L.A. Street Artist Juggernauts





Awhile back I posted this photo shopped image announcing the LOM website, Existing L.A. Sites That Inspired Scenes and Backdrops in LOM’s Dystopia http://www.lomiscoming.com/I took the original photo near L.A.’s downtown at the onramp to the Santa Monica Freeway going east, immediately off 8th Street near where 8th intersects with Mateo Street.

That graffiti mural is central to the image. It provided an excellent set off for the dystopic presence of the ominous war drone and the napalm clouds in the background.   The actual wall is quite extensive and includes two maybe three more murals but this particular mural with its tattering and the debris below on the sidewalk and dramatic domination of the entrance to the freeway onramp especially called out to my camera. After taking the specific photograph I looked but I couldn’t find any artist’s names or monikers on that particular mural. I had always wanted to know the identity of the artist or artists so I could give them credit. Not being familiar with the contemporary L.A. graffiti mural scene, I had no clue.  For all I knew the name or names were coded into the mural somewhere.

Recently, I posted a poster for an obscure science fiction movie, “Equilibrium.” This was but one more of a series of movie posters that I’ve posted on Facebook that the LOM team has reviewed for elements that can be incorporated into the final book cover for LOM.

I got a comment from a Facebook friend on that post with whom I had never had contact. It turned out to be none other than Jose Manuel Montalvo, known as Nuke, the legendary graffiti muralist. He identified himself and his crew to be the artists behind the dystopian graffiti mural. Wow! Nuke and crew – in my book you are street artist juggernauts who have made your mark against all odds. Kudos.

Original photo of Nuke & crew's graffiti mural

Original photo of Nuke & crew’s graffiti mural





I emphasize here “Beyond Dogma and Doctrine.” I have often stated usually in response to strident calls to support this or that issue or cause . . . THERE ARE WHEELS WITHIN WHEELS OF POWER AND THERE ARE WHEELS BEHIND THOSE WHEELS. The manipulation from behind the scenes never ends and neither does the horror and pain. I’m the little man and I don’t care from which direction the wheel is coming from, I’m tired of getting run over.




A Facebook ex said “LOM Better Be as Good as Bradbury and Asimov…” My Answer

Some time back when I first got on Facebook back in the SB 1070 days and started posting about the sci fi novel – LOM – that I was writing, a Latino artist from Texas told me that LOM better be as good as Bradbury and Asimov. This after I had praised his work and after it was he who had sought me out on Facebook. I didn’t bother to tell the artist that his art was good but it sure as hell didn’t measure up to Van Gogh or Rivera. What I can say to prospective readers about LOM is this – when LOM is released and you read it, you’ll know if you like the work within a few pages. 
LOM the novel is structured into Four Books. I will release Book One for free. The readership will determine where my work stands.

Loving Alfonso Cuarón, 2014 Oscars, 17th Annual NHMC Impact Awards, Demian Bicher, Diego Luna & Xicano Sci Fi


A long-time Facebook friend, Christina, messaged me, the Sunday night of the 2014 Oscars,

“I can see you loving Cuarón

funny enough

chicano sci-fi

that’s your forte

and Cuarón loves sci-fi and Mexico

his film children of men combines sci-fi with immigration politics.”


     Well, Christina started with the welcomed and honest distinction my friends, so I’ll continue in that vein…

     Alfonso Cuarón ’s impressive sweep of the 86th Academy Awards culminating with Best Director for Gravity is most certainly a tremendous achievement and can now be a source of pride for Mexican people and all Latinos.  Never underestimate the country that produced The Most Interesting Man in the World.  I mean the real Most Interesting Man in the World who skied competitively in this year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi not the guy on TV drinking cheap Mexican (German) beer.  

     You know, Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe who is also a German pop star and an heir to the Fiat Group.


 Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe

Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe

     Christina had just posted on Facebook about how people were calling out Alfonso Cuarón for not making movies that were “ethnically, authentically Mexican.”  She was outraged at all the ethnocentric, pseudo politically correct foolery.   I find it hard to understand why anyone would think that somebody like Alfonso Cuarón is obligated to make “ethnically, authentically Mexican” movies.   Actually, I had been giving some thought to the number of talented Mexican directors and actors that have been migrating to Hollywood in the last decades.     

     What’s with all this cinematographic brain drain from Mexico?  With all of Mexico’s economic advancement being touted in official media channels and the recent reversal of the Mexican migration pattern into the U.S. why aren’t these great actors and directors staying in Mexico to recreate Mexico’s Golden Age of Cinema in the 21st Century?  

Emily Rios, Mexican American actor honored at the 17th Annual NHMC Impact Awards Gala holding her award (click for full image.)

    Just asking.   I’m not so pretentious as to think I would know the answer to that question. 

    But I think we can safely speculate that Mexican directors, producers and actors are not creating a Second Golden Age of Cinema in Mexico because of a lack of nationalist pride.   And then maybe we are witnessing the seed of the Second Golden Age of Mexican Cinema taking root this time in Hollywood and we just don’t see it because historical eras are perceived in retrospect.


     It’s not too far fetched a notion to think that a second Golden Age of Mexican Cinema in Hollywood may be in the making when you see Academy Award nominated Demian Bichir at the 17th National Hispanic Media Coalition Impact Awards Gala being presented his Impact Award for his work in FX’ The Bridge by his costar, Diane Kruegar.  Amongst other topics he spoke about the controversy of stereotypical roles, the border and immigration.


Alexandro Mendoza, Liz Moreno and moi at the 17th Annual NHMC Impact Awards Gala

Alexandro Mendoza, Liz Moreno, Frank S. Lechuga at the 17th Annual NHMC Impact Awards Gala   (click for full image.)

Alex Nogales – CEO of NHMC  (click for full image.)

     The 17th Annual NHMC Impact Awards Gala taught me a lot about the emergence of the English language Latino entertainment industry.  I have to thank Alejandro Mendoza of Amarte Event Media Specialists again for making it possible for me to attend the event.   NHMC is plowing American media and the entertainment industry to advance the cause of equitable “American Latino” inclusion and taking on the role of an “Anti-Defamation League.” I give Alex Nogales NHMC’s CEO kudos for taking on the not to be named racist radio hosts that have been polluting the So Cal air waves for decades with anti-Latino propaganda which was really nothing but anti-Mexican, anti-Mexican American, anti-Chicano defamation.  We do comprise the overwhelming majority of Latinos in Southern California.  In fact we constitute the majority of Latinos throughout the United States, period.

     While many Chicano/as are not accepting the imposition of a generic Latino commercial brand, there is a certain pragmatic merit to conditionally falling into Mr. Nogales rubric of  “American Latinos” in the context that follows.  Quoting him from the Huffington Post Latino Voices Blog of March 6, 2014, “I cheered Alfonso Cuarón and Emmanuel Lubezki’s historic Oscar wins because of their talent and our shared cultural heritage. But I also realize that they don’t reflect the experiences of American Latinos, as neither one was born or raised in the United States, or have a similar immigration experience as that of a majority of Latino immigrants.”  Indeed, the issue of the corporatized Latino brand versus the grass roots and academic Chicano identity is a topic for another discussion, but Mr. Nogales’ point is well taken here.


    Let us go back to the 17th Annual NHMC Impact Awards Gala held on February 28th where  Diego Luna received an Impact Award for Outstanding Direction in a Motion Picture (Cesar Chavez).  I really enjoyed hearing him talk about he had made the movie for his Mexican American son.   Things are moving, not fast enough but moving.   This is a movie that I recall my fellow Chicanos and all Latinos have been wanting to be made for the longest time.  So it had to be a Hollywood-based, Mexican born actor turned director and writer to make the first movie about Cesar Chavez.   Hey, U.S. born Robert Rodriguez or Chicano from the hood Danny Trejo didn’t make it.  

