Los Angeles Review of Books reviews Smile Now, Cry Later

The Los Angeles Review of Books reviews ‘Smile Now, Cry Later’ by Freddy Negrete and Steve Jones.

“It traces the story of a throbbing postwar Los Angeles sprawl, but also unpacks the unique drama of Negrete himself, the gangbanger-turned-artist…As I read this gripping memoir, I reflected on the fact that Negrete’s story is a communal one, both dashed and rebuilt with the help of others, and ultimately highlighting the power of Angelenos to believe in one another, to accept one another as we really are…In Freddy Negrete’s life, we see a truer image of Los Angeles’s past and present — a truer image of ourselves.”

See full review here:


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Seven Stories Press publishes ‘Smile Now, Cry Later: Guns, Gangs and Tattoos—My Life in Black and Gray’


“…an incredibly literate personal tale that transcends Latin American culture, gang lifestyle, and incarceration. It’s a story of purpose and triumph, and it’s truly remarkable.” — Nick Cassavetes, filmmaker and actor (The Notebook, Alpha Dog, My Sister’s Keeper).

“Freddy Negrete’s former life is as dark and forbidding as a thick lined skull tattoo on the face of a menacing gangbanger…one hell of a journey. This memoir by Negrete and Steve Jones is riveting and intense and I couldn’t put it down.” — Patrick O’Neil, author of ‘Gun, Needle, Spoon.’

“Few have lived a life like Freddy Negrete…even fewer, with the assistance of his excellent co-author Steve Jones, could have captured his journey so completely, and put it to writing so compellingly.” — Tom Leu, host of Sound Matters on 1440 WROK News Talk radio.

“It’s authenticity…the fact that the text is so accessible encourages the students to stick with [Negrete’s] story, and gives us a lens through which we can process Latino/a experiences across time, place, and space.” — Professor John Ulloa, who included ‘Smile Now, Cry Later’ in his ‘History of Latinos of the United States’ curriculum at Skyline College, San Bruno, California.

“This is one of the most moving, original, and ultimately uplifting memoirs, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.” — J.P. Smith, author of ‘Airtight,’ ‘The Blue Hour,’ and ‘Breathless.’

“This book had a profound effect on me. I cried, I smiled, I read parts that I completely identified with. The main feeling I have after reading this book is a better understanding of life.” — Amazon reviewer

Smile Now, Cry Later: Guns, Gangs and Tattoos—My Life in Black and Gray was released in hardcover by Seven Stories Press, New York on August 30th, 2016. (Also available on Kindle!)

Authors: Freddy Negrete and Steve Jones

Distribution: Penguin Random House Publisher Services. 

Available from: AmazonBarnes&Noble, Books-A-MillionPenguinRandomHouse and booksellers everywhere.

Foreword: Luis J. Rodriguez  Poet Laureate of Los Angeles, best-selling author of Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A. and founder of Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural and the Chicago-based Youth Struggling for Survival non-profit organizations.


Profiled in the History Channel’s Marked series, East L.A. gang member Freddy Negrete became an orphan-of-the-living at two and a half years old when his parents, both pachuco gangsters, ended up in prison, one for armed robbery and the other for manslaughter.

After growing up in foster care, Freddy joined a San Gabriel gang, Sangra, one of the oldest gangs in Los Angeles, and ended up in a number of juvenile halls and camps, the LA County Jail and eventually Youth Authority prison at the age of eighteen.

A gifted and natural-born artist, Freddy was transported from the confines of prison cellswhere, using home-made tattoo machines, he honed his craft as a pioneer of Black and Gray realismonto the sets of major Hollywood films such as Batman, Blade, Con Air, Austin Powers and Falling Down. But then, after years of success in the motion picture industry, in a tragic twist of fate, he found himself back inside again: in Folsom maximum security prisontattooing for packets of soup.

Smile Now, Cry Later is a journey of survival and transformation, a moving and inspiring redemption narrative of a Jewish-Chicano artist who overcame death in the form of shootings, stabbings and multiple heart attacks; the scourges of heroin and Oxycontin addiction; and the loss that is every parent’s nightmare: the tragic death of his 16 year old son, Lorenzo, in a gang-related shooting incident.

“Freddy’s work speaks to people . . . [He] has certainly lived a colorful life—full of darkness and light—and it is these experiences that speak to us through his work.”— Dave Navarro, guitarist (Jane’s Addiction) and host of Spike TV’s Inkmaster.

