Category Archives: Historia

RIP: Jimmy Gonzalez (Grupo Mazz)

I was in the middle of celebrating my birthday with some friends and breakfast tacos when I got the alert bearing the awful news of music icon Jimmy Gonzalez’s passing. It wasn’t until I made it home that I got to think about the impact he made in the Tejano music industry over 40+ years of performing, producing, composing, and singing.

An accomplished guitarist, Gonzalez was the musical director of the iconic Super Grupo Mazz, founding the band with his childhood friend and vocalist, Joe Lopez. So close were the two that they were actually both born on the same day, say year, and 30 minutes apart. Started in 1978, the group, with RGV Onda Chicana roots, took a bold turn toward Spanish-language pop and cumbia music producing albums that weren’t easily accepted by Chicanos–who didn’t expect some boys from Brownsville to perform disco-esque music en Español. Adding some much wanted rancheras and polkas to their follow-up albums shot them toward being a radio and fan favorite.

Hoy, Laura Ya No Vive Aqui, Yo No Se, Calla, and many more hits recorded under an indie label provided a solid foundation during the 80s. But when the 90s heyday rolled in, it was labels, such as CBS/Sony and Capitol/EMI that would catapult them toward regional, national, and international success. Songs, such as Laura, No Te Olvidare, and Ven Devorame Otra Vez would turn into record album sales which then turned into year-round touring, which included luxury coaches and semis to carry light shows and professional PA systems. From nightclubs to ballrooms in rural towns to convention centers in big cities and even arenas around the US and Mexico, they attracted thousands to their shows. They’d even lend their talents to political fundraisers throughout South Texas, as both Joe and Jimmy experienced the challenges that most working class Chicano families experienced and wanted to change for the better by supporting good candidates.

Leading the musical charge for Mazz was Jimmy Gonzalez, who took on producing, arranging, booking, and management duties along with his edgy and innovative guitar playing and harmonies. Though the Tejano bubble of the 90s was short-lived while Tejano radio stations closed and an internationalized music industry gave less respect to the Tejano genre, Mazz continued to work, though, by 1998, Jimmy and Joe parted ways, each with their own projects and goals. But, yes, Mazz continued.

With a Texas-based label, Freddie Records, Gonzalez and Mazz would record 18 albums over the course of 19 years. Gonzalez’s latest, Porque Todavia Te Quiero, was just released in April and enjoying the usual airplay earned by Mazz’s reputation for producing good music. Many Tejano Music Awards and Latin Grammys later, Gonzalez was definitely enjoying his success and what he offered the industry. He also enjoyed working alongside his sons who were an integral part of his organization.

My friends at TejanoNation have more to add about Jimmy Gonzalez.

Thanks to my sisters, I was introduced to Mazz in 1979 (on 8-track tapes) and my first live show was a concert thrown by the CCHS Senior Class in 1981 at our football stadium. Yeah, I was a kid at the time. Since that time, I attended many shows and I was even at the live recording of Una Noche Juntos:  Live at San Antonio’s Rosedale Park in 1992, along with 8,000 of my closest (like sardines) friends, during my college days. My mom and her comadre would joke that one was Joe’s girlfriend and the other was Jimmy’s, they loved their music that much. So, one can imagine that many memories were flowing throughout the day and I wasn’t the only one going through this. So many of Jimmy’s fellow musicians and singers, along with DJs and promoters, posted throughout the day of their experiences with Jimmy–at concerts, at recording studios, and everything in between. The Tejano music industry, though competitive at times, is a very tight-knit group. It’s really a family and it has lovingly come together to celebrate Jimmy’s life.

DosCentavos sends condolences to the family of Jimmy Gonzalez and the Mazz organization, as well as Freddie Records.

Follow TejanoNation for the latest.

 

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Lupe in the News [TXGOV)

I’ve been impressed with coverage of Dem for Texas Gov, Lupe Valdez after her historic and solid victory in May. Here are links to some of the stories that caught a national audience:

Lupe Valdez on NBC

Lupe on Ending Gun Violence (A response to Greg Abbott’s non-plan)

Lupe on AMJoy (MSNBC)

I’m glad to see stories about Lupe and for what she stands. These are the kinds of stories that Democrats should be sharing now through November.

All the other BS of possible impeachments, possible indictments, possible pardons, and other White House BS  does nothing to energize voters. Dems need to show off what they’re offering as an alternative to despots and racists. And I’m joining this effort.

 

Privilege Sure Has Its Privileges

The Austin Police, the Feds, the White House, and the media have done an amazing job of describing the murdering serial bomber from Pflugerville.

He’s “challenged,” says the Austin police chief. Others say he was “troubled.” Friends say he was “reserved” and “nice.” Law enforcement and media parade him around in pleasant photos of some of his better days while stating that he didn’t say “terrorism” in his confession video–or anything about terrorism or a motive. And since he mentioned personal problems, he must have been “challenged.” Certainly, official people don’t think of him as a terrorist.

And these are the same people who push for mandatory minimums, defend cops who kill unarmed black and brown people, and railroad through the courts any low-grade offender who can’t afford a lawyer or bail–mostly black and brown.

But this murderer did plan these attacks. Some might say meticulously. He did build these bombs part by part–from Home Depot! And he even stupidly ended up trying to send them by FedEx, leaving a trail. And he knew he killed two people and injured several more. Hell, he kept going after he killed the first individual and attempted to kill many more. He wasn’t even sorry for it. And he did what most terrorists do well–kill themselves.

This wasn’t some crazed 2-minute episode with an AR-15. I’m of the belief that when you’re at a point of mass murdering during an extended time period, you pretty much know what you’re doing. Some do it for politics, others do it for sheer enjoyment. And if you’re the government or a white supremacist group, well, you can have it both ways. Both get so challenged sometimes, right?

One thing is for sure. The descriptors of the dead murderer, the murderer’s family and all their “god” talk, and some might say the practices of law enforcement, all have exhibited and promoted the privilege afforded to some in our society. Meanwhile, the victims (including their families) are victimized all over again because this murderous man (he’s definitely not a kid) has already been labeled by official people as challenged, troubled, etc.

I won’t get bogged down in definitions of terrorism or his background and upbringing. We already know he did it. But the manner in which official people with badges take up the PR job for people who, in their eyes, don’t fit the profile of a terrorist is quite the art form. And the media is no help in failing to challenge law enforcement.

Privilege sure has its…privileges.

TMA Fan Fair ’18 in SA This Weekend

From the inbox:

#tejanomusicawards2018 Media Alert #tmafanfair2018 #sa300               

Monday, March 12, 2018                                                                                      

TEJANO MUSIC AWARDS FAN FAIR 2018 

Set for March 15, 16, 17, 18, 2018 at Historic Market Square San Antonio

Celebrating Over 21 years of showcasing Tejano Music Bands from Across the U.S.A and the World!

Four Days of  FREE Non-Stop Tejano Music 

CLICK HERE FOR SCHEDULE

Over 200 Tejano Bands from Across the U.S.A & Mexico

TMA FAN FAIR 2018 WEEKEND, THURSDAY-SUNDAY, MARCH 15-18, 2018 AT MARKET SQUARE:

WHAT:  Tejano Music Awards Fan Fair 2018: Four days of FREE live Tejano music on five stages

WHEN:  FREE ADMISSION; 12 Noon – 11:30 pm, ThursdaySunday, March 15-18, 2018

WHERE: Historic Market Square in downtown San Antonio, Texas

VISUALS: Live Performances, autograph sessions for fans and an estimated crowd of 95,000

CLICK HERE FOR SCHEDULE

KICK-OFF CEREMONY ON THURSDAY, MARCH 15:  Members of the working media are invited to a ribbon-cutting ceremony at noon in Market Square during which a City Councilman will present a proclamation from the City of San Antonio.  TTMA officials and Tejano artists will be available for interviews.

