The Farce Of July, Xicano Records & Films' annual anti-colonialism celebration, was held at Self Help Graphics. Started by the group Aztlan Underground, The Farce Of July is an alternative celebration of freedom without buying into faux-patriotism. Many East Los bands, deejays and poets have performed for free each year, providing the community with entertainment beyond firecrackers and alcohol. Muralists usually create art on the spot and various independent vendors sell jewelry, clothing and alternative books that you will not be able to find in any mall.
The musical line-up varies from year to year. This year the festival included festival organizers Aztlan Underground; Olmeca, a conscious rap artist who just returned from a extended stay in Chiapas with the Zapatistas; recently reunited 80’s East L.A. punk legends, The Brat; and Quetzal, in one of their final performances for several years. The co-leaders of Quetzal, Martha Gonzalez and Quetzal Flores, are moving to Vera Cruz for a year, then to Washington State while Martha finishes her PHD. They will be sorely missed, not only for their music but for their work in the Chicano community as well.
The highlight of the event was the performance by Geronimo. They are like a modern day Goblin. For those who don’t know aboout Goblin, it was a 70’s –80’s Italian prog group that were responsible for many eerie soundtracks to Dario Argento’s horror movies. Geronimo captivated the audience with their minimalist noise and keyboard swells to go along with a heavy rhythm section. Think Sly & Robbie if they played in the Swans. Horror filmmakers should really check out this band. Geronimo has just signed to 3ONEG, the label run by the members of the band The Locust.
After a few hours out in the sun I was ready to leave the Farce and go home. By nightfall my neighborhood became a mini war zone. My neighbors’ fireworks far outshined the show from Dodger Stadium on the top of Chavez Ravine. Fireworks are illegal in L.A., but so are many other illegal activities that are done out in the open in my neighborhood. My girl and I sat on my porch and watched the madness unfold. Yeah, we missed The Brat, but It was 30 degrees cooler on my porch then it was at the Farce.
Check out this footage of The Brat from last year: