News from the Brown Side of Town

Summer 2013 comes to an end in the Land of 1000 dances

By Frankie Firme~ Contributing Editor
Published on LatinoLA: September 13, 2013

News from the Brown Side of Town

?ŪOrale, Mi Gente!

Summer 2013 ended with more than one bang‘«™and I just hope it doesn't lead to a bang of War in the middle east‘«™prayers always going out to our brave men & women in uniform. THANK YOU GUYS & GALS !!

Man! ‘«™the final months of Summer were full of great music and events‘«™along with great people in the Land of 1000 Dances.

My good friends singers BECKY CORDOVA, PEPE MARQUEZ, and CHARLIE "BEATLE" VASQUEZ all turned me & the World on to some great music and CD's that I just gotta share with the World.

Becky Cordova's "Inspired" CD has already hit the airwaves on www.eastLArevue.com with good response, now I'm just waiting for an opportune time to get an interview with the marvelous "Diamond of the Valley", which will also be aired on East L.A. Revue Radio.

Pepe Marquez recently went back into the studio with JEFF LEWIS of TIERRA fame, and together they combed over many hours of recordings from Pepe's previous 3 albums, and his one with Santa Barbara's popular FLASHBACKS Band. Together, they remastered 18 of the most popular and requested songs with guest spots by artists STEVE SALAS, ROCKY PADILLA, and LOREENA CUISENBERRY and put them all on Pepe's 5th CD, titled " PEPE MARQUEZ‘«™my favorites". I was honored & privileged to host & MC a recent CD release party at the Pirate's Grub 'n Grog Restaurant in Oxnard, where a packed & standing room only crowd partied & danced the night away and the beautiful Becky Cordova made a guest appearance. Pepe is also jammin' and touring with two other popular bands, his LATIN SOUL REVIEW, and Eric Cuellar's GROOVELINE Band, as well as guest appearnces with other well known groups.
‘«™ rumor has it he is also working on a beautiful Spanish language CD of classic boleros and other favorites‘«™my lady hopes he throws in some of them popular Pepe Marquez cumbias he is well known for.

Charlie "Beatle" Vasquez, a most well known and beloved Chicano Music Veterano from East L.A., who has sang & performed on the road with such great acts as ODYSSEY, ROSIE & THEE ORIGINALS, and George Salazar's 2nd TIME AROUND BAND over the years, now takes his shot at makin' sweet blues music with the BROTHER BONES BAND. His new CD is as sweet as it comes, and it will soon air on the world wide Internet radio airwaves for all to hear & enjoy.

The "big one" of the summer had to be the fundraiser concert for TIERRA drummer AARON BALLESTEROS at Nick's Taste of Texas Restaurant in Covina put on JoAnna & Rudy Salas, and the guys from TIERRA at the end of June. With performances by TIERRA, COLD DUCK, CANNIBAL & The HEADHUNTERS, THEE MIDNITERS,BRENTON WOOD, BB WOLF, ROCKY PADILLA, CESAR ROJAS, The TEASE BAND, comedians GILBERT ESQUIVEL & RUDY MORENO, and MC'd by FRANKIE FIRME, THEE Mr. DURAN, Thee ANGEL BABY, and DAMON KNIGHT, with surprise visit by RICK DEES, this was one night to remember forever!

July was a month for Salsa jams, as the Citry of Oxnard and RAY CARRION from East Los Angeles both put on massive Salsa Festivals.

In August, my brother East L.A. Revue DJ and co-member of the "Fearsome Foursome" Richard "Sugarbear" Navarro and I celebrated our LEO birthdays with music, style, and our lovely ladies every chance we got. We really appreciated the birthday wishes received from ALL OVER Aztlan‘«™gracias, Mi Gente!

We remain committed to reinforcing the fact that THERE IS life, laughter, love, dancing and good times after the kids have grown up and no longer need babysitting‘«™.and we be sharing the good times 411 with YOU !

To start off the good news, I'm proud to announce that my good friend, Tejano Music Legend singer JOHNNY HERNANDEZ, has been nominated in 4 categories at the TEJANO MUSIC GLOBE AWARDS for best album, best song, best writer,and big band orchestra. I wish I could vote more than once for all the wonderful music Mr. Hernandez has blessed us with. To cast your vote for Johnny, go to: www.tejanoglobeawards.com > GOOD LUCK, Johnny!

