News from the Brown Side of Town

Music and chisme for the big kids in the Land of 1000 Dances

By Frankie Firme, Contributing Editor
Published on LatinoLA: January 31, 2017

News from the Brown Side of Town

¡Orale, Mi Gente! It's been a minute, hope you are all well, and are beginning to catch up with your bills after Christmas …

(I'll be broke till March myself, LOL Y AQF!)

2017 is here, we have a new U.S. President, we're starting a new year and a new era, and this is my first piece of the year, so vamanos!

As I have stated before, our present political situation is uncomfortable at the moment, as we have become a divided nation regarding politics & religion, depending on who you voted for and who won … but I still believe we live in the finest nation on the planet, and I won't spend a whole lot of time spewing out my personal vitriol when I can be telling you about the Brown Side of Town happenings that continue to keep our Gente chillin' and together despite a LOT of dumb shit that is beyond our control.

(But you can catch a lot of fun memes on FB!)

One thing I will encourage is that you file your taxes timely this year. I have received a lot of e-mail & text messages asking me to encourage a tax revolt in the spirit of "If our President don't pay taxes…why should I?" which I will flatly refuse to do.

Veteran's & Social Security benefits still have to be paid out, public schools and health benefits need to operate for the benefit of our children & elderly, and our current crop of brave men & women in uniform, be it military or law enforcement, still have to be paid & equipped if any semblance of peace, law & order are to be expected in these uncomfortable times … ALL tax supported!

…and the IRS don't play when they come after us working people and take shit from us!

Let's not all throw our chanclas all at one time…save a [b]chanclaso[/b/ for later!

Orale … enough said 'bout that !

First & foremost, I once again want to thank our brave Men & Women serving in military uniform around the World, and I join many in praying for your safety & well being.

I also again want to thank my brother & sister U.S. Military Veterans and all the families and people that support & appreciate us … it's a good feeling to know that time spent serving ... was NOT time wasted!

On with the music/happening news:

"ZOOT SUIT" Luis Valdez's original play reflecting the times & attitudes of Mexican-Americans in Los Angeles during World War II is making a comeback with a new cast at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles from January 31st to March 12th. For tickets & info: here. www.centertheatregroup.org

Sadly, we lost another Los Angeles based Chicano Oldies Music icon over the holidays with the loss of Thomas Hawkins aka Sonny Daye of the SLY, SLICK, & WICKED singing group. Sonny was always a gentleman and the consummate performer, and I had a couple of privileged occasions to do music shows with him over the years. I will always remember him telling me "Good music has no color lines or expiration dates…so it should last forever" … and so shall his memory.

RIP Sonny, and thanks for the music!

2016 ended on a nice musical note, with many talented artists putting on some great shows for the musical benefit of the Gente in the Land of 1000 Dances, and I was privileged to a part of that.

Ray Carrion, one of L.A.'s top musicians, band leaders, and show promoters put on a couple of good shows that got a lot of people out of the house.

On the last week of November, Ray put on a pre-Thanksgiving party at the A MI HACIENDA Restaurant in Pico Rivera hosted by Thee Mr. Duran, featuring the L.A. Latin All Stars: Ray at guitar, singers Steve Salas, Lulu Cardona, Hank Castro, TeCheetah Lopez, Rocky Padilla, Monibee Henley, Gilbert Stokes, Francesca Capasso, Matt Legaspi and Andy Rojo, musicians Tex Nakamura, Gilberto Torres, Rick Reyes,Steve Gutierrez, Walfredo Reyes, and Victor Orlando. I was honored to be House DJ & co- host.

"I have a lot to be thankful for," Ray tells LatinoLA. "I have a beautiful wife, beautiful healthy children, a good job, my home, my health, the best of friends that I get to celebrate life and make good music with on a regular basis, and a lot of great fans that have attended and supported our shows here in California, Arizona, my hometown in Ohio, and the Casinos in Laughlin, Nevada …. 2017 looks to be just as good if not better! ...I am very thankful."

Besides great performances and music, in which the audience seriously SCORED as one talented singer after another showed there stuff in spades, one of the highlights of the night was a dazzling display of percussion prowess by Walfredo Reyes and Victor Orlando during a brief SANTANA tribute.

Man! ... you could feel the electricity in the air as these two talented gentlemen would have made Carlos Santana himself sit up and say "Damn!" had he been there!