“[Freddy Negrete] was the man who took the Chicano, black-and-gray, joint-style straight out of the prisons and to the top of the tattoo world. To this day, Freddy’s work never ceases to amaze me.” — Danny Trejo, actor (Spy Kids, From Dusk Till Dawn, Machete).

Freddy Negrete (right), aged 15


Black and gray tattoo by Freddy Negrete.

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‘Hero & Zero’ at the Alytus City Theatre, Lithuania

‘Hero & Zero’—staged at the Drachengasse Theatre, Vienna in 2008—was awarded a grant by the Lithuanian Council for Culture’s Stage and Art program and premiered at the Alytus City Theatre on September, 2015.

Director: Petras Lisauskas     Playwright: Steve Jones

Cast: Rasa Grigutytė, Ona Gudaitytė, Tomas Kunčinas, Vidas Vaškius


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‘Cracked Eggs’ selected for the London Independent Film Festival

‘Cracked Eggs’ featuring Emmy-nominated ‘Mad Men’ actor, Jared Harris—’Lincoln,’ ‘The Crown,’ ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows’—was selected for the 2012 London Independent Film Festival and was screened at Shortwave on Saturday, April 14th.

Director — Eric Loren; Screenplay — Steve Jones; Editors — James Thomas (‘Borat,’ ‘Bruno,’) Charlie Fawcett.

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Indie feature: ‘Charlie Don’t Surf’

Jared Harris (‘Mad Men,’ ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,’ and ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows’) will follow up his leading role in ‘Cracked Eggs’ by playing the role of Mick in the feature length black comedy, ‘Charlie Don’t Surf.’


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The Secrets of the Notebook

The commissioned biographical drama screenplay set in Prussia, communist East Germany and Nazi Germany is also available as a memoir written by the screenplay’s protagonist, Eve Haas. The book was published by Harper True entitled ‘The Secrets of the Notebook.’

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‘Hero and Zero’ receives an award from the BMUKK

The play ‘Hero and Zero’ received a cash award today from Austria’s ‘Bundesministerium für Unterricht, Kunst und Kultur’ (Ministry for Education, Art and Culture).

Playwright: Steve Jones

Cast:  Eva Maria Neubauer, Vanessa Payer- Kumar, Christina Trefny and Werner Landsgesell.


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Review of ‘Hero and Zero’

The ‘Wiener Zeitung’ (Vienna Magazine) published this review of the play ‘Hero and Zero’ today:

HERO AND ZERO, the brilliantly constructed comedy by British writer Steve Jones, is playing at the Theater Drachengasse in the Bar & Co. space, in a refined and imaginative production directed by Elfriede Schüsseleder. Every moment of the actors is just right. The stellar quartet of actors (among them Eva Maria Neubauer) perform a range from wacky to reflective. The song and dance acts are perfect. Off-the-wall entertainment at its finest.”

Cast:  Eva Maria Neubauer, Vanessa Payer- Kumar, Christina Trefny and Werner Landsgesell.


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‘Hero and Zero’ premieres in Vienna

The comedy play ‘Hero and Zero’— directed by Elfriede Schüsseleder in a T.E.V. production—premieres tonight at the Drachengasse Theatre, Vienna.

Playwright: Steve Jones

Cast:  Eva Maria Neubauer, Vanessa Payer- Kumar, Christina Trefny and Werner Landsgesell.

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Cracked Eggs reviewed in ‘Film & Festivals’ magazine

Screenplay: Steve Jones

Review by Chris Patmore in Film & Festivals magazine:

“Shot in that grimy urban style favoured by British filmmakers, CRACKED EGGS is described as a very black comedy, but it is just as much a drama with comedic and surreal moments. Jared Harris and Carol Starks are both excellent as the unhinged siblings Joe and Rosie, as is Jonathan McGuiness as Joe’s twitchy, paranoid friend…with the director managing to pack plenty of visual, dramatic and comedic twists into such a short space of time.”

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Second commissioned screenplay

Haas-Silver-Levene Films commission a second screenplay about the dark machinations of a maverick Scottish aristocrat set in the Middle Ages. The screenplay is an adaptation of a 19th century novel.

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Producer Michel Shane signs on for ‘White Lies and Roses’

Los Angeles based producer Michel Shane, who executive produced the film ‘Catch Me If You Can‘, has signed on to produce the romantic comedy ‘White Lies and Roses’ at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

DirectorNadia Tass; ProducerMichel Shane; Writer Steve Jones

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Cracked Eggs: Short Film

Cracked Eggs, featuring Jared Harris (‘Benjamin Button’, ‘Mad Men’, ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows’), was shot on the Heygate Estate, South London on October 16th 2006. The short was officially selected by the Austin Film Festival, The L.A. Shorts Fest, The Boston Underground Film Festival and the London Independent Film Festival.

