The audio portrait Growing Old In East L.A.,
created and produced by David Greenberger with co-producers Jay Allison
and Barbara Price, explores the lives of elderly Mexican-Americans in
California. The project is part of the California Council for the
Humanities, California Documentary Project, a multiyear initiative to
uncover the personal and community stories that create a portrait of
contemporary California. Framed by author and narrator Greenberger, the
stories reveal not so much the parts elderly Mexican-American residents
of East Los Angeles have played in the history of the state, but the
part history plays in their personal narratives. Louie Perez and David
Hidalgo, Grammy-award winning members of Los Lobos, created the
emotionally evocative soundtrack.
The stories explore universal themes: reflection in old age, the
dignity of the individual, and the bonds of community, family and
faith. These are first-person portraits of ordinary citizens often
overlooked in mainstream media. These are stories about the ways we
live our lives, the things in which we believe. At the core they value
the heart in the human voice, the evocative nature of sound, the
importance of subtext, and the art of storytelling.
The focus on the elderly is a reflection of David Greenberger's Duplex Planet
project. His unconventional oral history interviews explore topics and
themes that survey the range of modern human experience. Through
conversations about such subjects as neighborhoods, food, and raising a
family, the concepts of American identity, nationalism and
multiculturalism are examined.
The project is available for radio broadcast through the Public Radio Exchange.
A Forward from David Greenberger