By Brian Dunlap
When one attends a reading at Avenue 50 Studio in Highland Park, one can’t help but first be drawn to all the powerful Latinx art that adorn it’s four galleries/rooms. It’s a gallery space for visual arts first and foremost. This past Saturday was no different. However, as much as I liked the art from artists such as Sergio Teran, I was there for Daniel A. Olivas’ book release reading for his debut poetry collection Crossing the Border.
The release reading was an intimate event. It commenced in the front room where paintings hung all around the author and audience from Arroyo Arts Collective, an artist collective that celebrates the artistic history and artistic creating happening in Northeast Los Angeles. Olivas’ wife, son and sister were in the audience. And Jessica Ceballos introduced him.
Daniel A. Olivas read heavy poems, powerful poems, fun poems, animal poems, and even a cat poem appropriately titled “Gato.”
My abuela calls
Susie, my Siamese cat,
a “gato” which is just
another sneaky word for
“cat.” Because gatos
and cats are sneaky,
don’t you know…
The audience was engaged even as Olivas read a powerful and timely story “The Great Wall” that humanized the impact of Trump’s proposed wall, from his recently released story collection The King of Lighting Fixtures. After, audience members asked questions that caused Olivas to delve into his writing process and how he initially made time to write, as by age 40, when he began writng fiction, he was already a successful lawyer with the California Department of Justice.
Avenue 50 was a great setting for the release of Crossing The Border and to hear an L.A. writer read L.A. stories. Till the next literary event at Avenue 50 Studio.