Category Archives: DC Promo

Code Orange = Strong Encouragement, Unfortunately

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo elevated the county’s COVID-19 code to ORANGE as hospitals address a significant spike in cases. Orange means “minimize all contacts unless fully vaccinated,” but is that even enough, now?

As I stated previously, I felt uneasy about the Biden/CDC’s unmasking of the vaccinated. Things just looked too comfortable and it certainly didn’t encourage those who needed to mask. Maskholes are still maskholes and I didn’t feel society should be rewarded, yet.

Maybe I preferred the visual of people acting responsibly, rather than the one of unmasked mass (and smaller) events leaving me to wonder what the vaccination rate was in the room. Thankfully, Judge Hidalgo called for masking to return.

Hidalgo said by not wearing masks, even those who are vaccinated are “normalizing” not wearing masks for those who are unvaccinated. She also reminded the vaccinated they can still spread the virus to the unvaccinated, who can get sicker from the virus.

KHOU 7.23.2021

That last line may have been a mild reference to breakthrough cases.

Another unfortunate matter is the fact that all the elevated code does is allow Judge Hidalgo and other leaders to strongly encourage good behavior rather than mandating it, thanks to Greg Abbott’s lack of compassion. Re-opening with little to no precautionary guidance is what has taken us backwards. Schools are reopening soon, and some universities are already open as students get ready to return, and Abbott is allowing bad behavior to exist–no masking, light encouragement of vaccinations if one chooses, etc. These education systems have a responsibility to practice good behavior despite having a crappy leader.

Although right-wing misinformation clearly exists on the airwaves, I found it encouraging to suddenly see more people in my area of town masking and acting responsibly, at stores and even while walking outdoors. Although it was just a tiny moment and area, I hope it continues all over.

As Kuff mentions in his post about the color code change, COVID-19 testing may become an issue as testing has been scaled down. It became pretty obvious to me when I saw an actual line of walk-up clients at a tiny testing temporary building (think 8×8 converted container) in front of the Aldi on Westheimer.

Anyway, mask-up, wash hands, stay vigilant. And tell your unvax’d people to get vax’d or you’re cutting them off.

Dan Crenshaw Attempted to Register My Late Mom To Vote

It could be voter fraud, or else, it’s just crappy staff work at various levels, but Dan Crenshaw (and his minions) attempted to register my mother to vote. Yes, my mother, Flo, who passed away in 2016.

I received a text message on my cell phone from Dan Crenshaw whining to my mom, Florencia, about the border under Joe Biden and asking for my mom’s help. Then, he says the Texas Secretary of State’s records show she isn’t registered to vote and offered to register her, even mentioning the street where she lived. Creepy!

Here are some facts about Flo:

  1. Flo passed away five years ago, which is the ONLY reason she is not registered to vote.
  2. Flo was a staunch Democrat all of her life, voting in all of the primaries, except that time in the 70s when she was a member of La Raza Unida Party.
  3. Flo was a Pro-Choice Chicana, mother of two daughters and a son, who enjoyed sipping champagne at the Planned Parenthood Luncheon VIP suite, while raising money to provide low-income women and men with health care and reproductive health services. She also supported pro-choice candidates and helped raise money for many by making tortillas for fundraisers.
  4. Flo and my Pop owned a business across the street from a major railroad route in which many undocumented folks would walk toward San Antonio and beyond, while escaping poverty and violence in their own countries. My parents would offer food and water and even clothing to them, which is something republicans have threatened to jail Americans for recently.
  5. Flo and my Pop were proud voters who would show up early in the morning to have their voice heard at the ballot box and would vote for anyone who didn’t have Dan Crenshaw’s bigoted views toward immigrants, people of color, women, LGBTQ+, etc. They wouldn’t appreciate Crenshaw’s lies about voting rights, either.
  6. Flo resided in Congressional District 7 and not 2.

It is quite insulting that anyone would assume that Florencia Serna Medellin would ever be unregistered to vote while alive; vote republican (based on her primary record); or ever be an anti-immigrant zealot, given her love of humanity, papers or not. To think that a Greg Abbott-run state agency might still be selling her information (or making it available) for voter registration purposes is just plain alarming, considering the GOPs daily whine of voter fraud. Five years later, one would figure that her name would not even be on any databases for this purpose.