So many great concerts & events all over the Land of 1000 Dances the last months of summer. We tried to hit as many as we can‘«™but we couldn't make them all.
RAY CARRION & The LATIN ALL STARS, featuring Greg Esparza, Steve Salas, Billy Mondragon, Eric Mondragon, Bobby Loya, Danny Santillan, Tony Banda, Rocky Padilla, Ersi & Rosella Arvisu, Johnny Burrolla and Richard Bean rocked the City of El Monte at an open air concert in the park that drew well over 1000 people.

The following week, Johnny Burrolla and HIP STREET thrilled Tower of Power fans drawing just as many folks if not more to a concert in the park in La Habra. Beautiful music in great weather, among good people indeed!

Got to finally hear live and meet the guys from Texas known as VUDU CAF?Ž, as they packed the house and filled the dance floor in concert at Nick's taste of Texas in Covina. Drawing such a large crowd from L.A. , they respectfully played some beautiful tributes to L.A. & west coast fans by jammin' some EL CHICANO, MALO, and TIERRA tunes their way‘«™.VERY nice too !

The San Fernando Valley rocked hard a couple of nights this summer as the BALANCE Band came to town, making there SFV debut at the Alemany Hall in Mission Hills. Sammy Medina and the guys were on their J-O-B as they kept the dance floor full all night long till closing, and made many new fans. A great show indeed ! Danced my butt off!

San Francisco's legendary RICHARD BEAN and SAPO returned to the southland after more than 30 years, and performed two sold out concerts, one in North Hollywood and one at Nick's Taste of Texas in Covina to the many fans who had probably waited 30 years or more to finally hear them live. Richard was warmly welcomed to L.A., and music lovers of the Land of 1000 Dances fondly await his return. Orale, Richard!

The summer Salsa Season at the Whittier Radisson Hotel has been sizzling this month, last month, and will take it up into November with such noted Salsa names as SON MAYOR, SUSIE HANSEN, TABACO y RON, CHINO ESPINOSA, and many others. Come on down & get your salsa on by the pool with L.A.'s finest salsa environment. Luxury hotel rooms, restaurant, and disco club also available.
For more info: 562-945-8511

The Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet continues to be a great meeting place for the RAZA to kick back amongst other good looking BROWN people, enjoying good food, great bargains, great Gente, dancing, cold drinks, and of course , some fine, fine music live on stage. Some of the best Chicano bands in Aztlan have performed here, drawing crowds of thousands. This Summer, I got to once again hear a band I've heard so much about, BB WOLF. These guys are definitely an "A" band from the Inland Empire music kingdom of San Bernardino, and were such gentlemen to meet. Led by drummer and proud U.S. MARINE Hebie Castro, these guys are somebody you definitely want to book at your next event.

We also got to meet the Marvelous lady MONIBEE HENLEY of the ORIGINAL SACRIFICE Band, who joined BB WOLF for a beautiful exhibition of her singing talent, then joined us all on the dance floor‘«™now we just GOTTA go see & hear monibee & ORIGINAL SACRIFICE Band, who I'm told are also big league talent & sound, who packed the house for the farewell concert at Ray's Downtown Deli in San Bernardino, who sadly will be closing their doors after so many years of great music, food, and good times.

Ms Monibee also joined us a couple weeks later for a Labor Day Holiday bar-b-que celebration at Steven's Steakhouse in East L.A. where our good friends LOUIE PARRA & Thee MAD LATINS , featuring the exciting LULU CARDONA were the featured band of the day. With special guest artists TONY BANDA and Thee Midniters Legend LARRY RENDON joining up on stage, Thee MAD LATINS were simply in the zone.
It's pretty much expected by his fans by now that Louie Parra isn't leaving the building until he gives us his trademark " Get on up‘«™I'm the sexmachine" James Brown number and "cholo slide" dancing....chingon !

SUAVE took the stage after Thee Mad Latins, and their fiery brand of Latino rock, cumbias, R&B, and rancheras kept the dance floor as full as the Gente was,
( thanks to Stevens Steakhouse's generous offering of all you can eat bar-b-que)‘«™and we NEEDED good music and dancing to work all that good food off, LoL!...SUAVE took good care of us, of course. A really good band, them guys & a gal.

