¿Donde Esta Mi Gente? Right Here!

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The last show of the festival was like the first two, packed crowd, so many people some had to sit on the ground, stand near the door, but there was a certain energy in the room, a quiet spark before the show started, that stayed throughout the show, that got bigger and bigger till it burst into the clapping and standing ovation we got at the end. The audience was at the edge of their seat the entire show. The writers gave their all, the festival came to a close with a joyous high note and we are incredibly grateful for the experience. At the end when all the writers were on stage against the back drop of such incredible art with so many people clapping as hard as they were, it felt so perfect. It felt like, I will insert what it felt like later. 140419 Baruch Porras-Hernandez Donde Esta Mi Gente!-8899This whole journey started out with a simple question. For years I (Baruch Porras-Hernandez, program director) would go to spoken word shows, poetry shows, poetry readings and ask where are all the Latinos? I would go to a poetry slam and sometimes find one, like Christina Perez, or if I was lucky two in the same space, like Gabriel Cortez and Kay Nilsson. But almost always I would find myself asking that question, ¿Donde Esta Mi Gente? Where are the folks like me?, and I am so incredibly and eternally grateful to Galería de la Raza for helping me answer that question, for supporting me in this journey, this quest to gather up 22 different Latino writers from different backgrounds and bring them together to celebrate the Latino voice and to, get to see them do their thing.

140419 Baruch Porras-Hernandez Donde Esta Mi Gente!-8668We of course started the show with a note from Galería de la Raza’s Executive Director, my jefa, the lady in charge Ani Rivera. I have to take a moment to thank this lady. From the beginning, since the moment I entered the space she has been incredibly welcoming and supportive. She spoke to the audience of Galería de la Raza’s mission, about the Regen Artist fund and got us off to a good start. Then we began the show with our sacrificial poet Estela de la Cruz, who was one of our poets in the festival, she featured the second day when we performed at Magnet but was in the audience so I asked her to do one piece to break the seal, and or in slam terms, “spread the blood.” haha. She did an excellent job.140419 Baruch Porras-Hernandez Donde Esta Mi Gente!-8673 After that the night for me was intense. I jumped back and forth from organizer host, to someone who just wanted to sit back and enjoy the show, listen to every single poet, but that was hard cause as an organizer you have to make sure everything is going smoothly, so you’re awareness of everything, every detail, every thing that might go wrong, everything that is going right is on full blast. But then the poets would perform and I would be moved and I would find myself just relaxing and enjoying the show. Sarah C.  Jiménez, a  Program Specialist at Mission Girls, a community organization that targets the growth and development of young Latinas, who is getting her MFA in creative writing at Mills College showed off her stuff as she read to us from her work, it was a wonderful story and the audience loved her. Then we had Marisela Treviño Orta. Marisela is one of the oldest friends I have here in San Francisco. She is one of the first writers I met when I moved here. She is now primarily a playwright, her work is being produced all over the place, but she has an MFA in Poetry and I love her poems, so I when she agreed to join us for the night I was very excited. 140419 Baruch Porras-Hernandez Donde Esta Mi Gente!-8674 140419 Baruch Porras-Hernandez Donde Esta Mi Gente!-8689Then something really special happened, my mother Victoria Hernandez came up to the stage (she nearly killed me, she is very shy and was trying to chicken out, but I was very pushy) she took the mic like a pro and recited one of her pieces by heart, and killed it. Took the room and won them over from the moment she stepped on stage. It was amazing. I was so moved and touched. I’ve been organizing poetry shows for a long time. It had always been one of my dreams to have my mother recite one of her poems at one of my shows. This was one of tbe best gifts an organizer could ask for.

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Then the room to had to fan themselves cause the very handsome Tomas Moniz came to the stage and not only is he sexy, he is a badass writer, he read to us from his collection of small poems, and broke some hearts. Tomas and MK Chavez are two of the curators and organizers of Lyrics and Dirges in Berkeley and I was very happy to work with them during this festival. Then MK Chavez took the mic and did some of my favorite poems.

