‘Taking to the Road’ exhibit gives inside look at farmworker life

Artifacts, oral history interviews and photos, like this one of Mary Montoya Hohenstein's brothers, will be part of the upcoming "Taking to the Road: The Austin Migrant Farmworkers Connection" exhibit. Photo contributed by Mary Montoya Hohenstein
Artifacts, oral history interviews and photos, like this one of Mary Montoya Hohenstein’s brothers, will be part of the upcoming “Taking to the Road: The Austin Migrant Farmworkers Connection” exhibit. Photo contributed by Mary Montoya Hohenstein

In my hometown on the Texas border, I grew accustomed to my classmates leaving the school year early or enrolling late. As seasonal migrant farmworkers, they followed the harvest to northern U.S. states with their families and worked in fields or canneries to provide the fruits and vegetables that would eventually end up on someone’s kitchen table.

Although I stayed behind and watched as they left each year, eventually my father began leaving to work in the fields, too. As a kid, places such as Michigan and Illinois seemed like a world away, but the seasonal pilgrimages my father took provided for our family. I didn’t realize it then, but the connection to the migrant farmworker life would later help shape my identity as a Mexican American woman.

I recently shared some of these experiences during an oral history interview tied to the powerful upcoming exhibit and event series “Taking to the Road: The Austin Migrant Farmworkers Connection.” The multi-layered program examines various angles of the farmworker experience and includes community and national exhibits, documentary screenings, panels and a keynote presentation, all at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center throughout July.

RELATED: Best of Latino cultural arts in July

The “Taking to the Road” community exhibit, which opens with a reception at 6 p.m. on July 9, shines a light on Central Texans who moved throughout the country to work as migrant farmworkers during the 1940s-70s. Pieces of their farmworker pasts will be stitched together through photos, artifacts and oral history interview clips, which will be on display through Sept. 3.

“Very little has been documented or preserved regarding Mexican Americans in farm and ranch life whether in Austin, Travis County or Central Texas much less as migrant farm workers,” said Gloria Espitia, an outreach representative at the MACC. “(The exhibit) gives a historical perspective of the roles that twelve families contributed in the area of agriculture…In some cases, some of the exhibit contributors have not told their stories to their own children or other family members. The reasoning for this is not because of the negative feelings and stigma as migrant farmworkers, but rather because they did not feel that it was an important story to tell.”

The Guzman family works in the fields of Wisconsin. Photo contributed by Gloria Guzman
The Guzman family works in the fields of Wisconsin. Photo contributed by Gloria Guzman

“Bittersweet Harvest,” a bilingual exhibit that gives a national view of the farmworker story, also opens on July 9. It explores the bracero program, which brought millions of Mexican nationals on short-term labor contracts between 1942-1964.

But what’s farmworker life like now for children? Visitors can check out the 2011 documentary “The Harvest/La Cosecha” at 3 p.m. on July 9 at the cultural center’s Black Box theater. The film follows three teenagers whose families travel from Texas to Florida and Michigan for seasonal work. A discussion will follow the film.

RELATED: Find out about more Latino cultural happenings in Austin.

Tying these experiences together will be the keynote presentation, “Taken by the Road: Migration from Montopolis to Muskegon,” from 2-4 p.m. July 23 at the cultural center’s auditorium and theater. Retired professor Raymond Padilla, will give insight into his life as the son of a bracero who then moved to Austin and traveled to work in the fields throughout the country. A panel afterward will feature Austinites highlighted in the “Taking to the Road” community exhibit.

Keep an eye out for another panel discussion from 2-3:30 p.m. on Aug. 27 at the cultural center’s auditorium featuring the St. Edward’s University College Assistance Migrant Program, which is the longest running program of its kind in the nation. CAMP students, alumni, former counselors and the current director, Esther Yacono, will share the experiences of the program, which has helped thousands of students obtain their higher education dreams.

