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The Legendary Joe Baiza & The Cardovas Live @ Taix 5/1/2007

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, June 3, 2007 11:48pm | Post a Comment
Joe Baiza is a truly unique guitarist. His guitar playing is a mixture of angular punk rock, free jazz and the funkiness of one who grew up on thousands of R&B albums. His first group, Saccharine Trust, was ahead of their time during their first incarnation. Between the years of 1981 through 1986, Saccharine Trust went from minimalist punk to free jazz and spoken word, confusing most pedestrian punk rockers that wanted to hear hardcore. After Saccharine Trust's demise, Joe Baiza started The Universal Congress Of, a band that further explored his jazz influences. Again, Joe found himself between a rock and a hard place, being too punk for the jazz purists and too jazzy for the alternative rock set. Fortunately for Joe, Universal Congress Of found success in a Europe enthralled in the Acid Jazz movement in the late 80's/ early 90’s.joe baiza

Joe continued to play in Europe for most of the early nineties until some idiotic German racists shattered his hand during a stay in Germany. He returned to Los Angeles to recover while his bandmates all remained in Germany. Joe decided to stay in L.A., starting a few new groups, The Mecolodiacs and Joe Baiza’s Congress Of, as well as reforming Saccharine Trust in 1999, who he still plays with to this day.

On Friday, I went to check out Joe’s latest musical endeavor at Taix Restaurant in Echo Park, The Cardovas. They played an all-Meters cover set, albeit with Baiza’s flavor. Normally, I don’t like the idea of seeing cover bands, but hey, it’s The Meters! And it's Baiza doing it! As I sat there waiting for The Cardovas to play, I couldn’t help but to look around. Taix looked like a punk rock rest home. I saw many people that I barely recognized from the punk scene back in the day because they look so much older. Some, like Nicky (formerly of the band Pop Defect), looked timeless. Nick is drumming in 3 bands, a sign that playing music will keep one looking young.

The Cardovas came on. It was Joe on Guitar, former Universal Congress Of bass player Ralph Gorodetsky on bass, former Claw Hammer/Devo Bob Lee on drums & vocals and local indie jazz icon Dan Clucas on the cornet. They also had an organ player as well who I did not recognize. They did all The Meters' classics, "Sissy Strut," "Look-Ka Py Py," "I Need More Time," "9 to 5," and, of course, "Cardova."

Joe Bataan - Live In L.A., June 15-16

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, May 30, 2007 11:47am | Post a Comment
joe bataan
The legendary Joe Bataan is making a rare appearance in the Los Angeles area. You don't want to miss this! Joe, who had retired from live performances for over twenty years at one point, has been doing sporadic shows in the homey hot spots for the last couple of years. He has done shows in San Francisco, L.A., The Bronx and Japan, where the slow and low lifestyle is still going strong.

Many of Joe Bataan albums are still available. Most of what was released on the Salsoul label that Joe Bataan started in the 70’s is still in print. Fania Records has recently reissued Joe Bataan’s classics Mr. New York and the East Side Kids, Riot, and Saint Latin's Day Massacre. Vampisoul, the retro label out of Madrid, has also reissued several of Joe’s classics as well as 2005’s brilliant Call My Name, a collaboration with ESL’s Daniel Collás that kept Joe’s funky Latin soul intact.

Both shows are in the hood, so if you really want to see the old school with their elbows up going side to side, you'll won't want to miss these shows!

Friday, June 15 @ The Montebello Inn, Montebello, Ca.

Saturday, June 16th @ La Conga Mexican Bar & Grill, San Pedro, Ca.
joe bataan

Margaritas At El Conquistador

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, May 23, 2007 02:42pm | Post a Comment
The first thing you’ll notice about the Mexican restaurant El Conquistador is that it is gay, but in an old school Mexican way some of us grew up on, like that mustachio tio who liked to wear tight Mariachi pants yet never played Mariachi music. The tio your mom said was married but we never met our Aunt. It was that same tio that always brought a male “friend” to family functions. When I go to El Conquistador, this is where I imagine my gay tio hanging out, having Margaritas.

El Conquistador is in Silver Lake, a throwback to when Silver Lake was all Latinos and gays with a few bohemians scattered about. The main attraction is not the food. In fact, skip it all together; your stomach will thank you later. The star of the show is their Margaritas. When you absolutely, positively, want to forget everything on your mind, this is the place.

