Conversations: Luisa Igloria on Juan Luna

Self missed Luisa Igloria’s reading with Karen Llagas, Joi Barrios and Barbara Jane Reyes, Dec. 6 at the San Francisco Main Library. Luisa’s book, Juan Luna’s Revolver, has just been published by the the University of Notre Dame Press, and self was absolutely ecstatic to get her copy signed, by the author herself, the day before Luisa left the Bay Area.

So there we were, sitting together in self’s humble living room, and self was telling Luisa how much she adored her poetry, and how she loved the collection’s title poem, and Luisa told self that there was another Juan Luna, apparently a mass murderer in Texas who’d had his killing spree at a McDonald’s, and when you google “Juan Luna,” more than likely the hits you get are all about the murderer. Which information self found extremely fascinating. (And, just to show why self can never, ever be a reporter, Luisa Igloria sends self a gentle correction this evening: “The other Juan Luna was a guy in Palatine, IL, who went on a shooting rampage with his high school buddy in a Brown’s Chicken fast food place there – I think this was sometime in 1993 — !!!)

Juan Luna, bless his heart, was apparently so dismayed by reports of his wife’s purported infidelity because he never considered her attractive. So, to make up for this really unforgivable oversight, he killed both his wife and his mother-in-law, but apparently did not serve time in jail (how fortunate for him), but didn’t live long, either, afterwards.

And, self perusing the latest issue of Filipinas Magazine this morning, sees that — whoa! — a newly discovered painting by aforementioned painter/cad/murderer was unearthed and auctioned off by Christie’s Hong Kong (painting is entitled “Las Damas Romanas” and features two European ladies languidly posed on some marble/stone steps, while one of the ladies restrains two very thin, whippet-like dogs on a leash). And this work, which was signed and dated “Luna Roman 1883” fetched over a million US dollars.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.


  1. Maya said,

    December 29, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    From the Christie’s website. It’s quite beautiful.

    Article by Ambeth on the once-lost-now-found-now-sold Luna painting:

    I’m dying to read Juan Luna’s Revolver.

  2. December 29, 2008 at 4:15 pm


    It is a great collection. I’ll try ordering now, and hopefully it will arrive before I leave!

  3. December 29, 2008 at 4:40 pm


    Back in the 90’s Bud and I met a mestizo from Zamboanga at a homeschooler’s picnic. La Sallista. He left the Philippines after WW2. One of his gifts from his mother was a painting.

    “Do you know if it’s worth anything?” he said.
    “Who painted it?” I said.

    We helped him sell it for 50K US. Word of mouth brought us to a buyer in the LA Hills somewhere. We unveiled the painting.
    The buyer said, “Yes, it’s nice. Yes, It’s an Amorsolo.”

    He handed us a bank check.

    We took a slide of it. There is still another missing painting in the set. Last seen in Southern California in the 50’s.

  4. December 30, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    $50,000! And it was just in his mother’s attic!

    Wow, I hope the paintings I have are worth something someday. I have three by Santi Bose, one by Bans Bañez . . .

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