High fashion lets you look like a cholo – if you have the dinero

Thanks to Professor Eliza Rodriguez Y Gibson who pointed my now-scalded eyes, my scarred Mexican-American soul, to this fantabulous atrocity!

Haute couture non-mexican “cholos”!!!! Holy Baudrillard meets Eddie J. Olmos’s Pachuco — who would be rolling over in his grave if he weren’t still thriving in Hollywood!

Mas…High fashion lets you look like a cholo – if you have the dinero

The Barrio Nostalgia of ‘Veteranas and Rucas’ on Instagram


The internet is so much about what to look at.

For me, that’s weird. You see the bulk of the first part of my life was bound up with reading—which is all about looking at things, reading words, but has little to do with seeing, with reading pictures.

It is true that as a kid, I was all about reading while seeing, with Richie Rich, Mad Magazine, Vampirella, Batman, Eerie, and Plop! infecting the technicolor corridors of my imagination.

But after that came college and graduate school with a major in literature—so novels took over (that and critical theory), so words came to dominate the scene of my life.

Mas…The Barrio Nostalgia of ‘Veteranas and Rucas’ on Instagram

Unsung Heroes of Hispanic Heritage Month: Berkowitz the tailor

yossiberkowitz They were ordinary people living ordinary lives, until one singular sensation of circumstance conspired with fate to make them UNSUNG HEROES OF HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH.

In 1978, a young Chicano actor from Montebello, CA went to tailor Yossi F. Berkowitz to try on a new suit custom-made for his starring role in a Los Angeles play. Right away, he noticed that the coat sleeves were too long.

“No problem,” said Berkowitz, a long-time shop owner in nearby Boyle Heights. “Just bend them at the elbow and hold them out in front of you. See, now it’s fine.”

Mas…Unsung Heroes of Hispanic Heritage Month: Berkowitz the tailor

1940s Style: Orquesta de Don Ramon ‘Chicano Boogie’ (video)


It’s not much of a video but it rules as a wild examplar of 1940s pachuco “boogie-woogie jitterbug” (like Lalo Guerrero’s Los Chucos Suaves.) This performance features unstoppable rhumba-flavored proto-rock-n-roll beat-me-eight-to-the-bar-boogie-woogie highlighted by shouted Spanglish insanity. Ladies and gentlemen, let’s give a nice welcoming round of applause to Orquesta de Don Ramon as they perform Chicano Boogie. [The artwork is from the Arhoolie compilation album. Yes, the track ends abruptly.]

Breaking: Malaysian jet mystery prompts terrorist alert

pochlandiawidealertstatus(PNS reporting from the EAST LOS ANGELES) Pocholandia security officials issued a terrorist alert this morning prompted by the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines MH370 over the Gulf of Thailand or the Strait of Malacca or wherever that shit happened, yo.

“I am alerting you terrorist pendejos. Stay the hell out of East Los! said spokesman Gustavo “Little Lalo” Madrigal of the Minivan Crips, a volunteer neighborhood watch group.

“The AMERICAN ME ORANGE ALERT is the second highest alert classification used by the Pocholandia Security Advisory System, bitches, so watchale!” he added.

Graphics by Victor Payan via Hollywood Sign Generator and Personal Threat Level.

PREVIOUSLY ON TERRORIST THEATRE:

Mas…Breaking: Malaysian jet mystery prompts terrorist alert

Unsung Heroes of Hispanic Heritage Month: Yossi F. Berkowitz

yossiberkowitz They were ordinary people living ordinary lives, until one singular sensation of circumstance conspired with fate to make them UNSUNG HEROES OF HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH.

In 1978, a young Chicano actor from Montebello, CA went to tailor Yossi F. Berkowitz to try on a new suit custom-made for his starring role in a Los Angeles play. Right away, he noticed that the coat sleeves were too long.

“No problem,” said Berkowitz, a long-time shop owner on Whittier Boulevard in nearby Boyle Heights. “Just bend them at the elbow and hold them out in front of you. See, now it’s fine.”

Mas…Unsung Heroes of Hispanic Heritage Month: Yossi F. Berkowitz

Toke the Vote urges big turnout for Tuesday Presidential election

(PNS reporting from OAKLAND) “Are you planning on voting Tuesday, brah?” Dale Mendoza scrunched his eyes shut behind his dark sunglasses as he concentrated on his phone call with a potential voter in Arkansas.

“This election is critical, OK, and we totally need your vote.” Mendoza (photo, left) was the team leader of two dozen phone bank volunteers in a basement office in this Northern California city, possible the country’s most pot-friendly municipality.

The smoke-filled room is a California outpost of Toke the Vote, a coalition of pro-marijuana political activists backed by the Zig-Zag cigarette papers company and ConAgra’s Screaming Yellow Zonkers snack products.

Mas…Toke the Vote urges big turnout for Tuesday Presidential election

Unsung Heroes of Hispanic Heritage Month: Yossi Berkowitz

They were ordinary people living ordinary lives, until one singular sensation of circumstance conspired with fate to make them UNSUNG HEROES OF HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH.

In 1978, a young Chicano actor from Montebello, CA went to tailor Yossi Berkowitz to try on a new suit custom-made for his starring role in a Los Angeles play. Right away, he noticed that the coat sleeves were too long.

“No problem,” said Berkowitz, a long-time shop owner on Whittier Boulevard in nearby Boyle Heights. “Just bend them at the elbow and hold them out in front of you. See, now it’s fine.”

“But the collar is up around my ears!” the actor complained.

Mas…Unsung Heroes of Hispanic Heritage Month: Yossi Berkowitz

Documentary: ‘Zoot Suit’ knows the way to Monterey (video)


In 2008, Monterey County education officials (Central California) mounted a massive effort to stage three separate productions of Luis Valdez’ epic play, Zoot Suit, featuring combined casts and crews of kids from all their high schools. This documentary follows the teachers, Valdez, local volunteers and student actors from planning through auditions to show time.

The next time someone complains that arts education programs are a waste of money or that teachers are ripping off taxpayers, ask them to watch this video. They probably won’t watch, but if they do, and still don’t think Monterey County did a good thing, un-friend them on Facebook. With friends like that, you don’t need enemies!

If they agree, then let’s all bailar to Lalo Guerrero’s Los Chucos Suaves!

Mas…Documentary: ‘Zoot Suit’ knows the way to Monterey (video)

Community offers a loving goodbye to Lupe Ontiveros

They say everyone loves you when you’re dead. Everyone can also love you when you’re alive, if you’re Lupe Ontiveros.

The funny, talented and bursting with life Mexican-American actress passed away last Thursday in Whittier, CA.

My son and I attended Lupe Ontiveros’ Rosary service last night in Pico Rivera to pay our last respects to Lupe and her family. (See my photo of program from the memorial service.)

It was overflowing with family, friends and fans. One of her three sons read an opening note (sent via Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis) from President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama,  a message of condolence from the White House.

Everybody in Chicano theater and film was there, including Zoot Suit playwright Luis Valdez, actor Edward James Olmos, Vanessa Marquez, Pepe Serna, Evelina Fernandez, the guys from Culture Clash, UFW co-founder Dolores Huerta, current UFW President Arturo Rodriguez and many more. A girl in a “Goonies Forever” T-shirt sat near us in the balcony.

Continued at NBC Latino…