140419 Baruch Porras-Hernandez Donde Esta Mi Gente!-8715 140419 Baruch Porras-Hernandez Donde Esta Mi Gente!-8691After MK, we had Gabriel Cortez take the stage. Gabriel Cortez is one of my favorite writer performers right now, like all of the folks in the line up, he is also an organizer, educator, and is bringing a lot of attention to the work that Latino writers performers do. He did some poems first about hie grandfather then his grandmother and did an incredible job. After Gabriel Cortez we got some more poetry in Spanish from the adorable Kay Nilsson. Kay is young, (the youngest writer in the festival actually) young, but mighty, he took the mic and made everybody swoon with his words, I was so happy and proud to see audience fall in love with his writing as much as I am.140419 Baruch Porras-Hernandez Donde Esta Mi Gente!-8722 140419 Baruch Porras-Hernandez Donde Esta Mi Gente!-8734

After Kay performed we were blessed with Christina Pérez. Christina was one of the first Latina slam poets I ever encountered in the scene, back when I was transitioning out of my life as a full time actor and into wanting to be a spoken word artist, she was there, she was winning points and audiences over, she has ran numerous slams herself and is an educator, a mother. Her writing is incredible and when she performs the room is changed. That night she wowed the entire audience. It is an incredible feeling, only curators know, when you love an artist’s work as much as I love Christina Pérez‘s work, to see an audience fall in love with it instantly, to see then freak out, and be scared and moved and get tears in their eyes, the way you did when you first heard the artist’s poetry, that feeling is why curator/organizers do what we do. Christina Pérez did what I admire in artists, made them laugh, cry and think all in one set. 140419 Baruch Porras-Hernandez Donde Esta Mi Gente!-8767

I did some pieces myself, I was a little out of it, cause even though I spent some time putting my set list together, organizer stress and running around getting ready for the show I forgot my set list and my poems on my kitchen table, so I did some poems I had sort of memorized and some that I had in my bag, it was still a good set, and I was happy with the performance. I started with my poem titled Resting Gently on her UniBrow. Then did a series of poems I’m currently calling the Where Are They Now poems, which are poems about Aztec/Mexica gods that envision them as they would be now in 2014, asking what are they doing now? What have the transformed into? Then ended with a poem titled Que Digan Que Estoy Dormido, which is also the title of the manuscript I’m working on. 140419 Baruch Porras-Hernandez Donde Esta Mi Gente!-8665

Then the legendary Guillermo Gómez-Peña took the stage and rocked the house. I was very very honored to have him be a part of this show. I have known about his work for a very long time, but I never ever thought that I would meet him. Then I took the Performance Art workshop with him and the Pocha Nostra group and the way I see performance art was turned upside down. During the workshop Guillermo Gómez-Peña asked some of us that are writers to begin the session with a poem, a recitation, an incantation into the universe and sometimes he read some of his poems that I thought, were fantastic, so when I was putting this show together I thought I had to ask him to participate. When he graciously accepted I was over the moon. He had Denise Benavides open for him, Denise is also a festival poeta, she performed with us the first day of the festival at Books Inc. She was great and the audience fell in love with her again.140419 Baruch Porras-Hernandez Donde Esta Mi Gente!-8784 Then Guillermo Gómez-Peña did his thing and was a true rockstar. The audience was taken on a journey and one of the best parts of his performance was when he screamed into the air “God Bless?” a question, and lead the audience in a call and response, on countries, things, places that God should bless, he would scream “God Bless?” and someone from the audience would answer “Uganda!” then he screamed “God bless, my left testicle!”, then the part came when he screamed “God bless?!” and someone from the audience responded “Your right testicle!” making the room explode with laughter and then, being the true performer that he is, without skipping a beat Guillermo responded “And your left chi chi!” It was pretty epic. After everyone had a change to perform their poetry the surprise part of the evening happened.140419 Baruch Porras-Hernandez Donde Esta Mi Gente!-8810

