Tuesday, July 10, 2012


First, I want to thank those of you who voted for Amy Sanchez’s story “A Year in the Life: Manuel Paul López’s 1984” a week or so ago over at Artbound. I also want to thank Seema Sueko for posting the link to the Mo`olelo blog as soon as the story entered the running for video production. Here’s a brief explanation of the process I plucked from the Artbound website: “Each week we select the most compelling article and produce a short video documentary based on the story. Every other Month, we compile the best online material to create a TV episode. We pick it, they make it, you watch it.”

KCET’s Artbound is a fantastic new web-based forum featuring stories about southern California arts and culture, written and filmed by an impressive list of accomplished contributors. Please check out more of these unique stories and documentaries when you have the opportunity, and please spread the word! I also want to take this opportunity to thank the good people at Artbound for the overall experience, and for the beautiful rendering of my little book on film.

The story originally came to pass when Amy Sanchez, a local San Diego writer and core member of the influential, cog•nate collective, first approached me about the possibility of developing a story about my work and its affiliation with the Imperial Valley. Needless to say, I said sure, and we both soon sat down for a few cups of coffee at a café in Golden Hill to discuss literary influences, music, future projects, and of course, our relationship with the Valle Imperial. (I can’t say enough about how refreshing it was to talk about my admiration for Joe Brainard’s work during these caffeinated conversations).

Because the story was voted on to the next stage—which was the making of the short video based on Amy’s original story—the result was a day in El Centro and Calexico filming familiar sites and sounds, in addition to reading excerpts from the book that later became the voiceover in the video.

Unfortunately the El Centro Public Library, which is shown in the opening sequence of the video, has been deemed unsafe for public consumption following the 7.2 earthquake that rocked the Imperial Valley and Mexicali on April 4th, 2010. There’s a small sign on the door announcing my old friend’s dire fate. The library’s contents are currently being housed at a temporary location as plans for a new, permanent home are discussed. In addition to this, the iconic El Centro water tower was also damaged during the quake and was demolished soon after due to the structural damage it sustained.

See photographs of the demolition here at Dennis Logue’s blog.

The tower used to be the tallest structure in El Centro, and it always captivated me for this reason, as it loomed over us with its precious cargo like some great protector in the desert.

Well, thanks again, and I hope you enjoy the video—

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