Amoeblog

Tia Chucha's Benefit #2

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, August 6, 2008 07:56pm | Post a Comment
Early last year, Tia Chucha’s Café, a café and independent bookstore run by author Luis J.Rodriguez and his wife Trini, was force to shut its doors in the city of Sylmar because their landlords tripled their rent. That summer a fundraiser was held at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre in Hollywood to help pay for a new center to open in the San Fernando Valley. This year, another fund raiser was held on Sunday to help with the cost of buying a building.

Tia Chucha’s isn’t just a bookstore or a café, but a cultural arts center for the people of the San Fernando Valley. According to their website, they hope to “promote the continued growth, development and holistic learning of our community through the many powerful means of the arts. The Centro provides a positive space for people to activate what we all share as human beings: the capacity to create, to imagine and to express ourselves in an effort to improve the quality of life for our community.“
 
The benefit was held once again at The John Anson Ford Amphitheatre. On the bill was a diverse yet unified group of artists, including community activist Nobuko Miyamoto, comedian Ernie G, and the drop-dead funny political satire of Opening People's Minds. The mostly Asian sketch comedy group had me in tears with their dead on interpretations of immigration and differences in culture. If you have a chance to check out their work please do; they were worth the price of admission alone.
 
They were followed by the legendary Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, who played all the hits, including "Express Yourself," "Love Land," and "Tell Me What You Want Me To Do." I stood in awe backstage watching the band go from hit to hit without as much as a break! 

I was there that day to back up my friend Olmeca on the bass. We went on after Charles Wright and Olmeca’s energy was so abundant he got the whole audience to rush the stage. I have to admit, I had trouble keeping up. It’s been a while since I played a show with this much energy.

The Farce Of July Festival - Live @ Self-Help Graphics 7/4/07

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, July 9, 2007 01:45am | Post a Comment

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.

Continue reading...