Thursday, June 30, 2005

Pedazos y Pedacitos

Manuel Ramos

New Lorna Dee
La Raza Documentary
Live Free and Soar
A Jazzy 4th of July
Chávez Ravine
The Smell of Onions

New Lorna Dee
Wings Press announces the upcoming publication of Drive: The First Quartet, by Lorna Dee Cervantes. This is Lorna Dee's first new book of poetry in 14 years. Trade Edition available October 14, 2005 - ISBN:0-930324-54-4 - Approx. 270 pages - Hardback $24.95
A SPECIAL LIMITED EDITION AVAILABLE IN APRIL 2006 - ISBN: 0-916727-14-9 $250 Limited to 100 numbered and signed, specially bound, in a hand-made wooden box. Visit the Wings Press website for much more information.

La Raza Documentary
La Raza de Colorado (La Historia), broadcast June 27 on Rocky Mountain PBS was excellent. Made me proud to listen to the various, articulate and knowledgeable folks talk about the history of Mexicanos and Chicanos in Colorado. Please get yourself a copy of this when you get the chance. A tip of La Bloga's sombrero to Lisa Olken, the producer and driving force behind the film.

Live Free and Soar
Patty Limerick's article (Live Free and Soar) in the June 29 New York Times deals with the apparent contradiction of Native American patriotism. Patty is a gem, as anyone who knows her will verify. Another one of the fine professors from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She's doing a short stint with the Times as a sub for Maureen Dowd. Here's a paragraph from her article. To read the entire essay on the web you have to log in to the Times' website, which requires registration (free).

"Much of what we have taken to calling 'the lessons of Vietnam' - perhaps especially the difficulty of sequestering noncombatants from violence, as well as the complex moral choices raised by confronting guerrilla war - could just as easily have been learned as 'the lessons of the Indian wars.' If Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld ever hints at even the slightest interest in exploring the historical meanings of the Indian wars, I will be on the next plane to D.C."

A Jazzy 4th of July
A Jazzy 4th of July is an outdoor block party on 24th & Washington in the historic Five Points neighborhood (Denver). There are about 9 nonprofits selling tickets, such as the African-American Leadership Institute, who share in the proceeds from this event. For adults 21 and over. Great music, a good time, and a meaningful way to celebrate the 4th.

Monday, July 4, 2005, Washington St. Business District, East 24th Avenue and Washington St. A ¼ Mile North of Downtown Denver

Hugh Masekela
Manuel Molina's Latin Jazz Combo
The Sheryl Renee Band

Gates open at 1 PM -- Entertainment from 2 to 7 PM -- General Admission Tickets: $20 For tickets or to make a reservation, call 303.299.9035

Chávez Ravine
More music: A for effort to Ry Cooder for his latest CD, Chávez Ravine. Not a perfect album but the concept was noble, his heart was in the right place and most of the songs are right on.

UFOs to the Red Scare to Cool Cats and Cool Chicks, all against the backdrop of the demolition of the barrio in the name of progress (which turned out to be the Dodgers). It's a tragedy so many of us know, from Barrio Viejo in Tucson to Auraria in Denver. The CD features Chicano music legends Little Willie G., Lalo Guerrero, and Ersi Arvizu, vocalist on El Chicano's classic Sabor A Mi. If the last track doesn't tear you up, you have no soul, brother.

And now, a blast from the past.

Manuel Ramos
All rights reserved, published originally in Rocky Mountain Arsenal of the Arts, July, 1989

Armando Salazar stumbled from the Rainbow Inn.

Genevieve will give me hell again. She has little patience for her father these days. ¡Madre de Dios! Where's that damn car?

His legs were tight, they wouldn't respond to his brain. Arthritis in his knees had him gnarled like a limb from a piñon tree.

Foolish old man; too old to drink all night with these punks; what do they know about playing pool? Back in '54, that was when they played pool on the West Side. Snipe, Porfy Tafoya, Dutch Borman--man he was tough! Had to be to even walk in the same bar with the pachucos, the wetbacks from Juárez, the locos from L.A. And then to kick their ass playing pool!

He wiped his nose with the back of his skinny, gray-haired wrist, the wrist that once had the touch that could win hundreds in one night. No one believed him now but he remembered when his stroke was clean and quick.

What a life! A crip, a wino, a bum begging for a few bucks for some T-Bird, betting on a couple of rounds of pool to help Genny with the rent, the pain in my legs keeping me up half the night and only the reefer to help, when I can get it. One of these days I'll pack it in, back to the Valley, to San Luis where I can die in the sun stretched out in a field with the smell of onions in the air, chicharras buzzing in the hot midday.

A hand grabbed him by the neck and twisted him down to the sidewalk.

"Hey, 'Mando. You forgot that yesterday was payday, viejo? You like to string Humberto along? That's stupid, viejo. I don't like stupid people."

He kicked Armando in the stomach, then again.

The kicks knocked the old man's breath out of his wheezing lungs and he couldn't talk. He couldn't explain to Hummy Gonzalez that he needed a little more time to pay his juice and the bill for the drogas. He couldn't say that his check was late, bud, the pendejo mailman hadn't delivered it.

"Your time is up, old man. I have a business to protect. If I let weasels like you get away without paying I'll have every junkie and puta on the West Side into me for a lot more than you're worth. I got my own bills to pay."

A silver gleam reflected the street light. Hummy's arm moved clean and quick.

Hey, man, you don't know! I'm supposed to be in the Valley, in a field, smelling the onions. Pinche! This ain't the goddamned Valley! This ain't the Valley.


msedano said...

sabes que, there's nothing like old time mexican music. old rancheras, charro avitia, romantic stuff like trio los panchos, mambo with perez prado, stylized stuff like lalo guerrero.

like i was telling a friend the other day who said he enjoyed alternative music. what the heck is alternative music?

i hear good word of mouth on chavez ravine. good that gente are being inspired to think about eminent domain, given the recent court decision that gives wal-mart the right to seize your home.


Raymundo Eli Rojas said...

I got the Los Lobos album "Let's Ride" last year and it rocked, expecially the mix of "Rain, Rain" with "110th Street" with Bobby Womack. Other guests were Cafe Tacuba, Little Willie G, Dave Alvin from The Blasters, Tom Waits and Martha Gonzalez, Ruben Blades, Richard Thompson, Elvis Castello, and Mavis Staples.

Los Lobos followed with the album "Ride This" which doesn't have alot of titles but some more guests (Ruben Blades). All the songs are covers of songs by Tom Waits, Bobby Womack, Elvis Costello, Richard Thompson, and Dave Alvin.

They recently put out a live album, which I think is called "Life at the Filmore." It's also on DVD.

You guys probably got this already, but there's Los Super 7's new one: "Heard it on the X." See the NPR review:

There's a cool 3-cd box set of Charro Avitia out there. One of the gems is has is Tomas Mendez' "Pancho Villa" and pre-Los Tigres "La Puerta Negra" in 3/4 time.

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