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Luis Valdez

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ENTERTAINMENT
April 14, 1989 | RICK VANDERKNYFF, Times Staff Writer
"From the time I was 6 years old," playwright and director Luis Valdez told a Cal State Fullerton audience Wednesday night, "I found myself asking, 'Who am I?' " Valdez--founder of El Teatro Campesino, creator of the stage hit "Zoot Suit" and writer and director of the film of the same name, plus "La Bamba" and "The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez"--mused on the topic of identity, personal and cultural, as the university's Distinguished Hispanic Lecturer for 1989. As an artist, Valdez said, he seeks to define "what it means to be an American."
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OPINION
October 27, 2013 | By Miriam Pawel
"Valley of the Heart" is a quintessentially California play, written by a master of the genre. It is a history lesson wrapped in a love story, with themes that could not be more contemporary: struggling immigrants, xenophobia and racism, cultural confusion and identity. Luis Valdez has drawn on his own childhood to craft what he calls a "memory play": A Mexican American sharecropper family takes over a ranch whose Japanese American owners are interned in 1942, just as Valdez's parents took over a Japanese grower's farm when he was 2 years old. The play showcases Valdez's gift for making people care about experiences far outside their own ambit.
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OPINION
October 27, 2013 | By Miriam Pawel
"Valley of the Heart" is a quintessentially California play, written by a master of the genre. It is a history lesson wrapped in a love story, with themes that could not be more contemporary: struggling immigrants, xenophobia and racism, cultural confusion and identity. Luis Valdez has drawn on his own childhood to craft what he calls a "memory play": A Mexican American sharecropper family takes over a ranch whose Japanese American owners are interned in 1942, just as Valdez's parents took over a Japanese grower's farm when he was 2 years old. The play showcases Valdez's gift for making people care about experiences far outside their own ambit.
NEWS
July 1, 2010 | By Daniel Hernandez, Los Angeles Times
In the final scene of "Zoot Suit," the Luis Valdez play about the 1942 Sleepy Lagoon murder trial in Los Angeles, the character Smiley directs the following line to fellow Mexican American Hank Reyna after the unfairly accused men are released from prison: "Let's face it, Hank. There's no life for us in this city, I'm taking my family and I'm moving to Arizona." In Mexico City, where "Zoot Suit" is playing, audiences have erupted in applause and laughter in response to the line in light of the controversial illegal immigration law recently enacted in Arizona.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 23, 1991 | RICHARD STAYTON, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Luis Valdez would rather not talk about his past. But at age 51, Valdez has earned the right to rest and look back on his achievements. After all, he founded El Teatro Campesino, the farm worker's radical theater company, during the 1965 Delano grape strike, and that theatrical troupe continues to thrive under his guidance in San Juan Bautista. His 1978 musical, "Zoot Suit," has become a Mexican-American classic, an icon of the emerging Latino spirit.
NEWS
May 3, 1990 | SUAD McCOY, McCoy is a Los Angeles-based free-lance writer
At the first gathering of the Who's Who of Chicano Filmmakers, all eyes were on Luis Valdez. Valdez, the founder of El Teatro Campesino and creative force behind "Zoot Suit" and "La Bamba," was honored, together with his Mexican-American colleagues, by his Mexican counterparts at the first Week of Chicano Films and Videos in Mexico City.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 10, 1994 | LAURIE WINER, TIMES THEATER CRITIC
Speaking of "Zoot Suit," his 1978 play that marked El Teatro Campesino's famous first collaboration with the Mark Taper Forum, Luis Valdez once remarked that his intention was to "disenravel" certain ethnic stereotypes by re-examining them "directly in historical and theatrical terms."
