Friday, July 30, 2021

What Chicano Music Means to Me

Today on La Bloga I'm pleased to present a short poem about Chicano music written by a Chicano music expert -- Pocho Joe, host and curator of the award-winning and immensely popular radio show La Raza Rocks, which can be found every Sunday at 1:00 P.M. (Mountain Time Zone) on KUVO, 89.3 FM, Denver, or 

Following Pocho Joe's poem are a few examples of what he's writing about.

Here's Pocho Joe's bio from the KUVO website.


Pocho Joe was born on Kalamath Street in Denver (a suburb of Aztlan) during the baby boom-boom-boom generation. He credits his Raza Rocks heart to the influences of his father’s consistent kitchen table radio tunes as well as his tio’s rasquache Sunday afternoon sax.

The Raza beat began to gel Saturday afternoons when Denver’s first Mexican radio station aired “Teen Dance Party” shows in the 1960’s. The beat moved from Pocho’s heart to his soul and spirit with the emergence of the Movimiento-fueled “long-haired” Chicano rock groups.

Radio station KUVO debuted La Raza Rocks in 2002 with hosts Gil “Gonzo” and Gabe White. Pocho Joe arrived in March 2003 when he co-hosted La Raza Rocks with Gabe.

Pocho Joe recognized that Chicano music, which was largely ignored by commercial radio outlets, was a valuable component of American music. The bands and artists all had culturally inspirational histories and backgrounds that the listening audience deserved to hear. This music that is and was the soundtrack of our lives, has and does have historical importance.

The beat ain’t complete ‘til you move your feet! Raza rocks! Simón!

La Raza Rocks airs every Sunday from 1 to 2 pm.

What Chicano Music Means To Me
Pensamientos de Pocho Joe

Quien sabes what Chicano Music is, but I know what Chicano music can be: 

Chicano Music can be a syncopated memory in time.

It can be an aphrodisiac.

Chicano Music can be a narcotic. “Play Sauvecito otra vez!  Simone Ese.”

Chicano Music can put you to sleep or wake you up.

It can make you feel pride in your sisters and brothers like no others.

Chicano Music can put so much pride in yourself you could cry or scream    at the same time.

It can make you sad like the day Momma died.

Some people say that music is food for the soul. I say it can be a reason  for living.

What should Chicano Music be? 

Chicano Music should be FUN!

Porque we “Play” it, don’t we?

Native Son by Los Lobos from the new album released July



Heaven by Los Lonely Boys

Somebody Please by Los Cenzontles feat. David Hidalgo, Cesar Rosas & La Marisoul

Farmer John by The Premiers (on American Bandstand, 1964)


Tacos by Los Mocochetes


Manuel Ramos writes crime fiction, lives in Denver, and believes he danced to the greatest Chicano band that ever played in a bar.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Chicanonautica: Forgetting the Alamo

by Ernest Hogan

The controversy is already blazing around Forget the Alamo: The Rise and Fall of an American Myth by Bryan Burrough, Chris Tomlinson, and Jason Stanford. A virtual event tour was canceled after Republican leaders complained. Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick called for the authors to join a panel discussion "to get to the facts and the truth." Uh--wasn’t that why they wrote the book?

So I got the book and read it. ¡Guao, mi gente! It’s a book I can highly recommend to La Bloga readers. Not Latino lit, but history dealing with an essential part of the Chicano identity: why a lot of Anglos hate us, and how it’s systemic, not personal. We’re talking about the Heroic Anglo Narrative, and how we are cast as the bad guys.

Starting with Texas’ sordid origin story—I don’t think we’ll be seeing a Broadway musical soon—and acknowledging that "We stand on the shoulders of revisionist authors such as Andrew Torget, Andés Tijerina, Jesús de la Teja, Jeff Long, and Paul D. Lack," and that "It would be decades before Mexican-American writers would begin setting the record straight." They take us through the Texas Revolt, explain the conflict between the Tejanos and the Texicans ("Let us pause for a moment to consider the irony of a Mexican government determined to stop the flow of illegal American immigrants") up to the Battle of the Alamo itself. They tell of Juan N. Alamonte and Juan Seguín as well as Sam Houston, Stephen Austin,  Jim Bowie, William Barret "Buck" Travis, and Davy Crockett. It’s not what children’s books and Hollywood have led us to believe . . .

