Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Holiday Parties and New Years Events

Tis the season for some good music and New Year's Eve bashes around town. Here's a short list of events (which is rather long) of stuff to do this weekend and on New Year's Eve. Yours truly will be up in Seattle hanging out with the Poncho Sanchez boys at Jazz Alley. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 26
  • Lucky 7 joins other bands in a "Salsa Showdown and Workshop" at Stevens Steak House, $10-$30
  • Holiday on Air, "A Mystical Aerial Show" at Club Can in Garden Grove, $15-$35
  • Celebrate Kwanzaa in Leimert Park from 10am to dusk featuring UMOJA and a Kwanzaa marketplace.
Sunday, December 27
  • Susie Hansen will be at Fisherman's Village in Marina del Ray from 1-4pm. Free
Thursday, December 31
  • Shiela E and family at the Conga Room$65-$115
  • Buyepongo and La Santa Cecilia at Rhythm Lounge in Long Beach, $20
  • Orquesta Estrellas del Son at Tapas in Newport Beach, $15
  • Celebrate the Roaring 20s at Chaya Brasserie in Beverly Hills, no cover
  • Louie Cruz Beltran at South Coast Winery in Temecula, $219 for a 5-course meal
  • Chino Espinoza and Angel Lebron will be doing up Moulin Rouge Style at Granadas in Alhambra, $30-$50, party ends at 4am.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Holiday Serenatas by Gabriel Gonzalez

Seasoned actor and singer Gabriel Gonzalez is reviving the long-lost tradition of serenades this holiday season by offering Latin serenades direct to peoples homes. Starting this week and running through the New Year, Gabriel and an accompanying guitarist will wake up your loved ones with soulful songs of the holidays or romantic ballads just like they used to do so lovingly in Pedro Infante and Jorge Negrete films.

The serenata includes a special in-person appearance by Gonzalez who will sing three songs chosen by the hiring parties in English or Spanish starting as early as 5am and running through noon each day. The songs of choice include Las Mañanitas, Feliz Navidad, Silent Night and more. Sure to be a most memorable holiday season for lucky ladies, children, and especially moms and abuelitas, Gonzalez says "singing in such an intimate setting as a serenata is something that moves people to a point where you feel overwhelming love and pride in your rich and romantic cultural heritage. What better way to say 'I love you' but with a serenata and I want to revive this beautiful tradition in LA."

To set the date for a morning your loved ones will never forget, send an e-mail to with your name, address, phone, and the date and time you'd like your holiday serenata. Rates begin at $150 for any location within 20 miles of downtown Los Angeles. Additional costs apply for special requests and additional songs. Other times may also be available.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Charity: To Give or Not to Give

It's no joke that the economy has trampled over people's finances and affected everyone's life so what are we to do about charity? For those of us blessed to be employed, we've pinched our pennies and given up the luxuries we used to enjoy like eating out, vacations, a new car, shopping on a whim. Now, we're clipping coupons, forgoing expesive concerts, driving less, and waiting much longer for the next haircut, at least I am. So, here we are in December and the calls for help and charity have increased. We are asked to give more of ourselves because there are many more people in need, but how much can we give before we can give no more? How do you choose who to support? Your kid's school fundraiser or the local food bank? The $1 breast cancer donation at the cash register or the lukemia walk at your doctor's office. No place is safe. Everywhere you go, there is a hand reaching out into your wallet. How much do you allow yourself to be guilted into donating or do you do it gladly? If so, how did you make the decision and what sacrifices do you have to make in order to give?

Monday, November 30, 2009

La Virgen de Guadalupe, Dios Inantzin

La Virgen de Guadalupe, Dios Inantzin

I had the pleasure of seeing this wonderful play at the LATC last year and I can't wait to see it again. The performances are powerful, spoken and sung in Nahuatl and Spanish, it is the tale of Juan Diego and the Virgen de Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico. The play is directed by Jose Luis Valenzuela and the amazing cast includes mezzo-soprano Suzanna Guzmán, Sal Lopez, and dear friend and singer Gabriel Gonzalez.

La Virgen de Guadalupe, Dios Inantzin, the simple story of an indian peasant’s vision of the Virgin Mary that has become a theatrical c...ornerstone at Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral for years. This profoundly moving show taps into our universal foundation of faith, love, and perseverance. Join the tens of thousands who have become transfixed by the story of Juan Diego-a simple peasant from Tepeyac.

Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
General Admission Free! (Suggested Donation $5/person)
VIP Seating $35/person
More info:
Read the LA Times review here:

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thanksgiving, the dilemma

It's that time of year again when we stuff our bellies with tons of triptophan-laced turkey, stuffing, cranberry, rolls, papas and gravy. We get two days off of work and school to spend time with our friends and family and have few drinks, kick-back and relax. Yet, for those of us that know the history of this holiday, it is difficult to embrace the spirit of it with images of happy pilgrims and Indians permeating the grocery stores, office workspaces, and schools. During my hard-core activist days, we were angry at the Hollywood and Disney images of perfection that made anyone that didn't look that way feel like 2nd class citizens. Yet, now that we are parents, we're not so uptight about things. Even though my curly-haired, caramel, sun-kissed skin-toned daughter loves to watch the blonde, stick-thin Disney princesses I know that she can still enjoy watching those films and still have confidence in her own looks because, well, I'm her mom, and I won't let her think she's anything but beautiful. And now that she is in pre-school, the halls are filled with happy pilgrims in their puritan hats and muskets. The scary part for me is the day she tells me the story of Thanksgiving according to school doctrine. How or when do I tell her the complicated history? At what age do you open kids' eyes to the reality? It's the Libra (scales, balance, justice) and historian in me that can't turn a blind eye. I don't even know if I can bite my tongue at Christmas and tell her Santa is just pretend. I know she's only 3 but I just might and I know she'll be alright because I'm her mom and I won't let her think Santa is so necessary to her happiness. Her favorite question is "who buy this for me?". I don't think I can keep saying Santa without being annoyed. I did have a good laugh today at an episode of Dexter where the family was gathering around for Thanksgiving dinner and the daughter mentioned the slaughter of the Indians by the pilgrims after the supposed first Thanksgiving dinner. I'm glad to see the story is becoming a bit more mainstream, albeit in a Showtime series about a serial killer. It's something.
The question for me was to celebrate or not. I think it was an easy decision to celebrate Thanksgiving for the sentiments of giving thanks and spending time with loved ones. When I moved to LA from Texas for college, I had no family or friends here. The holiday wasn't long enough to fly home so I was stuck in my dorm hoping someone would invite me over. I honestly can't remember what I did each year if anything but I do remember going to San Diego freshman year to spend the day at my roommmate's aunt's house. We took Amtrack down and watched Nightmare Before Christmas in the theater. Another year, my friend from East LA invited me to spend the holiday with her family. Those invitations meant a whole lot to me and that's probably why I still remember them. I know what it's like to be lonely on these holidays and to pretend that you don't want to celebrate is not worth it. Who doesn't want to get together, eat, drink, watch the game, spend some time with others? I may never allow my daughter to dawn on a pilgrims hat or an Indian feather for Thanksgiving or place those images on my dinner table but I will eat a turkey and stuff my belly full of all the fixings and I will give thanks for all the good things in my life.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Northeast LA Winter Solstice Celebration

Northeast LA’s Winter Solstice Festival is an inclusive celebration bringing together unifying and cultivating the awareness and power of all people through art, music, peace and social action. This celebration is a catalyst for creating and supporting a world in which all individuals, families, and communities are valued and can live in a society where freedom, justice, respect, dignity, peace and sustainable ways of living are its guiding principles.

Northeast LA’s Winter Solstice  Celebration
Saturday, December 19, 2009, Noon
Tierra de la Culebra Park
240 S. Avenue 57, Highland Park, CA 90042

Featuring Mexica, Aztlan Underground, Rudo Movimiento, Andrew Serra (Flamenco), Soul Conference, Guerrilla Queenz, Cihuatl-Ce, The Hashishans, and Wolfrobe.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Boyle Heights Block Party and Mariachi Festival

Boyle Heights Block Party and Mariachi Festival
Sunday, November 15, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
First Street (between Boyle Ave. and State St.)

Celebrate the opening of the $898 million Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension. 

Tierra, Quinto Sol, Domingo Siete, UmoVerde, Dirty Hands, Jahny Wallz, Mariachi Sol del Mexico, Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles, Mariachi Mexicapan, Mariachi Voz de America, Mariachi Santa Cecelia and Mariachi Conservatory.

Enjoy free giveaways, live entertainment, and informational resource booths.Bring your children and participate in a free kids corner with oversized bouncers, arts and crafts, Chivas USA soccer kick, and a rock climbing wall.

Also featured will be a photo exhibit about the now-defunct Bracero Program and the men and women who participated in it.


Monday, November 2, 2009

Giving Thanks

Giving Thanks

An expression of gratitude for all our moments.

Music, dance of Brazil, India, Hawaii

Featuring 45 musicians & dancers from:
Halau Keali'i O Nalani Artistic Director-Keali'i Ceballos
Shakti Dance Company Artistic Director-Viji Prakash
Viver BrasilArtistic Director-Linda Yudin & Luiz Badaro

Concert Info:

On the islands of Hawaii, in the temples of India, and on the sacred shores of Brazil, music and dance are offerings of gratitude. Whether offered to Gods or Ancestral creators - they are an integral part of everyday life. Join us as 45 artists from 3 of LA's most creative dance companies share the stage for the first time. The results are a dramatic journey representing different lives, memories and legends from the sacred traditions of BRAZIL, INDIA and HAWAII through an exquisite synthesis of music, dance and chant.

