I had a long line of mostly young people with copies of my books to sign during a highly successful evening at the San Diego City College International Book Fair—held from October 1 & 2, 2010. According to organizer Virginia Escalante, some 500 people showed up to my reading on that Friday night at the Saville Theater. People sat in aisles and many were standing up. A large number were in the lobby, unable to find a seat, but hanging in there until I could finish and sign their books. After my reading, the audience was treated to the great Perla Batalla and her band. Perla sang her heart out—as she always does. And, again, as Perla and I have done in New Mexico, at the Grand Performances in downtown LA’s California Plaza, and the Ford Amphitheater in Hollywood, I read my poem “My Name’s Not Rodriguez” to her rendition of the Mexican classic “La Llorona.” You can view a short video of our performance at the Border Book Festival last year in Mesilla, New Mexico. Although I ended up with a throat infection, I’m doing much better as I continue with other important events this busy October:
Next weekend, October 9 and 10, I’ll be part of the Latino Book & Family Festival at California State University, Los Angeles, Greenlee Plaza. Around 120 authors and artists will be on hand. Nearly 50 panels, readings, and workshops. Over 100 exhibitors. And a children’s stage. The main stage will feature mariachi groups, folklorico performances, and well-known performers. I’ll be doing a couple of panels and I’ll also be at the Tia Chucha’ Centro Cultural & Bookstore booth. Go to www.lbff.us for more information. On October 21 at 7 PM I’ll be on a panel called “Writing in Latino: A National Conversation,” moderated by Ilan Stavans, editor of the newly released “Norton Anthology of Latino Literature.” Also with me will be Susana Chavez-Silverman and Ruben Martinez. This is part of the [Aloud] series at the Mark Taper Auditorium, Central Library, downtown Los Angeles. You can find out more at www.lfla.org/aloud I’m also going to be part of the Fourth Annual Festival of California Poets, sponsored by PEN Center USA and the Poetry Society of America. It’s set for October 23 at 3 PM at the Pasadena Public Library. I’ll be reading my work but also the work of the late Chicano poet Manuel “Manazar” Gamboa. Other poets reading include Al Young, who’ll also read the poems of Kenneth Rexroth and Gabrielle Calvocoressi, who will honor the work of Robert Duncan. Go to www.ci.pasadena.ca.us/LIBRARY to find out more. ESPN will be showing a documentary “Fernando Nation” as part of their 30 for 30 series. This doc features the amazing Fernando Valenzuela, the first Mexican born US baseball star. Directed by Cruz Angeles, the show features interviews with many celebrities and regular folk, including yours truly. “Fernando Nation” premieres on Sunday, October 24 at 9 PM, Pacific Coast Time. I'll also be honored to do some poems with the renowned East LA band, Quetzal, as part of the Autry Museum at Griffith Parks "Day of the Dead" event called "Viva Los Muertos." The performance will be on October 30 from 7:30 PM until 9 PM at the Plaza. During the day the Autry Museum will have Mexika danza, folklorico, and authors such as Lala Alcaraz and Father Greg Boyle. October is also the month for the US release of the Serpent’s Tail book, “More Miles Than Money: Journeys Through American Music,” by Garth Cartwright. I highly recommend this book, and not only because I happen to be one of the people featured on East LA and Watts music. It’s a great study of roots music from Navajo Land to Mississippi juke joints to Chicago soul sessions and more. Garth is a New Zealand born, South London based, writer whose previous book “Princes Amongst Men: Journeys with Gypsy Musicians” I also recommend. To buy the book, go to amazon.com or any major bookstore—of course, I also recommend Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore if you happen to be in the Northeast San Fernando Valley.c/s
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