    Diego Luna made a movie about the great American civil rights hero first so let’s all go see it.   We criticize and analyze later.   Let’s first show the box office we want to see our stories told on the big screen. 

    Now in regard to what Christina said…about my loving Cuarón .  My brother Jess the Hwarang Sul master instructor who consulted me on the LOM hand-to-hand combat scenes really loved Children of Men.  I haven’t seen Gravity in that although it’s categorized as sci fi my perception of it from all the previews is that it is akin to the lifeboat-lost-at sea subgenre, which I dislike for a number of reasons, the foremost reason being that these kinds of movies imbue moi with a sense of claustrophobia and helplessness. 

    I liked Children of Men a lot when it first came out but I’m somewhat extreme about my science fiction and dystopias.  In retrospect Children of Men was a tad high brow for me.  It wasn’t dark or violent enough to claim real estate in my brain, as did Mad Max, Blade Runner, and Escape from New York, three of the four movies that inspired the writing of LOM.  The name of the fourth movie that inspired LOM I’m planning to reveal on a special occasion.   Yes, dear Christina, Chicano science fiction is my forte  And while Cuarón makes generic science fiction movies for the world at large, I write Xicano science fiction for all the human tribes.  There is a real distinction there for those who care to see it.   (LOM the sci fi novel is scheduled for launch this year, late Summer.)


Gina Rodriguez and Dayanara Torres were the masters of ceremonies at the 17th National Hispanic Media Coalition Impact Awards Gala.  The presenters included Rosario Dawson (Cesar Chavez), Diane Kruger (The Bridge), and Matthew Lillard (The Bridge).  The other honorees included Emily Rios (The Bridge); and director-producer George Parra (Golden Globe-winning and Academy Award-nominated American Hustle and Nebraska.)   Michael Olmos received the Lupe Ontiveros Indomitable Spirit Award on behalf of his father, Edward James Olmos who is currently filming in Australia.  Michel D. Olmos’ words and Edward James Olmos’ telecast were moving and illuminating.  I met and spoke briefly with Elias P. Ontiveros, Lupe Ontiveros’ son.  In the midst of all that glitz, power and glamor, I heard and saw the seed of humility and sacrifice that is at the root of the impetus behind NHMC.




Nations as Anti-Heroes, Dexter’s Drones, What Dark Knight Rising Is Not and the Coming of LOM


This piece of Russian propaganda-journalism from Moscow caught my eye, “Foe the Win: U.S. adopts Al-Qaida tactics in drone strikes.”  It focuses on how the U.S. is using an Al Qaida tactic, which is illegal according to the Rules of War that nations supposedly follow.   Namely, the tactic is to attack a site that was previously attacked or bombed to kill those who go there to rescue the wounded or to pick up the bodies of the fallen.  Al Qaida booby-troops a bombing site with a secondary IED timed or set off remotely to explode when people arrive at the site.  The U.S. is now sending in its drones back to the site of a previous attack to lay waste any who return to attend to the wounded or recover bodies.  The reporter brings in  a policy expert, an American, to discuss the issue.

Interestingly he uses “Dexter” the cable television anti-hero to elucidate his discussion.


Footage from actual drone attack

Dexter for those who don’t know, is a fictional serial killer who by day lives as a decent citizen.  By night he kills other serial killers who kill innocents.  He’s judge, jury and executioner.   Dexter is what a real Dark Knight would be, not Christopher Nolan’s titillating  doesn’t-want-to-kill-bad-guys Batman.

Christopher Nolan’s Batman

The U.S.  in its ongoing war against international terrorism has been playing the role of a good guy, killing the bad guys to protect the neighborhood but ostensibly following the rules.  Now, according to this report the U.S. is like Dexter, following no rules in its quest to wipe out murderous terrorists.   The U.S. is judge, jury and executioner.  Never mind, devout readers, the moralistic platitudes about the evil of all warfare, and American corporate imperialism blah, blah, blah.   There are wheels of power and then there are powers behind and within those wheels.  Empires can put on the face of poverty if it suits them.  Or they can openly use high tech.  Empire is empire.  Violence and war is just the way of our world.

