Category Archives: DC Promo

2 DC Reviewed Albums Earn Latin Grammy Noms

tejanolatingrammynoms2016As my friends at Tejano Nation posted this week, the Latin Grammy noms are out, and in the Tejano Album category, two DosCentavos reviewed albums are nominated. Maybe they read my stuff, maybe it’s because the albums are just that good, but congrats to Ram Herrera (VMB Music Group) and Jay Perez (Freddie Records) on the nomination.

On Ram’s Mucho Mas Que Amor:  I’ve got to admit:  When I read the announcement that Grammy winning producer Gilbert Velasquez and Tejano great Chente Barrera partnered up to form VMB Music Group, I expected them to produce some amazing material, but Ram Herrera’s Mucho Mas Que Amor is one of those productions that has staying power.

On Jay’s Un Amigo Tendras:  Tejano crooner Jay Perez is back with his long-awaited release, Un Amigo Tendras. After riding the radio waves with the title track, a smooth sax-driven cumbia, we get to enjoy the other 11 tunes. That’s right–12 tunes on this Freddie Records release. Produced by Mario Ortiz, this new production really hits the spot.

Both albums get some serious rotation on “Radio DosCentavos,” AKA my car stereo.

Also gaining a Latin Grammy nomination are LA’s La Santa Cecilia for Buenaventura for Best Pop/Rock Album.

Congrats to the nominees. The Latin Grammy telecast will be on November 17.

Event: 37th Festival Chicano ~ OCT 6, 7, 8, 2016

Time to lock-in Festival Chicano on your calendar! See you there! (Note:  Saturday line-up changed as Mazz is unable to make it. Ram Herrera added to the line-up with David Lee Garza headlining.)

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DC Reviews: Stefani Montiel ~ La Dueña

stefanimontiel15Ever since the 90s, I’ve been a fan of Stefani. From her early hits like Celos and Por Que Soy Mujer, she has built a following and a career founded on a great voice and great music. Always willing to go the extra mile and try something new, she has stayed true to the Tejano genre. No doubt, her newest release, La Dueña, will rank up there among her greatest works.

Produced by Gilbert Velasquez at VMB Music, Stefani Montiel offers up some rancheras, lots of cumbias, and some beautiful ballads. Kicking off with a rockin’ intro, she leads us into Cumbia Fantasia, an acordeon-heavy vallenato styling based on sonic vocals. And if that tune doesn’t get you dancing, Loca Por Quererte will certainly get you on the dance floor; a ranchera in which she is backed up by David Lee Garza and in which Stefani lets loose on some high notes on the way to catchy chorus.

Earning radio play and popular in the DJ scene has been ¿Quien Quiere Shots?, a get-down-and-party cumbia. The ranchera, Mas Que Amigos, is definitely a hit with its harmonies and conjunto vibe. Other cumbia-rockers include Work and Delirio, which will definitely be dance-floor fillers. La Dueña brings us back to conjunto, the title-track being a proclamation of ones ownership of another’s love–it’ll be another favorite.

My personal favorite tune is Que Risa Me Das, which can only be called some sort of rock-ranchera fusion with its awesome acordeon and bajo sexto licks. It’s one of those insult tunes to a guy that deserves it.

Stefani slows it down with a classical-guitar and mariachi-backed ballad, Adios Adios Amor, in which she belts out the beautiful goodbye song. Si Fue Un Juego and Pero Why are a couple of catchy tunes with a cumbia groove. Agua Bendita is a haunting, slow flamenco-ish tune that many will enjoy. The big ending comes with a re-boot of Meghan Trainor’s All About That Bass, but in a bad-ass cumbia styling.

After listening to all the tunes more than once, I can honestly say that these 13-tracks (plus the intro) make up a full and diverse production for Stefani. There’s no doubt that she and her production team went all-out in creating something special that will be on constant rotation–at least on my MP3!

Get yours today!

 

Houston: Cesar Chavez Parade on 3/19/16

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This is always a great event.

03/09/16: Senior Activities & Health Fair

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24 Hours in Cristal

flopopeyeI spent a day in Crystal City, TX this past weekend for my mother’s funeral mass. Yes, THAT Crystal City that’s been in the news after the indictment of its mayor, a couple of councilmen, and the city manager. Recently, another councilman was indicted for human smuggling. And, then, it made national news again when the water turned black and dirty.