Needless to say, Crenshaw and fellow right-wingers had no clue whatsoever about Flo, the South Texas-born, former migrant farmworker, small-town-mom turned suburban Abuela who advocated for all. It would seem Crenshaw just wants any random bigots he can find–even dead ones–and texts random unregistered people whining about immigrants to capture their support. So republican.

Flo would have been pretty upset to think that she might be on the call/text list of any right-wing, bigoted, republican campaign or organization. Dan Crenshaw is full of BS, misinformation, and lies. And Flo was an informed voter who would have known about Crenshaw, and would have done what I did: Replied STOP. And then would have told the world how she feels about Dan Crenshaw and bigoted republicans.

We miss you, Flo! ¡La Lucha Sigue! And, #FloTheVote

Note: After Mom passed away in 2016, we did our due diligence and cancelled her registration. I received confirmation from the local elections office today of this fact. Why Texas SOS still has her info (according to Crenshaw) is beyond me.

Note #2: I received a message from a fellow Dem activist who also received the text about being unregistered. But he’s actually registered. Damn, Crenshaw! Get with the program or else you’ll actually commit voter fraud!

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LA County Reinstates Indoor Mask Mandate

I was glad to see LA County (CA) being proactive as the COVID-19 positivity and hospitalization numbers are seeing an increase. LA County has reinstated an indoor mask mandate, no matter what ones vaccination status is.

Given recent news of breakthrough cases among famous people (Fluffy) who have dived into the unmasked/unvax’d masses, I think it’s a good idea. I think strong encouragement by our local leaders would also help, since Gomer Fife, Texas Ranger (The Governor) would stop any real mask mandate.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo posted on FB that things are trending in the wrong direction and that people need to get vaccinated. Unfortunately, there was no sounding of an alarm, yet.

Still considered rare, breakthrough cases have shown the vaccines’ effectiveness at preventing severe illness and hospitalization. Comedian Fluffy Iglesias credited the vaccine to his symptoms being mild. Still, some of us don’t want to get COVID-19 or its variants and would rather feel safer than “not as sick as the unvaccinated infected.” Of course, there are also the immunocompromised to think about, but they seem to be the last on the priority list.

Anyway, I implore folks to run their own mask mandate–wear a mask in crowded places and tell those around you to wear one, whether in social gatherings or at work. Don’t allow your bosses and co-workers and those around you to dictate based on their personal feelings, thus, forcing you to feel unsafe. It is happening and there is nothing more annoying than hearing someone tell you, “Oh, I guess you can wear a mask.”

I’m not sure how any more people want to get vaccinated, given the number of unvax’d maskholes in Texas, but those that do not have access need to become a priority. While there are areas in Texas where vaccination rates are dismal (Kuff has more), numbers mean a lot more than percentages here in Harris County and half of the county is still not vaccinated.

If you or anyone needs a vaccine, find a location here.

Tejano Music Podcasts to Follow

One way to piss me off is telling me that the Tejano music genre is dying. Corporatism tried to give it a knockout punch after exploiting it during the 90s, no doubt, but failed. The Made-in-Texas music genre is alive and thriving on its own. And folks within the industry are talking about it.

My FB friend, Rebecca Valadez, known for her touring work providing background vocals for Janet Jackson and the iterations of Grupo Mazz, as well as an impressive solo career, has taken on a couple of projects. One is her own podcast, which has featured some Tex-Mex greats, as well as folks working in other aspects of our culture. A most informative podcast featured Grammy winning producer Gilbert Velasquez who had a lot to say regarding the future of the genre.

The other podcast is Gibby’s Tejano Round Table, which is hosted by Valadez and Velasquez and brings together a round table of influential folks in the Tejano music genre to discuss the state of Tejano Music, including terrestrial and internet DJs, producers, musicians, and even social media influencers who are keeping the genre alive and kicking.

These are discussions that must be had in other than private surroundings and Valadez and Velasquez are doing the industry a huge favor by putting these discussions out in the open, not just for those who make a living in the industry, but also for the folks who buy the records and attend the dances and concerts. These discussions go beyond entertainer interviews, like those of my favorite Tejano podcast, Behind the Mic with AC Cruz, but they are still pretty entertaining.

One more to add to the list is MARCed Up Live with Marc Martinez. Marc is an accomplished musician who played with legends Joe Posada and Emilio Navaira. His podcast/online show features music and health discussions one might enjoy.

So, for those who want a more in-depth discussion on the Tejano music genre, follow these podcasts mentioned above. There is a lot of music to be heard and enjoyed. And there is a lot of cultura to preserve.

