We had the good fortune of connecting with William Nericcio and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi William, what role has risk played in your life or career?
All in. It is terrifying, but you have to be ALL IN. And you have to be risking failures simultaneously–you would think: “I am terrified but I am going to risk it” and from there one might imagine that you stay put with that. Making ONE risk. But no, the next morning, take another big risk, another long shot gambit. That’s what I did I ended up in the Ivy League, getting a Ph.D., and altering the dynamics of my future forever. My late great friend Leon Lanzbom, a former student who became my best friend and who was the best guitarist I have ever seen save for Eddie Van Halen and Eric Clapton, was Jewish. He shared this proverb with me, something along the lines of: “Always shoot for the stars … that way if you fail, you’ll at least land on the roof; but if you aim for the roof, you will likely stay in the dirt, so shoot for the stars.” I probably mangled it, but you get the gist (sorry Leon!). I always remember that–especially since he passed early at 54 of heart failure. Go for it: the stars, today; tomorrow; and the next day!

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
As I am a Professor of English by day (not necessarily the first job you would associate with Art; most folks associate that gig with the idea that I spend my day with a yardstick correcting grammar and grimacing awfully), it might come as a surprise to know that I am a visual artist associated with a traveling exhibition called Mextasy (all you need to know about that, too much!, is here: http://mextasy.blogspot.com/2017/01/what-is-mextasy-primer-on-guillermo.html) The short version of the story is the Mextasy, the exhibition, was born out of the success of “Tex[t]-Mex: Seductive Hallucinations of the “Mexican” in America” the 2007 book I authored for the University of Texas Press. Crazy sales of the book (for an academic) led to a push for more (and for, more specifically) a traveling show based on all the art and cultural artifacts (including stereotypes of Latinas/os) that the book exposes. That book and that show led to an Anthony Bourdain-style TV show proposal/pilot) that was not picked up by the networks (though pitched to Lionsgate, Netflix, and PBS). You can see that pilot/teaser here: https://vimeo.com/118944349

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The perfect day begins with breakfast in Encintas, Calfifornia, at Pannikans–then a quick dash down to Fletcher’s cove in Solana Beach. Lunch and brews, many!, at Pizza Port, there in Solana. Then maybe a hop onto the train to LA and Union Station, with a quick Lyft over to the Last Bookstore in downtown LA. Then take the train back down to Solana for a concert at the Belly-Up or down near the airport at the Casbah. That would be a magic day–and a dream, really given the pandemic.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I dedicate my shoutout to Professors Arturo Aldama (University of Colorado, Boulder) and Frederick Luis Aldama (the Ohio State University), and Theresa May (not the former UK Prime Minister, but the former editor of the University of Texas Press).

Website: http://malas.sdsu.edu/textmex
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/william.nericcio/
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nericcio/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/eyegiene
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/william.nericcio/
Other: https://eyegiene.tumblr.com

Image Credits
all images are my creations … if you need to you can credit ©Guillermo Nericcio García

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