Crystal City has a political history in Texas. What most Chicanos see as a history of political involvement and self-determination, others saw as a bunch of young brown-skinned radicals that Texas’ then-Democrat Governor called communists. Other Dem leaders pushed back against migrant farm workers (including activists from my hometown) marching to Austin to demand higher wages. They didn’t seem to get that in the process of political change, Chicanos in South Texas saw an increase in higher education attainment and Chicanos were finally part of the political process at various levels–and by their own doing, not through political favors from the establishment Democrats who preferred docile, unquestioned loyalty.

It was during this time that I was born and grew up. A lot of these newly degreed Chicanos and Chicanas would become my teachers. I was reminded of this when two of my former teachers that I had not seen in decades attended my mother’s funeral mass. I was reminded that the History of our little town was indeed a positive one and not one worthy of blame for any problems that were actually caused by a power structure that demanded Chicanos be politically and economically (cheap workforce) subservient. Cristal was punished, no doubt, for its activism. In a sense, it’s still being punished.

When an anglo Republican, a few years ago, somehow finagled his way into the city attorneys and then the city manager’s job at a salary almost equal to that of the Mayor of Houston, a lot of people began questioning what was going on. That the guy’s salary took 1/2 the city’s operating budget was questionable enough. But now that indictments have come about because these guys were getting [allegedly] bought off to ensure a gambling business’s success, among other things, the city has gone through a lot of embarrassment that somehow has called into question the City’s political history. What it did show was the town’s vulnerability.

Then, the water turned black, according to a few pictures and internet memes. For sure, the water had some sort of contamination. While the town’s water tower and system has always been under some sort of repair, there’s no doubt that there has been a need for major investment in the town’s infrastructure. Streets have been crumbling, pipes have been bursting, and leadership (state and federal) has been lacking. Surely, the town’s tax base couldn’t cover the costs of infrastructure development since major businesses have avoided Cristal for other area towns. Even the fracking boom mostly missed the town for other localities, while some of my friends gained a few jobs in the field. Still, we’re talking about a town of 7,000 souls who should have a right to drinkable water. A town whose population grows older and infirm. But this stuff isn’t reported in the news. (And we’re still awaiting the results of water tests from TCEQ.) And the needs of these South Texas towns, even with billions of dollars being made by oil companies, have gone largely ignored.

sawsBut I was also reminded that there are a lot of good people in the world. The San Antonio Water System sent a semi with 5,000 gallons of drinkable water to give out to the people. An environmental services company and the neighboring town of Carrizo Springs sent several pallets of bottled water to give to the elderly and homebound. Volunteers came together to make sure this happened. I felt a bit of pride in my town while I watched some of this happen.

Crystal City has turned out many survivors and fighters. And even folks like me who left the day after high school graduation who will still advocate for it and the people. The town has been through much while people who had been stepped on for decades pressed forward–at times successfully, if only temporarily. When other forces pushed for its demise, the town and its people survived. Crystal City can and will survive this.

The wheels, ever slow, are in motion as, hopefully, some good people without any self-interest will be elected to a new City Council after all the business of recalls and court dates is done. All new management will be hired to hopefully put the city on a better path. For now, though, it’s inevitable that the town will see a bit more turmoil and drama while it works out the kinks. “No hay mal que por bien no venga,” as my momma Flora used to say.

My mom loved her pueblito. She was born there, grew up there, and she and my Daddy made their family there and ran Medellin’s Texaco for decades. They even switched to La Raza Unida after conservative Democrats defeated Sissy Farenthold for Governor. Through all the changes and turmoil, we survived on love and friendship. We experienced that all over again as we returned for a day to give mom the Catholic funeral mass that she deserved. A lot of family and a lot of friends joined us, including the Flo-Fans from Facebook. Thank you for a wonderful experience. ¡Que Viva Cristal!

 

2016 Tejano Conjunto Fest Schedule

tcflogoMy FB friend, Juan Tejeda, the long-time organizer of the Tejano Conjunto Festival in San Antonio, posted the schedule for this year’s fest to be held May 11 – 15, 2016 at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center and at Rosedale Park. I know I’m making plans to be there for some of the festivities! Here you go:

Below is the complete schedule and musical line-up for the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center’s 35th Annual Tejano Conjunto Festival en San Antonio 2016 which will take place from May 11-15 at the historic Guadalupe Theater and Rosedale Park. Hope to see you in San Antonio for the landmark 35th Annual, and por favor spread the palabra and schedule to your familia and friends. Gracias.

Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center
35th Annual
Tejano Conjunto Festival en San Antonio 2016
Tentative Schedule

Wednesday, May 11/Guadalupe Theatre/10am-12noon/Free

Free Seniors Conjunto Dance
Bene Medina y el Conjunto Águila (San Antonio)

Thursday, May 12/Guadalupe Theatre/6-9:30pm/$25-$10*

San Antonio Premiere of Conjunto Blues

6-7pm Reception
7pm Conjunto Blues
Conjunto Blues is the newest theatrical/musical/multi-media performance piece by San Antonio-based musician and theater artist, Nicolás Valdez. Through live music, poetry, teatro and documentary video footage, Conjunto Blues explores the historical and social conditions that led to the creation and development of Conjunto as an original American musical ensemble and style of music, as well as an expression of cultural resistance and liberation.

8:15pm Live concert & dance with Los Nahuatlatos

Friday, May 13/Rosedale Park/5:30pm-12am/$15 per person**

5:30pm Opening Ceremonies/Poster Contest Exhibit & Awards

Hecho en Tejas: Puro Conjunto Pesado

6pm Acero (San Antonio)
7pm Santiago Garza y La Naturaleza (Jourdanton)
8pm Los Clavos del Wesso (San Antonio)
9pm The Hometown Boys (Lubbock)
10pm Los García Bros. (Eagle Pass)
11pm Jaime y Los Chamacos (Houston)

Saturday, May 14/Rosedale Park/12pm-12am/$15 per person**

Hecho en Tejas: Puro Conjunto Pesado

12noon Conjunto Student Showcase:
Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center
Conjunto Heritage Taller
Houston Accordion Performers
Southside High School Conjunto Cardenales
Los Fresnos High School Conjunto Halcón
Palmview High School Conjunto La Tradición
La Joya High School Conjunto Los Diamantes
Palo Alto College Conjunto Palo Alto
3pm Conteño (Brownsville)
4pm Conjunto Deltaboyz (Elsa)
5pm Los Nuevos Chachos de Jesse Gómez (Mission)
6pm Los Badd Boyz del Valle (Edcouch)
7pm Los Tremendos V (Corpus Christi)
8pm Lázaro Pérez y su Conjunto (Bishop)
9pm Los Monarcas de Pete y Mario Díaz (Houston)
10pm Los Fantasmas del Valle (Mercedes)
11pm Boni Mauricio y Los Máximos (Corpus Christi)

Sunday, May 15/Rosedale Park/1-10pm/$12 per person**

Hecho en Tejas: Puro Conjunto Pesado

1pm Conjunto Cats (Seguin)
2pm Conjunto Baraja de Oro (Dallas)
3pm Bernardo y sus Compadres (Laredo)
4pm Eva Ybarra y su Conjunto (San Antonio)
5pm Dwayne Verheyden (Montford, Netherlands)
6pm Los Texmaniacs de Max Baca (San Antonio)
7pm Flaco Jiménez y su Conjunto (San Antonio)
8pm Ricky Naranjo y Los Gamblers (Alice)
9pm Roberto Pulido y Los Clásicos (Edinburg)

Saturday, May 14/Guadalupe Theatre/10am-12noon/$45

Accordion Tuning, Maintenance & Repair Workshop
Tim Schofield, Hohner Accordion Repair and Parts Supervisor,
will teach you how to tune the reeds of your accordion and
maintain it in tip-top playing shape. Accordion tuning kits
will be available for purchase.

For workshop registration & info, call 210.271.3151.

* Conjunto Blues & Los Nahuatlatos Concert/Dance
$25 per person: Includes admission price, first-tier floor table seating, free reception with light food, two free drinks, and TCF program magazine. Tables of 4 available.
$20 per person: Includes admission price, second and third-tier table seating, free reception with light food, one free drink, and TCF program magazine. Tables of 8 available.
$10 per person: Includes admission price, fourth-tier single chair seating and TCF program magazine.

** 3-Day (Friday-Sunday) Rosedale All-Events Pass
$37 GCAC Members
$40 Non-Members

For tickets & info, 210.271.3151
www.guadalupeculturalarts.org

The Guadalupe Theater is located at 1301 Guadalupe St.
and Rosedale Park is at 340 Dartmouth in San Antonio, Texas.

