Mis Queridos. I’m sad to tell you the news that over the week-end we lost Gilbert “Magu” Lujan– one of the iconic artists of the Chicano experience. We owe a lot to Magu–as he was so fondly known–you may have seen the video profile our Latinopia site.
Magu was a member of the legendary Chicano art collective called Los Four, the group that broke the color barrier for Latinos at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Los Four was the subject of the first-ever Chicano art exhibit in 1974 at LACMA. It put Chicano Art on the map! Magu’s art and spirit opened doors for generations of Latino artists to follow. We will really miss an artist so accomplished, heartfelt and firme. In the near future Latinopia will showcase a new documentary about the legacy of Magu as related by his friends, his brother and sister artists and art historians. Here are some other links to find out more about Magu and his pioneering work.
He is celebrated at the Smithsonian in an extensive interview, check it out :
And here is more:
The L.A. Times published an obituary by Reed Johnson:
Here is Magu’s video profile, as well as a new never-before-published print interview — Gilbert Lujan: In His Own Words Magu was crucial to the development of what we know today as Chicano Art. That is why you should also visit our archival video, “What is Chicano Art?”
But we have much more on Latinopia this week–literature, cinema and news!
Now, it’s possible you younger generation Latinopians may not know who Ritchie Valens was. But way back in the 1950s, he was the very first Latino to score big national rock and roll hits like Oh Donna and La Bamba. Sadly, Ritchie Valens, whose real name was Richard Valenzuela, died at age 17 in a tragic plane crash in 1959 along with two other rock legends, the Big Bopper (que tambien se llamaba J.P. Richardson) and Buddy Holly. The story of Ritchie’s brief career was told in the motion picture La Bamba, written and directed by Luis Valdez. What few people know, however, is that it was Luis’s brother, actor/musician Daniel Valdez, who spent many years pursuing the Ritchie Valens story and finally getting permiso from Ritchie’s familia to tell the story of his brief life. This week Daniel Valdez recounts for us how La Bamba came about.
In literature we have author Luis J. Rodríguez reading from his coming of age novel, Always Running. This powerful memoir chronicles Luis’s adolescence which was steeped in vicious gang life and drug addiction. Luis miraculously survived his years as a gang member, overcoming many obstacles, and went on to become a nationally acclaimed author. What a true inspiration! And if you don’t believe me, go out and buy his book!
And for you news hounds, we showcase Newstaco.com, an on-line website featuring Latino news and public affairs. With reporters in San Antonio, Texas and Los Angeles, California, it covers a range of stories pertaining to Latino life in the United States. Editor and journalist Sara Inés Calderón tells us about Newstaco.com.
And speaking of news, many of you by now have received the premier edition of the Latinopia.com newsletter. We will be using the newsletter to update you on doings at Latinopia as we continue to expand our videos and print postings. So if you haven’t already done so, please sign up for the newsletter. And tell your friends! Bueno, time to let you enjoy this week’s postings. Oh, and be sure to browse your favorite topic page (history, art, lit, music, theater, cinema, food) to make sure you haven’t overlooked a tasty video or informative print posting. Abrazos to all! Tia Tenopia.