Friday, June 06, 2008

Thirty Second Reviews

The People of El Valle: A History of the Spanish Settlers in the San Luis Valley
Olibama Lopez Tushar
(El Escritorio, 1975, now in a Fourth Edition, 2007)
An essential reference work; documentation of the history, culture and people of El Valle de San Luis of Southern Colorado collected in one volume that goes into exacting detail: holidays, weddings, proverbs, music, politics, religion, and much more; written by a genuine trailblazer; Tushar knew three languages and the piano when she graduated from high school in 1924; she obtained an undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado in 1930 and a master's in 1941 from the University of Denver; she died in 2004 at the age of 98.

Bronx Noir
Edited by S.J. Rozan (Akashic Press, 2007)
Part of the very popular Akashic noir anthologies set in a variety of cities; includes stories by Steven Torres and Abraham Rodriguez, Jr.; Early Fall (Torres) is set in the Hunts Point area of the Bronx; Yolanda Morales has pissed off the wrong people and it ain't pretty. Torres opens up the wounds of his characters, people that he seems to understand too well, and then spreads their stories across the page with crisp dialogue and fast-moving narrative. Early Spring reminds the reader what noir is really all about. Can you take maybe at the end? Rodriguez gives us the South Bronx in his story Jaguar - another jarring heart breaker with just enough ambiguity to raise an eyebrow; a graphic tale of love for sale with this kind of language: The first step was the deepest, with a crack of shard resounding forever slow-motion hip-move whirls of smoke on the outer edges of the frame and all that blue lighting. Every step closer took too long.

Graffiti L.A.: Street Styles and Art
Steve Grody (Abrams, 2007)
Author and ph0tographer Grody gives history, technique, styles, quotes from writers, and so many photos of this controversial art movement; he reconstructs the special Los Angeles nature of the work; the confluence of gang placas, hip-hop, punk, and other youth culture scenes; and his take on topics like Ethical Issues (illegal work, vandalism), the Social Element, and even a list of Crews and Roll Calls. The website is loaded with more photos, more text, more controversy.

The Undead Kama Sutra
Mario Acevedo (Eos/HarperCollins, 2008)
Vampire private eye in search of aliens, the lost Undead Kama Sutra manuscript, and a killer who uses an alien blaster. You got to admire Mario's imagination. Felix Gomez might be in sun-drenched Florida surrounded by half-naked lusty female vampires, but he's still got a job to do, which in this book involves at least three different mysteries, with the requisite blood and gore, even some pain for Gomez. There's also magical bites by hallucinogenic spiders; a dogged military hit man; the "sexpert" Carmen; and, finally, sex. If you had fun with Mario's earlier Gomez books (X-Rated Bloodsuckers and The Nymphos of Rocky Flats), you're going to enjoy the ride in this one.


Opening Reception - June 6, 2008; 6 - 10 p.m. Show runs through June 28.

Chicano Humanities and Arts Council

Pachuco: A Historical Update recalls the 65th Anniversary of the Zoot Suit Riots. This is a juried art exhibit curated by Carlos Fresquez and Christine Blackburn.

CHAC Norte Gallery: 774 Santa Fe Drive, Denver, 303-571-0440

Time's up.


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