La Tolteca 2.0 Issue #7: ¡Qué viva la música!

La Tolteca 2.0 #7                October 2, 2020

Bien venidos/as to L/T 2.0 #7.  You don’t have to be a Boomer to check us out, contribute or identify with the creatives–thrivers and survivors of these most unprecedented of times–that we feature.  If you are, however, we are here for you.  In these United States we are in the midst of national elections during a world pandemic.  Climate change has come throughout the land in draught, fire and rain.  In spite of pain and loss all around, creatives of every generation continue to produce their work.

L/T 2.0 proudly features here five (5) who’ve been metaphorically through draught, fire and rain with quarantine, job loss, gender, age, ethnic, sexual orientation and class discrimination and illness. Also, we introduce an emerging poet and newly minted professor.  If you haven’t heard of them, we’re happy to present.  If you are long-time fans, continue to follow their works and importantly, let them know by leaving a supportive comment here.

To all our readers, please stay safe, be well, and register to vote out #45. The arts, education, freedom of speech are in peril as are the safety and well-being of millions.

You don’t have to be a Babe-Boomer or Brown to submit a selfie or fave pic of yourself:


Marguerite Horberg, Photo Credit: Marguerite Horberg. Chicago cultural and political activist, founder of the renown music club and cultural center,  HotHouse.





Joey Kim, see her Sijo poem here.  Photo credit:  Ayendy Bonifacio


LUIS ALBERTO AMBROGGIO, poeta y académico hispano-estadounidense











Areceli Esparza, “For me, being a Latinx writer means to be able to catch fires, to bring forth something from labor and sweat, to have enough when there’s not a lot.”











Veterana of the Royal Chicano Air Force, Lorraine García-Nakata, Photo credit:  Jeffrey Lazos Ferns. Her feature in this issue.



Nacha Mendez, composer, singer, guitarist, resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Marguerite Horberg (Testimonial)

(Editor’s note from HotHouse website:

HotHouse was an institution that fundamentally changed the paradigm of community-based cultural centers in Chicago. HotHouse primarily showcased artists who were working in non-commercial genres, whose work was experimental, or from populations who were under-recognized and disenfranchised by either other arts institutions or the commercial marketplace. Each year, HotHouse hosted over 500 multi-arts programs that attracted 70,000 people. By 2006, HotHouse had evolved into a $2M organization employing 45 people and had become one of the country’s most well regarded centers for international culture. The new HotHouse attenuates the previous iterations of this iconic cultural center

Here we feature an excerpt of a memoir by Marguerite Holberg, the face, voice and energy behind Chicago’s iconic HotHouse.)


Marguerite Holberg

By 1995, HotHouse was a well- respected  arts organization (although at one point when the landlords cut the power to our storefront we ran the club with extension cords up to the friendly artist studios above us.) The Wicker Park scene in those days was a village of similar start-ups with arts enterprises mixing it up with the Puerto Rican organizers trying to maintain the working manufacturing class jobs still in the area. As that area was eclipsed by voracious real estate transformation, our lease became part of the maw of profit and we were forced out.

The new HotHouse  exploded with sometimes three shows every night. The weekends were full of student trainings, after school programs and a primary space for the collection of downtown universities to use for their off-campus events. Our reputation allowed us to attract world famous artists. The focus on African diaspora traditions stayed at the forefront of our focus and most of the artists touring out of Cuba, African nations, Afro-Latin and Afro-Caribbean locations were featured at HotHouse.  By 2006, more than 70,000 people a year were attending our events.

We see our work both in this Covid-moment and with the same basic tools we have always worked with – to use creativity- historical inspirations, collective organizing of like-minded cultural workers –to maximize resources by relying on volunteers and donations and devising compelling pedagogical projects as the way forward. While we are endeavoring to build the new bricks and mortar HotHouse and a multi-purpose sanctuary for progressive culture, at the same time we are championing new technological ways to produce culture while venues are shuttered. We are broadcasting online content from places around the world, tapping into our relationships of artist and curators and most recently produce the concert for Cuba that reached more than 15 million viewers.

Since 2009, our work has been itinerant and trying to keep HotHouse alive. We blew on the ashes to keep the embers lit and each year were able to do a little more –with nothing- just the people who believed in our vision.

2020 HotHouse program. Chicago remains a force in music and culture.

We approach this Covid-moment with the same basic tools we have always worked with – to use creativity- historical inspirations, collective organizing of like-minded cultural workers –to maximize resources by relying on volunteers and donations and devising compelling pedagogical projects as the way forward.~Marguerite Holberg


Lorraine García-Nakata

Lorraine García-Nakata is a recognized visual artist that has exhibited extensively on a national and international level. Adept in a range of visual art mediums, Lorraine is noted for her large-scale works in drawing and painting. She is also recognized for her command of mixed media, printmaking, installation work, ceramics and sculpture.

Lorraine García-Nakata. (Photo credit:Penny Biaggi )

“I am an artist that navigates between disciplines (visual art, music and writing). For a woman, particularly a woman of color, it is a political act to commit a lifetime to the creative process. My life experiences inform my work and my work informs my life in return. A finished piece often shares something I need to know.”–Lorraine García-Nakata, RCAF

Anger to Wisdom, Wisdom to Strength

I wrote this before the pandemic hit our collective ear. I had been feeling for years prior, that something was coming.––something that would challenge the way we ask questions and seek answers. Now fully into the world-wide, human-wide pandemic, the purpose of these thoughts are more clear.)

“Most recent pastel on paper drawing (my usual 7 foot scale), entitled “]’Wisdom to Strength.’ Also, not yet exhibited or formally published. One image includes me standing next to it to show scale.”

What does it look like, feel like, after the fight? This is the question the exhibition Anger to Wisdom, Wisdom to Strength asks. If we do not make time to answer this question, we are destined to repeat an overly worn human journey––by attempting, even making “change,” yet not fundamental change.

In the face of severe injustice, we push back and fight, because we must. History, and what we are again witnessing, reveals that this is a necessary response. As we each feel and process the shock, horror, and anger when witnessing or directly experiencing deep injustices, we each decide ways to assert that we cannot be silent or allow horrific actions to stand. Our responses may be organized, and in other instances, the responses require spontaneous and more immediate human reaction. Women, and more recently, the voices of very young children have had great power. Their level of urgency has pierced a membrane forcing messages to be heard over the collective noise. It is an appeal to our humanity.

Over decades, I have been shocked, horrified, and angered multiple times. Many of us have. That shock has required that we march, speak, write about it, or initiate art pieces that express outrage. While outrage may have ignited my creative work, that outrage then navigated an internal terrain that pressed back on me, asking, ‘What do we affirm for ourselves, as humans, once the fight is won? If we were to acquire all we seek, how are we fundamentally changed and how does that change feel? What does our next stage of human development look like?”


(Pastel on Paper, 7feet x  6 feet,  2019 )

This process, this journey also insists that as we envision our next level of human potential, that we grasp that humans are not the highest of all living forms. Instead, we are inter-dependent with other living things. This “precious knowledge” allowed Indigenous people to survive and flourish for millennia. It is in our cell memory. This wisdom is there for us to hear and receive once we are ready. So as we continue our necessary and urgent protests, we may now also be ready to ask ourselves deeper questions. Certainly, some very young children and elders are ready to share what they “know” in order to help guide this work.~ Lorraine García-Nakata

I Dream, Just Like You (lyrics, music, vocal and guitar by: Lorraine García-Nakata; Piano: Lee Parvin, Recorded: Lee Parvin Studio, Pacifica, CA:)


Nacha Mendez

“The color photo on stage was shot at the Lensic Performing Arts Center by my colleague violinist Carla Kountoupes. We had just finished recording a set of music for their Ghost light Sessions. 8/2020”

Artist Statement:  Nacha Mendez (1958, Chicago, Illinois, the United States. Currently resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico) 

I am an internationally known, award-winning composer/performer trained in Latin World music, and experimental forms. I am also a singer and guitarist. I have for many years explored Electro-acoustic music. My work merges sounds and concepts from the American/European experimental music tradition as well as Latin Music from all the Spanish-speaking countries, Avant-Folk and Jazz traditions.

Throughout my professional life, I have sought to create my path because I know no other way. I learned early on, that music had great potential to heal through singing and so this is what I have done for many years.

My focus since childhood has been art and music and the lens I have used. Consequently, music and art have never let me down and I have had a rewarding career that took me away from the small town of La Union, New Mexico.

Nach Mendez

While Covid-19 has affected and terminated my weekly engagements, all is not lost as I have more time to focus on composing. 


Nacha Mendez, being smart and looking sharp during COVID-19.




I am most interested in creating works for small-scale opera, new music theater and film. I feel that the lens from which I see through (because I see the music before I hear it) has become wider, maybe a bit distorted but always with a delicate balance of intensity and beauty. ~Nacha Mendez



Take a listen:



Joey Kim (poetry)


The mid-day tide rolls in, and I dream of my Korean ancestors.

Although their words are foreign, the water tugs me to join my hands—

for sun, for salvation— waves tongue the shore and force language.


(1.  Poet’s note:  1 This poem is written in the traditional Korean form of the sijo, a verse form comprised of three lines of 14-16 syllables each, used since the Korean Goryeo period (918-1392 A.D.).

Dr. Joey Kim is currently a visiting assistant professor in the English Dept. at a Midwestern university.

Luis Alberto Ambroggio (poesía)



La verdad

me arroja en un pantano

sin azules

ni palabras compañeras.




No puedo encontrar

los ecos.

El aire miente.

La luz engaña.




Vivir en el poema

podría abrir la ventana

de una mentira prometida

y en la fábula recrear

la ilusión de la salida,

de otros encuentros.




Sobreviviendo el engaño

se gana la batalla,

canta el sol,

la luna brilla

con los amigos del tiempo.



Años en el futuro regresarán

a los jardines de primavera.


Sin el murmullo del agua

y la oscuridad que prolongan las paredes

tortura y silencio respiran

los pulmones amenazados.


El crepúsculo crece.

No hay redenciones de luz

que abran las alas

para llenar el espacio de melodías

besando la hermosura de los ojos

en los valles de cuerpos que se llaman.


Deseos para el mundo que amamos

sin enemigos de vida:

habrá blancura en los rostros

como en el cambio de estaciones

y el brote de los sueños

en labios, cuerpos,

las puertas y ventanas abiertas,

que cantan la luz de la noche y de los días.

del poemario inédito Álbum de latidos
LUIS ALBERTO AMBROGGIO,  nacido en la Argentina, radica en los ee.uu por más de 50 años.  Autor de más de 25 libros de ensayos, narrativa, poesía y traducción.

Areceli Esparza

Photo Credit: Areceli Esparza

The following are poems part of a series that speak to human trafficking. 

Thank you for check out Issue #7.  Thanks to our contributors.  Issue#8:  Educators during Pandemic and Elections:  Friday, October 16, 2020.


Except for La Tolteca 2.0 images all contributing images of art and photos  are previously unpublished and credited.

LA TOLTECA 2.0 had made its return here at  It is a virtual zine with ongoing posts.

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You’ll receive an automated response.  (If you don’t receive the automated response alert me on FB messenger) For consideration to the following new features only unpublished, never posted on SM, original images and material.

New L/T 2.0 Features

BOX  4B:  Brown & Beautiful Babe-Boomers

You don’t have to be brown or a Boomer and your submissions don’t have to be selfies to submit.  Send us what gave you a smile, lifted your spirits, kept you going that past week.  Smart phone pics work, no  specific format necessary.  Do NOT send images previously posted on social media or elsewhere.  Your submission is consent for use at L/T 2.0.  Add a couple of lines with your name and about the pic or yourself to be included, if selected.  If any of your submission is selected it will be posted the following Friday.  If not, you won’t hear from us but you will be welcome to send something new for consideration again.

Yo ¡Presente!

No rants or editorials, please.  Only clean, proof-read submissions in a journalistic style will be read for consideration.  Double space, 12 point, Times Roman—750 words.  Your most recent activist concern.  Include your name and a line describing how you participate in social justice issues.  Checklist for your piece:  What, when, why  who and how.

Poetry. Flash Fiction, Memoir and Testimonio

Original and unpublished work.  Spanish and English languages considered.

All submissions must have been proofread double-spaced, 12 point, paginated.  Fiction word count limit 750.  Your name and one line about yourself or your submission.

La Tolteca 2.0 is a blog.  We reserve all rights to post as and what we choose.

If your original works appear here you may use again elsewhere with credit to first appearing at La Tolteca 2.0 (and date.)

Thank you for reading, feel free to share link and all positive vibe comments welcome. Issue #8 with more fabulous creatives, thrivers and survivors on Friday, October 16 2020.  You don’t have to be brown and a babe boomer to submit but if you are, we are here for you. We are present and forging on through next elections.  






1 Comment

Grace Purpura October 04, 2020 - 22:54

So glad to see such diversity and inclusion of new voices and talent in your present issue. . . a rich tapestry of humanity. Thank you Ana Castillo and all the artists and poets. Keep doing what you are doing. It is food for the soul.


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