Rio Grande Valley: Immigration and LGBTQIA+ Organizing

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Credit: UWD

Are you interested in learning on how you can get involved with immigration and LGBTQIA+ organizing in the Rio Grande Valley? Join Aquí Estamos for a free comprehensive immigration training! The training will be facilitated by United We Dream, the largest immigrant youth network in the U.S.!

We know that immigration is an issue that deeply impacts the Rio Grande Valley, but finding an LGBTQ safe space to get involved can be difficult. Aquí Estamos is creating this space for LGBTQ persons (and allies, of course) to become knowledgeable on this topic and find the resources they need. Even if you have never worked on immigration before, we encourage you to join us to get started. Here are the event details:

Saturday, February 20th 10:00 a.m. –  4:00 p.m. 
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
STAC 1.101
1201 W. University Drive
Edinburg, TX 78539
(Click here to campus map)

At the training we will cover:

  • An overview of DACA, Expanded DACA, and DAPA
  • Opportunities for organizers and non-legal volunteers in implementation
  • How to engage participants at info sessions and clinics
  • Unauthorized Practice of Law. How to avoid it, How to report fraud
  • Organizing opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley on LGBTQIA+ and immigration

Other sweet details:

  • We know it’s hard to get around the RGV, so transportation may be available upon request (Email dani@aquiestamosrgv.org for details.)
  • Breakfast and lunch will be provided
  • Coffee and tea available throughout entire training
  • Did we mention it’s a completely free training?

Don’t miss this opportunity! Space is limited.

 

RIP: Florencia (Flora) Medellin

floFlorencia “Flora” Medellín was reunited with the love of her life, Anastacio “Tacho” Medellín, in heaven on January 13, 2016, surrounded by her children, grandson, and son-in-law at Methodist Hospital West in Houston, TX. She was born November 5, 1930 to Jesus Serna and María Teran Serna in her beloved home town, Crystal City, Texas.

She grew up in Crystal City, traveling as a migrant worker, with her family, to the cherry orchards of Wisconsin, the tomato fields of Indiana, and the agri-fields of Texas and North Dakota. In the summer of 1949, her family pulled up their Texas roots and relocated to Decatur, IN, in search of a better life. While living in Indiana, she worked as a chicken plucker in a poultry processing plant, steam-press operator in a dry cleaning shop, and even considered training as a nurse in neighboring Illinois. Alas, her mother’s tears stopped her from pursuing her dream of becoming a healthcare worker.

flopopIn the Spring of 1959, while she was visiting relatives in Crystal City, she reconnected with her childhood friend and neighbor, Tacho Medellín. It was a whirlwind romance, with them spending entire days at the Popeye Baseball Tournament, at a carnival (where he won so many stuffed animals for her she had to give many of them away), and driving around Crystal City—with his sisters, Mary and Concepcion, acting as chaperones. As promised, he traveled to Indiana to ask for her hand in marriage and make plans for the wedding. They were married October 17, 1959 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Decatur, Indiana.

They returned to Crystal City where they raised their children, were active in the community, and were co-owners of Medellin’s Texaco for over 30 years. Aside from running their business and raising their kids, Flora and Tacho were avid sports enthusiasts, often willing to travel throughout south Texas to support the Crystal City Javalinas at football and baseball games—a hobby they traced back to their courtship.

flopop2After her husband’s untimely death in 1990, she lived with her children, Sylvia and Tacho Jr. in Austin, then moved to Fort Worth with Toni, Ben and Benny. During the twenty one years she lived with the Briseños, helping to raise her grandson, she lived in Philadelphia, Tulsa, Kingwood (Houston), Denton, and Cypress, where she made lifelong friends along the way.

Once she had the opportunity to travel, she took full advantage, visiting family in Decatur and Fort Wayne, Indiana several times and took a road trip through the Smokey Mountains.

During her time in Pennsylvania, she enjoyed hiking through the snow at Valley Forge Park, visiting all of Philly’s wonderful museums (the Ben Franklin Institute and the Philadelphia Museum of Art were her favorites). Touring Pennsylvania Amish Country, visiting Hershey Park (where she ate all the chocolate bars she could get her hands on), and visiting Atlantic City, NJ were all items that she was able to scratch off her bucket list.

While residing in Oklahoma she enjoyed visiting several reservations, the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve, attended PowWows, and picnicked at Lake Tenkiller. Taking a trip to Cheyenne Frontier Days and attending the Daddy of ’Em All Rodeo was one of her favorite western road trips.

