Category Archives: DC Promo

EVENT on 4/24/17: Future of Public Ed in the Era of DeVos

amunited

Americans United for Separation of Church and State

Greater Houston Chapter

invites you to our Annual Meeting and Panel Discussion 

The Future of Public Education in
the Era of Betsy DeVos

Featuring:  Richard Carranza, Supt., Houston ISD; Zeph Capo, President of HFT,  Dr. John Ogletree, Pastors for Texas Children

Moderated by Juliet Stipeche
Director of Education, Mayor’s Office, City of Houston
 
Monday, April 24, 2017
Reception and Annual Meeting – 6:30 pm
Panel Discussion – 7:15 pm
 
Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston Event Center
3303 Main Street, Houston, Texas 
 
Event is free and open to the public          Free parking available
         RSVP appreciated:  americansunited.houstonchapter@gmail.com

 

 

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DC Reviews: The Mavericks ~ Brand New Day

It is indeed a brand new day when The Mavericks release new music. The run-up to the release of Brand New Day included the release a few tunes to appease the fan-base, while ensuring that they didn’t give away the store as to what was to come.

Brand New Day is exactly what fans (old and new) ordered, as The Mavericks created a 10-track production that speaks to different feelings and different situations. Described as genre-bending, the band achieves such distinction on this album, while staying true to the Rockabily-Latin-Country-Americana sound that has solidified them as one of the most popular live acts in the country.

Raul Malo is ever the voice-master on every track, providing a strong voice that can go from tenor to baritone without much effort. Such is evident on the show-starter, Rolling Along, a tune about tough lives being cured by something medicinal. “What’s gonna happen is still gonna happen the one thing that you can count on, don’t fix what ain’t broken while Willie’s still smokin’, we’ll just keep rolling along.” The acordeon, banjo and fiddle make this countrified rancherita one that can easily be sung to around a campfire.

Brand New Day, which has already been getting played on various online services, is quite the love song. Just what is being loved is left up to you. A significant other or a country to which you emigrated or were born in that is in distress (because of some cheeto-lookin’ character, maybe?), the powerful lyrics make it known that whatever it is, it is worth fighting for it. “It’s more than a game I don’t want to lose, there’ll never be another like you.” Powerful.

Following is Easy As It Seems, a rockin’ tune  which has a similar feeling to the title track. With it’s descriptive lyrics, such as, “Take a look around you, it’s easy not to see, building walls between us doesn’t fix a thing, ignorance is blinding, they tell you that it’s bliss, they’ve been saying that for ages so will you answer this:  Do you want to get mean? Do you want to get cruel? Do you think it’s wise to be made the fool?”

What is currently my favorite tune is I Think of You. It has the all the ingredients–amazing musical elements (organ, acordeon, guitar, horns) and Raul Malo’s impeccable vocals. “I see your face lying beside me, and then the trace of  your kiss on my lips always reminds me:  Walks on the blvd, two lovers arm in arm lost in each others’ charms I think of you.” Max Abrams sax-abilities are, as always, noticeable throughout. But as the song heads toward the finish, it is Malo’s uplifting vocal that just brings it home.

Goodnight Waltz brings musical memories of historic waltzes of the past, while offering an uplifting feeling of the kind of love that is to come. The background vocalists sweeten the delivery, along with a beautiful sax solo.

The Latin-tinged rock tune, Damned (If You Do) basically describes life, and even love. “Your heart tells you yes, your mind tells you no, you can’t seem to find, which way you want to go, the moment before you let yourself go, you’ll laugh just to think you’ll do it even though…you’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.”

I Will Be Yours is an Elvis-esque romantic tango with a horn-heavy background that will keep folks swaying. “If you surrender to love so tender, until forever, I will be yours.” Fortunately, it takes a Malo-type to deliver it.  The mariachi-esque trumpets really give the tune the Latinoness it needed to make it quite special. Ride With Me is a bluesy traveling tune that takes you cross-country, while Malo once again proves his chops are unmatched.

