Monday, July 04, 2005

SPOTLIGHT ON JOE LOYA


Monday’s post from Daniel Olivas

Joe Loya is an essayist, playwright, and contributing editor at the Pacific News Service. His opinion pieces have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Newsday, the Washington Post, and other national newspapers. He frequently comments on politics, religion, criminal justice issues, and other cultural events. In 2000 he was the recipient of a Sundance Writing Fellowship and a Sun Valley Writer's Conference Fellowship. In 2002, he wrote and performed his monologue, The Man Who Outgrew His Prison Cell, at San Francisco's Thick Description Playhouse. His memoir, also titled The Man Who Outgrew His Prison Cell: Confessions of a Bank Robber, was published in 2004 by HarperCollins/Rayo. The paperback edition will be released this September.

PALABRAS: Rene Colato Lainez signs and reads his children's book, Playing Loteria / El Juego de la Loteria (Arte Público Press/Piñata Books), at Tía Chucha’s, Thursday, July 7 at 6 p.m. This is a charming story of a little boy who visits his grandmother in Mexico. With the help of la loteria he learns a new language and how special the bond between a boy and his grandmother can be. Tía Chucha's Café Cultural, 12737 Glenoaks Blvd., Sylmar, (818) 362-7060.

THE PLAY’S THE THING: East LA Rep proudly presents the Los Angeles premiere of 14 by Jose Casas. In May of 2001, thirty Mexican nationals were discovered in the southern portion of the Arizona desert, fourteen perished. 14 explores the issue of race as dealt by (or ignored) between the Latina/o community and the white majority culture in the US. The play is a fictionalized set of monologues extracted from true stories and interviews conducted throughout the state of Arizona by the playwright. 14 features Brenda Banda, Juan E. Carrillo, Rainey K. Taylor, Seph Wise and directed by Jesus A. Reyes. Performances: July 8 - 31, 2005, Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. (no performance July 22). Location: La Casa del Mexicano Theater, 2900 Calle Pedro Infante (Boyle Heights). Admission: $12 general or $8 seniors and students with i.d. $20 opening night gala fundraiser! RSVP at (323) 788-3880 or email jreyes@eastlarep.com, fgarcia@eastlarep.com.

CAPSULE REVIEW: Salvador Plascencia's debut novel, The People of Paper (McSweeney’s Books), is a wonderfully strange, hallucinogenic and hypertextual blending of fiction and autobiography. The Prologue's first sentences thrust us into an almost familiar yet purely mythical world while introducing Plascencia's sly brand of humor: "She was made after the time of ribs and mud. By papal decree there were to be no more people born of the ground or from the marrow of bones. All would be created from the propulsions and mounts performed underneath bedsheets-rare exceptions granted for immaculate conceptions." What an astonishing, strange and deeply moving novel this is. In all his playfulness, Plascencia nonetheless grapples with troubling issues of free will, religious fidelity, ethnic identity, failed love and the creative process which he melds into a dreamscape that is impossible to forget. Plascencia-the God of his paper people-has given us a startling work of fiction that stretches not only the norms of storytelling, but also the bounds of our imagination. [Read my full review of Plascencia’s novel in The Elegant Variation.]

FINALMENTE: I want to wish all of you Chicano/Latino lit lovers a happy Fourth of July. Latino LA will soon publish my recommended books for summer. Stay tuned.

All done. Until next Monday, enjoy the intervening posts from my compadres at La Bloga. ¡Lea un libro!

1 comment:

S. Ramos O'Briant said...

Plascentia my kind of writer. Look forward to your full review.