Wassup Rockers

Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Chile category.

Lost in Translation.

The Oscar nominations were announced. You can see the entire list ici.

Way back when every country was submitting their official entries for Best Foreign Language, there was a huge hullabaloo when Chile decided that they’d be submitting Dawson, isla 10 (Dawson, Island 10) rather than La nana (The Maid). La nana is a small movie, but got distribution, was well received (Golden Globe nomination!), and surprisingly, it had a fairly good run in NYC. In the US, I haven’t heard anything about Dawson, and I don’t think it’s had a run in the city. A lot of people, myself included, thought the Chilean committee made a bad strategic move.

And so, today, we see not one but two Latin American countries get nominations. This is a huge deal because historically (and understandably) the nominations for this category have been Eurocentric. Well, both of the nominees are neighbors to Chile: Argentina and Perú. So imagine how utterly disappointed I am that Chile had a good chance, and basically they blew it. Obviously this isn’t a dis to the Argentinean and Peruvian movies nominated, El secreto de sus ojos and La teta asustada. I’m really excited for them!

I’m not even dissing the Chilean committee for their submission, either. You want your best chances, and I guess for some reason they thought Dawson, isla 10 was that chance.

No, I’m mad about the submissions policy. This is just further proof of how weird and fucked up the rules are. I mean what the fuck is this “1 country 1 rule” business! AUGHHH!

On a side note for more outrage: Lee Daniels, nominated for Precious, is only the second black nominee for Best Director, and Kathryn Bigelow, nominated for The Hurt Locker, is only the fourth female nominee for Best Director. (See here.) And this is in the 80+ year history of the Oscars! Cripes.


No Nostalgia Here.

Hm, I haven’t been to Super 45 in a while so I’m a week late on this post on the worst songs of the 90s. It’s a pretty interesting glimpse into what sort of stuff was big in Chile.

I was quite offended that they included “I Will Always Love You” in the list; I wish they’d included notes on the songs and justified why they were included on the list. Like if they’d said “Whitney butchers the song, ¡que viva Dolly!” I’d be willing to accept the song’s inclusion on this list. But the song itself? Beautiful. Dolly Parton is a brilliant songwriter-amusement park owner-plastic surgery enthusiast, okay?

The other thing that surprised me was the lack of Laura Pausini. As a little girl I fucking adored Laura Pausini but let’s face it, she’s made some incredible mediocrities and she’s a huge star in Latin America, which I would expect to mean she’s a pretty obvious target. Totally should have been on the list. Then again, Celine Dion is on that list, and for some reason I mentally put them in the same category.

WFMU Record Fair 2009.

I went to the record fair today, a nice closing punctuation mark to CMJ.  Not that I did anything CMJ-related this year, whereas I seriously waited all year long to go to the fair today.  Thinking I’d learned my lesson last year, this time I decided to budget myself and also made a mental list of things I wanted: God Is For Real, Man, Del Shannon and Roy Orbison, and maybe some Carter Family shit.

So how did I end up dropping $40 on just two records?  Obviously it’s not that much, but I was really hoping to find a shitload of beat up $5 records, so an average of $20 per record is a little much.  I just entered the place and was immediately overwhelmed, as usual.  After sweeping up and down the aisles, I decided there were definitely some things I wanted (and could afford, cos God knows how much shit I really really wanted and couldn’t pay for it).

I specifically want to bitch about this Ska Au Go Go album that I wanted.  I saw it, noted in my mind to come back to it, and kept looking for other cool shit.  (Leonard Nimoy reading HG Wells, anyone?)  Anyway, when I finally finished making my round of all the exhibitors about 20 minutes later, I went back to the spot and looked all through the crate and… it wasn’t there!  No–it was in the hands of some guy standing right next to me.  So I kinda waited a couple of minutes to see if he was gonna let go of the record so I could swoop in on that shit.  Alas, he held on to the LP pretty tightly.  Damn you, dude!!  Heh, just kidding.  I understand how these things go: you snooze, you lose.  That’s okay, I was mostly intrigued that there was a track called “I Should Have Known Better.”  Well I just downloaded that shit, and indeed, it’s a cover of the Beatles song.  Yeah, it’s pretty sweet.  Sigh, if only that record was in my hands…

Well, the more expensive one is a double LP, which inconveniently doesn’t even come in a gatefold sleeve.  It’s just a greatest hits called A Arte de Tim Maia.  It’s hilarious, almost every song sounds fine except for “Não quero dinheiro,” which skips a bit.  I imagine that whoever owned the record first played the shit out of that song, and who am I to blame them?  My dad looked at the record and pointed out that title, to which I asserted, “THAT’S THE BEST SONG IN THE ENTIRE THING!!” even though this statement might not be true.  Anyway, I felt kinda wack about having paid “so much” for the record when I’d gone into the Metropolitan Pavilion looking for deals, but by the time I got to side B of the second LP, I was just crying and crying from the thrill and the honor of getting to hear this seriously beautiful music. In conclusion, it was totally worth the money and I’m very happy with this find, even if it’s a minor Best Of.