It’s the Dexter anti-hero thing that I want to talk about here–and of course, my soon-to-be published dystopian novel, LOM.

Written in a hybrid style, LOM is all about an anti-hero going after bad guys for the greater good.  And all for entertainment that one day will be a video game.   I identify as Xicano but I have written LOM for a crossover readership as much as for anybody else.  I do extrapolate from contemporary national  political trends and the basis of American history, including Chicano history if you will.  For the purpose of provocative entertainment I wrote LOM for a readership that can grok a dystopian scenario.

No one in their right mind would want that dystopia for their world, nation or people.  But want to know something dear friends?  There’s a huge horde of true believers out there in American Conspiracy Land that want to take us there and they want you to believe  that demonic socialists are taking us to that broken shell of America I write about.   You could call LOM at one of its many levels–a cautionary fable.  Real life extremism always leads to a real dark, miserable place.

(News article link)   http://rt.com/usa/news/us-strikes-rescuers-attack-159/

(YouTube video–Foe the Win: U.S. adopts Al-Qaida tactics in drone strikes)


A Chicano’s Perspective on the Summer of Love, 1967 – Part Five

Since I wrote original article, a 60s luminary I wrote about, writer and cultural trail blazer Jose Arguelles has passed on.   The other Latino writer and trail blazer I wrote about was Carlos Castaneda.

Teachings of Don Juan – A Yaqui Way of Knowledge–Carlos Castaneda

Politicized Nahautlacos on this side of the border shun both Castaneda and Arguelles, electing to identify them with New Age ideology.  I don’t believe that Castaneda and Arguelles are similarly perceived throughout Mexico and Latin America.  I grew up in  an America when anything having to do with “Indians” was all feathers, tomahawks and tepees.   It’s a different meme now.  I believe Castaneda and Arguelles played seminal roles in changing the perception of ancient America and in the renaissance of Mayan and Nahuatl knowledge we are witnessing all over the world.   One day, an enterprising Ph.D candidate somewhere will document this history.

The Mayan Factor–Jose Arguelles

Too Late to Turn Back

(continued from Part Four of the original article) Within days, I was cruising up Pacific Coast Highway.  I listened to the Beatles and the Headhunters and everybody else on the way up and I saw the beautiful California coastline for the first time.

In my youthful naiveté, a nice way of saying, pendejismo, I thought the “action” I had heard about was an ongoing happening.

The hitchhikers I picked up in Big Sur told me that everything had ended, but it was too late for me to turn back.  I remember one of them, a real fine hippie ruca inviting me to join her and her friends up in Los Padres National Forest.  They had their own summer of love happening up there in the coastal redwoods.  I’m glad now that I didn’t accept her offer.  I found out later that travelers were being waylaid at that camp.

Oh, did I mention that throughout these years I did not know that the big happening I drove up to find that summer was . . . THEE Summer of Love?

My fate was to find my way back into el Movimiento and to participate in our own Chicano renaissance — our own political, cultural and spiritual reawakening — and the rebirth of our historical consciousness.  It was happening all over the country.  Throughout the late sixties and early seventies, African Americans, Native Americans, women, Pacific Islanders, minorities everywhere experienced the rebirth of interest in their history.  The revision of American history with a diverse perspective began in the 60s.

Yes, it was too late to turn back.

Although I missed the Summer of Love, the counterculture’s fallout did not miss me.  The counterculture was exploding everywhere in the 60s and 70s, at all levels.  It was happening on university campuses and in the minds of intellectuals and artists as well as workers and musicians.

Latino rockers and R&B artists were there, creating their own renaissance at the same time they were riding the wave of the larger counterculture.  With the new consciousness, the East L.A. Group the V.I.Ps morphed into El Chicano and went on to become a national and international success.  Los Lobos independently released their first album, their statement on behalf el Movimiento, taking a title borrowed from a United Farm Workers slogan, Si Se Puede.

