Eastside icon: Lysa Flores

Lysa Flores has been a staple and a major voice in the Eastside music scene since the early 90’s. Her popularity as a musician and voice for Chicana artists hit a zenith after her scene stealing turn as the sister in the controversial film (for its time) “Star Maps.” She was also the music supervisor for the film which helped set the groundwork for the emerging Latin Rock explosion of the 90’s.

Her exposure to the global music scene was in part due to her touring with El Vez, the Mexican Elvis, as an El Vette. Spending months overseas, and opening for David Bowie at one point, taught Flores much about the music business.

Throughout the years, upon returning from, and in between touring the world, she started her own label “Bring Your Love,” played at various causa events for La Raza and even painted collector editions paintings at Self Help Graphics. The respect she earned as a talented singer, song writer and guitarist opened doors for her to work with X front man John Doe and drummer DJ Bonebrake, as well as Flaco Jimenez, Jonathan Richman, Bill Frisell, and David Hidalgo to list just a few.

In other words this woman works non stop!
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John Carlos De Luna Solo Show

I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know John and his partner Kristy Lovich these last few years. Conversations over drinks, tamales, smoking outside in the cold or just holding it down on the street corner. Conversations about Xicano Hipsters, art and our favorite paletas and anything else that will come up. The conversations I enjoyed the most and took to heart are those of Johns experiences growing up in the Estrada courts, growing as an artist on and off the streets, being tossed aside by folks who said he was never brown enough to hang out with them and his experiences doing work as a graff writer back in the day. What makes John stand out a little more than everyone else who grew up in Boyle Heights and East L.A. to me is that he’s able to articulate himself with his art and poetry. Continue reading

Protesting Whitmans East L.A. Office

No one really likes Meg Whitman, for numerous reasons. So she got the bright idea to open up an office in East L.A. to ‘target’ the Latino community. Frankly, if you’re ‘Latino’ and are voting for Whitman, then your off your rocker. Her office has been picketed since day one and almost once a week by unions, orgs or people that just plain don’t like her. It’s become a regular thing, so much so that her office staff have started counter-protesting. It’s quite hilarious.

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Random’s Rundown: Puro Pinche Pari

Except for my horrible farmers tan, I love summer. Hot days, cold drinks, long evening bike rides through Los Angelestitlan. The electricity in the air, waiting to spark a blaze of social upheaval. You can literally feel it in the air. Social unrest, riots waiting to happen. Not too worry though, we all need to relax and have a good time every once in a while, por que si no, it get’s ugly. So even though the week isn’t over, the weekend is already getting started.

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The Original Snow Cone Factory

Damn it’s hot. I’m developing the worst farmers tan ever. Not only that, but since I’m already brown skinned to begin with, all this heat is making me look all prieto and red. I look like clay dirt, but you know what cheers me up and helps me forget my future skin cancer problems, raspados. There’s no greater force on the streets of L.A. than a raspado de fresa con vainilla on a hot summer afternoon. Munching on the ice, slurping in the flavors and mashing it all up in your cup until they’re both thoroughly mixed and drinkable. You can add some tequila while no one is looking too. That’s why even though I get my raspados from peeps in carts, I still go down to the snow cone factory once in a while, just to get out of the house, get some fresh air, a sugar rush and to chill with peeps. Continue reading

From the Bay to L.A. and AZ: Print Marathon at Self Help Graphics and Art

In a show of solidarity against the anti-Latino/a and immigrant sentiment in Arizona and the 30 days 30 actions campaign currently going on,  artist from here in East L.A. and the Bay area organized a 12 hour print-a-thon, silk screening more than 1,000 posters, some stickers and shirts with various designs for the July 29 action taking place in AZ against SB 1070. Joel “Rage” Garcia and Melanie Cervantes first got the ball rolling for the print marathon after discussing solidarity work with the AZ coming up. Garcia along his partner/artist FelicaMontes , musician Olmeca and Vyal have been working with artist in AZ for the last few months. Doing organizing, connecting with artist there and helping them get the resources not found in AZ. Cervantes and her partner Jesus Barraza at the same time have been working on the AZ campaign as well providing artistic resources and support with groups, orgs and individuals in AZ along with frequent partner and collaborator Favianna Rodriguez. Initially the plan was for everyone to go to AZ and do the work there, but contributing artist Ernesto Yerena warned them that the weather conditions and the AZ boycott would impede their productivity. Soon enough the conversation turned to printing here in L.A. and with the help of artist Dewey Tafoya, Self Help opened their doors to use the space and the marathon was on.

