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Lit & Luz Festival: Live Magazine Show


The fifth anniversary edition of the Lit & Luz Festival culminates in a world premiere Live Magazine Show in Chicago, before continuing on to Mexico City this winter. Each year, Lit & Luz supports the creation of new collaborative artworks between writers, visual artists, and musicians from Chicago and Mexico City. Expect storytelling, live music, poetry, video art, and extemporaneous performances that explore the relationship between the languages, art forms, and cultures of the United States and Mexico.

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Vive el Live Magazine Show, la celebración final del Festival Lit & Luz de Lenguaje, Literatura, y Arte. Cada año, el programa Lit & Luz apoya la creación de nuevas obras de arte de colaboración entre escritores, artistas visuales, y músicos de Chicago y la Ciudad de México. En los meses previos al festival, equipos de artistas participantes de las dos ciudades trabajan a distancia para co-crear un performance incorporando sus respectivos medios. Las piezas se presentan durante el Show tanto en español como en inglés y a menudo exploran la relación entre los idiomas, las formas de arte, y las culturas de Estados Unidos y México.


Best-selling authors Daniel Kraus (Rotters) and Fernanda Melchor (Temporada de huracanes) bring you a cautionary tale of monsters and humanity, complete with illustrations and live musical accompaniment from Jim Becker’s Lit & Luz band.

A collaboration between award-winning playwright Kristiana Rae Colón and Mexico-based visual artist Edgar Cobián brings to life a peek into the Afrofuturistic rebellion play suspension, where five teens learn to wield their ancestral magic and black-girl badassery to combat the harrowing militarization of public education.

World-renowned author Julián Herbert joins the guitar virtuoso Bill MacKay for a performance melding poetry with music, song, and video, as the two share their mutual love of the Spanish-language, classic ballads, and literature.

Artist Mariana Castillo Deball and poet Edgar Garcia explore the visual language of the pre-Colombian Americas through image, dreamscape, and more.

Poet Natalia Toledo writes poetry in the indigenous Zapotec language. Her home in Oaxaca is also the birthplace of Chicago-based artist Emilio Rojas. Together they explore both literal and familial foundations through poetry, photography, and the sound of the earth shaking.

Mexican-American poet José Olivarez has received a mountain of well-earned praise for his recent poetry collection Citizen Illegal. He is joined by “Mexico youngest poet,” Jimena González as they ask each other—through poetry—what it means to be Mexican in the United States and in Mexico.

Throughout the evening, Jim Becker’s Lit & Luz band fills the room with live music. The legendary Becker is joined by seasoned musician Becca Wilcox, plus Dos Santos’s Jaime Garza and Daniel Villareal. With appearances from Bill MacKay on the requinto guitar.

This iteration is presented in Spanish and English with simultaneous interpretation for non-bilingual audience members.

This program is organized in partnership with Sarah Dodson of Lit & Luz and Curator of Public Programs January Parkos Arnall, Assistant Curator of Public Programs Christy LeMaster, and Partnerships and Engagement Program Liaison Gibran Villalobos.

Artist images

Edgar Cobián

Photo courtesy of the artist

Kristiana Rae Colón

Photo courtesy of the artist

Edgar García

Photo courtesy of the artist

Jimena González

Photo courtesy of the artist

Julián Herbert

Photo: Ignacio Valdez

Daniel Kraus

Photo: Suzanne Plunkett

Bill MacKay

Photo: Maren Celest

Fernanda Melchor

Photo: Lisbeth Hernández

José Olivarez

Photo: Nick Ward

Emilio Rojas

Photo courtesy of the artist

Natalia Toledo

Photo: Carina Pérez García

Dos Santos

Photo: Andrea Falcone

Jim Becker

Photo courtesy of the artist


Lit & Luz Live Magazine Show, Oct 21, 2017, Co-prosperity Sphere, Chicago. Pictured: collaborators Nate Marshall (Chicago), Selina Trepp (Mexico City), and Carla Faesler (Mexico City) performing

Photo: Sarah Hess

Lit & Luz Live Magazine Show, Oct 21, 2017, Co-prosperity Sphere, Chicago, with cohosts Daniel Borzutzky and Jessica Anne

Photo: Sarah Hess
Graphic design by MAKE & Co, courtesy of Lit & Luz Festival

About the Artists

About the Artists

Jim Becker is a Chicago-based musician, producer, and sound engineer who has played around town and around the world since the 1980s. He has recorded and collaborated with a long list of rock, folk, experimental, and old-time bands. Becker tours the US and Europe extensively, most recently with Califone and Iron and Wine.

Mariana Castillo Deball is an artist who does installations, performances, sculptures, and editorial projects. She earned a BFA from UNAM and completed a postgraduate program at Jan van Eyck Academie in the Netherlands. She has been awarded the Zurich Art Prize (2012) and the Preis der Nationalgalerie für junge Kunst (2013). Her most recent solo exhibitions include To-Day, February 20th, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Museum of Art (2018); Pleasures of association, and poissons, such as love, Galerie Wedding – Raum für zeitgenössische Kunst, Berlin (2017); and Feathered Changes, Serpent Disappearances, San Francisco Art Institute (2016).

The work of Edgar Cobián covers different formats and media such as drawing, sculpture, and sound from a critical perspective. As a musician he performs in Cráneo Verde Humeante and Peor Aún. He is a member of the Organizing Committee of the Doña Pancha Fest, an underground festival.

Kristiana Rae Colón is a poet, playwright, actor, educator, Cave Canem Fellow, creator of #BlackSexMatters, and codirector of the #LetUsBreathe Collective. She was awarded 2017 Best Black Playwright by The Black Mall. Her play Tilikum opened in June 2018 with Sideshow Theater. She is a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists and one half of the brother/sister hip-hop duo April Fools. Colón writes, produces, and organizes work to radically reimagine power structures, our complicity in them, and envision liberation.

Dos Santos's elasticity and consistency in live

performance has earned them an enthusiastic and highly diverse audience in the too-often segregated Chicago music scene. Dos Santos have been steadily tipping forward into something more future-minded and universal, something that transcends the nationalism many of us are desperately trying to depart from, but don't have the vocabulary to fully escape. Logos, their most recent album, is a bold and vulnerable push into this transcendence—the band's effort to proactively poeticize the future in sound. Logos presents an idealized new progressive American music, as rooted in Chicago as it is communicable with the world.

Edgar García is the Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Chicago. Winner of the 2018 Fence Books Modern Poets Series Award, his collection of poems and anthropological essays—titled Skins of Columbus—is being published by Fence Books in March 2019. His book of literary scholarship and critical theory, Signs of the Americas is being published by the University of Chicago Press in autumn 2019.

Jimena González is a Mexican writer. She studies Hispanic literature at UNAM and has participated in various spoken-word poetry events around Mexico City, in venues such as the Museo Universitario del Chopo, Casa del Lago UNAM, the Tamayo Museum of Contemporary Art, and FIL Zócalo 2017, among others. González is a member of the writing community Proyecto POM, where she is currently the director of Poetry Slams for the Mexico City league, SLAMIN. In 2017 she published her first collection of poems/fanzine, “Nombrar la Sangre,” with Editorial Versonautas. PlayGround website calls her the youngest poet in Mexico.

Julián Herbert is a writer, musician, and distinguished professor from Mexico who has won many prizes in his career as a novelist including the Premio Nacional de Literatura Gilberto Owen in 2003, the Premio Jaén de Novela Inédita 2011 for Canción de tumba {bio: (an elegy for his mother, translated and published in 2018 by Graywolf Press as Tomb Song), and the Premio de Novela Elena Poniatowska in 2012. He studied Spanish literature at the Universidad Autónoma de Coahuila. His first novel, Un mundo infiel (Unfaithful World), was released in 2004 after trying his luck with four collections of poetry.