Los Lobos

Outside the Eastside Sound orbit, Joan Baez was well into the forefront of her genre.  Carlos Santana fused rock with R&B and Latin sounds, taking off into new musical territory.  Other artists like Coco Montoya and Linda Ronstadt were in training for careers that would blossom in the later 70s.

Carlos Castaneda makes cover of Time Magazine, March, 1973

In another cultural arena, there was another Carlos, a Latino counterpart to Timothy Leary.  Carlos Castaneda challenged fundamental perceptions of reality with the Toltec path with heart he had learned from the Yaqui sorcerer, Don Juan.

Jose Arguelles

Then there was Jose Arguelles who participated in the founding of Earth Day in 1970.  Initiating the Harmonic Convergence, he laid a foundation that helped to extend the New Age into the eighties and to the present and has continued since as career activist for peace and the planetary transformation of consciousness.

There are always consequences.  Not all the gurus, cultural revolutionaries and musical trailblazers – and certainly not all foot soldiers made it beyond the 70s or the 80s.  They fell to corruption, infighting, drugs, alcoholism and politics.  Some just finally aged and passed on.  Well, I survived it all.  I earned my B.A. and went on to get a graduate degree.  I got a job and a career like everybody else.  I lived the 60s and the 70s and survived the counterculture and now as an Elder, I can tell you and my daughters all about those crazy days before and after the Summer of Love of 1967.  There are many tales to tell.

Timothy Leary at the Summer of Love, 1967

My sources for my references to Chicano Music History were Benjamin F. Hernandez, Mark Guerrero and artists’ websites.

A Chicano’s Perspective on the Summer of Love, 1967 – Part Four

I mentioned that while I was a freshman at San Fernando Valley State College (which became California State University, Northridge) I attended the first Crusade for Justice Youth conference in Denver, Colorado.    I should add that  while at that conference I witnessed a true Chicano peace warrior, Corky Gonzales with the poet Alurista at his side read out the El Plan de Aztlan, proclaiming that only through self-determination would our communities know justice.  It was also my honor to hear Corky recite his poem, Yo Soy Joaquin.  These were epic experiences for a nineteen-year old that had lived most of his entire life under pre-Civil Rights 1964 Act and pre-Voting Rights Act 1965 American apartheid.

Margaret Garcia

I had already been attending San Fernando Valley State College for a year.  Students of color were almost non-existent in apartheid-era American higher education.  White people, whether faculty or students were not very welcoming.  Hence the importance of the summer program I mentioned in the original article (mentioned at the end of Part Four).

It was an intense experience with sixty barrio pre-freshmen thrown in with sixty ghetto pre-freshmen for nine weeks in a dorm building, with the African Americans having a well-known Organization US operative and militant as their dorm counselor.  That’s another story I might write about before ancientness completely short circuits my youthful memories, but I’ll mention here that summer program enrolled several young Chicanos who were either notable then or went on to make a name for themselves.  There was John Ortiz who had been a student leader in the ELA walkouts.  There was Margaret Garcia, now an important Latina artist in the L.A. arts scene and of course Harry Gamboa well known for his photography and conceptual art.  By the way, Margaret Garcia painted the original portrait of mois that I’ve been using as my profile picture.  That’s another blog!


Harry Gambo’s “vampire” portrait of Dr. Rudy Acuna

Rocking Chicano Trailblazers and Counterculture Icons

(Continued from Part Three of original article)  In the spring following the Summer of Love, a year before the Denver youth conference, the Brown Berets and East L.A. high school students surged onto the streets in the protests that became known as the East L.A. Walkouts.  These were youth-driven, near spontaneous mass demonstrations against inadequate education.  The walkouts reverberated throughout California and the Southwest.  Brown Beret chapters in Riverside mounted successful boycotts against racist retailers and supermarket chains.  El Movimiento was just picking up speed then, not too far behind the larger swell of the American counterculture.

