Showing posts from July, 2017

'Matriarch' Monologues Debut in Boyle Heights

Center Theatre Group's Diane Rodriguez performs in Matriarch By Rebecca Ramon & Abel Salas Motherhood fell early upon the shoulders of Boyle Heights native, neighborhood playwright and heavy construction vehicle operator Patricia Zamorano. Arriving unexpectedly during her adolescence, it was not something she asked for. It was not a choice she made, nor was it the result of an unplanned teenage pregnancy. According to the 30-something former homegirl turned barrio wordslinger and co-producer—alongside fellow playwright, director and youth advocate Jesse Bliss—of a stage play titled Matriarch , it was the last thing she expected. A flannel-shirted tomboy, nascent drug-runner, and occasional inmate at Eastlake Juvenile Hall raised in the Pico Aliso housing projects, Zamorano was little more than a child herself when her mother suffered near fatal burn injuries in a freak fire that ripped through the single-family dwelling where she and her younger siblings lived. “At a y

Film Review: 'Dark Blue Girl' Resonates Tragedy

Karsten Mielke and Helena Zengel in Dark Blue Girl. By William Alexander Yankes “Do you love me?” the little girl asks her father while she gazes at the Greek landscape. “Endlessly,” we hear him respond while the camera continues to focus on her. The exchange of dialogue, which constitutes this pithy film’s prologue, pays homage to Hitchcock’s sense of crisp minimalism. From the onset, we must brace ourselves for a film where a child is the axis of the story. She is the blonde sun around whom her parents orbit on divergent trajectories. Luca, the girl, is looking for her own idenity. Her effort to forge herself is reflected  in her eyes. Her referential pillars, her parents, no longer hold up one roof, but two, and they are in separate places, on disparate streets. Luca, an eight-year-old girl, tries to make sense of this puzzle while she grows ever more keenly aware of the world as it unravels chaotically before her in all its mystery. A psychological drama, Dark Blue Gi

An East Side Rose: Professor Silva & the East LA College Writers' Society

Dr. Michael Calabrese and Juan Obed Silva By Mike Sonksen Juan Obed Silva is a professor at East Los Angeles College (ELAC) and, increasingly, a beloved educational role model throughout Southern California. In a moving 2011 Los Angeles Times tribute titled “Taking Advantage of a Second Chance,” award-winning novelist, journalist and University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communications faculty member Héctor Tobar wrote: “Born in Mexico but raised in Orange County, Silva is a 32-year-old former gang member paralyzed from a gunshot injury who reinvented himself as a scholar.”  Six years later, Silva’s journey continues to reflect redemption and triumph. The parallels to a path previously trod by author, human rights activist, youth advocate and former Los Angeles Poet Laureate Luís J. Rodríguez are unmistakable.  A nine-year teaching veteran–with the last three on the faculty at ELAC, Silva has also taught at Homeboy Industries, Cypress College and Orange Coast College

Braving Black Ice: Road to Standing Rock Part II

Part II of a III Part Series By Abel M. Salas Photo by Estevan Oriol Sometime near midnight, the two-lane highway in the middle of Wyoming is shrouded in a ghostly dark. Four of us are traveling in a pair of import pick-ups loaded with winter clothing, medical supplies, non-perishable food, sleeping bags, tarps and more. Standing Rock, North Dakota looms like a mythical destination still roughly 12 hours away.  In the distance, a field of tiny red lights flash on and off in rhythmic synchronization with each set of lights arranged along a vertical axis. I imagine they are radio antennas at first. When our route brings us closer to the low rolling hills where they stand, it dawns on me, finally, that they are beacons affixed to the upright columns which support an armada of wind turbines. Maybe they twinkle with a regularity that says there is enough winter wind in these wide-open Wyoming prairies to generate a steady flow of electricity. Or perhaps they are simply meant to alert