don quixote and Querida 1963, 17 years old at the Long Beach Nu Pike
The love of my life passed away last month, April 2, from both complications of diabetes and a broken heart due to the sudden death of our only son in January. He was a great son and a guy everyone loved, he must have been having health problems but didn’t tell anyone, he caught the flu, which turned onto pneumonia. As he battled in the ICU in an induced coma we stayed with him day and night for a week until the doctors advised us that his prognosis was terminal and we had to pull the plug. We stayed with him telling him how much we loved him until he died.
My wife and I were both from the neighborhood and I loved her since the first time I noticed how beautiful she was with her laughing smile, her dimples, brown face and rosy cheeks.
At the time of the photo above I was a real mess, always locked up for one reason or another, usually gang related, a heroin user, and going nowhere fast but she stuck with me through thick and thin.
This was our song then, we danced to this at our wedding party, we were nineteen years old, “Sadness will never be” Wow! http://youtu.be/vTYWBCRdcrA
These two Westside chicks screwed up and told a Chicano cabdriver they wanted to go to the Eastside and party but they were thinking along the lines of Glendale Blvd and Silverlake. Homeboy, like any OG Chicano, took them across the LA River to the real Eastside, to N. Main and Ave 19 site of the infamous “Club Silencio”- where to their chagrin and terror – they ran into “La Llorona de Los Angeles.” This La Llorona apparition sure is fine though. Nothing like the “White Lady” chillona, covered with green moss and stinking of LA River water that many of us chavalo’s remember. Cuidado you gentrifiers! Continue reading →
The project on property belonging to the Christian Science Convalescence Home has been temporarily halted as public outrage over the ugly scaring of the hills is discussed further.
The owners of the old folks home have all the permits and legal rights to complete the project but is the eyesore and desecration one of the remaining undeveloped hillsides going to be allowed? At what price does solar energy and energy savings to the owners have on not only the aesthetics of the community but also the future of the birds and animals that reside in those hills?
Solar energy is a viable and resourceful way to combat the oil industry and it’s dirty poisonous effects on Mother Nature but does this justify the destruction of nature and habitat that is becoming so rare in Los Angeles nowadays?
As a roofing and construction professional of many decades I would ask why we in the USA don’t mandate the use of roofing materials that use solar collector cells integrated into the membrane as is so popular now in Europe.
Imagine if almost every roofing surface in Los Angeles was covered with a solar energy efficient material that turned solar energy into a power source, on most days peoples electrical meters would run backwards and ugly solar collector panels and giant wind turbines wouldn’t be ruining the aesthetics of the landscape.
Yee Mee Loo Bar and Restaurant in Chinatown, Wow! What a loss to Los Angeles when they tore that great dive bar down. The little bar was always jumping, the drinks served by the legendary Richard Mau were nonpareil, the crowd and the booze, the cigarette smoke, and music from the old fashioned jukebox was reminiscent of a scene from a Raymond Chandler book, Humphrey Bogart, Claude Raines, Mary Astor, or Charlie Chan would be right at home there.
The place was a bookie joint and the regulars could always be depended on for a tip on a longshot at Santa Anita or Hollywood Park. And before drinking my first Mai Tai or Long Island Ice Tea I always laid a buck down on the counter so Richard would light a stick of incense and place it on the Buddha on the spectacular carved wooden altar on the wall, bowing and saying a prayer in Chinese.
The conversations overheard always seemed a bit shady and full of conspiracy, as dark as the joint, where somehow you were in a different time and the atmosphere was 1935 or 1945, Los Angeles.
Los Cenzontles (The Mockingbirds), a right on Chicano conjunto puts it down about the rogue state of Arizona.
With the new law in Arizona banning any ethnic study classes (aimed directly at the Tucson School District), and the direction by Tom Horne the Superintendent of the State of Arizona Dept of Education (who BTW is the Republican candidate for State Attorney General), to fire any teachers who happen to have an “accent”, I just wonder when this Arizona ethnic cleansing will run it’s course. My suspicion is it will take the Federal Govt to step in and stop the xenophobes from trying to “out Mexican” each other while running for public office. We may witness even more draconian laws and enforcement like no speaking a language other than English in public places or no Spanish language TV or Radio, or mandates to force “Pollo Loco” joints to use English in thier advertising, hell they might become” Crazy Chickens” to go places in Arizona.
