Amoeblog

Police Story, Part 2

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, March 17, 2008 12:21am | Post a Comment
2008-Winter

It is a Friday night and I’m driving with my girlfriend. We are heading to The Spot, which is a Mexican restaurant  called Villa Sombrero in Highland Park. We call it The Spot because it is our spot; it has the perfect margarita and good food, which is a rarity. The L.A. area Mexican restaurants seem to sacrifice one for the other. It’s either you have great drinks and lousy food or visa versa. We have our favorite waiter, Jesus from D.F., who is a character in his own right. I couldn’t even begin to explain him-- he is an experience and probably the best waiter I’ve ever known. Going there signals the start of our very short weekend. After the first sip of my margarita I am reminded that my workweek is over and I have the day off the next day. It doesn’t matter how broke I am or how inconvenient it is going there. The Spot gives us a sense of humanity. That we do not just exist to work and pay bills.

I make a left on to Cypress Ave. I see two police cars on opposite sides of the street, not even a block away from my house with their flashing lights on. I wonder if it was more fallout from an incident that happened on February 22nd, in which undercover police gunned down a twenty two year old. A few days before that, there was a hit on a thirty-six year-old veterano while he was holding his two-year old granddaughter, followed by the police, killing one of the hit men in nearby Glassell Park. All over the city there has been an increase of gang and gun related deaths. The most recent was last Thursday, a drive-by shooting and subsequent death of a twenty year old on Ave. 59 in Highland Park, not too far where we are going to eat. I hadn’t even reached the point where Cypress turns into Eagle Rock when I saw at least several more police cars.

Every person the police has pulled over looks the same. All are Latino, young, male and pelon with custom cars. Most of them don’t look the part of a gang member yet still they are pulled over. It is incredible how many police are out tonight. By the time we hit the restaurant I have seen more than fifteen units under a two-mile stretch. At a light I watch the young pelones bum out. It’s not so fun to go out on a Friday night after being humiliated by some cops.

Continue reading...

Best Of 2007, Part 5 - Joe Bataan Live @ The Montebello Inn 6/15/07

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, December 18, 2007 12:44am | Post a Comment
joe bataan
It was straight out of a George Lopez comedy skit. It was Vatos with their ironed Pendletons and bushy moustaches, Rucas on their arms sporting painted eyebrows and short skirts, which some would say weren't "age appropriate." It was a tough looking crowd, to say the least. We waited in line outside The Montebello Inn to see the legendary Joe Bataan, The Afro-Filipino Latin King. In the 60's and 70's he released some of the best Boogaloo and Latin Soul albums on the infamous record labels Fania and Salsoul. Although Joe is from New York, he has been supplying the soundtrack to the slow and low culture of East L.A. since before I was an embryo.

The Montebello Inn is a straight-up dive, the kind of dive you only see on the outskirts of Los Angeles. All the cleaning in the world couldn't wash away the stains and memories this place has seen. My friends and I quickly got a table in the back. We didn't want to dish out the extra thirty bucks to sit in the V.I.P. area, located a mere 15 feet away from us. So, we ordered a round of the strongest margaritas I have ever had; in fact, it's a good thing smoking is banned in clubs, otherwise we would have been lit on fire every time we took a sip.

After a mediocre opening band, Joe Bataan quickly came onstage. A fifteen-piece band backed him up and I prayed they would retain that old school flavor. He and the band did not disappoint. They started off with "I Wish You Love Part 2" and launched into hit after hit. He played "Ordinary Guy," "Subway Joe," "Gypsy Women," "Latin Strut" and his version of  "Shaft." Joe sounded pristine. He hasn't suffered any deterioration in his voice that usually comes with age.

Quite buzzed, I continued to yell out my request for a recent Joe Bataan song entitled "Call My Name." I don't think that the oldies crowd was familiar with this gem, released on the Vampisoul label in 2004. My guess is that they were thinking, "Why does this guy want Joe to call out his name?"

Continue reading...

DJ Nova of Pacha Massive - Live @ Nativo! This Wednesday, October 10th

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, October 8, 2007 02:53am | Post a Comment

This should be a lot of fun! DJ Nova is 1/2 of Nacional Recording artists Pacha Massive. He will do about an hour long set at Nativo! this Wednesday. Also spinning that night will be Mexican Dubweiser, Mando Fever, Sloe Poke and yours truly, Gomez Comes Alive! Also, we will celebrate the birthday of Jennifer Cuevas. So, you ask, "Who is Jennifer Cuevas?" Well, she is responsible for not only bringing Nativo! to you every week, but also Descarga once a month as well as being one of the people responsible for keeping The Root Down up and running. She also happens to be my roommate and anyone who can tolerate me as a roommate is cool in my book. Not only is it her birthday, but she going to get some sort of commemoration from The City of Los Angeles for her services to the city. Maybe she'll be mayor for the day...hmmmm...how can I use this to my favor????

So...join the party! Good music, dancing, good looking people and the Señorita Margarita. What else could you ask for?


Orale, Highland Park! Friday Night at Villa Sombero (...with suprise Sopranos last episode ending)

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, June 13, 2007 02:44pm | Post a Comment
Friday found me at Villa Sombrero in Highland Park doing what else, drinking Margaritas! The Margaritas there are as big as the ones they make at El Conquistador, but not as potent. Jo and I are eating chips and salsa, sipping our drinks. The Dodger game is on the TV and most of the patrons are only glancing at it from time to time as they talk among friends and family. This is as neighborhood as they come. The restaurant is near the corner where York meets Figueroa in what looks like used to be a house. On the T.V., Luis Gonzalez is up with Jeff Kent on second base. When Luis was with the Diamondbacks and Kent with the Giants I hated these guys, but now with the Dodgers I like them. Yes, I’m a Dodger fan and I’m petty like that.

Gonzalez hits the ball to deep center field. Vin Scully gives his familiar, “...back to the track, to the wall…” Just as the ball is going over the fence, a young waitress in a white Mexican dress and matching orthopedic shoes changes the channel. It’s K-Cal, your official station for high-speed car chases. Why anyone is that interested in high speed chases is beyond me, but soon everyone is transfixed on the TV screen. It is a car racing down residential streets followed by police and the K-Cal copter filming up above. At the bottom of the screen it shows the name of the city where the chase is happening. It reads:

Highland Park

Everyone at the restaurant gives out a howl as their home town is on T.V. Someone shouts out, “Orale Highland Park!” with pride and everyone laughs. At that moment I see someone I recognize come through the front door.

Fade To Black

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.      

Continue reading...