Selena to receive Hollywood Walk of Fame star in 2017

Selena performs at Hemisfair Plaza in San Antonio, TX, April 24, 1994. Photo by Sung Park / The Austin American-Statesman
Selena performs at Hemisfair Plaza in San Antonio, TX, April 24, 1994. Photo by Sung Park / Austin American-Statesman

Pop culture icon and Tejano music superstar Selena Quintanilla Pérez will receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame more than 20 years after her death.

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce announced the honorees for its class of 2017 this week, and Selena was among the artists selected for the recording category. Other performers include Clarence Avant, a posthumous honor for Jerry Goldsmith, Hall & Oates, Ice Cube, John Legend, *NSYNC and New Edition.


Television producer and walk of famer Vin Di Bona, who serves as chair of the Walk of Fame Selection Committee said in a news release that “the committee looked carefully at each nominee and we feel that we have selected a great group of talent that will appeal to the tastes of many fans around the world.”

On Selena’s Facebook fan page, more than 70,000 music lovers “liked” the news so far. “The first time I walked the Hollywood Walk of Fame the first thing I asked was where Selena’s star was,” fan Lauren Robinson wrote on the site. “I’m very happy to hear she’s finally getting one!”


On March 31, 1995, Selena’s former fan club president Yolanda Saldivar fatally shot Selena at a Days Inn motel in Corpus Christi. But for many fans of the Tejano superstar, who was on the brink of crossing over to the English-language music market, Selena’s legacy lives on.

Selena’s hometown of Corpus Christi will host the third annual Fiesta de la Flor festival on March 24-25 2017.


In honor of her Walk of Fame honor, check out our playlist of Selena songs:

Hillside concert series lineup at A.B. Cantu/Pan American Rec Center

Los Texas Wranglers are among the performers who will be featured at this summer's Hillside Concert Series.
Los Texas Wranglers are among the performers who will be featured at this summer’s Hillside Concert Series at the A.B. Cantu/Pan American Recreation Center. Photo contributed by Los Texas Wranglers

A longtime East Austin summertime tradition returns with the kickoff of the Hillside Concert Series at the A.B. Cantu/Pan American Recreation Center from 7-9 p.m. July 5. Performers for the first showcase include New Generation, cumbia and ranchera band Maria y Cien Grados and rising Tejano and cumbia band Cañonazo.

Free live music will fill the amphitheater every Tuesday in July. Other featured performers include Los Texas Wranglers on July 12 and Tortilla Factory on July 26.


Don’t miss the chance to check out this beloved neighborhood tradition, which brings together many families who often sit on blankets and lawn chairs to enjoy the annual shows. For more details, click here.

Scheduled lineup of performers:

July 5: New Generation, Maria y Cien Grados, Cañonazo

July 12: Los Texas Wranglers, Phoebe Marie, David Farias

July 19: Conjunto Cats, Jonny Martinez y Grupo Bravo, Buddy Lonesome, Veronique Medrano

July 26: Marcos Orosco, Tortilla Factory


UT mariachi camp connects students to age-old musical genre

Eryn Ochoa, 15, of Edcouch-Elsa warms up before her performance at the Second Annual University of Texas at Austin Longhorn Mariachi Camp at the Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music on Wednesday July 2, 2014. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Eryn Ochoa, 15, of Edcouch-Elsa warms up before her performance at the Second Annual University of Texas at Austin Longhorn Mariachi Camp at the Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music on Wednesday July 2, 2014. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Young musicians participating in the University of Texas’ Longhorn Mariachi Camp this week are mastering skills in a musical genre that has roots dating back to the 19th century.

The fourth annual camp, which begins Wednesday, aims to boost the vocal and musical abilities of high school students as well as expose them to the musical opportunities available at the university. When the summer camp launched in 2013, Ezekiel “Zeke” Castro, Longhorn Mariachi camp founder and director told the Statesman he also wanted the experience to help boost the self-confidence of the high school students. Today, it’s inspired participants from across Texas.

Milagros Luna, center, a senior to be from Edinburg, TX. sings while playing in the guitar workshop at the Mariachi camp Friday afternoon July 12, 2013. RALPH BARRERA / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Milagros Luna, center, a senior to be from Edinburg, TX. sings while playing in the guitar workshop at the Mariachi camp Friday afternoon July 12, 2013. RALPH BARRERA / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

On July 2, the UT Longhorn Mariachi Camp will present a free concert at 1:30 p.m. at the Bates Concert Hall in the Butler School of Music. It’s open to the public, and parking is available at the San Jacinto Garage on campus.

Castro, a trailblazer in Austin’s mariachi music scene, has been encouraging generations of local students since launching the Austin Independent School District’s first mariachi program in 1980. Many of Castro’s former students have graduated to become professional musicians. Castro directs the University of Texas’ Mariachi Paredes de Tejastitlán.




Weekend Latino Cultural Art Picks June 23-26

Maria Elena Martinez, a former chair of Raza Unida Party and former educator, is featured in the upcoming KLRU documentary "Austin Revealed: Chicano Civil Rights."
Maria Elena Martinez, a former chair of Raza Unida Party and former educator, is featured in the  KLRU documentary “Austin Revealed: Chicano Civil Rights.”


“Austin Revealed: Chicano Civil Rights” Film Screening & Discussion at Monkeywrench Books at 6:30 p.m.

The latest installment of KLRU-TV’s Austin Revealed series, an oral history project launched in 2014 that aims to encourage discussion about the city’s future, focuses on the Chicano Civil Rights Movement in Austin and weaves together the compelling stories of trailblazing Austinites who were part of an era that helped shape today’s Austin.

A Q&A will follow with filmmaker Joe Rocha and some of the documentary’s featured trailblazers.

Echocentrics “Echo Hotel” Album Release at Parish Austin from 8-11 p.m.

Check out what Austin360 music writer Deborah Sengupta Stith had to say about the latest album in a roundup of “Best of Austin Music.”

“It’s been five years since Austin super-producer Adrian Quesada released an Echocentrics album, but it’s certainly been worth the wait. Though songs are fleshed out with a live band and guest vocals from Alex Maas (Black Angels), James Petralli (White Denim), Jazz Mills, Tita Lima and Natalia Clavier, this is Quesada’s creative vehicle to stretch out and explore. The result is a richly textured scrapbook featuring the best of his signature sounds, from the psychedelic ramble of album opener “Canyon” to the dramatic passion that always sounds better in Spanish, “Muerto En Vida.” — D.S.S.


Enanitos Verdes and Hombres G at Coliseo Austin at 8 p.m.

Two of Latin America’s rock en español legends perform together for what should be a must-see show.

Eastside Soul Session showcase at Sahara Lounge at 7 p.m.

Austin Vida features a night of multicultural sounds with its Eastside Soul Session showcase, which is billed as a night of Afro-soul meets Chicano soul. Featured artists include Austin hip-hop, soul and funk band Afrofreque as well as Big Band Tejano, which will bring its 1960s and 1970s Chicano soul grooves to the party. Doors for the $8 show open at 7 p.m.

B Scene: ¡Viva España! at the Blanton Museum of Art from 6-10 p.m.

The Blanton Museum of Art’s party series pairs its current exhibit “Goya: Mad Reason,” which features works by Spanish  painter Francisco de Goya with a Spanish-style celebration. The soiree will feature tapas, sangria, flamenco performances, Latin jazz music, DJ El Canoso, and more. Free for members, who also have access to the member lounge with live paella cooking demonstrations and wine tasting, and $12 for the general public.


¡Cine Resistencia! Summer Film Series at Resistencia Bookstore at 6:30 p.m.

