Category Archives: Cultura

43rd Festival Chicano – The Schedule is Out!

My heart skips a beat whenever the schedule for the Festival Chicano is released. Three days of the best Tejano music in a great venue with an amazing sound system. And it’s FREE! thanks to some great sponsors, the City of Houston, Miller Outdoor Theater, and efforts of local legend Mr. Daniel Bustamante and volunteers.

The King of the Brown Sound, Little Joe has played in everyone of the festivals, except one, during his storied 60 year career. He never disappoints and the crowd will definitely sing-along. Jay Perez is currently touring in support of his Freddie Records release, El Maestro. Elida y Avante is one of the top live acts en la onda on her Block Party Tour. Pasadena’s own La Fiebre is supporting its latest album Historico and puts on the equivalent of a Tejano rock show. David Farias of the famous Hermanos Farias brings his own band while also supporting his latest album, Volando Alto. Finally, The Most Wanted Man, Ram Herrera is touring with his new band of top flight musicians and a new album, Back on Track. This is a pretty hard-core line-up ready to give folks new and classic hits.

Here’s the release from the FB event page:

The “43nd Annual Festival Chicano” is a reflection of the artistic creativity that has developed in the Chicano cultural experience after centuries of influence from native peoples, Mexico, Europeans, and the U.S.A..

Chicano music has been historically shaped by many diverse styles such as Mexican rancheras, corridos, mariachi, orchestra, tejano, conjunto, big band, rhythm and blues, country, rock and roll, and many others.

The festival is a celebration of culture through the musical expression of countless generations of artists. It is truly a unique, original American sound.

Thursday, Oct. 6

Jay Perez
David Farias Band

Friday, Oct. 7

Elida Reyna y Avante
La Fiebre

Saturday, Oct. 8

Little Joe y La Familia
Ram Herrera

All performances at Miller Outdoor Theatre are FREE!

The Friday, October 7th Performance Will Also Be Livestreamed.

It’s also a ticketed event, so get yours here: http://www.milleroutdoortheatre.com/get-tickets

Photo Credit: DCMedia/Stace Medellin

Tacho’s Sabado Playlist

It’s time for some new music for your playlists. These got on my radar recently and one is a lyric video of a tune previously on the TSP. Enjoy and have a good weekend!

Pepe Aguilar f/ Intocable – No Me Hablen De Amor – Previously on the TSP, this new collab which is on Pepe’s new album is a great tune, well-written, and powered by Grupo Intocable. Intocable has been on this collab kick recently and that they made it on to Pepe’s new album is a huge deal. Check it out.

Pio Treviño y Majic – Mucho Miedo – Freddie Records has released the newest single by the legendary Pio Treviño as a lyric video. A conjunto tune penned by another legend, Freddie Martinez, the tune features Mariano Herrera and Mike Flores on acordeon and bajo. Pio’s first album on Freddie had several tunes that got on my radar last year. Enjoy this one. A little tristeza, though, the lyric vid features a group photo that includes the late Pepper Gonzalez, the Majic guitarist who passed away during the pandemic. #QEPD

Zereno f/ Little Joe – Con El Agua Hasta El Cuello – One of my fave bands from the 80s is an RGV group by the name of Zereno. Featuring Carlos Aleman on vocals, me and a buddy thought he was one of the best voices of the time. Well, the band is still around and keeping busy as they have released this collab with the King of the Brown Sound, Little Joe. LJ y La Familia made this song famous on his La Voz de Aztlan album in 1977. It’s been retouched up as a ranchera and sounds great.

Thoughts on Viernes – 08122022

FBI’s Mar-a-Doofus Visit

The FBI search of 2020’s presidential election loser certainly made the whole saga interesting. While Congress asks questions during the Jan 6 hearings, the people have been waiting for some sort of police action–mostly handcuffs and a perp walk. Still, I remain cynical about all of this. Much like Trump’s wall and bigotry (and the bigotry that followed from the likes of Greg Abbott and DeSantis) served as right-wing-nut-job porn, I feel that investigations and opinions on Trump actions somehow satisfy some fetish that Democrats have while avoiding solutions on the issues.

Me? I want action. I want to see Trump suffer, but I also want comprehensive immigration reform now. We have a Democratic President and Democratic majorities in both houses and can’t get rid of the racism and bigotry that Trump put into policy. Hell, we’ve known the racism has been in practice for decades and President Biden and Sec’y Mayorkas can’t even change that within Homeland Security! I certainly won’t make the FBI some kind of hero in all of this given their own history of investigating and affecting the livelihood of civil rights activists. Frankly, for me, the raid was funny because it made Trump even whinier than usual.