ENTERTAINMENT
July 29, 1990 | SEAN MITCHELL
It was entirely in keeping with his life thus far that Luis Valdez, at his 50th birthday party last month, stepped up to a microphone and saluted his own death. Addressing a couple hundred friends and supporters of his Teatro Campesino arrayed at clusters of tables under the late afternoon sun at a ranch near his home in San Juan Bautista, Valdez said with rising cheer in his voice, "I'm going to be planted over there one day," and gestured in the direction of the local cemetery. "Yes, I am.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 19, 1993 | DAVID J. FOX, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Eight months ago, a disillusioned Luis Valdez abruptly dropped plans to make a movie about Mexican artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. The playwright-director's decision came after New Line Cinema backed out of financing the project and as some fellow Latinos criticized Valdez for casting a non-Latina actress--Laura San Giacomo--as Kahlo. Valdez, saying he was "fed up" with Hollywood filmmaking and feeling "betrayed" by his own people, announced he would have to rethink the movie.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 28, 1997 | Nancy Churnin, Nancy Churnin is a theater writer based in San Diego
A mystery lurks at the heart of "Zoot Suit," Luis Valdez's bold, mythic re-imagining of the 1942 Sleepy Lagoon murder of a Chicano youth in Los Angeles. Who did it? Who is responsible? And then there's the mystery of what happened to "Zoot Suit," the play itself. A sensation when it premiered at the Mark Taper Forum in 1978, with its depiction of gangs and ducktails, media frenzy, music and World War II hysteria, Valdez's "Zoot Suit" broke molds, presaging a whole new sensibility for theater.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 3, 2000 | MICHAEL PHILLIPS, TIMES THEATER CRITIC
A woman more than 80 years of age carries in her womb a mummified fetus, conceived decades earlier. What are the stories behind this story? From a newspaper article worthy of Weekly World News comes the world premiere of "Mummified Deer," now at the San Diego Repertory Theatre. It is the first new work from playwright Luis Valdez in nearly 15 years. At present, it feels more like three or four new works competing for stage time. Its focus isn't so much multifaceted as it is distracted, restless.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 28, 1997 | Nancy Churnin, Nancy Churnin is a theater writer based in San Diego
A mystery lurks at the heart of "Zoot Suit," Luis Valdez's bold, mythic re-imagining of the 1942 Sleepy Lagoon murder of a Chicano youth in Los Angeles. Who did it? Who is responsible? And then there's the mystery of what happened to "Zoot Suit," the play itself. A sensation when it premiered at the Mark Taper Forum in 1978, with its depiction of gangs and ducktails, media frenzy, music and World War II hysteria, Valdez's "Zoot Suit" broke molds, presaging a whole new sensibility for theater.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 10, 1994 | LAURIE WINER, TIMES THEATER CRITIC
Speaking of "Zoot Suit," his 1978 play that marked El Teatro Campesino's famous first collaboration with the Mark Taper Forum, Luis Valdez once remarked that his intention was to "disenravel" certain ethnic stereotypes by re-examining them "directly in historical and theatrical terms."
ENTERTAINMENT
June 5, 1994 | BARBARA ISENBERG, Barbara Isenberg is a Times staff writer
A Martinez vividly remembers childhood trips north from Los Angeles. In the car, the future actor's grandmother would tell tales of Tiburcio Vasquez, the notorious bandido who frequented those parts back in the 1850s. Sometimes Martinez's father would stop the car at Vasquez Rocks near Agua Dulce, then pull out his 8-millimeter movie camera. When he and his brothers saw the camera pointing at them, Martinez recalls, "we would shoot each other immediately, then spend the next three minutes dying."
ENTERTAINMENT
January 13, 1994 | JUANITA DARLING, TIMES STAFF WRITER
The rebellious black stallion had finally let Jimmy Smits mount him and the six child actors playing Cheech Marin's brood were primed to pay their father a tearful goodby when the first raindrops fell. A clap of thunder sent the cast and crew of Turner Network Television's made-for-TV movie "The Cisco Kid" running for the cover of an adobe house in this mountain village, their sixth location in as many weeks.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 19, 1993 | DAVID J. FOX, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Eight months ago, a disillusioned Luis Valdez abruptly dropped plans to make a movie about Mexican artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. The playwright-director's decision came after New Line Cinema backed out of financing the project and as some fellow Latinos criticized Valdez for casting a non-Latina actress--Laura San Giacomo--as Kahlo. Valdez, saying he was "fed up" with Hollywood filmmaking and feeling "betrayed" by his own people, announced he would have to rethink the movie.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 3, 1988
John M. Wilson's Outtakes item March 28 credited Bob Morones with the casting of "La Bamba." While Morones has cast other fine films, "La Bamba" was very fortunate to have had the talents of Junie Lowry as its casting director. LUIS VALDEZ Writer/Director "La Bamba"
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 19, 1992
Yes, it was my idea for women dressed as Frida Kahlo to picket New Line Cinema over the casting of a non-Hispanic actress in the role of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. You are correct in identifying me as "spearheading the protest" (Calendar, Aug. 2). You are inaccurate, however, in saying that "Ortelli says she places much of the blame on co-screenwriter and director Luis Valdez." What I said was, "Several people have called Luis Valdez, have tried to meet with him. He has not returned their calls."
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 19, 1992
Yes, it was my idea for women dressed as Frida Kahlo to picket New Line Cinema over the casting of a non-Hispanic actress in the role of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. You are correct in identifying me as "spearheading the protest" (Calendar, Aug. 2). You are inaccurate, however, in saying that "Ortelli says she places much of the blame on co-screenwriter and director Luis Valdez." What I said was, "Several people have called Luis Valdez, have tried to meet with him. He has not returned their calls."
ENTERTAINMENT
August 23, 1992 | Jan Breslauer and Don Shirley \f7
Luis Valdez's film "Frida and Diego" isn't the only project put on hold because of recent protests over his decision to cast a non-Latina as Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. Valdez has also nixed plans for his company, El Teatro Campesino, to produce his musical "Bandido" in October at the Cowell Theatre in San Francisco.
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