Saturday, November 17, 2007

Past book presentation at the University of Kentucky


"The Making of A Cuban Gay Activist in Exile: Reinaldo Arenas"

Dr. Rafael Ocasio,
Charles A. Dana Professor of Spanish,
Agnes Scott College

Friday, November 16, 4:45-6:00PM

Student Center Addition, Room 230

Reinaldo Arenas (1943-1990), the renowned exile Cuban novelist and short-story writer, became one of the most vocal figures among political activists opposed to the Castro regime shortly after his arrival in the United States on May 5, 1980 as a penniless Marielito refugee. This
presentation examines his rising trajectory in the United States as a controversial political activist, a role that he maintained until his death by suicide. On a more personal level, I also trace my relationship with Arenas while doing research on this intriguing writer, in a journey that I started some twenty years ago as a graduate student at the University of Kentucky. -Rafael Ocasio

Friday, November 9, 2007

Frameline E-News on A Gay Cuban Activist in Exile

Subject of the films Before Night Falls and Odd People Out, Reinaldo Arenas is the subject of a new book by Rafael Ocasio, A Gay Cuban Activist in Exile. Examining Arenas's fiction, critical articles, the epic poem El Central, and hundreds of letters to friends and critics, Ocasio explores the writer's bold criticism of the Castro regime and his bitter conflict with notable pro-Castro supporters such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The book is available from the University Press of Florida.

Frameline E-News, November 8, 2007

"Seres extravagantes"; "Odd People Out"

“This documentary explores issues left inconclusive in Arenas’s autobiography, particularly issues about his arrest on charges of corruption of minors and about his sham marriage. Interviews with fellow writers Antón Arrufat and Delfín Prats and a close friend Tomás Fernández Robaina…are of particular importance, because Prats and Fernández Robaina appear characterized in a rather satirical light in Arenas’s autobiography. Also speaking about Arenas’s sexual views is Ingrid González, a former actress, whom Arenas married in 1973 in order to gain access to goods and services available only to married couples…Arenas’s conflictive relationship with his mother Oneida comes across dramatically in the short but emotional interview with the aged woman. This documentary effectively portrays dramatic glimpses of a multi-faceted, rebellious sexual outlaw. Arenas has become an icon among Latin American and Latino gays who often suffer from the homophobic attitudes of their native societies.”

- Rafael Ocasio, Charles A. Dana Professor of Spanish, Agnes Scott College, and author of the forthcoming book A Gay Cuban Activist in Exile: Reinaldo Arenas, University Press of Florida.