The dirty little "secret" of Texas’ Confederate-style slave economy is brought to light.

Then they go on to follow the development of the myth. Walt Disney and John Wayne both helped to make Davy Crockett, the Wild Frontier’s Baron Munchausen/Don Quixote, who’s myth needs to be deconstructed on its own, into a martyred saint. And the Daughters of the Alamo have, like the United Daughters of the Confederacy with their monuments, made the Alamo into hallowed ground that now is morphing into a theme park.

Will someday in the future all of the U.S.A. consist of nothing but theme parks?

The most disturbing things in the book are several personal, first-hand accounts of Tejano students being singaled out in 7th grade history class as descendants of the killers of Davy Crockett, and how the bullying and harassment by their Anglo classmates started immediately.

The myth, supported by the state, has been central to keeping us "Mexicans" in our place.

It’s not a total downer. The authors don’t take themselves too seriously. Ya gotta have fun, y’know. There’s also some comedy relief provided by British rock stars Ozzy Osbourne, Mick Jagger, and Phil Collins.

Yeah, La Bloga readers will find themselves getting mad reading Forget the Alamo, but anger can be inspiring. Clarity about our history can only help.

I also hope it doesn’t trigger a cancelfest of Americano Wild West pop culture. Instead I humbly suggest  that we use our talent and imagination to wrench the All-Americano western genre away from the Heroic Anglo Narrative and make it our own. We have our own heroes and stories. And I think we’re better storytellers than Davy Crockett.

¡Yee-haw, cabrones!

Ernest Hogan’s father warned him to stay away from Texas, but he’s been there anyway.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Salinas de Alba Award for Latino Children’s Literature


Houston, TX— Generations of Hispanic children in US schools had to do without books reflecting their culture and heritage. In 2019, according to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, only 225 of the 4,029 children’s books published were written by Latinos; only 235 were about Latinos.

In an effort to fill that gap, Arte Público Press is accepting children’s book manuscripts to be considered for the Salinas de Alba Award for Latino Children’s Literature. The award, which will be given annually to one children’s picture book manuscript, seeks to address the need for more culturally relevant, bilingual reading materials for Hispanic children by encouraging more authors to create for this growing audience.The award will be given annually to one manuscript for a children’s picture book.


Manuscripts can be submitted all year long.  Winners will receive a cash award of $5,000 and publication of their book. Each year’s winner will be announced shortly before the publication of the book.


Children’s book entries (between 50 and 1,000 words) should be submitted in PDF format online at


Manuscripts can be submitted in English, Spanish or bilingually.  The art and design for award-winning books will be handled exclusively by Arte Público Press.


 A bilingual picture book introducing children to the phases of the moon, Luna luminosa, ¿dónde estás? / Luminous Moon, Where Are You?,(ISBN 978-1-55885-911-1, hardcover, $18.95), won the inaugural award. A charming story by Aracely De Alvarado to be published October 31, 2020, it introduces a curious boy who wonders about the missing moon and will appeal to kids ages 4 to 8 who can sing the traditional Spanish song, “Sale la luna,” included in the text and repeat the sounds animals make—in both English and Spanish!


The Salinas de Alba Award seeks to further stimulate the work begun by Arte Público Press and its imprint, Piñata Books, which is dedicated to the publication of children’s and young adult literature that authentically portrays themes, characters and customs unique to US Latino culture.  Piñata Books has had particular success with its bilingual [Spanish/English] picture books for young readers. Many have been included in recommended reading lists such as the Texas Library Association’s Tejas Star Reading List and the Américas Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature Commended Titles and others have won national awards such as the Skipping Stones Award, the Paterson Prize for Young Adult Literature and the Pura Belpré Award.


The award is named in honor of Hermila Lidia Salinas de Alba (1921-2017), a mother, grandmother and primary schoolteacher who loved children and reading. Born and raised in Piedras Negras, Mexico, Hermila was educated at the Escuela Normal in Saltillo, Coahuila, and taught at a primary school in Piedras Negras. She married Samuel Alba in 1943 and together they raised ten children. In addition to various business ventures in Piedras Negras, they pursued migrant farm work in Washington, Oregon, California and Idaho before settling in Salt Lake City, Utah. She stressed the importance of education and left a legacy of love and lifelong learning for her nine surviving children, 33 grandchildren, 42 great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Don Rudy, QEPD. 25 Pieces of a Chicano's Lenseye

Rudolfo Anaya,  Presente!