SAN ANTONIO, TX (03-12-2018) – Texas Talent Musicians Association (TTMA) presents the Tejano Music Awards Fan Fair 2018. Set for March 15-18, 2018. (ThursdaySunday). Thousands of Tejano Music Fans from across the country will travel to Historic Market Square in Downtown San Antonio for the Tejano Music event of the year.

The four-day event  runs from 12:00 noon to 11:00pm each night and will showcase over 200 bands from across the U.S. to include Arizona, California, Colorado, Michigan, New Mexico, Florida and of course Texas. The TMA Fan Fair draws over 95,000 die-hard fans each year and offers an up close and personal atmosphere with live music on five stages featuring emerging acts and top established performers as well as surprise guest performances.

There will be a variety of foods and beverages at this family oriented event as well as crafts booth selling t-shirts, caps various items and face painting for the kids. Fans will get exclusive access to their favorite artists participating in the special autograph sessions featuring, Ram Herrera, Andres Salgado, Miss Reina Latina San Antonio Sydney Gonzalez and Miss Reina Latina San Antonio Teen Giselle Gomez scheduled during the four days of TMA Fan Fair.

The Tejano Music Awards continues to shine each year by producing the largest Tejano Music events in the country. Scheduled to perform this year Michael Salgado, Jay Perez, Stefani Montiel, Los Palominos, Hometown Boys, Ricardo Castillon Y La Diferenzia, Isabel Marie, Ben Ozuna, Sunny Sauceda, Fama, DJ Kane, La Calma, David Farias, Eddie Gonzalez, Ricky Naranjo y Los Gamblers, Joe Bravo, Patsy Torres, Avizo, Conjunto Romo, Adalberto, Rio Jordan, Stephanie Lynn, Da Krazy Pimpz, Boni Mauricio, Bajo Zero, Los Garcias Brothers, Bad Boyz De Valle, Massore Erick y Su Grupo Massore, Carlos y Los Cachorros , Pio Trevino , Xelencia, Augustine Ramirez , Massore, Joe Posada, Angel Gonzalez y Vimana and many more.

CLICK HERE FOR SCHEDULE

San Antonio the “Tejano Music Capital of the World”, will host the 38th Annual Tejano Music Awards Show for Fall of 2018.

For the latest information on Tejano Music Awards Fan Fair 2018 and performance schedule please visit the official website  at www.tejanomusicawards.comSchedule is subject to change.

Tejano Music Awards Fan Fair 2018 Sponsors : Budweiser, Hermes, MetroPCS, 7up, Squirt, WellMed, RDS Marketing

Tejano Music Awards Fan Fair 2018 Media Sponsors : KEDA 99.9FM San Antonio, La Prensa San Antonio,

Magic 106.5 FM Lubbock, Q99FM San Angelo, Z93FM Laredo, Star 106.3 FM Abilene, La Pistolera 95.1 FM Rio Grande, Tejano 1600 AM Arizona, Bnet Radio, Tejano Nation

Texas Talent Musicians Association (TTMA) is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to promote professional excellence; a better understanding and greater appreciation for Tejano music; and to provide a public forum for songwriters, performs and musicians in order to recognize their artistic efforts and achievements through the annual Tejano Music Awards and related events. TTMA is based in San Antonio, Texas.

 

The Latest in Harris County Voter Data

Thanks to Hector de Leon from the County Clerk’s Election Office, I’ve got my hands on the latest on the county voter registration rolls. FYI, when they break down the Hispanic numbers, they’re just estimates since they go by surnames. When registering, we are not required to give our ethnicity.

That said, there are 2,119,052 voters whose status is active. And of that, 470,041 are Spanish surnamed. That’s 22% of the voter rolls, folks. And if 20,000 or so would fix their status, we’d be closer to 500,000.

