Monday, July 24, 2017

The Raving Press ‖ Comentario a la antología _Bad Hombres & Nasty Women_

The Raving Press ‖ Comentario a la antología _Bad Hombres & Nasty Women_

Translated by Gabriel H. Sanchez

Poetry and narrative as dialectic processes are a constant transmutation that like a wind or water vortex produces a linguistic synthesis in direct response, in most instances, to the political and contextual manifestations of our age. This anthology represents a response to an erroneous adscription leveled at chicanas and chicanos, latinas and latinos in the United States. It is a cleansing of—and an appeal against—an imposed set of unfounded proclamations, utilizing words to wash them away by reclaiming and repurposing the two concepts “Bad Hombres” & “Nasty Women.” In turn, poets and writers responded to the call by using the new concepts as a catalyst for the creation of potent poetry and prose laden with social commentary.
We should celebrate the cultural heritage which chicanos, chicanas, latinos, latinas have imparted to this nation as much as we should celebrate every wave of immigrants which has reached our shores and has contributed to the formation of what we know as these United States. How to declare this country as “mine” if the adjective qualifiers that pretend to portray our likeness are nothing more than minimizing pejoratives? How to feel as part of the greater whole who share the roots set upon this land when our officials fail to celebrate the contributions of the immigrant in a dignified manner? Therein lies the origin of this anthology of poetry and prose; a space where poets and narrators are conjured to reclaim, respond, and recreate the representations of immigrants, latinas, latinos, chicanas, chicanos, the plight of women, class distinction, and many more social ills which are central to our present reality.
In this anthology, poets and writers depict a vision and a collective sentiment that cannot be silenced. Silence could never be the solution, for it is the written and enunciated word, which like an incantation, counters and abolishes hurtful and misplaced descriptions. These poets and prose writers are brimming with intent and “ganas” [fervor] to bring about change for our present and future generations. The hard-fought victories earned by chicanos, chicanas, latinos, latinas in the United States cannot be eradicated by nonsensical positing. That is why when readers immerse themselves in the pages within this book they will discover the strength of the poet. They will fuse with the poetry and prose written primarily in English, with a few lines in Spanish, and on occasion, writings interspersed with code switching between the two languages.
We hear Edward Vidaurre say “we can be brown together.” I can relax and be myself. We translate the lines that read, “she can wear rebozos and I / can get tattoos of feathered hair Chicanas.” We are who we are and it is right that we use the rebozo [shawl] as a symbol to honor previous generations of women, specifically las adelitas, those who formed part of the Mexican Revolution. Seres Jaime Magaña writes, “We see that you intended to expel the love from our lives” channeling the strength and the goodness of the people, of la Raza. He adds that despite all that is being imposed on us “We will shine through with our multicolored eyes;” that specter of light shall cause this burdensome darkness to rise up off our backs floating upward like smoke plumes taking away with it all prejudice until they disappear.
In Mónica Alvarez’s lament we feel the perils of a journey to reach Los Angeles. We experience in her words the great suffering that many have endured in that lengthy peregrination, “The putrid smell of rotten corpses / danced around the meadow, / where the virgin flowers / turned away / so their silky petals / would not get tarnished / by the filthy stroke / of blood-soaked wind.” We sing along with “Song for America” by Fernando Esteban Flores and shout a loud chorus, “Sweat in America’s factories / Wait on America’s tables / Fight in America’s wars.” And then we dance as we reclaim our identity to the tune of “gabachita’s corrido. / a bit tejana, rancherita, a bit hip hop, pop a bit classical, antigüita” by Priscilla Celina Suarez, who upon listening to a song while in the waiting room at a dentist’s office is moved to reflect upon the love of her people; of those who have been lost and those who have been buried; of those who have made her who she is: a proud chicana who exudes the heritage of la raza through her pores.
Between the lines of prose tales within, this anthology culminates with images fed through different experiences and observations of unjust situations visited upon our people. Such tales as Phillip Bannowsky’s “Jacobo Gets the Good Job” which with incisive images leads us by the hand from the first line to a place of work where the ICE agents arrive unannounced; something many of us are intimately familiar with. With agile storytelling, Bannowsky keeps us on edge throughout, narrating the interior world of the protagonist existing in his own exterior reality as if caught between parallel universes until that moment that takes him by surprise; that prompts him to flee; that compels him to think of his fellow workers from Guatemala and Ecuador, of hardworking family men like himself. We escape alongside the protagonist until the early morning sun dazzles our eyes and finds us as it shines through corn plant leaves. There, in our last refuge, a cutting voice, like a machete, asks: “Amigo, do you speak English?”
It is an open-ended question. It is posed at the world for posterity. This world where friends should be welcome and not condemned. We are the cornerstone of this country. Our previous generations have planted every form of fruit and vegetable which adorn our tabletops. We are our daily bread, and that is what this anthology proclaims. Bad Hombres & Nasty Women is a fervent declaration, a handful of fresh but potent words which exalt our perspective, vindicate our ancestors, our parents, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and over all else, our youth. Let us rise and break through, breaching a space where we may call things by their true names.

