Louie and Pablo:
My First Article in The Voice (Feb. 10, 1975)
I started working on this at the end of 1974. I was 24. Voice editors assigned writers to profile different classes of high schools. Guess who was sent to Seward Park in Loisaida. Truthfully, I took a big gulp before approaching kids, many of whom let me know where I could put that fuckin’ tape recorder. But the ice melted when one kid lit up as I introduced myself: Louie. “Coño, it’s Yoruba, man!”
Not only did he know that (until recently) I had been in the Lords; he knew my nickname. Cat was 18, and introduced me to everyone else. Gold.
Louie enters the piece in the second paragraph, above, and is quoted throughout.
This is about what I looked like when Louie and I met. Frankly, my everyday image is how I was able to blend into a barrio. They may not have read the Voice, but I didn’t look like I was from the Times or the News either. Later, when I worked in television, a suit tie haircut and camera crews added other layers of separation. Thankfully offset by the power even my image was creating on TV. Damn strong medium.
Louie and I quickly lost touch. Until last year. On that Rican grapevine, Twitter. “Hey! I’m that guy you put in The Voice!” Holy shit. I had been tweeting with someone whose work I had long admired, without making the connection. If you look at the second section of this article, the ‘graph near the top that has “This is Louie…(he is) involved with a group of poets, musicians and actors from the neighborhood” — - that workshop OUTSIDE of school became Louie’s ticket out. Less than two years after we met, that wrestling with a craft got him into SHORT EYES. Then came Q&A. CARLITO’S WAY. Yeah…
Louie. AKA Luis Guzmán. @IamLuisGuzman
Vaya bro’. Y gracias.