Cine, Historia

This Day in Chicano History: Edward James Olmos (1947)

Zoot Suit February 24, 1947: Edward James Olmos
Los Angeles, California

Way back when I was in 5th or 6th grade, I had to write a report on a famous person. I chose Edward James Olmos. I’m not really sure why, I was probably influenced by Stand and Deliver* and wanted to know more about one of the few Chicanos I saw in mainstream entertainment. I learned that his father (or grandfather, can’t remember) printed a newspaper and fled Mexico during the Mexican Revolution. I also learned about his roles in movies, television shows and plays I’d never even heard of, like Zoot Suit

Of course, his roles have varied. Via Wikipedia:

Among his most memorable roles are Commander/Admiral William Adama in the Battlestar Galactica re-imagined series, Lt. Martin Castillo in Miami Vice, teacher Jaime Escalante in Stand and Deliver, patriarch Abraham Quintanilla in the film Selena, Detective Gaff in Blade Runner, and narrator El Pachuco in both the stage and film versions of Zoot Suit.

Do you have a favorite Olmos role/scene? One of my favorites comes from Selena:

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*I just recently learned that my sister, a math major and aspiring math teacher, has not seen Stand and Deliver. What’s worse is that we have a few cousins who took calculus with Jaime Escalante! I felt like I failed my sister the day I learned that.

Historia, Música

This day in Chicano history: Vicente Fernández (1940)

February 17, 1940: Vicente Fernández
Huentitán el Alto, Jalisco

I’m a day late again. I also know that Chente isn’t a Chicano. Still, like Juan Gabriel, I can’t pass up the opportunity to celebrate his birthday and note his status a cultural icon for many Chicanos, even the pochos.

How many of us have felt a little more connected to the motherland after hearing Chente’s rendition of “Volver, Volver” or “El Rey”? I know I have. I came to this music through the most mainstream of channels: Chente and Linda Ronstadt. Still, it inspired pride, especially as I learned that some of his most popular songs were written by my paisano, José Alfredo Jiménez.

He may not be the best singer of rancheras, but he’s definitely done his part to keep the music alive and attracting new fans.

Below, I’ve posted one of my favorite songs. What’s your favorite Chente song? Any great memories of seeing him live in concert?

Vicente Fernández: De Que Manera te Olvido



“Do you ever feel like a cliché?” she asked and looked up at him.

“Always,” he replied with a sly smile.

She threw back her head and laughed and continued slowly dancing to “Volver, Volver.”



The Hurt Locker… I think I saw that movie with you.”

“Yeah, you did.”

“Let me check.”

“But you did, I know.”

He got up from the bed, walked toward a shelf by the door and picked up a large ziplock bag from the shelf. He walked back to me and sat in the bed.

He fished around for the orange ticket stub amongst more ticket stubs, photo booth strips, homemade cards, simple notes scrawled in the morning, and more mementos of our 18 month relationship.

“Here it is! Yup, I saw it with you.”

“I knew that already,” I said as I looked through the clear bag. I stopped and then spoke without thinking.

“So, is this the stuff you’re going to burn when I break up with you?”

“Probably not. I’ll just put it away, but it depends on the terms of the breakup.”