The less expensive (but still kinda costly) record is a compilation of Chilean jazz from the first half of the 20th century.  I haven’t listened to it and I’m kind of scared to.  The seller had several records that seriously caught my eye, including a nice copy of a Joe Cuba Sextet record that cost less than the Chilean jazz one, but I wondered, “Which album is more likely to be here next year?”  I understood that Chilean jazz ain’t as in demand over here as, say, bugalú, but at the same time it’s more rare to see a record of Chilean music at all, so I decided to go with it.  Plus, the Chilean record is sealed!  Do I dare open it?  Of course!  I can’t wait to see what treasures it contains.

I don’t know that my experience was wild as previous years–for some reason the whole affair seemed a bit more muted today, did I imagine it–but I still had a lot of fun.  The best genres to check out were the kids’ albums.  My friend and I found a Topo Gigio record!!  He was da bomb.

I’ve been all right, just listening to a lot of this and that.  One of my classmates burned me a copy of The Saturdays’ Chasing Lights, which is surprisingly excellent.  So many of the songs could have been major singles, really!  I’m smarting from the Sugababes breakup fiasco, so at least it’s nice to see that there’s a new generation of pop tarts bringing cute escapist ditties to the masses.  They don’t write their own songs, but they do sing live!

Also, I’ve gone back to obsessing over Zoé.  Mostly because I randomly developed a crush on Sergio, their guitarist?  Mostly because I get the feeling that he’s one of those betas who could really be an alpha if he wanted, but he can’t be bothered because he already knows he’s fucking awesome and doesn’t need that validation?  Regardless, I’ve been going through their old stuff and I’m loving it.  I found an episode of Verdad y Fama on YouTube featuring the band and they pretty much verify that the band members, especially León, are pretty much fried out of their minds, not that it was too hard to tell.

Dude, watch that video!  It’s not even their best song, but look at the way people are singing along.  It’s a huge fucking crowd and they all know all the fucking words.  It’s amazing.  I love this band so much, I wish they’d come to NYC more often.

I’m finally looking forward to stuff, too, after a long funk of not caring about what was next.  First, I can’t wait for the new Shakira, which seems like it’s becoming an unmarketable dud for her label.  I can’t believe “She Wolf” hasn’t really taken off, “Loba” is doing pretty well on MTV Tr3s and I personally fucking love that song. Awooooo…!!  The last English album of hers I bought was Laundry Service, which in hindsight I find a bit blah, but this single has me really excited and I’m totally gonna buy the new album.  I also found out that Gustavo Cerati, god bless his Jewfro’d self, just released a new album and I can’t wait to track it down and listen to it.  Not only that, Javiera Mena is finally gonna release her second full-length (about time!!) and apparently she did a song with Jens Lekman!  Hope it turns out well.  She’s also busy at the moment opening for Kings of Convenience, who also have a new album out and I’m trying to decide whether I want to hear it.  My undying crush on Erlend tells me to do it, but half of the time I find their shit beautiful and the other half I find it boring.

Y’know what I mean?

Aubele, Niña Dioz, Bomba Estéreo, RH+ y la Lafourcade @ Bowery Ballroom, 7/9.

Qué onda, I have to keep this short. Long story, but obviously don’t have a chance to do my usual let’s-make-the-post-as-long-as-possible thing.

Okay, last night I went to the Bowery for the LAMC showcase, mostly to see the most lovely Natalia Lafourcade. I actually sat at a table in the upstairs section for a bit, but I learned my lesson: the best way to go is to be out on the floor. I had a pretty sweet time. There were a lot of acts so here are a few words about each of them.

First off was Federico Aubele, hailing from Argentina, and I was surprised because I thought he had a bigger following. Unlike all the other artists (aside from Natalia) he was the only one with whom I was familiar. I hadn’t been impressed by the stuff I’d heard before, but I was pleasantly surprised by his brief set. I’m definitely going to revisit his recorded stuff.

Second was Monterrey’s Niña Dioz, and I swear to god, I was tickled by her presence. I just didn’t expect her and her sound… she mostly reminded me of Lady Sovereign, mostly cos she was tiny, too. Wow, I was just shocked that she was rapping for real, but I still couldn’t help that just last year (it was just last year, right??) La Mala Rodríguez was kicking LAMC ass. Niña Dioz was an oddity, but after two songs I got over it.