Xánath Caraza
Kansas City, MO

La poesía y narrativa como procesos dialécticos son un constante devenir que como remolinos de agua y de viento producen una síntesis lingüística que responde, muchas veces, a la situación política y contexto de nuestro tiempo. Esta antología responde a una adscripción errónea que se ha dado a las chicanas y chicanos, las latinas y latinos en los Estados Unidos.  Esta antología limpia y reivindica lo que se ha querido imponer y lava con palabras lo que se ha dictado sin fundamento.  No se detiene ahí, retoma estos dos conceptos, Bad Hombres & Nasty Women, los reclama y los hace creación pura; los poetas y escritores contestan y los usan como catalizador para crear una cascada de poemas y relatos de comentario social.
Celebrar las herencias culturales que los chicanos, chicanas, latinos, latinas que han contribuido a este país, es lo que todos deberíamos hacer constantemente. De igual manera celebrar cada ola de migrantes que ha llegado a los Estados Unidos y ha hecho de este país lo que entendemos como tal.
Cómo decir este país es mío si los adjetivos calificativos que nos retratan son minimizadores y peyorativos.  Cómo sentir que las raíces de este suelo son nuestras si no se celebran las contribuciones de los migrantes de manera digna por los medios oficiales.  Éste es el origen de esta antología de poesía y narrativa, un espacio donde se conjuntan poetas y narradores para reclamar, contestar y recrear las percepciones de migrantes, latinas, latinos, chicanas, chicanos, la condición de la mujer, clase social y otros tantos temas que son centrales a nuestra realidad actual. 
Esta antología está hecha de reacciones constructivas que exponen la visión y sentimientos que jóvenes poetas y narradores no pueden callar.  El silencio no es la solución sino la palabra escrita y enunciada para, como un conjuro, deshacer las descripciones equivocadas y hasta dolorosas.  Estos poetas y narradores están llenos de ganas, de intenciones de lograr un cambio para las generaciones de hoy y las futuras.  El duro camino y lugar ganado por los chicanos, chicanas, latinos, latinas en los Estados Unidos no puede ser erradicado por comentarios sin sentido.  Es por eso que cuando el lector se compenetra en las páginas de esta antología descubre la fuerza de los poetas.  Se vuelve uno con la poesía y narrativa escrita en su mayoría en inglés con poemas también en español y en ocasiones cambios de códigos lingüísticos. 
Escuchamos a Edward Vidaurre decir “we can be brown together” me puedo relajar y ser quien soy, traducimos entre líneas, “she can wear rebozos and I / can get tattoos of feathered hair Chicanas”.  Somos quien somos y está bien usar rebozo como un símbolo para honrar las previas generaciones de mujeres, específicamente a las adelitas, las que formaron parte de la Revolución mexicana.  Seres Jaime Magaña dice “We see that you intended to expel the love from our lives” y reclama la bondad y la fuerza de la gente, de la Raza; y agrega que a pesar de todo lo que se quiere imponer, “We will shine through with our multicolored eyes”, ese espectro de luz permitirá que esta oscuridad impuesta se esfume para que los prejuicios también desaparezcan. 
En el lamento de Mónica Alvarez sentimos el doloroso camino para llegar a Los Ángeles.  Sufrimos con sus palabras lo que tantos han experimentado en ese largo andar, “The putrid smell of rotten corpses / danced around the meadow, / where the virgin flowers / turned away / so their silky petals / would not get tarnished / by the filthy stroke / of blood-soaked wind”.  Cantamos con “Song for America” de Fernando Esteban Flores y repetimos en voz alta “Sweat in America’s factories / Wait on America’s tables / Fight in America’s wars”.  Al tiempo que bailamos, también reclamamos nuestra identidad con el “gabachita’s corrido. / a bit tejana, rancherita, / a bit hip hop, pop / a bit classical, anigüita” de Priscilla Celina Suarez, a quien una canción que escucha en el consultorio del dentista le hace reflexionar sobre el amor por su gente, por los que ha perdido y hasta enterrado y que la han llevado a ser quien ella es, una chicana con mucho orgullo, que transpira la herencia de la raza en la piel.
Entre líneas de narrativa, los relatos, esta antología culmina con imágenes alimentadas por diferentes experiencias u observaciones de situaciones injustas experimentadas por nuestra gente.  Como en el relato de Phillip Bannowsky, “Jacobo Gets the Good Job” que con imágenes incisivas nos lleva de la mano, desde la primera línea, al lugar de trabajo donde los agentes de ICE llegan sin aviso, como sabemos sucede en múltiples ocasiones. Su habilidad para contar nos tiene en tensión y de forma paralela narra sobre el mundo interior del protagonista y su mundo exterior, ese momento que lo toma por sorpresa, que lo hace escapar, que lo hace pensar en sus compañeros de trabajo de Guatemala, de Ecuador, de gente de familia, dedicada al trabajo.  Nos hace escapar con el protagonista hasta que despunta la mañana y los primeros rayos de sol nos deslumbran entre las hojas de plantas de maíz.  Ahí, cuando creemos estar a salvo, una voz afilada, como un machete, le pregunta, “Amigo, do you speak English?” 
La pregunta queda abierta.  La lanza al mundo.  A este mundo donde los amigos y amigas deben ser bien recibidos y no condenados.  Somos el fundamento de este país.  Nuestras previas generaciones han sembrado cada fruta y verdura que hay en nuestras mesas, somos el pan nuestro de cada día y eso es lo que esta antología reclama.  Bad Hombres & Nasty Women es un grito lleno de ganas, un puñado de palabras frescas y fuertes que ponen en perspectiva, reivindican a nuestros ancestros, a nuestros padres, madres, hermanos y sobre todo a nuestra juventud.  Hay que abrir brecha y llamar a las cosas por su verdadero nombre.