See Postcard
Saturday, November 28, 2009 at 8pm
Aratani/Japan America Theatre
244 S. San Pedro St. Los Angeles CA 90012
Tickets: $25 Reserved seats; $20 JACCC members; UCLA faculty/staff;
$12 Students/Children/Seniors
Box Office: 213-680-3700 BUY TICKETS
Info: 310-206-1335 CIP contact information

A project of the WORLD FESTIVAL OF SACRED MUSIC-LOS ANGELES. Presented by Foundation for World Arts and co presented by the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center and UCLA Center for Intercultural Performance.

GIVING THANKS concert travels to the 2009 Guadalajara International Book Fair with support from the Department of Cultural Affairs City of Los Angeles .

Friday, October 30, 2009

Who do you honor on Day of the Dead?

By the time you get to my age, you start losing people in your life that are near and dear to you. It's surreal to think that people you've shared wonderful times with are no longer with you. I don't know if I even comprehend it all or if I just refuse to think of their absence as permanent. Maybe my belief in life after death helps me to remember that I will see them again someday. I expect my older relatives and friends of  the family to pass on without much of a tear drop but when it happens to someone young or under 65 even, it hits hard. You feel  time stop, your skin tingle, and your pulse race when you get the news. I often think about what happens after you die or what will my family do with my body. Will I be buried or burned. Will my daughter carry around my ashes in a locket or will I be put up on a mantle for the cat the tip over. Maybe someone might find my bones 1,000 years from now to study and they'll name me Lucy. Or worse, I'll be flooded out of my casket and put on display in a creepy museum of mummies. But I digress.

Day of the Dead is a joyous celebration of the lives we've lost but will see again. November 2 is the day the dead rise from their graves, ashes, science labs, and museums to re-join their loved ones on earth. Families build altars to their loved ones adorned with flowers, food, drinks, toys, vices, and other favorite items to entice and please the souls. After spending a few hours on earth, the spirits are then scared back to their graves by mask-wearers in a long procession. At least that is how it's done in Mexico. What about you? What traditions or new ways of honoring your dearly departed do you enjoy? Who will you be honoring this year?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Day of the Dead at Hollywood Forever Cemetary

Hollywood Forever presents the 10th annual Dia De Los Muertos Celebration
Saturday, October 24th, 2009
 Admission $10.00 - 12 years & under are free.

The celebration features:
*The procession will begin with an Aztec Ritual Blessing and will continue with a traditional “Oaxacan Burial” that represents the suffering of death and it concludes on stage welcoming the spirits to celebrate.
*The community honors their beloved that have passed away by creating altars as offerings throughout the cemetery.
*Art exhibit in the Cathedral Mausoleum featuring work by the Linares Family and many more.
*The world premier of the film “La Fiesta Eterna”, a film about the tradition of Dia De Los Muertos.
*Children’s Area where kids can learn about this ancient celebration though art, including traditional face painting.

Gates open at 4:00 PM
Gates Close at 11:00 PM
Lila Downs at 9:00 PM

The public can call 323.447.0999 for more information.
Location Address:
Hollywood Forever Cemetery
6000 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Dia De Los Muertos is a 3,000 year old Aztec tradition, alternately referred to as “All Souls Day”, where it is believed the spirits of our ancestors and we, the living, can meet face to face for one day a year. For more info on the festival at Hollywood Forever please visit For more historical context visit Lila Downs is a world renowned singer and songwriter and Latin Grammy winner from Oaxaca, Mexico. Hollywood Forever, resting place of Hollywood’s Immortals, has made national headlines with its innovative approach, including digital biographies, summer film series, concert series and more. For more info see