Next was Bomba Estéreo, from Colombia. By this point I saw the floor filling up and I decided to join in because I wanted to be right up front for Natalia. Bomba Estéreo were EXCELLENT. I knew nothing about them but the lead singer girl just comes out and she’s like, “¡¡CUUUUUMBIAAAAA!!” And you can imagine what came next. Or not! She wasn’t joking about their sound as “psychedelic cumbia.” The only thing that sucked is that they got too into their music, so that they would just draw out the psychedelic sounds to the point that it tested my patience and also felt kinda masturbatory in their part. Obviously it would have been fine if they’d been headlining but c’mon, son! If their music hadn’t rocked and if they hadn’t had such a punkass attitude I would have jumped on stage and punched them into silence.

I’m pretty sure Hector Buitrago was there!!! I love him. It’s too bad I missed him tonight at Celebrate Brooklyn. I saw him pop up at the venue when Bomba Estéreo came on.

After that was Chile’s RH+, who were okay. That’s all. Of all the musicians, I think they were the oldest, either late 20s or early 30s. (At least that was my perception.) I don’t know, man. I just couldn’t believe they came all the way from Chile when there are plenty of bands with their sound right here in the city. Underwhelming, though confident and well-rehearsed.

AND THEN: Natalia. And two band members, one who was on synth and xylophone and backup vocals, and also a drummer. Natalia was so beautiful and er, Lilliputian. Como una muñeca de porcelana, pero no como las extrañas que me dan heebie-jeebies. She was so full of joy, every statement she made was pretty much followed with a giggle. Her thank yous were so sincere and she genuinely seemed to want everyone to just love her new material.

I think bands like Grizzly Bear would just seethe with jealousy if they heard her music. They would go into a small room and weep to themselves, “Why didn’t I think of that melody first??” Her music is a refreshing pop delight, and I think I left the venue with cavities she was so damn sweet. I can’t fucking wait to hear the new album and I hope she comes back to the city real soon. The music was so uplifting.

I just want to say that her bandmates were right on. It wasn’t just that they were competent and focused in doing a good job, or that they were happy to be there. It was more like, they were so ecstatic to be with Natalia and when she played a couple of songs alone, they would bop their heads and mouth along to the lyrics–they clearly LOVE the new songs. It was so great. Especially the drummer, I loved him so much! He was this flaco who looked like a mouse and you could tell that he’s one of those dudes who drums because he can’t mofuckin’ sit still. Even during the songs when he wasn’t drumming his ass off, he was just swaying along happily.

After their set was one more artist, León Polar. Unfortunately, it was already past 1 am by the time Natalia finished, so I couldn’t stay. (In fact, I got home at around 2:40.) As Natalia and her buds cleared their way, I waved to her drummer “¡OYE!” and when he noticed me I asked, “¿Me puedes dar el setlist?” He was kind enough to do so, and even though I said gracias, I kinda didn’t get to say it loudly enough, and there were other concertgoers behind me clamoring for a setlist, too, so he was distracted and didn’t hear me. I wish I’d had a chance to ask him his name, so I could thank him appropriately. Oh wells.

I don’t have a scanner or whatever unfortch, but here is what the setlist says:

Bowery Ballroom
Natalia L

Cursis Melodías
Ella es Bonita
No Viniste
Hu Hu Hu

I will say, however, I don’t think they followed the order quite as it was. They definitely did NOT play “Casa,” probably because they were running out of time and they were too nice to be like, “I don’t care, I’ma do what I want!” Ah well. La próxima vez, right?

BTW! I thought I saw Jon Pareles at the show, but it was from a distance so I wasn’t sure. Turns out I was right! Do I get points for being geeky enough to recognize him? No? Boo.

Jesus, my post still turned out in epic length. I’m so sorry.

ND/NF 2009: La Nana (Sebastián Silva) @ MoMA.

Hurm.  Well, I’m trying to pump out as much as possible without having my computer freak out.  Let’s see how that turns out.  A couple of nights ago, I found myself amid hundreds of older people who had the free time to go see La nana (The Maid) at MoMA for the New Directors/New Films series this year.  Directed by Sebastián Silva, this Chilean movie takes explores the tense relationship that employers and employees have.

In this movie in particular, a live-in maid (Catalina Saavedra) who has served a family for over two decades finally reaches her breaking point, forcing the family to hire a second maid to assist the first one.  Of course, the original maid sees this as a threat to her turf, what with not really having a life outside of this family.  So poor coping mechanisms in the form of harrassing the new maid(s) and other such hijinks ensue.

Before the movie started Silva gave a brief intro, explaining that in Chile there is a tendency for well-off families to have live-in maids, which is not really the case in the US.  But the power dynamic between the maid and the rest of the family totally translated.  You should have been at the movie theater, it was totally packed and we were all laughing and gasping together, and at the Q&A afterwards, people couldn’t contain themselves from mentioning that they liked the movie.

