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

quinta-feira, julho 24, 2003

Yo Naci con la Luna de Plata...

Spent yesterday hammering out stories, then headed over to the Centro Cultural de Mexico to check out Los Cojolites, a son jarocho band straight outta Veracruz.

I've written more than enough on son jarocho for the Weekly, so let me excerpt myself here on an article I wrote on Son del Centro...

Son del Centro play son (pronounced "sone"), the furiously loopy 6/8 tunes of Mexico’s Caribbean coast that sound like a music box gone berserk...Playing son—the only cultural aspect of Mexico in which African, Spanish and indigenous influences coexist peacefully—is notoriously difficult since it’s a genre in which conformity and innovation dance together perilously. The rhythms are raga-like in their repetitive plucks and strums on ukulele-like guitars called jaranas; the son lyric style demands constant improvisation. To master this contradiction, dedicated soneros practice the same song without stopping for hours.

Yes, Son del Centro played, and played well.

Over 120 people crammed inside the Centro to see this. Over 120! On a Wednesday night! No air conditioning exists in the Centro, however, so the crowd sweated as if they were in Veracruz itself--or at least that's how I told everyone to imagine it.

Afterwards, went to an after-party hosted by one of the ladies from el Centro. She's from the state of Guerrrero and played for us chilena, the music from her state that sounds like tamborazo gone chintzy. Amazing music, really: wait until I write about it for a better description.

I drank two shots of tequila, prompting one man to exclaim that I was from Jalisco. "No, I'm from Zacatecas," I replied. "But us mountain people--we're all the same."

Why do I still identify with a state I've lived in less than 1/4 of 1% in my life? Such is the conundrum of the Mexican-American.

Links of the day to come later. In the meanwhile, I leave you with some Rotten history...

Jul 24 2002

By a vote of 420 to 1, James Traficant is expelled from the House of Representatives for a variety of abuses, chiefly: bribery, tax evasion, and racketeering. Traficant himself could not vote on the matter; the sole vote against expulsion came from embattled Congressman Gary Condit. Primarily he will be remembered for his magnificent toupee. At least we think it's a toupee.