Monday, August 25, 2008

Novelist Michael Nava roars back into the literary world!

As readers of La Bloga know, Michael Nava not only has a distinguished legal career that includes, most recently, being a research attorney for California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno, he is also an award-winning novelist of the Henry Rios mystery series. While Nava admits that his literary career has been on hiatus since 2000, next month he is coming back with a reading of his novel-in-progress at the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Historical Society's offices in San Francisco. Nava is appearing with two Latina writers, Carla Trujillo and Achy Obejas, as part of the GLBTHS's Passing on the Pen literary series, which Nava and another board member put together. So, if you can, come on over to the reading and invite your friends, family and colleagues. Here is the information:

WHERE: GLBT Historical Society at 657 Mission Street, Ste. 300 (near 3d Street, just around the corner from Museum of Modern Art)

WHEN: September 9, 2008

TIME: 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.


Here is Nava’s description of the new book which is now in a complete first draft:

The novel is entitled The Children of Eve, and it charts the friendship between two 11-year-old boys, Jose Sarmiento and Mateo Flores, in the Arizona border town of Douglas where they meet in 1912, after each of them has fled revolutionary Mexico; Jose because his father was a supporter of the martyred President, Francisco Madero (pictured), and Mateo, a full-blooded Yaqui, as part of the Yaqui diaspora. The first section of the novel, called The Revolution, set in Mexico City, tells the story of the Mexican revolution, from the fall of Diaz to the murder of Madero, through the eyes of Jose and his father. The second section, called Exiles, tells the story of the extermination of the Yaquis by the Mexican government through Mateo's eyes and how the boys meet and become friends in Douglas. The final section, Arrivals and Departures, tells about the arrival in Douglas of a traveling theatrical troupe and its impact on the boys' lives and friendship. The character of Jose is based loosely on the early life of the silent film star, Ramon Novarro while Mateo is based loosely on my own Yaqui grandfather, Ramon Herrera.

For more information on Michael Nava, visit his new webpage.

◙ Fresh off the successful debut of Gronk’s stage sets for Ainadamar and the Santa Fe Opera, L2kontemporary will present a selection of recent work that explores the dynamic relationship the artist has with the operatic world. The scenes presented in the work reflect the artist’s “staged” world views, intuitively created in various mediums. Gronk’s sense of color and space, which has evolved over time, gives the work an exceptionally lush and rich quality. Please join Gronk for a discussion of his various recent projects (including Ainadamar) at L2kontemporary on October 22, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. The exhibit will run from September 6 through October 11. Reception: September 6, 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. Gallery hours: Thursday through Sunday, 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. or by appointment. Also, if you wish to read about Gronk’s life and art, I strongly recommend Max Benavidez’s fascinating and well-research book, Gronk (CSRC/University of Minnesota Press).

990 N. Hill Street # 205,
L.A., CA 90012
phone: 323-225-1288
facsimile: 323-225-1282

◙ I just learned (from a double-secret source) that iconic Los Angeles artist and poet, Marisela Norte, will soon publish her first book of poetry, Peeping Tom Tom Girl (City Works Press), which has an official release date of September 30. I’m attempting to get my hands on a copy. Norte is a winner of the San Diego City Works Press's Ben Reitman Award. According to her publisher, with this debut collection, she “takes the reader on fantastic journeys into the heart and soul of what it means to be Chicana, human, a woman in 21st-century southern California.” Norte describes herself as a performance artist who writes most of her poetry on the No. 18 bus that takes her from East Los Angeles into downtown L.A. She has conducted readings and workshops throughout the United States and worked in collaboration with other notable artists, including Luis Alfaro and Diane Gamboa.

◙ Some exciting news from Luis Alberto Urrea’s website:

The Hummingbird's Daughter movie is officially revving up. Antonio Banderas, as I've hinted here, is playing Tomas Urrea. Ivana Barquero, from Spain (the young girl in Pan's Labyrinth) is playing Teresita. Full pre-production starts in November, with filming kicking off in March '09. Ought to make for an interesting Spring, since Into the Beautiful North comes out in hardcover in April. Luis Mandoki (Innocent Voices, The White Palace, When a Man Loves a Woman, Message in a Bottle) directs.

◙ My day job has me working on Spring Street between 3rd and 4th Streets in downtown Los Angeles. The area has been invigorated (or resurrected, if you want me to be honest) by the influx of mostly young folks moving into the early-1900 business buildings that have been converted into lofts almost single-handedly by developer Tom Gilmore. So now there are coffee shops (such as my favorite spot, Lost Souls Café), restaurants, mini-grocery stores, Metropolis Books, tattoo parlors, and art galleries. One such gallery is the Museum of Neon Art housed at 136 W. 4th Street between Spring and Main Streets. I wandered in last week during a short lunchtime walk and was flooded with memories as I viewed many salvaged neon business signs that used to flash and buzz to Angelenos. But there were also newer art pieces many of which used neon as their esthetic center. If you visit the museum’s website, you may learn more about the museum and its hours as well as such fun neon adventures as the Neon Cruise which is a tour of all things neon from “classic movie marquees of downtown Los Angeles theater district to the glittering lights of Hollywood and the glowing pagodas of Chinatown.” Support your local galleries!

◙ There’s been some buzz around Piece of Mind, a documentary that follows the lives of four graffiti artists in Los Angeles as “they evolve from street tags to graffiti bombing to canvas art to gallery showings.” These artists come from different backgrounds, paint the same walls, and move on to jail, art school, and beyond as the culture clash of art versus vandalism meets them head on. The documentary, which is produced by The Tom Lynch Company, tracks the young artists "as they struggle to reach beyond the gangster-thug perceptions, and become artists in their own right, giving the world their piece of mind." To learn more about Piece of Mind, click here.

◙ My family and I will be on a well-earned vacation for the next two weeks. Thus, my Monday slot for September 1 and 8 will be ably covered by exquisite posts from other members of La Bloga. And if you missed Rudy's post from this weekend where he's La Bloga's very own political reporter in Denver, the site of the Democratic convention, go here. So, while I’m away, remember: ¡Lea un libro!


Anonymous said...

I saw "Piece of Mind" at the LA United Film Fest and really dug it. Interesting perspective that balanced both sides of the argument. Great film.

Anonymous said...

I also saw Piece of Mind at the LA United Film Festival. I think it is one of the best directed graffiti documentaries to date.

The footage is amazing. It is also interesting to get a glimpse into the lives of the graffiti artists.

I took some pictures at the LA premiere if you are intersted.