“Hasta Luego…”

Jessie Tellez Garcia, 1922-2008

My grandmother, Jessie T. Garcia who I mentioned frequently on this blog and who I just recently congratulated on reaching the age of 85, passed away unexpectedly last Friday. Her heart slowed down until she was gone. Despite the pain of her last few days, she managed to keep up the sense of humor she was notorious for. I find it fitting that her goodbye to me was a small chuckle, a wry (but sweet) smile and the send off of “hasta luego!”
She took me in during my teenage years, let me be a rebel and a brat and still had grilled cheese sandwiches for me and my friends when I came home from school. As wild as I was, I think she enjoyed my crazy assortment of punk rock friends, she was very rarely judgmental. She loved company and conversation and charmed most anyone she met. She reveled in the challenge of making me clothes from random scraps of fabric and half baked designs. Our house sometimes was a mini hostel, and it never seemed to bother her. In fact, she entertained herself by playing practical jokes on our guests. Like the time the band Chumbawamba was passing through LA playing a gig at Jabberjaw. My grandma woke up to find half the band crashed out on the living room floor. I told her they were a band on tour from England. I came out of my room a little later to find her sprinkling water on them. I asked what was she doing, she replied “you said they were from England, I wanted them to feel like they were back home!” and proceeded to say “it’s raining, it’s raining!” The band didn’t forget this, and a few years later when they had their big breakout hit, Tubthumping, you know the one “I get knocked down but I get up again” they dedicated the song to her at their LA concert after hearing she recovered from a black widow bite.
I will miss her terribly.

Her memorial website:

Best of 2007

Best found trash on the streets of Lincoln Heights

I’m a little late but I’d like to present my ‘Best of’ for 2007…

Best Live Show: Manu Chao and Radio Bemba at the Los Angeles Sports Arena and Stereototal at El Rey (tie)

The best part of Manu’s show was the after party with Radio Bemba: impromptu bulerias and palmas, some Django/Manouche guitar playing, fun sing-a-longs, Leila. Drunken revelry all around. Stereototal: ditto, drunken revelry all around!

My favorite album of the year: The Knife-Silent Shout
So what if this album was released in 2006? It was my most listened to record in 2007. To be honest, I didn’t really like the album when I first heard it but it’s one of those that kinda grows on you. It goes beyond the usual electronic stuff out these days, I think it’s the bizarreness of the vocals: tweaked, modulated and at times sounding almost demonic. The structure of the songs too are very different with hooks coming in at strange places. And on top of all this, it sounds as if they have a thing for Native American music. I guess I could go and read up on all of their influences instead of speculating but the music speaks for itself.

The Best Album I Bought This Year: Son Antologia de Mexico: Huasteco
I’ve been working on a Son Huasteco post since my return from Mexico but for some reason I’ve neglected to finish it. Violins, fiddles, not sure how they are referred to in the context of Son Huasteco, all I can say is they are magnificent – listening to them gives me chills. Son Huasteco moves me in a way so few types of music can…So for now, a sample from this wonderful album:
La Rosita-Trio Renacimiento Huasteco

Favorite Song(s) of the Year: Robyn-Konichiwa Bitches, Jape-Floating, Caribou-Melody Day, Maps-You Don’t Know Her Name

Another tie! Konichiwa Bitches was a Favorite Video of the Week as well as Maps and Caribou was mentioned in the Electro-Psych post. Jape is a newcomer from Ireland, his hippie-ish, anthemic ‘Floating’ provided repeated listenings of aural joy.


Best Flamenco of the Year: Excavated Shellac’s Early Flamenco & Angelita Agujeta’s Bulerias (private juerga, Tujunga, June)
JW put together an awesome collection of Flamenco tunes collected from 78s, meticulously cleaned up, digitized and researched. Modern Flamenco wishes it could sound so good!
Dancing bulerias while a member of the Agujetas clan sings for you, how much more Flamenco can one get?

Best Party of the Year: Bookfair after party at Matt’s house in Oakland.
Cumbia dancing, comrades, hufu, discussions of the economic/cultural situation in China, 60s French Pop and drunken revelry all around!

Best Art Exhibit: Edith Abeyta’s Salty: A Tale of Three Sorrows

Tiny Sumo wrestlers clinging to sides of cups, a room made from the pages of Marie Antoinette’s diary, piles of delicately crafted ceramic bones, graffitied hankies, textual embroidery and an assortment of lovely handmade artifacts. Her work is always an inspiration. Check out Marshall Astor’s photos.

Best Blog of the Year: Chanfles!
Y’all know! His Eastside 101 posts on Metroblogging LA put the uninformed on check and plus, he has his own distinct style and voice (who hasn’t bitten his photo essay style?) that’s finally getting recognized.

More ‘Best of’ to come…

Favorite Video of the Week: Follow your dreams

CSS in Coronet, London “Music is My Hot Sex” 12/15/07

Little over a year ago, myself and the dancing Christmas tree girl in this video were co-workers in a crappy warehouse doing a tedious and ever increasingly frustrating job. Now she gets to dance around a stage in silly costumes to sold out audiences around Europe and the US. I am so happy for her! Seriously, way to go!
It’s 2008, time to follow your dreams!

Happy New Year!


An excerpt from Eduardo Galeano’s Book of Embraces.

The Fiesta

The sun was gentle, the air clear, and the sky cloudless.
Buried in the sand, the clay pot steamed. As they went from ocean to mouth, the shrimp passed though the hands of Fernando, master of ceremonies, who bathed them in a holy water of salt, onions, and garlic. There was good wine.
Seated in a circle, we friends shared the wine and shrimp and the ocean that spread out free and luminous at our feet.
As it took place, that happiness was already being remembered by our memory. It would never end, nor would we. For we are all mortal until the first kiss and the second glass, which is something everyone knows, no matter how small his or her knowledge.