Historia, Música

This day in Chicano history: Zack de la Rocha (1970)


Zack de la Rocha backed up by Ollin at UCLA (October 30, 2009)

Zacarías “Zack” Manuel de la Rocha
January 12, 1970
Long Beach, California

Zack doesn’t need an introduction here nor do I need to list the reasons why he’d be on a post about Chicano history. Right? I mean, the guy wrote “People of the Sun.”

Zack and Rage Against the Machine did a lot to raise awareness about the Zapatista uprising in Chiapas in 1994. Everything can change on a New Year’s day…

Alejandro has several posts about RATM’s music and it’s meaning in his own life. He wrote about the one RATM concert I ever attended at the DNC in 2000:

It was [August] of 2000 and the Democratic National Convention was being held at the famed Staples Center, in Los Angeles, Ca. On the other side of the fence, Rage Against The Machine was scheduled to perform a free show that evening, and before you knew it, over 250,000 people had gathered to proclaim their right to say whatever the fuck was on their minds. I was one of them. Those previous shows were about to culminate into one giant “this is it” at the DNC, and it was to that night to which I traced my confidence and energy. [The Music that Made me Dance]

I also recommend PearMama’s slew of RATM-related posts.

I think I might re-watch Battle of Mexico City. It’s been a while. Some of the issues Zack touches on, such as the student movement in Mexico City, may feel outdated 10 years later, but he also touches on the ejidos and the background for the EZLN uprising. It’s also a reminder that the struggle for autonomy is continuous and fought locally too.

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Historia, Música

This day in Chicano history: Juan Gabriel was born

Juan Gabriel (born Alberto Aguilera Valadez)
January 7, 1950

Yes. I know I’m a day late in recognizing Juan Gabriel’s 60th birthday.

But it’s been a busy first week back at school, job 1 and job 2 and it’s going to be a busy quarter overall. Enough excuses, back to Juanga.

Wasn’t he born in Mexico? What does he have to do with Chicanos?

Yes, he was born in Paracuaro, Michoacán. And plenty. Five simple reasons:

  1. Though he was born in Michoacán, we all know he made a name for himself singing in the bars of Ciudad Juárez on the border. In fact, he’s always been somewhat on the border in both the literal and figurative sense. He seamlessly goes from pop to rancheras to disco to ballads. He’s coy about his sexuality, but it’s clear that he presents a different image of the stereotypical Mexican man and entertainer.
  2. He wrote Amor Eterno, the song we all sing when we lay our loved ones to rest.
  3. In 1980, he starred in Del Otro Lado del Puente a film about a young immigrant student trying to pay for school by singing.
  4. He stood up to the man, well BMG, and didn’t record any music from 1986-1994 due to a copyright dispute.
  5. Do you really need a reason? Juanga is one of those sacred Mexican icons, kind of like Vicente Fernández or la Virgen de Guadalupe.

Name your own reason. Why do you love Juanga? What’s your favorite song(s)? What about interpretation of a song written by Juanga?
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Corriendo, Cuentos

Colita de rana

I went out for a run after work today. It was my first run of the year. I felt good as I started off, went up the first hill and continued past the park. I felt good. I knew I’d be improving my time and even thought about extending my run despite the fact that I don’t like doing long runs in the dark.

Still, I ran up the hill, to the park, past the park to the golf course and then turned. As I ran on the sidewalk, I tripped slightly but caught my balance. I remember feeling lucky. It was close, and a fall would be bad. Actually, I was surprised that in half a year of running, I hadn’t tripped over my own feet given my recurring bouts of Cindyitis.

I must have jinxed myself. Three steps later, I tripped as I stepped off the sidewalk to cross the street. Once again, I caught my balance, but only temporarily. A second later, I was on the asphalt. My right elbow took the brunt of the impact.

A driver passing by slowed down.

He rolled down his window.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah,” I replied as I stared at my scraped and dirty palms. Each one had small cuts already. I wanted to ask if he had a first aid kit in his car, but figured I was the only person accident prone enough to carry a kit.

“I think I’m just scraped up, but I’m okay.”

“Good,” he said and drove off.

I stepped to the sidewalk and inspected my injuries more closely in better light. I cleaned off my palms a little with a tissue in my pocket and then took off my windbreaker to see the damage to my aching elbow. It was scraped up and already swollen, but not bleeding.

“That’s going to be a bad bruise,” I said to myself, but felt thankful I’d chosen to wear the windbreaker even though it wasn’t too cold.

As I put my jacket back on, I felt like crying. My elbow hurt. I regretted not asking the driver for a ride. I was still about two miles from home.

But I didn’t cry. I walked a few steps, started my iPod again and then continued running — though more carefully — to Ely Guerra’s Júrame. It wasn’t as good as “Sana, sana colita de rana,” but it did the trick.

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