Well it’s started, the state of Arizona has just passed the most stringent, anti democratic, anti immigrant, anti Latino, anti worker, most repressive, ethnic profiling law that’s come down the pipe since the Japanese Americans were rounded up and put in concentration camps for being Asian looking, during world war 2. Being Mexican looking in Arizona has been dangerous for quite a while now but with this new law in effect looking Mexican can get you detained, locked up, and maybe deported.
Should someone start a little negocio in say Blythe Ca. that sells blond wigs and white pancake makeup for Mexican Americans who have to cross the Arizona border on Interstate 10 heading east? It might help in combating racial profiling by Arizona cops who are now mandated to check peoples papers if they meet certain “criteria’s”, you know, looking Mexican for example. Illegal trespassing in Arizona without proper papers can get you in trouble now, be cautious. Continue reading →
Wow! We must be becoming visible at last! Mexifornia, the paranoid fear of the Joe Arpaio’s, Walter “my radio is speaking to me in Spanish!” Moore, the forgotten Lou Dobbs, and the author of “Mexifornia” Victor Davis Hansen, who had to build a fence in front of his central valley home to keep the Mexicans from throwing beer cans into his yard.
On this xenophobic and paranoid produced Mexifornia driver’s license is a picture of one of the great actors in American and Mexican history, Alfonso Bedoya, who was a modern day Chicano, being born in Sonora, schooled in Houston Texas, residing for many years in Los Angeles.
“Badges? Badges? I don’t have to show you no stinking badges!” One of the great lines in film history, from one of my all time favorite movies “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre”, about three gringo wetbacks that travel into the Sierra Madre of Mexico searching for gold but end up finding other treasures (except for poor Humphrey Bogart),
Seeing Bedoya on a driver’s license gives me great pleasure, I feel so good I feel like listening to a song to celebrate. I’ll also share it with you.
And get ready for an onslaught of this type of nativist racism when the coming ussue of immigration reform is debated.
It’s March, the windiest month of the year, when I was a youngster places like “Flat Top” in Lincoln Heights, Elysian Park, Belvedere Park, the LA River bottom, City Terrace, Elephant Hill in El Sereno, they were all full of kids flying kites. Those kites were cheap and fun, you could have kite fights, do loop de loops, scare the hawks, see who could fly their kite the highest until the kite string almost came of the stick, you can do all kinds of tricky shit with a kite. Do kids still fly kites? Kite flying is one of the best ways to spend your time or time with your kids, “Man In The Moon” kites, homemade kites (it’s easy!), a box kite, or one of those fancy tetragon kites. It gets you out in the fresh air at this time of the year when the grass is green and the wind blows the smog away and the views are spectacular.
Hey listen up! Go Fly a Kite!
don quixote and son flying a kite on Flat Top, Lincoln Hts 1975
Mexican American woman with her dead baby in Los Angeles 1950. This photo from the Los Angeles Public Library photo collection speaks volumes about not only a grieving mother but also about our shared humanity and a repudiation of racism and stereotyping of any ethnic or racial group as being inherently violent and immoral, as is becoming so common with xenophobes and racists in the press and on the internet blog sites, even evident here sometimes at “LA Eastside”.
This racist demonization of a people seems especially popular nowadays as the terrible Narco Wars continue unabated in Mexico and innocent people are not only being murdered and traumatized, but to top it off castigated as genetically amoral and prone to violence and depravity.
Hopefully some day, the corruption and violence visited on the Mexican people by the wealthy ruling classes, Drug cartels, arms dealers, and avaricious police and military personnel, who all worship at the altar of the almighty dollar, will end.
Saturday night and I was thinking about my late Abuelita and how she was so proud of my Uncle Pete and the talent he had on the piano. De falla’s “Ritual Fire Dance” was what she loved to hear Uncle Pete play, and play he could.
Uncle Pete (Alcaraz) was also the piano player for Lalo Guererro for many years
Although I also liked to hear Uncle Pete play, my favorite pianist was Alicia de Larrocha who passed away just last September.
They are all gone now so this is dedicated to them all “The Ritual Fire Dance.”
*“Best Old School:* When it comes to coffee on the east side, *Café Tropical* is OG – original gangster – so old school it doesn’t sell any variation of its café con leche except decaf (and that will cost you extra). Their coffee is bold, strong, and hot. They sell Cuban sandwiches”