Showing posts from March, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: The Water of Life Remains in the Dead

by Abel M. Salas The Water of Life Remains in the Dead,   Maria Nieto. Moorpark, CA: Floricanto Press & Berkeley Press, 2012. Pp. 198. $19.95 (paper) With her second Alejandra Marisol mystery, author Maria Nieto—a real life biologist who teaches in the Bay Area and, as such, has an understandably more informed appreciation for the forensic sciences—has reached into a reserve of deft humor and a lifetime of personal observation to generate a proto-Chicana super-sleuth that we can as proud of as we are entertained by. Meet Alejandra Marisol, the intrepid protagonist of Nieto’s first two outings as a mystery suspense writer. A Los Angeles Times reporter with gumption, Nieto’s unlikely gumshoe tools around town in a powder blue Volkswagen Beetle named Azulita and is pulled into solving a series of grisly murders that seem connected to the case she helped the authorities break in a previous novel, The Pig Behind the Bear .  More than a sequel, however, The Water of Life Remain

MCLA's Isabel Rojas-Williams Helms Mural Restoration

Interview by Pancho Lipschitz, @pancho_lipschitz Master muralist Wayne Healy calls Isabel Rojas-Williams “La Reina de los murales,” but in reality she is more an ambassador or a madrina ; making friends and building coalitions among artists, politicians,  academics and arts supporters on behalf of public art. Her love of street art and murals began in the ’70s when she sprayed anti-government slogans on the walls of Pinochet’s Chile. She wrote her Masters’ thesis on the history of murals in Los Angeles and, unsurprisingly, gave birth to a muralist.  Her son, former street artist Pablo Cristi, studied at the California College of the Arts and now teaches at the Oakland School for the Arts . But her most significant role now, many believe, is her post as the Executive Director at the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles (MCLA) , where she leads an epic and long overdue mural restoration initiative. We met on a drizzly morning at her outdoor office— Nicole’s Cafe in South Pasaden

ADIOS: Francisco X. Alarcón Poeta, Maestro y Amigo

Francisco X. Alarcón (l.) and Javier Pinzón, su compañero y alma gemela. by Abel M. Salas The rosary was both beautiful and heartbreaking. During a slideshow of his life in pictures, movimiento -inspired music comforted those gathered at St. Joseph’s Parish in Long Beach, California. Mercedes Sosa’s voice reminded the poets and trobadores among us of our sacred duty as warriors for peace and beauty.  When Francisco’s brother Arturo, an architect, recalled the conversation he’d had with our departed compa’ about the dwindling population of Monarch butterflies, I could no longer hold back my tears. Francisco and I had been friends since 1985 when I dragged him almost kicking and screaming onto the boardwalk ferris wheel in Santa Cruz. He’d invited me Santa Cruz to meet his friend, poeta xingona Lorna Dee Cervantes . We reconnected many years later in LA, during the Floricanto revival reunion. We kept in touch, organized readings in Boyle Heights at Corazón del Pueblo and the M

Oscar Fallout, Not Your Parent's Politics Anymore

by Richard Vásquez with a nod to two-time Oscar winner Anthony Quinn, who did not attend the 1952 Academy Awards to accept his Oscar and who won again for his portrayal of Paul Gaugin in 1956... The Oscars broadcast audience share fell 6% this year, which makes it the lowest rated Oscars since 2008, according to the Los Angeles Times.   What was an apparent attempt during the telecast to address the lack of diversity and inclusion in the entertainment industry turned into an over-the-top display of multicultural miscues, borderline cultural insults and a missed opportunity to align the conversation with the most significant concerns of culturally diverse film audiences.   To begin with, Chris Rock got his locations mixed up. While he claimed to be doing his man on the street interviews in front of a theater in Compton, he was actually conducting them in Baldwin Hills at a former AMC Magic Johnson theater, a well-known movie viewing destination for the Black community. Compt