This past weekend I wandered in and out of the Land of the Special. Originally I thought of the word Royal, but I know that at least two of the folks who I would write about would not want that word used. It's like calling yourself World Class. I've never met Yo Yo Ma, but I don't imagine him extending his hand as he meets you and sharing, "Hello, I'm Yo Yo Ma, World Class Musician". And yet, he is.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor, author, lawyer, Supreme Court Justice. I wonder if she identifies as Boricua or Nuyorican? She certainly identifies as Sonia from the Bronx. She was all warmth, gravitas and kindness Friday at Vroman's. No picture of her - none were permitted. But still ringing in my mind's ear is "Hola, Señora". I have washed my hand, but the memory of the handshake remains - her hand was so soft. Some memories don't need an image.
Saturday at Vroman's was extra special because Luis Alberto Urrea was there for a book signing, "Queen of America". If you've not read his works, try to do so soon. I suspect if you read this blog, you'll love his books. I tried to upload a video I took of Luis Alberto Urrea while he was at Vroman's this last Saturday. The Tech Gods are not letting me do this, so the writing will take a different tack.
His volume, "The Hummingbird's Daughter", was Pasadena's One City, One Story pick in 2009. It was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2005. In the New York Times, Stacey D'Erasmo describes it as "being simultaneously dreamy, telegraphic and quietly lyrical". He is quite the writer.
Not only does the man write - 10 volumes, so far - but he is a story teller. The sort that has the audience laughing so hard they end up gasping for air. The movie I'll share sometime, the Tech Gods permitting, includes a customs officer, cleavage and tequila. There's another element - but that's the tease.
Here is Luis the Sage and Profe with artist, Ramiro Gomez, Jr. taking about the intersections of art and politics. Ramiro has his own blog - Happy Hills. He works as male nanny in West Hollywood and Beverly Hills. It was quite the conversation.
But the talk was not all seriouness. Here is Luis with a couple of his buds. A young fellow whose name I've forgotten, Luis Torres, journalist extraordinaire and Louie Perez of Los Lobos.
And then, as any Sage will advise, a pose that reminds us that celebrity should never be taken too seriously. Not even if you are World Class.