It was kinda weird to see how realistic the interactions appeared to be, and even though there were a lot of gaps story-wise–in the sense that they’re not explained explicitly–there are definitely telling moments.  The oldest child does not get along with the maid, and when she asks her mother why she can’t fire the maid, the mother just has this blank look, as if she couldn’t even bear to think about it.  “Porque no puedo,” the mother replies, obviously helpless.  The daughter, too, has a huge look of guilt when the maid finally collapses, even though the two have a very passive-aggressive relationship, and this look indicates that the daughter has a more complicated view of her maid that previously indicated in the movie.

At the Q&A that followed the movie, one of the audience members mentioned Sergio Vodanovic’s “El delantal blanco,” which is part of his Viña plays.  I also thought of Vodanovic’s play the first instant I saw the maid’s uniform, but the comparisons quickly dissipated.  Although both Vodanovic and Silva use humor to show a greater critique of class differences* in Chile, “El delantal blanco” functions more as allegory and its two characters (a maid and her female employer) are  strictly representative and not three-dimensional at all.  On the other hand, Silva does flesh out the titular maid of his film considerably, so that even though we’re missing a lot of back story, her actions and reactions reveal a shitload about what motivates her and what breaks her.  The director actually mentioned that whenever he saw how maids are portrayed, they’re usually caricatures, they’re types and never just people, so he wanted to show the life a maid with more depth.  I think he can take great pride that he succeeded and that he did it with such humor.  Catalina Saavedra, too, was especially fearless and her facial expressions were priceless.  She really gets the audience to root for her character, even though the maid is obviously off.

Silva, by the way, had never heard of “El delantal blanco.”  A lot of his material came from his own experience living in a household that had several maids, and I think he even mentioned that they helped him flesh out the story.  Pretty awesome.

Fuck, honestly, I could go on talking about the details of the movie forever, but I’m worried my computer’s going to explode.  Also, I’m kinda tired.

One last thing, Sebastián Silva’s English is pretty good.  In fact, he said his next project will be in English.  Sounded interesting and I hope it turns out well.

*From what I can tell, Chile is similar to England in that both have huge class anxiety, as opposed to here in the US where we are more hush-hush about class but we’re far more openly preoccupied with race.

We Now Return To Our Regularly Scheduled Programming.

Get ready for a longass post. I know that in the blogosphere, timeliness is next to godliness, but y’all gotta understand my modem died in the ass on the 23rd and it took me a while to get back on track. Believe you me, I was überpissed that my modem died only after two months.

But part of me is really glad, because on the 23rd I went to a free panel for the NYILFF on this movie that, until the day of the panel, was titled Humboldt Park. Now it’s called… something really generic and forgettable with the word “holidays” in the title. I really enjoyed myself at the panel, mind you; the cast members present were Freddy Rodríguez, Luis Guzmán (!!), Melonie Diaz and Vanessa Ferlito. They were all really nice, and the cool thing about the footage was that they really did seem like this big, fun family which warmed my crooked little heart. Half the panel focused on the making of the film and the other half was a Q&A that veered a lot more into Latinos & the film industry in general. But I felt funny listening to the filmmakers. I’m not trynna sound like some punkass kid who’s all “FUCK THE SYSTEM,” but I felt like they were pandering too much to what the studios want. The filmmakers seemed really eager to please a wide audience (por ejemplo, the title change was, apparently, because Humboldt Park “wasn’t testing well”) and although that’s a noble pursuit, you can’t be all things to all people, so I wasn’t sure how to receive this information. More than anything, I ended up feeling worried.

The whole conversation was kinda getting me down, PERO. Then they talked about an upcoming project that I pray will not end up in some sort of development hell. The words “Puerto Rican City of God” actually escaped their lips a number of times. Holy shit. It’s gonna be based on that Tego song, “Julito Maraña.” They said the script was a beautiful mess of 160 mofuckin’ pages. That’s a shitload of pages, y’all. It’s actually gonna be filmed in the Puerto Rican ghetto, too. I don’t know where this area is but I inferred that it’s an area headed by a drug lord, and he actually gave his blessing for this movie to be filmed. They haven’t started filming though, they’re probably still working out all the pre-production shit.

I know we should be moving away from the sort of movie that makes it seem like Latin America is nothing but a destitute shithole filled with violence and pain and corruption, but I dunno… if it’s done well (I fucking hope it’s done well) and there’s true artistry involved, I think this sort of story is worth being seen.

On the 24, I went to the Public Theater to see a new play called Tío Pepe, which was part of the Public’s Summer Play Festival. I knew it was going to be a modest affair, but I had no idea that all the tickets for the play’s week-long run were already sold out. They told me I could get on a waitlist for the matinee, and since I didn’t have other plans, I told them I was game. I was the fourth person on the list and some of the people were requesting multiple tickets, but I totally lucked out and got a ticket!

I’m so glad I got in, because the play totally exceeded my expectations. Just goes to show that, even though this work is by an up-and-coming playwright, Matthew Lopez, the Public definitely produces quality shit. It had a cast of five and, although I don’t claim to be an expert, they were all really wonderful except that a couple of them had really really terrible accents. I mean that it was very obvious they’d grown up here or had lived here since infancy and that they mainly spoke English. But that’s okay, generally their delivery was really good and believable and fun.

