; difficult content/subject matter, mucho bad language] Miguel Piņero wrote the play, "Short Eyes," in 1972 as part of an inmate writers' workshop at Sing Sing, where he was doing time for armed robbery.→
[More:] After his release, he and other members of "The Family," as the workshop was called, arranged to stage this play in early 1974 at the Riverside Church; after it met with acclaim, "Short Eyes" moved to the Joseph Papp Public Theater and then to the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center, eventually winning the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for best American play of the year and an Obie Award for best off-Broadway play.
The film version premiered in 1977, but Mikey Piņero was in jail for armed robbery again. He eventually died, a free man on the Lower East Side, of cirrhosis, in 1988 at age 42. He was a co-founder of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, and wrote the Miami Vice episode, "Smuggler's Blues." His other plays, including "Midnight Moon at the Greasy Spoon," "The Sun Always Shines for the Cool," and "Eulogy for a Small-Time Thief" are well worth checking out. Piņero's voice may not seem as fresh as it did in the '70's, but it's still powerful, and speaks street truth like few before or since.
Curtis Mayfield wrote the soundtrack (that's him in the title link). They filmed the flick in the old Manhattan HOD, aka The Tombs.
Yo Pips, this one's for you.