as if they were still alive). There are a lot of additional artists that I met (or would like to meet) that I did not have a chance to write about in this book, such as Rane Arroyo and yourself, and that I look forward to writing about more extensively in the future.

Applause. To purchase this book go here (I’m still pissed at Amazon):

I’d like to thank Larry for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer these questions and want you all to know that on Tuesday, August 18th, Queer Latino Musings on Literature will be hosting Cuban-American author Raul Ramos y Sanchez for the third Virtual Latino Book Tour. Raul’s new book America Libre was published by Grand Central Publishing and we’ll discuss his forging of a new popular genre: the Latino thriller.

America Libre
fuses speculative politics, rioting, and cultural upheaval and takes a scary look at the oppression of Latinos, set in a near-future America, where a dangerous and new right-wing government combats angry Latinos, who have become a second-class citizenry by law. We will also be giving a free copy away! All you need to do is comment on the interview—the winner will be chosen randomly by me and mailed a copy by Raul. If you’d like him to sign it, please request this and be clear as to whom you want it signed to.

As for me, I’ve been doing different readings around town and hammering away at my new short story collection Island Stories, which should be ready to submit to publishers by year’s end. I read a new story in Astoria on August 13th, for a benefit for Green City Council candidate Lynne Serpe (thanks Brandon Lacy Campos!). The new story is called “The Fruit Vendor” and pits the political and cultural frustrations of an islander and a stateside Puerto Rican, albeit with a very erotic subtext. Coming soon! (Did I just say that?)

Watch this short clip of me reading in NYC, courtesy of WepaTV:

To receive Charlie Vázquez's bimonthly posts straight to your email, register here:

Original link for article:

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Las facultades de Aravind Enrique Adyanthaya

Jardines hidropónicos flotantes y discotecas subterráneas. Como mantra, la joven nieta y el abuelo de una familia puertorriqueña se intercambian estas frases, aludiendo a un espacio bucólico altamente deseado que los dos anhelan. El único problema es que el abuelo se quiere casar con la niña, posiblemente la viola y ella acaba matándolo a él junto con todo el resto de la familia, sin mencionar que el abuelo posiblemente conoció a su nieta porque tenía el mismo avatar o símbolo en la Internet.

Así se desarrolla la extraordinaria obra Las facultades del dramaturgo puertorriqueño Aravind Enrique Adyanthaya, la cual se estrenó como montaje taller (workshop production) el jueves 28 de mayo, con dos funciones adicionales los días 29 y 30. Las facultades fue la obra ganadora del certamen Asunción de 2007 auspiciado por la aclamada compañía teatral puertorriqueña Pregones en su teatro en el sur del Bronx. Adyanthaya, a su vez, es un destacado dramaturgo y performero isleño y el fundador y director del espacio cultural Casa Cruz de la Luna, ubicado en San Germán. Esta producción de Las facultades fue una colaboración entre Casa Cruz de la Luna y el Teatro Pregones.

Las facultades es una obra altamente desconcertante, poética y filosófica. Se enfoca en las vidas y rutinas cotidianas de una familia poco usual, compuesta tanto por el abuelo y la niña como por Magda, la madre; Paco, el padre; Brian Kevin, el hijo; y el sirviente sin nombre, que en realidad es un homúnculo o gólem mágico. A esto se le suman meditaciones sobre el espiritismo y las nuevas formas de identidad facilitadas por la Internet, con sus múltiples posibilidades de invención. Esta historia de familia se aleja del típico drama familiar al estar intersectado (y organizado) por potencias sobrenaturales tales como la clarividencia, la levitación, el ilusionismo y la pirokinesis.

De hecho, las habilidades sobrenaturales del abuelo lo llevan a quemar la colecturía o archivo nacional, incluyendo todos los documentos vitales de la vida ciudadana, tales como actas de nacimiento y defunción, registros de votos de certámenes de belleza, hasta las listas de inscripción del Partido del Sol de Roberto Sánchez Vilella, además de los billetes ganadores de la lotería. La obra oscila entre momentos de enorme horror, gran belleza estética (por ejemplo, cuando el abuelo y la nieta bailan ante las nubes mientras los padres levitan y el nieto Brian Kevin vuela chiringas), y gran risa. Hay que destacar el maravilloso trabajo del actor Varín Ayala, quien se lució mostrando las graciosas (y horripilantes) peripecias del abuelo. En realidad, todo el elenco fue extraordinario: Sol Crespo en su rol de Magda, la madre que vende bienes raíces y le pide a su marido que se castre para satisfacer su deseo lésbico; Modesto Lacén, en su papel de Paco, el marido, que fiel a los pedidos de su esposa, busca un milagro o ex-voto de metal con el que caparse para volverse miembro de un núcleo familiar y nacional matriarcal que habla en una voz; Rosal Colón, la inocente nieta que acaba asesinando a sangre fría a todos sus parientes; Orlando Ríos, quien también hace de niño, pero uno obsesionado con la dominación, inclusive en escenas de sadomasoquismo en las que le exige al servidor de la familia (el muy talentoso Carlos Valencia) que le lama sus botas imaginarias.