When I first envisioned doing this project, I knew I wanted 4 poets to perform with me and a musician doing poetry and music together, then the show turned into a festival and then I added 18 more writers. But I still wanted to keep the original 4 and rehearse with music, so we did. At the end of the night Daniel Owens walked up to the stage with his guitar and MK, Gabriel, Kay, Christina and myself all recited a poem while he played the guitar. MK Chavez read her poem The Patron Saint of Wayward Girls, which I think is just beautiful, and went so well with the music that Daniel picked. Gabriel Cortez then performed his poem called Machete about his great grandfather, and crocodile hunting, and violence and trauma. After Gabriel, Kay Nilsson did a beautiful piece in Spanish called Silencio, then Christina Perez brought the house down with her poem called The Worst Day. Everyone was moved, a lot of people were in tears.

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At the end of the show I did a piece currently titled The Temple of Cigarette Smoke. I am very grateful to Daniel Owens for joining us this evening. Him and I have been working together a long time, he is a highly talented musician, singer song writer, and I knew the writers would be in good hands with him.

This entire festival has been a wonderful experience. I am so happy that Galeria de la Raza decided to let me put it together. I have seen writers make discoveries, I’ve witnessed writers discovering each other. I’ve seen audiences share a breath, be at the edge of their seats, cry together, I’ve seen Latino writers network, share stories, help each other, support each other. One of my favorite parts of this festival was how diverse the audiences were. I was very focused on having an all Latino line up each night, but I was hoping to share Latino writer’s work with more than just a Latino audience base, which is why I decided to branch out away from the Mission in those first two shows. But even the audience in at the Galeria was very diverse, we had folks of all ages, sizes, we had straight folks, queer folks, all races, I was very very happy with that.

I am want to thank Ani Rivera, Mark McBeth who took all our pictures on the 19th, Blythe Baldwin who took our pictures on the 12th, Dylan Amaro-Mcintyre for volunteering his time and his car, Bob Guter, Evan Karp, Korima Press, The Marsh, Magic Theatre, Alec White, Books Inc, Magnet, Yosimar, Sarah Dopp, all the folks who donated to the IndieGoGo campaign, Peet’s Coffee and Tea for donating some coffee for our show on the 12th, and a big big thank you to Carrie Gocker, thank you to all the writers that participated, especially Alejandro Murguia, Avotcja, and Guillermo Gómez Peña, and a very very special thank you to  Wonder Dave, for all his time and hard work that he put into making this festival happen.

There is so much more to come folks, this, hopefully will not be the last you hear from us, if we get more funding next year, if there is a big call to make it happen again from the people, we will having a festival like this again. Till then stay tuned, I will be updating our Donation page to praise all the funders with infinite gratitude and will be adding a new page to show off the videos of the poets doing their poems.

thank you to everyone that came, everyone that helped me spread the word and to all the people that inspired me and encouraged me to make this show a reality, but most importantly, thank you to Galería de la Raza. Without their Regen Artist grant and all of their support this festival would have not been possible.

Much love, hasta pronto

Baruch Porras-Hernandez, Festival Program Director.

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Tonight is the night!

Buy your tickets now for the ¿DONDE ESTA MI GENTE? Latino Spoken Word Show, here!


WHEN?:  tonight! April 19th

WHERE?: AT Galería de la Raza! 2857 24th Street SAN FRANCISCO! Near 24th Street Bart! In the heart of the Mission!

WHAT TIME?:  7:30pm

HOW MUCH?: 10 to 20dollars sliding scale fund raiser. This show will sell out, if you buy your tickets online they are 15 bucks, but it guarantees you a spot in the house!

and here it is, the last sneak peek!

Almost There!

bannerbannerbanner yeah yeahHey everyone, this has been one wild ride! We are almost at the last day of the festival! This Saturday at Galería de la Raza! 7:30pm! 10 to 20 sliding scale! The show may sell out, so I would buy your tickets now if you want to make sure you get a spot in the show.

Click here to buy tickets!