Xánath Caraza
Kansas City, MO

Los poetas y narradores que contribuyeron en el proyecto de The Raving Press:

introduction (v)
Xánath Caraza

Lillian Locks the Door (page 1)
Anders Carlson-Wee

Bad Vato c/s Nasty Ruca (page 2)
Edward Vidaurre

First They Came (page 3)
Don Mathis

Fuck Me (page 4)
PW Covington

The People United (page 6)
Seres Jaime Magaña

Poor Old LEANDRO (page 8)
Jose Sanchez

Un mundo RARO (page 10)
by Mónica Alvarez

Bri Ianniello

A Withering REIGN (page 13)
Debbie Guzzi

Song for AMERICA (page 14)
Fernando Esteban Flores

At seventy, stop building the fence (page 15)
Steven Ray Smith

Refugee (page 16)
Ana M. Fores Tamayo
una tarde in the dentista’s waiting room (page 22)
Priscilla Celina Suarez

Late Afternoons (page 23)
Lynne S Viti

Monster in a Dress Shop, No. 6 (page 27)
Christine Stoddard

Untitled (page 29)
Paul Luikart

Weathered Reports: Trump Surrogate Quote from the Underground 19 (page 31)
Mark Blickley and Amy Bassin

Short-fingered vulgarian? Thirty pictures on Trump, the vulgarian whose fingers are not short
No. 1(page 33)
Dmitry Borshch

Numero Cuarenta y cinco     (page 35)
By Bruce Harris

Jacobo Gets the Good JOB (page 37)
Phillip Bannowsky

Blunderland      (page 39)
Joel & Valerie Reeves

First Pitch (page 45)
Kenneth Nichols

Shayes' Taxi Service   (page 47)
Steve Smith

Leave it to Beaver (page 51)
Tyson West

Eight Decades On (page 57)
Maverick Smith

Sunday, July 23, 2017

"Amigas With Benefits" -- Adelina Anthony on Film Making, Musica, y Mas!

