NYC profe visits East Los, eats tacos, takes photos, buys Doyers shirt

From #PueblaYork to #OaxaCalifornia

I live in NYC, and I have to admit, it had been a long time since I spent time in L.A., close to a decade.

In 2008, I visited my tía abuela who lived in Orange County. She drove me up to L.A. to see Olvera Street and a quick drive through Boyle Heights. It’s been a decade since then, and this summer I had a few days and a rental car, so I saw some things. I had some taco literacy work to do, but more than that, I wanted to learn more about the gente, to visit some places that have been mythologized for me, a Chicano from rural Arizona.

Califas, as I heard y’all refer to yourselves, I had come to get to know you better.

Mas…NYC profe visits East Los, eats tacos, takes photos, buys Doyers shirt

Unsung Heroes of Hispanic Heritage Month: Berkowitz the tailor

yossiberkowitz They were ordinary people living ordinary lives, until one singular sensation of circumstance conspired with fate to make them UNSUNG HEROES OF HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH.

In 1978, a young Chicano actor from Montebello, CA went to tailor Yossi F. Berkowitz to try on a new suit custom-made for his starring role in a Los Angeles play. Right away, he noticed that the coat sleeves were too long.

“No problem,” said Berkowitz, a long-time shop owner in nearby Boyle Heights. “Just bend them at the elbow and hold them out in front of you. See, now it’s fine.”

Mas…Unsung Heroes of Hispanic Heritage Month: Berkowitz the tailor

Area taquerias are on lockdown as Trump fever heats up

guisadostrumpsticker(PNS reporting from EAST LOS ANGELES) Neighborhood taquerias are on lockdown today with customers urged to “shelter in place” as Donald Trump’s immigrant-hating white wing campaign for the GOP presidential nomination heats up.

Patrons at the highly-rated Guisados on East Cesar E. Chavez Avenue (photo) said they felt particularly vulnerable as Trump supporters began threatening taco-loving families with scary bumper stickers (photo, right).

Mas…Area taquerias are on lockdown as Trump fever heats up

Quetzal tells a tale of urban survival in ‘The Coyote Hustle’ (video)

quetzalEast Los band Quetzal dedicates this video to the street vendors of L.A., the only major U.S. city where street vending is illegal. To learn more about the efforts to help hard-working families like the ones in this video, check out the Los Angeles Street Vendor Campaign on Facebook. Quetzal is the collaborative project of Quetzal Flores (guitar), Martha González (lead vocals, percussion), Tylana Enomoto (violin), Juan Pérez (bass), Peter Jacobson (cello), and Alberto Lopez (percussion).

Mas…Quetzal tells a tale of urban survival in ‘The Coyote Hustle’ (video)

Richard Montoya and Edward James Olmos walk into a bar…


It was a hot afternoon, much like today. Walking into the cool darkness of East Side Luv in Boyle Heights was a relief. It was crowded, about two dozen people milling about, some busy setting up recording equipment, others huddled in small groups. Waiting. It was “media day” for Water & Power, which comes out today.

I’d watched the movie the night before in a small screening room somewhere in Hollywood. Dark, unsettling, violent, suspenseful, heartbreaking, redemptive … I had questions, but so did everybody else.

I was finally called over, and before long, the movie’s writer and director Richard Montoya and Edward James Olmos, the film’s presenter, were seated in front of me. I had 15 minutes, more or less.

Abelardo de la Peña Jr. (AdlpJr): What got you involved in Water and Power?

Edward James Olmos (EJO): The single most important thing about movies: The script, the story, the writing. Richard is a genius. Go watch the movie. You watch the movie, and you see, all of a sudden …

Mas…Richard Montoya and Edward James Olmos walk into a bar…

Unsung Heroes of Hispanic Heritage Month: Yossi F. Berkowitz

yossiberkowitz They were ordinary people living ordinary lives, until one singular sensation of circumstance conspired with fate to make them UNSUNG HEROES OF HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH.

In 1978, a young Chicano actor from Montebello, CA went to tailor Yossi F. Berkowitz to try on a new suit custom-made for his starring role in a Los Angeles play. Right away, he noticed that the coat sleeves were too long.

“No problem,” said Berkowitz, a long-time shop owner on Whittier Boulevard in nearby Boyle Heights. “Just bend them at the elbow and hold them out in front of you. See, now it’s fine.”

Mas…Unsung Heroes of Hispanic Heritage Month: Yossi F. Berkowitz

Everything you need to know about ‘Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo’

One of the great things about the Interwebs is that you can literally look up almost anything you want. That’s great right? You’d think with that kind of power there would be no stupid people but that’s just not the case. Instead, we have more stupid people now than any point in history. How do I know this? I’m on Twitter a lot.

So, the other day on Twitter, a friend of mine (we’ll call him Jose) started posting about the classic breakdancing film Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo. I hadn’t thought about that film in years and he ended up posting a link to the entire film. For the life of me, I could not stop watching it. For one thing, it’s like a nasty car wreck that you just have to look at and like some sorry rubbernecker, I ended up watching the whole thing.

Mas…Everything you need to know about ‘Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo’

The California Mission lost to history: Santa Zipporah de la Culpa

'Father' Shmuel meets Chumash tribal leader 'Alfonso'
(PNS reporting from EAST LOS) As Passover approaches, we commemorate a little-known chapter in local history: the story of California’s only Jewish mission, Santa Zipporah de la Culpa.

Founded on Passover 1799 by a youthful colony of Spanish Jews fleeing the persecution of their parents, at its height the mission comprised a thriving community of several hundred souls along the Los Angeles River, near present-day Boyle Heights.

Often overshadowed by its overachieving Catholic neighbors in San Gabriel and San Fernando, Mission Santa Zipporah was founded by the storied ‘Father’ Shmuel, the Jewish missionary sometimes known by his nickname, “Father Sarah.”

Mas…The California Mission lost to history: Santa Zipporah de la Culpa