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Luis Valdez: 1940—: Playwright, Director, Writer, Actor, Teacher Biography - El Teatro Campesino, La Bamba, Back To "the Farmworker Question"

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Acknowledged as the "godfather of Chicano theater," Luis Valdez is the founder and artistic director of El Teatro Campesino, which translates to The Farmworkers Theater. Started in 1965, Valdez has led the theater company to international acclaim and numerous awards. The author and director of numerous plays, Valdez has also written and directed two films: Zoot Suit, based on his play of the same name and La Bamba, the 1987 hit movie based on the life of the Mexican-American rock star, Ritchie Valens. It's his work with El Teatro Campesino, however, and his dedication to advancing the role of the arts in people's lives that sets Valdez apart from his contemporaries. "If you want to understand modern Latino theater, you have to know that Luis was the start," Sean San Jose of San Fran-cicso's Campo Santo Theater Company told Karen D'Souza of the San Jose Mercury News. "Everything that came after him was informed by him."

Born Luis Miguel Valdez on June 26, 1940 in Delano, California, Valdez was raised in the agricultural labor camps around California where his parents worked in the fields, picking what ever crop was in season. It was a small role in an elementary school play and seeing his parents and those like them work the long, grueling hours for little pay that moved Valdez to use the theater to shed light on the Latino experience. "I took what I most feared, the thing I was most ashamed of, and turned it into something I could write about," he told students at San Diego State Universtiy in 2000.

Ritchie Valens: 1941-1959: Performer Biography - Early Interest In Music, Valens's Big Break, Fatal Crash Became A Legend [next] [back] Jésus "Chucho" Valdés: 1941—: Musician Biography - Grew Up Around Jazz Greats, Became Known In United States, Hosted Radio Show

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about 3 years ago

Hello Mr. Valdez. This is Gary Ledesma from San Jose, California. Should I get with a graduate student at San Jose State to write a script about a Chicano in the Mid-sixties, in which he was born in the bay area, and worked in the fields as a little boy, like alot of us did. A little bit about his life story. He was drafted into the Vietnam war. Got out of the military, and was in law enforcement, until his white-counter parts forced him out the police department because of his effort in trying to get more Mexicans into the sj police department. He then went to college and got his master degree in social work, and worked in social services for a while. He later was accused of murdering a fourteen year old girl. He went to prison for about a year, before he was release as a free man thru DNA. This Veteran later hid for nine years, leaving his Wife and children because of the harassment from the police. He later came back to his Family. His Wife is currently attending SJCC trying to complete her associate degree. She never gave up on her Husband. She struggle financially the years her Husband was gone, even supporting her three children get their masters degrees. This Veteran had PDST, when he came back from war, and this really affected each Family member. This Veteran was treated so bad by the legal system. Please advise

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almost 8 years ago


I am an accordcian player. I would like to suggest if anyone one can make movies about notable Tejano muscians, Freddy Fender, Little Joe, Flaco, or Ruben Vela. Many movies have been made of other performers, but the Tejano performers have not bee represented. I hope that movies can be produced of these great Tejano icons.

Thank you for your time and any response to my inquiry.

KE Perez