Greg Abbott’s Human Trafficking Boondoggle

Greg el Coyote! So, Greg Abbott is wasting $1400 per person (with no breaks and no food on the way) of your tax money on his migrant bus tour of America. A ticket to NYC from Eagle Pass, TX is only $200 for any individual! Who’s making all this money? And how much have they given to Abbott’s campaign? We already know it’s all about the photo op, but does putting them on a bus as a group make it look like they’re on a Border Patrol bus? Is that the image Abbott is seeking to put out there? We know he’s a hateful SOB.

One thing is for sure, Democratic mayors should be calling for FEMA and Health and Human Services resources to help with what Greg Abbott is causing and NOT military assistance. Thankfully, Biden said NO to the National Guard.

Don’t Mess With Beto (Or Uvalde)

I keep asking myself if Texas is worth saving after Greg Abbott’s and Republican’s decades of destructive practices. After Beto brought down a Greg Abbott-sent heckler who laughed at Beto’s comments on Uvalde and guns, he seems to have energized some of us to the point where we are up for a fight.

Bottom line: I hope he has these kind of words for Greg Abbott, too. The rules of campaigning changed a long time ago and Republicans have thrived on lies while Democrats have tried to win Texas by cowering and avoiding issues. Beto showed Texas that he’s willing to fight. Or, at least not take the kind of crap that Greg Abbott slings.

Kuff has more on Motherfuckergate.

Tacho’s Sabado Playlist

Have you run out of new music to add to your playlist? Here are my recent favorites.

Selena – Como Te Quiero Yo A Ti – The long anticipated release of the newest tune from the Queen of Tejano dropped and it did not disappoint. Being a Selena fan since she was 12, I do remember this song and I even had the cassette. It was more of simple ballad that seemed like a filler back then, but her brother AB has made this into a full-fledged hit with a mariachi backing the vocals. He has also digitally “aged” the voice to make her sound in her 20s and not in her original teens, but one can’t even notice it. She always had a huge voice. No surprise that it is trending on YouTube. I look forward to the full album. It’ll be on CD, too!

La 45 f/ David Lee Garza and Cezar Martinez – La Embarcacion -My friends from La 45 have been busy working on various projects and this one is a big collab with David Lee Garza and Musicales vocalist Cezar Martinez. This is a classic tune from the days of Miguel Aceves Mejia and has been recorded by numerous artists in as many genres. La 45 gives the tune its big band sound with an acordeon interlude by DLG. Cezar lends his vocals to duet with La 45 bandleader Mike Torres, III. Give it a listen. [Also, wishes of good health to La 45 co-leader and trumpeter John Ontiveros!]

Frankie Caballero, Jr. – Legends Medley – I’ve been a fan of Frankie’s dad for ages, so, when Jr. showed up on the scene, it was easy to enjoy his music, too. This tribute medley to legends Chacha Jimenez y Los Chachos and Esteban Jordan includes Nunca Nunca Nunca, Te Recomiendo Esa Ingrata, and Falsa y Mancornadora. Great dancing music made by great musicians.

El Prez Is Back; COVID-19 Still Here

CNBC

The good news is that President Joe Biden has tested negative for COVID-19 and he is back in the Oval. Thankfully, he has in-house medical and the ability to clear a hospital, if needed, for himself. Good thing he was able to get what he needed at the White House.

At today’s COVID-19-Neg presser, the President was promoting vaccines and boosters, at-home tests, paxlovid (if infected), and even wearing masks indoors. He really promoted the fact that these treatments and vaccines are free and available. Masks, I’d still suggest N-95, KN-95 and KF-94 one can find on Amazon and at grocery stores.

Biden also mentioned that things have advanced in the fight against COVID-19, reminding us that his orange predecessor had to be helicoptered to the hospital to get treated, while President Biden was treated effectively in-house with no need for a media circus involving waving from an SUV or endangering Secret Service.

That said, Houston Health reported a miniscule decrease in the positivity rate (down to 32.1%), as well as a drop in the wastewater viral load (down to 774%). While the wastewater number gives some hope because at-home testing doesn’t go reported as PCR tests do and this much of a decrease is noteworthy, a closer look at specific areas of town where they are taking these measurements show some increases, with some areas at over 1000% of the baseline.

Needless to say, COVID-19 is still with us and we still need to avoid it by masking up, avoiding large crowds, and even avoiding indoor activities with crowds. Oh yeah, and try not to get MonkeyPox, either! The side effects can be scary!

