In fact, the connection between sister cities Chicago and Mexico City is the basis of the fourth annual fest, a weeklong series of readings, conversations, and performances—all collaborations between authors and artists from both cities.
“Chicago and Mexico City have been interconnected for decades,” says festival and MAKE Literary Magazine co-founder Sarah Dodson, adding that the idea began with a special English/Spanish edition of MAKE in 2013. “We realized we’d like to build from that experience, so we created an exchange between the two cities.”
The magazine also runs an encore event in Mexico City, which will take place later this winter.
This year's Lit & Luz Festival is bigger and has more partners than before, Dodson says. It doesn’t hurt that the participants include one of Mexico’s most famous living novelists, Cristina Rivera Garza, as well as the Chicago-based author of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, Erika L. Sanchez, who was shortlisted for a National Book Award this fall.
“The Mexican participants are, with the exception of the wonderful Eduardo Rabasa, all women,” Dodson adds. “For an arts culture that has long been male-dominated, it’s exciting to have this exceptional, intergenerational group on the same Chicago stage.”
Capping off the fest will be “Belonging: A Live Magazine Show Extravaganza” on Saturday at the Co-Prosperity Sphere in Bridgeport, where the creative teams will debut their collaborative works. Courtesy of the festival’s managing artistic director, Jessica Anne, here’s what you’ll see at that show and other festival events throughout the city this week.
Jac Jemc (author of The Grip Of It) and Amalia Pica (artist exhibited at the MCA)
“In their collaboration, Amalia and Jac play on the short selections of a script that actors prepare for auditions. The only rule of the exchange was that it could not be discussed or talked about. And they seem to be incorporating themes of communication and identity. Jac may or may not wear a cone of silence costume in performance.”
Eduardo Rabasa (author of The Zero-Sum Game) and Danny Giles (sculptor and performance artist)
“The wildly talented duo of Danny and Eduardo are developing a powerful interdisciplinary exploration of power—who holds it, who shares it, and who takes it.”
Nate Marshall (poet, author of Wild Hundreds), Carla Faesler (poet and novelist), and Selina Trepp (multimedia artist and performer)
“Selina, Nate, and Carla are compiling a list of definitions, cultural instructions, and exceptions. They are incorporating literal and symbolic representations of screens, mirror boxes, projections, and cameras to explore live analog creation.”
Aura Xilonen (novelist and filmmaker) and Coya Paz (writer and artistic director at Free Street Theater)
“Coya and Aura are creating a high-energy, highly theatrical 10-minute play about language.”
“Erika and Cristina are developing a process-based piece, writing first in their second language (Spanish and English respectively) and translating it again and again until radically changing its nature. The translation is the creation.”