The Project

The East Side Story Project is an archival project dedicated to uncovering the obscure origins of the “East Side Story” albums. This 12-volume series of soul and doo-wop ballads remains both an icon and mystery to the extended Chicanx community.

Melissa Dueñas, ESS Project creator, originally began research on Facebook and Instagram by prompting community engagement through memes that read “Is this your Tío?” “Is this your Moms and Pops?” Through which she was able to identify several people on the covers from their relatives/friends on social media. As responses began to trickle in, she realized a simple answer to her inquiries was impossible between all the fragmented memories. However, Dueñas remained committed to exploring the ways in which these narratives simultaneously align, intersect, and contradict in the story of each volume and in the overarching series. Aiming to highlight these oral histories Dueñas decided to take her project to the next level as a documentary series. In this form, Dueñas will also be able to share theses stories with a broader audience, extending to music and vinyl enthusiasts worldwide.

Melissa Dueñas, Director/Creator

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Photo by Victor Soriano

Dueñas is an active soul and funk DJ/event curator in not only her hometown of San Diego, but also in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland. Currently based in San Diego she hosts an online oldies radio show, Lowrider Sundays, which receives listeners worldwide. Her passionate interest in music and Chicanx culture led to the creation of the East Side Story Project. Her research practice is informed by her studies at UC Berkeley, where she received a B.A. in American Studies, with an emphasis in Comparative Art.