When broken down by congressional district, the county finds that 57% of voters in CD29 are Spanish surnamed. But in a show of “we’re everywhere!” we are anywhere from 14 to 22 percent in the other CDs. In the “hotter” races for CD2 and CD7, Spanish surnamed are 16% and 14%, respectively. In my own very Democratic CD9 and in Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee’s district, Spanish surnamed are at 19%. But when one looks at CD22 and CD36, which are quite suburban, Spanish surnamed are at 22% and 20%, respectively.

We’re everywhere! And this is a good thing because the ability to impact elections in Harris County is not just in one particular area, and “control” of GOTV efforts are not in any one group of politicos. On the other hand, there is plenty of opportunity to GOTV for those who really want to put in the effort and money. [I’m talking to those big money raisers and groups who GOTV, now.] Particularly when it comes to registered non-voting Latinos who often go ignored, or easily scapegoated, depending on the political party.

One particular set of data to note is how County Commissioner’s seats are broken down. What used to be a stronger Hispanic opportunity precinct, Precinct 2, is at 39% Spanish surnamed. I recall arguing before the County’s redistricting lawyers that while I appreciated Precincts 1 and 4 becoming more Hispanic and it seemed like a good thing because it showed we’re everywhere, it wouldn’t take much cutting from both precincts to bolster Precinct 2 as a Hispanic opportunity district. They didn’t listen. This is important as Latino candidates in the Pct. 2 Democratic Primary fight for whom gets to the chance to knock off a GOP incumbent, thus adding some needed diversity to the Court. I guess it’s important for those of us seeking partisan balance at the County, too.

There’s some 2014 data through which I need to sift that gives a clearer picture about where Latinos voted and in which Primary in 2014, and, no surprise, one finds those more “conservative” ones in the more suburban areas of the county. Has there been much change in how these Latinos feel about one side versus the other after a year of Trump? Are there new voters who haven’t even been given attention by either side? Well, I wish Latino Decisions would give it crack to find out.

Anyway, no doubt there has been growth. Voter registration efforts continue and there’s plenty of time to further impact these VR numbers toward November. What this tells either side of the political spectrum is that upwards of a quarter of the voter rolls are up for grabs if a political party takes that segment seriously in its GOTV efforts.

As Tony Diaz and I discussed on Tuesday on his radio show, it takes more than speaking Spanish and eating a taco in public. It takes being in tune to where Latinos are on the big issues. Those are usually Education, Health Care, Economy (jobs), and of course, Immigration. And I’m pretty sure a lot more of us are listening–whether you’re speaking to us or not. And that’s how November decisions are made.

Anyway, this is where we’re at regarding voter registration.

 

 

 

 

RIP: Juan Gabriel

JUAN_GABRIEL_2014_Thumb

Alberto Aguilera Valadez “Juan Gabriel” (1950-2016)

“Mientras exista alguien que cante mis canciones, Juan Gabriel vivirá.”

RIP ~ Emilio Navaira

emilioThe passing of Grammy-winning performer Emilio Navaira has sent shockwaves through the industry–affecting fellow musicians and fans alike. At 53 and riding a wave a success after what many consider a second chance after a horrific tour bus crash in Houston sent him to the brink of death, it would seem Navaira had many years to go in his storied career.

Late Monday night, tweets and Facebook posts from friends, family, and fans announcing Emilio’s death took over news feeds, as well as YouTubes of videos and songs he made famous. Some were songs from his 90s heyday with Emilio and Grupo Rio, and for others, like me, who followed him since the mid 80s, it was tunes from his stint with David Lee Garza y Los Musicales, where he launched his career in his early 20s.

