The Latino Book & Family Festival has been around since 1997, when Edward James Olmos first co-produced it. Olmos has been one of my heroes since way back, since the days he was the Pachuco in the classic film Zoot Suit. When I arrived at the Festival at Cal State LA and saw his booth, I knew he would be near. I was now in pursuit.
First I did a quick walk around the booths, saw many new book titles as well as some classics.
In walking around I ran into Azucena Maldonado who is the founder of the Latina Golfers Association and co-creator of a series of “Wise Latina” shirts. The shirts commemorate the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotamayor. I met Azucena at a Hispanic PR Association (HPRA) event earlier this summer. She introduced me to someone else as a “social media dude” since I was a panelist at the HPRA event. First time that’s happened!
A little further on, still no Olmos. But I heard some great singing from the stage so stopped by to take pictures and shoot some video of teen sensation Tanya Mackenna. Watch out JLo!
The sounds of Tanya singing a Selena song further motivated me to find Olmos (who of course played the Selena’s father in the movie of her life).
As I continued the search, I noticed a booth promoting a book entitled “Elemental Shaman.” The title and subject, finding the roots of spiritual consciousness, intrigued me so I stopped to talk to the author’s brother. Omar W. Rosales was not at the booth but his brother related part of Omar’s journey. I was fascinated since I often find myself on spiritual journeys, mostly online.
Now I had to find two people, Olmos and Omar the author!
A group formed around the Olmos booth so I took off to see if he had arrived. And there he was, the Pachuco, Captain Castillo, Jaime Escalante, Gregorio Cortez, and Galactica Commander all rolled into one!
But I wasn’t the only one looking for Olmos. There was a throng of people surrounding him and snapping pictures left and right. They were faster and apparently smarter than me because they had someone else with them to actually take a picture with him. I looked around to see if I could find a trusting soul to snap a picture with Olmos but my trust in humanity was losing to my technolust for my new iPhone 3Gs. I surveyed the crowd and saw one other honest looking fellow but he was also solo and was trying to get a picture as well.
Then Olmos started pushing his way through, hugging and taking pictures as he told everyone he’d be back shortly. We followed as he took the stage and started introductions. After 20 minutes Olmos left the stage and took pictures with an endless stream of Boy Scouts. The trusting fellow was also there waiting for a picture with him then got his chance. I still didn’t have anyone to take a picture so found an honest looking woman and asked her to help me out and she said yes. I was next!
After taking the picture and exchanging a few brief words with Olmos, I headed back to towards the classrooms to listen in on one of the author panels. I passed by the Elemental Shaman booth and the author Omar W. Rosales was there. I knew I recognized that face, it was the Trusting Looking One! Turns out we were both chasing Olmos.