December 3rd saw Art Laboe's long running and successful CHICANO SOUL LEGENDS Show at the Honda Theater in Anaheim featuring Joe Bataan, Thee Midniters with Willie G, TIERRA, Rene & Rene, MALO, Joe Bravo, The Mad Lads, and The Notations. Show was reportedly off the hook (again!).

After a quick trip back east to do a Christmas Show in Larain, Ohio, in early December, Ray & the L.A. Latin All Stars made a surprise pre-New Year's Eve Show December 30th at the New York Place-L.A. Club in Vernon, featuring Ray & the "usual suspects", much to the delight of the packed house crowd. "It's always fun to get the guys & ladies together and just have an impromptu jam party, where everybody that can't step out for New Year's Eve, or those that have to work that night, has a great time celebrating the coming of a New Year," Ray says.

December 31st there were a lot of great shows happening all over L.A.

TIERRA , Larry Salas's LRS Exposure Band featuring LiL' Willie G, and Sonora Dinamita packed 'em in at the Quiet Cannon in Montebello to end 2016 with a bang.

[b]The "Big One" however, had to be at the Guesthouse Hotel & Ballroom in Norwalk, where a large crowd of good looking & well dressed gente gathered to enjoy dinner, drinks, free champagne, two party rooms featuring the one & only BALANCE Band and the incomparable LOUIE PARRA & The MAD LATINS Band, DJ's FRANKIE FIRME & DJ VINCE, dancing till 1:30 AM, and a generous breakfast the next morning to welcome the first day of 2017. Lots of special guests in the audience, most notably Art & Kelly Galvan of San Jose's KOOL KATZ, who were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary … then, New Year's Day saw us at the Santa Fe Springs swap meet for a great day concert with SANGRIA.

The GUESTHOUSE HOTEL & BALLROOM has 3 rooms available for any size party, all with dance floors and full service bars. Plan a party in a classy spot! Call 562-868-0991, ask for Christina. Tell her you heard it from FrankieFirme & LatinoLA.com!

Last weekend, we caught BALANCE at the Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet and then the BROTHERHOOD Band at the PRESIDENTE Restaurant in Northridge for some good times & dancing, but the big one for the week was Jimmy Sterling's "FOREVER MOTOWN" Show at the American Legion Hall in Colton, featuring the Jimmy Sterling Experience, with special guest former MIRACLES lead singer Alphonse Franklin, hosted by The Queen of The Inland Empire, Lady Monibee Henley, who joined Alphonse on stage in a heart warming version of "Ooh, baby, baby."

Man! This was a great show! Jimmy says more are coming!

Comedian Rudy Moreno starts his 18th season of hosting some great comedy shows at the Pasadena Ice House, and will now be hosting some great Wednesday night comedy shows at Bruce's in Santa Fe Springs. For more info check out Rudy on Facebook, or www.RudyMoreno.com

Sunday, February 12th, one of L.A.'s Chicano Music icons ROCKY PADILLA, and former lead singer of Rose Royce YVETTE COOK, get together with the ever popular SUAVE Band for a pre-Valentine's Day party that includes a generous buffet luncheon (and YES, with seconds available! … somebody always asks, LOL!) at Steven's Steakhouse in East L.A. starting a 11:00 AM. All ages welcome, tickets available at 323-895-2863.

2017 also starts the 18th year of Frankie Firme and The 2nd Time Around Show on World Wide Internet Radio, "bringing it back and keeping it alive", with DooWops, Soul Oldies but Goodies, Motown, Classic Rock & Roll and original R&B, along with a little taste of Funk & Latin Soul music, and it has been quite an enjoyable ride!

Starting out at here. KCLAFM.com on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood in 1999, to ChicanoExpress.com, to LostMemories.com, and now at EastLARevue.com, Internet Radio has grown to many thousands of radio stations around the World, and bring people a kaleidoscope of musical genres 24 hours a day…

....but I was the first CHICANO Internet Radio DJ in Los Angeles at a time when less than 2 homes out of 10 had home computers with sound systems in America, before iPods, smart phones,iTunes, Bluetooth, Satellite radio, and other wireless Internet music sources that are now commonplace and readily available at your fingertips, and beyond traditional music corporate control.