Been really busy and working hard to spread the word. I spent the last week walking around passing out fliers and putting up posters, which is something I’ve been doing for about 5 years now. I love taking to the streets and talking to people in person about what I’m doing, about writing and the spoken word. I like asking people when was the last time they heard something that moved them, outloud? 20140416_193137

I say to them, you know that meme, or image, or inspirational quote you read last at work, to yourself that made you all teary eyed? Imagine that for about 5 minutes, set in a poem, recited outloud to your ears, that is spoken word! A lot, a LOT of people look at me like I’m crazy, but I remind them, that there is a beauty in that exchange, there is something about poetry out loud that wakes people up, breathes new life into them. The folks that listen, hear stories of when I go to a show and feel new, reborn, or just get to feel again. Now, these moments are rare, most of the time folks give me dirty looks or say “I’m just going to throw this away.” or “Dude, I’m going to Tahoe that weekend.” or walk away from me. Most of the time it is me, by myself putting posters on poles, walls, cafes, video stores, or holding the poster while my cohost the most amazing Blythe Baldwin tapes them up or push pins them to a cork board, and on we go! 20140416_193145

Last night I put them up around the Castro again, two ladies walked by that seemed cool, so I said that to them “You two seem cool, cool people go to this show.” and handed them the flier, they looked at me and looked at the flier and said “Oh! We love spoken word.” I asked “Really?!” they said “Yeah, we watch it on youtube all the time.” I said, “Well, this is like that, but LIVE.” they blinked. I said “Like a youtube video but, the person is infront of you.” they laughed at me, and said they’ll try to make it. It felt good to be out and about, talking to folks, even the ones that thought that they would never go to a poetry show, or the ones that laughed at the thought of it, it was nice to get to talk to people. On my way to the Castro the 24 I was on Jerked going up hill and my back got violently jammed into my hard plastic seat. It was very painful and throughout the night the pain got worse and worse and worse. I passed out fliers at SmackDab the open mic at Magnet and walked back to the Mission passing out fliers and putting up posters.

By the time was at Mission and 24th, the pain was excruciating, I wanted to lay down on the sidewalk and just let the earth take me, hahaha, but instead I distracted myself by taking pictures of signs that I liked. Then I took  SELFIES! Yay! 10155759_10151967020936086_7898423345930351273_nSelfies next to signs that I like. Like the Lucky Pork Store. I like pork, pork likes me. What does this have to do with ¿Donde Esta Mi Gente? NOTHING! HAHAHA! ok.

I I’m really looking forward to the show on Saturday. A talented writer named Sarah C. Jimenez is going to be reading a poem or two, a good friend that is a playwright but has a masters in poetry is going to read as well, Marisela Treviño Orta, I’ve known her for a long time. Two folks I highly admire who run the Berkeley literary series Lyrics and Dirges, Tomas Moniz and MK Chavez will also be performing. The very talented and famous Gabriel Cortez and Kay Nilsson will be performing as well. Christina Perez a top notch slam poet, performer, writer organizer is going to do a set, and the legendary Guillermo Gómez Peña is going to be there as well, opening for him, will be Denise Benavides. This is a line up that was very fun to put together, each poet is Latino, Latina, but each one is so unique, dynamic, diverse, electrifying, in different parts of their careers, I am going to be one happy Mexican when we all share the stage together.

BE THERE THIS SATURDAY THE 19TH at Galería de la Raza!! 7:30pm! 2857 24th Street

Here is a sneak peek at two of them Tomas Moniz and Kay Nilsson. Hope to see you all there!


Our Second night, we get deep and rock the mic!


Hi everyone, been busy back to back with work, planning gigs, getting ready for gigs and rehearsal, to post about last Saturday. I finally got a little change to catch my breath, and I am still walking on Latino Sunshine from how incredibly well our show went!Baruch infront The second installment of this three day festival, ¿DONDE ESTA MI GENTE? at Magnet in the Castro, was packed, the poetas were on fire, they delved deep, made us laugh and cry, and we could not have hoped for a better night.

