I felt I had stumbled onto something special last fall when I got my first copy of ChingoZine, the Latino art zine that highlights original drawings and sketches by emerging Latino and Latina artists. Zines (short for magazine) are a low-cost alternative art publication. The talented trio behind this project, the Puro Chingón Collective, consists of Claudia Zapata, James Huizar and Claudia Aparicio-Gamundi.
Over the course of about a year, the collective has infused Austin with a boost of cultural creativity that has expanded beyond the zine to painting a mural outside Red 7 downtown and leading interactive movie screenings at the North Door. They’re quickly becoming a creative breath of fresh air, offering an original point of view.
The zine provides an outlet for young multicultural Latino artists whose voices are not always highlighted in the traditional art world. ChingoZine’s success has reached cities such as New York and Los Angeles, where the zine is sold. In Austin, you can find it at places such as BookWoman, MonkeyWrench Books and Resistencia Bookstore for $5.
Aside from the zine, the art collective launched the Puro Chingón Social Club at the North Door after an invitation to select a film for a free movie night. After a wildly successful interactive screening of “Mi Vida Loca” that included trivia, props and prizes, the trio was asked to create a monthly interactive screening of Latino cult movies. Some of the club’s past films have included “Selena” (which featured a costume contest), “Frida” and “Machete.”
At 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, the group will present the film “Rudo y Cursi,” a comical drama about two Mexican brothers who become soccer sensations. There may or may not be a penalty kick-off involved in the festive night. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Puro Chingón co-founder Zapata, who is also curator of exhibitions and programs at Mexic-Arte Museum, says that the social club’s free movie nights have helped bring “Latino creations to an audience that would not normally go to Latino-related events.” On the flip side, it’s also brought some Latinos who weren’t familiar with the North Door to the venue.
Zapata says the collective approaches developing projects by asking questions such as, “What is there not enough of? Where can we get multiple perspectives of Latino experiences? How do we create a long-lasting legacy? We’re still listening and learning and hopefully surprising.” Check out their work at purochingoncollective.com.
National Hispanic Heritage Month
Americans have been observing National Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 since 1988, when it was enacted into law under President Ronald Reagan. Before that, the country observed Hispanic Heritage week, which began in 1968.
Sept. 15 marks Independence Day for several Latin American countries including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico celebrates its independence on Sept. 16 and Chile celebrates on Sept. 18.
Celebrations continue throughout the month, including the four-day CentroAmericanto Fest 2013. The Central American music festival, which starts on Sept. 26, features music that’s not often heard in Austin. Central Americans make up about 8 percent of the U.S. Hispanic or Latino origin population, compared with the 63 percent of Mexicans living in this country, according to the U.S. Census. Those of Mexican origin comprise 63 percent of U.S. Hispanics. So it’s a special treat when Central American music comes to us.
From rock fusion to singer/songwriters, the fifth annual festival brings artists like Costa Rican cumbia band Rialengo, Nicaraguan artist Juan Solórzano, El Salvadorean rock fusion band Frigüey, and singer/songwriter Flor Urbina (who was also a judge on Costa Rica’s version of “Dancing with the Stars”), among others.
Different venues such as the Dougherty Arts Center and Flamingo Cantina will play host to the festival, and from 4 to 9 p.m. Sept. 28, the festival will have free performances and activities for children at the Zilker Hillside Theatre.
General admission on Thursday and Friday nights at the Dougherty Arts Center is $20 or $35 for a two-day pass. Sunday at the Flamingo Cantina costs $10 at the door. For ticket and schedule information, visit centroamericantofest.com.
You can also join the festivities Sept. 14-15 at Fiesta Gardens for the annual family friendly Diez y Seis celebration where you will surely satisfy all your Mexican food cravings. Dust off your dancing shoes with music from Tejano to fusion acts such as Ram Herrera, Cinco Doce and Massore. Visit diezyseis.org for a complete schedule.
Latin alternative musical treats
Latin alternative music lovers, get ready for what’s shaping up to be an epic weekend with Mexican Institute of Sound (MIS) playing at Hotel Vegas on Sept. 6 and Café Tacvba performing a Pachanga Presents concert at ACL Live on Sept. 7.
Record label executive turned beatmaker Camilo Lara of MIS headlined Pachanga Fest in 2009 and has had a couple of South by Southwest performances over the years. He puts on one of the best live shows around with his blend of electronica, hip-hop and cumbia, which all ensure a sweaty dance party.
But do get some rest because missing Café Tacvba the following night is not an option. Back in March during SXSW, an interesting culture clash happened when Mexican rock legends Café Tacvba were added to the bill with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds at Stubb’s. Many of the Café Tacvba fans didn’t know or care who the other bands were and vice versa.
Café Tacvba eventually won over the audience during their set. What some of those fans unfamiliar with the band may not have realized was that the band’s music has been an essential part of the lives of many Latinos across the globe for the past two decades.
The iconic foursome has become one of the most influential rock en español bands in history. Early adopters of musical genre blending, Café Tacvba has paved the way for many bands in the Latin alternative scene. Tickets for the show are $20 to $59, and doors open at 6:30 p.m. Visit acl-live.com for details.
Welcome to Cultura En Austin, a new monthly column highlighting Latino-related events in Austin. Look for it on the last Friday of the month. Send tips or suggestions to email@example.com.