 25 Pieces of a Chicano's Lenseye: Gallery for Plague-time


I can’t imagine anyone buying a photograph for five figures, like a $16,000 print by Ansel Adams. That’s FOB the internet. 


After that, the seller wants ten percent more for tax, and another hundred bucks to box it and ship it. Damn; sixteen grand should be the price FOB your wall. Stuff should go for twenty or thirty bucks---good stuff--and larger sizes no more than $300, in a frame.


Art mongers say a price isn’t for the sheet of paper nor the artifact. The price buys Adams lugging a heavy wooden view camera into wildernesses hundreds of times before he could make that one photograph.


Thing is, because Adams didn’t lug an easel out there to paint that landscape, that sixteen grand is not buying anything unique. The message, “Ansel Adams,” is the medium, and that’s reproduceable thousands of times over, each copy exactly equal to the first one printed. What's that worth to the photog? What's that worth to the buyer?


Photography is the greatest Democratic arte. Everyone can make good photographs on purpose. The main requirement of good photography is time and place. And eye.

A photographer goes looking for things to see. A photograph happens on purpose, by design. Serendipity helps, of course. 


Here are twenty-five images I captured in a two-hour morning window. Each image required between 1/1000 of a second and 1/1250s. I station myself for fifteen or twenty minutes in a place with good views of several flowers. 


Today was rainy, meaning special light and water droplets to refract light and catch your eye.


Using a 70-300mm lens, usually racked to 300mm, hand-eye coordination come into reflexive use the moment a bird or bee makes its way into the chosen field of focus. When that happens, I take a lot of pictures, and rely on the experience of thousands of previous exposures to get one or two good ones today.


I print archival greeting cards, tee shirts, and wall-hanging size prints. For information


Honeybees After Summer Rain

Dyckia flower spikes

BeautifulBirds But Not Colibrí

In-flight Gems

Strawberry Tree • Arbutus unedo • Anna's Hummingbird

Puya & Dyckia flower spikes • Allen's Hummingbird

Desert Willow • Chilopsis linearis • Allen's Hummingbird

Century Plant • Agave americana • 
Where All the Chuparrosas Hang Out

Abstracting Around: Callistemon Cane's Hybrid

Monday, July 26, 2021


By Daniel A. Olivas

“What harm have you done to them? You are as much of this country as you are of México. But you are not home in either place. Ni de aquí, ni de allá.” 

                                                                                            –Isabel, in WAITING


On Saturday, I sat in the courtyard of the Atwater Village Theatre to watch the world premiere of WAITING, the one-act pandemic version of my play, WAITING FOR GODÍNEZ. All pandemic protocols were followed (i.e., masking was strongly recommended, ticketholders sat in “pod” seating with their respective groups, no reception afterwards, etc.). The production, which runs each weekend through August 15, stars Shanelle Darlene, Carolina J. Flores, Valentina Guerra, Amir Levi, and Raul Vega Martinez. Produced by Playwrights’ Arena and directed by Daphnie Sicre, I sat in awe as five talented, hardworking actors brought my play to life. I will never forget the experience.

Jon Lawrence Rivera is the founder and artistic director of Playwrights’ Arena which is dedicated to discovering, nurturing and producing bold new works for the stage written exclusively by Los Angeles playwrights. Daphnie Sicre is an assistant professor at Loyola Marymount University in the Theatre Arts Program where she teaches directing, and theatre for social justice.

Many wonderful theatermakers have a hand in bringing my play to the stage. The associate producer is Natasha Kaiserman. Costumes are by Mylette Nora, and the sound and set design is by Matt Richter. Letitia Chang serves as the production’s stage manager.

Inspired by Samuel Beckett’s iconic Godot play and our country’s anti-immigrant policies, this play explores the meaning—and absurdities—of identity and belonging.