Esta obra reta muchas convenciones y exige un público paciente y dispuesto a entregarse a una serie de experiencias sensoriales e intelectuales muy novedosas. Es necesario señalar la labor encomiable del director Jorge Merced, director artístico de la compañía Pregones, al igual que el trabajo de Jessica Moya, productora asociada técnica quien fue responsable por todo la escenografía digital, la cual incluía animación. También hay que recalcar que esta obra y su montaje fueron el resultado directo del trabajo colaborativo y de mentorazgo que ofrece el Teatro Pregones a través de su Proyecto Asunción, el cual promueve el que escritores latinos elaboren piezas teatrales que traten sobre temas de sexualidad de una manera innovadora.

Tras ganar el primer premio de este concurso en mayo de 2007, Las facultades se leyó en traducción al inglés en 2008 y recibió su primer montaje en español en estreno mundial en 2009, habiendo también ganado el prestigioso primer premio en el certamen de Casa de Teatro de Santo Domingo, República Dominicana. Felicitamos por igual a los tres dramaturgos ganadores de la séptima edición del Proyecto Asunción 2009, quienes son el puertorriqueño Ramón Martí-Díaz (Happy Birthday, Charlie) (tercer lugar), el mexicano Alberto Castillo (Mi educación sentimental) (segundo lugar) y la chicana Fernanda Coppel (Chimichangas and Zoloft) (primer lugar), cuyas obras se leyeron el 29 y 30 de mayo. Para más información sobre el Proyecto Asunción (cuya fecha límite de entrega de muestras de manuscritos de obras en inglés o español suele ser a final de diciembre), consultar la página de Internet del Teatro Pregones,

Artículo por Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes/Especial para En Rojo
Publicado en Claridad, 9 de julio de 2009.
Fotos por Soldanela Rivera para Teatro Pregones, copyright 2009.

El autor es profesor universitario en Michigan. Su libro Uñas pintadas de azul/Blue Fingernails fue publicado por la Editorial Bilingüe de Arizona en marzo de 2009.

Link al artículo en Claridad:

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Readings Galore!

I have been reading Uñas pintadas de azul/Blue Fingernails at different bars, bookstores, and universities in Ann Arbor, Chicago, East Lansing (MI), Ithaca (NY), New York City, and San Juan (PR). I will be reading at McNally Jackson Books in New York City this coming Friday, July 10, at 7 pm! Hope you can come! The address is 52 Prince St, Soho.

Photo: Surrounded by Blue Fingernails!!! Women and Children First Bookstore, Chicago, June 25, 2009. Image by Fausto Fernós.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Nowhere is so much fun

My friend IngridJee Pintucci took this photo at Nowhere in New York City on May 27, when I read as part of Charlie Vázquez's Hispanic Panic! It was a fun reading. Thanks, IngridJee and Charlie!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Six faculty members lauded for commitment to diversity

By Erin Biehl
University Record intern

Six faculty members dedicated to developing cultural and ethnic diversity at U-M have received the 2009 Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award from the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic and Affairs.

The recipients are Kelly Askew, LSA; Tabbye Chavous, School of Education and LSA; Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes, LSA; Karin Muraszko, Medical School; Scott Page, LSA and the Institute for Social Research; and Daniel Washington, School of Music, Theatre & Dance.

"This year's recipients demonstrate a commitment to the very centrality of diversity as an important part of the university's educational mission. Through their writings, public statements, curricular work and co-curricular programs, their efforts have brought about constructive change on issues regarding diversity within his or her academic unit and the broader university," says Senior Vice Provost Lester Monts.

Established in 1996, the award is given in honor of Harold Johnson, dean emeritus of the School of Social Work. The award provides $5,000 to recipients to further research and scholarship opportunities.

Kelly Askew, associate professor of anthropology and Afroamerican and African studies, LSA, also serves as director of the African Studies Center, through which she creates international alliances in the field of African studies.

"[She] has thrived in getting the center off the ground, and has embraced this important task in a spirit of selfless dedication to strengthening African Studies at U-M and on the African continent," Mark Tessler, vice provost for international affairs and director of the International Institute, wrote in a nomination letter.

