Readings and Interviews

Oral History Interview with Diosa Costello | August 2011

Often referred to as the original “Latin Bombshell,” the Museum collected the oral history of singer, dancer and actress Diosa Costello. The interview was conducted by curators Dwight Bower and Marvette Pérez at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas’ Black Box Theatre. Costello, born in Guayama, Puerto Rico, moved to New York’s Spanish Harlem with her family in her early teens. Her dream was to break into show business and she eventually did just that, performing with the then-undiscovered conga player, Desi Arnaz. In 1939, Costello became the first Latina to appear on Broadway. Costello’s distinct style, talent and beautiful voice were featured in Broadway hits like “Too Many Girls” and “South Pacific.” The museum was honored to collect the history of this pioneer of music, film and theater and received a donation of 11 of Costello’s costumes for the museum collections.

In His Own Words: A Conversation with Junot Díaz | Sept. 17, 2010

In this energetic program, NPR journalist Felix Contreras interviewed widely-acclaimed and celebrated author Junot Díaz about his 2007 novel, “The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2008. Díaz spoke about his life, family, migration, the Dominican American experience and the creative writing process. This program was organized jointly by the Museum, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, and the Smithsonian Latino Center.

“Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program 1942-1964” Poetry Reading | September 2009

Poets Diana Garcia and QuiQue Aviles readportions of their own poetry in the exhibition space where “Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program 1942-1964” was presented in 2009-2010. The exhibition has since tranveled throughout museums in the United States.Garcia, a Latina poet and professor of humanities and communication at California State University, Monterey Bay, read from her poetry collection, “When Living was a Labor Camp.” Aviles, a Salvadoran-American poet and performer, read from his collection, “The Immigrant Museum.”