The story behind I Wish You Well is one that grabbed me having lost a loved one recently. Written by Malo for his father as he was drifting to his end, the song describes the only thing a son who has done everything for his father can say: “Now you lie before me like a star that fell, oh, I wish you well.” Yes, it’s a tear-jerker, especially if you have, or are about to, lose someone.

The Mavericks picked quite an anthemic end to the album with the country-heavy tune, For The Ages. An ode to long-lasting love, the tune is given some power with some choir-heavy background vocals.

The Mavericks brought out the usual elements to record these tunes live in the Studio, with the help of producer Niko Bolas. They added other instruments to sweeten the music and even give it that extra power to keep the listener wanting more. What is even more evident is the freedom to be creative which comes with releasing an album on their own Mono Mundo Recordings. Although their comeback albums also had that feeling, Brand New Day seems more relaxed and has a fun-filled groove to it.

The Mavericks are:  Raul Malo, Paul Deakin, Jerry Dale McFadden, and Eddie Perez, along with the Fantastic Four, which include acordeonista Michael Guerra, and saxmaster Max Abrams.

Add it to your collection and do attend one or two of their shows. I’ll be in New Braunfels for the April 29 show (which includes Los Lonely Boys and The Last Bandoleros), and The Mavericks will be in Houston in early June at HOB Houston.

 

 

 

La Fiebre Rocks Proof Rooftop

Proof Rooftop Bar and Blackhorse Limo offered up some free live music last night with Pasadena’s own, La Fiebre.

Well known and loved by fans since their heyday 90s, the band has not lost its touch. Musically styled after the rock bands we all grew up with, the style pushes through on their biggest Tejano hits through guitar riffs and tough bass lines coupled with horn and accordion playing that can blow one away.

Should I even provide a song list? Solo Un Sueno, Eres Mi Primer Amor, Labios de Cereza, Siempre, Si Manana Viene O No, El Amor Se Acaba, the list went on. But the crowd response to Borracho de Besos was something special. Equally awesome was their recent hit, Ni El TIempo Podra.

Proof was the perfect location for a mellow crowd who loves Tejano music.  And I would suggest to Proof that they start a Tejano music series. Some of us enjoy coming out to Midtown only to find out that it’s not “$9 beer night.”

Opening band, Grupo Vital, provided an excellent set of covers. Their set-ending rendition of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ was something we all needed since we were all singing along.

La Fiebre is:

Vocals– J. Angel Cantu / Accordian & Keyboards– Julian Gonzalez / Trumpet & Sax– Jonas Flores / Drums & Percussion– Gene Luna / Bass Guitar–Joe Reynosa / Trumpet, Sax & Keyboard– Luis Ayala / Lead Guitar & Backing Vocals–Rudy Rocha.

 

 

 

DC Reviews: Joe Posada ~ Zapatos En La Mano

joeposadaJoe Posada, San Antonio’s Jazz and Tejano saxmaster, returns with a full-length production, Zapatos En La Mano, under his own Baby Dude Records. Posada continues to showcase his songwriting skills in this 10-tune album recorded at V-Music with production and arrangements by Grammy winning Gilbert Velasquez.

Posada assembled some of the Alamo city’s best session musicians, including Chente Barrera-Drums; Henry Brun-Percussion; Juanito Castillo-Squeezebox; Chris Guerrero-Keys; Eddy Perez-Bajo Sexto and Bass; Andrew Bergman-Upright Bass; and Gilbert Velasquez-Guitars. Joe Posada, Jr. backs him up on Cafecito De Tus Ojos.

