Thursday, February 19, 2009

Breaking Piñatas, Latino Writers Collective Tercera Página Reading Series

Tercera Página and the Latino Writers Collective were created to offer the Kansas City community a chance to experience the usually unheard voices of local and national Latino writers. In “Breaking Piñatas,” the vibrant series opening, Kansas City will have a chance to hear the young people of the Latino community speak with passion and power about their experience.

“Breaking Piñatas,” the work of LWC member and KCMO police officer, Octavio “Chato” Villalobos and his young protégées, will open at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4, at Pierson Auditorium, UMKC’s University Center, 50th & Rockhill. The program is free and open to the public. It features original art, poetry, drama, dance, and music with a cultural theme and will include a question and answer session with the student performers and a reception. “Breaking Piñatas” is recommended for ages 13 and up. For reservations or information, please call 816-718-1220 or email

Reading from their original poetry will be high school (and some college) students who range from first-timers to a few experienced readers, including the youngest members of the Latino Writers Collective. Many of the student poets belong to a poetry club Villalobos helped form at Alta Vista High School, La Sociedad Poetica de Alta Vista (the Alta Vista Poetic Society). Last year, Alta Vista’s yearbook included a poem the group had written for “Breaking Piñatas.”

“Our kids have a lot to say, and they need to be heard,” says Villalobos.

Also performing original work will be student musicians, singers, dancers, choreographers, and actors, with a special guest performance by El Grupo Folklorico Atotonilco, a folkloric dance troupe that has been working with local youth for over 30 years. The auditorium will also contain a display of original art by local Latino artists.

The series is co-sponsored by BkMk Press, Guadalupe Centers, Inc., Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City Hispanic News, Kansas Hispanic & Latino American Affairs Commission, Mattie Rhodes Latino Cultural Arts Division, New Letters, Park University, UMKC College of Arts & Sciences, UMKC Multicultural Student Affairs, and The Writers Place. The series is made possible in part by funding from the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.

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