Sep 25 2012

Desert America: Boom and Bust in the New Old West

Labeled this election year’s “sleeping giant,” Latino voters in the US are expected to significantly influence the political outcome on November 6th. Changing demographics due to immigration and the failing economy overall reflect a slow but palpable shift away from white American domination.

Latinos are generally concentrated in certain parts of the country. A new survey by the Pew Hispanic Center found that 45% of the US’s Latino population lives in 10 major cities with the number one location being the Los Angeles-Long Beach region. Concentrations of Latinos are also found in New York, Houston, San Bernardino, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, and Phoenix.

Now a new book by award winning journalist and author Ruben Martinez focuses on the American Southwest and the population and cultural changes it has witnessed over the past decade. Weaving in his own experience of living in a number of South western cities with his unique historical analysis, Martinez paints complex and lyrical pictures of race and art, immigration and natural beauty, drug abuse and gentrification. His book, entitled Desert America: Boom and Bust in the New Old West, is described by Kirkus Reviews as “[a] savage journey into terror, cacti, drugs, desperation and all-around anomie in the superheated atmosphere of the desert Southwest… A necessary chronicle of a weird corner of America.”

GUEST: Ruben Martinez, Emmy winning journalist, Lannan Foundation fellow, poet, and author. His books include Crossing Over and The New Americans. He currently holds the Fletcher Jones Chair in Literature and Writing at Loyola Marymount University. His new book is called Desert America: Boom and Bust in the New Old West

On Friday, September 28, 2012 at 8 pm, Ruben Martinez will be offering copies of his book for sale. He will also be part of the following performance:

A Night of Performance Unearthing Radical L.A. History

Venue: Ford Amphitheatre / 2580 Cahuenga Blvd East, Los Angeles, CA 90068

Hosted by Rubén Martínez and Raquel Gutiérrez
Featuring: Quetzal, Ceci Bastida & Josh Kun, Marisoul Hernández, Chicano/Son

A night of music, theater and dance providing a window into a little-known but epic chapter in L.A.’s history, the life and times of Mexican revolutionary Ricardo Flores Magón. Based on the old Mexican variedades (variety show) format, the show evokes the “progressive” era of early 20th century Los Angeles, where activists gathered at the Old Plaza in Downtown and faced off with their political nemeses: the Los Angeles Times and the LAPD. Slated to perform is Rubén Martínez, Raquel Gutiérrez, Quetzal, Ceci Bastida, Josh Kun, Marisoul Hernandez, Chicano Son, The Martínez Del Río Band, Yuri Batres-Estévez and Joe Grimm.

One response so far

One Response to “Desert America: Boom and Bust in the New Old West”

  1. Patricia Toddon 27 Sep 2012 at 11:05 am

    Come hear Ruben Martinez speak about his new book Desert America on Wednesday October 3 at 7 PM at Alhambra Civic Center Library, in Reese Hall. The library is located at 101 S. First Street, Alhambra, CA 91801.

    Books will be available for purchase and author signing.

    Ample parking underneath the library on the street.

    Call 626-570-3212 extension 1 for more information.