We are so grateful to Magnet. I have to take a moment and talk about how special they are. I’ve been going to Magnet for a long time, not just cause I’m a gay man that needs a free clinic to make sure I’m up to date on everything and taking care of myself, but because they are a center for community art and performance. Magnet is where I have met a lot of my artist friends, Kirk Read, Larry-bob, Philip Huang, the sexy boys from Orchid and Hound. I’m so grateful that Magnet opened up their space for an event like this, and made space for  a show that focused on all types of Latinos. From the get go, they were excited about us, especially the handsome Jared Hemming, who was helpful every step of the way. The Crowd April 12th 2014

We filled all the seats pretty fast. People just kept coming in and coming in, at point in the show I had to ask folks to squeeze in and move to the other side of the clinic, the show was packed! So happy and grateful for that. We had 7 poets on the line up, and each one gave so much. Even my father read a poem. My father and my mother are both writers. Growing up, they were the first poets I met, and the first people to influence me artistically. My father had not read a poem at a mic, since, I guess, the 70s, but I talked him into reading his new poem and he said it was a great experience. The Host Baruuuuch april 2014

I brought coffee from Peet’s Coffee, who were generous enough to donate some coffee to our show! Showing that the Castro Peet’s supports their Latino community, coffee and poetry go very well together!

Gabriel Cortez did a sacrificial poem, and got the night started. Then Estela de la Cruz performed, followed by Dylan Amaro Mcintyre, Maya Chinchilla, Kay Nilsson did a special guest piece, Leo Bryant, Fish Vargas, then Jaime Cortez and we ended the night with the legendary Avotcja. This set of pictures were taken by Carrie Gocker, our graphic designer.

DEMg April 12th Estela DEMG 12th Gabriel Cortez KayNilsson DEMG 2014 at Magnet DemG april 12th my dad, and me. Dylan Amarao April 12th DEMG Estela de la CRuz at Magnet 2014 My father Jose Porras at DEMG 2014DemG Leo Bryant April 12th, 2014

Blythe Baldwin, cohost of The San Francisco Queer Open Mic was in the audience and took these sweet pics!

Avotcja! April 12thThe Host, Program Director, Writer of Poems.Maya DEMG 2014Jaime Cortez April 12th, 2014Leo BryantDylan DEMG April 12, 2014

We are so grateful to everyone that came, and everyone that donated at the show which helped us pay the poets for their work. Pay your poets, people!

We cannot wait for this Saturday, come join us for the final installment of ¿DONDE ESTA MI GENTE?! Which will be at Galería de la Raza, April 19th, 7:30pm, 15 dollars online to reserve a seat, 10 to 20 sliding scale at the door.

To buy your tickets now, click here!


Sneak Peek! With Estela de la Cruz!


Tonight is the night folks, come to the show at Magnet in the Castro, it starts at 7:30, doors open at 7, I think, the show is FREE, what more could you ask for? Want a little sneak peek? Check out this video, our next installment of the video series, with Estela de la Cruz, who will be joining us tonight at the show! Each poet that we have interviewed has touched our hearts, Estela’s work is unique and on fire, we were super happy to interview her and inspired by her story, and she’s pretty badass. Check it out, see you tonight, share with all your friends.

Rooftops and Poems with Fish Vargas


¿Que paso, gente? Been busy promoting this show and putting fliers in people’s hands, how is everyone? I hope you’ve been enjoying the videos, this video series is very special to my heart cause meeting and spending time with each poeta has been a truly incredible experience. Today I interviewed Maya Chinchilla and we had a blast in my living room talking about how both the theatre world and the poetry wold have collided with both our careers. I’ve interviewed poets in their homes, recording studios, my house, parks, the street, and the entry of a school, it has been an adventure and there’s more to come! Hey, check this out, for our show tomorrow Magnet is all prepared and ready and is letting the world know Photo Apr 08, 9 13 04 AM(1)This video though, is an interview we did with Fish Vargas, an incredible man and poet who took us to the rooftop of a building in Berkeley to do the interview and we have to say, it is honestly one of the best interviews we got. The stuff was so good and funny that my editor and I had trouble editing it down to make it short enough for a youtube video. After the festival we hope to get all these interviews up, fully, all of it, the bulk of them and all of their poems as well on the website, but for now, what you see is what you get, a little sneak peek of Fish Vargas, reading a poem he has never read before!