Adelina Anthony (photo courtesy of AdeRisa Productions)
La Bloga is honored to have with us today, award-winning writer, actor, director, producer, Adelina Anthony, a fierce queer-multi-disciplinary-artista presence on stage and in film.  It’s been three years since Adelina was with us, talking about her film Bruising for Besos. (Click here for that interview.) Today she is here to tell us about her new film, Amigas with Benefits. 

Amelia Montes: Saludos Adelina!  First—tell us all about the reception for Bruising for Besos.  And for those who never saw the film, how can they still see it (if possible?)? 

Adelina Anthony:  Hola Amelia!  Yes, we’ve been blessed with a beautiful reception across the nation and internationally from our intended viewing communities for Bruising for Besos.  We feel very blessed and affirmed in the making of this cinematic offering to our communities. And although we had some distribution and sales agent offers during this first year on the film festival circuit—after some deep reflection and research—we decided it was better for us in the long run to begin building our indie distribution arm as AdeRisa Productions. 

So the GREAT news for La Bloga readers is that we will be releasing our film, Amigas with Benefits,  online through our company’s Vimeo account this coming October after we have our official theatrical release on Sunday, October 1, 2017 in Austin, Texas, at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema – Mueller.  We’re collaborating with allgo (a statewide Queer People of Color Organization)—in Austin they are our biggest supporters and champions of our work (as we are of theirs).   Plus, they’re helping us create a post screening community event for this launch, which is purposefully being released on day one of National Domestic Violence Awareness month.

Amelia Montes: Fabulous.  So, Amigas with Benefits is produced by your own company:  AdeRisa Productions.  This isn’t the first film you’ve done through your own production company.  You produced Gold Star which won the “People’s Choice Award” at last year’s PBS Online Film Festival.  I'd like to backtrack and ask what was the impetus for AdeRisa Productions?

Adelina Anthony:  Well, AdeRisa Productions was co-founded with my esposa, Marisa Becerra.  To be clear, it wouldn’t have happened without her support—financially, emotionally, and artistically.  She’s my first audience and her feedback is always critical in how I develop my work.  She’s a brilliant writer herself, and I can’t wait until we produce her short film in the near future.

Scene from Amigas with Benefits (photo courtesy of AdeRisa Productions)

We co-founded AdeRisa Productions because we wanted to create films on sovereign artistic ground with content and form that served our stories.  Our working production model is also spiritually focused and artist/crew centered as a production company.  We keep a spiritual elder/or intention on the sets that we fully produce.  We’ve been fortunate to have nancy Chargualaf martin hold this kind of energy and space for us, as well as utilize her visual artist skills as a Production Designer.   This summer marks the fifth year of our production company as an LLC in California.  In 2012 we went into production with the very first short film I wrote and directed, Forgiving Heart. 

That same year we Executive Produced Ofelia Yánez’s short film, The Good Kind, and in 2015 we Executive Produced Karla Legaspy’s Gold Star, which won the 2014 LatinoPublic Broadcasting Public Media Content Fund Award and later the 2016 People’s Choice Award for the PBS Online Film Festival. We also co-produced the first three of D’Lo’s comedic webseries, Private Dick.  It was very important for us during the first five years of building our company to support the artist closest to us who had invested in our vision.  We plan to continue as Consulting Producers as we move forward in this new chapter of our company.

So, we’ve been busy!  But every audition, every project, every experience in this journey (even the difficult times), have been bolstered by our communities and the immense talent they possess and contribute to this collaborative art form.  We also know, on a profound level, that our ancestors have our backs.   The work is also for them.  Remembering this always keeps us grounded.