Besides directing the African Studies Center, Askew has contributed to diversity through her scholarship and teaching. In 2007 she received the Gilbert Whitaker Fund Award for the Improvement of Teaching to revise the center's 200-level introductory courses, and from 2006-07 was a Visiting Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle, Germany.

A scholar of ethnomusicology, popular culture and nationalism in East Africa, Askew has produced film documentaries exploring Zanzibari music, including "Poetry in Motion: 100 Years of Ikhwan Safaa," which was screened at the Zanzibar International Film Festival and the Kenya International Film Festival in 2008.

Tabbye Chavous, associate professor of education, School of Education; associate professor (adjunct) of psychology, LSA; and chair of the Combined Program for Education and Psychology (CPEP), researches the role of race, gender and ethnicity in development issues among adolescent minorities. As chair of the Social Justice Committee in the School of Education and chair of CPEP, Chavous has worked to recruit students and faculty of color to CPEP and increase diversity in the classroom.

Her involvement with mentoring and supporting black students includes serving since 1999 on the advisory board for the annual Black Students in Psychology Conference, which assists black graduate students in their research and professional development.

"Building an educational system and educational practices that respect diversity and work to redress inequities is a fundamental social project: [Chavous] embodies the hard work, generosity of service and skillfulness required to develop this agenda," Theresa Lee, professor and chair of the Department of Psychology, and Deborah Ball, professor and dean of the School of Education, wrote in a nomination letter.

Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes, assistant professor of American cultures and romance languages and literatures, LSA, has helped increase understanding of queer and Latina/o cultures through his research on the intersection of race, ethnicity, sexuality and migration, discussed in his books "Queer Ricans: Cultures and Sexualities in the Diaspora" and "Translocas and Transmachas."

The host of U-M Portal en Español's Latino Culture Series Productions, La Fountain-Stokes interviews U-M researchers and Spanish-language scholars and has introduced queer and Latina/o-studies scholars and artists to U-M. He also has served on numerous committees and organizations seeking to promote diversity at U-M, including the Program in American Culture, and Assisting Latinos to Maximize Achievement. He also has engaged in the broader community, becoming a central figure in Washtenaw County's fledgling arts community.

LaFountain-Stokes "interprets and illuminates the works of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender writers, shaking old prejudices in both the U.S. and Latino American countries, and advocating for many communities within the University of Michigan and without," wrote Lee Doyle, chief of staff for the Office of the Vice President for Communications, and Vivianne Schnitzer, Hispanic communications manager.

Karin Muraszko, the Julian T. Hoff Professor and chair of the Department of Neurosurgery; professor of surgery, plastic surgery section and Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases in the Medical School, is honored as a mentor and inspiration to women striving to overcome bias in the surgical field. Muraszko's triumph over spina bifida and success as one of the first female pediatric neurosurgeons in the country make her a role model for women and the disabled.

She is a 2007 recipient of the Sarah Goddard Power Award that honors those who have made significant contributions to the betterment of women at U-M and globally through distinguished leadership, scholarship or other activities related to their professions. The creator of Project Shunt, she took a team of medical professionals to Guatemala in 1997 to provide neurosurgical care to children with craniofacial abnormalities.

"She is an outstanding advocate for women, minorities and children being the best they can be as well as for those with disabilities," wrote Dr. Carmen Green, associate professor of anesthesiology and health management and policy.

Scott Page, the Leonid Hurwicz Collegiate Professor of Political Science, Complex Systems and Economics, LSA; senior associate research scientist in the Center for Political Studies, Institute for Social Research; associate director, Center for the Study of Complex Systems, is known for his work on the importance of diversity in educational settings and the work environment.

He has spoken at public events focused on diversity, including the Michigan Civil Rights Summit and the 2006 Diversity Forum. His book "The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Teams and Societies" discusses the benefits of diversity. A member of the steering committee of the National Center for Institutional Diversity, the Rackham Executive Committee, and the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs Multicultural University Committee, Page has worked to ensure that admissions decisions maintain a commitment to diversity within the confines of the law.

"[Page's] academic research, combined with his tireless efforts in talking about and facilitating discussions about diversity, demonstrate an almost unrivaled dedication to helping people understand the benefits of diversity and to bring about equity at the university and in society," wrote Charles Shipman, chair of the Department of Political Science.

Daniel Washington, associate dean for faculty affairs, director of minority services, and associate professor of voice in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, has taken an active role in promoting diversity in the school. The director of minority services oversees counseling of students in SoMTD and coordinates Martin Luther King Day activities for the school. Also the collegiate director and Detroit chapter president of the National Association of Negro Musicians, he has reached out to African-American musicians nationwide and arranged visits of minority artists to SoMTD.