May 22: SAs Tejano Conjunto Fest Goes Virtual

We’ll I don’t expect to go to live concerts any time soon, so, mil thank yous to The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center’s Tejano Conjunto Festival for going virtual. $15 is a great price for all of that music and the play, Conjunto Blues, by Nicolas Valdez.

From the inbox:

San Antonio, TX – A virtual 39th Annual Tejano Conjunto Festival concert will be streamed Saturday, May 22, 2021 from 7pm to 12am from the historic Guadalupe Theater in San Antonio. This annual festival is the first and longest-running Conjunto Festival in the country and is widely recognized as the most influential event for this critical Texas musical tradition. Reflecting the demands of social distancing because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 39th Annual Tejano Conjunto Festival in 2021 will be a live-streamed music event accessible around the world. 

BUY TICKETS HERE

 “The Tejano Conjunto festival is a beloved yearly event that brings together the very best in conjunto music every year.  It is like a big family reunion!” says Cristina Ballí, Executive Director of the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center. “We love our fans and seeing all our old friends in the conjunto community at Rosedale, but since we can’t be in person we are happy to share puro conjunto with everyone around the world in this livestream. It will be a lot of fun and not to be missed!” 

The Tejano Conjunto Festival showcases the major performers and heritage award winners in one historic and widely anticipated event. It typically draws an enthusiastic audience of more than 10,000 fans, dancers, and musicians from across Texas and the United States, as well as Mexico, Europe, and Asia. The Festival usually encompasses five robust and influential days of live performances, dances, workshops, Hall of Fame inductions, and other events.  In 2021, the Guadalupe is pioneering a livestreamed format for the festival. 

BUY TICKETS HERE

A featured component of the virtual festival is the Friday night livestream of “Conjunto Blues,” a stage play written and performed by Nicolás R Valdez that was recently adapted for the screen in November of 2020 in collaboration with Teatro Vivo and the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center. The play will​ stream live on Friday, May 21, and will be followed by a Q&A session via Zoom with Valdez where viewers will be able to discuss Conjunto Music and its impact on Latino culture along with sharing their own personal stories and memories.  

On Saturday, May 22, Valdez will lead a virtual hour-long workshop reflecting on interviews and historical documentary footage he compiled. The topics will revolve around Conjunto’s campesino origins; its stylistic evolution; women and the recording industry; Pachucos and nightlife; and prominent figures in conjunto. “The focus of this work, for me, has always been to highlight the many contributions of the Mexican-American community to the cultural fabric of this country and to show audiences how Conjunto Music, an original and uniquely American form of musical expression, became the soundtrack for the 20th century Mexican-American working-class experience,” Valdez says. 

BUY TICKETS HERE

39th Annual Tejano Conjunto Festival Band Line-Up
7:00pm – 12:00 am
BUY TICKETS HERE

LO MEJOR DE TEJAS         

Flaco Jimenez   (w/ Los Texmaniacs)

Los Cucuys de Rodney Rodriguez    

Los 2 G’s

Los Morales Boys

Los Monarcas de Peter y Mario Diaz   

Eva Ybarra

 Boni Mauricio y Los Maximos with Special Guest Linda Escobar  

 Tony Tigre Saenz y La Rosa de Oro   

My Vax Experience – Part 1

I got lucky on Thursday evening when the Houston Health Department opened up some slots for shots–the COVID-19 vaccine. I was quite surprised when I clicked the link and lo and behold, a page actually opened up that allowed me to sign up. Why was I surprised? Because, most times, the slots filled up within a few minutes. I felt quite lucky. So, I signed up and moments later received confirmation of my appointment for Friday morning.

With paperwork in hand, I drove over to the HHDs vax facility at Bayou City Events Center on Knight Road. Thankfully, I got in line early and made it into the parking lot within 15 minutes. (HPD and COH Mobility did a great job!) Another 15 minutes later, the staff in the lot had scanned the QR code on my printed-out email, checked me in, and I parked in a great space.

The first stop just inside the door was with the temp-taking guy who also wrapped your wrist with a green band. Then I was led into a room and told to go to a station. The nice woman at the station looked over my paperwork and a minute later, I was sent to another room–the main ballroom–where there were numerous nurses stations. I went to where I was pointed, sat with the nurse, answered a few questions, and a minute later, I was already sitting in the ballroom waiting for 15 minutes to make sure I didn’t grow fangs or have some reaction. One nurse walked by and even checked on me–I’m that special. Then, I was on my way.

