Thursday, April 26, 2012

Chicanonautica: From the Chicano Movement to Arroyo Grande with Jesús Salvador Treviño

by Ernest Hogan

Recently I had the honor of being interviewed by Jesús  Salvador Treviño, of, and Barrio Dog Productions. His killer résumé as an award-winning filmmaker and television director impressed me. Since he directed episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, and Babylon Five, I had to tell him that at a science fiction convention, people would be ignoring me and crowding around him. 

But it turns out he’s also a writer, and a damn good one.

His Eyewitness: A Filmmaker’s Memoir of the Chicano Movement should be required reading in schools throughout Aztlán, even though it would probably be banned in Arizona. It documents the movement, its history, and personalities like César Chávez, Rudolfo “Corky” González, Luis Valdez, and Oscar Zeta Acosta, and illustrates the importance of the media in promoting social change. Memories exploded as I read it, and gaps in my knowledge were filled in. The subject comes to life with the epic sweep of a Great Chicano Novel. This book is not only informative, but a joy to read.

With The Fabulous Sinkhole and Other Stories Treviño proves that he can write fiction like a master. These stories are centered around the town of Arroyo Grande, Texas, a creation worthy of García Márquez or Fellini, where elements of magic realism, fantasy, and the humor and rascuachi of Chicano life combine. Here characters demonstrate a vast range of  Chicano personas that live in a fantastic universe fill of miracles, ghost mariachis, love magic, talking flies, and lowrider zombies. The final story, “The Great Pyramid of Aztlán,” presents a positive vision of the future that's truly inspiring.

The Skyscraper That Flew and Other Stories brings us back to Arroyo Grande, its people and magic. There’s also time travel, and the Space Age alien abduction mythology plugged into lively barrio life. This time we deal with alcoholism, gangs, and the media, but also have the pleasure of being in large Chicano celebrations -- something we don’t get enough of in art, literature, or the media. The final story seems to hint that there may be more -- I hope so.

Treviño’s stories have the humanity and artistry of a Chicano Ray Bradbury, and are so fun I can recommend them to science fiction fans and Latino lit aficionados, as well as those who just enjoy good stories.

Ernest Hogan’s novel Cortez on Jupiter was influence by Jesús Salvador Treviño’s documentary, América Tropical.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good piece, Ernesto. La Bloga did a Sinkhole review here: