- Book: The Savior of 6th Street
- Location: Los Angeles, New York City (NYC), Paris
- Author: Orlando Ortega-Medina
The Savior of 6th Street is the third book written by Orlando Ortega-Medina – I have read, enjoyed, and reviewed all three of them. The other two are The Death of Baseball and Jerusalem Ablaze: Stories of Love and Other Obsessions. Orlando has a unique style – gritty, edgy and sometimes challenging. But it really works.
The Savior of 6th Street is about Virgilio Santas, a Los Angeles street artist. He paints and works in a gallery in a run down area of the city, and has a very well developed social conscience. He lives with his voodoo practising mother, does drugs and has dubious friends.
At an exhibition opening at the gallery he meets Beatrice Schein, an art collector and (as he later discovers) the daughter of a very unsavoury and violent father. Her father stands for everything that Virgilio is against – most notably the forced redevelopment of the downtrodden area of Los Angeles in which Virgilio lives and works. Beatrice takes a shine to Virgilio’s work (and, quite possibly, to Virgilio himself). She buys the most prominent piece on display. She is putting together an art tour with a number of up and coming artists, and shows are planned for New York and Paris.
Suddenly Virgilio’s life is transformed. He is a successful artist.
But his life is not smooth. He is (because of a misdemeanour he commits) ‘kidnapped’ by associates of Beatrice’s father and escorted back to Los Angeles where he faces violent retribution as he tries to protect the life of a friend. The ending is bloody.
Orlando writes with an immediacy that is hard to fault. His stories are strange and often dark, but they absolutely work. Recommended.