was born in Carlsbad and lives on the ranch where he grew up in Oceanside, but he returns to his Santa Ana roots tonight. That's where his parents,Juan Salvador Villaseñor
, married, on Aug. 18, 1929.
The author's local reading, from 7-9 p.m. at Librería Martinez, also brings together two geniuses once you factor in the book store and art gallery's owner, Rueben Martinez. They'll pump Villaseñor's latest book, Crazy Loco Love, which was just published last month, but one suspects his 1991 best-seller, Rain of Gold, will also come up seeing as how the story of his familia is on the state Board of Education's recommended reading list for high school students and is scheduled to be made into an HBO miniseries next year. Yay, more work for Edward James Olmos!
In honor of Villaseñor's local gig, we present some of his greatest hits:
"'But, Juanito, it's true,' insisted Epitacio. 'In the United States, people have no wrinkles on their faces, they're so well fed. And they keep a toilet inside their homes so they can use them constantly . . . they're so full of shit!'"
-Rain of Gold, 1991
"Chavez was out of jail for the time being, and time, the Father, was ticking on in his weird cancerous way and saying, 'There is a time to live and a time to die, there is a time for peace and a time for war; there is a time to create, protest, and go off to jail happily.' You know, all that biblical stuff. So to make it short, there is and always will be plenty of time for everything as we all go dancing, singing, reaching into our own timelessness. Or . . . how was your shit this morning? Did you eat good stuff for the makings?
"Why not? You really are what you eat. You really are what you think. You really are what music you listen to, what vision you have, what value you give yourself. So do it, take in good stuff and shit out your own self, true hero."
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"Then it was Lupe's turn to repeat the words of holy acceptance, but when she came to the passage, 'To have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part,' tears came to her eyes. After fifty years of marriage, she could now see that these were the very words that had given her the power to endure all the hardships of the years.
"Why, these words 'until death do us part' were the very foundation of every marriage. And she could also see that yes, even back then, fifty years ago, she'd had the wisdom to see that these were the words that had given her beloved mother, Doña Guadalupe, the strength to rise up like a mighty star and bring her familia back from the dead, time and again during that awful Mexican Revolution!"
-Thirteen Senses: A Memoir, 2002
"I now realized that this was how you enslaved a people. You didn't just bring them over in chains from Africa. No, you convinced them that they were inferior, not evolved, subhuman, and then you took off their shackles, so they could go to work, you'd still have them enslaved and shackled inside of their minds for hundreds of years. And this system of teaching was fine with most Anglo teachers, because in the act of convincing us, los Mexicanos and the Blacks, we were subhuman, they'd also convinced themselves that they were superior!"
-Burro Genius: A Memoir, 2005
"'Also,' he said, 'remember it is only in making mistakes, and big ones, that you learn to be a man. A man doesn't learn who he is and who he isn't by sitting around and talking. A man learns who he is and isn't by watching, thinking, then stepping into the bullring of life, and taking la vida by the horns!"
-Crazy Loco Love, November 2010