Sometimes we get stuff in the mail that is too good (well,... Enter Now
To do: A conversation with Ken and Melanie Light
The Central Valley has problems. The foreclosure crisis hit us hard. There is unemployment in the double digits, which wouldn't be unique except it's above state and national averages. There is blight and suburban sprawl and an unending fight for water. All of which could be the jacket synopsis for Ken and Melanie Light's book "Valley of Shadows and Dreams."
With a foreword by John Steinbeck's son, Thomas.
From the book's press: "In 'Valley of Shadows and Dreams' we see richly fertile land transformed into neighborhoods full of empty tract homes that no local workers can afford. We are confronted head-on with the devastating results of foreclosure. We stand in the Community Center food line in Mendota. We also slip magically onto a midnight dance floor with migrant workers in Tulare, and we sail out across the San Joaquin River on a rope swing."
That sounds pretty much like the Central Valley to me.
Ken (the photographer) and Melanie (the writer) will be in town with special guest Hugo Morales, June 2 for a reception, conversation and book signing at Arte Americas. The event starts at 4:30 p.m. and is presented by the American Friends Service Committee Pan Valley Institute, Heyday and Arte Américas. Musicians Patrick Contreras and Steve Ono will perform.
It should be interesting to hear the conversation that arises, because while book has already got some national press (including an on-line slideshow over at the New York Times), it's also created a dustup with locals, who see the Lights' work akin to poverty-tourism, which I'm thinking maybe the Chamber of Commerce should look into, because that could be a goldmine.