News from the Brown Side of Town

Chismes & music news for the big kids in the Land of 1000 Dances

By Frankie Firme, Contributing Editor
Published on LatinoLA: February 24, 2014

News from the Brown Side of Town

?íOrale, Mi Gente!

Seems like just last week I was partying & {i}tirando chancla[/i] with RAY CARRION & The East Los All Stars at their memorable 2013 pre-New Year's Concert at Gringo's in Montebello...and Valentine's Day weekend has already come and gone, and we're heading into the merry month of March and the quarter year mark of 2014.

...Where has time gone already?

Fortunately, the Land of 1000 Dances has exploded in a new wave of Latino-Chicano entertainment, art, people and music that once again focuses attention on the Gente Brown in a most colorful light despite being virtually ignored by the contemporary Hollywood industry and media.

Celebrated Chicano poet, author, lecturer and activist Luis Rodriguez continues his forward run for Governor of California, and we support his endeavor & efforts to become the first Chicano Governor of the state with the biggest Latino population in the Country...git on wit yo bad self, Luis!

Despite all the political back biting and rumors of scandals, L.A.'s first Chicano Sheriff, former U.S. Marine Lee Baca, honorably resigned from his post and chose not to run for re-election. Say what you may, and conjecture what you wish, but as of today, there are more Latinos & other minorities wearing an L.A. County Sheriff's badge, and in higher positions of authority, than ever before thanks to Mr. Baca. A lot of L.A. Latino politicians also owe part of their longevity and skin of their political nalgas to Lee Baca being there...'nuff said 'bout that ... ?íSEMPER FI, Lee!

Texas's famed "Godfather of Tejano & Chicano Soul" Crazy Chuy Hernandez, celebrates 15 years as one of the pioneer Chicano DJ's of Internet Radio, as do I and Internet TV personality Richard "Thee Mr." Duran, and Chicano author Ruben Molina....Seems we all had the same idea circa 1999...something about "being CHICANO" on a world wide stage (on a relatively new thing called the Internet) made a lot of people scratch their heads back then...now it's almost a common practice, especially thanks to another Latino Brother and media venue that came to be around 1999 that has reached the 4 corners of the globe... Mr. Abelardo de la Pe??a Jr. and LATINOLA.com !

...and a lot more people are scratching their heads in different states and countries
now...isn't that cool?... AQUI ESTOY MI RAZA Y EN TODOS LOS PARTES!


The Chicano Theater Playhouse CASA 0101 on First Street in the Boyle Heights section of East Los Angeles has become one of the forefronts of an Arts explosion movement, as some of the finest stage plays centering around Latino life are being produced and showcased there, as well as being a most tasteful and prolific gallery of contemporary Art paintings from the soul of the Latino community. I highly recommend you stop by and see for yourself. For more info: www.casa0101.org.

...Art can only enhance our lives....and there can NEVER be enough art in our World ! (quote me, si quieres...no ay pedo!)

Comedian Rudy Moreno continues to knock 'em dead every Wednesday at the World Famous Icehouse Comedy Playhouse in Pasadena as he has for the past 15 years. Check out Rudy Moreno's Fan Page FB and hook up for some FREE tickets!

If you haven't found a reason to cruise the West Side lately, we highly suggest you check out the Bob DeSena Show at PIPS on La Brea every Saturday night. No cover, good food, and good service in a clean & comfortable atmosphere, with "Mr. Fantastic" Bob DeSena Band and a great Las Vegas-style Latin Jazz Show, with occasional guest performers. On the night we went a couple weeks ago, legendary East L.A. diva Lava Gonzalez graced the stage. Bob DeSena has been nominated as "Jazz Artist of the Year", a title he well deserves after so many years as the west coast's premier vibraphone Latin Jazz artist. Logon to www.lamusicawards.net and support another talented Brown Brutha.

Out in the Inland Empire section of Southern California, music groups like BALANCE, Thee MAD LATINS,ORIGINAL SACRIFICE, and BB WOLF are becoming a powerful performing force of music to be reckoned with, that draws crowds from miles around. With some creative promotion & marketing by positive & hard working people like Monibee Henley and Vincent Diaz, you're gonna hear a lot from these Gente this year.

BALANCE & Thee MAD LATINS have already established a good fan base in and around L.A. for the past couple of years, with yours truly as one of their biggest fans, and ORIGINAL SACRIFICE & BB WOLF have been some refreshing additions to California's Chicano music scene.

...and that is not meant as a racial or secular theme statement, as I join A WHOLE LOT of talented Gente de Aztlan when we say "Enough with this Burrito Circuit shit in 2014!" A racial categorization concerning OUR culture, art, and music aimed at certain people is NOT amusing anymore...never was to me anyway

As my friend Sammy Medina, lead singer of BALANCE proudly says " Don't call me a burrito! Me and my music, or the music of BALANCE, is not aimed at any racial group in particular as we have performed and entertained good people of every race, and we don't specialize in Spanish language music either, so quit trying to categorize us and stick us in a corner. If you want to compare me to a food, call me a 100% USDA top choice, thick juicy and well cooked sirloin or New York steak with ALL the fixings...
...THAT is true soul...and THAT's me!"