WATCH! And please share!

for more Fish and the rest of the crew, you got to, got to make it out tomorrow April 12th, to Magnet 4122 18th Street, in the Castro! 7:30 FREE!


In the Studio with Avotcja!(Avacha)

When I met Avotjca I was at one of the Lunadas, the Lunada Literary Lounge hosted by Sandra García Rivera at Galería de la Raza and she blew me away. Her really cool looking and sounding name is pronounced Avacha, and she is originally from New York, but has lived in California a long time.

She performed one piece and it was magical, I could tell she was a pro right away and instantly I knew I had to meet her and ask her to be a part of the festival. Right away we got a long and began talking about her literary and music performance series La Palabra Musical, now at Cafe Leila in Berkeley, 1724 San Pablo Avenue, her radio shows and all the great work she’s done in the community and I knew she was going to be a great addition to the festival.

This Saturday, Galería de la Raza presents ¿Donde esta mi Gente? at Magnet in the Castro.7:30pm FREE, cheeeeeeeeeeck it out! And please share Avotcja’s Video!

Bad Squirrels and Good Hustle, with JAIME CORTEZ

Hey everyone, we’re still walking on Latino sunshine from how well the event went last Saturday, thank you for helping us make it happen. Now we gotta make this Saturday just as big of a success! Go to our Facebook invite, we had to make a new one, and click join, join on in on the fun.


And make sure to share with all your friends. And we mean all of them. The festival is focused on Latino writers but we want our shows to inspire unity, last Saturday we were so incredibly happy to see a very diverse crowd, black folks, white folks, asian folks, latinos, queers, of all shapes and sizes were in the audience enjoying the poetry. We were so thankful.

So don’t forget folks Saturday April 12th! At Magnet, starts at 7:30pm FREE!

Now check out this awesome video, an interview with one of the readers of the show on Saturday Jaime Cortez!

And check out Denise Benavides! She performed last Saturday but we weren’t able to get her video up because our computer is old and cranky and kept crashing. But check out the video!!




Our First Night Full of Love, Passion, and Poesia!


The show tonight was packed! Packed! I’ve never seen Books Inc full of so many people! The performances were fantastic! I am so grateful! I am so thankful to each writer, the Bookstore staff, especially their event coordinator who worked so hard to make us feel welcome, and honestly gave me probably one of the best introductions I’ve ever had in my career, wow! Thank you to everyone that came out! To Galería de la Raza, to Bob Guter, and everyone that made tonight a success! Check out some fotoso from el Show!

20140405_191718Right when we got there the bookstore was ready! they were so thoughtful and patient and had the mic and chairs ready, aaaand they had bottle of water for us! I was so busy and frantic I don’t even know if I was able to get the bottle to all the writers.

When I got there, people were already there waiting for the show to start. I handed the program to everybody and made sure to keep one for later.

The bookstore had our back, look how prepared they were with the books pertaining to the writers!

20140405_191936I had the pleasure of hosting the show with the incredible Sandra García Rivera, who hosts and curates the Lunada Literary Lounge at Galería de la Raza. She was so much fun to work with. Without her and Galería, this event would have never happened. She did something very important that night, she reminded that we had to pay homage, respects, and take a moment to name all the poets that have done literary events like this in San Francisco in the past. She did, she named a long list and it was incredible to find out some of them were in the audience, what an honor.


She bookstore kept getting fuller and fuller, I was afraid we were going to get in trouble. 20140405_194053

Harold Terezón20140405_194842

Denise Benavides


Very very honored to have had Alejandro Murguía the poet laureate of San Francisco be a feature at the show. His performance was incredible.

20140405_200443Lorenzo Herrera y Lozano



Christina Perez20140405_203157

Lito Sandoval, Harold Terezón, and Baruch Porras-Hernandez




DON’T MISS next week’s part two of ¿Donde Esta Mi Gente? At Magnet on 18th in the Castro! 7:30pm FREE!