The script was pretty good, too, lots of laughs and it was really a great way to deal with issues of escapism and self-delusion, among other things. When I found out the reason for the play’s title, I was like, “Ooh, this is really juicy info.” The other thing is that it was totally sincere about its appreciation of old school musicals. The matriarch of the family, played by April Ortiz, got to sing a bit and she had a great, booming voice. I hope this play can move up to longer runs or bigger venues. It would be a pity to just let it die.

Oh my god, and the actor playing Alejandro, the son who wasted all of his potential, was sooo fiiiiine. He’s some dude named Nathaniel Mendez, and his bio was short as hell–he doesn’t even have a Law & Order credit (yet). What is this kid doing with himself? Okay, maybe it’s because he’s not a New Yorker or something? I was shocked by the short bio, to be frank, because he was so good in the play. Hope he gets more work.

That same evening I went to see Estilo Hip Hop. Last year, I went to a screening of Raquel Cepeda‘s Bling: A Planet Rock, and they showed a preview of Estilo Hip Hop. At that point the filmmakers, Vee Bravo and Loira Limbal, were still seeking financing and were working on their footage. They showed us like 15 minutes, and I’m telling you, that after seeing the final product on the 24th, only two or three of those minutes made it into the 1-hour movie. I do remember them last year expressing their ambition to do a far more extensive project with exposure to more countries, but in the final product they focused on rappers from three countries, Brasil, Chile, and Cuba.

The screening was fucking rowdy as hell. The doc was awesome, I wish it hadn’t been just an hour. The doc doesn’t just focus on hip-hop in Latin America, it also focuses on the real activism that hip-hop has inspired, which I thought was fucking rad. The music was great, too. As ex-Prisionero (and current Updater) Jorge González said in an interview about Chilean hip-hop: “Chile es un extraño caso en el que el hip hop no pasa por los Beastie Boys, sino por De La Soul.” Loosely, “Chile’s a strange case in that hip-hop is influenced not by the Beastie Boys, but by De La Soul.” Don’t worry if you missed out on Estilo Hip Hop in Nueva York, though! Vee and Loira said the movie’s gonna air on PBS in Spring 2009.

As I noted in my overly emotional way last Friday the 25, I had wack first time at the Quad, what with the screening of Stellet Licht (Luz silenciosa) fucking up and all. As luck would have it, El Guincho cancelled all his US shows (visa issues?), which meant he couldn’t do his show at the Seaport. So Friday was just filled with disappointment. The bigger slap in the face is that they were replaced by some Brooklyn indie band. C’mon, those are a dime a dozen. I mean, yeah, the band was okay, but what makes them stand out? I was pleasantly surprised, however, to hear Atlas Sound for the first time. The tourists and other passersby didn’t give a shit, but I thought the music was good. Pop-y just the way I like it, and kinda ethereal in certain parts, too. I wonder what Deerhunter sound like.

On Saturday the 26 I went to see Malta con huevo, which isn’t ~*QUALITY*~ shit, but it still made me giggle. There were like ten of us in this hugeass auditorium, which in itself was totally hilarious. I think my favorite thing about it is the tone and how it changes from the first half to the second, but I also dig the structure of the story.

This past week I wasn’t up to much. I’m still getting used to having cable for the first time since, um, 1995. And that was cable in fucking Chile, too. I’m totally fascinated in how useless it is. (We got the service so my parents could watch Korean-language channels.) We don’t get any of the expensive channels but I was still shocked that there’s really no profanity allowed on cable. I think the bestest thing about having cable is that they show Law & Order all the time, and I’m totally addicted to the entire franchise, it’s true.

I found the Criterion Collection DVD of La haine at the library (thank heavens, cos I didn’t want to spend the money on it without seeing what was in it) and I have decided that Mathieu Kassovitz is the most handsome director in France. Also, fashion aside, the themes in the movie are still remarkably relevant. It was weird hearing the director’s commentary, though, because it was done before Sarkozy was elected, and Kassovitz is very vocal about not being a fan of the dude. But I’m still glad I listened to it, because I did get a better sense of how these kids’ lives are turned upside down in a mere 24 hours. It was cool because he also mentioned that he was on Charlie Rose, so I tracked down the interview and it was great!  It was a relief to see that Kassovitz hasn’t always had a great accent in English–when I heard how well he spoke English on the DVD, I was kinda shocked and wondered if this man was perfect.  I’m glad to see that he is human after all, and that he had to learn not to sound like the stereotypical French person speaking English. You can see the interview here. I also loved hearing on the commentary that Jodie Foster sent a copy of the movie to fucking Scorsese, imagine how Vincent Cassel felt about this? He musta pissed his pants…

I also watched American Psycho and it was pretty fucked up but I couldn’t stop laughing. It’s just that when a part was funny, it was really fucking funny. Like that whole sequence with all those interchangeable yuppies comparing their business cards… it was delightful to watch. It was exciting to find out that it was directed by a woman, just because there aren’t enough female movie directors anyway. I’m glad I heard the director’s commentary for this movie, too, just because it helped me understand and interpret Patrick Bateman a little better.

