Rodriguez's latest book
Luis J. Rodriguez is not just a best-selling author, not just the poet laureate of Los Angeles, not just a bear of an hombre AND owner of the awesome independent bookstore Tía Chucha's in Sylmar--he's all that and a mensch and a half. I've seen Rodriguez talk for hours after his reading, hearing stories and offering advice to people of all walks of life.
He's also someone who, unlike most LA-based authors, ain't no stranger to big, bad OC. He's done more than a few appearances at the Centro Cultural de México, and I had the honor of introducing him at the Fullerton Public Library some years back. He must've liked my spiel, because now I get to have the bigger honor of having a conversation with him before ustedes to kick off OC's version of The Big Read, the library-led phenomenon that has readers of a city/college/county reading the same book, with events pegged around it.More »
No caption for this photo, so I'll put one of my favorite quotes (by Bertolt Brecht) into the mouth of one of my favorite eco-activists (Naturalist-for-You Joel Robinson), by way of celebrating local art, local politics, local books and all kinds of loving, liberating, loco (!) writers, filmmakers, artists and activists: "Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it."
Here's Silverado Film Festival organizer Robinson, the canyons John Muir-Johnny Appleseed and now John Ford of the Santa Ana Mountains, welcoming all to his vision of sustainable living, eco-harmony, anti-development and, yes, the celebration of all of the above. He's helped organized the Fourth Annual SFF and it couldn't come at a better moment, what with the further destruction of chaparral just outside the canyons for ticky-tacky housing, 'dozing of hundreds of acres for construction of a mega-abbey at the mouth of Silverado Canyon and possible sale of the gorgeous "mesa" property by the otherwise terrific land conservation outfit which apparently can't afford it. So, an arts festival with politics and consciousness-raising...More »
See you there!
In welcoming Chris Hedges to Orange County for an event called, un-shyly, indeed provocatively, "Calling All Rebels: The Moral Imperative to Revolt," we celebrate an exemplar of civic engagement and find an opportunity to celebrate something of ourselves, together. Especially bibliophiles who appreciate, value, the written word and its authors at a moment of seeming disconnect from that tradition of literary truth-telling.
Hedges offers, to quote Noam Chomsky, the threat of a good example. He has struggled
faithfully against the everyday nightmare of mass acquiescence to and collaboration with the narrow, partisan, and giddily fatalistic show that is brought to us, 24-7, by the Society of the Spectacle. Too many writers and thinkers with an audience risk not even one iota of their own putative power.
On an otherwise lazy summer day, about 25 Chicano youth are busy scribbling their thoughts in a journal exercise at Santa Ana's El Centro Cultural de México. They're aspiring Barrio Writers, guys and gals ranging in age between 13 and 21 who are dedicated to an intensive one-week program by the same name. All are motivated by a desire to find their voice in an essay, poem or story to be published in a future anthology.
Gabriel San Roman / OC Weekly Sarah Garcia shares a smile during Barrio Writers
Barrio Writers first began under author Sarah Rafael García in 2009 at El Centro Cultural de México with 30 students. After spreading to different states and college campuses, the program returned to its roots this summer with a solid group sure to produce the next Gary Soto or Ana Castillo! "Unfortunately, this past year we lost our space at Cal State Fullerton," García says. "It's back where it started, with el Centro more than willing to help out."More »
Regnery Publishing Hot on the shelves!
I may be going out on a limb here, because I have yet to read Ann Coulter's new book (or, come to think of it, any Ann Coulter book), but other than the upside down exclamation marks before the titles and right side up exclamation marks after, her ¡Adios, America! and The Mexican-in-Chief's ¡Ask a Mexican! book and columns take far different views of U.S. immigration policy.
The pair of authors do have this in common: both will be in Costa Mesa Wednesday.
Gustavo will be here at Weekly HQ, putting the final touches on the latest edition of the best alternative newsweekly in all the land (that's for sale).
Coulter will be pimping ¡Adios, America! at the local Barnes & Noble Booksellers, where a crowd is expected ... to protest her. (They likely won't be able to get as close at Coulter's July 13 gig at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda.)More »
In 2006, after years of in-depth research into the origins of the Mexican drug trade, novelist Don Winslow published Power of the Dog, a saga similar to Tolstoy's War and Peace except with Mexicans instead of Russians and no peace.
Four years after Dog came the hugely successful The Savages, which depicted a Laguna Beach marijuana cultivator, his ex-Navy SEAL pal and their mutual girlfriend; the trio run afoul of a Mexican cartel when they refuse a business offer. (The book led to a 2012 Oliver Stone movie starring Salma Hayek, Benicio Del Toro and John Travolta).
Fortunately for fans of Winslow's highly-inventive, torn-from-the-Blog-del-Narco account of south of the border carnage, Winslow has just come out with The Cartel, a Dog sequel that chronicles the bloodiest years of the Mexican war on drugs, which has killed well more than 50,000 people since 2006, including dozens of journalists Winslow lists by name in the front of the book.
We recently caught up with Winslow to talk about the true tales behind The Cartel, which comes out in bookstores today.More »