Director — Eric Loren; Screenplay — Steve Jones; Executive Producers — Andy Isaac, Steve Jones.

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First commissioned screenplay

The biographical/historical drama screenplay for Haas-Silver-Levene Films is based on an existing treatment, interviews with the subject, Eve Haas, and historical research.

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Director Nadia Tass attached to White Lies and Roses

Australian director Nadia Tass comes on board to direct the romantic comedy ‘White Lies and Roses.’

Director – Nadia Tass; Producer – Michel Shane; Writer – Steve Jones

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Finlay Cowan: Collaboration

Finlay Cowan and I embark on our creative collaboration: developing a series of animation projects. Finlay is known for his design work with Storm Thorgerson. Finlay designed Pink Floyds’ world famous ‘Back Catalogue’ poster amongst numerous other iconic images in both art and advertising. He also works as a production artist in the film industry—including on Oliver Stone’s ‘Alexander’—and has developed and written fiction/non-fiction for the BBC and many other clients worldwide.


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‘Charlie Don’t Surf’ receives Arts Council grant

The play ‘Charlie Don’t Surf’ received official notice today of its Arts Council of England award.

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Testimonial on the T.I.E play ‘Baloopa’s Journey’

‘Baloopa’s Journey’ a Theatre in Education play, directed by Eric Loren and written by Steve Jones, toured London schools this autumn. This is what the headmistress of Hitherfield school in Streatham, South London had to say about the project:

“I know I speak for all the pupils and teachers present when I say that it was a tremendously refreshing experience to see such a positive representation of some fundamental issues. As I commented at the time, the play’s central message of understanding and acceptance between different communities and ethnic groups could not be more appropriate for Hitherfield. Certainly it made a big impact on the children, even on those in years one and two, who still comment on it now. I wish you and the company every success for the future and hope we will have the opportunity to welcome you back again in our school at some point”.

Ann Folley, Headmistress.

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‘Baloopa’s Journey’ begins tour of London schools

‘Baloopa’s Journey,’ a Theatre in Education project funded by the Arts Council of England, begins its tour of London schools today. The play deals with the themes of ethnic/religious tolerance set against a mythical world where Baloopa, rebelling at the superstitions and prejudices of his own (Earth) people leaves on a journey, and, encountering the Water, Air and Fire people, learns to look at the world in a different way.

Director — Eric Loren; Writer — Steve Jones

Cast: Caroline Durant, Kim Lethbridge, Alexandra Maitland-Hume.

Producer: Caroline Durant.

Company: T.E.V.

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Cracked Eggs – Kensington & Chelsea Mail

The Kensington & Chelsea Mail reviews the Finborough Theatre’s new writer’s festival:

“…follows two successful programmes. Last week Cracked Eggs, a very black comedy by Steve Jones, went down a storm. This was about a drug-dealer who, high on acid, cracks someone over the head with a machete.”

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‘Cracked Eggs’ premiere

The play ‘Cracked Eggs,’ directed by Eric Loren, premieres at the Finborough Theatre, London.

Playwright: Steve Jones

Cast: Jonathan McGuiness, Carol Starks and Matt Patresi.

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‘Charlie Don’t Surf’ play leads to commission

After reading the play ‘Charlie Don’t Surf’ the literary managers of the Finborough Theatre, Alison Davis and Catriona Craig,  commission a play to be written & staged for their new writers festival.

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Review of ‘Troubleshooting für den Mac’

Sven Böttcher, in Mac Magazine, reviews ‘Troubleshooting für den Mac”:

“…in my view this book should be delivered in the same box as the Apple Mac. After the several thousands spent on the CPU, one can easily invest 89, -DM. The book will already start to pay for itself after the first issues are successfully remediated. I’m sure this book will not gather dust on the shelf but will live right next to the Mac itself”.

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Apple Macintosh Book Published

International Thomson Publishing (now Cengage Learning) publish my 625 page Apple Macintosh troubleshooting/utilities guide (ISBN-10: 3860331604) for distribution in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

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Page Magazine

Page magazine is the leading digital design magazine in Germany. From June 1993 to May 1994, I contributed regular articles—4 of which are displayed below—along with designed content, on various subjects including color publishing, 2-D/3-D design and troubleshooting tips for designers working on the Apple platform.

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