Here are a few photos from our dress rehearsal and also a small, informal celebration after the world premiere where most of the actors, the director, and some loved ones joined in. The first weekend sold out, so if you wish to see this production, visit this link for ticket information.


Friday, July 23, 2021

Latinx Poetry Chapbook Contest


Gunpowder Press invites Latinx poets who are current residents of California  (age 18+)  to submit to the first Gunpowder Latinx Poetry Chapbook contest

Poems may be submitted in English or Spanish. Selected manuscripts will be published in bothEnglish and Spanish.

We especially encourage poets living on the Central Coast in Santa Barbara, Ventura, or San Luis Obispo counties to submit. Special attention will be given to poets who have not yet published a full-length collection.

Two manuscripts will be selected for publication in bilingual editions. The winning poets will each receive $250.00, 10 copies of the published chapbook, and an invitation to read at the Mission Poetry Series in Santa Barbara in 2022. 

About the judge: The contest will be judged by Emma Trelles, the current poet laureate of Santa Barbara. She is the daughter of Cuban immigrants + the author of Tropicalia (University of Notre Dame Press), winner of the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize and a finalist for Foreword-Indies poetry book of the year. For more about our judge, visit

How to submit: Entry fee is $15 and includes copies of the selected chapbooks ($10 option for entry only). 8-12 pages of poetry (no more than one poem per page). Word .doc or .docx or .pdf. Entries must be sent through Submittable. Simultaneous submissions are welcome, and please notify us immediately if your manuscript is accepted elsewhere. Please include a table of contents and a page which acknowledges previous publication of individual poems. Your poems may be written in either English or Spanish. Gunpowder Press will provide translation for the manuscripts selected for publication. This contest is open to current residents of California only.

About Gunpowder Press: Founded in 2013 by David Starkey and co-edited by David Starkey and Chryss Yost, Gunpowder Press is a small independent poetry press located in Santa Barbara, California. Our name honors our city's namesake, Saint Barbara, patron saint of gunpowder. For more information about the press, visit

 - - - - -

Gunpowder Press invita a los poetas Latinx que residen en California (mayores de 18 años de edad) a participar en el primer concurso del Gunpowder Latinx Plaquette de Poesía. Los poemas pueden estar escritos en inglés o español. Los manuscritos seleccionados se publicarán en formato bilingüe: en inglés en español.

Invitamos especialmente a los poetas que viven en la costa central y en los condados de Santa Bárbara, Ventura, o San Luis Obispo. Se prestará atención especial a los poetas que aún no hayan publicado una colección completa.

Se seleccionarán dos manuscritos para publicación en ediciones bilingües. Los poetas ganadores recibirán $ 250.00 cada uno, 10 copias del poemario publicado, y una invitación para leer en la Mission Poetry Series en Santa Bárbara en 2022.

Sobre el jurado:  Los manuscritos serán evaluados por Emma Trelles, la poeta laureada de Santa Bárbara. Ella es hija de inmigrantes Cubanos y autora de Tropicalia (University of Notre Dame Press), ganadora del Andrés Montoya Premio de Poesía y finalista del Foreword/Indies libro de poesía del año. Para obtener más información visite

Cómo enviar: El costo para participar de $ 15 incluye copias de los dos plaquettes ganadoras y la opción de $ 10 incluye solo la participación en el concurso. Por favor  enviar 8-12 páginas de poesía (no más de un poema por página) en formato Word .doc o .docx o .pdf. Los manuscritos deben enviarse a través Submittable. Se permite participación simultánea en otras convocatorias y si su manuscrito es aceptado por favor contáctenos inmediatamente para retirar su manuscrito. Por favor incluya índice y una página que indique la publicación previa de poemas individuales. Poemas pueden estar escritos en inglés o en español. Gunpowder Press traducirá los manuscritos ganadores.Este concurso está abierto únicamente a los residentes actuales de California.

