Memories of a Lost Boulevard, Whittier Blvd on Film

Many of us like to reminisce about the time when Whittier Boulevard was “Thee Boulevard”. Those of us who grew up near it will have a story or two to tell about this iconic
Eastside street, especially the stretch between Eastern and Atlantic Avenues. Those four lanes have seen alot of action, drama, laughter, tears, heroism and ‘scandalo. Luckily “La Whittier” has been captured on film a few times and we can catch a brief visual of what it was all about. On the opening titles to the 1974 NBC TV show “Chico and the Man” we glimpse a lowrider wedding procession (paper flowers and all) heading east on Whittier. The camera sits across from JonSons Market and pans west to east as we see the Lerner Shop on Fetterly Ave (Where my ma bought her chonis and stuff) and the F.W. Woolworth’s store. The last angle shows the facade to Thrifty’s on Fraser Ave. Perhaps most of you can name some of the Eastside locations shown. As for the show itself, I think the theme song is a bit corny. We used to watch it because it was supposed to depict us, but one thing the “Man” didn’t seem to understand at the time was that we Chicanos knew Freddie Prinze was Puerto Rican and because we brown people aren’t interchangeable, we sometimes didn’t relate to his character. Here’s the lyrics to the theme song sung by Jose Feliciano:

Chico, don’t be discouraged,
The Man he ain’t so hard to understand.
Chico, if you try now,
I know that you can lend a helping hand.

Because there’s good in everyone
And a new day has begun
You can see the morning sun if you try.

And I know, things will be better
Oh yes they will for Chico and the Man
Yes they will for Chico and the Man.

I’ve included some still frames that show the boulevard in the early 70’s.

And if that ain’t enough “Boulevard” fix for you locos,…Let’s not forget this little celluloid gem from 1979,……

MorriseyOke at ESL

Some say it was inevitable, others ask how many  “Okes” will there be, but most are letting out a resounding and collective“Yes (biting lip and clenching fist)!”  Eastside Luv presents MorrisseyOkeâ„¢.  For one night,  patrons of the Boyle Heights bar will be given the chance to try out their rush hour traffic and shower song renditions of Smiths and Morrissey classics in front of a live drinking audience. In the same tradition of MariachiOkeâ„¢,  there will be no bouncy balls or highlighted words for your lyrical comfort; ESL adheres to the “Sink or Swim” policy.  Although, I believe most of the attendees and participants are bilingual or trilingual: speaking English, maybe Spanish, but certainly fluent in Moz lyrics. So you won’t be entirely alone on the stage.  But when singing along with Morrissey, are you ever really?
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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!

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Notice Served: Brutal Truth Live In Boyle Heights!

Brutal Truth “Wilt”

Despise You “Pig Mindset”
[audio:|titles=pig mindset]

Lack of Interest “Nothing”

¡Sounds Like Burning: I’ll Put My Foot On The Living Road

when i first heard her music at imix books, i knew she was special. i was given a copy of her first cd by my friend elisa. it was a simple voice, and like some simple things, it meant a lot to me. once i got in the car, i gave it a whirl. most poets offend me with their pathetic arrogance, this poetry was neither pathetic nor arrogant. in the car, the music got me, how could it not? (here, sing along with the video)

mi hija, quédate conmigo un rato
por que andas arrastrando eso desdicha?
espérame un momento y te desato
pero, qué enredo te has puesto, muchachita!

qué amargos son los hechos que adivinas!
qué oscura es la ronda de tu recuerdo!
y en cuanto a tu corona de espinas…
te queda bien, pero la pagarás muy caro…

con tu mirada de fiera ofendida,
con tu vendaja donde herida no hay,
con tus gemidos de madre sufrida,
espantarás a tu última esperanza.

haz de tu puño algo cariñoso
y haz de tu adiós un “Hay mi amor!”
y de tu ceño una sonrisita
y de tu fuga un “Ya voy! Ya voy llegando!”

mi hija, qué pena me da de verte!
dejando olvidado a tu cuerpo
muy lista, pobre boba, a dedicarte
a la eterna disección de un pecadillo.

mujer, desnúdate y estáte quieta
a ti te busca la saeta
y es el hombre, al fin, como sangría
que a veces da salud, a veces mata…
y es el hombre, al fin, como sangría
que a veces da salud, a veces mata

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Botanitas: August 20, 2010

Chinatown grocers offer the most inexpensive and tastiest produce in the area, like this sidewalk stand on North Broadway and Ord. Buy your oranges in Chinatown! (click for larger photo)

Botanitas is an ongoing feature bringing you stories and news from various sources, upcoming events and other bits of ephemera that might be of interest to LA Eastside readers. Suggestions welcome!

Thank goodness for Random’s Rundown because if you counted on my Botanitas posts to keep your social calendar full, you’d probably end up spending most of your nights at home (like me) due to their infrequency (damn you full-time job with no internet access!)

Time to click ahead for weekend events and Eastside news…

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Radio Sombra presenta…

Broadcasting out of somewhere East LA comes Radio Sombra.  Their site says:

“From the shadows comes the light!”

An independent community internet radio station that will bring a new voice to the communities in East Los Angeles.

Programming will be open and accessible to the community.
From community organizations to political artists like Zack de La Rocha, Radio Sombra will keep it real on the dial.

As a way to fund the project, Radio Sombra will  be presenting Film Nights on varied topics at Centro de Comunicación Comunitaria.

This Thursday brings :

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