Lost Girl: Tales of Loving and Leaving El Monte

Having narrowly escaped death, what Benita had to say couldn’t wait. The day she found her old journal in a taped-up box in her father’s garage, she hurried home to type up the sweet, unfiltered diary of an El Monte high school girl.

Benita Morgan Bishop self-published “Lost Girl from El Monte,” comprised of diary entries written between 1975 and 1977, just a few weeks after she walked out, unharmed, from a car wreck in 2003. At the same time, her father was in the hospital, dying from complications from a severe fall. In the midst of so much fear and loss, Benita worked on her first book knowing every day was precious.

Benita beautifully captures the raw innocence of her youth in the memoir and its follow up, “Escape from El Monte.” The book covers feature juicy old English typeface, a surfer girl emerging from the ocean, and a photo of Benita as a 1970s pin-up girl in a Bob Mackie bathing suit, posing in front of a shuttered theater.

To read the entire essay, click here.

Benita in Bob Mackie magic bathing suit

El Monte Forever: A Brief History of Michael Jaime-Becerra

As the third installment of  the  Tropics of Meta series, East of East: Mapping Community Narratives in South El Monte and El Monte, in collaboration with the South El Monte Arts Posse, Vickie Vertiz contributed the essay, “El Monte Forever: A Brief History of Michael Jaime-Becerra.” The project is an  anthology about the diverse histories, communities, and cultures of the California cities of El Monte and South El Monte, created by a wide range of scholars, artists, poets, activists and other community members. Visit the project website to read the essay and other entries.

South El Monte Arts Posse: A Birthday Party Book Release Video

http://vimeo.com/74256993

In May of this year, Aimee Suzara and I had a joint book release party in El Monte.
If you couldn’t come to Legg Lake for the carne asada release party, now you can see it thanks to the folks at South El Monte Arts Posse and Henry Pacheco. Gracias and enjoy!