As faculty adviser to the Black Arts Council, Washington has helped students carry out their organizational enterprises and provided academic counsel. And he has helped to attract minority students to SoMTD by establishing contacts with the Duke Ellington School of the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., and the Harlem School for the Arts.

"[Washington] is a musical artist with a steadfast faith in the transformative power of the arts in society and a commitment to live out that faith by including as many distinct artistic voices as possible in [SoMTD]," Christopher Kendall, dean of the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, wrote in a nomination letter.

—All photos were provided courtesy their respective subjects.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Rainbow Reviews: Uñas pintadas de azul/Blue Fingernails

Unas pintadas de azul (Blue Fingernails) by Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes
Pansexual Book Reviews/Fiction, Pansexual Book Reviews/Anthology

TITLE: Unas pintadas de azul (Blue Fingernails)
AUTHOR: Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes
ISBN: 978-1-931010-33-7
PUBLISHER: Bilingual Press

Review by Lizardlez

These fourteen short stories represent a Latina/o American poetic journey, a sensory odyssey through the pains and pleasures of diasporic, cosmopolitan gay and lesbian Puerto Rican identities in an ever-shifting postmodern world. The tales touch on urban experiences throughout the Americas, at times incorporating elements of science fiction, vampires, detectives, and fantasy, but mostly focusing on the difficulties of mad, passionate love and its inevitable demise. Oscillating between humor and sadness, the stories are meant for readers who are not put off by controversial ideas or taboo topics like sadomasochism, transvestism, prostitution, and pornography.

Experimental and meta-literary, with intertextual allusions to the work of other gay writers such as Manuel Ramos Otetro,Manuel Puig, and David Wojnarowicz, Unas pintadas de azul/Blue Fingernails is an important contribution to queer Latina o and Puerto Rican letters. Bilingual edition.

Technically, this book is a single-author collection of short stories in parallel Spanish and English on facing pages. The effect of the whole work is that of a wild, colorful, hallucinogenic novel in the tradition of James Joyce (the Irish writer given credit for pioneering the stream-of-consciousness novel in the early twentieth century) and other experimental writers who describe life from outside the cultural mainstream.

In the opening story, or cuento, "my name, multitudinous mass," the author suggests that he has many identities drawn from various cultures and creative influences. The speaker claims:

"Sometimes, when I walk down the street, I become other people: William Burroughs, Truman Capote, Rene Marques. Like saying hustler, flaneur, drug addict, artist, writer, genius, pornographer, homosexual (I almost forgot!) and other things that it would take years to enumerate."

The narrator's persona, the "I" of the story, seems gender-fluid and dedicated to the goddess of the sea (which links all the nations of earth) in the African-based religion which itself takes different forms in different regions, called "ju-ju" in its place of origin, "santeria" in the author's native Puerto Rico and "voodoo" in New Orleans and Haiti.

In the title story, "blue fingernails," a film-maker named Jerry has his fingernails painted blue by his friend Silvina, who clearly doesn't trust him to do this himself after he has painted his black, and done it badly. Silvina takes great care to make his fingernails look beautiful as a gesture of friendship:

"Silvina's were pink and she wanted to paint his so that they would match: boy and girl, just like the new Pampers disposable diapers or any other random combination that would say: you and I. Like the green and yellow of the Brazilian flag. Or the black and white of an old TV set, left along the side of a road to Istanbul, that noble city that my grandmother, in her impeccably conservative way, insisted on calling Byzantium."

Jerry and Silvina enjoy the fresh green of the foliage in a park in a future New York City which is dominated by Middle Eastern culture. Both of them have an irresistible urge to feast on "all types of Arabic food." The names "Jerry" and "I" are used interchangeably, and Silvina suggests that her own identity is equally flexible.

The narrator is fascinated by food, objects, and films as fun-house mirrors of the real world. In the story "rites of devotion to the cult," a woman called Demonio Maria de Cienfuegos (Demon Mary Hundredfires), also called Angel and Angela is chosen to star in "the musical pornographic film Rites of Devotion to the Cult, to be directed by Chi Chi Larue." She asks for payment for the sexual services she will perform on film.

References to chocolate run throughout the narrative, in which New York contains all the cultures of the world, and in which chocolate in various forms represents both pleasure and disgust. In the story "shit" (with the pretty name "la mierda" in Spanish), a man is humiliated by losing control of his bowels in public."Shame compounded his despair, the impossibility of not doing anything ... His disgust provoked tears, but dear readers, don't feel pity beforehand. Disgust shall soon be yours too, disgust for the sake of art, and the pleasure of a tiny chocolate of the highest quality, Godiva no less ~ just in case, just like in the fairy tales you've undoubtedly heard."