I must say that the HHD staff and volunteers are running a tight ship. Along with great intake and nursing staff members, maintenance staff was on top of keeping things clean and sanitized. A lot of sanitizer was available and the bathrooms were clean. Also, I’d never been to this facility, but if anyone ever has an event and needs a DJ (when all this is over), give me a call. I offer great rates and great music!

Did it hurt? It was an injection through the muscle. You’ll feel something. Hours later, my upper arm felt sore, yet, no fangs grew out of me and the Russians have not tried to communicate with me. It’ll be different for everyone, I’m sure. I hear the 2nd dose is doozier, but I’m alright with that if it gets us closer to some sort of herd immunity.

My hope is that we get to a point very soon where we don’t need a race to the needle by way of a computer. Accessibility is as important as the community education that helps convince people to get inoculated, but more important is actual availability at-large. Also very important is the need to take the shots to the community members who are not able to drive to a location. As CM Letitia Plummer stated on Friday, while the FEMA vax site is a great thing, we must address accessibility for those who do not have access to an automobile.

Obviously, there is still a lot to be done. Out local leaders are doing their part and President Biden’s visit today provided some assurance that things are happening, including more vaccine production. But Congress must still pass the COVID-19 bill to ensure the supplies needed to provide the vaccines are purchased.

Well, that’s my experience. I will say that my stress levels are much lower now. Missing out on some of the vaccine sign-ups was indeed stressful. Now, I wait a month for dose #2. Hope you get your doses, as well.

On a more serious note, I cannot help but think about all of those whom we’ve lost. It didn’t have to happen. Of the 500K+, we’ve all known a few. My family has lost relatives and long-time family friends. The least we can do is get vaccinated ASAP so we can continue living and serving in the name of all of those humans.

Mask up, keep distancing, wash hands, and get your shot when you can!

DCs Top 10 of 2020

Thanks to all who still visit DosCentavos.net. It’s been a year, that’s for sure. And for DCs 15th year, it’s actually been a good one. So, let’s keep it going to see where we end up as we head into the vaccination part of the COVID-19 season. Here are the Top 10 visited posts of 2020:

  1. COVID-19 in a South Texas Town
  2. The Pandemic Poetry Project
  3. Fired HC Deputy Chauna Thompson Up For Post in Somerville
  4. Just Another Kill for the LE Trophy Case (George Floyd)
  5. DC’s Primary Picks (and Run-Off)
  6. Tortilla-Making in the Time of COVID
  7. Latinos and COVID-19
  8. Varon: A COVID-19 Treatment That Must Be Approved
  9. The Ghost of HD142
  10. DC Reviews: The Mavericks – En Español

Honorable Mention: My COVID-19 Early Voting Experience

40th Annual Tejano Music Awards Winners

Song of the Year – Ahora Sigo Yo – Stevie D

Male Vocalist – Jay Perez

Female Vocalist – Shelly Lares

Album – Jay Perez – 25th Anniversary Contigo

Conjunto Album – Los Desperadoz – Calm Before The Storm

Collaboration – Shelly Lares and Ernestine Romero – Estupida

Best New Male Artist – J.R. Gomez

Best New Female Artist – Monica Saldivar

Best New Group – J.R. Gomez & The Conjunto Bandits

Video – Stevie D – El Primer Tonto

The TMAs are usually a fancy affair with red carpet arrivals, live performances, interviews, and all that, but 2020s pandemic forced the usual crowd of Tejano Music fans to watch it from their couches at home. Thanks to the Texas Talent Musicians Association and FIERRO HD Radio, the TMAs went on virtually with live nom and winner announcements from radio personalities Johnny Ramirez, Bo Leo Gonzalez, and Bo Corona, along with pre-recorded performances from performers like Gary Hobbs, Jay Perez, Shelly Lares, Isabel Marie, Monica Saldivar and others.

Along with the celebratory awards, fans were offered a Selena tribute video of one of her Astrodome performances, an amazing rendition of America the Beautiful by various artists, and a heart-wrenching In Memorium to remind us of all those industry greats lost this last year.

All in all, I enjoyed the festivities. I didn’t have to rent a tux, I drank hot cocoa in my jammies, and connected my laptop to the big TV. I’m all for virtual concerts right now and I am in no hurry to run into an unmasked crowd at a club. Kudos to Bino Gaona of TMAs for reminding us to Mask Up, wash hands, and to distance so that we can head back toward some sort of normal.

