By Gaby Barrios
Quarantine has shown me all the ways a story can be told. A good story can live in the pages of a book, in the words of a social media post, or among the lines of a drawing. At the start of quarantine, I promised myself that I would produce a work of art every day. Though this started as a way to cope with the long stretches of working from home and worrying, it has become a self care ritual that brings me closer to others. I draw the everyday habits that make up my life. Things like painting my nails or doing laundry become the main highlights of my days. By placing them on social media, I like to think these images speak to my friends and family, telling them that the minutia of their lives deserves recognition and celebration. Nowadays I wash the dishes, clean my bathroom, and fold laundry just to have a sense of normalcy. When I draw these daily tasks, I try to show the ways in which they can be beautiful and the way they have always been interesting.
We recently sat down with Nestor “the Boss” Gomez, host of the storytelling podcast 80 Minutes Around the World and 40-time winner of the Moth Grand Slam.
Nestor, who used to stutter, hails from Guatemala and found his voice after migrating to Chicago, enrolling in high school, and learning to navigate a new culture. Currently, he uses his platform to encourage others to tell their stories.
“Every place, person and thing inspires a different story or poem,” he says.
This piece has been lightly edited for clarity.
The Journey North
My childhood was a very hard childhood. I was the second of four siblings. Actually, I’m the second of six. Two of my siblings died when they were very young. We were poor and my family made Guatemalan worry dolls [small cloth figures dressed in traditional Mayan clothing] that we sold at the airport and tourist shops.
Congratulations to the winners of the first annual Open Americas photography contest! We received high-quality submissions from across the hemisphere, making it difficult to select winners.
Images were judged for their ability to capture the richness of the diverse landscapes and environments of the Americas. The beautiful photos below were taken in Mexico, Brazil, the U.S., Colombia, and the Dominican Republic.
First Place, Nathaniel Morris
Second Place, Gabrielle Rocha Rios
Third Place, Eduardo Perme
Honorable Mention, Gabrielle Rocha Rios
Honorable Mention, Camilo Andrés Avila Manjarres
Honorable Mention, Edelio Aviles
By Laura Schroeder
My Big Confession
I am a reggaetón fan. There, I’ve said it.
Nothing gets me dancing quite like the pulsing bass and seductive hooks of popular reggaetón, and there is nothing like a classic Daddy Yankee or Don Omar track to ignite the dance floor with swinging hips and shuffling feet. Perhaps it’s my fond memories of travels in the Dominican Republic and Peru and my Fulbright year in Colombia that feed my affinity to the genre’s dembow beat and frenetically delivered lyrics. Perhaps it’s simply conducive to dancing.