Saturday, October 17, 2009

George Yepes

If there is any artist that I have admired since I moved to LA and discovered the bold and dynamic world of art, it's George Yepes. His works, whether murals or paintings, are larger than life and strikingly beautiful. His visible brush strokes create expressions in pale faces, sadness in glazed over eyes, passion in black and red backgrounds. It is all back up by a long career which began in his youth. One of the youngest of the Chicano muralist movement in LA in the 1970s, he is still a force in the art world today. Read his exhaustive biography on his website: It is well-worth the read with very personal details of his family history.
I had the great pleasure of meeting George for the first time in San Antonio where he has a studio. It was at First Fridays in the Blue Star Gallery space where a couple of his works were on display. My cousin met him that summer and introduced me to him. Little did I know that a few years later I'd be able to work with him at the Autry where three of his works were on display for our Bold Caballeros exhibit. La Adelita, La Pistola y el Corazon, and La Serenata graced our walls and street banners and garnered much media attention. What impressed me most about Yepes, besides his immense talent, is that he is a work-horse. He had three galleries across the US and recently opened one in Las Vegas. Yet anytime that I had a promotional opportunity for him, there he was bright and early (his bedtime) talking to the press and his fans and signing autographs for every last person waiting in line. In addition, he runs an art school to pass along his knowledge to younger generations. Yet, I hear the cricisms about him, not by fans but by other artists. I chalk it up to jealousy. I hate to even say that because it's so cliche, but in Yepes's case, I think it is true. It's nit picking comments that annoy me. I think people are jealous of his drive, determination, and dare, I say it, talent. I once heard that his depiction of a folklorico dancer was innacurate, way off, and completely wrong.
Something about the wrong way the ribbons were on the girls hair, or the skirt wasn't that color blah blah blah, only to discover that Yepes was inspired by an actual picture of a folklorico dancer wearing the same bright, bold colors, and ribbons in her hair. I just laughed inside when I saw the painting and picture. Besides, so what if they were to have been innacurate? It's ART. Art is interpretive, in the eye of the beholder, and my eyes love the passion and deep emotion he brings out especially in his portraits of real women. These are my favorite. Women become angels and demons in his hands. The best part is that his works are within reach. If not the originals, then get the posters, postcards, and candles. You can find them at Chimaya Gallery or on his website He even has some nice holiday gift sets for the art lover on your list. They will thank you!
If you ever run into George on the street or at a gallery, don't be shy. He's incredibly approachable and down-to-earth. He loves to talk about his friendship with film directors Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino. Both use his works in their films. You may recognize the "Shotgun Messenger" image above. It was in Once Upon a Time in Mexico and is now owned by Rodriguez. Next time you see their movies, take a look at the background art work. It's probably Yepes. And if you live in LA, you can see Yepes' murals around town like the one at St. Lucy's Church in City Terrace (above), outside White Memorial Hospital on Cesar Chavez, or this one below at the LA County's Child Abuse Center.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Latino International Film Festival

It's been a few years since I've been to a LALIFF event but what I have seen has me wanting to see more. Spend the entire day watching these fascinating films you won't see anywhere else. You'll laugh, you'll cry and all that good stuff. I absolutely love foreign films and the films shown at this festival are some of the best I've ever seen by such talented and resourceful filmmakers. The festival is halfway through its run this week but there is still time to check out a good film. I suggest just showing up and watching whatever is on the bill next. You won't be disappointed
This links to a pdf of the daily schedule:

Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival
October 11-16, 2009
Mann Chinese 6 Cinemas
6801 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028

Emerging and established filmmakers from around the world showcase their features, documentaries and shorts depicting the diversity, creativity, innovation and sometimes, provocative, Latino experience.

The 13th Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) will present the best of Latino filmmaking from October 11-16 at the Mann Chinese 6 Cinemas in Hollywood. Opening with Pedro Almodóvar’s Broken Embraces, LALIFF’s cinematic journey will continue with award-winning and sure to please films from emerging and established filmmakers from around the world including Argentina, Bolivia,Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Spain, United States, México, Panamá, Peru,Puerto Rico, Japan and Uruguay.

Depicting the diversity, creativity, innovation and sometimes, provocative, Latino experience, LALIFF’s lineup includes Gigante (Uruguay), winner of the Alfred Bauer and Best Debut Film Awards at the 2009 Berlin International Film Festival; Down for Life (USA) named “the biggest surprise” at the recent Toronto International Film Festival; La Nana (Chile) winner of the World Cinema Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, Don’t Let Me Drown (USA) and the documentary Sin Mapa (USA).
Established in 1997, LALIFF was co-founded by director, actor and activist Edward James Olmos; producer Marlene Dermer, and film and music producer George Hernández with the mission to support the development and exhibition of diverse visions by Latino filmmakers. Dermer, who also serves as the festival’s director and programmer says, “the Latino artistic spirit seems to remain unscathed, even though we continue to live in uncertain times. This year’s rich and diverse films will undoubtedly demonstrate the splendor of Latino cinema with stories that enable us to come together and embrace one another.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Museums Free-For-All This Weekend

24 Los Angeles and Orange County Museums
Free Admission Days October 3 and/or 4, 2009

In a joint effort to present the arts and culture to the diverse and myriad communities in Southern California, the Museum Marketing Roundtable announces the fifth annual "Museums Free-For-All" Saturday-Sunday, October 3 and 4, 2009. The following museums - presenting art, cultural heritage, natural history, and science - will open their doors wide and invite visitors free of charge. Click here for a complete list of participating museums:

The Autry National Center's free day is on Sunday only and it is the last day to see the fascinating exhibit about the visionaries and vagabonds that pioneered the sport of rock climbing, in Granite Frontiers: A Century of Yosemite Climbing.
I had the pleasure of meeting a few of the rock climbing pioneers including "the man" Royal Robbins. The name may sound familiar if you buy outdoor clothing. There is a store named in his honor. He wrote the books that are must reads for rock climbers. He and his wife rock climbed together and she is also noted for a few firsts. I also had a chance to chat with speed climber and reining record holder for the fastest climb up El Capitan, Hans Florine. Although I've never rock climbed in my life, I couldn't help but feel inspired by these amazing people. It's not just men either. There are plenty of nerves-of-steel female rock climbers. And you know the saying that what men can do, women can do it better, well Kelly Perkins sure fits that mold. She not only did some amazing rock climbing, she did it after a heart transplant. Talk about inspiring. The wall-size video in the gallery shows some mesmerizing feats of climbing. I've watched people go into a trance just standing there watching. Don't miss this. It closes on Sunday.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Workout with the Salsa Diva, Laura Canellias

The salsa diva, Laura Canellias is busy getting salsa lovers in shape. I've seen her in action when she taught the free salsa class during intermission at the Autry's Sizzling Summer Nights. She is fun and full of energy. You won't be bored or feel the burn because you'll be having a great time dancing.

Here is her website:

Weekly schedule:
Mondays: Universal Dance Designs
6009 W. Olympic Blvd. , (Miracle Mile Dist.)
1/2 block east of Fairfax /San Vicente /Olympic intersection
1 story brown bldg. in between the shoe repair & silk screening store , street parking)
7pm - Beginning Ballroom
(Dances covered: Foxtrot, Waltz, Tango, Cha-Cha, Rumba, Swing)
8pm - Salsa I (Beginning)

Universal Dance Designs
6009 W. Olympic Blvd. , (Miracle Mile Dist.)
7pm - Cardio Salsa
8pm - Salsa II (Intermediate)

Saturdays: By Your Side Dance Studio
12613 Washington Blvd. , L.A. (W. Culver City)
11am - Cardio Salsa

Sundays: Pacific Arts Dance Studio
10469 Santa Monica Blvd. , W. L.A.
(just west of Beverly Glen, 2 doors from McDonalds)

11am - Cardio Salsa

$15. / class or use your class card
Cash or checks only payable to LAURA CANELLIAS,
(Visa/MC (PayPal) available online only)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

KPFK Peace Awards and Concert Celebration

KPFK, the only radio station in LA to let just about anyone have a show, is one of my favorite stations. It all started with my friend Fidel moved his Divine Forces Radio show from what used to be a top rated station, The Beat, to KPFK. I thought, wow, what a downgrade. He moved from a fancy top security high rise office on Wilshire's Miracle Mile to a dusty back-alley, jiggle-the-lock security system down the street from Mama Juana's. As I started listening to his show and the station, I found the liberty of the hosts to say what was on their minds, things that I always thought too, inspiring. The variety of shows validated my views on a lot of issues of the day or catered to my holistic sensibilities. Some of my favorite shows are The Aware Show, Global Village, Democracy Now, Beneath the Surface with yo man Jerry Quickly, Innervisions, American Indian Airwaves, how can I forget the Pocho Hour of Power and Gustavo Arrellano's new show (I don't know what it's called, Ask a Mexican maybe), and Travel Tips for Aztlan (the first show I ever listen to on there with Mark Torres). There are so many great shows that I can't recall them all now, but just turn the dial to 90.7FM and you'll be better for it. This is listener-sponsored radio. It's run by the people, not by advertisers who control the message and how many times you hear the message. This is truly liberating and we have to show our support. I've pledged in the past. Times are tough all around so if you can't donate, then spread this message far and wide, check out this event, or just tune in. I'm not about guilting people into contributing because we all have our dollars stretched right now so if you can't donate, send good vibes. I'm sure they will appreciate those too.  

IMAGINE PEACE! Pacifica Radio KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles celebrates it’s 50 years of broadcasting with Peace Awards and a Concert imagining the world that is possible through the peace actions of today.
ZIGGY MARLEY, four time Grammy-winning reggae musician and leader of the bandZiggy Marley and the Melody Makers, will headline a benefit performance for Pacifica Radio KPFK 90.7FM Los Angeles on Friday, October 9, 2009 at 7:00pm at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre in Hollywood. The evening marks the culmination of various 50th anniversary year celebrations for KPFK, a non-commercial, listener-sponsored radio station broadcasting since 1959.
The concert will also feature Latin Jazz legend and master conguero PONCHO SANCHEZ; the transcending jazz vocalist from São Paulo, Brazil, LUCIANA SOUZA; Acoustic Bassist of the Year CHRISTIAN MCBRIDE; and the INTERCULTURAL L.A. SAMBA KIDS. There will be a special video greeting from artist YOKO ONO on the occasion of John Lennon's Birthday, to be presented by KPFK's Jon Wiener. The show will be emceed by RICHARD MONTOYA of Culture Clash.
KPFK is proud to honor those who are working for peace, through community activism, education, art and culture and social justice. To be honored are spoken word artist and American Indian Activist JOHN TRUDELL, who will be introduced by long-time friend and rock musician JACKSON BROWNE; vocalist KB SOLOMON who performs the Paul Robeson story in his one-man show “Speak of Me As I Am” BLASE BONPANE of the Office of the Americas and KPFK Radio Host; the organization helping the homeless and indigent, HUNGER ACTION L.A.; Executive Director RAUL AÑORVE andIDEPSCA (Instituto de Educación Popular del Sur de California); and the ARLINGTON WEST BEACH PROJECT VOLUNTEERS with members from the VETERANS FOR PEACE LOS ANGELES. There will also be appearances by actor JOSH BROLIN and actor and comedian ROSEANNE BARR.
Tickets for the benefit show in support of KPFK are on sale now at $35, $60 and $150 per person. For $500 per person there will be a pre-show VIP Reception with the awardees and artists, which includes preferred seating, beverages and food, and entry into all the raffles, including the John Lennon Guitar donated by Gibson Guitars. For reservations, please call (323) 461-3673 or visit or To reserve your pre-show VIP ticket, please call the FORD Box Office at (323) 461-3673.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bassist Rene Camacho in Demand and in the News

