Nicole to address Boise forum on life in exile

The Exploring Amor and Exile Last Thursday Series, in partnership with Boise City Arts and History Department Artists in Residence Program at 8th Street Marketplace, presents A Slice of Life in Exile at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday August 25, 2011 at the Cole/Marr Coffee and Photography Workshop.

Nicole and Margarito

Amor and Exile coauthor and native New Yorker Nicole Salgado will share a slice of her life in exile in Queretaro, Mexico, where she’s lived for the past 5 years with her husband Margarito and their daughter, who was born last fall. Along with Salgado’s slice of life in exile, you will hear readings from popular blogs by other Americans in exile because of their partners’ immigration woes. Salgado will narrate a photo slideshow, share a recipe from her cookbook, The Bajio’s Bounty, and field Q&A from the audience. Join us!

Event details:
Thursday, August 25, 7:30pm – 9:00pm
The Cole/Marr Photography Workshops
404 S. 8th Street, Lower Level
Boise, ID
FREE (beverages and snacks available for purchase from our lovely hosts)

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Tony and Janina’s American Wedding, a Boise screening

“Tony & Janina’s American Wedding” Trailer from Ruth Leitman on Vimeo.

The Exploring Amor and Exile Last Thursday Series, in partnership with Boise City Arts and History Dept. Artists in Residence Program at 8th Street Marketplace, will present Ruth Leitman’s award-winning immigration documentary Tony & Janina’s American Wedding this week.

Film Premier Details
What: Tony & Janina’s American Wedding
When: 7-9 p.m., Thursday June 30, 2011
Where: The Cole/Marr Photography Workshops, 8th Street Marketplace, Lower Level, 404 S. 8th St, Boise, Idaho
Suggested donations of $7 – $10 will benefit the filmmakers as they take the film across the country and fight to reunite Tony and Janina. Or support the film on its IndieGoGo page.

Tony & Janina’s American Wedding is a feature length documentary that gets to the heart of the broken, red-tape ridden U.S. immigration system. After 18 years in America, Tony and Janina Wasilewski’s family is torn apart when Janina is deported back to Poland, taking their six-year-old son Brian with her. Set on the backdrop of the Chicago political scene, and featuring Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez at the heart of the immigration reform movement, this film follows the Wasilewski’s three-year struggle to be reunited, as their Senator, Barack Obama, rises to the Presidency. With a fresh perspective on the immigration conversation, this film tells the untold, post-9/11 human rights story that every undocumented immigrant in America faces today, with the power to open the conversation for change.

Read an interview with Leitman and Tony Wasilewski at the Baltimore City Paper and a profile in the Chicago Tribune.

A conversation on Ciudad Juarez, violence and media imagination

Last Thursdays Series: Exploring Amor and Exile

May 26, 7-8:30 pm
Cole/Marr Coffee House in the Lower Level of the 8th Street Marketplace in Boise, Idaho (next to Café Olé – 404 S. 8th Street)

Exploring Amor and Exile #2

The Santa Fe Bridge over the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo between El Paso and Juarez

The 8th Street Artist in Residence Last Thursday Series continues this month with a trip to the U.S.-Mexico border. An un-panel of experts (you and I) will invade our media-fogged brains with a cascading presentation of social, cultural, political and economic perspectives on Ciudad Juarez and the border region.

This event will include literary, journalistic, musical, visual and YouTube takes on the reality and symbology of “Juarez”. Some material may contain violent imagery.

Here is a starter source list for the discussion, just some things that I’ve been reading of late. I’ve chosen 12 perspectives from which to analyze Ciudad Juarez … I’m sure there are more and there are tons more sources we could explore. So please add to the Google Doc linked above and comment on the references already listed.

Public journalism

Thursday night I hosted the first of a monthly series of events in Boise, Idaho tied to the topic of Amor and Exile. I am currently serving as one of the 8th Street Artists in Residence (AiR) in downtown Boise; I get free office space in a very cool building, in exchange for monthly programming in the building. See Boise Weekly’s original story on the program for more on the idea of the residency.

For the first event of the Exploring Amor and Exile series, I piped in Ben and Deyanira, from Playa del Carmen in Mexico, via Skype. I’ve known Ben for several years as a fellow personality in the Idaho media landscape. He hosts a two hour talk and news segment on La Fantastica 970 AM, a Spanish language station in Idaho’s Magic Valley. In 2007, his fiancee, Deyanira, was detained at LAX on her way to Idaho Falls for their wedding. She was then deported back to Mexico, bouquet in hand, because she tried to enter on a valid tourist visa, rather than a marriage visa. Ben has been living in Mexico for about three years now, waiting out her three-year ban and trying to figure out what to do next.

Here is their story, in their own words, as told to a group of about 15 people in Boise Thursday night.

Exploring Amor and Exile #1 | A short video from the first in the Exploring Amor and Exile series at Boise’s 8th Street Marketplace. (Call Recorder to be purchased ex post facto).

I have interviewed Ben a half a dozen times in the last six months and have already written up much of their story. But this public interview was extremely valuable for several reasons. First of all—and this is hard to admit—I screwed up Deyanira’s last name in my notes. Ben corrected me right away in the comments under the Facebook invite for the event.

I also thought to ask them, for the first time, how they would compare U.S. Homeland Security to the Instituto Nacional de Migración, Mexico’s immigration system; Ben will soon be eligible to become a Mexican citizen. Ben replied (after giving props to the immigration office in San Miguel de Allende, where he used to live): “It’s the same old, same old, I mean, there’s no difference, you go from one country to the next, same thing. I’ve seen how the migra treats the Central American people who come over the [Mexican] border …”

The audience—I should say, the people we journalists formerly considered the audience—sat next to me on comfy couches, during the interview, and jumped in at several points with questions. People wanted to know about the deportation experience, about life and work in Mexico, and most interestingly, about efforts to unite mixed-status couples like Ben and Deyanira to throw more weight at Washington, D.C. So I learned more about what the public wants to know about their story and I think everyone who attended learned something new as well.

My attempts to organize and formalize this public interview process were less successful. I created a public Google Doc that participants could edit during the event. This was inspired by a post I read a few months back on ProfHacker, a blog I read when I pretend at being a teacher. Unfortunately none of the attendees had laptops and I did not have time to coach people on editing Google Docs on their mobiles. I emailed the link out to a dozen attendees after the event, but no one has taken the initiative to provide feedback, followup questions, etc. I find it difficult to interview, moderate, monitor Skype and also mark up a Google Doc, so maybe it’s a multitasking problem.

I’m going to try again next month with crowdsourcing the interview experience, maybe with a little more advance prep for the audience participants. I think that Google Docs has the potential to do this, but if any readers have ideas for other tools to use, please comment below.

Exploring Amor and Exile #2 is at 7 pm, May 26 at Cole/Marr in Boise … the topic will be announced soon. You can subscribe to our event calendar (ical), or just check it out on the site.