Later on that same day, we headed down south to Orange County for the International Street Fair where we joined the crowd of about 15,000 people to catch BALANCE & BARELA in action . Both these bands are big league popular throughout southern California, and we couldn't pass up a great FREE party! We got there just as BALANCE was finishing their set, but judging by the size and happiness of the large crowd surrounding the stage, it was evident that BALANCE showed the crowd what's up...like they always do!

About a half hour later, the crowd was shoulder to shoulder standing room only again as BARELA, the home-town favorite, cranked out hard hitting tunes by Tower of Power, Chicago, Al Green, and Earth Wind & Fire to loud grateful applause from thousands of fans. Even though there wasn't but a few inches between people, most of us managed to at least undulate together to the music as lead singers Andy Nemcheck & Tony Barela sang their way into everybody's heart, and the band was probably as perfectly in tune & beat as you can get. A 5 piece horn section really does wonders for the soul!

Later on that night, the proud Veterans & staff of the Orange American Legion Post invited us in for drinks and a chance to get out of the humidity and dance in their air conditioned hall...not bad, guy! Thanks!

Word has it that our guys TIERRA packed a 30,000 seat in Arizona and gave them Arizonians one of the better concerts of the year! Man! Wish I could have been there!

This past weekend was a great juxtaposition of Art, music, and sense of community, as Friday night found the Fearsome Foursome at the CASA 0101 Theater in the heart of East L.A., Boyle Heights, in the early evening for the World premier of the beautiful play " LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS- a journey from self destruction to self realization". Featuring a talented and colorful cast, with great stage arrangement & manipulations, the story of a young gang member from bad beginnings who is heading to a bad finish in a bad environment has a spiritual experience that ends in a surprise ending that we enjoyed immensely. I would highly recommend this play to parents of teenage kids‘«™AND especially teenage kids who are hearing the call of the wild of the street. This production of sights, sounds, music, reality, and the Aztec spirituality of the afterlife will enthrall you!
For tickets & more info: www.casa0101.org . This play runs until the end of the month. Step out and enjoy a live play , while supporting the arts & artists of our community.

Of course, si eres Chicano o Chicana, you just can't cruise the streets of East L.A. at night without visiting some of the taco street vendors who have set up shops on Cesar Chavez or Soto Avenues.
I know it sounds crazy for a group of grandparents, all dressed up for a fancy night at the theater, kicking it in the street afterwards with the RAZA & the homies, enjoying DELICIOUS tacos & quesadillas on a paper plate after midnight, sipping freshly made orchata, chit-chatting and acting right at home...but there we were with the Gente, munching away and happily acting like we had good sense‘«™and enjoying EVERY minute !...

GOD, but sometimes, it just feels so good to be BROWN and FREE in Aztlan!

Saturday, I was honored to be asked to be host, MC, and ring announcer for the Young Champions Gym of San Fernando's fundraiser Dinner-Fight Exhibition-Dance. Featuring a delicious dinner, a youth boxing exhibition, and DJ music provided by myself and The United Soul Collectors Vinyl DJ Group, the night was a great social mixer exposing the community to the wonderful youth boxing program headed by Gloria Mosquera, herself an acclaimed female boxer, who's motto is " I'd rather have my gym full of kids than the streets full of kids". The night ended with BOBBY MARTINEZ & THE BROTHERHOOD BAND providing sweet dancing music for a cool partying crowd till midnight.

The following afternoon, myself and United Soul Collector's DJ Jason Jaramillo were invited back to repeat our DJ music/ring announcing duties for lunch and a great youth boxing show put on by the Young Champions Boxing Gym that drew a large supportive crowd, and young fighters from the surrounding communities as far away as Antelope Valley and East Los Angeles.

17 scheduled bouts of boxing, including 2 by U.S. Olympic hopefuls‘«™what a rush ! The kids all looked good at it, too!

And that's it to now‘«™the beginning of September, back to school for the kids, and the start of the Fall Season‘«™

The 5th Annual Latino Art & Wine Festival will be happening in Fresno on September 28th, hosted by the Aztlan Xpressions Art & Cultural Center at the Nonn Winery. We'll be there!...won't you join us ?

More good news to come...in the Land of 1000 Dances, Aztlan !

About Frankie Firme~ Contributing Editor:
Frankie Firme is the Al Capone of the microphone, the Hitman of West Coast Chicano Soul, and the Voice of Aztlan heard daily on www.eastLArevue.com
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