The desire of a gender-fluid "man" for male strangers, especially those who reveal thick cocks, also runs through the narrative, and it goes with the panorama of changing scenes and passing strangers who always seem strangely familiar. Readers who are looking for a conventional plot will be disappointed by this book, but readers who enjoy poetic imagery and language-play (including the double negatives that add emphasis in Spanish, and the musical sound of vulgar or insulting Spanish words) will be entertained. This book is not easy to read even in one language only, but its leaps of logic and loose network of characters are worth considering. Reading this book is like being high on a mind-altering substance, but without the negative after-effects.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

"Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes se afila las uñas"

El escritor puertorriqueño radicado en Míchigan apuesta por un “juego descontrolado de asociaciones” mentales en su libro bilingüe Uñas pintadas de azul / Blue Fingernails, que presentó la semana pasada en la librería Isla, en Río Piedras. (Para Primera Hora / foto por Carlos Giusti)

"Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes se afila las uñas"
sábado, 2 de mayo de 2009
Héctor Aponte Alequín / Primera Hora (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico)

Él y sus textos necesitaban “validación, saber si vale la pena seguir escribiendo, porque cuesta mucho trabajo”. Pero le fue difícil conseguir esa aprobación en un mercado editorial marcado por el prejuicio de que la narrativa “tiene que contar historias”.

Hace 10 años, envió sus manuscritos a “un montón de editoriales”. De todas le llegaban cartas de rechazo en las que no se exponían las razones para optar por no publicarlos. Larry, como se le conoce, sospecha que ser “literatura abiertamente gay, de un autor abiertamente gay”, pudo haber sido uno de varios factores que propició la censura.

Otros serían, probablemente, su gusto por “formas no convencionales”, los contenidos “no aptos para menores, como la pornografía” y “lo mucho de autobiográfico” que pudieran ser sus creaciones, que por fin se han puesto en circulación bajo el título Uñas pintadas de azul / Blue Fingernails (Bilingual Press, Arizona State University).

“Para mí la literatura es un espacio de diversión, mágico, donde todas las cosas que uno se imagina o sueña pueden darse”, expresa Lawrence La Fountain con una sonrisa que materializa el espíritu lúdico de los 24 relatos en español e inglés que se recogen en el tomo de 311 páginas.

“Mi interés es el deleite de la palabra. Quise exponer mi experiencia como hombre gay, puertorriqueño, quise dialogar con (el fallecido escritor) Manuel Ramos Otero. No separo entre la experiencia personal y la literatura”, establece el profesor de esa materia en la Universidad de Michigan.

“No me preocupan las etiquetas y a mucha honra me autoidentifico como autor gay puertorriqueño. Eso le da coherencia a mi escritura y es justo con el público”, expone.

Algunos de los cuentos del volumen, disponible en la librería Isla, en Río Piedras, permiten ser leídos como poemas. Otros esbozan emotivas historias a lo largo de fluires de conciencia, de forma similar a como lo hace el narrador de la novela de Ángel Lozada No quiero quedarme sola y vacía, otra víctima de censura.

“El que tenga expectativas de una trama lineal y clara se va a decepcionar”, advierte el también activista de los derechos de los homosexuales.

Larry reconoce que esa linealidad es uno de los moldes que esperan los lectores “en esta época de la profesionalización de los escritores”, ésos a los que se les hace más fácil publicar.

Firme en su postura

La mejor manera en que los artistas homosexuales pueden contribuir a conseguir igualdad de derechos para esta población es salir del clóset, opina La Fountain.

Según el escritor, “hay un vínculo entre la cultura y la política” que es esencial en esta lucha por la igualdad, puesto que las artes forjan opinión pública.

Que el artista gay se identifique como tal “hace una gran diferencia” porque enfrenta a las personas, especialmente los fans de los artistas, con sus prejuicios.

Una vez el seguidor del artista gay reconoce sus preconcepciones, reflexiona sobre ellas y entonces se generan diálogos con gente más informada.

Entretanto, al público que también se identifica como gay se le abren puentes con el resto de la comunidad que es fiel al escritor, cantante o actor en cuestión.

“Yo respeto a los que se mantienen discretos con respecto a su sexualidad, pero, hasta que no compartan lo personal, no llegarán al pueblo”, concluye.

Revista Ambiente Publishes Charlie Vázquez Interview

Ambiente Magazine, which focuses on Latino/Hispanic LGBT issues, has reprinted my interview in its May 2009 issue and titled it: "Gay Puerto Rican Scholar Larry La Fountain and his Blue Fingernails" by Charlie Vázquez

Check it out! And thanks to Charlie!!!!

