Showing posts from August, 2015

My Life with Louie: LA's Poet Laureate Speaks

by Abel M. Salas There is no way to write about Tia Chucha Centro Cultural, LA’s official Poet Laureate Luís Rodríguez or his wife Trini Rodríguez objectively or impartially. My life as a writer, a publisher, a journalist and a cultural worker has been, for decades, too closely tied to Rodriguez and his perennial work as a mentor, poet, novelist and humanitarian. The efforts he has undertaken as a gentle yet still indefatigable cultural engine on his own and his fortitude alongside an equally strong life partner at the helm of the famed San Fernando Valley bookstore, coffee house and cultural hub are too much a part of who I have become and who I still aspire to be for me to pretend neutrality. Central to this confession or--as they say--in the interest of full disclosure, I have to point to the fact that Luís and I share a history that began more than ten years before we actually met in person. It was during that meeting, which took place during the early 1990s at the San Anton

Hacking Creativity in East LA

by Ulisses Sánchez Often times, we struggle to find outlets for our creative energy. It happens when we fail to recognize that we actually have any creative energy within us. It happens when we find a way to overcome our mental blocks.  But we naturally feed off of the environment that we place ourselves in and from the people around us.  So when you find yourself in the right place with the right people, those outlets seem to naturally appear.   Late last month, playwright and filmmaker Richard Montoya, a member of the iconic Chicano comedy troupe Culture Clash, a hosted a meet up at Cities Restaurant in East LA of individuals from various sectors of life to create a dialogue around ideas and create synergy among those who who are attempting to use their creativity as an agency for change and empowerment within our community.  The event was sponsored by Red Bull, but aside from an acknowledgement that they received at the beginning of the dinner program, you would not have known

Theater Review: Little Red Strikes Back

by Alicia Vargas Spoiler alert, Little Red now playing at Casa 0101 is the familiar story of the beloved children’s classic tale “The Little Red Riding Hood.” But it is also a refreshingly original musical that infuses this old tale with plot thickeners as deliciously complex as the love an overprotective single mother raising a rebellious teenage daughter. The story explores generational divides and bicultural differences that test traditions in our day and age. Of course, this is all explored through a musical score that combines punk, son jarocho, ballads and, yes, why not? Rancheras! Little Red has been playing to packed houses because of its very real appeal to young millennials and elders alike, as well as the musically inclined. The play’s score—written and performed by Grammy-award winning musician and East-LA bred Quetzal Flores—is a most welcome and refreshing dose of ingenuity with a DIY punk rock twist that gets rid of the cheesy cringe factor often found in so-calle

Obama Order Saves San Gabriels

By George B. Sánchez Tello The San Gabriel Mountains National Monument settles a question of inclusion. Not simply whether the San Gabriel Mountains should be included within the federal network of permanently protected public land. Rather, the issue that shadowed the 11-year process is the role of urban communities of color within the broader environmental movement. While people of color make up nearly 40 percent of America, a recent study, found people of color comprise less than 20 percent of government environmental agencies, environmental organizations and environment grant making foundations. Less than 12 percent of leadership positions are held by people of color in government environmental agencies, environmental organizations and environmental grant makers. These levels of engagement do not reflect the interest in the environment and public land among communities of color.   For many Angelenos—African-American, Asian-American, Indian and Raza—inclusion was just a matter