UPDATE: El Prez has tested positive for COVID-19 again. Apparently, he has a rare rebound case which are known to appear after treatment with Paxlovid. Hopefully, we’ll get some anecdotal knowledge of the effects of such a positive test.

AP Expands on Lockdown Fatigue in Uvalde

Jake Bleiberg and Acacia Coronado at the Associated Press provided a good report on the lockdown fatigue in Uvalde caused by bailouts from the Border Patrol’s and other agencies’ migrant chases.

The new findings that a culture of lockdowns in Uvalde played some role in the failures on May 24 reflects how one of the worst school shootings in U.S. history intersected with immigration policies and thousands of Border Patrol agents, National Guard members and state police assigned to apprehend migrants and stop drug traffickers. Of the nearly 400 law enforcement officers at the scene of Robb Elementary, more than half were Border Patrol agents or state police, according to the report.

As I stated early on, the Facebook rumor mill in Uvalde was blaming migrant bailouts for the school shooting initially, some even saying they got the information from “inside sources” in a law enforcement agency.

Even the first officers on scene at Robb Elementary wondered whether the threat was a so-called “bailout” — the term used by law enforcement along the border to describe suspected migrants or drug traffickers who have fled. Pete Arrendondo, the embattled Uvalde school police chief who has become the target of angry demands by parents to resign or be fired, told the House committee the thought crossed his mind since it happens so often.

For all the fear-mongering by Greg Abbott and his Republican cohorts, the report stated this fact:

The committee report said there had been no incidents of “bailout-related” violence on Uvalde school campuses before the shooting. 

Migrants are escaping poverty and violence in their home countries; why on earth would they be violent toward children? Or anyone? They’re tired, hot, thirsty, and hungry and just want to make it to safe haven. Even one of the local JPs knows this.

Diaz, the Uvalde justice of the peace, serves as a magistrate when police make arrests in the area as part of the governor’s massive border mobilization known as Operation Lone Star. He sets bail for people taken into custody for alleged human or drug smuggling, but also for crimes unrelated to national security, like minor drug charges.

He said Abbott’s operation hasn’t made Uvalde safer.

“These people who are coming through don’t want to be in Uvalde,” said Diaz. “They are looking to get away from the border and we’re too close.”

For those who say ignorant things like, “they should come to the US the right way,” a reminder that there hasn’t been a right way in decades. The “line” to get in has been non-existent, unless it’s from a favored country the US is trying to save from a government they don’t like (Cuba, Venezuela). While some are escaping US-supported right-wing governments in Central America, others are simply wanting a better life. And they have waited long enough that they will make a deadly and dangerous trek to the US. Not to save their assets, as those in some of the favored countries, but to save themselves.

As far as Uvalde goes, and the rest of South Texas for that matter, these migrant chases are dangerous, sometimes deadly, and clog up and waste needed resources. Whether it is money that can be better spent on economic development, education, or health care, the money thrown at a problem that the Biden administration has failed to improve (citizenship and deportation reform) and that Greg Abbott has created for photo ops and political mud to throw has been ineffective and wasteful. And it’s our money. And these policies are part of the problem of children being killed in a classroom.

The Uvalde Report Touches on Migrant Chases

The Texas House committee charged with getting to the bottom of the Uvalde shooting hasn’t dug up enough information or solutions for the future. Ultimately, the reason for the shooting will always be about easy gun access and lax background check policies as these officials continue to pass the blame to everyone but themselves.

I will give the Texas Tribune a lot of credit for their work in Uvalde, including trying to get to the bottom of the report with their takeaways. Among the takeaways included law enforcement and community being desensitized to emergency situations because of the frequent Border Patrol and Greg Abbott-enlisted local law enforcement chases of migrants and smugglers in individual vehicles that caused “bailouts.”

One reason for a culture of complacency around alerts is that they happened so often. Uvalde is located about an hour from the U.S.-Mexico border and police described an increase in “bailouts” near the school, in which officers chase a vehicle containing suspected undocumented migrants who then purposely crash and scatter to avoid apprehension.

Since late February, there were 47 “secure” or “lockdown” events at Uvalde schools, according to the report. Around 90% of them were attributed to bailouts, the committee said.

“Uvalde CISD parents became so concerned about the number of bailouts occurring near the elementary-school campuses that they offered to hire off-duty police to supplement the Uvalde CISD police presence,” the report said.

The vilification of migrants instilled so much fear of them in the community that they ended up not thinking about what else could happen to their children. They were more concerned with people escaping violence and poverty than with some kid with, as the report found, actual mental health issues and online hints of violence that went ignored. The systemic problems include Greg Abbott and his border boondoggle, but they won’t go so far as to blame him.

