This might be the shortest, most unimaginative canto you’ll ever get, because it has just one purpose:
SEE ME/WE/READ MY/OUR BOOK/BOOKS!
Truth in advertising, you know?
The brevity of this one is partly because this past week was a grinder like I hadn’t had in a while. Over three days, drove to Northridge, Pasadena and…somewhere in the Inland Empire in pursuit of three separate stories (can you write 3,600 good words in 4 hours? I did!), and to talk.
The talks are coming back again after two years of Zoom.
I’ve actually grown to love Zoom chats because the chatbox on the right allows me to talk to folks in real time and ramble.
And if you tune in to GAG, you know I like to do THAT.
But I also love to talk in person, especially when I have books to promote.
And, well, guess what:
SEE ME/WE READ MY/OUR BOOKS!
Because it ain’t just me, Jack: This is me/we now.
First time reading this newsletter? Subscribe here for more merriment! Buy me a Paypal taco here. Venmo: @gustavo-arellano-oc Feedback, thoughts, commentary, rants? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
SAT., MARCH 19 AKA TODAY
I’m going to be in conversation with my wife Delilah Snell TODAY at 1 p.m. at the SanTana Public Library, 26 Civic Center Plaza, Santa Ana to talk about her new book Beginner’s Guide to Preserving: Safely Can, Ferment, Dehydrate, Salt, Smoke, and Freeze Food. This is my media chica’s debut book, and this one will be special because it’s technically her first book signing even though the book came out last year. But we never did anything because of the pandemic, so come congratulate her, and see why people think we’re an old Jewish couple even though we don’t belong to the tribe. Lecture is FREE, will be outside, and the Library will be giving out books as a giveaway! And, in case you can’t come, buy her book TODAY — she’ll autograph it, of course.
SAT., MARCH 26 AKA NEXT WEEK
Join ME in conversation along with my co-authors Elaine Lewinnek and Thuy Vo Dang as we do our official launch to our book A People’s Guide to Orange County. It’ll be at 1 p.m. at my wifey’s store Alta Baja Market, 201 E. 4th St., Ste. 101, SanTana, (714) 783-2252. Lecture is FREE, will be outside — and don’t be buying the book online just yet: buy it in person to support LibroMobile, which will be selling books!
Important note about this event: Parking is fucked-up AF because of a stupid trolley/gentrification project that has torn up the street in front of Alta Baja, so plan to arrive at 12:45 because of stupid parking. Hey, if you come early, treat yourself to a michelada or 8 — and buy me a Good Ol’ Chico.
There are other upcoming events, but show up to these in particular. If we haven’t seen each other in two years, now’s the time. I’m fully vaxxed and boosted, and you better be as well. See you soon, and BUY BUY BUY!
GRÍTALE A GUTI
This is the column where I take your questions about ANYTHING. And away we go…
Can you tell me what became of Librería Martinez? Hopefully Rueben Martinez is still around and okay. He came to my mostly Latino elementary school in NorCal in 2005 to promote literacy and home reading and such to our school families, made a difference. Passionate guy, I admired him a lot.
Mr. Martinez is good! Retired from Chapman University, where he was a longtime ambassador. I last talked to him in the fall, which is a reminder to reach out to him again.
As for his Macarthur Genius-winning bookstore? That ended a loooong time ago — public didn’t support it enough, so BUY BOOKS FROM INDIE STORES, PORFAS. BUY MY/OUR BOOKS!
Got a question for Guti? Email me here.
Enough rambling. This was the semana that was:
IMAGE OF THE WEEK: Late-night run to Baker’s, the Inland Empire’s legendary fast-food Mexican-American double-kitchen chain. Got a BRC and Butterfingers milkshake that fueled my long drive home at 10 p.m. on a Friday night — SO GOOD.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “I had dinner with Charles Johnson, the novelist, who is a Buddhist, and he was quoting his favorite passage from the Bhagavad Gita, the quote I mentioned before, which says that you have the right to the work but not the reward. I just love that. It says something I’ve always felt—that I’m not entitled to anything other that the work. Which is sufficient—a joy unto itself. I feel it a privilege to stand at the edge of the art having been gifted with the triumphs and failures of countless playwrights down through the ages. It’s a privilege I don’t want to squander.”
LISTENING:“Libro Abierto,” Gerardo Reyes. This ranchera singer has a lot of great songs, but just never crossed into legend status for reasons I’ve never been able to discern — voice a bit too reedy? Lyrics a bit maudlin? Whatever — this is one of his best, and it’s a great one!
READING: “Fear is a Bad Teacher”: A book review for the tome of a Palestinian LUTHERAN that challenges the Western Christian narrative of the region in a way I’ve never read. From Commonweal, one of THREE Catholic magazines I subscribe to.
PODCASTING: “SPAM How the American Dream Got Canned”: The Atlantic’s “The Experiment” is consistently great, but they outdid themselves with this three-parter that goes from the Philippines to old-school Minnesota to new-school Minnesota. I do wish they would’ve connected the dots to imperialism and colonialism — but, hey, it’s the Atlantic, you know? Superior production, storytelling, and pace — getting there…
SHOUTOUT TO: Donald, who kindly donated 100 tacos to sponsor TWO full month of MailChango! “Plug to the new LA Plaza Cocina, an extension of LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes.” Both worthwhile plugs — and I just spoke at the latter via Zoom recently!
Um, scroll up to the top and read, por favor.
Gustavo in the News
“Lineup announced for 2022 L.A. Times Festival of Books: Janelle Monáe, Amanda Gorman and more”: Speaking of book events, I’m both moderating something here AND on a panel for the best damn book festival in the U.S. of A!.
“Latinx Files: Are we ready for a ‘computerized’ Selena album?”: One LA Times newsletter you should subscribe to plugs a columna of mine.
“Democrats’ Hispanic peril”: In which Axios spreads my theory of rancho libertarian…
“Democrats’ Hispanic peril”: …and Hot Air pushes it forward.
“The Best Things To Do In LA And SoCal This Week: March 14 – 17”: This LAist roundup plugged…
“How Does Culture Immigrate?”: …this Zócalo Public Square event.
Latest roster of episodes for “The Times: Daily news from the L.A. Times,” the podcast that I host. Listen to them, and SUBSCRIBE. Don’t let me become the Poochie of podcasts!
“A pioneering doctor fears for abortion’s future”: Over 50 years in the field — damn.
“Hotel housekeeping is dirtier than ever”: Tip extra extra next time, wontcha?
“China’s influence grows in Central America”: While you’re distracted over culture wars…
“Another scandal for L.A. Fire Department”: The dumpster inferno that never goes out…
“Townies versus gownies battle for Berkeley”: Housing, man.
“Grítale a Guti”: Latest edition of my Tuesday night IG Live free-for-all brings on the DESMADRE.
“Goodbye Harm Reduction Institute. OC closes its last needle exchange”: My latest KCRW “Orange County Line” talks about why OC still thinks it’s above human decency.
“Parts Unknown”: I sit down with my compadre Joe Donnelly of Red Canary Collective to talk about my/our new book.
“For $5 a month, three East Hollywood residents want to change L.A. journalism”: My latest Los Angeles Times columna talks about the great Making a Neighborhood Substack newsletter. KEY QUOTE: “Making a Neighborhood goes beyond freebies, throwing down a challenge to people who bemoan the loss of local news but won’t shell out what amounts to a monthly latte: Pay up.”
You made it this far down? Gracias! Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram while you’re down here. Don’t forget to forward this newsletter to your compadres y comadres! And, if you feel generous: Buy me a Paypal taco here. Venmo: @gustavo-arellano-oc