Amelia Montes: Felicidades on these very vibrant and important projects.  AdeRisa Productions has also been working with the Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) program. Tell us about your collaboration with LPB.

Adelina Anthony: First, we love LPB and would not have been able to produce these works without their generous funding and their belief in our stories.  They are visionary!  And I would encourage any and all Latinx filmmakers to apply to their annual Public Media Content Fund (PMCF).  The more we can populate the world with our stories, made through our perspective and experiences—the better we can communicate who we are to the world as an extremely diverse and heterogeneous population.  We think this is more critical than ever, especially as we find ourselves under the toxic rhetoric of the current political regime. 

My relationship actually began with LPB when I was participating in Film Independent’s Project Involve (PI).  I was a screenwriter in their program and my short screenplay, You’re Dead to Me, was produced by a talented 2013 PI cohort.  LPB was the main funder behind that story and it went on to receive huge critical acclaim and awards on the festival circuit, and eventually won the prestigious 2014 Imagen Award.  So that’s how they came to know me as a writer.  When the short film screened at the Project Involve Showcase in 2014 I attended the event with AdeRisa Production’s company co-producer, Karla Legaspy.  We had a chance to meet the LPB staff at that time and they were so kind and told us about the annual PMCF award.  I was in the midst of fundraising and pre-production that summer, but Karla jumped on it.  She developed and submitted her short script and a year later we were in production for her debut short film, Gold Star.

GoldStar is the first project LPB funded that was Executive Produced by AdeRisaProductions.  It’s a beautiful, sweet and necessary story that centers our queer children.  I had the great pleasure of acting in it too and watching Karla realize one of her dreams.  She’s a fantastic multi-talented artist and one of the hardest working producers I know.  And with Amigas with Benefits, audiences get to see her acting talents (again).

Scene from Amigas with Benefits (photo courtesy of AdeRisa Productions)
Part of the joy of collaborating with LPB is that they trust their artists.  Both times that AdeRisa Productions was funded to Executive Produce these short films they gave us artistic freedom to execute the projects.  They provided support throughout the process, including incredible feedback during the post-production process.  Again, we do not know of any other organization that is so committed to producing Latina/o/x films.  They are actively changing the landscape. 

To be honest, I’m much more experienced as a theater maker, but grants to develop and produce my solo/ensemble plays just haven’t been coming my way the last few years.  Like many of my artists of color peers, I make the final rounds, but it stops there.  At the very least, it’s always encouraging because of the number of applicants.  But my Two Spirit Xicana lesbian voice is in the world right now in such an impactful way because of LPB.  In this day and age, I really recommend that as writers we develop our flexibility to adapt stories to the screen or other platforms. 

Amelia Montes: Agreed!  And speaking of “stories,” in Amigas with Benefits, you are providing us with a very different story from Bruising for Besos.  Tell us about how Amigas with Benefits came about and what this film means to you.

Adelina Anthony: Amigas with Benefits came about because I always ask myself—what story and characters do I want to experience with my communities?  I looked at what we had accomplished as AdeRisa Productions, and even though we have a Spiritual Elder on set, we hadn’t produced any work with our lesbian of color elders at the forefront.  Once I knew I was going to create a Latina Lesbian elder, Lupita, as my protagonist, and that I planned to apply to LPB for funding, I let the story germinate over a couple of months, imagining various scenarios with her.  Once the story came, it was in a flash, I wrote the first draft in half a day.  The rewrites happened over six months and Marisa sent me articles on our LGBTQ elders that she would find in the news.  That information also helped to shape the kind of story I wanted to tell.  I also thought about story in the ways I had been trained by Ruth Atkinson for film and Cherrie Moraga for playwriting.  These former mentors have given me some immense writing tools.  Each work is an opportunity to work with what I know and with what I don’t know.  I’m a creative risk taker, so I’m also always trying to create story in ways that resonate for us as Xicanx/Latinx peoples—be it in content, form, or as is usually the case for me, both.