El Conquistador does not have the best Margarita. El Compadre's infamous “Flaming Margarita” is the best that I have had so far. But if you try to light a flame in one of El Conquistador’s Margaritas, you’d make a Molotov cocktail instead. Yeah, it’s that strong. After a hard day of work or a bad break-up, El Conquistador's Margaritas works better than the Lacuna procedure in the movie, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Whatever your flavor, order your Margarita “Rocas con sal.” That’s the way to have it. Blended just doesn’t cut it, ever. I like the cross section of people that go to El Conquistador -- Leather Daddies in chaps sitting next to the Alterna-moms with their babies in carriages, sucking down margaritas, trying to forget motherhood for a few. Then there's Retro-rockers looking like they stepped out of a Uriah Heep album next to newly in-love couples sharing eyes and a margarita with two straws like a milk shake. Of course, don’t forget, along with our gay tios is our gays tias hanging in strong. I didn’t have a gay tia in my family, so when I have children, I’ll have to adopt one.      

Jury Duty - Excuses Are Like _______, And Everyone Has Them

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, May 23, 2007 01:10pm | Post a Comment
It’s been three years since I had to report to jury duty. The last time I had to go I sat in a jury waiting room reading Walter Mosley books until they dismissed us at the end of the day. I love Walter Mosley’s Easy Rawlins series because it all takes place in Los Angeles, mainly South L.A., not too far from where I grew up. Much like reading other Los Angeles writers such as Raymond Chandler, John Fante and Charles Bukowski, I try to imagine what Los Angeles looked like years before I was born. Some of the areas that they wrote about that were once suburbs are now ghettos. Other areas, mainly downtown L.A., once inhabited by immigrants, cutthroats and hustlers of all kind, have now been replaced by unimaginative people with money displacing anyone with flavor.

I took the Gold Line from my place in Cypress Park and transferred to the Red Line that dropped me off right at Civic Center, where the courthouse is located. Once in the courthouse, the woman in charge giving the instructions for the day lost it after 10 minutes of repeating herself several times. People just don’t listen. She told people to fill out the green portion of the summons and soon several people were filling out the purple section. She told people not to ask questions until after the end of the instructions and soon several more people were coming up to her to ask her the same questions she just gave the answers to. People who work in this field must cut their life expectancy by ten years with all the yelling they have to do.

Immediately, we were called into a courtroom for jury selection. No Walter Mosley for me today. The judge explained that this particular civil case was expected to last from 30-60 days. A collective groan came out of all us potential jurors. The first thing we had to go through during the section process is going through the hardship cases. Out of a room of ninety people, seventy-five of us had excuses why we could not be on a jury for that long of a duration. The judge was reasonable. He dismissed people that were going to school, caregivers for the elderly or parents with a single earner income. Others tried to stretch the truth by adapting other people’s hardships to their own in hopes that will get them out of jury duty. At this point you've got to wonder about the intelligence of some people. You are going before a judge, a person that has to differentiate truth from fiction EVERY DAY! Do you really think he's never met a liar before? This just made the judge upset. He dismissed the liars and made them come back the next day, thus continuing jury duty for at least one more day. Those idiots left grinning, thinking they pulled one over the judge, not knowing that 90 % of us will complete our jury service in a matter of hours.

Alterna-Parents

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, May 16, 2007 10:35am | Post a Comment
So I was up late one night watching television and I saw this:


At first, I admit, the segment made me want to drive to Silver Lake Park (The playground that is shown in the feature), pull out a bullhorn and yell out "MAS P_TO!" ala George Lopez. Nothing like seeing a bunch of Silver Lake alterna-yuppies making the television viewing audience feel inferior. Most people don't have the disposable income that some of this hipsters have to take their children to The Sippy Cups shows, buy organic food or have the luxury to have a stay at home parent. Then again, it's your child! Wouldn't you rather spend the money that you would spend on, let's say, cable T.V. and fast food on buying your child food that won't give them cancer or diabetes in the future? Wouldn't you want your child to enjoy art and physical activities rather than sitting indoors spending endless hours playing video games and watching T.V.?
If you don't have a disposable income, there are many free programs for children in the Los Angeles area that focus on art and music. Some programs have basic after school programs and others have such activities as rock band (ala School of Rock), DJ classes, Folkloric dance, even yoga classes for youth. Let's say you don't have the time or transportation to do any of these things; just spending time with your child, listening to them, creating with them and involving them in your life will do so much for their growth. It's hard to believe with so many choices that some parents make the conscious decision every day to prioritize what they want over their children's needs. That is just sad.
There is nothing "alternative" about good parenting. The activities may differ but the basic goal is that once you're a parent that your life is all about your children. It is your responsibility to them and the rest of the world to raise them right.
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