Just a reminder, early on, it was this blog who mentioned the online rumor mill in Uvalde which included stories of bad migrants attacking the schools from people made ignorant by Greg Abbott and the Keystone Cops which did nothing to save the Uvalde children. It’s an issue, and, unfortunately, it will still go ignored if people (and Democrats) allow it. It will still be a good photo op for area cops who want their trophies to impress Greg Abbott.

Kuff has more on the rest of the report.

Thoughts on Viernes – 07152022 (Sabado Edition)

The Video

The release of the Uvalde video and the aftermath of the release is pretty ugly. While the people want the ineptitude of cops and political leaders at all levels proven quickly, too much went wrong in the process of releasing it. The video was leaked without much explanation of the content. Other than telling us that the screams of the kids were removed, nothing else was really explained and everything was left to be discussed by the viewers without much actual context. The families were not given an opportunity to watch the video first.

While the ineptitude of all levels of Texas government and law enforcement is obvious, the husband of one of the teachers who was shot was vilified for looking at his phone, when he was awaiting a call from his wife. All because much was left unexplained and people want accountability. Too much went wrong and this is disappointing because it detracts from getting to the bottom of this tragedy. Perhaps this was the intent of its release by Texas authorities to the press.

There will be a lot of blame going around, but we cannot trust DPS, Greg Abbott, or Uvalde’s local authorities to be honest with the people. I still think DOJ should be leading the investigation, since the border cops involved themselves in this whole thing.

Let’s Hope It’s Not A Superspreader

What part of COVID IS STILL HERE do you not understand? That is my message to Texas Democratic Convention attendees. They’re going around mostly unmasked at some pretty packed meetings. The selfies of all the fun reminds me of the golden calf scene in the 10 Commandments; they’re having so much fun at the confab and at the afterparties. Gives me the cringes.

Reminder: Dallas County recently upped it’s COVID warnings to “high.”

It’s obvious that both parties are just going with what the people want. With polls showing closer races all around, it’s not time to be controversial, I guess. Hell, Abbott’s failures during the pandemic haven’t even been mentioned! And neither has Abbott’s border boondoggle.

Congresswoman Garcia Leads Effort To Honor the Late Benny Martinez

The late Benny Martinez, a Houston community leader who led the way to achieve a meeting between LULAC and President John F. Kennedy in 1963, among so many other civil rights achievements, will have a Houston post office named in his honor. Martinez served his community as a nurse and as a Sheriff’s deputy for over thirty years, while also being at the forefront of community issues through various organizations. He was also a Veteran. HR 7832 was spearheaded by Congresswoman Sylvia R. Garcia. The post office is located on 4020 Broadway St.

The Taco Distraction

When I heard FLOTUS compared brown folks to tacos, I didn’t know how to react. Should I be mad (like so many others who also need to stay focused on actual issues)? Should I be disappointed at the crappy speech writer and staff work? Frankly, I’m pretty sure pissing us off wasn’t FLOTUS’ intent. Chalk it up to another case of white folks thinking they’re doing us a favor, maybe?

Arellano at the LATimes provided us a history of politics and Mexican food. I mean, remember Gerald Ford’s failure at tamales? Then, there’s also Varela at MSNBC who expands on the politics of trying to pat brown folks on the head, while avoiding action on the issues that affect us–by both parties.

Says Arellano:

Presidents Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama held lavish diplomatic banquets featuring Mexican food (the Gipper invited actual Mexican chefs; Barry went with Rick Bayless). Jesse Jackson praised Democratic vice presidential candidate Lloyd Bentsen in 1988 for being able to “go from biscuits to tacos to caviar real fast, knowing that’s just the cultural diversity that makes up America.” Bill Clinton went so often to Tex-Mex classic Mi Tierra Cafe in San Antonio that it features a painting of a jogging Slick Willie wearing a — you guessed it! — Mi Tierra Cafe T-shirt.

Most of us agree that while FLOTUS and Democrats shouldn’t ever, ever try to make a funny based on culture (they haven’t earned their barrio card; even some of the brown ones haven’t), Republicans really don’t have a say in any of this. Trying to play on brown folk’s annoyance while vilifying brown folk in their policies is pretty stupid. “They compared you to tacos, all we want to do is put you in cages! Ha! Ha!”

