1,000 Miles of Aztlan on a Memorial Day Weekend

Enjoying the freedom some countries never will in the Land of 1000 Dances that is Califas

By Frankie Firme, Contributing Editor
Published on LatinoLA: May 28, 2014

1,000 Miles of Aztlan on a Memorial Day Weekend

As another great Memorial Day weekend arrived, signaling the beginning of Summer 2014, this year I decided I would honor the fallen and celebrate the freedom provided by generations of military Veterans -- of which I am proudly one -- by stepping out of my comfort zone and stretching my legs for a nice long road trip across a piece of Aztlan.

Scoring on a 4-day weekend, there were so many great music events happening in and around L.A., Orange County, and the San Fernando Valley, but I wanted to get out of the city and meet different people and see different things I don't usually see on my usual weekend music cruises ... hence, the idea of a road trip

So, calling upon my LatinoLA/East L.A. Revue road dog Sugarbear Navarro, we pack up our ladies, DJ music equipment, a few saved bucks, and hit the road north and get ready to party with some great people ... just the excitement of going somewhere new with no guaranteed expected outcome was enough to get the adrenaline flowing!

A smooth, long 6-hour drive enjoying some of the best music (of course!) through some of the prettiest Califas countryside on a picture postcard perfect day, and we end up in fair city of Tracy, home to Art & Kelly Galvan of the popular KOOL KATZ Band, for a private party celebrating Kelly Galvan's birthday.

Great food, plenty of drink, lot's of good people and live entertainment had us partying till 2:30 in the morning, with me getting a couple of spots to DJ "L.A. style" for the dancing crowd. Art & Kelly joined the guest band and belted out a couple of numbers and everybody had a great time!

One of the highlights of the night was seeing a cousin of mine, and fellow Viet Nam Vet, whom I haven't seen in more than 40 years, who just happened to live 2 doors down from the Galvan's. He joined us for the party, and we shared a bowl of menudo together around 3 am. My heart was touched.

Next morning we packed it up after breakfast and headed south for the fair city of Fresno, where Rick Garcia of Aztlan Xpressions Art Gallery joined up with Artes Americas Art Gallery & Foundation and the City of Fresno, and put on the 6th Annual Chicano Family Art Festival in downtown Fresno.

Food, drink, music, familia, and beautiful art was the order of the day as Chicanismo and good times reigned. I was honored to be Host and House DJ throughout the day, as guest stars actors Danny De La Paz and Daniel Villarreal made brief appearances, Samy Luna of Bakersfield's ELEMENTS Band, and Art & Kelly Galvan of the Kool Katz Band joined us in the continuing celebration of Kelly's birthday, and some of California's most talented Chicano Artists proudly presented their talents & wares. As the sun went down, the dancing began as the Gente celebrated life under the stars like only we know how ... young & old dancing together to the Oldies!

And we met a lot of beautiful people from Central Califas that made us feel so welcome!

A great day, afternoon, and early evening with some great people at a great event, followed by a small after-party at the home of Aztlan Xpressions Art Gallery owner & event organizer, Rick Garcia and his lovely wife Sandy ... Rick just also happens to be a boyhood friend of mine from the old neighborhood of Bassett.

Thanks, Rick ... hope to do it again next year, homie !

Next morning we slept late, but by noon it was on the road again as we headed back down south through some beautiful California landscape, making a couple of cool stops, but heading towards the Inland Empire's jewel of the desert: The San Manuel Indian Casino.

Making our first trip there ever, we were very impressed at the massiveness of the place as we arrive about an hour after sunset, just in time to catch a wonderful buffet dinner with just about EVERYTHING on the menu you could imagine for about $18.00 ... not bad at all !

Again meeting some great people, along with a couple of friends from our previous travels, we get some prime seating at the Tukut Lounge as The ORIGINAL SACRIFICE Band, one of San Bernardino's favorites for many years, hit the stage with a bang.

Featuring our good friend, the Inland Empire's multi-talented Chicana Diva MONIBEE HENLEY, (pictured with Frankie) the Original Sacrifice gave up four hot rocking sets that packed the place to standing room-only capacity for the entire evening.

A performance of electrifying excitement, Lady Monibee definitely made the show happen with her singing, dancing and sparkling stage personality that called people to the dance floor, as she and the band got it done for the happy Gente ....1:30 am came too quick and too early !

We drove home after a little fun gambling, finally getting back to the San Fernando Valley around 4:30 am ... exhausted but ever so satisfied.

Slept late again till noon the next day...but the road called out to us on this Memorial Day, and I could think of no better way to honor our Military men & women and enjoy the freedom we've provided by getting out and soaking up some sun ... so off we went to San Pedro's Ports O' Call for a romantic shrimp & lobster dinner in the sunset & cool seaside breezes....

....where we were joined by about a couple thousand good looking RAZA who had the same idea!

No pedo, no problems, and nothing but respect among the Gente on a beautiful day by the sea...Happy Memorial Day weekend !

Hope you enjoyed your weekend here in the Land of 1000 Dances! ... there's more to come !

About Frankie Firme, Contributing Editor:
Frankie Firme is the Al Capone of the microphone and the Hitman of West Coast Chicano Soul heard daily on World wide Internet Radio station www.eastLArevue.com
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