On her many trips to New Mexico to visit her grandson at college, she visited Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and made a pilgrimage to El Santuario at Chimayo. In a life filled with highlights, watching Benny graduate from college, perform at the Greer Garson Theatre, and sing with the Santa Fe Opera were amongst her proudest moments.

When she could still travel, she also enjoyed visiting friends and family in Crystal City and San Antonio.

Flora was an active and committed Democrat, working through social media to “Flo the Vote.” She loved holding court at political events, attending Senate District and State conventions, and staying up late on election night to watch the returns. She and her family hosted political fundraisers for various candidates for public office (even some Republicans attended and donated just so they could have some of her famous tortillas). Casting her ballot by mail every election was a priority—even when she was being wheeled in to surgery or recovering from a serious illness. As she grew older and more frail, she would remind her kids to order her ballot by mail as soon as she could because she wanted to cast her ballot and have it counted in case she “didn’t make it” to Election Day. She was an active member of the Kingwood Area Democrats, Democratic Women of Denton County, Stonewall Democrats of Denton County, ROADwomen, and South Denton County Democratic Club (SoDeCo).

In 2012, she embarked on a new adventure in Assisted Living where she made many new friends, took up new hobbies like oil painting, jewelry making, and pokeno, and enjoyed her new found independence. Her final residence was at Solera at West Houston where she loved the crafting, gaming, sing-a-longs and therapy pet visits.

Left to mourn her passing and celebrate her life are her children, Anastacio Medellín Jr., Sylvia Medellín, Maria Antonia “Toni” Medellin; son-in-law Benjamín A. Briseño (all of Houston); her grandson, Benjamín Alejos “Benny” Briseño, Benny’s “honey bunny” Taylor Servedio, and her great-grand-cat, Beatrice of Los Angeles, CA; adopted daughters, Veronica Gamez and Charlene Valda Tanner; adopted granddaughters, Ariadna “Ari Hayek” Orozco and Andrea Ramos; brothers Jesus Serna, Louis Cerna, and Hector Serna (Karen) of Decatur, IN; sisters Maria de Jesus Serna Espinola, Guadalupe Serna Garza, and Herminia Montalvo (Jose) of Fort Wayne; brothers-in-law Manuel Medellin Jr (Beatriz) and Manuel Cerna (Regina); her aunt Virginia Guerrero Teran of Crystal City; her best friend Elena “Nena” Puente of Crystal City; her comadre Maria Ana “Nena” Vera Guzman of Corpus Christi; numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, godchildren, and fellow DWDC alum Judith Banks Ford and Jan Marie Goode. She also leaves behind friends from coast to coast, numerous Bingo Buddies, and Crafting Comadres at Solera and at Seven Acres Jewish Senior Care.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Jesus and Maria Serna; her beloved husband, Anastacio Reyes Medellin; adopted son, Mike Kelley; sisters Aurora “Lolly” Serna and María “Maruka” Serna Ortiz; brothers Rodolfo Garcia, Elias Casiano, Eriberto “Beto/Bob” Serna, and Jose Z. Serna; beloved sisters-in-law Consuelo “Connie” Serna, Tomasa “Tommy” Mendez Serna, Olivia Coronado Serna, Mary Medellin Juarez, and Concepcion Medellin Garcia; brothers-in-law Olegario Medellin and Joaquin Medellin; pets Poochie, Lobo, Precious, Chico, Sugar, Chato, Steven, Guero, Gertie, and Jackie.

In lieu of flowers, we ask that memorial donations be made to the following, or to your favorite progressive organization, in her honor:

Because Flora never could stand to see anyone hungry: The Houston Food Bank 535 Portwall Street Houston, Texas 77029 713-223-3700 HoustonFoodBank.org

Because Flora believed that everyone deserved to live the American Dream: FIEL Houston 6610 Harwin #214 Houston, TX 77036 fielhouston.org

Because Flora was convinced that they key to success for women was the ability to understand and control their reproductive system: Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, Inc. Promotoras Program (community health workers) 4600 Gulf Freeway Houston, TX 77023 713.522.6363 ppgulfcoast.org

Because Flora wanted to see a Democratic President supported by a Democratic Congress: James Cargas for Congress Cargas for Congress 2450 Louisiana #400-777 Houston, TX 77065 713 581 0072 jamescargas.com

VIDEO: Amanda Edwards for AL4

For your consideration…