As Varela states:

As much as they don’t want to admit it, Democrats, particularly the Bidens, have been uncomfortable practitioners in not understanding the complexity of the Latino community. Last year, the first lady mispronounced the iconic “Sí se puede” chant in Spanish, leading to some head shakes. About 10 years ago, then-Vice President Joe Biden, speaking to the National Council of La Raza (the previous name of UnidosUS) made a bizarre analogy between Mitt Romney’s tax returns and Latinos having to show their immigration papers, as if immigration status is what solely defined the community. Partisan supporters applauded his comments back then, but it felt a bit disconnected, just like the time when candidate Hilary Clinton in 2016 was being compared to an abuela. But are Republicans really the right ones to launch their criticism at Biden, and at Democrats more widely, when it comes to serving Latinos?

And this is what I’m talking about. Worthless platitudes and attempts at being funny at high-priced conferences that most brown folk cannot afford to attend is not how one gets our vote. But a gaffe sure as hell gets to the people, huh?

No, it’s about the action, pendejos! It’s about what you do once we get you into office. We have a Democratic President, Senate, and House and we can’t get immigration reform passed; not even something as simple as codifying DACA. The rights of women and voters have been thrown to the curb, and that also affects brown folks. Standing up to price gouging corporations in a substantial way, rather than finger-wagging for the cameras, is the least that would be appreciated at the moment. Fight for us, cabrones!

So, I’m not angry. Annoyed? Sure. But most Democratic faithful annoy me since all they want is my vote and not my criticism or even calls for accountability. So much for the democracy they purport to want to save, right?

What I do find annoying is the speechwriting targeted at brown folks and its continual failure at capturing us. The Biden administration poached so many salaried “movement” professionals (labor, farm worker, immigration reform), one would figure they’d be called up to help with what was probably supposed to be a simple, non-controversial speech.

Anyway, I prefer to be distracted by actual tacos.

COVID-19: CDC Says Mask Up Indoors, Again!

Well, if you haven’t paid attention to my COVID-19 posts of the last couple of months, or the steady climb of test positivity during the same period, it looks like the Feds are recognizing COVID-19 as a problem, again. Surprise? Hardly.

New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows about one-third of the U.S. population is now living in a county with a “high COVID-19 community level,” which means the agency recommends universal indoor masking.

Johns Hopkins University reports new COVID-19 cases rising slowly, which 108,000 new cases reported every day over the past two weeks. That is up 6% from the two weeks prior.

A recent pre-print study based on health records from the Veteran’s Administration shows that catching COVID-19 over and over again appears to increase the chances a person will experience new and sometimes lasting health problems after their infection.

People who had two or more documented infections had more than twice the risk of dying and three times the risk of being hospitalized within six months of their last infection.

Houston Health reports positivity is at 29.2% (probably undercounted) and that hospitalizations are indeed increasing. Moreover, Houston Health is now telling folks to mask-up indoors no matter their vaccination status based on CDC recommendations. The Texas Tribune and local news outlets also report that hospitalizations have doubled in the last week. All of this because of the newest variant that seems to be among the majority of infections.

But the omicron variant, which doctors say appears to be as contagious as the measles, could wind up sending more people to the hospital than during previous surges — even if it is a milder version of the virus — simply due to the sheer volume of people it’s infecting, Dr. Jason Bowling, epidemiologist at University Health in San Antonio.

Omicron has become the dominant variant in the state less than a month after it was first detected. The delta variant took several months to become dominant in Texas. That means the state’s medical community could be in for a bumpy ride this month as the virus infects people at an unprecedented rate.

Frankly it pisses me off that pundits continue to say that current numbers are “lower than last year’s peak,” as there are still people getting sick and spreading it a lot easier than with past variants. People are still acting as if this is over and it is pretty obvious it is not. Waiting for the numbers to get bad, instead of staying vigilant and proactive, is the problem. This new data that shows people infected multiple times have a higher chance of dying or hospitalization is pretty scary, too.

Now (or during the last few months) is not the time to continue to be lax in preventing disease. If masking had still been pushed while the numbers were lowering, perhaps we wouldn’t be in this current uptick in infections. But, hell, when people at the highest levels of government went unmasked at mass events, including some of our favorite Democrats, they ceased to be an example of prevention to the people. If anything, they were the excuse people needed to flick off their masks. And any new push by them to have the people mask up, I predict, will faceplant because of this.

What pisses me off even more is that the immunocompromised are still under constant threat. People still need to work and are in unmasked workplaces that insist on putting employees in danger. Mass events are being held with little to no recommendations for masking. Look, no one is telling you to close down, but mask the hell up! I really don’t need to see y’alls faces.

I preferred the politics of COVID-19 when Greg Abbott’s ineptitude wasn’t getting the help of everyone else in politics.