Long-time friend of my husband Joey and I appeared in his home town newspaper this week. Bassist and all-around good guy Rene Camacho deserves the recent profile. While saying that someone is a "good guy" in the music business is the kiss of death (meaning they can't play worth shit, but you don't want to say that so instead you comment on his character--now you know), but since I'm not a musician, I take the liberty of saying that Camacho is the genuine article. Never seems to get riled up, always cool, calm, and collected, just the way he plays too. Effortlessly gliding his fingers up and down the neck of his electric bass, you'd never know he got his start playing trombone or center for the Tucson High Badgers

 (mascot which gave Joey and I a good laugh). What most impressed me about Camacho is his stint in the Tejano music scene. While I was growing up in San Antone, Camacho was touring with (G)Ram Herrera and even hit the stage and Texas television appearing on the Johnny Canales Show. "Take it away! You got it!" I probably watched him on there not knowing I'd meet him one day. Its always great fun talking Tejano music with Rene. Being from Tucson, he reminds me of a great trip my family took there in the late 80s to the mariachi festival with our student mariachi group. We were the first out-of-state mariachi group to participate and met many wonderful people who are now long lost with the passing of time. Talking with him about how much the Tucson festival has grown over the years puts a smile on my face--- and that's just how Rene is. He lightens the mood and makes you laugh. You want to crack jokes around him just to hear that great Haaaaaa-hahahahaha come out of him. That's how Abel (photographer, see his link on the left) and I got that picture above. *smirk* So take a peek at the link below for some fun Camacho facts. Next time you go out on the town or to your local festival, keep an eye out for Rene. He not only has mad skills, he has toured with everyone and their mother. He's currently giging with Kevin Eubanks and once took a call from "Linda" of Rondstandt fame in my very own house. I was doing the silent OMG-face the entire time. He just takes it all in stride and that's what so great about him. Always laughing, telling great stories, and an all around good guy. Yeah, I said it.

Feature article:

Monday, September 21, 2009

Central Avenue and Beyond: The Harlem Renaissance in Los Angeles

Oh yes, it is about time! Here is a new exhibit at the Huntington in collaboration with an organization I've known about for a few years now, the Mayme A. Clayton Library and soon-to-be museum. Their mission is to collect, preserve; exhibit and celebrate the unique history and cultural heritage of Americans of African descent and thereby help to provide a more complete view of American history. Mayme's son, Avery, has led the effort to realize this dream of opening up a museum. The collection is vast and contains unique items that will most-definitely enrich our lives. When is the last time there was a retrospective on the west coast African American Renaissance? It wasn't Harlem, but it was Central Avenue. I can't wait to hear about the music and night life that went on back in those days. The art and literature I would assume laid the foundation for a lot of what we see now. It will be fun making those connections. Save the date. The exhibit opens October 24. Admission to the Huntington is $15 but free day is the first Thursday of every month with advance tickets. Hours on Free Day are 10:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.Parking is free. Read the ABC News article about Avery and his mother here:

Central Avenue and Beyond: The Harlem Renaissance in Los Angeles 

October 24, 2009- January 4, 2010 Now Extended through February 8, 2010
Exhibit displays materials from the Mayme A. Clayton collection for the first time

African American arts and culture exploded in early 20th century America, and the Harlem neighborhood of New York City was Ground Zero. Not as well known is what played out in Los Angeles at the same time—a flowering of African American arts, literature, and culture along Central Avenue. A new exhibition at The Huntington explores the Harlem Renaissance in Los Angeles, drawing on materials from The Huntington as well as items from the Mayme A. Clayton Library, which never before have been on public display. Among the more than 50 items exhibited are original manuscripts by poet Langston Hughes; photographs from the First Negro Classic Ballet, founded in Los Angeles in 1946; and rare editions of California-based African American periodicals such as the California Eagle and Flash magazine. Also featured are movie posters for black Hollywood films—such as The Exile, written and directed by Oscar Micheaux, and The Bronze Venus, starring Lena Horne; photos of jazz clubs from the period; and correspondence from W. E. B. DuBois and L.A. composer William Grant Still, among others.