For me, Amigas with Benefits is a way to center a community that figures prominently in my life, and I believe in the lives of most Xicanx because we come from a culture of respecting elders.  I’m aware of how our queer elders of color are practically non-existent in cultural productions, especially film.  So this small offering is a way to open conversation up about their experiences and needs.  By no means does it represent all queer elders of color, but I think it will touch mam=any of us for different reasons, queer or nonqueer. 
Scene from Amigas with Benefits (photo courtesy of AdeRisa Productions)
Amelia Montes: This film brings us into the world of the Senior Center.  According to the Population Reference Bureau (PRB), “Americans ages 65 and older [are] projected to more than double from 46 million today to over 98 million by 2060 . . . [and] the older populations is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse.”  These statistics don’t include LGBTQ individuals.  In the film, it seems that this Senior Center is quite ahead of the norm:  (a) respecting elder consenting adults which allows for intimacy, (b) a community that respects and protects each other.  Your comment---

Adelina Anthony: Yes, those are the stats (including what’s missing)… all of the articles we read during the development of the script pointed to the “norm” of QTPOC/LGBT elders suffering abuse either at the hands of Senior Resident staff, nurses, and/or other residents.  It’s heartbreaking to know that our Queer elders have to contend with homophobia or transphobia in their supposed golden years.  Sometimes, we tell stories as we know them to be…. And sometimes, we tell them as we hope them to be.  They both can provide medicine for us as viewers.

I took the initiative to imagine a progressive Senior Resident home, where the viewer had the sense that the work in social equity had been done.  It also is clear that the elders are seen as complex human beings, with their sexuality in tact.  Sexuality is alive and well in Senior Residences.  But, even though I imagined a more hopeful and progressive space, I tried to also keep the reality of homophobia for Queer Elders present. 

In my artist mind, I equated this imagined progressive Senior Residence to the niche spaces we learn to build for our survival as intersectional two spirit/queer/trans people of color/womyn of color/people of color communities.  But even when we have these “safe spaces” we still have to contend with the rest of the world.  The character that disrupts the harmony of the day represents this constant intrusion of “isms” we have to fight. 

Amelia Montes: Another topic this film brings up is elder rights. How is this film opening up dialogues in this area? 

Adelina Anthony: Elders have agency and I wanted to show this in the story through the characters. There’s so much to write and explore in this age range, and, the longer version of this story allows for that to be fleshed out more.  In the longer version, Lupita, and her lover, Ramona, mobilize the change in their residency.  So we actually experience what they had to endure to create a safe space among their fellow residents.  For now, the story is focused on two Latina lesbians who clearly love each other and already have a supportive community.  In fact, they have one that will stand up for them because they understand their collective elder rights.

Again, this isn’t the norm in most Senior Residencies.  Elder abuse actually occurs more often than people suspect or care to know.  So I hope it makes us think about how we can advocate for our elders and give them the respect and care they deserve.  I hope it makes us open up dialogue in multiple ways about elder rights and needs, especially for QTPOC.

Amelia Montes: Yet another topic in this richly complex film is having to do with “coming out” and the consequences of not doing that.  In a recent film by Nancy Kates, Regarding Susan Sontag, the same issue comes up about earlier generations of women.  In the film, New York author and public speaker, Fran Lebowitz appears and says that because women had to be and became comfortable with being discreet, they didn’t see the point of coming out later—and that such a decision should be respected.  That seems to be questioned in this film. Why? 

Adelina Anthony:  I haven’t seen Nancy Kates’s film yet, but I agree that such a decision should be respected.  I think it still holds true for today, regardless of age or gender.  I would never judge any queer person for whether they choose to come out or not.  It’s still life and death for many people.  I only reserve judgment if such persons were to hypocritically participate in the oppression of their fellow queer family that is living out and proud.  It takes great courage to be out in this world.  It’s a powerful experience to live our lives freely.  And I do believe coming out publicly, especially to our loved ones, changes the world for the better. 

And for me, in writing Lupita and allowing her to express remorse about her decision not to come out holds true with many queer people I’ve met throughout my life from older generations.  We can still respect Lupita as a visibly brown, indigenous looking mujer, and understand the multiple reasons she chose to live her life to survive and allow her the space to grieve choices she made under oppressive structures that still exist today; structures that are operating today in more nefarious ways with the current policies being made against us, and that not only silence our sexuality, but how we choose to identify and express ourselves in myriad cultural ways. 

