Josefina L??pez Delivers Commencement Address to Alma Mater

Playwright, screenwriter, author to receive an Honorary Doctorate Degree in the Arts from Columbia College Chicago

By LatinoLA Contributor
Published on LatinoLA: May 13, 2015

Josefina L??pez Delivers Commencement Address to Alma Mater

Josefina L??pez, the award-winning playwright and co-screenwriter of Real Women Have Curves and Founding Artistic Director of CASA 0101 Theater in Boyle Heights, CA will receive an Honorary Doctorate Degree in the Arts from her Alma Mater, Columbia College Chicago on Saturday, May 16, 2016 at 10:00 a.m., at which time L??pez will deliver a Commencement Address to the Class of 2015. L??pez graduated with a B.A. degree in Liberal Arts from Columbia College Chicago in 1993.

Josefina L??pez said, "It is a great privilege for me to be invited to address the 2015 Columbia College Chicago graduating class. It is with great fondness that I remember my days as a graduate of the 1993 class at Columbia College Chicago, at which time my teachers instilled in me the confidence to believe in myself and my talents as a writer, establishing the firm foundation which led me to where I am today. I am very grateful for the opportunities I have been given since graduating from Columbia College Chicago. I plan to pass along to this year's graduating class things I have learned along the way, which I hope will be useful to them as they set out to conquer their own dreams and aspirations."

Commencement Ceremonies will be held on both May 16 and 17, 2015 at Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Parkway, Chicago, IL 60605. The Commencement Exercises will be streamed live via the Columbia College Chicago at To learn more, please visit the link,

More About Josefina L??pez:

Josefina L??pez (Playwright, Screenwriter, Founder and Artistic Director of CASA 0101 Theater, Producer) is best known for authoring the play and co-authoring the film Real Women Have Curves, a coming-of-age story about Ana, a first-generation Chicana torn between pursuing her college ambitions, a personal goal and securing employment, which is a family expectation. Along the way, Ana confronts a host of cultural assumptions about beauty, marriage and a woman's role in society. Although Real Women Have Curves is L??pez' most recognized work it is only one of many literary and artistic works she has created since her artistic career began at 17. Born in San Luis Potos?, Mexico to Catalina and Rosendo L??pez, on March 19, 1969, Josefina L??pez was five-years-old when she and her family immigrated to the United States and settled in the East Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights. She graduated in the first class from the Los Angeles High School for the Arts in 1987. She received a B.A. degree in Liberal Arts from Columbia College Chicago in 1993. In 1993 received an MFA degree in Screenwriting from UCLA's School of Theatre, Film and Television. L??pez was undocumented for 13 years before she received Amnesty in 1987 and eventually became a U.S. Citizen in 1995.

L??pez has been an activist and has been doing public speaking for over 20 years. She has lectured on various topics including Chicano Theater, Women's History Issues and Minority representation in Cinema at over 200 universities such as Yale, Darmouth, and University of Southern California. She also has a monthly column called "Ask A Wise Latina" in the Brooklyn and Boyle Newspaper. She has been the subject of countless television and radio interviews in which she has passionately discussed immigration issues and other controversial subjects concerning women and minorities.

L??pez is the recipient of a number of other awards and accolades, including a formal recognition from U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer's 7th Annual "Women Making History" banquet in 1998; and a screenwriting fellowship from the California Arts Council in 2001. She and Real Women Have Curves film co-author George LaVoo won the Humanitas Prize for Screenwriting in 2002, The Gabriel Garcia Marquez Award from Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn in 2003, the Artist-in-Residency grant from the National Endowment for the Arts/Theatre Communications Group for 2007 and a grant from The California Endowment in 2013.

In October of 2013 Josefina L??pez executive produced the film, Detained in the Desert, an adaptation of her play of the same name, through her new production shingle, Real Women Have Curves Studio?. The film received its World Premiere screenings at TCL 6 Chinese Theatre (formerly Grauman's Chinese Theatre and Mann's Chinese Theatre) as part of the 16th Annual Los Angeles Latino Film Festival. Since then the film has been screened in the 9th Annual Los Angeles International Women's Film Festival in Burbank, CA (2014, where it won Best Feature Film), the 21st Annual San Diego Latino Film Festival (2014), the 30th Annual Chicago Latino Film Festival (2014), the 11th Annual Reel Rasquache Art & Film Festival in Boyle Heights, CA (2014) and at Museum of Art and the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia (2014).