While Chicano and Latino connections to a counterculture event like the Summer of Love and the counterculture in general may not seem evident at first, they are there, if you look for them.  Take Chris Montez, a Chicano rocker of the early sixties who followed in Ritche Valens’ footsteps, and who was a trailblazer for other young Chicano musicians and performers.  Chris Montez is not always identified with the American counterculture scene and the British Rock n’ Roll Invasion and the counterculture icons that led it, the Beatles — but he was there.


Chris Montez with the Beatles and Tommy Roe

His early 60s hit, Let’s Dance was huge in England.  In one of his tours in England, the early Beatles were his opening act.  By the time of the Summer of Love in ’67, Chris Montez had left behind a legacy for other young Chicano rock and R&B artists.  Thus, the tradition of the Eastside Sound was planted and creative musical talent blossomed and branched out.  Chicano rock and R&B groups were all over the charts.  By 1967, one of these groups, Cannibal and the Headhunters was already touring with the Beatles.

Cannibal and the Headhunters

I did not mention that right before I had embarked on my trip up to San Francisco that summer of ‘69, I had just finished a job as a dorm coordinator.  I recall walking away with extra money and time after the program ended, happy I was out of that cramped and smelly dorm room. (to be continued in Part Five of original article)

A Chicano’s Perspective on the Summer of Love, 1967 – Part Two

My updated notes on the original article . . .

Friends, we’re in the summer of 2012, almost half a century since that famous event took place in San Francisco Park in 1967.   We’re now in an America facing voter suppression, attacks against women’s rights, open racist attacks against the first African American president surreptitiously and not so  surreptitiously sanctioned by a cynical opposition party,  attacks against gay rights and immigrants and more.  This is an America where a Libertarian who is hostile toward Federal protection of minority civil rights  enjoys considerable support from young Americans, including many Latinos.  We live in an America where the code phrase, Take America Back, really means moving the clock back to the time before the Summer of Love, 1967.

A Chicano’s Point of View on the Summer of Love, 1967

(Continued from Part One)  The Civil Rights Act, which prohibited discrimination in voting, public accommodations, and employment was passed by Congress in July of 1964.  The Voting Rights Act of 1965 became law in August of that year.  This legislation provided federal protection for federal, state and local elections.  Both Acts were legislated after a long and grueling Civil Rights struggle, led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and supported by many Americans, including our own great civil rights and labor leader, Cesar Chavez.

Latino political power as we know it today in California did not exist.  Edward Roybal, the first Latino elected to Congress from California since 1879, had just been elected to Congress in ’62.  For years, Edgar Hoover’s goons in suits followed him around like a suspected criminal.  There wasn’t even one Latino on the L.A. city council.

Segregation was alive and thriving. The concept of diversity in America as we know it today did not exist at that time.  Instead, lip service was given to something called the melting pot.  Racism and white supremacy was out in the open.  The social system in place was an American form of apartheid reinforced by brutal, racist cops, gerrymandering of voting districts and governmental/business practices like redlining.  I recall as a teenager knowing clearly the racial line of demarcation.  If you were a white-skinned Mexican, you might cross.  If you were dark-skinned or mestizo, most of the time it was FORGET IT AND STAY AWAY.

Almost a year after the enactment of Voting Rights Act, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.  That was America before the Summer of Love.

Some us who would later became activists, artists, leaders and foot soldiers in El Movimiento were still in high school and middle even elementary school around that time.  Some were still in gangs or just cruising or partying in the neighborhood.  It was a time of prelude and gestation.

In fact, it was at the beginning of the Summer of Love in June of ’67 that Reis Lopez Tijerina led the infamous Tierra Amarilla Courthouse Raid, a violent act of insurrection in the land grant struggle for the return of lands stolen in New Mexico after Mexican War of 1846-1848.  That political act of rebellion, labeled criminal by the Establishment, helped inspire Chicano leaders to become more militant in their civil rights activism and to frame their politics in the context of the greater historical issue.  (Continued in Part Three)



A Chicano’s Point of View on the Summer of Love, 1967 – Part Three

My updated notes on the original article . . .

