March 11, 2012 |
Luis J. Rodríguez has been called "a superhero in Chicano literature" for his steady output of poems, fiction and above all for "Always Running," his classic 1993 memoir about jettisoning his former life as an East L.A. gangbanger. The Dalai Lama once praised him as an "unsung hero of compassion. " His old friend John Densmore, drummer for the Doors, describes him as a curandero, the term for a traditional Mexican healer who ministers to his community's wounds. But over lunch recently in a northeast San Fernando Valley strip mall, Rodríguez offered a far more mixed self-appraisal.
April 24, 2005 |
"Music of the Mill," a steelworker/immigrant story by Luis J. Rodriguez, the acclaimed author of "Always Running," "The Republic of East L.A." and "Hearts and Hands," is divided into three parts expressed through three generations of the Salcido family -- the father, Procopio, his son Johnny and finally, granddaughter Azucena. I'm going to love this story, I thought.
May 5, 2002 |
The very first story in "The Republic of East L.A.," a collection of short fiction by Luis J. Rodriguez, opens with the arresting image of a limousine parked at a curb in Boyle Heights, one of the byways of the barrio that Rodriguez calls "East Los." The limo, a universal symbol of wealth and privilege, is seemingly out of place in a neighborhood that shelters the poor and powerless.
December 23, 2001 |
"Lost causes," affirms Luis J. Rodriguez in "Hearts and Hands," "are the only ones worth fighting for." The cause that Rodriguez finds so compelling begins with what he calls "a cultural malaise of isolation and meaninglessness." The real victims of that malaise, he insists, are the young people of America. And their anomie is expressed in acts of seemingly senseless violence, not only in the barrio and urban areas but in the suburbs of Littleton, Colo., and Santee, Calif., too.
December 18, 2001 |
Luis J. Rodriguez, finally, has stopped running. His fast-paced criminal life long over and his demons now at rest, Rodriguez's world is converging here in the northeast San Fernando Valley, where he and his wife have bought their first home and are now hoping to stir young, neglected minds and awaken future artists. Eight years after his award-winning memoir, "Always Running," hit a national nerve with its raw and honest depictions of L.A.
July 25, 1996 |
Three years ago Luis Rodriguez was slouched against a pole inside an Austrian bar. The celebrated author of "Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A." was touring Europe to promote his poetry and, like so many other American writers before him, he embraced the continent's bars with a vengeance. As he knocked back round after round, Rodriguez felt right at home. Though in a foreign land, the bar provided familiar territory. He remembers making it to his 25th beer that night.