Back in December I took the 30 bus further east than I had ever taken it before to visit the annual holiday art fair of Self Help Graphics, the legendary Chicano art studio located in East LA. Self Help’s future at the time was a bit fuzzy since their iconic building (above) had been sold out from under them (the new owners have since allowed them to stay, so all’s well for at least a year), but you wouldn’t have known it from the joyous, life-affirming afternoon I spent in the company of its passionate, highly-entertaining artists and staff. I wrote about the institution, the neighborhood, and its cast of characters for the feature “Self Help Graphics” in a recent issue of Creative Review.
Thanks to my friend Steve, I was stunned to find out that the piece has been excerpted in the current issue of the Utne Reader, which pretty much blew my mind, since that was the publication we were assigned to read in school as an example of the kind of writing we were supposed to be doing. I’m almost afraid to see it in person because when I do, I’ll have to give up this little gelato-soaked charade and become a real, honest-to-goodness writer.