Albuquerque's The Alibi turned the tables on Gustavo Arellano, the columnist behind the racy ¡Ask a Mexican! column. The paper challenged Arellano to ask a New Mexican, and the result, he says, was "brilliant." Joseph Baca, a wine writer and native of the state, answered questions on Santo Niño de Atocha, curanderas, chile and Hispanos. "That Baca guy has a future outside of vacas!," Arellano says.

Continue ReadingThe Mexican Asks a New Mexican

"Those geniuses at NPR, the network that thinks Garrison Keillor and Mo Rocca are the height of hilarity, have shamelessly ripped off ¡Ask a Mexican! to start a new feature, Ask an Arab," Gustavo Arellano writes. "Oh, and before anyone begins leaving comments about me being so petty and me ripping off 'Ask a Black Dude,' I preface this post with a classic quote from Krusty the Clown: 'If this is anyone but Steve Allen, you've stolen my bit!'"

Continue ReadingArellano: NPR’s ‘Ask an Arab’ is an ‘Ask a Mexican’ Rip-off

Gustavo Arellano reports that an unnamed Mexican restaurant in Dana Point has grabbed the logo for his column and is running it in ads that appear in the Dana Point Times -- a local competitor to OC Weekly. While he points out that it is not the first time someone has swiped the Mark Dancey-designed logo, Arellano says he was surprised to find the thievery so close to home. Did the restaurant and the paper "really think they'd get away with using my column's logo and making money off of it without me eventually finding out and throwing barbs back at them?," he asks. "Especially considering it's a Mexican restaurant?"

Continue ReadingRestaurant Steals ‘Ask a Mexican’ Logo for Ad

On a recent episode the show "88 Degrees" on internet radio station Radio White, white supremacist Martin Cox and co-host Jeremy Moody attacked Arellano for his coverage of an incident this summer involving skinheads in Huntington Beach. During the show, Cox called Arellano everything from a "Mexican homosexual beaner" to a "faggot communist" to a "fricking reporter for a newspaper that comes out once a week and it's free," before talking about attacking Arellano. "I know who he is, where he works. I know everything about this dude," Cox said. "We have his home address. We have everything we need to know about that dude."

Continue ReadingWhite Supremacists Threaten OC Weekly’s Gustavo Arellano

Tony Diaz, who hosts KPFT's Nuestra Palabra program in Houston, says that the Houston Press' decision to publish Gustavo Arellano's syndicated column only on the web is like putting it "in the back of the bus." Diaz also says the Press doesn't understand how popular the column is among Hispanics, insinuating the alt-weekly is out-of-touch with that community -- an insinuation that editor Margaret Downing is having none of. "While I certainly understand the disappointment of some of our readers, to say that not carrying the column in print shows a lack of commitment to the Hispanic community is nothing but hyperbole," she says in a statement explaining the move.

Continue ReadingRadio Host Upset that Houston Press Took ‘Ask a Mexican’ Online Only

"We don't praise restaurants simply because they buy ads, even though our very nice ad reps constantly leave menus on my desk insinuating I should review their clients and even though I've had many run-ins with corporate over the years because of the type of restaurants I review," Weekly staff writer Gustavo Arellano writes in response to one restauranteur's charge that the paper "gives great reviews for people who advertise." Arellano pulls out the statistics to prove his point. "According to records given to me by the Weekly's advertising department of every restaurant that advertised in our rag in 2008, only three restaurants of the 51 that I reviewed last year ever bothered to place an ad."

Continue ReadingOC Weekly Debunks Claim That it Practices Payola

In the sixth installment of this year's "How I Got That Story" series, OC Weekly staffer and ¡Ask a Mexican! columnist Gustavo Arellano discusses his column, which for the second time in three years won a first-place AltWeekly Award. He also talks to Elena Brown about getting hate mail, the immigration debate, and what he likes about writing for alt-weeklies. "At a daily newspaper, they ask you to do one thing and one thing only. I'd get so bored so fast I'd quit my job," Arellano says. "Here, I could write about anything, so long as it's good. That freedom is so intoxicating I can't see why anybody would not want a job like mine."

Continue ReadingHow I Got That Story: Gustavo Arellano

OC Weekly staff writer and ¡Ask a Mexican! columnist Gustavo Arellano's second book is due to be released on Sept. 16. Orange County: A Personal History is a memoir that examines the history of Orange County as seen through four generations of his family moving back and forth between Mexico and Anaheim. Ed Zotti, longtime editor of the syndicated Straight Dope column, also has a new memoir, which was released this week. His The Barn House: Confessions of an Urban Rehabber is a "memoir about fixing up an old house in the city and pursuing the urban version of the American Dream." Check out an excerpt on the Chicago Reader's site. Another memoir on the horizon is Prince Joe Henry's Princoirs. Henry is the longtime author of the "Ask a Negro Leaguer" column in the Riverfront Times, and the book is an extension of the column. If you're not into memoirs, some of Seattle Weekly cartoonist Scott Meyer's "Basic Instructions" comic strips have been collected in the new Help Is on the Way: A Collection of Basic Instructions, which was released this week.

Continue ReadingFour New Alt-Weekly-Related Books Hit the Shelves

Gustavo Arellano will headline an exciting weekend of education and inspiration when AAN's annual writers workshop descends on the leafy campus of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern Univ. in Evanston, Ill. on Aug. 15-16. Writers who register by Aug. 1 will be able to participate in a personal writing critique, during which their work will be analyzed by a small group led by an experienced AAN editor.

Continue ReadingWriters Workshop Program Announced

On Monday, the OC Weekly staffer and ¡Ask a Mexican! author received a Latino Spirit Award from the caucus. The award honors Latinos who have made a positive contribution to the state. "Why did I receive the award? Blame Hector de la Torre," Arellano says of the assemblyman who nominated him for the honor. At the ceremony, de la Torre "read some questions to and answers from The Mexican," according to Sacramento News & Review editor Matt Coker's report. "In an attempt to show the column is not frivilous [sic], de la Torre gave an example of the historial research that goes into Arellano's answers," using a column on "gringos vs. gabachos" as an example.

Continue ReadingGustavo Arellano Honored by California’s Latino Legislative Caucus