Trini and I arrived at Guadalajara, Mexico yesterday. The day was nice, in the 70s, and we were greeted by staff members of the FIL (Feria Internacional del Libro)--the largest Spanish-language book festival in the world. More than a half-million people are expected to visit the FIL, which officially begins on Saturday, November 28, and ends on December 6. Trini is here to sell Tia Chucha Press books, hundreds of them, which the National Endowment for the Arts and the LA City Department of Cultural Affairs have brought to the fair, along with many other great LA-based nonprofit presses. I came as one of the organizers of a lowrider exhibit through Tia Chucha´s Centro Cultural. I predict the cars will be the hit of the LA Pavilion, which was set up to honor the City of Los Angeles this year. We have two amazing lowrider cars and two lowrider bicycles. The co-coordinator of the exhibit is Denise Sandoval, a Chicano Studies professor from California State University, Northridge. She also co-directed a 10-minute video on the history of Los Angeles lowriding, with photos and video from Estevan Oriol, the famous Chicano photographer and director. I will also be part of an Encuentro Chicano to speak and Chicano culture and its impact on the arts, culture and literature of LA. And I´ll be on two panels for Los Angeles City on writing. In addition, I´m speaking at a reception for Luvina magazine, featuring writings f.rom LA-based authors. Today, Trini and I--along with Denise, Estevan, and Estevan´s father, Heriberto--walked for miles (and took buses, taxis, and the Metro train) to downtown Guadalajara. We saw the main cathedral as well as the Jose Clemente Orozco murals at the government offices there. I was flabbergasted at the Orozco paintings, some of the most famous murals in the world. What a treat this was! Today we also shared a turkey dinner with many of the invited LA guests, sponsored by the DCA and NEA. In a few days, we expect such luminaries as Ozomotli, Los Lobos, Cheeh Marin, Ruben Martinez, Yxta Maya Murray, Marisela Norte, Poncho Sanchez, Ray Bradbury, and many more, to make their way to Guadalajara. All of them have shows, readings and panels during the book fair. There will also be art exhibits, dance, theater, and a movie series with LA-based movies ("Blade Runner," "LA Confidential," "Born in East LA," "The Lords of Dogtown," and many more). Tomorrow, we plan to help finish the final setup for the lowrider cars and bikes. I´ll send latest developments during our fourteen day stay in this great Mexican city. c/s
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