The Mayme Clayton Library & Museum will serve as the first major West Coast African American research center; a repository for endangered African American collections in the 11 Western States; a museum for contemporary art; and a media center for film and live performances. The Mayme Clayton Library & Museum will stand as a shining international symbol of American pride, intelligence, creativity and nobility as it enthusiastically welcomes the world community.

For more information, please contact the Mayme A. Clayton Library & Museum at (310) 202-1647 or e-mail: MCLM 4130 Overland Avenue, Culver City, California 90230,

Friday, September 18, 2009

HBO's Which Way Home

I came across this documentary while flipping channels on a recent quiet evening. I love all kinds of documentaries that show a glimpse into regular people's lives. Little did I know that this documentary would move me to tears. Not much on tv makes me emotional because I can separate myself from it but this one hit home. It is unfamiliar and familiar at the same time. Growing up on both sides of the border, I can appreciate the struggle of immigrants in the US. I know why people uproot their families and leave everything they love and know for a better life. Even more poignant, the people in this movie are kids, 11 year olds, boys and a couple of girls, traveling across countries on their own, looking for a better life than what is back home. I've never know how to defend it exactly. The words never come out of my mouth as effective as I'd like them to be. The best I can do is say "what would you do if you couldn't feed your family? Put yourself in their shoes." But most argue back that it is the country of origin's fault for having their people suffer this way. Yes, that is true but while the selfish and corrupt governments continue to rob their people, the individual must make a choice. Feed their families by risking their lives or sit there, do nothing and watch them starve. I know what I would do. What about you? I think everyone who has an opinion on immigration should watch this documentary. I wonder if people like Joe Wilson would still feel the same after watching this documentary, or is their hate and lack of compassion so strong that they cannot see the humanity in this. Kudos to everyone involved in the making of this documentary.

Synopsis: Each year, thousands of Latin American migrants travel hundreds of miles to the United States, with many making their way on the tops of freight trains. Roughly five percent of those traveling alone are children. As the United States continues to debate immigration reform, the documentary WHICH WAY HOME looks the issue through the eyes of children who face the harrowing journey with enormous courage and resourcefulness. 

HBO website:
Official website:
HBO Schedule:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Reel to Reel: The Rhythm Collector

Hard-working percussionist Alex Acuña takes center stage at the Grammy Museum this Friday. A legend in the eyes of his fellow musicians and most-definitely in his home country of Peru, Acuña is the humblest man you'll ever meet but don't let that fool you. His performances are fierce.  

Reel to Reel: The Rhythm Collector

Friday, September 18, 2009; 7:30 pm

Drum Workshop, Inc. and The GRAMMY Museum are proud to present the film premiere of DW DVD's The Rhythm Collector, the story of world-renowned drummer Alex Acuna's rise from a small Peruvian village to the most celebrated stages and studios in the world. Infused with exciting performance footage and insightful interviews, the film is inspiring for fellow drummers and non-musicians alike. After the screening, enjoy a rare opportunity to see Acuna perform in the Museum's 200-seat Sound Stage.
Doors open at 7 pm. $10.00 suggested donation. Reservations Required. To reserve your seats, call 213.765.6830 or e-mail

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

NPR's Exclusive First Listen- Poncho Sanchez's new album

NPR has the exclusive first listen of Poncho Sanchez's new album Psychedelic Blues. I have a copy of it at home but it's so much easier to hear it streaming online. What a great way to get through the workday. I  plan on writing something about my experience with the Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band since I've had the pleasure of joining my husband, the bongocero, Joey De Leon, on a few trips, backstage green rooms, and local performances. It's a tight-knit band of good friends and great musicians. In the meantime, enjoy the exclusive first listen!

Listen here: NPR: Hear The Latin Jazz Hero's New Album, 'Psychedelic Blues,' In Its Entirety

Poncho's website: Check out their schedule. They are playing in my hometown of San Antonio this Saturday.

Peace at the Getty Villa- Special Thursday offer

Special offer from Richard Montoya of Culture Clash. "Two for One on Thursday Nights for Peace - we just hammered out a deal to lower the Thurs tickets for the run of the show - just say "friend of the cast" and get your second ticket free! Pretty cool I must say - c'mon. Its an amazing experience. Thanks!"

Aristophanes' Peace
Thursdays - Saturdays through October 3, 2009, 8 pm
The Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman Theater, Getty Villa
While ancient Athens is mired in war, a band of rustic patriots plot a daring mission to Mount Olympus to seek the goddess Peace. The comic heroes of Culture Clash and guest director Bill Rauch invoke the revolutionary spirit of Aristophanes in freely adapting his zany and visionary utopian escapade for the Getty Villa. Tickets $42; $36 students/seniors. Previews $20. Please be advised that this play contains bawdy humor and is not suitable for children. 

Read the LA Times review here:LA Times Culture Monster- Peace at the Getty Villa Review

El Grito at City Hall Tonight! 7pm

This just in. Quetzal, Nortec Collective, K-Paz de la Sierra, and Mariachi Reina de Los Angeles perform at El Grito on the steps of LA City Hall tonight. Festivities start at 7pm but arrive early to get a good spot. Thousands of people are expected.