I’ve been reading a bit, too, if you would call it that. I read Agota Kristof‘s The Notebook, which had its share of disturbing moments, but the narration was incredibly and consistently well-done and the story culminated to a satisfyingly fucked up ending. In addition, I finished The Left Bank Gang and The Living And The Dead by the Norwegian comic book wonderboy that is Jason. I was pretty “meh” about The Living And The Dead, but I thought The Left Bank Gang was fucking awesome. I finally read The Rabbi’s Cat, too. Damn, I totally forgot that Joann Sfar is a dude, so you can imagine my surprise when I read the “about the author” bit in the inside cover of the book. I read Sfar’s The Professor’s Daughter which I thought was too brief and not substantial enough, but thankfully The Rabbi’s Cat did not disappoint. The story was lovely, especially because I don’t know much about the Jewish culture in North Africa, and I also loved Sfar’s artwork. Can’t wait to read the second part.

I also read a couple of essays from this book called Beyond Babar, which is about children’s literature in Europe. The only reason I picked it up at the library is because one of the essays was about Christine Nöstlinger‘s Konrad, which was one of my faves as a kid. There was also one on The Neverending Story and how it’s ~*TOTALLY META*~ in a way that the films could never capture. (Would have been cool to read an in-depth discussion on Michael Ende‘s Momo, too.) It was a cool book with a lot of discussion on translation.

I’m excited about this month. I’m gonna go see Janelle Monáe and Jamie Lidell at Central Park mañana (¡¡es gratis!!), and I’m gonna spend a lot of time at MoMA watching Coen Bros movies. They’re having a marathon! Also, next week, the Fordham University Theater peeps are staging a version of The Martian Chronicles with mofucking puppets, and the tickets are pretty cheap, too, so I’m gonna try and check out the production. Good shit all around.

Julieta Venegas, Plastilina Mosh + DJ Bitman @ Central Park SummerStage.

Went to Central Park today to see DJ Bitman, Plastilina Mosh, and Julieta Venegas. I got there 30 minutes before the show started, which was stupid of me. I mean, it’s not like I wasn’t gonna get in, but I woulda had a better spot if I hadn’t had issues with the trains. Thirty minutes before a SummerStage show is cutting it too close, especially when it’s a big fucking deal like Julieta Venegas, y’know? La próxima vez tendré más cuidado.

Can I tell you something hilarious? I totally forgot that DJ Raff was gonna play with DJ Bitman. I was so stoked to see him on stage, for real. Big step for him and for Bitman, and I’m so happy for them. I don’t know Bitman’s material too well but it was cool to hear him spinnin’, especially cos they did Raff’s “Latin ’n’ Proud.”

Weird, on the hard copy version of the SummerStage program, it says, “Chilean musical veteran DJ Bitman a.k.a. Jose Antonio Bravo (of legendary group Los Tres)…” I heard a huge record scratch sound in my head, y’know? I was like, HOLD UP. Los Tres?? I don’t know what the source for this bio was (the one on the SummerStage website is accurate), but it’s like, if he had really been in Los Tres, I sure woulda heard about it. And I probably would have paid more attention to him, because Los Tres are fucking awesome. I’ve checked out some other sources and none of them even mention that.

Anyway, it was a good set, very hip-hop heavy. They had a rapper with them, he seemed really nice, had a decent flow but mostly a chill vibe. Oh, and for one of the songs, this pale little flaquita with the shortest mini-skirt evz came out and I was confused and realized that it was Francisca Valenzuela. She did her thing and immediately disappeared. I can’t even remember what she sang, I had my earplugs on (and thank the lord cos shit was mad loud) and on top of that, her fucking mic was too low. Actually, during Bitman’s set there were major mic issues. Like sometimes Bitman would wanna say some stuff to hype up the crowd or say thanks, and they wouldn’t turn on the mic for him. Goddamn. The sound people should pay closer attention!! That’s actually why I didn’t catch the rapper’s name, but I think someone said he was venezolano? Will have to verify.

Plastilina Mosh were a surprise for me. I’m not too familiar with them and I expected them to be not unlike Bitman and Raff, just a lot of electronic stuff, so imagine how I felt when a full-on band showed up on stage. Yes, there was a keyboardist and a laptop DJ, but also two fellas mainly on guitar, a main vocalist/guitarist, a bassist, and a drummer. The drummer was a woman! That was fucking exciting, you don’t see many female drummer bumming around, you know? She was really good, too. For some reason they were all dressed as if they were in different bands, which made me LOL a little. They had great energy and it was actually really cool to see that they were muy rocanrol.

