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Edward James Olmos headlines Cornell Chicano Festival, April 26-28

College students from several East Coast states will visit Cornell the weekend of April 26- 28 for a conference celebrating Mexican-American art and culture.

"A Celebration of Chicana/o Cultural Productions: Utilizing Art as a Tool for Empowerment" is open to the public and will feature a lecture by filmmaker and actor Edward James Olmos on Saturday, April 27, at 8:30 p.m. in Statler Hall Auditorium. Free tickets will be available for Olmos' lecture, with one ticket per Cornell I.D., at the Information and Referral Center in Day Hall on April 25 and April 26 on a first-come, first-served basis.

Olmos directed the film American Me and appeared regularly on "Miami Vice," as well as in the films Stand and Deliver and Mi Familia. Last year, he won a Golden Globe award for best supporting actor for his work in HBO's Burning Season. He last spoke at Cornell in April 1993.

In addition to his Saturday evening lecture, Olmos will give a workshop from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

Leading other Saturday workshops will be award-winning writers Benjamin Alire Saenz and Jose Antonio Burciaga; actress Rose Portillo; Cornell English Professor Ben Olgu’n; and Cornell student Adriana Palafox '97, the founder of Ballet Folklorico Mexicano, which will perform during the weekend.

"Our goal for this conference is to bring well-known artists, filmmakers, dancers and writers to Cornell to present and discuss how their art can be used as tools for empowerment," said Jennifer Estep '96, conference chair for the Cornell chapter of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztl‡n, which is sponsoring the conference.

One of about 300 M.E.Ch.A. chapters nationally, the Cornell group works to foster community and security -- by building bridges between the campus Latino and non-Latino organizations -- and to increase the university's recruitment and retention of Chicano and Chicana students.

Except for a Saturday evening dinner, all conference workshops are free and open to the public; however, they do require registration since availability is limited. Registration will be held on Friday, April 26, from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Class of '28 community center. For further information about the conference, call Jennifer Estep at (607) 273-3786.