Read all about the event here:

Some background on el Grito de Dolores here:

Monday, September 14, 2009

Latin Beat Magazine Now 100% Online

Latin Beat Magazine is the magazine to read for coverage on all things salsa and beyond. I've enjoyed reading their feature stories on artists and their photo coverage of events around the country especially LA and New York. 

Established in January 1, 1991, Latin Beat Magazine, which has been published consecutively for the past 19 years in both print and online, has decided to publish 100% online. Firmly established as the premier Latin music publication in the world dedicated to documenting salsa, Latin jazz, Latin pop and Afro-world music, the print magazine enjoyed coast-to-coast distribution in the United States, including Hawaii and Puerto Rico, in addition to a solid base of international subscribers. 
Latin Beat Magazine has been educating and entertaining thousands of Latin music aficionados throughout the years with its exclusive interviews, articles, reviews and news of the artists of the past, present and future of Latin music. The critical success of Latin Beat Magazine is due in part to the talents of its team of contributing writers, editors, and photographers, all professionals in their own fields. now carries the LBM experience 100% online, with the same team that made the print magazine a success!

Viva Mexico LA!

The Mexican Consulate in LA is kicking-off its festival cultural with Viva Mexico LA on Wednesday, September 16th. RSVP to

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Mitos y Realidades en Color at Chimaya

There is so much going on at Chimaya Gallery featuring some of the best local Latino artists. Makes you want to spend all your savings on art when you go there. Some of my favorite artists are displayed constantly including George Yepes and Yolanda Gonzalez. They both feature bright and bold Latino colors that I love. Check out Mitos y Realidades en Color featuring Pola Lopez, who I had the pleasure of meeting at the Southwest Museum, before it closes on September 24 or just stop by anytime. You know there is always something good to see.

Friday, September 11, 2009

KCRW's Sounds Around Town

KCRW presents Sounds Around Town, a series of free music and culinary events hosted in partnership with Westfield Shopping Centers in Los Angeles. Over the next 12 weeks, KCRW will bring the best from our basement studios into the community - from live band performances hosted by KCRW DJs to culinary adventures.
September 24 - ORGONE + DJ RAUL CAMPOS
Westfield Century City is located at 10250 Santa Monica Blvd, 90067.

Son Jarocho Art & Jarana Exhibit

For a rich, cultural taste of the beautiful Mexican Caribbean state of Veracruz all you have to do is listen to Jarochos play some driving rhythms and dance on the tarima.

Fandango Sin Fronteras presents Son Jarocho Art & Jarana Exhibit

Opening Reception and Fandango
September 12, 7pm at Imix Books in Eagle Rock

Original Lobster Festival in Long Beach

The 2009 Original Lobster Festival will be held September 11-13, at the Rainbow Lagoon in Long Beach, California. You won't want to miss this event.

Friday, September 11th —5 PM - 11 PM
Saturday, September 12th —12 NOON - 11 PM
Sunday, September 13th —12 NOON - 10 PM

Ethiopian New Year

bounce muzik, ddhc


Grand Star Jazz Club (2nd Door Entrance - UPSTAIRS)
943 N. Broadway - Chinatown, Downtown
Los Angeles, CA 90012
10pm - 2am | $5 before 11pm & $10 After | 21+

For More Info Go To:

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ozomatli to Perform for the President

The guys will be in D.C. performing at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's 2009 Awards Gala where Barack and Michelle Obama will be attending. The event marks the start of Hispanic Heritage Month with over 2,000 guests in attendance.

Check out the LA Weekly blog post about it with a cool video of the guys in Burma.

Ozomatli Announces "Off the Grid" Fall Tour 2009

There are no LA dates but it's good to promote our local boys on tour.

Ozomatli has teamed up with Musictoday® to offer pre-sale tickets for all the shows on the upcoming "Off the Grid" Fall Tour. Musictoday® is also offering our fans the lowest service fees around! Not only will the hardcore fans, aka you, be able to purchase tickets with low service fees before anyone else - we have also added some dope prizes for people who purchase their tickets early. See details here.

Viva Mexico Festival LA

In celebration of the 199th Anniversary Celebration of Mexican Independence, the Viva Mexico Festival LA will introduce and showcase the rich cultural and artistic works unique to Mexico to Los Angeles audiences from September 16-20th, 2009.

El Movimiento: Chicano Identity And Beyond Through The Lens Of Oscar Castillo

Curated by Gregorio Luke
Thursday September 10, 2009 6:00P.M.

The Latino Museum of History, Art and Culture
514 S. Spring Street
Los Angeles, California 90013
Free Admission R.S....V.P. by Telephone: (213) 626-7600 or E-mail:

Download the New Aztlan Underground Album

Aztlan Underground releases their self-titled album available on itunes, etc. Watch their new video here.

Check out the flyer here.