Reseña de Mayra Santos-Febres sobre Uñas pintadas de azul



Blog de la escritora puertorriqueña Mayra Santos-Febres. Contiene textos editados e inéditos, comentarios y datos personales.

miércoles 29 de abril de 2009

Estuve leyéndolo por años. Via fax, e-mail, por correo. Estuve leyendo y comentando estos cuentos tantas veces que ya me los sé de memoria. Finalmente me llega un paquete con el libro publicado. Larry La Fountain-Stokes presentó ayer martes 28 de abril su libro Uñas pintadas de azul en la librería Isla.

El temario es homoerótico y cotidiano. Larry toca los asuntos de la migración, el sexilio, la cotidianidad de los encuentros y amores entre hombres. Pero eso lo hacen muchos autores gay. Lo que resalta en Uñas pintadas de azul es la reescritura de un corpus literario; la mención y juegos intertextuales con otros escritores ancestrales que ya configuran un canon literario de escritura gay latinoamericana. El cuento que abre la colección es una reescritura de "Hollywood Memorabilia" de Manuel Ramos Otero. Los tonos de la escritura retrabajan la obra literaria de Néstor Perlogher, Manuel Puig, Pedro Lemebel. Todos están ahí, creando ya una factura estética que sostiene su conversación con una tradición, que reescribe un canon y lo amplía.

Felicitamos a Larry La Fountain por su libro. Esperamos que a este le sigan muchos más.

Publicado por Mayra Santos-Febres.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Blue Fingernails: Queer Tales of Sin, Vampires, and Pornography!


Charlie Vázquez: Queer Latino Esoteric musings…

Posted: 08 Apr 2009 03:21 PM PDT

I first met Puerto Rican writer, scholar and performer Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes (a.k.a. Larry La Fountain) last summer, at the New York City reading for Los Otros Cuerpos, the first ever anthology of queer Puerto Rican literature, published by Editorial Tiempo Nuevo in 2007. About five years ago, I came across one of Larry’s stories, “My Name, Multitudinous Mass”, in Bésame Mucho (Painted Leaf Press, 1999), a groundbreaking collection of gay male fiction edited by Jaime Manrique with Jesse Doris. “My Name, Multitudinous Mass” also appears in Larry’s newest fiction collection, Blue Fingernails/Uñas pintadas de azul, which was just published by Bilingual Press. Blue Fingernails is a crazy amusement park ride through Santerian house parties, grimy bedrooms, gothic theater productions and The Museum of Natural History and features vampires, horny lesbians, neo-Dominicans, well-endowed Cubans and a rather loveable character named Demonio María Cienfuegos (Demon Mary Hundred Fires).

Larry was in New York recently as part of a panel assembled by the Audre Lorde Project in Brooklyn, which focused on queer Caribbean politics and activism. He gave me a copy of Blue Fingernails/Uñas pintadas de azul and I tore through it, so zany, well-written and bizarre are these stories. It’s refreshing to read literature that reflects our animalistic fantasies and darkest obsessions, as if they’re immune to condemnation. In these stories queerness is the standard, not the exception—at last! This stock of fearless fiction carries on in the queer warlord tradition of Baldwin, Rechy, Genet, Burroughs and Lorca. Mister La Fountain is an assistant professor of Queer Caribbean, Latino/a Studies and Latin American Literary and Cultural Studies—at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor—and took time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions about his new book(s). He will also be a guest reader at the upcoming HISPANIC PANIC! II reading on Wednesday, May 27th (more on that to come soon).

Take a bow, Larry…

CV: So tell us a little about how these unusual stories came to be—they’re very different from one another and capture different moods, locations, obsessions, etc. Some, such as “Love is Intergalactic”, flirt with science-fiction and fantasy while others, such as “De un pájaro las dos alas” read as documentaries on personal experience. There is also some poetry.

LLFS: Yeah, they’re all over the place! They’re basically about me, or characters that sort of seem like me—gay, Puerto Rican, sex-crazed, lonely, idealist, mostly in New York City and New Jersey but also in other parts, with painted blue fingernails! They’re also about my gay and lesbian friends, and about the authors I like to read. I started writing them sporadically throughout the nineties, and they became a book after I took a creative writing class with Diamela Eltit at Columbia University in 1997. Angel Lozada was also in that workshop, and we became comrades in arms. Angel then went on to publish La patografía and No quiero quedarme sola y vacía, two landmark queer Puerto Rican novels.

