A Week in the Life of Gustavo

"Seems to think that if he fails to write, la migra will find him."--OC Weekly More merriment available at ronmaydon@yahoo.com

sexta-feira, julho 18, 2003

Un Pedacito de Patria...

Let's start with some letters. First off, one published in the Weekly this week about my dancing alone piece...

I have to take issue with Gustavo Arellano’s "Dancing With Myself" [July 11]. Perhaps he should have done a little more research before claiming "That type of dancing is nearly extinct," in regards to dancing with a partner. At Tia Juana’s in Irvine, there are over 200 swing dancers, dancing as partners, every Wednesday night. And the age group of these dancers ranges from early 20s to over 80 years old. West Coast Swing has even more dancers at clubs all over the Southland. There’s ballroom and Latin dancing. Yes, there are clubs where young kids bump and grind individually. But to say partner dancing is "nearly extinct" is to ignore a large group of dancers.

My response...

Thanks for confirming the thesis of my essay, in which the key word was nearly. In a dance culture dominated by dancing alone, 200 swing dancers one night a week does not make "a large group of dancers."

The following letter was directed at my Righteous Brothers dismissal (they're No. 129 on the super-long list)...

This is how I visualize the asshole that wrote that fucked-up shit on the Righteous boys ["The 129 Greatest OC Bands Ever," June 20]. He’s a homely, egotistical little prick who’s not well liked by the best of the staff. I also think he’s probably got funny hair and has never got any good pussy. Am I right?

I didn't respond, but he's right on everything except his last point. Oh wait: he's right on that point also.

Next up is my novelist chum Ryan Gattis, exiled in the British Isles. He writes to commend on my Vietnamese-Latina brawl piece and my article on the bowdlerizing of cinema's racist past on cable...

Completely agree on the movie front. We're in danger of forgetting that history, and that just makes it repeatable.

Shite. Very solid article aboot the brawl as well. I know you like falling in love with your own words but you definitely did the right thing in letting Adriana's quote end the article. "Good show, old boy," said in my best faux-Brit accent.

My response...

Thank you for you insightful words as always. "Falling in love with my own words"...if you weren't a fellow scribbler, they'd be fightin' words.

Now a hilarious rant from a guy named Aldo regarding my Cinco de Mayo-as-celebrating-Mexico's-defeat article...

Hello Gustavo Arellano, (AKA) Mr. Esoteric

I am impressed with your basic historic knowledge, but in your weak article you are making it seem as if all Mexicans and Mexican-Americans are flying flags that say VIVA MEXICO every 5 De mayo. Mr. Esoteric, you may know a little history but that is probably it. Even though you placed the accents in the proper position in the two Spanish words that you wrote, I do not think you are capable of writing a well educated essay in Spanish. Finally, as a Mexican-American I would be embarrassed to be seen with a person like you. I never celebrate 5 de Mayo, but whenever I have a chance to drink, I drink.

P.s. Get a real education-you probably went to Cal-State Dominguez Hill or Cal-State LA, and you probably call your self Gus.

An outstanding retort, no? My response...

So what's your problem with my essay, again?

PS, It ain't Gus, it's Guti. And the education happened at UCLA.

Now, the evening that passed yesterday...

Went over to JC Fandango and kicked with with the JC of JC Fandango to see some Mexican metal bands. Earlier in the day, was talking to GG about the coming show at her place of employment and she said she wouldn't be seen there with "those people." When I noted to her that that sort of rhetoric is used against us Mexicans, she blushed over the phone--I could see it.

I love how diverse the world is, how everyone is vastly different from everyone else. That's why I hesitate to use labels in describing myself or others. Sure, my parents might be Mexicans, but they were people living in Zacatecan ranchos. I grew up in that environment in the US but also am "assimilated." I love banda more than any music in the world. Yet, if Dick Nicholls and Co. were to see me with my metalero brethren, they'd dismiss us all as Mexicans. Too wide of an epithat, people. At least call them stupid metalero Mexicans. Dunno...

But I'm getting off track here--this is a blog for random thoughts and too-sensitive revelations, not deep social analysis (or pseudo-deep). Before I went to hang out with JC, spent some time with AG, who I hadn't had a sit-down conversation with in years. We were supposed to visit an Argentine eatery, but it was closed. Instead, we drove up State College, made a left on Commonwealth, and visited El Fortin, which serves magnificent Oaxacan food. She's getting married. Good for her.

Back to JC--I took him (rather, he drove and I directed), to Lee's Sandwiches. He ate the banh mi xa xiu as we drove back to the club. With every bite, his praise of the sandwich grew until his palate touched the jalape?o lurking beneath the pickled carrots and daikon. He nearly yelped in pleasure. Good man, and we're supposed to raid the wretched Revent?n Super Estrella tomorrow.

Enough for now. My pockets hurt.