Acerca de Gunpowder Press: Fundada en 2013 por David Starkey y con la co-dirección de editores David Starkey y Chryss Yost, Gunpowder Press es una pequeña editorial independiente de poesía situada en Santa Bárbara, California. El nombre de la editorial hace honor a Santa Bárbara, patrona de la pólvora Para obtener más información, visite

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Danny Trejo's Journey from the Cave

The role of a lifetime: the hero's journey
    Actor, businessman, and drug counselor, Danny Trejo bares his soul in his new autobiography: Trejo, My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood
     If he holds back any punches, only he knows the secrets locked inside those closed fists. As he slowly exposes the events of his life, it’s hard to believe he hasn’t unleashed every jab and combination in his arsenal. Written with his friend, Donal Logue, Trejo’s book is riveting from beginning to end, truly a Los Angeles story, born on the streets of the San Fernando Valley. 
     Danny Trejo shares with readers experiences, both personal and professional, leading around a painful, explosive, subdued, yet thoughtful and edifying seventy-seven years of life. Trejo and Logue, both actors, and highly articulate, and literate, borrow, is my guess, from their years of movie-making to tell Trejo’s story. 
     A continuous voice on the 12-Step Program speaking circuit, beginning in prison, 1968, the year of his sobriety, Trejo understands his way around a lectern. I’m certain, he’s told his story so many times, his experiences in prison, drug rehabilitation, acting, family, and survival are permanently etched in his memory, there to pull from whenever needed. 
     If you’re like me and question how much writing celebrity authors who release their own books actually “write,” I’d venture to say Trejo’s voice is true to every page as if he had his fingers on the keyboard, where I’m sure Logue contributed greatly. The violence, drama, and psychological depth are so thick, sometimes I felt as though I were reading a novel, an epic myth, maybe Joseph Campbell’s Hero with a Thousand Faces or the classic literary hero. You know the one, the hero born of royalty or divinity, who sheds his true nature, cloaks himself in the garb of the “people” and descends to slay their tormentors, reveals himself, then suffers renunciation and crucifixion, and, ultimately, salvation. 
     No, Trejo’s journey, from the streets of Pacoima, for me, follows Plato’s Allegory of a Cave, where Socrates tells the story of prisoners born and raised shackled in chains. They can see only what is in front of them, a wall where dark shadows move and sounds appear. Since they can’t turn or see each other, the prisoners’ world is the wall before them, their reality and truth, much like Trejo’s childhood, teenage, and early adult years, his first bout with marijuana at seven, heroin at twelve, armed robbery as a teenager, juvie and prison, a cruel father, absent mother, distant stepmother, parental sexual indiscretions, but it was his reality. It's all he knew.
     Those were the shadows on the walls, his truth, his only world. He admired these adults, mostly the males, and came to distrust the females, at the time, thinking them the cause of his family’s problems. Trejo’s father banned Danny’s birth mother, a married woman whose husband was away at war, from Danny’s life early in his childhood. His father remarried and Danny was raised by his stepmother, siblings, and cousins, especially his older cousin, Gilbert, his mentor and role model. Trejo always felt his father’s wrath, this handsome, troubled man who treated Danny differently than he treated the other kids. 
     In Plato’s story, Socrates asks what would happen if one prisoner escapes. The simple act of standing would cause great pain, as he’s been in one position his entire life. When he finally turns, every muscle in his upper body will ache. Once he sees what is behind him, the freed prisoner will realize that the world behind him created the world on the wall, a world of illusion, causing a  cataclysmic revolution in his thinking. 
     Trejo had been locked up in nearly every major institution in California, from Tracy to San Quintin, where he gained a reputation through his boxing skills, personal connections, criminal-integrity, and status as the anointed nephew of the notorious Gilbert Trejo, who “ran every joint he’d been in.” 
Keeping a promise to a power stronger than himself
     Trejo says about his days as a convict, “My resume was beyond question…I was the Mexican you feared.” 
     He started building his resume early. When a larger white, high school student at North Hollywood High challenged him to a fight with the words, "Just wait until after school, beaner," Trejo's rage built throughout the day. He couldn't wait. When it came time for the fight, to everyone's shock, Trejo grabbed the kid by the head and bit off a piece his face. In hindsight, he says, "That's the power of crazy, that's the power of being willing to go to a place unimaginable to your foes."
     To survive prison (or the cave), he tells us, “There are two kinds of people....: predator and prey. You wake up and choose which one you’re going to be every day.” 
     For Trejo, in 1968, after a riot in Soledad, where a visiting college baseball team had come to play a team of inmates, fighting broke out and caused serious injuries. Trejo writes, “I found myself in solitary facing capital charges.” 
     He always believed he’d die in prison, but not by a legally sanctioned state execution. Alone, in his cell, waiting to be condemned, he said to God, "If you're there, Me, Henry, and Ray will be alright," then, the ultimate promise, “God, if you allow me to die with dignity, I will say Your name every day and do everything I can to help my fellow man.” 
      The first miracle, the baseball team and witnesses failed to appear to testify. Trejo and his friends couldn’t be charged. “In that cell,” Trejo says, “God killed the old me, made a new Danny Trejo, and [God] said, “Now let’s see what you do with him.” 
      like the prisoner in Plato's story, Danny's shackles had come off, and he fought his addiction to heroin. He cleaned-up, claimed sobriety, and became chairman of the inmates' 12-step program. He made other convicts who were under his protection attend the meetings. Watching many of them kick their addictions was another miracle. 
      After Socrates’ prisoner is freed, he turns and begins his painful ascent out of the cave. As he works his way towards the exit, the freed prisoner sees a large fire and in front a bridge or walkway where figures move back and forth carrying various objects, all reflected on the wall of the cave, creating the shadows the remaining prisoners believe are real. At this instant, the escaped prisoner understands his shadowy world had been an illusion. 
     Following a light, the prisoner makes his way out of the cave, towards the sunlight and the world outside, a long, painful trek, which Trejo finally makes, freeing himself, literally, from prison, a place where he believed he would die. Finally, he reaches the world outside and steps into the sunlight, liberating himself from his the cave, just like Socrates’ prisoner, but his journey has barely begun. 
     The sun is blinding. The escaped prisoner can’t “see,” and if he looks directly at the sun, he might go blind. His eyes must adjust. In fact, since he’s been locked in the dark cave all his life, he is able to better understand the night skies, but eventually, in daylight, objects become clear, a new world opens to him. In his own way, Trejo observes the dark, the beauty but also the ugliness, and his own limitations. He has a lot to learn. 
     He continues his sobriety and attends twelve-step meetings religiously. He has turned his life over to God, but as he told us earlier, it isn’t the Christian God of his childhood but a God whose “...power is greater than myself.” 
     Once his eyes adjust to the sunlight, like Socrates’ escaped prisoner, Trejo begins to understand his and his family’s suffering was caused by substance abuse, negative conditioning, and, as his adult son, Gilbert (named after Trejo’s uncle) later points out, a “toxic masculine” environment. 
     Unsure of the term, Trejo called Donal Logue to ask what the phrase means. Logue answers, “…there is a kind of misguided masculinity and fucks up [men’s] relationships.” 
     As in Plato’s Allegory, the sunlight isn’t "enlightenment", but it allows those under its brilliant illumination to "see" clearly and work towards enlightenment, Trejo's journey, even after four tumultuous marriages, bouts of infidelity, 77 movies with the world's biggest stars, De Niro, Pacino, Liotta, Banderas, Roberts, the addiction of his own children, opening businesses, and helping set thousands of lost souls on the right path is a hard one. The journey into the sunlight isn’t always bright and cheery, it’s painful, as learning is painful. He brings the same energy, enthusiasm, and intensity to his movie career that he brought to every endeavor in his life.
     Education, true learning, isn’t fun, whether navigating prison, a marriage, or a movie set. It takes work, and it hurts, especially exposing as false what you once believed to have been true, or an illusion. Can the escaped prisoner relax once he discovers the sunlight and sees clearly? Socrates says no. 
     For total understanding, the freed prisoner must take all he or she has learned and return to the cave to help liberate the prisoners inside, something like the "amends" portion of the Twelve-Step program. It isn't easy to return to the past and apologize to those we know we wronged.
     For prisoners locked away their entire lives in a cave, understanding doesn't come easy. To hear there is another world outside the cave is madness, and the one delivering the message is mad, or a traitor and should be eliminated. 
Into the Sunlight