Check out selected footage from the documentary “Woman of the Water” directed by local filmmaker Tahila Xicahuamazatl Chavez Mintz. The free screening gives the audience a chance to offer feedback about the work-in-progress documentary, which features powerful women leaders from indigenous communities across the Americas.

Light refreshments will be provided. Donations or book purchases will be accepted.

Danny Camacho was East Austin historian. Photo by Ralph Barrera
Danny Camacho brought Austin history to the forefront. Photo by Ralph Barrera

Celebration of Life for Danny Camacho at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center from noon-3 p.m.

As an unofficial historian of Mexican American history in East Austin, Danny Camacho touched the lives of many Austinites. Camacho died in April of a heart attack. He was 70. Family, friends and community members will gather for a celebration of his life and accomplishments. In 2010, the Statesman’s editorial board selected Camacho as one of its “Heroes” for bringing Austin history to the forefront.

The celebration is open to the public and will feature remembrances and special remarks by several guests including former Austin mayor Gus Garcia. Free parking and refreshments will be available.

Weekend Latino Cultural Art picks June 10-13

León Larregui is on an international tour this summer.


León Larregui at Emo’s
Mexican musician, singer, composer and filmmaker León Larregui, who is best known as the lead singer of the band Zoé, performs at Emo’s on June 10. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets cost between $30-35. Visit emosaustin.com for more information.


Salsa & Heritage Festival

The Puerto Rican Folkloric Dance and Cultural Center presents its annual Salsa and Heritage Festival from 6:30-11 p.m. on June 11 at the Asian American Resource Center. This semi-formal event features performances by folklore masters, salsa dancing, Puerto Rican food and handicrafts. Admission is $15 in advance or $20 at the door for adults; $5 for children 12 and younger. For ticket information, visit prfdance.org/tix/celebrando2016.

“Borderlands” Film Screening

Catch a free screening and Q&A discussion of the film “Borderlands” from 4-7 p.m. on June 11 at Resistencia Bookstore (4926 E. Cesar Chavez St. Unit C1). “Borderlands” tells the story of a 74-year-old Mexican American woman as she attempts to keep her dysfunctional, neurotic family together. The event, which is presented by the nonprofit organization Allgo, will also feature filmmaker Hector Bojorquez and lead actress Sandra Bojorquez. View the film trailer here.

Los Rabanes at Flamingo Cantina

Panamanian ska-rock fusion band, Los Rabanes, will perform in Austin on June 11 at Flamingo Cantina. The Latin Grammy award winners, who are on their North American tour, have worked with producers such as Emilio Estefan and Ruben Blades. Doors open at 9 p.m. Tickets range from $15-40.


Expo Mujer 2016

The free Spanish-language women’s expo at the Palmer Events Center on June 12 features everything from personal and professional development workshops to fashion and beauty events.


“El Jeremías” Film Screening

If you want to extend the weekend fun into Monday, check out the screening of what looks like an adorable comedy called “El Jeremías.” Rising Mexican director Anwar Safa brings us the story of an 8-year-old boy from a poor family who finds out he’s a child prodigy. The movie won the Audience Award at the Austin Film Festival, and the special screening at 7 p.m. on June 13 at the Alamo Drafthouse Village is part of AFF’s Audience Award series. Cine Las Americas is co-presenting the film.



Travel to Latin America with Austin’s Mexic-Arte, Cine Las Americas

Photo by Nancy Flores/American-Statesman
The Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico City is also known as La Casa Azul or The Blue House. Photo by Nancy Flores/American-Statesman

Stepping into Mexico City’s Alameda Central Park with its majestic fountains, impromptu performance art shows and canoodling couples, you can feel the energy of the megalopolis and its cultural richness. Often romanticized in songs or featured in artwork such as the renowned Diego Rivera mural “Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Central Park,” the cultural hotspot also leads to the prominent Palace of Fine Arts, where Rivera recreated the mural famously destroyed at the Rockefeller Center.

