Spilling the Beans in Chicanolandia: Conversations with Writers and Artists

By Frederick Luis Aldama | Go to book overview

Alfredo Véa Jr.

In 1950 Alfredo Véa was born to a teenage mother at the edge of Phoenix, Arizona. Raised by his grandparents and by the Filipino and Mexicano migrants that made up this community, Véa learned early about the power of language and the Yaqui worldview that would allow him to find a sense of belonging in a world filled with flux.

While his grandparents’ admixture of Moorish, Yaqui, and ancient Olmec stories and beliefs mesmerized Véa, it would be years before he would find come to identify himself as a storyteller and writer of fiction. In the intervening years, Véa served in Vietnam as a radiotelephone operator, finished a B.S. in physics from the University of California at Berkeley (1975), and received a J.D. from Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law (1978).

Practicing as a lawyer and representing those at the racial and social fringes of society provided Véa with a sense of purpose through the 1980s. But he continued to feel a deep sense of lack: that somehow there must be another way to explore and represent U.S. ethnic experiences, a way that was more attuned to those shades of gray that were disallowed by judicial courts and legal theory. In response, Véa wrote and published his first novel, La Maravilla (1993), which follows the early life of Beto as he comes to terms with his mixed Yaqui and Spanish heritage. Following the success of La Maravilla, Véa published The Silver Cloud Café (1996), in which he delved deeply into the archives of Mexican and U.S. history to bring to life the bloody Cristero Wars and the invasion of the Philippines within the framework of a story set in contemporary San Francisco. Véa used the murder mystery genre to extend his narrative scope to include characters who bridge different

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Spilling the Beans in Chicanolandia: Conversations with Writers and Artists
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Introducing a Second Wave of Chicano/a Visual/Verbal Artists 1
  • Francisco X. Alarcón 37
  • Alfred Arteaga 53
  • Ricardo Bracho 69
  • Denise Chávez 79
  • Lucha Corpi 95
  • Dagoberto Gilb 107
  • Jaime Hernandez (of Los Bros Hernandez) 119
  • Juan Felipe Herrera 129
  • Richard Montoya (of Culture Clash) 143
  • Pat Mora 153
  • Cherríe Moraga 167
  • Alejandro Morales 177
  • Michael Nava 187
  • Daniel Olivas 199
  • Cecile Pineda 215
  • Lourdes Portillo 227
  • Luis J. Rodríguez 235
  • Benjamin Alire Sáenz 251
  • Luis Alberto Urrea 261
  • Alfredo Véa Jr 277
  • Alma Luz Villanueva 287
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