Ganging Up

The recent surge in books and films examining the harsh realities of ghetto life has most notably included black filmmakers like Spike Lee and John Singleton, who have enjoyed boffo box office returns and the good graces of Hollywood. (Last year 19 movies were made by black filmmakers, more than the entire decade before).


* Edward James Olmos’ recent film, “American Me,” looked at gang life from the Latino perspective.

* New director Steve Anderson’s “South Central,” produced by Oliver Stone and based on Donald Bakeer’s book “Crips,” is slated for a probable fall release. Anderson also plans to film L.A. Times writer Bob Sipchen’s book, “Baby Insane and the Buddha,” to be published in January, 1993, about a conservative white detective and a San Diego Crip who turns informant.


* Journalist Leon Bing’s examination of L.A. gang culture, “Do Or Die,” is in script development, as is Celeste Fremon’s upcoming book optioned by Columbia about Father Gregory Boyle and his work with Latino gangs in East L.A.

* Young Oakland writer Jess Mowry is making literary waves with his new gang novel, “Way Past Cool,” for which he snared a $75,000 option from Disney.

* Alex Kotlowitz’s “There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America” and Nicholas Lemann’s “The Promised Land: The Great Black Migration and How it Changed America” were published to critical acclaim.