In June 2013 L??pez appeared as the Commencement Address Keynote Speaker at the Los Angeles High School for the Arts (LACHSA) Graduation Exercises at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. At the same time, she started the Lupe Ontiveros Memorial Scholarship in Theatre at LACHSA and bestowed the award upon the first winning recipient at the graduation ceremony.

L??pez has had more than 100 productions of her plays throughout the United States. In addition, she also paints, writes poetry, performs and designs. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of CASA 0101 Theater in Boyle Heights, CA (founded in 2000). At CASA 0101 her commitment is to teach screenwriting and playwriting and nurture a new generation of Latino artists. L??pez is actively working to create an Artist District in Boyle Heights where theater, arts and music can flourish and create opportunities for the many talented artists who reside in Boyle Heights or grew up in Boyle Heights and want to return to contribute.

L??pez is developing the musical version of Real Women Have Curves for Broadway. Her first novel titled Hungry Woman in Paris came out in 2009. She wrote a play to protest SB1070 titled Detained in the Desert, which won her many awards and which she is turned into a film of the same name. She is working on numerous writing projects for the stage, screen and for print.

L??pez' screenplays include: Immigrant Anthology (1993 Feature for HBO), No Place Like Home (2000 Feature for New Line Cinema), Real Women Have Curves (1990 Feature for Warner Bros; 2002 co-written with George LaVoo as a Feature for HBO); ADD Me to the Party (2003 Feature for Four Color Prods.), Loteria for Juarez (2003 Feature for HBO), Baby Boom (2004 Short Film for Chispas Prods.; admitted into Outfest); Lola Goes To Roma (2006 Feature for Medusa); Ali Q. (2007 Feature for Cinemalab); Once Upon A Quincea??era (2009 Feature for SONY Studios); Tulip (2010 On Spec), Foursome (2010 On Spec with film director Gabriela Tagliavini) and The Tamale Lesson (2011 Short film for USC Film School).

Her Television credits include: Culture Class Show (1993 Variety and Sketch Comedy for Fox); In Living Color (1993 Sit-Com for Warner Bros.); La Fiesta de Ha Ha (1994 Variety & Sketch Comedy for UPN); The Chavez Family (1995 Pilot for ABC); L.A. Arts High (1995 Pilot for NBC); McArthur Park (2003 Pilot for Showtime); El Nino (2004 Segment for CBS); The Cleaning Lady (2004 On Spec), Las Quatro (2007 Pilot for ABC Family) and The Fabulous Fernandez Sisters (2015 Pilot for ABC)

As a playwright, Josefina L??pez' canon of full-length plays includes: Real Women Have Curves (1992); Unconquered Spirits (1995); No Place Like Home (1999); Queen of the Rumba (2000); The Cleaning Lady (2009); Baby Boom (2005); When Nature Calls (2007); Boyle Heights (2008); Detained in the Desert (2008); Lola Goes To Roma (2011); Hungry Woman (2012); Fifty One Fifty (2012); Tr?o Los Machos (2012); A Cat Named Mercy (2014), Pi??ata Dreams (2014) and Clean Start (2015) co-written with Kathy Fischer.

Her One-Act Plays include: Simply Maria, or The American Dream (1996); Confessions of Women from East L.A. (1996); La Pinta (1998); Pastorala Baby (2006); Food For The Dead (2010); and The Gay Horse Whisperer (2012). L??pez is also the Founder of P.M.S. (The Pinche Mentirosa Sisters), a sketch comedy group performing cutting edge sketches that challenge stereotypes of Latinas.

Published works include her first novel, Hungry Woman In Paris (2009), Grand Central Publishing; Real Women Have Curves and Other Plays (2011), WPR Books: Latino Insights; and Volume 2 of The Essential Latino Play Series: Detained in the Desert and Other Plays (2011), WPR Books: Latino Insights.

L??pez' signature piece, the play, Real Women Have Curves, will open the Pasadena Playhouse's 2015-2016 Season on September 8, 2015 in Pasadena, CA. Later that month, L??pez' new work, Drunk Girl, will bow at CASA 0101 Theater in Boyle Heights, CA on September 25, 2015 as part of the theater's 15th Anniversary "Quincea??era" Season.

osefina L??pez is married to Emmanuel Deleage, the Executive Director of CASA 0101 Theater. The couple lives in Boyle Heights, CA with their two sons, Etienne and Sebastian. To learn more about Josefina L??pez, please visit, and .

"I too have a dream that one day women will be judged by the content of their character, their creative and intellectual contributions to society, rather than by the color of their hair, the size of their waist or the perkiness of their breasts." Josefina L??pez

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