Monday, October 18, 2010

On An Ordinary Day in El Chuco

It was Sunday, and I admit, I'm stealing the title of this blog entry from a great book by Willis Barnstone called On an Ordinary Evening in Buenos Aires, in which he walked around the city with Borges, charlando, charlando, the labyrinth that Geogie loved best.

Andres Montoya too. He loved walking the city of Fresno in conversation, observing the city, looking closely into himself, speaking his heart to his evening's companion, seeing how he was created in the image of the city and how the universe was created in his image.

So one afternoon (many afternoons) I walked around El Chuco with my camera.

I paused before doorways and windows.

and got caught in. . .


(okay, maybe that transition was a bit sophomoric)

"Breaking, the Aztecs"

"Girl Eater"

"Dos Mujeres"

"The Girl, Watching, Watching."

"Dos Danzantes"

"Chicana Journalist"


Good night, Juarez.
We love you so much it hurts.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Follow the poet Michael Medrano.

He wants to take you to East LA, aka East Los, the seat of the Chicanada.

It was me, Tim Z. Hernandez, my friend Augie, and Mike, in a rented car, skipping a few sessions of the Latino Book Festival 2010 so we could search for a house where a Mexican women from Tim Z.'s literary past used to walk the hallways and look out the windows.

I won't tell you about his novel in progress, that's up to him to tell, but I will say that it will be brilliant and beautiful.

This man greeted us at the East LA gates.

He said, La tierra de mi varrio belongs to you.

East LA is the heritage of all Xican@ kind.

The four of us entered.

We were, like this old man, on a mission.

This man welcome'd us too.

He smiled at us as we snapped his picture, as if he was saying, The kind of drive-by shooting you're doing and the reason why you're doing it is all right by me.

Then we saw El Divino Maestro.

He said look at everything closely, whatever image strikes you. Look closely, and you will see what you didn't see at first glance. (Click on any image)

"Cuidador del Varrio"

This is "The Dollar Dance"

This is "Cesar Chavez Avenue."

What do you see?

Can you read the varrio, all the old stories, all the new hope? Can you see God in the details? The devil? The face of the dead?

Naw, I'm just playing with you.

We just went there to get a hotdog and a phat fat burrito.