As popular as he was in Texas and the US, Emilio was filling seats in Mexico in the last weeks of his life, and he was expected in Texas this weekend. His most recent album released in 2015 was one of duets, Juntos, with Tejano figures, including vocalists with whom he used to compete for business, such as Ram Herrera, Jay Perez, Ricky Muñoz (Intocable), Michael Salgado, Max Baca (Texmaniacs), Bobby Pulido, Marcos Orozco, Ricardo Castillon, and his old boss David Lee Garza. The CD also includes a re-do of his monster hit, Juntos, with his sons Emilio and Diego, and daughter Emely. In a MYSA.com article, Michael Morales , a long-time producer for Emilio, stated a new album was in the works, but no news as to completion.

Emilio leaves a catalog of huge hits, but simply going over various shared Facebook posts, it is obvious he also leaves a lot of memories. Even for me. I was recalling the mega-dances in the 90s, like the TMA Caravan of Stars at Palmer Auditorium in Austin, or a huge concert at the Alamodome, or dances in which people packed in like sardines at Cocktails in Austin. It was a an active time in La Onda. The last Emilio performance I attended was in 2013 at a Tejano Music Festival in Humble and it was a strong one.

 

Que En Paz Descanse, Emilio.

Services by Castle Ridge Mortuary, San Antonio:

Sunday, May 22 – Visitation for Fans 10AM to 5PM at Freeman Coliseum, SATX.

Sunday, May 22 – Rosary, 4PM at Freeman Coliseum (Fans Welcome)

Monday, May 23 – Funeral Mass, 1PM at San Fernando Cathedral

TPA Round-Up; Back on the Horse

flomeIt’s been a pretty emotional couple of weeks.

After spending an enjoyable Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Day after Christmas, my mom (Mama Flo Medellin) fell ill on the 27th, spent a few days in the ICU, then spent a couple of weeks in hospice until she passed on peacefully surrounded by her children, grandson, and son-in-law. We appreciate all of the messages, calls, texts, and personal visits from family and friends from all over, including some of our local elected officials and candidates. Special thanks to State Rep. Gene Wu and his awesome personnel who offered a Texas House resolution honoring my mom. Particular thanks go to my buds in the Texas Progressive Alliance who attended mom’s memorial service and offered the kindest words. I’m grateful.

And, now, it’s back on the horse time. Here’s this week’s TPA Round-up, which includes a link to Mom’s “Flobituary.”

The Texas Progressive Alliance hopes that Alan Rickman is attending a David Bowie concert in heaven as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff describes the qualities he wants in a County Commissioner to succeed the late El Franco Lee.

Libby Shaw contributing to Daily Kos continues her series on the state’s top three leaders, their hopeless pandering and lack of vision. The Texas Blues: Living in a place run by the Three Stooges of Bigotry, Snake Oil and Malfeasance.

SocraticGadfly, anticipating last Sunday’s Democratic Debate, took a cold look at the new heat, primarily on Hillary Cinton’s side, between her and Sanders, on single-payer health care vs. gun nuttery.

Before the last GOP debate, PDiddie at Brains and Eggs sensed desperation in the air. After it, the smell of fear lingered like… well, you-know-what.

CoudBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is glad that there are regulations to keep our food, air, water, pharmaceuticals, workers, and consumer products safe. We need more and better, not worse and less.

Neil at All People Have Value noted the passing of baseball Hall of Famer and Negro League star Monte Irvin. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

The TPA is greatly saddened by the passing of Florencia “Flora” Medellin, and extends its deepest sympathies to her family and many friends.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Grits for Breakfast pinpoints the underlying legislative problem that proponents of police body cameras will have to solve to achieve real transparency.

Better Texas Blog reviews the changes in penalties for not having health insurance.

Tamara Tabo laments how little we all know about our rights when we are pulled over by a police officer.

The Great God Pan Is Dead selects his favorite art books from 2015.

Paradise in Hell ponders Greg Abbott’s constitutional tantrum.

Juanita revels in the latest Ken Paxton revelations.

