The Arroyo (not so) Seco

During the brief interlude between storms yesterday, I went for a walk around Lincoln Heights and was thrilled to see all the water rushing down the Arroyo Seco. I’d seen the Arroyo full before but this was impressive. It’s usually just a small trickle running through a boring concrete channel. Notice too how dark and muddy the stream is, where did all that muck come from? Definitely not a time to check out the bike path.

photo courtesy of

Imagine what a beautiful stream it once was…

Second Annual Los Angeles Anarchist Bookfair

small jpeg3

L.A. Anarchist Bookfair: Actions + Conversations + Intersections 2010
Ideas Occupying Space:
Sunday January 24th : :
Barnsdall Art Park 4800 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Actions, Conversations, and Intersections

Libertarias Pre-Bookfair Film Screening
Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 7pm
Koreatown Immigrant Worker’s Alliance Culture and Education Center, 3465 W 8th Street Los Angeles


Continue reading

Trail of DREAMS

trail of dreams

On January 1, 2010, we embarked on a 1,500-mile walk from our home in Miami, FL, to Washington, D.C. We walk to share our stories, so that everyday Americans understand what it’s like for the millions of immigrants, especially young people, unable to fully participate in society. It’s time that our country come together to fix a failed system that keeps millions in the shadows, with no pathway to a better life.

Our journey will be long and full of hardship, but for us, we see no other option. We are putting our futures in jeopardy because our present is unbearable.

We are four students from Florida – Felipe Matos, Gaby Pacheco, Carlos Roa, and Juan Rodriguez – who were brought to the United States by our families when we were young. This is the only country we have known as home. We have the same hopes and dreams as other young people, and have worked hard to excel in school and contribute to our communities. But because of our immigration status, we’ve spent our childhoods in fear and hiding, unable to achieve our full potential. We walk in order to share our stories and to call on our leaders to fix the system that forces people like us into the shadows, stripping us of the opportunity to participate meaningfully in society.

In solidarity with my brothers and sisters making this trek for not just themselves, but for everyone else who can’t. The current immigration reform that needs to take place is the current reincarnation of the civil rights movement that has been going on longer than I have been on this earth. We continue the work that has been laid out before us from the streets of East L.A. to China. No matter what your race, gender or sex this is a fight that knows no borders.  

And a Cat Named Johnny, Pt. 2

Lincoln Heights, circa 1935

I’ve been looking everywhere for this photo, a few weeks ago I posted a corresponding photo of my great-uncle. Perhaps it’s a coincidence but I came across it this morning. Two years ago today, my beautiful grandmother, Jessie Tellez Garcia passed away.

As for the location, it might be near Eva Terrace. When I asked my great-uncle where the photo was taken, he mentioned a street name I wasn’t familiar with that included the name “Terrace.” I’ve tried researching old Los Angeles maps but with no success.

It seems Johnny the cat was a lazy little fellow because he doesn’t move an inch from photo to photo.

Eastside Artist Profile: Sand Oner

The sexy doll-like characters Sand One paints have been popping up all over the Eastside with attitude and fresh charisma. This girl knows what she wants and is doing it by painting her Sand Chicks wherever she can. I caught up with Sand One at Primera Taza in Boyle Heights to see what this native Eastsider was all about.


Read the rest after the jump………

Continue reading

Brooklyn Music Center, Boyle Heights

My good friend asked me to share her words about the Brooklyn Music Center, the new music space operated by Ollin’s front man, Scott Rodarte.

Brooklyn Avenue Roots, Alive and Rockin’
By Victoria Kraus

A new community music school will open its doors this January along Cesar Chavez Avenue (formerly Brooklyn Avenue) by East Los rockin’ roller, Scott Rodarte of local Chicano punk-rock band Ollín.

Brooklyn Music Center

The Brooklyn Music Center (BMC) will function primarily as a school offering children and adults alike in the community affordable group and private lessons on a variety of instruments. The space will also be equipped and available to bands for rehearsals and recording.

“Our vision is to help generate art in the neighborhood so folks don’t have to go outside of the community to create or be enriched, musically,” Rodarte says of his music center.

The Brooklyn Music Center was previously the Brooklyn Medical Clinic. The space, still reminiscent of its history with its vintage architecture and glass blocks along the storefront entrance, was a shared medical and optometry clinic owned and operated by Doctors Freidman and Kaplan. Scott and his brother, Randy, also of Ollín, used to work at the clinic while in high school, where they made pairs of glasses among doing other administrative duties.