I've seen Sammy & BALANCE perform many times over the years, and they are definitely "TOP CHOICE SOUL!"

Valentine's Day weekend was definitely "da bomb" as music and parties happened all over Aztlan. The Fearsome Foursome packed it up and headed up north to Bakersfield, CA, where we joined HANK CASTRO & THEE ELEMENTS, along with legendary Pat Vegas & the REDBONE Band, for a great party at the Druids Hall. I was honored to be asked to host & DJ and we had a ball till past midnight !

Thee Elements are a popular Chicano R&B, Funk, Latin Soul, and Top 40 party band out of Bakersfield that put on a great show in themselves, who then joined Redbone in their performance, and finally backing up Hank Castro, who of course, stole the show with his hard hitting funk and memorable East L.A. style Midniter oldies. The Gente de Bakersfield were looking good and making all the right moves as the dance floor stayed pretty full. Watch for Hank & Thee Elements to make a move to gig in L.A. this year.

The next day, we headed out towards Santa Barbara , where the "Soul Man de Santa Barbara" PEPE MARQUEZ and the LATIN SOUL REVUE Band with special guest Ray Cordova played for the masses at the Annual Menudo Festival. Beautiful weather by the sea, nonstop FREE menudo (10 different kinds) and great live music made it just one of those great days you just don't want to end.

...so we didn't! We ended up at the famous Giovanni's Pizza Restaurant in downtown Carpinteria for dinner & drinks (Try the hot submarine sandwich! KILLER!)
where Ray Cordova joined us with his lovely wife, singer Beck Cordova, along with Pepe & Yolie Marquez, and we kicked it by the sea till the sun came down before heading back to L.A....another great weekend in Aztlan!

This past weekend was just as juicy. Places like Maggie's Pub, City Lights, Bruce's, Katie Jake's, Cendeja's, Gringo's Cantina, Rudy's Baja Grill, Arturo's Cantina, Rockafellas, Steven's Steakhouse, Club Trinidad, Wicks Brewing Co.,VFW Post 144, Original Mike's (yes...they're all on FB & online) all proudly boasted live entertainment, music & dancing with good crowds attending all of them, according to some LatinoLA Road Dogs. Southern Califas was jumpin'!! ( and this was just a few of the good Chicano hot spots!)

I chilled on Friday for a little Grandpa duty, [tu sabes), but Saturday night was kicking hard up in the San Fernando Valley as Gilbert Esquivel brought his famed Eastside Comedy and Dance Show back to the San Fernando Valley for a good old fashioned 1980's style Old School High School Reunion Dance featuring legendary East L.A. Club DJ Freddy "DJ LOONEY TUNES" Montoya at the Alemany High School Auditorium in Granada Hills.

After a great stand up comedy show featuring Gilbert Esquivel and some of the funniest stand up comics I've ever heard, it was time for DJ Looney (of Puente Hills Hop & Quiet Cannon of Montebello fame) to break out with some hot club dance music from not too long ago. "Don't come up to the DJ requesting any rap, hip-hop, Oldies or Doo-wop..'cause that ain't gonna happen tonight" , Gilbert announced, "Tonight it's all about Old School Funk and dance music!"...and the party was on, as DJ Looney proved why he is one of L.A.'s most requested Club/Party DJ's for the past 25 years by packing the dance floor for the rest of the night .

Later on that night, we cruised over to the Presidente Restaurant on Devonshire in Northridge to catch a couple of live sets of Bobby Martinez and the BROTHERHOOD Band, featuring singer Becky Cordova. Bobby & the band were on it, and Lady Cordova was sounding good and strong, as she belted out some hard hitting dance numbers and soothed souls with some sultry oldies...kinda stuff Becky's known for to her fans that packed "The Prez" on this night. I got my boogie on good, and was even called up to sing a Blues song. We all had fun till the place closed.

Yesterday was another traveling kind of day in some beautiful Southern Califas weather, as we cruised over to the Whittier Radisson Hotel, where Peter Jaramillo hosted an open jam that saw many veteran L.A. musicians stroll in like Mike Rincon (Blendells, Blues Straight Up, 2nd Time Around Band fame), Karl Carrasco ( Lava & The Hot Rocks, Cannibal & Headhunters Band fame), and members of the SOUL PURSUIT Band, SMOOTH RESPONSE Band, East L.A. Revue All Star Band, The JITTERs Band, and a good hand full of others who happily put on an impromptu music show that drew a pretty good sized crowd.

