December 23, 1991 |
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.
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.
September 28, 1997 |
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.