Rodarte remembers the variety of commerce that used to thrive on Brooklyn Avenue such as the Brooklyn Theatre directly across the street from his music school, Phillips Music a few doors down, and Kens, a sporting goods store. “You know, all the mom and pop stores that were around before the corporate entities like Guitar Center, AMC Theatres and Big 5 took hold of society,” Rodarte reminisces.

BMC might stir some friendly rivalry with Boyle Heights’ acclaimed Neighborhood Music School but friendly would be is as far is gets. Rodarte has more of a rocker’s intention with the music program he plans to build. Rodarte and fellow musicians from his band along with friends will be teaching everything from percussion to electric guitar, maybe even the washboard.

Remodeling of the Brooklyn Music Center is scheduled to complete in early January.

2515 E. Cesar Chavez Ave.  (at Fickett) 90033


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.”

An Eastside Invitation


This bill was found among my father’s old photos. He’s been involved with the Eastside music scene for most of his life. I’m not sure, but it’s possible either he or one of my uncles was playing in one of the bands advertised on the bill. I once asked my uncles to name all the bands they’ve played in and I ran out of space on the piece of paper I was writing on!

One more thing, I have no idea why Mexicans/Chicanos have such a hard time with the proper spelling of the endings “-ing” and “-ght.”

January Downtown L.A. Art Walk


Starting last year, as proclaimed by our mayor Tony V, January is Art Month here in L.A. and it’s all about the arts. This is the second year of bringing attention to the plight that the arts are facing, which I’m sure a lot of people are already aware of because when things get tight, the arts go out the window. So, the whole point of Art month is to get people out and about into museums, galleries and events all month long to check out what L.A. has to offer and stimulate the local economy. Well I did some stimulating of my own on Wednesday at Corazon del Pueblo by listening to amazing poets put themselves out there. They even inspired me to get up there and read. Aside from that, I knew I had to hit up the Art Walk because not only is it Art’s Month, but it’s the first one of the year.  The cities website states, “we are urging Angelenos to enjoy the best the art world has to offer without leaving Los Angeles.  And we hope they will make it an adventure by discovering a new museum or performing arts venue!”Adventure ? I’m game.

Continue reading

¡Sounds Like Burning: Of Course It’s Impossible. That’s Why We Do It.

Harry Blackstone Jr. was the first magician I ever saw. Sure, it was on television, but it seemed so real to me. Magic always has. He had so much style. He was the master of ceremonies, but he was just a conduit. Maybe I exaggerate his modesty because today’s popular magicians seem so arrogant and lacking in personality. Sleeveless and svelte, so easily ignored.

Harry Blackstone Jr. was the real deal. Plus, he had that funny, protypical television voice. To my ears, he wasn’t just old, he was old school. Just listen to him. You hear that playful, diabolical laugh:

“There. And now that you’ve seen it, my dear. Now that you’ve all looked at it carefully, may I show you… a miracle? (snaps fingers) Ha Ha Ha Ha. She says, ‘that’s impossible’. Of course, it’s impossible. That’s why we do it. Ha Ha Ha Ha.” Behold!

Magic. My departed grandmother’s drunken, toofless grin. My little cousins laughing. The five times I’ve been in love. The first time I heard John Bonham’s bass pedal. Eating tamales under the Guanajuato night sky, etc. All those events leave me in a quandary. That childish suspension of belief need not end in a dolt hood. I like shit that can’t be explained. It doesn’t have to be! It’s all an illusion anyway, yes?

“Nothing I do can’t be done by a 10-year-old… with 15 years of practice.”
(Harry Blackstone Jr.)

Disclaimer: If, after watching this video, you think, “Oh, I know how he did it. Let me explain…” put the mic/keyboard down and back the fuck up. This ain’t karaoke. And this ain’t club jenna. Wax on Wax off somewhere else, please. We don’t care. We don’t want to know. But, if you dare share your ignoble insecurity with us, we pray that a gazillion pneumatic lesions terrorize your nether regions. Alakazam!

Previously on ¡Sounds Like Burning:

**¡Sounds Like Burning is about psychos, angels and psychotic angels. Who else deserves mention?

Bill Hicks condensed the first law of all the Arts: Play From Your Fucking Heart!

The performances to be aired here are rigodamnediculous. The biblical scholar Bon Scott once commanded: Let There Be Light. And There Was Light.

Can one make the unknown known? Tune in and Trip out.