Grooves and good vibra here in the wake of the Self Help Graphics storm. Para empezar, I offer a strident shout to Nico of Los Poets del Norte and his partner Mayra, who operates Teocintli, a cultural space and store in Boyle Heights that offers clothing, accessories, books and other relevant gear as well as a small gallery space. They recently relocated from a smaller home a block away, and the grand re-opening was well attended. Got my eye on one of Nico's paintings near the register, so "hands off," please! Just keeding... Regrettably, I couldn't stay long enough to catch the poetry performances or the music from Buyepongo, but the art exhibition was definitely worth the trip over the hill.
The community meeting at Self Help reminded all of us just important it is to create ownership of our own cultural spaces. The influx of investors who merely seek to "flip" property for a profit is a historical fact and since we weren't even safe in the hands of the church, it's time to remind all the well-connected and politically installed Chicanos that they have an important roll to play financially, that they shouldn't just come around when they're looking for votes or want some high quality and somehow still inexpensive art to decorate they're fancy homes. They should get behind and on board a capitalization project that would create enough funding for a permanent Self Help home on the East Side.
Diatribes and tirades and soapboxes aside, the m??sica jarocha showcase held at Tr??pico de Nopal last Sunday was pure sonic deliciousness. Reyes and his family should be proud of the space they have built from the ground up. The backyard Tropico was awash in the sound of jarana and tololoche the likes of which had not likely ever been seen or heard in Las Rampart neighborhood. Of course, with Son de Madera having already played McArther Park as part of the Levitt Pavillion summer concert series and the unequivocably stunnng performance on the same stage last night by Quetzal, it's safe to say that son jarocho and sonfusi??n Chicano inspired by son jarocho are fast finding an audience in that neck o' the cityscape. And speaking of which, I can't miss CAVA, a band led by Claudia Gonzalez, whose older sister Martha sings lead vocals with Quetzal. CAVA performed Thursday night at the Zona Rosa Caffe in Pasadena, not too far from this little second floor redoubt in el sereno... Claudia also lends vocals to Mentiritas, the band I profiled for Tu Ciudad magazine and will have to do so again somewhere else since Ciudad's August issue (where the story was slated to run) was never published. For now, you can check out the piece on the Mentiritas page. I send special thanks to artist Rick Mobbs for the piece above called "The Kiss of the Fourth Wind." I've borrowed it for a flyer to announce the "Literoticana Chicana: una noche de luz, deso y lengua" poetry event I helped put together at East Side Luv on August 14th with Ruben Funkahuatl Guevara and maestra Gloria Alvarez. More on that shortly.