Wednesday, Oct. 19: Luis Valdez at Hammer Theatre, San Jose State University
Luis Valdez is a legend in the Chicano literary world (and beyond). His 1979 play Zoot Suit was the first Chicano work to debut on Broadway. The play is based on the Sleepy Lagoon murder trial, in which a Mexican-American man is accused of a crime that he (possibly) didn't commit, and which infamously led to the Zoot Suit Riots in 1940's Los Angeles. Valdez also founded El Teatro Campesino in 1965 as a way to dramatize and give attention to the plight of farmworkers in California. And, he directed one of my all time favorite movies from childhood, La Bamba, starring Lou Diamond Phillips as Richie Valens, and featuring a great soundtrack by Los Lobos. Valdez will be delivering the James D. Houston Memorial Lecture on Oct. 19 followed by a fundraiser and reception. Details here
Tuesday, Oct.18: Margot Livesey at Mrs. Dalloway's, Berkeley
I remember reading a couple of short stories by Margot Livesey and becoming immediately enthralled with her way with language. Originally from Scotland, Livesey as written seven novels since the 1986 publication of her short story collection Learning By Heart. Her eighth novel, Mercury, was published in September. Mercury tells the story of love, marriage, guns, and horses, not in that particular order. The New Yorker calls it "consuming."