The lead-off single, Tres Opciones, is quite the tune with Posada’s sax and Castillo’s accordion playing off of each other. Joe effectively uses his vocal range to deliver this ranchera. Que Cosas Hizo Dios is a follow-up ranchera which delivers its message with some powerful phrases, like, “que chulada de mujer.” I must admit, I’ve been using that kind of lingo, lately. Odiame is a standard Joe Posada ranchera–sax-heavy and very danceable–with a message to a well-replaced ex.

Posada and Velasquez seem to enjoy chord progressions throughout the album, but they are really noticeable on Palabra De Hombre, a romantic ballad given extra power with some sax and guitar solos and fills. Daring to be different, Hermosura De Mujer gives listeners a bit of bossa nova which, along with Posada’s flute, proves his versatility. Posada throws in a sexy sax instrumental, Nunca Digas Nunca–great when in need of a romantic background.

Posada dares to be different, as always, and it is very noticeable with Zapatos En La Mano‘s jazzy opening toward a solid ranchera Tejana. The tune’s lyrics are written with a little barrio lingo, while proclaiming his rightful place with the subject, despite her late-night antics. Valga La Pena is bolstered by Velasquez’s guitar throughout the song, while the powerful lyrics tell it like it is:  “Si voy a perder el orgullo sera por alguien que valga la pena.” Cafecito De Tus Ojos can easily become ones favorite tune, with its boot-stomping melody, fun lyrics sung by Joe and Joe, Jr., and its bajo sexto and accordion combos.

One of my favorite tunes on the album is El Secreto, a sweet accordion-heavy bolero, with its beautiful lyrics, “Con todo mi respeto, le cuento mi secreto, que por toda eternidad, yo la voy a amar.”

Zapatos En La Mano offers up a much needed Tejano music fix that needs to become part of the daily playlist. Posada offers up some cool tunes that will have you singing in the car and humming them at inopportune times. That’s when you know it’s good music.

I was lucky to catch Joe Posada’s Trio at the River Walk’s 507 Lounge and they’re there every weekend. But I’d sure like to catch the full band playing a couple of hard-core Tejano sets, particularly some of these new tunes. Joe Posada is one of the most respected saxophonists in the music industry and the fact that he continues to grace us with some amazing Tejano music shows his commitment to keeping La Onda strong and relevant.

One may purchase Zapatos En La Mano at JoePosada.com.

 

Inbox: Super Bowl Sunday #HoustonResists Rally

houstonresistance_flyer

Just got this in the inbox and I consider it a must attend event.

Alliance in Action will host a rally and march on Super Bowl Sunday (February 5, 2017) at noon in Hermann Park (corner of Fannin & Cambridge).

Rally will start with speakers at the Dillidiiae art instillation and then a peaceful march to NRG Park – location of the Super Bowl – along sidewalks and public right of ways around 1:00 pm.

As of February 4th, our rally speakers are:

  • US Rep. Al Green (TX-9)
  • Lane Lewis, Harris County Democratic Party Chair
  • Amy Zachmeyer, Democratic Socialists of America – Houston Committee
  • Ashton Woods- Black Lives Matter
  • Luis Lopez, DREAMer
  • Hannah Phalenberg, NARAL Pro Choice Texas
  • Rev. James Caldwell
  • James Cargas, Frm TX-7 Congressional Candidate
  • TBD, ACLU of Texas

Further updates will be posted to the Facebook event page.

Definitely a rally in which multiple issues will be addressed.

DosCentavos’ Top 10 Posts of 2016

It wasn’t a very productive year at DosCentavos.net. In fact, it’s been quite a bad year production-wise. Still, thanks to all my readers for keeping traffic steady despite a lack of content. We’ll still be around in 2017. We need to be.

Here are my Top 10 Posts of 2016 which earned good traffic from you all.

