Luis Chaluisan, whose parents moved to New York City from Mayaguez Puerto Rico in 1955, was raised in Brooklyn and the Bronx. He received his primary education at Sts. Philip and James and secondary education at Cardinal Hayes High School - Honors Class '75 (both in the Bronx). Chaluisan received his BA in Theater Arts from Amherst College '86. As a child he was influenced by Puerto Rican-Nuyorican-American Rock and Roll Pop Culture. In 1969 he received a Sears Art School Scholarship based on his Watercolor work. Chaluisan excelled both in Honors academics and track and field while at Cardinal Hayes HS. He was a finalist in the National Junior Olympic Mile Race Summer 1973 (2nd Place held at Van Cortlandt Stadium 4 min. 39 sec.) and was part of the Championship Record Setting Cardinal Hayes Varsity Cross Country Team 1973 With 1. Oscar Amaro '74 2. Richard Zwanzig '74 3. Butch Soares '74 4. Ricardo Morales '74 5. Luis Chaluisan '75 Avg Team Time 14 min. 21 sec. Two and A Half Mile Cross Country Course Van Cortlandt Park September 1973 (a record that still stands.) In 1974 he was granted a Lincoln Center Drama Class Scholarship to study With Marcel Marceau. Chaluisan formed his own Bronx based Dance Company in March 1975 (entitled "Adoracion") and went professional as a folkloric dancer singer in June 1975 with the "Alliance Of Latin Artists" in NYC. Chaluisan was filmed by noted director John David Coles (House Of Cards) while at Amherst College in the fall of 1975. In March 1976 his first Published Poem "Narrative Of A Hybrid" appeared in "The Polemic" Edited by John G. Russell Ph.D. Gifu University. With the publication of “Narrative of a Hybrid” in the Polemic Anthology (1976, Straight Ahead Press – Amherst, Massachusetts) Luis Chaluisan joined the ranks of period Nuyorican writers that included Pedro Pietri (“Puerto Rican Obituary” 1973), Miguel Pinero (Short Eyes 1973) and Lefty Barretto (Nobody’s Hero 1976). Mentored by Black Panther cultural minister Ed Bullins and later by Young Lord Eddie Figueroa (founder of the “New Rican Village" on the Lower East Side of New York) Chaluisan was hired by Joe Papp to join the NY Public Theater’s emerging playwright unit headed by Crispin Larengeira in the summer of 1977. A chance meeting with magazine editor-in-chief Soledad Santiago paved the way for Chaluisan to land a job at Latin NY magazine – the nation’s first successful long term English language monthly publication focusing on Latino (primarily Puerto Rican vis-a-vis Nuyorican) arts and culture. The nineteen year old Chaluisan rose up the ranks from reporter to music editor between 1977-79 under the tutelage of Latin NY publisher Mr Salsa Izzy Sanabria which led to his being hired by WCBS network affiliate WFSB-TV 3 Post Newsweek Affiliate in Hartford CT as an on air reporter covering City Hall and the Board Of Education.
In 1982 he was hired by WBGU-TV PBS in Bowling Green, Ohio as a news and arts producer. For the next twenty five years he worked as a TV investigative reporter, producer, writer and marketing executive. including Telemundo in Tucson, Arizona and Yakima, Washington), WCBS Channel 2 (New York), and News 12 Long Island, along with stints at radio station WGB in Albany among other mainstream media outlets in the US. Upon leaving the news business in 1997 and resettling in Hartford, CT, Chaluisan (performing as “El Extreme”) began to disseminate work he had developed as a musical composer and poet/essayist with his own indie rock groups dating back to 1982 (Little Otis and The Upsetters, The Blankets of Doom, La Gran Orquesta El Extreme, Gang Bang Bang, and El Extreme’s Electric Cabaret.). The effort led to his inclusion in the National Slam Poetry movement as a State Team Slam Champion for CT. (1998/1999 in Austin, Texas and Chicago, Illinois.) His semi-final performance was captured on film by CBS' Sixty Minutes and featured in the news magazine's report on the tenth anniversary of the Slam movement. In 2000 he returned to NYC and set to work on organizing his written work and professional notes describing his media/educational experience which resulted in the off-Broadway play Spic Chic: S.panish P.eople I.n C.ontrol (initially a 2001 workshop at the Nuyorican Café in Manhattan with later runs at the Chelsea Playhouse and Spanish Repertory Theater). The performance at El Repertorio Espanol garnered the attention of producers for the 2004 Biennale Festival in Bonn, Germany where Spic Chic had its European premiere at the Bonn Opera House Theater. In the meantime, Chaluisan was approached by film director Henry Chalfant (“Style Wars”) to contribute both content and interview source material to the award winning documentary “From Mambo to Hip Hop” which aired on PBS in 2006.
In 2007, Chaluisan moved to Puerto Rico after the death of his father Federico Chaluisan to spend a year in mourning and soaking in the poetry/writer’s scene at the University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez, PR. With the help of University students and Professor Linda Rodriguez PhD, El Extreme reemerged writing in both English and Spanish. In late 2008, Fly by Night Press (a subsidiary of A Gathering of the Tribes, NYC) opted to publish a compendium of poetry, photos, artwork, comedic essays and short stories by Chaluisan dating back to 1975 under the title of Spic Chic (The Adventures The Last Nuyorican). The term "Spic Chic" caused controversy in 1974 when it was used on the Bill Boggs mid-day talk show - then aired on Metromedia Channel 5 in NYC (now Fox Television). The offhand remark was offered by Latin NY magazine editors to describe the infusion of vivid colors by Latino clothes designers then making their mark on NY's fashion world. The latter part of the promotional title (The Adventures of the Last Nuyorican) is based on a humorous quip in 2005 from Nuyorican poet Papoleto Melendez that “El Extreme represents the torn page” from the canon of previously published Nuyorican writers who flourished in the 1970’s and ‘80’s. Meanwhile, writer David Henderson (‘Scuse Me While I Kiss The Sky: Jimi Hendrix Voodoo Child) is a bit more serious stating, “I think Spic Chic is strong stuff, right in the Nuyorican tradition. Poems and then stories back into poems that are often emotionally moving. A self exploration in a non-chronological history consistent in language and point of view, it is clearly a highly personalized work that is successful in the Nuyorican free-style genre and successful in the broader sense as well.” Both observations are welcomed by Bronx bred author Chaluisan - once again residing in Bowling Green, Ohio - who states, "I could have chased a traditional path in developing my work but I was having too much manic fun being off-beat and, besides, God had other plans for my creative life."
Photos, articles and life events for Luis Chaluisan
To contact Luis Chaluisan: 347-526-2670
New film tellsLuis Chaluisan's story SPIC CHIC - Backstage Spic Chic Repertory Espanol The Poetry of the Nuyorican Experience The Return of El Extreme LYRICAL VOICE OF THE CITY Nueva York - Gesichter...ila/277 Flashback Friday: El Extreme, 1990 Bands find fans want to rock on
The work presented here is utilized in non-commercial class presentation Academic Study-Doctoral Studies of Luis Chaluisan "Latino Pop Culture 1898-2014" Rocker Roller Rican Documentary. This channel is repository of original copyrighted work (Luis Chaluisan 1957-2014 Film/Videos/Photos) for use in the Branekandi-roughrican Productions documentary on the artistic trajectory of Nuyorican Artist El Extreme. Maria Hernandez Director WEPAwebTV Mike Tapp Branekandi MNN Time Warner.