They did, however, lose me around the time they did their “we don’t really know how to reggae but here’s our attempt at reggae” song, mostly cos in my less-than-knowledgeable ears, it didn’t sound very reggae and even worse, it was kind of too slow to be playing during a hot summer day. And this slump dragged on for like three songs before the good vibes picked up again. They covered “Viva Las Vegas.” They also did this really catchy song that they dedicated to all the ladies, which was really great until they started going “Me so horny/love me long time,” which are phrases that just make me really uncomfortable.

Y qué digo sobre Julieta. Let’s start with the superficial stuff: I think she’s better-looking in person, which is incredible because whenever I’ve seen pics or video footage of her, I’ve always been captivated by how pretty she is.

I know I must sound demanding but her set was a mixed bag for me. It was way too short, for one thing, and that made me wish Plastilina hadn’t gone on for so long. Second, it was very heavy on newer material, like from the past year or so. Now, I absolutely LOVED “Primer día” and “Eres para mí,” but I’m not that big a fan of Limón y sal. I mean, I sang along to “Me voy” and “Limón y sal,” but c’mon… they’re pretty weak pop songs by Julieta standards. Also, she did the rap part to “Eres para mí,” and I almost fainted from the shock, just cos I’m so used to Anita Tijoux rockin’ the mic at that point. This live version was fierce though!! The songs included “Lento,” “Algo está cambiando” and “Andar conmigo,” which I’m not complaining about. It just would have been nice to hear some of the lesser known stuff, like “A tu lado.” ALSO! She did “De mis pasos” which is such a badass song and the live arrangement for it was awesome. Seriously, one of the best pieces she’s ever written and I’m glad she still keeps it in her repertoire.

Julieta was backed by fourteen other musicians! There was a string quartet, a 4-person horn section, and some percussionists, as well as a regular band. They were supercool, plus they all seemed to be having fun which made me happy. And she played on guitar, keys, and (the crowd favorite!!) her accordion, though half the time I think she just sang.

I think the best thing about this lineup was that they’re all acts that have been around a while. They were all very polished and professional and got through the minor technical difficulties that appeared on occasion with a smile. Not only that, the fact that these acts have been doing their thing for a “long” time meant that they were all comfortable and had a great connection which really helped the vibe. I will say that this wasn’t my best experience at the LAMC show for SummerStage but I definitely enjoyed it for what it was. In part I was a bit upset with some of the crowd, but I don’t wanna get into it because I don’t have the energy to get mad. I dealt with it as I could. And believe me, when the announcer peeps came up and mentioned how many people had to be turned away, I was definitely grateful that I got a chance to see all these musicians.

Short shorts.

(1) This dude re-did “American Boy” into “Caribbean Girl” which is painfully forced and uncreative (some would say faithful). Even worse, just a few changes in the words changes the entire context of the song. It’s more about ~*O HEY MAMI CAN I MACK ON YOU*~ and less of a fun, escapist, ephemeral summer jam, which is how I viewed “American Boy”. Una tragedia, yo digo. I got the sense that this dude is totally in love with his own voice, cos he sure likes to show off how suave he sounds.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!!

(2) Finished reading Las películas de mi vida. The idea was interesting but Fuguet didn’t follow through as effectively as in his other stories. I have to say, however, a lot of times he catches me off guard and I’m hit with some massive emotional punch.

(3) I was having issues with Soulseek–that is, I was too impatient to wait for Soulseekers to stop banning me for not sharing–so I went out and bought the Amandititita album. It was cheaper than most CDs. Yay for being on a major, huh? The album kinda lags in the second half, but it’s still kinda fabulous.

(4) New York mag asked a number of people–including RZA, Kim Gordon, and Albert Hammond, Jr.–to contribute summer playlists, which were turned into muxtapes. One of the Pistolera members participated and filled the muxtape with some great tracks. Here is the link to the muxtape. Speaking of which, I updated my muxtape.

(5) Albums I really really wanna check out:

Julieta Venegas’s MTV Unplugged, which features fucking Marisa Monte (!!!) as well as La Mala Rodríguez. You can check out the version of “Eres para mí” with La Mala at La Onda Tropical. (BTW, congrats to La Onda on their 3rd anniversary and on their mention on Latina.) I love this new version but I absolutely love the rap in the original that Anita Tijoux does. Anita’s lines flow beautifully with the rest of the song and include my favorite lines in the entire song: “el corazón es un músculo/si no late, revienta.” Besides, if I hadn’t heard this song I never would have known about Makiza which is one of my favorite hip-hop groups. Pero bueno, nothing like reinterpretation… right?