  1. 24 Hours in Cristal
  2. Juliet Stipeche Joins Turner Administration
  3. The Annoyance That Is Democratic Pragmatism
  4. Rest In Peace – Emilio Navaira
  5. Democrats Sweep Harris County
  6. Rest in Peace – Florencia (Flora) Medellin
  7. DC Reviews – Intocable ~ Highway
  8. DC Book Review – Johnny Hernandez ~ The Cottonpicker: An Odyssey
  9. Los Texmaniacs Conquer The Heights Theater
  10. Safety Pins, Obama, and Immigration Realities

12/8/2016: Panel Discussions on US-Mexico Business Environment

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PLEASE RSVP BY CLICKING HERE

Los Texmaniacs at Coffee House Live

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Grammy Award winners Los Texmaniacs made a quick trip into Houston to perform and hour-and-a-half set at Coffee House Live at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in West U. Yes, in West U.

A diverse crowd of around 100 enjoyed an equally diverse show by the Tex-Mex Conjunto outfit, which included rancheras, polkas, boleros, country, blues, and rock selections. Throughout the set, each “Maniac” had several opportunities to show off their chops, especially front-man and Bajo legend Max Baca and accordion hero Josh Baca. Noel Hernandez (Bass) and Daniel Martinez (Drums) provided some solid rhythms, too.

Much of the set came from their latest release, Americano Groove, a mix of genres that can only be called Americana music. Como Te Quiero, Herido, How Can A Beautiful Woman Be So Ugly, and Down In The Barrio were performed perfectly, while they also added the reason they earned the Grammy in ’09, Marina, Marina and Cancion Mixteca. Throw in Danzon Juarez, a Chotis, and a Ruben Vela tribute and you’ve got yourself a pretty powerful show.

The musical diversity kept the crowd energized. Personally, I was trying to escape my usual political doings by attending this event, but even Max Baca had to get political with a song dedicated to the orange guy that’s about to move to Washington DC, with the classic, Mexico-Americano. I was proud to throw up a “power to the people” fist as the song was played, even though we Chicanos were outnumbered. Needless to say, it was a great moment after a tough political week.

Max tells me that a new album is set to be released early in 2017, although American Groove continues to grow in popularity as their reach grows. Recently, they’ve toured the coasts, Canana, and the South and will continue to be busy. They’re scheduled to return to Houston on December 23rd for a show that will include Flaco Jimenez and Augie Meyers at the Heights Theater. DosCentavos will be there! Stay tuned for more information.

 

 

SATURDAY 10/29: Tacos and Vote!

Early voting has been steady all week. After four days, over 293,000 have already voted in-person, while another 73,000+ have returned their ballots by mail. To put things in perspective, that’s about 47% of the total number of early voters in 2012. In only four days. (Did I get that right?)

Some locations are busier than others, but the bottom line is that during early voting, one may vote at any of the early voting locations. As is usually the case, Saturday will be very busy, but it’s a great day to vote. And there are some good folks that want to make sure you get to vote and enjoy some culture. Nothing says culture like TACOS and MARIACHIS! So, here’s a listing of Tacos and Vote polling locations.

Go get you some! And Vote!

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Donate to UH-CMAS Academic Achievers Program

Thanks to my friend, State Representative Armando Walle, for giving me the heads up on this fundraising video for the University of Houston Center for Mexican American Studies’ Academic Achievers Program. DONATE TODAY!

The Academic Achievers Program at Austin High School was established in 1985 as the Hispanic Family College Project in an effort to increase the high school graduation and college enrollment rates in the East End area of Houston. After a five year lapse, which ended in 1998, it was resumed as the SABE– Students Aspiring to a Better Education– Program. In the summer of 2005, the name was changed to Academic Achievers Program, but the mission and structure of the program remained the same.

Once they graduate from high school and enroll at UH, they become part of the college-level AAP program and become eligible to receive a $12,000 scholarship. And this scholarship is the reason they are raising funds.

Make your donation today here!

I was proud to have spoken to a retreat of AAP Austin students years ago thanks to my friend UH Professor Lorenzo Cano. It continues to be one of my favorite memories because it is such a great program that achieves results. Please give what you can.