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Local Book Notes: Chicago Author Ironically Gored

1. Chicago Man Who Wrote Guide On How To Survive Running With Bulls Gored By Bulls.

"Bill Hillmann co-authored Fiesta: How to Survive the Bulls of Pamplona last month. On Wednesday, as he was running in the annual Spanish festival, a fighting bull stabbed the 32-year-old in the leg. He's recovering, his friend said."

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With a foreword from the mayor of Pamplona.

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"At Curbside Splendor, we like work that emphasizes voice - unconventional, urban, distinctive. Bill Hillmann, former street brawler, gang affiliate, drug dealer, convict, Chicago Golden Glove Champion, and bull runner, is one of those voices."

2. Lydia Netzer's Guiding Principles.

"At 21, she was in graduate school in Chicago, and by then was cultivating a certain rebellious self-image: 'I'm a free spirit. I don't give a crap about anyone's opinion. I'm independent. But at that time, I was probably the most enslaved to everyone else's opinion."

3. Framing Black Celebrity Dissent.

"In her new book Black Celebrity, Racial Politics, and the Press, Sarah Jackson, an assistant professor of communication studies in the College of Arts, Media, and Design, examines how the mainstream and black press have covered controversial political dissent by African-American celebrities.

"Here, Jackson, whose research and teaching interests center on how social and political identities are constructed in the public sphere, discusses what she found in her research and which African-American celebrity became her unlikely inspiration for the book.

Believe it or not, my inspiration was Kanye West.

You'll have to click through to find out why.

4. Maria Venegas's Bulletproof Vest.

"The memoir opens with her immigrant father getting stabbed and shooting someone during a card game in their hometown of Chicago. Her father flees back to Mexico, leaving her, her mother, and her many siblings to fend for themselves. Her mother finds comfort in evangelical Christianity and encourages Venegas to lower her expectations and find a part-time job in high school. Venegas shows admirable resilience and perseverance, finishing high school, then college, and eventually winding up in the MFA program at Columbia.

"The book is loosely modeled on a corrido, a popular form of Mexican ballad that typically commemorates the deeds of a legendary outlaw. It's an intriguing idea for the structure, but she falters in execution. The form implies a certain admiration for its protagonist. But her impulse to romanticize her father's life is consistently undermined by detailed descriptions of him shooting people, often for trivial reasons, and drinking himself into a stupor."

5. PALABRA PURA: LOST AND FOUND.

"The Guild Literary Complex is committed to emerging and diverse voices, and is presenting three voices that have brought their unique perspectives to the far corners of the globe.

"At this month's Palabra Pura, curator Maribel Mares presents three artists whose works address the often dizzying and life-changing experiences of living abroad. Darren Angle, Mayra Jiminez, and Yesika Perez will present three multimedia readings that address this month's theme, 'Lost and Found.'

"The reading, which continues Chicago's longest-running bilingual reading series, takes place on July 16, 7:30 p.m., at La Bruquena Restaurant (2726 West Division Street).

"States Mares, 'This evening, Palabra Pura will travel to Mexico City, Korea, and Haiti via our writers to explore the cross cultural experiences of a dancer, an educator, and a poet.'

"Darren Angle will present a reading of his poetry, in accompaniment to a slideshow of his travels through Haiti; Mayra Jimenez, a Mexican-American Educator living in Korea, will Skype in to discuss her experiences as an 'immigrant in the East; and Yesika Perez will read about her mixed heritage and her work as a dancer.

"Darren Angle is a poet living in Chicago. His work has appeared in LIT and BOMB. He received degrees from Macalester College and Brown University, where he won a Weston Fine Arts Award and was an Adele K. Seaver Fellow in Creative Writing.

"Mayra Jimenez is a Mexican-American Educator living in Korea. A world traveler and a connoisseur of cultures and human behavior, she is an educator as well as student striving for social justice. A collector of the five senses, she loves cooking, writing, film, and exploring the natural world.

"Yesika Perez was born and raised in the Mexico City (Tenochtitlan). She began dancing the age of 5 years; she studied Dance at the National Institute of Fine arts (INBA) in Mexico City. Amongst other things, she was bartender, street sweeper, and a vendor in a street market. We find her this night in Chicago, lost and found in her circling root system.

"Maribel Mares is an author, educator, and organizer. She received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is a founding member of the Division Collective, a salon series featuring emerging writers, artists, musicians, architects, designers, and thinkers. She is also the co-creator of Kid City Chicago. She is a Latina writer from the Southwest Side of Chicago, exploring the cultural and regional identity of Mexican American families."

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on July 9, 2014


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - Cricket vs. Brexit.
POLITICS - An Odd Call From Bermuda.
SPORTS - All Is Not Forgiven, Bears.

BOOKS - Turning Points Of The Civil War.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Baxter's IV Bag Shortages.


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