Scene from Amigas with Benefits (photo courtesy of AdeRisa Productions)
Regret is something we usually feel when we realize that our choices impact our lives in profound ways.  I love the character of Lupita enough to allow her this moment of grief because ultimately it empowers her.  Also, because the theme of freedom is critical to this story, she has to recognize what she has given up in her particular scenario.  My hope is that even non-queer people recognize how we fail our collective humanity when we don’t allow others to live in their truths.    

Amelia Montes: That comes through in the film!  I also want to ask about your film score.  Tell me your process in choosing the music.  Each piece seamlessly works to either introduce or accompany a scene and would also make an excellent soundtrack.

Adelina Anthony:  I’m so glad you made mention of the music and score!  Yes, this is my third time collaborating with our composer, Alex Valenzy, and my second time with Marlene Beltran Cuauhtin, a talented singer/songwriter.  They both made my job as music supervisor bien easy because they are such gifted artists. 

Alex is a self-taught music genius who has this immense range of musical genres.   He creates, feels and thinks about music through an organic process, always invested in honoring the story.  His work comes from a deep and emotional place.  He always approaches each film on its own terms.  He always reads the script a few months before we go into production.  Then we discuss story and characters because he always wants to honor the vision, but he just gets the work and comes back with great ideas to support a scene.  I really love how he supported Yuny Parada’s emotional work as Lupita with a delicate harp.

For Amigas with Benefits, because it was a short dramedy, we both agreed that we would have him compose once I could deliver a rough cut to him.  We were on a quick turn around, so he actually designed the score within a few weeks.  He composed several openings for us, and, actually, Marisa as a producer gave great feedback about capturing a trio feel for the one composition that was nearly perfect and ended up becoming our opening score.  The beginning and ending compositions are actually fusions of traditional trio and norteño with Alex’s gift for giving them musical twists that reflect his style as a young Xicano.

And as for Marlene, she’s another wonder!  Everyone fell in love with her original song, “Dáme,” that she composed and performed as the character Ixchel in Bruising for Besos.   The beauty of working with Xicana/o/x artists is that you don’t have to do any cultural translations.  She knew we needed a bolero to capture that long ago era of our abuelas.  I sent Marlene the first rough cut and she came back with “Querida Mia.”  Again, here’s a musical artist who is also very sensitive to story, and in Marlene’s case because she’s an actor and writer… she also culls her work from a deep place of knowing and she never fails to deliver something that feels like it always existed in the world of the film. 

One last person I need to mention is Nicolas Osorio, our production and post sound mixer and sound designer.  He’s so critical in how everything gets balanced.  I usually have a clear sense of where I want music to enter/exit a scene and at what volume levels.  But Nicolos, Alex and Marisa are always my most critical collaborators when it comes to the final mix.   
Amelia Montes: It all works seamlessly, and it’s obvious that this is due to having a great team.  Do you have anything you would like to add? 

Adelina Anthony:  Yes, gracias to you and La Bloga for consistently supporting my/our work by sharing it with your readership. 

And I only want to add that this project could not have been made without the incredible team that is AdeRisa Productions, which has always put Xicana/Latina lesbians and queer womyn of color/womyn/people of color in leadership roles and as the majority on the set.  After five years of doing this kind of film work, we’ve been blessed to develop a production team and acting pool of immensely gifted and generous collaborators.  Many of them have been working with us since the inception of AdeRisa Productions, including Jean Kim who is our cinematographer in this project. 

Our collaborators lift us and the work up.  I/we hope our communities will do the same by voting for us daily during this last week of the competition.  Órale, let’s show the mundo we want to see ourselves reflected in nuanced ways.

Amelia Montes: And now, La Bloga Readers, it's your turn! You are warmly invited to view the film and VOTE.  Just click here: Amigas with Benefits - watch and vote!  Enjoy, y gracias to Adelina Anthony and AdeRisa Productions!