Peter suggested he might do this every last Sunday of the month ( free admission & drink specials). He also announced that live entertainment with some of L.A.'s hottest bands are back in happening at the Whittier Radisson, as well as the 2014 poolside Salsa Festival. Check out Peter Jaramillo on FB.

The Fearsome Foursome discovered a new eating secret that we wanted to share, in uptown Whittier across the street and a block up from the Radisson. The Red Oak Bar-B-Que on Greenleaf Avenue, featuring Santa Maria style bar-b-que. Clean, tastefully decorated, great environment (they play Oldies), wide-screens on every wall and at the bar,REALLY good delicious bar-b-que food at some reasonable prices, and some REALLY good service. Seems every waitress made an effort to see that nobody waited for anything! Very impressive! (try the ribs & jumbalea ! )

Time to break out the tongo, Zoot Suit and Aquanet on Friday, March 7th, at the Taste of Texas Restaurant, as BROCHA MAGAZINE presents their 2nd Annual Pachuco Ball and Calendar signing party. Music for dancing & romancing will provided by The ROCKY PADILLA Band, with DJ's Frankie Firme, DJ Timebomb, and DJ Sugarbear in the house spinnin' between the cuts. Prizes for best dressed, best dancers, and FINEST Brocha (sorry, girls...guys only here). All Car Clubs and good looking Veteranos are invited to bring their ladies for a FIRME party and dance! Tickets on sale now, call Mike @ 323-474-7579.

Every Sunday afternoon at Steven's Steakhouse in East L.A. has been the place to be as RAY CARRION, ROCKY PADILA, and the EAST LOS ALL STARS have been having fun and inviting musical guests for a regular Sunday afternoon party of live music and dancing, Brought to you by Jerome Garcia & Steven's Steakhouse. All admissions include Steven's famous bottomless steak & chicken fajita buffet lunch, open bar and dance floor.

So far, artists like Rocky Padilla, Steve Hernandez, Sal Rodriguez of WAR, TIERRA's Joey Navarro, grammy award percussionist Victor Orlando, Louie Parra & Lulu Cardona of Thee Mad Latins, diva TeeCheetah Lopez and a few others have hit the stage, with future dates including HANK CASTRO, and TEX NAKAMURA. Free self and $3.00 valet parking. Get there early for a good seat. For 50% discount tickets call 323-761-6496. Leave a message mentioning LatinoLA or East L.A. Revue Radio and reserve your 50% discount tix.

In continuing his popular concert-dance shows throughout L.A. and beyond, RAY CARRION invites you to his 2 day Birthday celebration on March 21st and 22nd at Gringo's Cantina on Whittier Boulevard in Montebello, CA. featuring the renown EAST LOS ALL STAR & EUROPA Bands ,and special appearance by the Tommy Mora Band.

Featuring one of L.A.'s favorite Club DJ's, David Rhodes, expected music guests include BERTHA OROPEZA, RUDY & STEVE SALAS, VICTOR ORLANDO, SAL RODRIGUEZ, GREG ESPARZA, ROCKY PADILLA, SANTANA members GREG WALKER & KEITH JONES, TIERRA'S JOEY NAVARRO,TONY BANDA, & GREG LEWIS, REDBONE'S PAT VEGAS, singer CORY SILVA, and other surprise music celebrities. Friday March 21st Host will be Thee Mr. Duran, with yours truly Frankie Firme taking the honored duties on Saturday the 22nd. Tickets & Reserved VIP tables now on sale, don't miss out on these sure to be sold out shows. Call 323-895-2863 or323-807-8054, and mention LatinoLA for the advance ticket discount.

The great state of Texas has sent us many a great artist, going back to the days of Conjunto Bernal and Little Joe & The Latinairres of the 1960's. A few year back, Los Lonely Boys made a big splash, culminating with a nationally televised performance at the Latin Grammy Awards with the legendary Carlos Santana that puffed up Brown American hearts across the Country...and now, here comes Houston's VUDU CAFE, led by guitarist/singer/songwriter JESSE FLORES ( originally from San Jose, CA). A most exciting group that I've had the pleasure of seeing before at a previous California performance, VUDU CAFE brings an eclectic blend of Latin Soul, Blues, Rock, Folk, Reggea,and smooth Tejano that is some good dancing & listening music.

VUDU CAFE comes to the L.A. area April 5th, at the Mayflower Club in North Hollywood, CA, for one night only. Hosted & House DJ'd by yours truly, Frankie Firme, tickets are on sale now at 213-718-9852 or facebook.com/VUDUCAFE.

See you all there! Let's have a party!

That's it for now Mi Gente! Check our calendar section here for more happenings, and don't forget to post your happenings, if you got one you want people to know about...it's FREE !!

Ay te watcho...from the Land of 1000 Dances!

About Frankie Firme, Contributing Editor:
Frankie Firme is heard daily on Internet Radio station www.eastLArevue.com and a regular contributor to this fine web magazine.
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