WHITTIER – Lalo Alcaraz, creator of the nationally syndicated comic strip “La Cucaracha,” and Evelina Fernandez, writer of the play and movie “Luminarias,” will top a roster of influential Southern California authors and artists at Rio Hondo College’s annual “Writes of Spring” festival.

The two-day festival, which celebrates the works of writers and artists who live in the region, will be held Wednesday, April 29 and Thursday, April 30 in Rio Hondo College’s Wray Theater.

“Each year, our ‘Writes of Spring’ festival provides an extraordinary opportunity for our students to be exposed to great talent, learn from experts in their fields and to share their own works,” Rio Hondo Superintendent/President Teresa Dreyfuss said. “This year’s event is shaping up to be one of the best yet.”

Alcaraz is author of a compendium of political cartoons, a faculty member at Otis College of Art & Design in Los Angeles and co-host of KPFK Radio’s satirical talk show “The Pocho Hour of Power.”

Fernandez is an actor and writer who received the Nosotros Golden Eagle Award presented by Hollywood’s Latino community for her portrayal of Julie in “American Me” and a Golden Eagle for writing the screenplay for “Luminarias.”

Alcaraz and Fernandez will be joined at the free event by a quartet of influential writers and artists from across the region:

Michael Jaime-Becerra: An associate professor of creative writing at UC Riverside and resident of El Monte, Jaime-Becerra’s novel “This Time Tomorrow” won the International Latino Book Award.

Douglas Kearney: Author of published three collections of poetry, including one chosen as a National Poetry Series selection. Kearney lives in the Santa Clarita Valley and teaches at the California Institute of the Arts.

Tyler Dilts: A creative writing instructor at Cal State University, Long Beach, Dilts is the author of three crime novels set in Long Beach. His latest, “A Cold and Broken Hallelujah,” was published in fall 2014.

Katrina Kunstmann: An artist and comic book author, Kunstmann’s work has enlivened children’s books, corporate logos and video games. She is the creator of the “Warhead” comic. Kunstmann earned an Associate of Arts degree from Antelope Valley College and studied film in London.

The festival will also feature two programs highlighting student work: readings from the 16th volume of Rio Hondo College’s student literary journal, River’s Voice: A Journal of Art and Literature, and screenings of student work in the River Deep Student Film Festival.

The film festival showcases the year’s best films developed by Rio Hondo College students. Students compete for a chance to screen their work during the festival; at the event’s conclusion, prizes are awarded for the top works. The event was cofounded and is coordinated by faculty members Tom Callinan and Sheila Lynch.

This year, the film festival will feature a talk with award-winning film director and television editor Jill D’Agnenica, whose 2013 film “Life Inside Out” has received 16 awards from film festivals, including best premiere, best feature film, award of excellence. The film tells how music brings together a mother and son. D’Agnenica has been editor for four years on ABC’s “Switched at Birth.”


Wednesday April 29

  • 8:05 a.m. Michael Jaime-Becerra
  • 9:45 a.m. Lalo Alcaraz
  • 11:15 a.m. Douglas Kearney
  • 1 p.m. The River Deep Student Film Festival and Pizza Party
  • 2:30 p.m. River’s Voice: A Journal of Art and Literature student author readings

Thursday April 30

  • 8:05 a.m. Tyler Dilts
  • 9:45 a.m. Katrina Kunstmann
  • 11:15 a.m. Evelina Fernandez
  • 1 p.m. The River Deep Film Festival and Pizza Party with Special Guest Jill D’Agnenica
  • 2:30 p.m. River’s Voice: A Journal of Art and Literature student author readings