     When Trejo promised God he would help his fellow man, he was, in essence, saying he was willing to return to the cave, his mission in life. Yet, each time he returns into the darkness, he is in danger of once again becoming a prisoner.
     Trejo says, “To this day, I still work for Western Pacific Med Corp,” the organization whose founder, Dr. Dorr, started the first methadone treatment centers in Los Angeles. 
     Danny Trejo has been a counselor, a recruiter, and a supporter since the 1970s when he first took a full-time job with the organization. He helped open many of Dr. Dorr's clinics throughout Los Angeles. Each time, he counsels an addict, or addresses an audience, he steps back into the cave, sometimes all the way down to the wall where prisoners are still shackled believing the shadows in front of them are real. 
     Trejo knows he can convince no one who doesn’t want to be convinced there is light outside the cave, but he believes god gave him his celebrity status for a purpose. “The more I show up in films, the more people are curious about the story of my of life. I hope people see through my story that it’s possible to make a decision and live a better life, and to change. I had the window of opportunity in 1968. I asked God for help and He told me to stay clean and to help other people.” 
     The point of Socrates' tale of the cave isn't to create heroes. It's to educate warriors who had been away fighting wars and how to integrate into Greek society once they return home, and take on leadership roles. The  metaphor of the cave is an example of the learning process. 
     In Danny Trejo's case, he seems to have learned the lesson well, shedding the old and adopting the new and teaching others to do the same. But, as with all learning, it is a lifelong process. His is a book that begs to be read, a true story of emancipation and triumph in a community whose members are still shackled by society's prejudices.