Daniel Kraus is a New York Times bestselling author. With Guillermo del Toro, he coauthored The Shape of Water, based on the same idea Kraus and del Toro created for the Oscar-winning film. Also with del Toro, Kraus coauthored Trollhunters, which was adapted into the Emmy-winning Netflix series. Kraus's next novel is The Living Dead, a posthumous collaboration with legendary filmmaker George A. Romero. He has won two Odyssey Awards (for both Rotters and Scowler) and was a Library Guild selection, YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults, Bram Stoker finalist, and more. His work has been translated into over 30 languages.

Bill MacKay is a highly regarded guitarist-composer-improviser based in Chicago. He is also a writer, activist, and visual artist. His most recent records Esker (Drag City, 2017)}; SpiderBeetleBee(Drag City, 2017), his second duo set with Ryley Walker; and Altamira(Ears & Eyes, 2015) by his band Darts & Arrows, reveal a startling range—from the folk of Appalachia, avant-rock, and blues to gospel, jazz, raga excursions, and western-country modes. Yet out of this diversity, it's the dynamic way which he ties his interests together that is key to his art.

Fernanda Melchor is the author of the novels Falsa liebre(Almadía, 2013) and Temporada de huracanes(Hurricane Season) (Random House Literature, 2017), and the book of essays Aquí no es Miami(This Is Not Miami) (Literature Random House, 2018). She is also a journalist who graduated from the Universidad Veracruzana, holds a master's in aesthetics and art from the Autonomous University of Puebla, and has a specialization in political science from the Institut D'Études Politiques in Rennes, France. Temporada de huracanes was considered by various media as the best Mexican novel of 2017 and is being translated into more than seven languages. The English translation, Hurricane Season, is forthcoming in 2019 from New Directions, translated by Sophie Hughes.

José Olivarez is the son of Mexican immigrants. His first book of poems, Citizen Illegal, is now available via Haymarket Books. He is a cohost of the podcast, The Poetry Gods. A recipient of fellowships from Poets House, The Bronx Council On The Arts, The Poetry Foundation, and The Conversation Literary Festival, his work has been published in The BreakBeat Poets and elsewhere. He is the marketing manager at Young Chicago Authors.

Emilio Rojas is a multidisciplinary artist working primarily with the body in performance but also video, photography, installation, public interventions, writing, and sculpture. His practice engages in the postcolonial ethical imperative to uncover, investigate, and make visible and audible undervalued or disparaged sites of knowledge, narratives, and individuals. He uses his body in a political and critical way, as an instrument to unearth removed traumas, embodied forms of decolonization, migration, and poetics of space. He holds an MFA in performance from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Rojas is a translator, community activist, and anti-oppression facilitator with queer, migrant, and refugee youth.

Natalia Toledo is a poet and writer from Juchitán, Oaxaca. She has published more than 10 books, including The Black Flower(Phoneme, 2015), which World Literature Today considers among the 75 best translations in the world. Her poetry has been translated into Mazateco, Maya, Nahúatl, Mixteco, English, Slovanian, Italian, German, and Punjabi. In 2014, she was a finalist for the PLIA Award, the American Indigenous Literature Award. She also cooks and designs jewelry and fabric. Toledo is a member of the Colectivo Binni Birí-Gente Hormiga, a collective dedicated to giving art and creation workshops to the victims of the September earthquakes in Juchitán, Oaxaca.

Text in Spanish

Acerca de los Artistas

Jim Becker es un músico, productor e ingeniero de audio. Ha grabado y colaborado con una larga lista de grupos de rock, folk, experimentales, y de antaño. Becker se va de gira extensivamente en los Estados Unidos y en Europa, recientemente con Califone y Iron and Wine.

