Youtubing Lee & Me: Literary El Paso
Marcia Daudistel has edited LITERARY EL PASO for the TCU Press Series which features the literary traditions of Texas cities. I promise you: El Paso's literary history can stand up to that of any city in Texas. LITERARY EL PASO will include John Rechy, Arturo Islas, Benjamin Alire Saenz, Dagoberto Gilb, Antonio Burciaga, Ricardo Sanchez, Rick DeMarinis, Denise Chavez and many many others. It's a humongous book (600-pages plus)--at $30 cheap for its size--and will be available at the end of this month. Lee contributed a story, "When He Is 37" from her collection My Sister Disappear and I have two poems, "The Gavachos in the Photograph" (The Price of Doing Business in Mexico) and "One Way for Middle-Aged Persons to Meditate" (Get Some Fuses for the House). Marcia and El Paso Magazine asked us to make youtube short videos as part of the promotion. If you're in the neighborhood, Barnes & Noble on the Westside will be having an event on October 24th, 4pm, celebrating the arrival of the book. Below are the videos. Lee only reads the first section of her story, and I read "The Gavachos in the Photograph." If you're reading this on FACEBOOK, which doesn't download video from Blogger, click here for Lee's performance and here for mine.
By the way, the photograph at the top (also in the video) is by Pedro Rueles Alvarez. Here's the note in the back of the book about the protographs: "Pedro Ruelas Alvarez, a street photographer, took the photograph of Lee and me sitting in the corner booth by the front window of the famous Martino’s Restaurant on Avenida Juárez just on the other side of the 'free bridge.' We were living in Las Cruces at the time, and we had no idea that we would ever move to El Paso. Ruelas, who charged us three dollars for the photograph, is now dead, but many of the waiters--including my favorite, Moisés II, a dead–ringer for Peter Lorre--are still there. They all make exquisite martinis right at your table while you sit and watch." Now Moises II is no longer there, and with the insane violence of the drug wars keeping the paseños away from Juarez, Martino's is hanging on by the slenderest of threads.