I had been showing my stories over the years to Mayra Santos-Febres, a wonderful Puerto Rican author, and she was very supportive; she’s the one who kept insisting that I had to publish them. Basically, the stories were a different way for me to process my life—different, say, than what I write in my diaries. And the most amazing part was realizing that I did not have to limit myself to my experiences, that I could break through the straightjacket of autobiography and take a free flight of the imagination! That was really transformative. That’s how all the crazy cyborgs and vampires started to appear.

CV: What’s up with the vampires? Does it have anything to do with growing up in Puerto Rico where bats are plentiful? Or are vampires the ultimate archetype for dark sensuality and tribal taboo in your work? Are you reinterpreting classic Hollywood imagery and pop culture?

LLFS: Yes! Those are all good interpretations. We had fruit trees growing outside—nísperos and mangoes, especially—and the bats just loved them! And my mom kept insisting that they were pigeons! They only flew at dusk and you couldn’t really make them out. I think my mom was afraid they would get caught in our hair. But you know what, bats eat mosquitoes! Which is really good—there’s too many mosquitoes in Puerto Rico!

You’re also right that it has to do with sexuality and desire. I am really fascinated by winged, flying creatures: angels, demons, vampires. I thought, “What would happen if you had a lonely, horny drag queen who was also an angel and a vampire and a demon, all four things at the same time, making a gay porn film with Chi Chi LaRue?” That’s how “Rites of Devotion to the Cult” came about. Or rather, that’s how a boring story of going to sex clubs in the meatpacking district of Manhattan became something more interesting… (laughs)

CV: You noted in the introduction that the stories were written in New York and New Jersey during the 1990s, yet they’re set all over the world and shift locations with the speed of Web-pages. Do you write when you travel or take notes and how does traveling and the internet factor into your prose?

LLFS: I tend to keep diaries when I travel, or to write right after I get back. In the case of “A Black Cat Called Malícia,” it’s actually a science-fiction story based on the time I spent in Brazil in the late eighties. I left my diary there by mistake and my former housemates never sent it to me, which was quite traumatic. Brazil was pretty intense—São Paulo is a city of 20 million, and I was 20 years old and had just come out of the closet a year before, and the university I was going to went on strike for three months! And the cops were beating the students! And there was hyperinflation, and there were homeless children everywhere, and everyone was obsessed with Blade Runner and kept talking about cyborgs! Writing fiction became a way to recreate (and distort) what I had lived before I forgot.

“De un pájaro las dos alas,” on the other hand, was my reaction to a trip to Cuba in May of 1998. I came back pretty shell-shocked—Cuba was nothing like what I expected. Everyone thought I was there for sex tourism. I was a broke grad student attending a theater conference! And American credit cards were no good! And there were no ATMs! I wanted to learn about gay life and socialist utopias and they wanted me to pay their neighbors and brothers and friends to go to bed. Talk about bursting my bubble… The rest of the stories are mostly set in NY/NJ and in Puerto Rico, which were my usual haunts back then, before I moved to Michigan.

I first started going online in 1995. At first it was just e-mail, and then my friend Marcial taught me how to use the IRC (Internet Relay Chat). We would make up different crazy drag queen names every time we went on! I don’t really think about the Internet too much, conceptually, that is—it just became a very integral part of my life, and that’s how it made it into the book. I think that, more than about the Internet, my writing is about latching onto an uncensored flow of consciousness. It’s about free-associations and about tapping into my unconscious and letting it all come out, unfiltered, sort of as if I were in a trance or altered state. That’s where all the connections get made. That’s why the writing can be a little hard to understand and might seem experimental. Editing helps me calm the wildest impulses and make it more accessible.

CV: Your stories are fearlessly queer. You bring up everything from extreme sexual fetishes to very visual lesbian pornography. Do you think general readers are in a more accepting position to explore this kind of literature nowadays, or do you think that the people who would buy your books are already tempered for such subjects?

LLFS: That’s funny! I think I’m crazy. This book was rejected by thirty presses before Bilingual picked it up. I was pretty convinced it was never going to come out. And remember—I wrote most of the stories in Spanish! The English translations came later. I wrote the stories for myself and for the few friends I would share them with. Most of my friends don’t like what I write. But you know what, that’s OK! You can still be my friend even if you don’t like my crazy stories! I think if I had worried about readers (or about my professional aspirations) I would have never written them, and certainly not published them! But yeah, definitely, I think there are some people who like stuff like this! That’s why I have a “disclaimer” of sorts on the back cover. I don’t want people buying the book by mistake and then freaking out when they start to read it!

CV: You have another book coming out this summer, which I’m really looking forward to reading also. Will you tell us a little about that?