Mariana Castillo Deball es una artista que realiza instalaciones, performance, esculturas y proyectos editoriales. Obtuvo la licenciatura en Artes Plásticas de la UNAM y en 2003 concluyó un programa de posgrado en Jan van Eyck Academie, en Holanda. Ha sido galardonada con el Zurich Art Prize (2012) y el Preis der Nationalgalerie für junge Kunst (2013). Sus exposiciones individuales más recientes incluyen To-Day, February 20th, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Museum of Art, Estados Unidos (2018); Pleasures of association, and poissons, such as love, Galerie Wedding – Raum für zeitgenössische Kunst, Berlín (2017); y Feathered Changes, Serpent Disappearances, San Francisco Art Institute, Estados Unidos (2016).

El trabajo de Edgar Cobián abarca distintos formatos y medios como dibujo, escultura, sonido, etc. desde una perspectiva crítica. Como músico ha creado los proyectos Cráneo Verde Humeante y Peor Aún. Es miembro del Comité Organizador del festival underground Doña Pancha Fest.

Kristiana Rae Colón es poeta, dramaturga, actriz, educadora, becaria Cave Canem, creadora de #BlackSexMatters, y co-directora de #LetUsBreathe Collective. Fue galardonada con el premio a la mejor dramaturga negra en 2017 por The Black Mall. Su obra Tilikum se estrenó en junio del 2018 con Sideshow Theater. Es una dramaturga residente de Chicago Dramatists y la mitad del dúo de hermanos de hip-hop April Fools. Kristiana escribe, produce, y organiza trabajo para reimaginar radicalmente las estructuras de poder, nuestra complicidad en ellas y las visiones para la liberación.

La elasticidad y consistencia de Dos Santos en su interpretación en vivo, les ha ganado una audiencia entusiasta y muy diversa en la escena musical de Chicago a menudo segregada. Dos Santos se ha ido inclinando constantemente hacia algo más universal y con visión de futuro, algo que trasciende el nacionalismo del que muchos de nosotros estamos tratando desesperadamente de apartarnos, pero para el cual no tenemos el vocabulario para escapar completamente. Logos, su álbum más reciente, es un empuje audaz y vulnerable a esta trascendencia, el esfuerzo de la banda por poetizar proactivamente el futuro del sonido. Logos presenta una nueva música americana progresiva idealizada, tan arraigada en Chicago como comunicable con el mundo.

Edgar García es el Profesor Asistente de la Familia Neubauer de Inglés y Escritura Creativa en la Universidad de Chicago. Ganador del Premio 2018 de la Serie de Poetas Modernos de Fence Books, su colección de poemas y ensayos antropológicos, titulada Skins of Columbus, será publicada por Fence Books en marzo de 2019. Su libro de becas literarias y teoría crítica, Signos de las Américas, será publicado por la Universidad de Chicago Press en el otoño de 2019.

Jimena González es una escritora mexicana. Estudiante de letras hispánicas en la UNAM. Ha participado en diversos eventos de poesía en voz alta en la Ciudad de México, en escenarios como Museo Universitario del Chopo, Casa del Lago UNAM, Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo, FIL Zócalo 2017, entre otros. Miembro de proyecto POM donde actualmente funge como conductora de Slams de Poesía en la liga metropolitana SLAMIN. En 2017 publicó su primer poemario-fanzine "Nombrar la Sangre" con Editorial Versonautas. La plataforma web, PlayGround, la define como la escritora más joven de México.

El mexicano Julián Herbert es escritor, músico, y profesor distinguido con varios premios a lo largo de su carrera como novelista como el Premio Nacional de Literatura Gilberto Owen en 2003, el Premio Jaén de Novela Inédita 2011 por Canción de tumba {bio: (una elegía a su madre), y el Premio de Novela Elena Poniatowska en 2012. Estudió literatura española en la Universidad Autónoma de Coahuila. Su primera novela llegaría en 2004, Un mundo infiel, tras probar suerte con cuatro poemarios.

Daniel Kraus es un New York Times Bestseller. Con Guillermo del Toro, es coautor de The Shape of Water, basada en la misma idea que Kraus y del Toro crearon para la película ganadora del Oscar. También con del Toro, Kraus fue co-autor de Trollhunters, que fue adaptado a la serie de Netflix ganadora del Emmy. La próxima novela de Kraus es The Living Dead, una colaboración póstuma con el legendario cineasta George A. Romero. Ha ganado dos premios Odyssey (tanto para Rotters como para Scowler) y fue una selección de Library Guild, YALSA Mejor Ficción para Jóvenes Adultos, finalista Bram Stoker, y más. Su obra ha sido traducida a más de 30 idiomas.

Bill MacKay es un muy reconocido guitarrista-compositor-improvisador con sede en Chicago. También es escritor, activista, y artista visual. Sus registros más recientes Esker (Drag City, 2017)}, SpiderBeetleBee(Drag City, 2017), su segundo dúo conjunto con Ryley Walker, y Altamira(Ears & Eyes, 2015) por su banda Darts & Arrows, revelan un sorprendente gama—de la música folclórica de los Apalaches, avant-rock, y blues, a góspel, jazz, excursiones raga, y modos de country-western. Sin embargo, fuera de esta diversidad, es la forma dinámica que vincula sus intereses juntos que es clave para su arte.

Fernanda Melchor es autora de las novelas Falsa liebre(Almadía, 2013) y Temporada de huracanes(Literatura Random House, 2017), y del libro de crónicas Aquí no es Miami (Literatura Random House, 2018). Es periodista egresada de la Universidad Veracruzana, y maestra en Estética y Arte por la Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, y cuenta una especialidad en Ciencias Políticas por el Institut D'Études Politiques de Rennes, Francia. Su más reciente novela, Temporada de huracanes, fue considerada por diversos medios como la mejor novela mexicana del 2017 y está siendo traducida a más de siete idiomas.

José Olivarez es hijo de inmigrantes mexicanos. Su primer libro de poemas, Citizen Illegal, ya está a la venta a través de Haymarket Books. Es uno de los anfitriones del podcast, Los dioses de la poesía {bio: (The Poetry Gods). Recibió becas de Poets House, The Bronx Council on the Arts, The Poetry Foundation y The Conversation Literary Festival. Su trabajo ha sido publicado en The BreakBeat Poets y en otros lugares. Es el Director de Marketing de Young Chicago Authors.

Emilio Rojas es un artista multidisciplinario que trabaja principalmente con el cuerpo en el arte del performance, utilizando video, fotografía, instalación, intervenciones públicas, escritura y escultura. Su práctica se involucra en el imperativo ético postcolonial de descubrir, investigar y hacer visibles y audibles los sitios subvalorados o menospreciados del conocimiento, las narrativas y los individuos. Utiliza su cuerpo de manera política y crítica, como instrumento para desenterrar traumas pasados, formas encarnadas de descolonización, migración y poética del espacio. Tiene una MFA en performance de la SAIC. Emilio es traductor, activista comunitario y facilitador anti-opresión con jóvenes queer, migrantes y refugiados.

Natalia Toledo, poeta y narradora zapoteca de Juchitán, Oaxaca. Ha publicado más de 10 libros, entre ellos: The Black Flower (Phoneme, 2015)}, la revista World Literatura Today incluye este poemario entre las 75 mejores traducciones en el mundo. Su poesía ha sido traducida, al mazateco, maya, nahúatl, mixteco, inglés, esloveno, italiano, alemán, y punjabi. En 2014 fue finalista del premio PLIA, Premio de literatura indígena de América. Cocina, diseña joyería y textil. Es miembro del Colectivo Binni Birí- Gente Hormiga, colectivo que se dedica a dar talleres de arte y creación a los damnificados de los sismos de septiembre en Juchitán, Oaxaca.