October 27, 2013 |
"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.
May 3, 1990 |
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.
June 10, 1994 |
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."
July 29, 1990 |
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.
May 19, 1993 |
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.
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"