Growing Old in East LA

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

This project is made possible in part, by a grant from the California Council for the Humanities in partnership with the Skirball Foundation, through the jointly supported California Documentary Project, a program of the California Stories initiative. The Council is an independent nonprofit organization and a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information on the Council and the California stories initiative visit

Additional funding has been provided by the Arts Center of the Capital Region, New York Foundation for the Arts and The Public Radio Exchange.