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[whitespace] Olga Angelina Garcia Echevarría
Renaissance Woman: A poet, writer and teacher, Olga Angelina Garcia Echevarría performs as a headliner and delivers the keynote speech at the Festival.

Blossom Time

Spoken-word blooms at MACLA's Floricanto Festival

TO HEAR most of the rest of the country crowing right now, Silicon Valley's major claims to fame are disaffected dotcommers and power shortages; more rightfully, the former Valley of Heart's Delight might be celebrated for all the cool stuff that survived the latest boom and crash--in particular, a spoken-word scene that quietly flourished in the mid-'90s and continues to thrive.

Some of the best evidence of the scene's health is the phenomenal growth of the Floricanto Festival and Conference, sponsored by San Jose-based Latino arts organization MACLA (Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latinoamericana). In the three years since its founding, the festival has positively blossomed from a weekend event at a single venue to a five-day performing-arts extravaganza held throughout downtown San Jose.

Events new for the third annual festival include Xicanoquest, a day-long festival of film shorts (see related story), an open-mic night and a poetry-slam night plus more performances and panel discussions. And though the local scene certainly gets a fair share of time at the mic, the festival has also attracted talent from all over the country, including the Welfare Poets, a collective of activist wordsmiths/performers from New York City; poet/ writer/teacher Olga Angelina Garcia Echevarría from Los Angeles; Austin, Texas-based poet and publisher raúlrsalinas. Among the Bay Area voices featured are: the Small Ax Poetry Project, Aya de León, Psyents of Slang. Grito Serpentino and Los Delicados. A schedule of events is listed below.

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Short Cuts: The Floricanto Festival brings short films into the mix.

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April 23: People's Open-Mic Night, open to everyone with poetry, music or other performances to share. 8pm, Cafecito, 330 S. Third St., San Jose. Free.

April 24: Metro's Silicon Valley Poetry Slam, a semifinal bout featuring poet Shane Koyczan and Psyents of Slang. 8pm, Waves Smokehouse and Saloon, 65 Post St., San Jose. $5.

April 25: Xicanoquest: Film Short Mini-Festival, featuring films by Chicano/a filmmakers. 7pm, MACLA, 510 S. First St., San Jose. $3 (suggested donation).

Hardcore Political Poetry Night, with featured poets Karega Hart and Graciela Serna-Nutter, with an open-mic to follow. 8:30pm, Los Diabltios Taqueria, 855 N. 13th St., San Jose. Free.

April 26: Bullets and Butterflies, an evening of female poets featuring Women's Wonder and Small Ax Poetry Project, with open mic to follow. 7pm, SJSU Market Cafe, Tenth and San Fernando streets, San Jose. Free.

Fuego. Baktun 12 headlines a house, hip-hop and Latin dance event. 9:30pm, Fuel, 44 Almaden Ave., San Jose. $7.

April 27:: Floricanto Headline Performances, featuring the Taco Shop Poets, Tim Hernandez, Psyents of Slang, Olga Angelina Garcia Echevarría, Dennis Kim, raúlrsalinas and Grito Serpentino. 7:30pm, MACLA. $10 general/ $5 students.

Floricanto Conference, panel discussions and workshops. Friday-Saturday, 9am-5pm at MACLA. Luncheon with keynote speaker Olga Angelina Garcia Echevarría held on Saturday. Registration required by April 25; call 408.286.8695.

April 28: Floricanto Headline Performances, featuring Angelo Anwtwone Williams, CaLiFaZ, Los Delicados, Small Ax Poetry Project, Rudo Revolutionary Front, Aya de Leon and the Welfare Poets. Latin/ska/punk music with Firme follows the performances. 7:30pm, MACLA. $10 general/$5 students.

Passes are available for $25-$35. For more information, contact MACLA at 408.998.ARTE or info@maclaweb.org.

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From the April 19-25, 2001 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2001 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.




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