I've been a fan of legendary Chicano muralist Emigdio Vasquez even longer than I knew who he was. The Alcoholics Anonymous in Anaheim where I'd accompany my dad from my toddler years through my teens is right up the street from a supermarket that hosts his epic Memories of the Past and Images of the Present, painted to commemorate the Little People's Park Riot of 1978. I'd always stand there in awe, then marvel at how the same artist had murals across Anaheim--at City Hall, near a park, at a Mexican restaurant.
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Once I actually learned who Vasquez was, my appreciation only grew, even if the county didn't bother and tried its damndest to eradicate his murals. So that's why I'm glad that the Latino Arts Network is honoring Vasquez this Saturday in SanTana with their prestigious Maestro Award--and honored that I'm the keynote speaker.
The shindig will start at 11 a.m. at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art at 117 N. Sycamore. Others will speak on Vasquez's importance, including Pilar O'Cadiz, daughter of Vasquez's contemporary, Sergio O'Cadiz and members of the United Artists of Santa Ana, who nominated Vasquez in the firs place. And making a rare appearance is Vasquez himself. Like, really rare: the last time I remember, he had moved to Arizona. So make some time to bask in the presence of a legend, and see you there!