I’m a funny little thing

One day, I’m going to tell this story. I won’t leave anything out. For once, I’ll be honest. At least as honest as my memory allows. I’ll recount the beginning, the middle and the end.

End? You ask.

Of course. There will be an end. This isn’t the kind of story with an ever after.

Amigos, Payasadas

Valentine’s Day Cards by Rio (new for 2010)

Yes, it’s that time of the year again.

My friend, Rio writes:

What’s up to all my friends, lovers, and drunken makeout partners! El Rio’s Valentine’s Day Cards are back in the ring to take another swing for 2010! This is the 4th year of my cards and it’s turned into my longest running project. Enjoy!

As always, please post these cards on the pages of your friends, enemies, sexting partners, craigslist hookups, and friends with benefits. To see an archive of cards from years past CLICK HERE.



Dad’s little life

Before our StoryCorps Historias’ session, I emailed my dad a list of questions and topics I wanted him to talk about. Once in the recording booth, I hardly referred to my questions and the topics I’d brainstormed earlier in the week. I just had to ask a couple of questions and dad did the rest. He can talk. Of course, I knew this.

We spent most of the 45 minuted interview talking about dad’s “little life,” or his childhood and youth. Dad touched on the joys of living on a dairy farm in Texas, playing stickball in the streets of East LA, how Grandpa truly touched people, and how he played Sabor A Mi during an assembly at Garfield High School. I originally planned to share parts of the interview here, but after listening to our discussion, I’ve decided I don’t want to edit it down.

I’ve uploaded the entire interview. You can listen to it or download it below:

Carlos’ “Little Life”

Since dad and I showed up on opening day for East LA we got a chance to talk to some media folks. Check out the LA Times story. Guess who was quoted.

And… many thanks to my friend Alex for being a great facilitator.

Los Angeles

StoryCorps Historias comes to East LA

StoryCorps Historias is in East LA. I’m excited. Not only because I’ve heard some of the recently recorded stories on Latino USA, but also because my fellow blogger Alex is in town.

The MobileBooth will be open and ready for your cuentos and historias starting today, February 11th at the East LA Public Library (4837 E. Third St., Los Angeles, CA 90022). The final day in East LA is March 20th.

Some background:

StoryCorps Historias is an initiative to record the diverse stories and life experiences of Latinos in the United States. Sharing these stories celebrates our history, honors our heritage, and captures the true spirit of our community. It will also ensure that the voices of Latinos will be preserved and remembered for generations to come.

Sounds great, right?

To sign up, visit the reservations page. I’ve heard that all slots are currently full, but you can add yourself to the waitlist.

If you can’t get to the MobileBooth, I encourage you to check out the user-friendly DIY Guide to recording someone’s stories.


Historias de mi padre

What was it like when your family left Texas and came to California? How did Grandpa learn como sobar? Where did you meet mom? Why did you guys call yourselves los Marcianos?


I know the answers to these questions. As a kid, I loved listening to stories of dad and mom’s “little lives.” Dad has a way of making the sad stories of his childhood somehow funny. Mom’s stories are filled with mischievous deeds, cleverness and narrowly escaping punishment through simple luck and collusion with a sympathetic sibling or brother-in-law.

In college, I had the opportunity to delve into my family history as part of my coursework in Sociology and Chicano Studies. I interviewed Papá Chepe about being a bracero and asked dad a dozen questions about Grandpa’s ability to heal people with his hands.

I wanted to know how the macro forces of the 20th century affected my family.

Why did your family leave Salamanca? What was it like going to school in Texas in the early 60s? Do you remember the East LA blowouts?


Later today, I’ll put on my inquisitive hat once again as I participate in the opening day for StoryCorps Historias in East LA.

Dad and I will talk about his life, his family and especially his parents. Sadly, by the time I got very curious about family history, Grandpa and Grandma had already passed away. Dad’s stories will be recorded and hopefully I can share some of them here.

I won’t stop with dad. In the near future (what dissertation?) I’d plan to take my digital recorder and do like Studs Terkel.