Monday’s post from Daniel Olivas…
Abelardo de la Peña, Jr. is the editor and founder of LatinoLA.com, the Web site dedicated to Southern California’ arts, entertainment, culture and community. De la Peña was born in Long Beach and grew up in Wilmington. His partents came from Jalísco, Mexico. Out of high school, de la Peña enlisted in the U.S. Army during the Viet Nam War era, serving two years before being honorably discharged. In an interview last year with Frankie Firme (the producer and host of the "2nd Time Around Show,” one of the last true Oldies but Goodies radio shows in Los Angeles), he said, "After basic training, there were two buses going in two different directions...one to Viet Nam, and one to Germany. I don't know how or why, but I ended up on the one to Germany." De la Peña is married to his high school sweetheart, Linda, and they are the proud parents of two sons who have also served the United States in the 82nd Airborne Division in Iraq and in the Army National Guard. De la Peña told Frankie Firme that he doesn’t "advocate war, by any means, and I worry and pray for all our young people in a war zone."
With respect to LatinoLA, de la Peña explained to Firme: "I've always had an interest in journalism. I spent some years working in advertising and marketing, so I know people have a need and a want to be informed about things happening in their community. About ten years ago, I was hit with an urge to get re-acquainted with cultural happenings in the Latino community, and found informative sources lacking centralization. I did what a lot of Gente did, read different newspapers and magazines, watched TV and listened to radio, then gleaned the information I wanted. About six years ago, I started playing with the Internet, and started e-mailing friends about the happenings I was finding out about in the scattered L.A. community regarding art, music and entertainment. Gradually, I began getting e-mail responses back, asking to 'be kept on the mailing list.'"
This list eventually evolved in LatinoLA which, no doubt, is the best resource for all things Latino in L.A. As he explained to Firme, de la Peña chose the term “Latino” because “[t]here are such large numbers of Latinos in Los Angeles from so many different countries that it makes L.A. the center of the Latino universe, simply by sheer numbers. Rather than exclude any group, LatinoLA says it all. We are all Latinos, we are all proud, beautiful people, and our points of view need no defining. We know where we're coming from...and now we're letting the world in on that!"
UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL: Next Sunday, October 2, 10:00 a.m. to noon, I will be signing Benjamin and the Word (Piñata Books) at the Storyopolis booth at the 4th Annual West Hollywood Book Fair. Many wonderful writers will be participating this year including María Amparo Escandón, Alicia Gaspar de Alba, David Hernandez and Luis J. Rodriguez. Click here for a complete list of participating authors.
CHICANO LIT IN DENVER: Our friend, Richard Yañez (author of El Paso del Norte: Stories on the Border), sends an article from the Denver Post entitled, “Common grounds: The next generation of Chicanos keep the movement alive at a North Denver coffee shop's poetry and arts gatherings,” written by Vanessa Delgado. Read the whole article here.
NUEVOS LIBROS: Richard Blanco’s second book of poetry, Directions to the Beach of the Dead (Camino del Sol), has just been published by The University of Arizona Press. And this October, Pantheon Books will publish H.G. Carrillo’s first novel, Loosing My Espanish. More on these new books later.
All done. Until next Monday, enjoy the intervening posts from my compadres at La Bloga. ¡Lea un libro!