Daniel Cano

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Sing with Me: The Story of Selena Quintanilla

Written by Diana López

Illustrated by Teresa Martinez


*Publisher ‏ : ‎ Dial Books 

*Language ‏ : ‎ English and Spanish

*Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 32 pages

*ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0593110951

*ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593110959



An exuberant picture book celebrating the life and legacy of Selena Quintanilla, beloved Queen of Tejano music.


From a very early age, young Selena knew how to connect with people and bring them together with music. Sing with Me follows Selena's rise to stardom, from front-lining her family's band at rodeos and quinceañeras to performing in front of tens of thousands at the Houston Astrodome. Young readers will be empowered by Selena's dedication--learning Spanish as a teenager, designing her own clothes, and traveling around the country with her family--sharing her pride in her Mexican-American roots and her love of music and fashion with the world.


Un libro de cuentos ilustrado que celebra la vida y el legado de Selena Quintanilla, la querida Reina de la Música Tejana.


Desde su etapa mas temprana, la joven Selena sabía como conectarse con la gente y unirlos con la música. Canta conmigo sigue su ascenso al estrellato, desde su puesto al frente de la banda familiar, cantando en rodeos y fiestas de quinceañera, hasta su presentación frente a miles en el Astrodomo de Houston. Los lectores jóvenes se sentirán empoderados por la dedicación de Selena--aprendiendo el idioma español aún siendo adolescente, diseñando su propio vestuario, y viajando por toda la nación, compartiendo con el mundo el orgullo por sus raíces mexico-americanas y su amor a la música y a la moda.





*“Corpus Christi native López smartly focuses on the road that got Selena [Quintanilla] to her success and all the work and study that went into overcoming genre, racial, and gender divides in the music industry. She gets the details and tone right, whether it’s in capturing her subject’s passion for performing or simply sprinkling in Spanish words and phrases without overexplaining them. Martinez’s illustrations capture the Quintanilla family’s loving moments and convey extra information with the layering in of postcards, banners, street signs, and lyrics. A Spanish-language edition, translated by Carmen Tafolla, is equally on target, with careful phrasing and a warmth in tone. . . . A worthy, sparkling addition.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review


*“The energetic, bright cartoon illustrations depicting Selena and her family in various venues, decorated with rainbow notes, stars, hearts, and flowers will appeal to young readers. . . . Will inspire anyone who dreams of a career in the performing arts.”—School Library Journal, starred review



Diana López is the author of numerous middle grade novels, including Confetti Girl and Ask My Mood Ring How I Feel. She also wrote the novel adaptation for the Disney/Pixar film Coco. A retired professor of English, Diana López now writes full time in her hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas.


Teresa Martinez is the illustrator of numerous books for children, including The Halloween Tree and It's Not a Bed, It's a Time Machine. She lives in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and is a huge fan of Selena's music.