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Monday, March 13, 2017

Professor In the Pub Reflection

Wedneday's lambda literary event Professors in the Pub was a beautiful showcase of prose from the queer latino/a community. What was most interesting about the event as a whole was the use of space not only as a noun to house the event, but space as a verb, where communities can congregate and associate in a safe and welcoming environment. The prose of all three writers, whether by coincidence or by choice, was a great example a queer timeline. 

Claudia Rodriguez’s prose focused heavily on the beginnings of queerness, and what it was like growing up as a queer Latina in Compton. Richard Vallegas, was able to develop that narrative further as his words centered around an adult who has lived his prime out and proud and now reflects on his past histories and the spaces he has visited. Finally, Professor Gaspar de Alba’s prose acts a beautiful chronicle of the life of queerness and the different phases of life that transform us. 

The black cat, an indicative aspect of the queer community of Los Angeles is now a trendy bar that barely touches upon the history the original place saw. This element of the the loss of history, and a loss of a portion of identity is reflected in the works of Vallegas and Gaspar de Alba, who describe the pain that comes from the loss of a specific space that holds meaning. The camaraderie and memories that the Black Cat created is dwindling away, but not yet totally lost. Just as Vallegas explains that the 9 discotechs he would frequent, act as a place of resistance where identity is formed. One line that I love so much from his work was “Our places, place us.” I think that is so true and was a great segway into Gaspar de Alba’s work that reflected on the whole lifespan, and the levels and phases of life and love that are so important in the lives of lesbians. Her tribute was so touching and honest without being too invasive was a wonderful insight into the life of someone that seems so put together and accomplished but has had her pitfalls. 

It was a really beautiful night filled with great prose and pride, formulated in a creative and inspiring way.

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