RIP Sheriff Jose Serna, Zavala County

serna2Believe it or not, at one point in our state’s young history, there was a political revolution of sorts in South Texas. Yes, Mexican Americans were voting…a lot. They had a good reason to vote:  Candidates with which they could identify; a liberal political platform which served regular working people; and a collective hope to effect meaningful social change after years of what could only be described as an apartheid in our own country and state. And a lot of this happened in my hometown during the days of La Raza Unida Party, a political party fed up with the racist and elitist ways of the Democratic Party of the day.

sernacampIn 1972, my Uncle Jose Serna was elected the first Chicano Sheriff of Zavala County. Prior to that, he, along with his wife, Olivia, had organized farm and seasonal workers to stand up to employers for fair wages and better working conditions. They organized fellow Crystal Citians to demand their rights to vote, to get educated, and to have a prosperous life. Their daughter Diana, played a central role in the Crystal City school walkouts as one of the banned Chicana cheerleaders and student organizers. Later on, Olivia would be elected to the Crystal City City Council, then chosen by her peers to serve as Mayor, becoming the first woman in that role. All of this under the banner of La Raza Unida. After Tio Joe ended his terms as Sheriff and took a well-deserved break, he became interested again in 1988, and won again after a contentious Democratic Primary.   His calling was about more than protecting and serving, but about making sure his community’s needs were met.

Tio Joe passed away on November 17, 2015, after a short illness, having lived just short of 86 years. He was my mom, Flora’s,  brother. He leaves to celebrate his life his daughters Diana and Olivia, as well as sons Joe, Jr., Roberto, Jose, Jr., Mario Alberto, and Eduardo–all successful kids in their own right. Roberto and Eduardo continued the political legacy, Roberto as the District Attorney of the 293rd District and Eduardo as Zavala County Attorney; however, all have served their communities well in the fields of law, education, and business.

Of course, my memories began quite early as a five-year old kid who experienced his first political rallies at La Placita in the Mexico Chico neighborhood of Crystal City. My towering Uncle Joe was a commanding presence with his trademark mustache, western bow ties, and that shiny badge. He always gave me “deputy” badges to wear, which meant I had to be the Sheriff when I played cops and robbers with my friends. As a grown-up, I made several trips back to Cristal and I made sure to visit him. Our talks were about politics, especially in 2007, when we were both rooting for Hillary, although that young guy Obama probably had a good shot. We agreed that if Obama won, we’d support him and I’d send him stickers I’d procure from the local Party office.

If I sound like a little kid going through some hero worship it’s because I am. I grew up in a politically charged town that impacted Texas History so much, even Dolph Briscoe called us Little Havana. My parents instilled in me a love and drive for political involvement in a town where we had local heroes that went beyond the high school football field. It was a time of Chicano governance; it was something to continue striving for beyond Crystal City, too.

Lately, I’ve felt a bit disillusioned with politics. The ugly head of hate and fear seems to be growing–even among so-called Democrats–and now is the time for a new crop of heroes that will fight for what is right. Perhaps I’ll increase my involvement in things political, but one thing is for sure, my Uncle’s passing has been a reminder that the work is not done and that the struggle continues.

Jose Angel Gutierrez wrote in The Making of a Chicano Militant: After Judge Gutierrez swore in all of the newly elected Raza Unida officeholders who had swept out the bigoted incumbents, “I was presented with the keys to the office suite and with a can of Lysol by Sheriff Jose Serna, who stated in Spanish, ‘Go spray the county judge’s office, the commissioner’s courtroom, and the district judge’s courtroom to disinfect any redneck germs that may remain.'”

 

Bad Ideas for Cinco de Mayo Political Logos

…and memes.

The Chipotle Fail

hillyo

The Stereotype

hillyo2

 The Good Ol’ Days!

yeb

 Cinco Mas!

cruz5

The Obvious

rubio5

A Cinco Non-Message (Actually, this one works for me!)

bernie5