Luis Valdez


In 2008, Monterey County education officials (Central California) mounted a massive effort to stage three separate productions of Luis Valdez’ epic play, Zoot Suit, featuring combined casts and crews of kids from all their high schools. This documentary follows the teachers, Valdez, local volunteers and student actors from planning through auditions to show time.

The next time someone complains that arts education programs are a waste of money or that teachers are ripping off taxpayers, ask them to watch this video. They probably won’t watch, but if they do, and still don’t think Monterey County did a good thing, un-friend them on Facebook. With friends like that, you don’t need enemies!

If they agree, then let’s all bailar to Lalo Guerrero’s Los Chucos Suaves! [Mas…]

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They say everyone loves you when you’re dead. Everyone can also love you when you’re alive, if you’re Lupe Ontiveros.

The funny, talented and bursting with life Mexican-American actress passed away last Thursday in Whittier, CA.

My son and I attended Lupe Ontiveros’ Rosary service last night in Pico Rivera to pay our last respects to Lupe and her family. (See my photo of program from the memorial service.)

It was overflowing with family, friends and fans. One of her three sons read an opening note (sent via Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis) from President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama,  a message of condolence from the White House.

Everybody in Chicano theater and film was there, including Zoot Suit playwright Luis Valdez, actor Edward James Olmos, Vanessa Marquez, Pepe Serna, Evelina Fernandez, the guys from Culture Clash, UFW co-founder Dolores Huerta, current UFW President Arturo Rodriguez and many more. A girl in a “Goonies Forever” T-shirt sat near us in the balcony.

Continued at NBC Latino…

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