[su_note note_color=”#f7f7f7″]Note from the editor
A year before I started at El Tecolote, I was on a 49ers practice field in Santa Clara, living the miserable dream of a freelance sports writer. Roughly a dozen of us reporter, wise guys huddled around a then beloved Jim Harbaugh (the soon-to-be former head coach of the aforementioned 49ers) hoping for something good that was worth quoting.
He happily obliged: “I will die leaning on my staff,” Harbaugh said on June 11, 2013, quoting college football analyst Lou Holtz, who had quoted the biblical Abraham. Since taking the job as editor-in-chief at El Tecolote June on 11, 2014, I have—believe it or not—lived by that. We have produced 25 issues this year, including the one you’re holding here, and none of them would’ve been possible without my staff, or team. This 2014 El Tecolote Year in review is for my boss, Georgiana Hernandez, and all the editors and managers—Atticus Morris, Mabel Jimenez, Katie Beas and Johnny Garcia—who have had my back from the start. And to all of the writers, photographers, translators, interns and volunteers: Thanks for making my job easier.
In 2014, 53 articles—or 28 percent of El Tecolote’s coverage—shed a spotlight on specific arts events and the role of the arts within the Bay Area’s Latino community.
A Historic Designation: Calle 24 Latino Cultural District
With the staff editorial “Latino cultural corridor is just the first step” (May 8-21) and Laura Waxmann’s “Latino Cultural Corridor officially designated by the city,” (June 5-18), El Tecolote chronicled the Board of Supervisors’ historic designation of San Francisco’s 24th Street corridor in the Mission as the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District.
Reeling Readers In
Throughout the year, our arts and culture editor, Iñaki Fdez de Retana, a film aficionado, gave readers a big screen into the world of film with a total of 14 film-related articles. Some, such as “Film shares story of Salvadoran poet and revolutionary” (May 8-21) and “Documentary chronicles death of Chicano journalist” (April 10-23), written by Camille Taiara, reminded readers of the power of documentaries to educate and inspire. While others, such as “Bolivar biopic is well-produced but lacking” (Oct. 9-22) and “Cesar Chavez: Film Review” (March 27-April 9) may have saved readers the price of a ticket by recommending they pass on these movies.
Retana also provided previews for several film festivals: “SF documentary and Filipino Film Festival in review” (June 5-18), “Eleven films to watch out for two-week film festival” (April 24- May 7), and “Reel Latinos: Diverse culture featured in film festival” (Sept. 11-24), offering readers sage advice as to the best films to see in these important Bay Area ethnic film events.
El Tecolote offered ample coverage of performing arts events in 2014. Two of the stand-out shows covered were Cuban band Orquesta Aragon, reviewed by Rudy Ramirez in “Celebrated Charanga Band offers unforgettable concert” (April 24-May 7), and the San Francisco Mime Troupe’s premiere production, “Ripple Effect,” brought to life for readers by arts and culture editor Iñaki Fdez. Retana in “Acting out; Mime Troupe takes on current issues” (July 17 -30).
Rudy Ramirez’s own story of rapture with Latin rock was recounted in “Latin rock professor to perform at Brava Theater” (Sept. 25 – Oct. 8), a preview of Acción Latina’s September event, Sounds from the Streets: A Historical and Musical Celebration of Latin Rock. El Tecolote also honored long-time local performing arts groups such as Loco Bloco and festival organizer Juan Pablo Gutierrez in our articles “Loco Bloco celebrates 20 years” (Dec. 4-17) and “Day of the dead: The fight to stay traditional” (Nov. 6 – 19).
Murals and other visual arts
Who could imagine El Tecolote over its 44-year history without its coverage of local efforts to create, restore and protect community murals? 2014 was no exception, as evidenced by articles such as “Latest Mission mural a tribute to Carlos Santana” (Oct. 23- Nov. 5) by Inaki Fdez de Retana, and the feature stories about the iconic Carnaval Mural at 24 and South Van Ness streets—both by Calindra Revier—“Carnaval Mural to be restored” (March 27-April 9) and “Carnaval Mural restoration moves forward” (July 17-30).
In other coverage of the visual arts, writers Eva Martinez and Iñaki Fdez. de Retana honored the life and legacy of Peter Rodriguez and the Mexican Museum that he founded in 1975, in their companion pieces, “Mexican Museum founder turns 88” and “The Mexican Museum: One of a kind” (June 19 – July 2).
In the articles, “Exhibit honors Chicano art icon” (Oct. 9 – 22), and “Local artists mourn loss of life, culture” (Oct. 23 – Nov. 5) El Tecolote editor Alexis Terrazas and Laura Waxmann gave readers windows into the iconic art and institutions created by Galeria de la Raza founders, Rene Yañez and now deceased, Ralph Maradiaga.
In early 2014, writer Dave Ramos reviewed Elena Moya’s new novel, “The Olive Groves of Belchite,” which he described as a first-rate piece of historical fiction in his review, “Belchite’s ruins reveal scars from Spanish Civil War” (Jan. 30-Feb. 12). Two reviews— “New book spotlights Cuban Art and Culture” (April 10–23) by Oscar Palma and “Following the Cuban five: author sheds light on controversy” (March 13-26) by Keith Burbank—gave readers new insights into Cuban art, culture and politics. In “Chicano poet launches new book,” (Nov. 20 – Dec. 3), Nina Serrano (who won the Oakland Josephine Miles 2014 PEN Award for Excellence in Literature this year for her book Heart Strong, Selected Poems 2000-2012) reviewed the newest book of poetry, “Borderless Butterflies: Earth Haikus And Other Poems” by nationally recognized poet, Francisco X. Alarcon. Don’t miss our upcoming review in January 2015 of former El Tecolote staffer Hector Tobar’s newest book, “Deep, Down, Dark.”