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Random’s Rundown: Enter the Weekend


One thing we can all agree on. In this edition of the rundown I’m walking 18 miles, 40 years of Chicana/o History and other events that I won’t be attending because I’m pretty sure I won’t be doing much of anything after walking 18 miles. Anyone wanna give me a foot massage later ?

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Botanica de Amor wrap up

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For the second year in a row Self Help Graphics auctioned off some of the most eligible bachelors this side of the river. Can you believe that someone was bought off for $600 !?!?!? Yeah, $600 and I’m not talking about monopoly money here folks. Never in my life have I seen to women out bid each other like that. It was madness I tell ya, but all for a good cause, SHG. Here’s a few pics I took of the day and a quick rundown.

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My rosca miracle


I had my communist meeting today, of all days Dia de los Reyes, a day that in the Latino/a community is spent with family to close the holiday celebrations and to enjoy some rosca and chocolate. I didn’t know what time I would get home from my meeting and I didn’t want to miss out on the rosca. Good thing my friend called me last night and suggested I take one to the meeting, we would go half’ers on it. So as I make my way toward the Pavo Bakery on Chavez and Soto I notice that there is a small pile of nothing but roscas sitting on the counter. I look with amazement at their size as the aroma of freshly baked roscas charms me into hunger. At $6.50, I knew a small one would suffice for our meeting considering there won’t be that many of use there. A medium one cost $20 and it’s WAY too big. Too much rosca.

I asked the lady for a small one and she ever so kindly went to the back to look for one. When she came back she told the other ladies at the register that there are only three small rosca left and the other two are reserved. “Should I make sure that the one rosca isn’t reserved for anyone” she exclaimed in spanish. “Si” replied one of the other women. She went to the back and looked again. She told them again that it was in fact the last one and that it didn’t have a name on it. She went to the back one more time and brought the rosca to the counter. A lady next to me quickly looks at the rosca and ask that woman at the counter if she had any more small roscas, “no. That’s the very last one” she said in spanish. We both had a little laugh about me having the last one, I paid and thanked the women at the register. I took the bus to my meeting, said hi to everyone and shared the rosca with them. They loved it.

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We used my friends pocket knife, which she previously used to cut aguacate, and tore into that rosca. She was the one to get the baby and I told her it’s an omen. “So does that mean I have to host the party on Feb 2 ?” she asked. “No. I means you’re gonna have a baby” I said. She looks at me with contempt and annoyed and says, “Yeah, like that’ll happen.” True story.

8th Annual Nacimiento Tour


Bad ass urban planner James Rojas, co founder of the Latino Urban Forum, guided angelinos on a tour of nacimiento altars located throughout East L.A. Apparently, from what Victoria D. told me, this is the 8th year he’s doing this and with the gold line up and running, he opted to guide us to adjacent nacimiento altars at various stops. She said that in previous years, the tour was given on bikes. I for one was excited to go on the tour out of curiosity of what the tour would involve, what we would see and expanding my mind to new ideas and concepts and guess what ? Since VD took some pics, you get to come along too. I’ll be your online tour guide of a tour I was part of. Isn’t that kick ass ? You bet your ass it is. I seem to be using the word ass a lot. Sorry 🙂 Continue reading

Dirty deeds done dirt cheap

If I remember correctly, my very first post on this here blog was about a police sobriety check in the heart of Boyle Heights in June of last year. Hmm more than a year later, the economy in Califas is tanking, the city is looking left and right and underneath every couch cushion to save money and bring in more revenue, like raising sales taxes to 9.75 percent and other various  measures. It’s getting tight in this city, real tight. The kind of tight that when I was growing up, frijoles, huevos and tortillas were what’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with maybe some queso de piez sprinkled on the beans to add a little variety.

Needless to say, it’s not hard to connect the dots on the current situation out on the streets of L.A. right now, with all these holiday sobriety check points to keep drunk drivers off the streets. This is an invaluable service by the police, however we all know that’s not the case right ? I mean come on !! This is way over the line, even for the L.A.P.D We all expect and know these holiday sobriety checkpoints are around, but as of late, the amount of cars getting pulled over and of these check points is bordering on abuse. Nah, you know what, it is abuse.  “Ohh but you’re just exaggerating because you blah, blah, blah” hell no I’m not exaggerating. Sunday of last week me and VD were kicking old school on our way to the barrio when we see a car pulled over on Sheridan. Then we see another car pulled over two blocks further down and then another car pulled over on Chavez and Soto. Not to mention that I average out one text per day informing me of where there are check points taking place. This isn’t the police checking for drunk drivers and keeping the streets safe, this is the police being abused by the shot callers who need to come up with more feria to cover the cost of their business expenses and trips to Mexico to represent L.A. in a book fair. Really !? A book fair !?

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