Mi Vida Loca

Institute History


“Mi Vida Loca,” my crazy life, is a calo phrase used by Chicano gang members in the southwest which typifies their lifestyle. Three tattooed dots on the hand or face also represent the phrase.

The screenplay, divided into three separate yet interlocking stories, is about a gang in Los Angeles called Echo Park (or Echo Parque). The stories focus on the female gang members whose lives have changed as a result of the power shifts, and the tragedy and alienation of drive-by shootings, which are claiming the lives of more and more of their homeboys.

The first story, “Sad Girls Y-Que,” centers around two gang girls, Mousie and Sad Girl, who were best friends as children until they both had babies by the same boy. The story begins as Mousie challenges Sad Girl to “throw down” with her, to fight one-on-one. Sad Girl has accepted the challenge. Meanwhile, the father of their kids, Ernesto (aka “Bullet”), between his drug dealings has promised each girl to protect her. As the girls prepare for the fight, each remembers their friendship and how they came to love the same boy. The fight takes a surprising turn and sets up the next story.

“Suavecito” is the object of the action in the second story, a stylized show-truck which everyone is fighting over. The gang boys want to enter it into a car show, while the girls want to sell it to pay off various debts left over from actions in the first story. This is not the worst of it; from a rival neighborhood is one El Duran, an ex-convict gangster who claims the truck rightfully belongs to him, and he intends to have it. In the midst of all of this, we meet “La Blue Eyes,” a “schoolgirl” (meaning a smart girl who studies hard), the sister of a gang member “Whisper.” La Blue Eyes is pining for a poetic “torcido” (prisoner) she had fallen in love with through letters by the name of Juan Tejeda. Once she confessed her love, she never heard from him again. Yet, she is unable to get over him.

Whisper learns from her homegirls that this Juan Tejeda is none other than El Duran, the gangster/playboy. They decide to cure La Blue Eyes of her affections by taking her to a party in a rival neighborhood so she can see for herself what this Juan Tejeda is really like. El Duran has moments of heaven with La Blue Eyes before their identities are revealed and the tragedy of his myth is played out. The truck has been destroyed and all the hopes and plans with it.

“The Town I Live In” finds our girls lost and weary: the truck is gone, a gang war is escalating with El Duran’s barrio and the numbers of males in their gang is dwindling. The girls are left with all the burdens of raising their babies alone. Some of the girls drive up north to bring home “Giggles,” their homegirl who has been serving time in prison and that’s when everything changes for the girls of Echo Park. We learn the myth of Giggles from the perspective of several girls on the drive up—she was a great beauty, she was in love with just one vato, Creeper, and how they were wrongly fingered for a shooting and fled to Mexico, and how eventually Creeper was killed and Giggles was put away.

Giggles has hardened in prison, but she becomes even harder when she sees what has become of the gang. When one homegirl is shot and paralyzed in one arm, with no means of support to care for herself and her baby, Giggles steers the girls into taking over all the gang’s operation for their future and the futures of their children. By the end of our film, in one short year, these girls are miles older.


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