So here we are friends, almost half a century later, summer of 2012.  There are hordes of Latinos of all stripes living in the good old USA now, many prospering and benefiting from the struggles of those who preceded them.  Yes, I said prospering and benefiting–and I will posit here that many if not most don’t have a clue about how it is that now they are enjoying so many “derechos y beneficios” in business, education and government.  Not their fault.  That history is just not that accessible and now it is even being suppressed in places like Arizona.

I will postulate something here–if Romney wins the Presidency, we are going to experience a wave of racism that will be akin to the racist norm that was in force before the Summer of Love, 1967.  The waves of racism that were experienced after Brewer signed off on SB1070 should give us an idea about how racists act in public when they feel law and government is on their side.

A Chicano’s Point of View on the Summer of Love, 1967 (continued)

Warriors for Peace

Tijerina may have awed and galvanized us with his fiery rhetoric and confrontational tactics but we had other leaders, leaders who were taking on broader, national issues. They were leaders who in their own right were also warriors, but whose philosophies and methods were more in the tradition of nonviolence.  Right alongside Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta was Denver-based Chicano civil rights leader, Rudolfo “Corky” Gonzales who criticized the Viet Nam war with eloquence in 1966, a couple of years before Dr. King spoke against the war.

Rudolfo “Corky” Gonzales

Two years after the Summer of Love, Corky’s organization, the Crusade for Justice hosted the national Chicano youth conference I already cited.  It was an event of historical importance.  Activist Latino youth, including Brown Berets and Young Lords, from all over the country attended.  For many youth including this writer, it was a heady initiation into real militant activism.

I recall participating in a demonstration against racism and the Vietnam War during the conference.  The march went through downtown Denver and the city civic center.  My homeboys spotted a flagpole flying the American flag.  Without any deliberation, they ran past the Crusade for Justice security, and before anybody could do anything, they were tearing down the flag.  The media was there and took pictures that were published in newspapers and aired nationwide.  The taking down of that flag was an act of raw, youthful anger and defiance, the stuff of counterculture – but it was Chicano and so it was colored as treasonous disrespect for the national emblem. (continued in part four)

A Chicano’s Perspective on the Summer of Love, 1967 — Part One

Friends, internet QVO-Radio/QVO-Magazine  published this article  late  summer 2005 with a bucket of historical pics.  So many that my name and some of the narrative got lost in that plethora of Chicano imagery.  It’s still online at http://www.qvoradio.com/Frank_Lechuga.html .  But if you just want to get to the meat of the narrative and savor my story, here it is . . .


A Chicano’s Perspective on the Summer of Love, 1967

Reflections of an Elder and Survivor of the Counterculture

When I was in Monterey, California last year, attending my second daughter’s wedding reception I had the opportunity to look back to when I first drove my lowered ‘59 Chevy Impala from L.A. to San Francisco up the Pacific Coast Highway, through El Gran Sur, giving rides to hitchhiking hippies.  I had just completed my freshman year at what was then San Fernando Valley State College and already had some activist experience under my belt through the campus chapter of U.M.A.S., (United Mexican American Students-the predecessor to M.E.Ch.A.) mostly picketing on behalf la Huelga.

Big Sur, California

It was the summer of 1968 and my destination was Haight-Ashbury and San Francisco.  I did not know it then that the Summer of Love had already come and gone, and that the Haight-Ashbury scene was dead.  I did not know that I was being drawn to an unprecedented wave of cultural and social change.  I was being drawn to the counterculture.  Some would call it a renaissance.  Conservatives thought communists and pinkos had America under siege.  The culture wars had started.

In the spring of 1969, I took a trip to Denver, Colorado with some homeboys from San Fernando, California.  We went to attend the First National Chicano Liberation Youth Conference.

What is the connection between these two journeys other than that they were undertaken by the same young vato seeking meaning, purpose and adventure?  Well, to see the connection you need to see the big  picture of what America was like for Chicanos . . . Latinos if you will . . . before the 1967 Summer of Love. (Continued in Part Two).