In an effort to explore Latin America’s cultural art scene with an Austin lens, the local Mexic-Arte Museum has been leading art tours in the Mexican capital city on and off since 1996. It’s been offering these experiences more regularly since 2010, when Mexico celebrated its bicentennial.

An upcoming trip on June 22-27 offers Austinties the chance to understand the complexities of Mexican art and culture under the guidance of art expert and Mexic-Arte Museum founding director Sylvia Orozco.

Participants will visit Mexico City’s iconic cultural heritage sites including the expansive National Museum of Anthropology, which is often described as one of Mexico’s most important museums for its comprehensive collection of pre-Hispanic artifacts. Visiting the bellybutton of the city, the Zócalo main square, sheds light into the inner workings of the country’s past and present. And sights such as Frida Kahlo’s brilliant blue childhood home and bohemian Coyoacán neighborhood give new meaning to the artist’s work.

The trip, which depending on airfare ranges from $2,600 to $3,200, includes a curated itinerary of more art-centric sights. Visit mexic-artemuseumevents.org for more details.

Keep an eye out for more opportunities for Latin American travel with Austin cultural institutions that offer unique perspectives. In October, Austinites can join Cine Las Americas on a cinema-focused trip to Cuba for a week. Film enthusiasts can check out sites featured in movies such as “Our Man in Havana,” “Soy Cuba,” and “Fresa y Chocolate.”

More information about that Oct. 22-29 trip can be found on jbjourneys.com.

14 Latino books for your summer reading list


As American readers keep pushing for diversity in literature, Austin360’s Cultura en Austin blog will continue to highlight  works by Latino authors and books with Latino themes.

This roundup, which isn’t a comprehensive list, is based on advanced copies of books received in the last couple of months.

BLACK DOVE book jacket high res
Photo contributed by The Feminist Press at CUNY

“Black Dove: Mamá, Mi’jo, and Me” by Ana Castillo

The Feminist Press at CUNY ($16.95), released May 2016

Celebrated Chicana writer and feminist Ana Castillo gives readers a glimpse into her life after the incarceration of her son. She weaves stories about her family’s history in Mexico and the U.S. and opens up about the love of her life who left her heartbroken. Castillo, who’s also a playwright, poet and scholar, is among the major voices in contemporary Chicano literature. Her classic collection of essays, “Massacre of the Dreamers” celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2014.

“The Clouds” by Juan José Saer

Open Letter at the University of Rochester ($14.95), released May 2016

Argentine author Juan José Saer’s faux historical novel gets translated from its original Spanish version in this latest release. Saer, who died in his adopted home of France in 2005, takes readers to present-day Paris in this novel where someone discovers a manuscript that could be either fictional or a memoir. In the manuscript, a nineteenth century physician takes five mental patients on an eventful trip to a new asylum.

“The Other Slavery” by Andrés Reséndez

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt ($30), released April 2016

Professor and historian Andrés Reséndez shines a light on an eye-opening part of American history – the enslavement of American Indians across the U.S. dating back from the conquistadors to the early 20th century. Reséndez argues that “mass slavery was more damaging than the disease epidemics that decimated indigenous populations across North America.”

“The Inspiring Life of Texan Héctor P. García” by Cecilia García Akers

The History Press ($21.99), released April 2016

Cecilia García Akers, the daughter of influential Texan Héctor P. García, brings the accomplishments of her father to the forefront in this inspiring biography. In 1940, he was the only Mexican immigrant who graduated from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. García went on to become a physician and activist who served in World War II and  then later founded the American GI Forum.

Photo contributed by The University of Texas Press
Photo contributed by The University of Texas Press

“Graphic Borders: Latino Comic Books Past, Present, and Future” co-edited by Frederick Luis Aldama & Christopher González

University of Texas Press ($29.95), released April 2016

From boundary-pushing comics created by Latinos to the Latino superheroes found in mainstream comics, “Graphic Borders” explores the creative ways comics can express Latino identity and culture. It’s the first volume in a series dedicated to world comics and graphic nonfiction.