Internet radio was initially ignored and disregarded by the traditional commercial radio & music world (who said, "It won't last") as it was seen as a threat to local control of listening audiences of radio stations who depended on commercial sponsors to bring the people their beloved art of music … usually at somebody else's choice decisions of songs, and for a price, usually non-stop, endless commercials.

But now, thanks to the many independent Internet Radio Podcasts, all genres of music are available around the World 24 hours a day … uncensored, unlimited, unrestrained, commercial free, and in most cases, FREE!

It hasn't made me rich monetarily, but it has enriched the quality of my life, developed my circle of friends which includes many talented artists & producers, enhanced my interest, exposure, and access to different music genres, entertainment and art forms such as theater and comedy shows, and has given me many directions in which to travel to seek out new experiences and people … ALWAYS with the intent of having a good time, meeting new people, and helping keep the art of music & entertainment alive until my time to step upstairs & kick it with the ancestors comes!

I have a good job outside the music business, my Lady has a good job, and all our children are successful adults in life … so let the music play!

I was once asked about competition … REALLY?

I don't see it as competition if we're doing the same thing: Keeping the music alive and perpetuating for the audience's enjoyment. We're actually working together for the same cause … but if you see me as your competition to help pay your rent or get you laid, it's OK if you look in the mirror and tell yourself you won ... I concede. Congrats, man … post it on FB !

One of my 2017 resolutions is to stop arguing with self-absorbed, wannabe, I-could-have-been-a-contender, jerk-off superstars who know better than everybody else.

You are alone in your stellar impressions of yourself, and I give you NO argument to the contrary …. and don't need your unsolicited opinions anymore. Thanks, man … best wishes! Hope you make millions!

I also have to thank the many sponsors & venues over the years that have helped the cause … most notably the web magazine LatinoLA.com, where I begin my 16th year as a contributing writer/editor .

One of the biggest challenges is to stay consistent in our ever-changing World, while providing an open and objective public forum on a wide array of subjects concerning our people, and I don't state "our people" in a secular tone, because I invite everyone to join me in living life.

El Editor Abelardo de la Peña Jr. has done just that … and has done so with class & dignity despite controversy over the years which would have encouraged others of a lesser salt to call it a day as far as a web publications as well read as LatinoLA …. thanks, man!

OK … besides that, the BEST Chicano flavored music on the West Coast is found in the musical buffet known as www.EastLARevue.com, where my Brother Viet Nam Veteran Mr. Steven Chavez has set a standard for commercial free radio programming catering to the bilingual American Latino audience, and my brother radio DJs play a variety of music tastes that are not exclusively secular towards Latino music artists.

Thanks, Mr. Chavez …. we are starting our 10th year as a successful Internet Radio Station. We doing something right: NOBODY jealously criticizes or compares themselves with losers or half steppers!

(For those of you wondering what "secular" infers, it's a position tone indicating a "US ONLY" preference … pretty obsolete for today's times)

OK…March 19th, RAY CARRION & Thee L.A. LATIN ALL STARS bring out the best and the brightest music stars that reads like a virtual "Who's Who?" of L.A.'s best, celebrating Ray's & other good people's birthdays at Steven's Steakhouse in East L.A.

Talent includes:
~ Comedians Rudy Moreno, Gilbert Esquivel & Jay Lamont
~ House DJ Frankie Firme

~ Music artists:
Ray Carrion; Steve Salas; Rocky Padilla, Lulu Cardona; Jumpin' Jack Benny; Jimmy Espinosa; Gilbert Stokes; Francesca Capasso; Victor Orlando; Bob DeSena; Pete Escovedo; LiL Ray Jiminez; Hank Castro; Sal Rodriguez; Bobby Loya; Bobby Navarette; Tex Nakamura ; Matt Legaspi; Andy Rojo; more to be announced.
Buffet luncheon included with admission.

Doors open at 11:00 AM, all ages welcome. This is gonna be the first BIG music show for 2017, and you don't wanna miss out! Tickets on sale now at 323-895-2863.

Orale … that's it for now. I know missed a few things & people, and my most humble apology if I did.

For more music & entertainment info, check out our Calendario page, or check our FB page: Land of 1000 Dances. Join & add your event to both!

¡Ay te watcho from the Land of 1000 Dances!

About Frankie Firme, Contributing Editor:
Frankie Firme is heard daily on World wide Internet radio Station www.eastLArevue.com, and has been a contributor to this page for the past 15 years.
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