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Chicano playwright Luis Valdez speaks at Texas State

Date of Release: 09/18/2006

SAN MARCOS —Emmy award-winning playwright and director Luis Valdez will speak in the spirit of protest and dissent Wednesday, Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. at Evans Auditorium on the Texas State University-San Marcos campus.

This Common Experience event will shine the light on the 1943 Los Angeles riots that pitted U.S. sailors against Mexican “pachucos,” known collectively as the Zoot Suit riots. Valdez’s most recognized play, Zoot Suit, and the Pachuco riots will be the main topic of the lecture. Known as the Father of Chicano Theatre, Valdez is credited for giving strength to the Chicano Movement in the 1960s.

Valdez’s career began in 1963, when he produced his first play at San Jose State University. One of his early accomplishments includes the founding of El Teatro Campesino, a traveling farm worker troupe. La Carpa de los Rasquachis (1973), El Fin del Mundo (1973), Zoot Suit (1978) and Tiberio Vasquez (1980) were written to reflect Hispanic life. Valdez also directed La Bamba in 1987, the life story of Chicano rock n’ roll star Ricardo Valenzuela (Ritchie Valenz).

Aside from the Emmy Award he received in 1973, Valdez’s accolades include an the Village Voice’s Obie Award, the San Francisco Bay Critic Circle Award for Best Musical, Los Angeles Drama Critics Award and he was honored by President Reagan’s Committee on Arts and Humanities. Valdez has honorary doctorates from Columbia College, San Jose State University and the California Institute of the Arts.