“Raza Rizing: Chicanos in North Texas” by Richard J. Gonzales

University of North Texas Press ($29.95), released March 2016

From marches on immigration reform to inside a Fort Worth public school classroom, author Richard J. Gonzales takes readers to important historical and political events in recent history that helped shape the Chicano community in North Texas.

“Latino Young Men and Boys in Search of Justice: Testimonies” Co-edited by Frank de Jesús Acosta and Henry A. J. Ramos

Arte Público Press ($16.95), released March 2016

This collection brings together moving first-person essays, poems and letters by Latino men and boys who have been or are incarcerated. In their writings they reflect on their past and future including writing letters to their younger selves. Some community advocates also write essays seeking criminal and juvenile justice system reform. Drawings and artwork are also featured.

“A History of Violence: Living and Dying in Central America” by Óscar Martínez

Verso Books ($24.95), released March 2016

Acclaimed Salvadorean author and journalist Óscar Martínez’ latest book chronicles the underbelly of some of the world’s most dangerous places. Martínez, who is also the author of the award-winning book “The Beast,” goes undercover to drink with narcos, rides in trafficking boats and hides out with a gang informer as part of his immersive account of the region.

“Verdict in the Desert” by Patricia Santos Marcantonio

Arte Público Press ($17.95), released March 2016

Former crime reporter Patricia Santos Marcantonio crafts a courtroom drama exploring race and class in 1950s America. Her latest novel also weaves in a tale of forbidden love as it tells the story of the unlikely meeting of an alcoholic lawyer and a college-educated Mexican American woman who are brought together by a murder case.

“Look into My Eyes: Nuevomexicanos por Vida” by Kevin Bubriski

Museum of New Mexico Press ($39.95), released March 2016

New Mexican photographer Kevin Bubriski captures stunning photos of life in the Land of Enchantment from 1981-1983. The striking black and white portraits document everyone from lowrider bikers to festival queens.

Photo Contributed by University of Texas Press

“Entre Guadalupe y Malinche: Tejanas in Literature and Art” edited by Inés Hernández-Ávila & Norma Elia Cantú

University of Texas Press ($34.95), released February 2016

More than fifty authors and eight artists make up the first Tejana literature and art anthology. The project, according to the editors, took nearly 20 years to complete. The book highlights everything from poetry, artwork and personal essays from some of the state’s most influential women including Pat Mora, the 2015 Texas Book Festival Texas Writer Award recipient and the late Chicana feminist writer and scholar Gloria Anzaldúa.

“The Coyote’s Bicycle: The Untold Story of Seven Thousand Bicycles and the Rise of a Borderland Empire” by Kimball Taylor

Tin House Books ($26. 95), released February 2016

Journalist Kimball Taylor grew curious when he first encountered abandoned bicycles across the Tijuana border. That curiosity led him to uncover the story behind a multi-million dollar business led by a coyote who brought undocumented immigrants into the U.S. on bicycles.

“Perfect Days” by Raphael Montes

Penguin Press ($25.00), released February 2016

One of Brazil’s rising crime novelists brings a twisted tale of suspense that’s been described as creepier than “Gone Girl.” In his psychological thriller, author Raphael Montes tells the story of unrequited love between a loner and an aspiring screenwriter who’s his exact opposite. When she rejects him, he kidnaps her and attempts to retrace a bizarre road trip she wrote about in one of her screenplays.

Photo contributed by Saddle Road Press

“Blood Sugar Canto” by Ire’ne Lara Silva

Saddle Road Press ($16.00), released January 2016

Award-winning Austin poet Ire’ne Lara Silva explores the struggles of diabetes in uniquely personal prose. A masterful wordsmith, Silva opens her heart with readers and shares stories about her own diagnosis and the healing process. Silva also co-coordinates Austin’s Flor De Nopal Literary Festival.