Los Lobos’ Louie Perez Talks Musical Memoir ‘Good Morning Aztlan’: Exclusive

The band’s founding member reflects on growing up Chicano & being an artist.

by Catalina Maria Johnson
From: Billboard

louie-perez-press-photo-2018-a-billboard-1548About 40 years ago, four musicians in a high school rock band decided to learn the Mexican standard “Las Mañanitas” to regale one of the band member’s moms on her birthday. Daunted by how difficult that proved to be — they had underestimated the complexity of their musical culture — the young East LA born-and-bred Chicanos decided to frame their Mexican roots music in rock ‘n’ roll and R&B grooves. And so, the iconic, multi-Grammy-winning band Los Lobos was born.

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Kima Jones, the Founder of Jack Jones Literary Arts, Is Taking the Publishing Industry by Storm

By Lovia Gyarkye
From: New York Times

merlin_142575327_77a5902c-41c4-460e-a69d-16ed6fa02b95-articleLargeWhen Kima Jones, an independent publicist based in Los Angeles, agreed to help the poet Tyehimba Jess with his publicity campaign for his second collection, “Olio,” she knew it would be a breakout work.

“I was still a baby publicist. I did not have a long list of clients. I didn’t have a long list of contacts,” Jones said. “But I believed in the book from the beginning and what I really believed in was that it was genre-defying poetry.” In 2017, “Olio” won the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry.

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by Astrid
From: L.A. Taco

matt-sedillo-poetMatt Sedillo is a Chicano poet, writer, creative director, and public intellectual called “the poet laureate of the struggle” by Dr. Paul Ortiz and “the best political poet in America” by investigative journalist Greg Palast. He has been featured in over 80 colleges and universities and various media outlets including All Def Digital, Los Angeles Times, and C-SPAN.

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Naomi Hirahara joins an exclusive club — Vroman’s Walk of Fame.
By J.K. Yamamoto
From: Rafu Shimpo

naomi-handsPASADENA — The atmosphere in front of Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena last Saturday afternoon was reminiscent of a Hollywood paparazzi fest.

With dozens of well-wishers taking photos and videos, local mystery author Naomi Hirahara placed her hands in cement and signed her name to become a part of Vroman’s Walk of Fame.

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Meet Eric Contreras of Alivio Open Mic in Bell

From: VoyageLA

personal_photo-392-1000x600Today we’d like to introduce you to Eric Contreras.

Eric, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Alivio Open Mic was born from the void that existed here in Southeast Los Angeles. There was a lack of spaces that promoted artistic expression and voices here in our community. Each time I wanted to listen to spoken word, engage with artists, enjoy artwork, or share my poetry, I found myself leaving my community of Bell. After finding myself one too many times on the 5 freeway, the 710 freeway, the 10 freeway, and the 101 freeway, I began to think, “Why do I always have to extract myself from my community to enjoy art?” This thought fermented inside of my mind until I ended up doing something about it.

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Long Beach’s Grassroots Poetry And Literary Scene Is Underground No More

By Mary Anne Perez
From: Long Beach Press-Telegram

LPT-L-WRITERS-0802-TR03.jpgThe Friday night crowd clapped, hooted and snapped their fingers for each poet who stood up to read their work at Fox Coffee House. The poets read from their phones, mostly, expressing loss, frustration with societal expectations and anger at injustice.

One fantasized about dealing with a mechanical friend.

“Time does not stop simply because your friend is a robot,” one man read.

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Naomi Hirahara’s Los Angeles

By Mike Sonksen
From: Los Angeles Review of Books

phpThumb_generated_thumbnailEditor’s note: Naomi Hirahara has been a pillar of the mystery community since she published her first Mas Arai novel in 2004. To commemorate her final Mas novel, I asked Mike Sonksen, a.k.a. Mike the Poet, bard and historian of contemporary Los Angeles, to go on a walk with Naomi and write a profile that would do her justice. It was a huge task, but I believe he succeeded.


NAOMI HIRAHARA IS one of the most prolific Los Angeles writers of the last few decades. Best known for her Edgar Award–winning seven-book Mas Arai crime novel series, she has also authored several nonfiction titles on Southern California Japanese-American history. Her newest Mas Arai mystery title and the final one of the series, Hiroshima Boy, was just published by Prospect Park Books in March 2018, and in April her latest nonfiction title, Life After Manzanar, was published by Heyday.

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