LLFS: Sure! It’s called Queer Ricans: Cultures and Sexualities in the Diaspora, and it’s about Puerto Rican queer migration and culture. It’s being published by the University of Minnesota Press. I focus on how artists and writers and filmmakers such as Manuel Ramos Otero, Luz María Umpierre, Frances Negrón-Muntaner, Rose Troche and Erika López have discussed their experiences as queer Puerto Ricans in the United States in their short stories, poetry, cartoons, and films. I also have a chapter on Arthur Avilés and Elizabeth Marrero in the Bronx, and how they take classic stories like Cinderella and The Wizard of Oz and turn them into queer Nuyorican and New York-Rican stories in their performances, for example in Arturella and in Maéva de Oz. Basically, the central premise of the book is that LGBT people have been migrating from Puerto Rico to the U.S. for several decades because of their sexuality, and that once they arrive here (or are born here, if they are the children of immigrants), their sexuality is a factor that affects their lives. It’s going to be the first book of its kind. I’m really excited to see it come out!

CV: Thanks Larry!

LLFS: You’re welcome! Thanks for the great questions!

Visit Larry at:

To buy Blue Fingernails, click here:


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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Speaking at Audre Lorde Project on April 2, 2009

“Can we be safe & visible?” Community Dialogue on Caribbean Sexuality and Homophobia

When: Thursday, April 2, 2009 6:30pm - 9:00pm
Where: Audre Lorde Project (Brooklyn, NY)

Join us as we talk about the myriad voices and issues for Caribbean people at home and abroad who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two Spirit, Trans and Gender Non-Conforming (LGBTSTGNC). What is it like to be LGBTSTGNC and Caribbean? How are LGBTSTGNC communities in the region imagined within and outside Caribbean borders? Are sexual minority communities in the Caribbean more vulnerable to violence? What are these communities and others doing to create change? What are the experiences of Caribbean migrants and first & second generation Caribbeans in the United States who identity as LGBTSTGNC? What are some of the politics of language, identification, and visibility?

* We will view part of the documentary in progress, Taboo Yardies, by Selena Blake that explores the intolerance and violence against sexual minorities in Jamaica.
* We will discuss these issues with a panel of scholars who do research on Caribbean sexuality, along with contributors to the new anthology Our Caribbean: A Gathering of Gay and Lesbian writing from the Antilles, and LGBTQ activists and community organizers.
* Panelists include Anton Nimblett, Rosamond King, Carlos Ulises Decena, Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes, and Sebastian Colon, along with Angelique V. Nixon, who will moderate our conversation and open discussion.

This event is done in partnership between The Audre Lorde Project and MayNovProductions LLC.

Metrocards and Food will be provided. For more information, contact
Collette at 718.596.0342 x.17 or

Monday, March 16, 2009

Queer People of Color Community Summit This Saturday, March 21

You are invited to attend the University of Michigan Queer People of Color Community Summit on Saturday, March 21st 2009 from 8:30 AM to 6:30 PM at the Trotter Multicultural Center, 1443 Washtenaw Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI.

We will have a series of challenging and empowering workshops on the QPOC community on campus, including Art and Activism, Images in the Media, Internalized Oppressions, QPOCs in the Academy and Sexual Racism. Our event will culminate with a performance by queer, mixed-Cuban, performance artist and comedian Maceo Cabrera-Estevez! Free breakfast and lunch will be served.

Our mission:

The concept of the Queer People of Color Community Summit arose from the needs to increase the visibility of our community at the University of Michigan and to address issues that affect our diverse experiences of being queer people of color (QPOC). While there are QPOC groups and individuals on campus, these are segmented and are neither large nor visible enough to address these needs. This Summit aims to create a sense of community amongst queer people of color and similarly-identified people at the University, provide a safe space to discuss issues and politics that affect our community, and make recommendations on improving the climate for QPOC on campus - all while having fun. To this end, we have incorporated into the Summit a variety of discussion panels, workshops, and caucus groups that center around specific issues and identities within our communities, as well as a closing social event highlighting QPOC performing artists. We invite you to join us to be part of this groundbreaking event organized by and for QPOC, and begin to affect the change we need on our campus.

Registration for the QPOC Community Summit is now open. You can register at
the following link:

For more information, please check out our blog at

Thank you!

Queer People of Color Community Summit Committee
The Spectrum Center
Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs

For more info contact Mark Villacorta: mvillaco at

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Love Sontag? Read Pier Dominguez's Blog!

Just learned about this great blog by NY-based, Colombian author and cultural critic Pier Dominguez:

Check it out!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Check out Marisol LeBron's Blog!

Thanks to Andrés Duque for pointing out Marisol's amazing blog: