Monday, August 18, 2014

New Young Adult/YA Dora the Explorer on the Horizon: "Dora and Friends: Into the City" to Debut! What's Next? Dora, the Sad College Years?

Never one to say no to a good thing, Nickelodeon has opted to cash-in on their Latina golden goose!  The morning mail finds our old friend Dora the Explorer all grown up, ten-years old, hangin' with her posse in the City, and, get this, now she has eyebrows.

I am actually all for the saturation of the vidiot network with pint-sized facsimiles of smart, bilingual, latina animated stars, so I will hold the snark and just point you to some coming attractions!

Here's the LA Times take on Miss Dora Márquez--the NY Times as well.

Here's the cast of characters:

and, for those of you drawing up your Fall syllabi, a lesson plan... click the image below for your assessment-ready curriculum guide:

The series is fully intergrated with an online gaming platform (Dora Does the Digital Humanities)--here's a trailer for the game; the actual game hangs out here!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Welcome Village Voice Readers and Tijuana Bible Junkies! Hola!

It's time for summer re-runs on the Textmex blog--here's an oldie but a goodie from 2008 (original posting: Wednesday, August 06, 2008)

That miscreant Mexican/Xicano wizard of yellow journalism, that wascally wabbit of Latina/o print and online media, Gustavo Arellano, has gone and linked me, via the magic of solicited commentary, with the infamy and sordid black-ink pleasures of Tijuana Bibles!

 Click here for his latest Ask-A-Mexican column. Somehow the knowledge that "Nericcio" and "Tijuana Bible" searches will forever pollute the internets with "hits" gives this poor child of Laredo, this recovering Catholic "raised by nuns," sordid, ironic solace! For more on Tijuana Bibles, the low-tech fore-runner of internet pornography click here (NSFW, and "Not Safe for your Soul," as my 7nth-grade inquisition teacher Sister Veronica would have said!, or, go for the gold, with this full-on google search.

As you can see in this sample culled from the internet opposite, the 'Bibles were as memorable for their variety of racially amped ethnic semiotics as they were for their sexual hijinks! No surprise there--as I tried to illustrate in Tex[t]-Mex, the connection between race and sex in stereotypes is not just connected or causal, it is, as it is in life, intimately linked at the level of DNA!

Friday, June 06, 2014

Jessica Alba, Robert Rodriguez, and Frank Miller Ride Again in Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For: A Sordid Tale that Includes Eva Green's Areola, Frederick Aldama's New Book, and, Oh Yeah, a New Chicano Movie

The biggest story attached to Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller's Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For has been supporting actress Eva Green's poster for the movie showing too much areola for the MPAA tastes. The New York Daily News tracks the trail of that case here, and you can search for the changes made in the poster here in a high-resolution juxtaposition:


The film marks the return of Jessica Alba front and center as "Nancy Callahan" in the movie best known for fusing the dna of cinema and graphic narrative.  A decidedly tawdry take on the movie with tons of graphics is available here from the Daily Mail (UK).  Frank Miller's cool storyboards for the original Sin City are here.

More on the film as its release approaches will appear here shortly especially later this Fall when Frederick Aldama's new book on Rodriguez's oeuvre appears from UT Press.

Click the screengrab below for the newest HD trailer fed off's servers:

click to play the trailer!

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Producer Salma Hayek at Cannes in Support of THE PROPHET

Salma Hayek is a always a star here at the Textmex blog--while she remains the alluring embodiment of textmextian paradigms (the "Mexican" as always already floating signifier of sexual potentiality) she also puts the lie to this tired tale of female objectification by being a an active, engaged agent (co-conspirator) in her own spectacle-ization! Oh, and a fine mamá as well (cue image above of Hayek, with daughter Valentina. In any event, Cannes was abuzz this year as Hayek brought her newly produced film to town, Khalil Gibran's The Prophet, an animated feature, full-length work featuring the voices of Hayek, Liam Neeson, and John Krasinski among others, and the directing talents of Roger Allers, Gaëtan Brizzi, Paul Brizzi, Joan C. Gratz, Mohammed Saeed Harib, Tomm Moore, Nina Paley, Bill Plympton, Joann Sfar, and Michal Socha. Hayek's new project comes into the world from a woman with a mission--defining her legacy as an international artist.  

I will put up a clip from the film when I find it, or just post the link to one below or on our Textmex Facebook page.

Here's an interview with Hayek courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter:

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Los Brothers Hernandez: Assorted Semiotic Bonbons!
Readers of Tex[t]-Mex: Seductive Hallucinations of the "Mexican" in America know that I am a diehard Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez maven--one of my proudest moments to date in my bizarre odyssey in academia was publishing a feature piece on them and graphic narrative in general in Mosaic--one of the first pointyheaded intellectual works on graphic narrative in a literary journal. In fact, the chapter on Frida Kahlo and Gilbert Hernandez, that appears in the UT Press volume, is an essay I probably had the most fun writing during my now, gulp, three decades long career!

Gilbert has been on a tear of late--publishing more books than Frederick Aldama, Stephen King, and Jacques Derrida, combined!  Click this link to see some of these works on Jeff Bezos' bookmonstrous amazon site.

In any event, perusing the internets this morning I found some familiar and new works by the Chicano dynamic duo and thought I would share them here:

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Friz Freleng, Warner Bros., Speedy Gonzales, Slowpoke Rodriguez and "Mexican Boarders" (1962)

updated: 5/17/14        reposting: 9/15/09        original posting 3/31/07 

It is May or June 1962, and as I frolic in my crib, 6 months old, things are happening at the Tivoli Theatre in downtown Laredo. There screening for the first time is the latest animated short feature out of the genius hands of a crazy cohort of driven seers at Warner Bros. studios.

"Mexican Boarders," directed by Friz Freleng with Hawley Pratt and written by John Dunn, tells the story of a visit to Speedy Gonzales by his cousin, Slowpoke Rodriguez.

I am writing about it here in my Tex[t]-Mex GalleryBlog as it throws a wrench (perhaps heaves an ACME bomb is better, it is Warner Brothers cartoons I'm writing about) at a key chapter of my University of Texas book, chapter 3, which has the unfortunate distinction of sporting the longest title I've ever published: "Chapter Three. Autopsy of a Rat: Sundry Parables of Warner Brothers Studios, Jewish American Animators, Speedy Gonzales, Freddy López, and Other Chicano/Latino Marionettes Prancing about Our First World Visual Emporium; Parable Cameos by Jacques Derrida; and, a Dirty Joke."

What's remarkable about "Mexican Boarders" is the mise en scène, that old war-horse French term from film criticism that speaks to the setting, background and tableau, if not the "actors" themselves. For in this 1962 classic, Speedy Gonzales is living the highlife in an upper-class Mexican town, "in the fine [bourgeois] hacienda of José Álvaro Meléndez." Most other Speedy shorts from the 60s feature Speedy and his cohorts living in trash ("Cannery Woe," 1961) or falling out of cantinas ("Tabasco Road," 1957)--and the bulk of my argument on Speedy, Autopsy of a Rat, keys on this. "Mexican Boarders" is different. Here, as you can see to your left, Speedy lives the life of a Patrón, in his "Casa de Gonzales." This Speedy is what we call in Laredo, Texas in our licentious and salacious patois, a high sosiégate, which literally means high calm-down, and figuratively means "high get-over-your-own-damn-self" and sounds like "high society."

So this bourgie ratón lives the good life, stealing cheese and such from Sylvester, who is so run down in "Mexican Boarders" that he has to resort to amphetamines to get him through his days.

That's when the key plot twist in this fable occurs and Speedy's country mouse cousin Slowpoke Rodriguez arrives to visit--he is slow-talking, more heavily accented than Speedy (his voice provided not by Mel Blanc, Warner's heralded man of a thousand voices, but by Tom Holland). All the sight gags revolve around Speedy saving his slow, country bumpkin cousin, from Sylvester owing to said bumpkin's obsessive compulsive drive for more food--"Ahhmm, steeeeel hawwwwwwwngreeee" becomes his Godot-like mantra. One particularly cool sight gag fuses the cubist sensibility of Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso.

But what is most striking about "Mexican Boarders" is the intellectual capacity of Slowpoke Rodriguez. Freleng et al capitalize on his largely American audiences expectations not only of a "Mexican," but of a rustic "peon" from the country--an urban/agricultural antagonism that transcends even nationalistic biases. For this slow-talking, slow-moving mouse is nobody's fool. Let him speak for himself: "maybe Slowpoke is pretty slow downstairs in the feet, but he is pretty fast upstairs in the cabeza.” Stopped by Speedy from emerging one evening to feed his ever-present appetite, Slowpoke demures for a second, only to confess resignedly to his perplexed cousin, "it's a far, far, better thing I do than if I starve."

Striking. Freleng ventriloquizes his animated Mexican as a Sydney Cartonesque, Dickens-alluding literati; moreover, in the next scene, Rodriguez emerges as a Svengali-like mesmerist (no, I am not exaggerating!) who converts Sylvester into a fan-bearing lackey.

This ironic and surreptitious re-figuration of the "Mexican" as cunning, mesmerizing subject--not to mention the Machiavellian potentiality embedded in this animated marionette will have to be documented in the second edition of Tex[t]-Mex.

Unortunately, "Mexican Boarders" is not presently available at YouTube--if you find a free link to a streaming version of the short (without too many ads or popups), drop me a note to memo AT sdsu DOT edu

Here are some recent images I dredged up on a google image search:

A Warner Brothers' animation character style sheet from 1992

A next-generation 3-d version of Slowpoke:


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