Congrats to all involved and congrats to all the winners and nominees.

Also, just want to say that I picked Jay, Shelly, JR, and Los Desperadoz in my TMA nominee post. So, I guess I still know my Tejano talent.

Tejano Nation has a more comprehensive look at the event.

OMG! That Girl Looks Nothing Like JLo!

And that’s how some of the negative “fan” reviews began this weekend about Selena: The Series.

Once you get other little things out of the way, like, there are no mountains in Matamoros and Tejano dancers dance around the dance floor and not in one spot on the floor, well, the rest is an actual attempt at a biography of a struggling, yet short, and ultimately successful career that achieved much in terms of musical quantity and quality.

For folks whose love of Selena started at Amor Prohibido and Carcacha, or worse, for those whose love of Selena started at Dreaming of You, there seems to be disappointment in the series. For those of us who lived in the 80s and enjoyed 80s, big haired, weird outfit wearing Selena, this series has definitely been a treat and even a respite from current realities.

For those of us who have been fans of the genre for a while, we’ve enjoyed the mention of other artists and events that many of us experienced, such as the importance of the Tejano Music Awards. Whether folks want to accept it or not, there is a lot of history in this genre of music and I really appreciate an attempt to put it out there.

Now, I wasn’t going to be “that fan” who binged it. I’m going to enjoy it as much as I can, so, I only watched the first three episodes, thus far. But some of the criticism has been vicious. Some call it sanitized and white-washed. Others are blaming the patriarchy. Some even blame Netflix. I don’t really see any of what is being criticized in this regard. I’m just trying to enjoy some entertainment that touches on a little history about my culture.

Maybe people don’t want to see Selena’s family’s struggles. The food stamp scene brought out some emotions from me. The scene where the restaurant closes because of the economy tanking hit home with me, too. The scene where Abraham tells his kids that it’s OK to ask for help from the government as he paid his taxes was a speech I heard from my own Pop when we were struggling and I told him about what school kids would say about families on food stamps. It hit home.

The slow ascent to success that Selena went through was also important. Having to find an indie record label to produce, record, and distribute her music without much promotion was tough enough, but the struggle to come up with good songs and dealing with unhelpful songwriters was very telling about what Tejano bands have gone through in their careers. You can’t become a YouTube sensation when Al Gore hadn’t even invented the internets. Hell, just keeping the van and trailer running is something that still occurs in the present-day Tejano business. Showing Selena as appreciative of those that came before her (Laura Canales) was heartfelt, at least as a scene in the show.

The first three episodes provided a good foundation about Selena and the importance of her family in her success. Some of the criticism that the series is all about the dad and brother seems a little whiny. This was a family business. Selena was the main talent, but they all played a part in getting this business started, so, the story needs to be about all of them. I was even appreciative of Suzette’s struggles as a non-musician turned instant drummer for the band and the criticism from within the band as they discovered drum machines and electric drums to get the sound right. Without Abraham’s experiences in his own music career as a What Not To Do List for Selena’s career, and AB’s own struggle to become the family’s musical director, there is no Selena.

Let’s remember that even Beyonce started as a family business and that’s what it is now.

Anyway, I’m enjoying it. The early recordings featured, like Dame Un Beso, or her sped-up version of La Bamba, makes me miss my Tejano cassette collection and the GPX boombox my parents bought me at the Carrizo Springs Wal-Mart.

I’ll keep watching it. Watch it for entertainment or watch it for a little history about a Mexican American icon. But if you are watching it for a different take on the “washing machine” scene from the movie, then it may not be for you.

TMAs Announce Their Top 5

The Texas Talent Musicians Association, which produces the Tejano Music Awards, announced the Top 5 nominees in each category. There were some surprises, at least for me, but I do have my favorites.

I’m of the opinion that Jay Perez’s 25th Anniversary Contigo album, which was a Grammy-worthy (and nominated) production of actual new tunes, is the best of its kind in a long time. Of course, Jay Perez’s vocals are unmatched in the industry. I’ll also give a nod to an excellent collaboration, Ayer, featuring Shelly Lares and J.R. Gomez. Oh, and Los Desperadoz’s Calm Before the Storm was a pretty damn good Conjunto album, too! But, hey, I let them know by voting, along with thousands of other fans.

Anyway, here are the nominees and good luck to all of them. The winners will be announced at a virtual ceremony on December 19, 2020. Stay tuned!