I’m also seriously jonesing for Håkan Hellström’s latest album, För Sent för Edelweiss. I don’t know what it is about him, he’s seriously one of the funnest pop musicians I’ve heard. And I’m glad he’s not a Swede who sings in English, obviously living in an English-speaking country, most of the Swedes who come our way tend to perform their music in English, and I’m sure it’s the reason Hellström isn’t well-known here. But his music’s solid! It’s unfair that he shouldn’t get the same exposure.

(6) I’ve been trying the beta version of the new Last.fm and I think it’s swell. Accessible, easy-to-navigate, fast, and easy on the eyes. Seriously, a pretty layout is crucial. It almost makes me wanna pay for a subscription.

(7) Rewatched Dogfight for the first time in years and had a good cry.  Good movie.

Worth Noting.

Man, people sure seem to be in a tizzy over Ned Sublette’s new book on New Orleans.  And why not?  I’ve read some of his previous book and it had me floored.  Seriously, I learned more about Cuba through his music writing than through any other method.  Here is the link to the interview Sublette did with Bomb that all those other blogs mention.

Itchin’ to get my hands on this new book.  And the Cuba one, too, which I’ve been meaning to buy and read in its entirety.  Sublette’s a solid writer.

Unrelated: Super 45 has a radio show that just celebrated its 500th session on the air.  Felicitaciones, y’all.  Even better, they got Gepe to do a live set for their 500th.  You can see videos of his set here.

Teatro de Chile’s Narciso @ Teatro Círculo (TeatroStageFest).

Today I went to see Narciso, directed by Manuela Infante and presented as part of TeatroStageFest. I sat on the side of the stage where the super titles weren’t visible. Right before the play started I got the horrible thought that maybe I wouldn’t understand all the chilenismos, but things went all right in the end. I had no idea what this play was supposed to be about, but I knew it involved something with pop music and youth, which is why I chose to go to this over the other plays being presented for this festival.  When I walked into the theater they were play The Unicorns, which was the loveliest of surprises, so I was really excited to check out this play.

Angélica Vial played a teen named Esperanza and Juan Pablo Peragallo played her brother Clemente, also a teen. The whole play is an exploration in the angsty youth of today, blah blah, Iron and Wine’s version of “Such Great Heights” playing in the background, etc. Sorry, I don’t mean to sound like the plot is inconsequential, it’s more like there isn’t much plot. Esperanza and Clemente have locked themselves in the bathroom of their home, vowing to never come out of there. They’re both troubled in their own ways, she’s an F student, he a D+, she’s a slut, he has no friends. Not to be quotin’ Trainspotting all up yo’ asses, but the whole thing is all about whether to “CHOOSE LIFE.”

Er, maybe I would have sounded smarter if I’d chosen to quote Hamlet: To be, or not to be… that is the mo’fucking question in this play. The answer is more complicated than I expected, mostly because there is a huge issue of reality and imagination presented in this work. Fantasy plays a major role in this play. Some of the highest emotional moments for the characters in the play are when the two are playing and letting their imaginations get carried away.

I don’t know if this is going to spoil anything, because I was confused about this point, but basically I got a whole Tyler Durden vibe from the whole thing. If this was so, then I don’t know if Esperanza was projecting Clemente, or if it was vice-versa, and if there was some sort of split self involved, then why did the alter ego manifest itself the way it did, rather than being, say, someone “cooler.” Does that make any sense?

I thought the acting was really interesting. It’s not to dis them, cos the actors were obviously trained (there were a couple of nicely choreographed scuffles in the play), not some plucky young creatures taken right off the street, y’know? It’s just that sometimes I wasn’t sure whether they were trying to mock all the kids from this current generation, as if to say “look what’s wrong with kids today!,” or if they really felt like they were these kids. That’s actually why I thought maybe there was a split self issue at play, because at times the actors seemed very sincere, and at other times it seemed like they were a bit distant from the characters they were representing.

In Limbo.

Hello all! My internet connection at home is still non-existent. I’ve been bumming around, reading Fuguet‘s Por favor, rebobinar, which has been surprising at every turn, I keep wanting to pull away and say that Fuguet is too cool for school, but he packs a mean emotional punch into his stories. True fact: I didn’t know what the word “rebobinar” meant until I was like, 200 pages into the book. I got curious so I googled it when I was at work, haha.

I missed Wire last night, who played a show at the South Street Seaport for free. I felt iffy so I stayed home… I’m sure I missed out with Wire pero bueno, ya están viejitos y solo conozco sus dos primeros discos, so I’m not that upset about it. I’m sure they put on a solid show.

I watched the National Spelling Bee, which I find equally suspenseful and infuriating. One of the few words I spelled perfectly was “huapango.” I’d never heard of the word, but they said it was derived from a Mexican geographical name o algo así, so I was able to guess it correctly without looking at the TV screen. The kid who got that word spelled the word incorrectly and was eliminated; I felt bad because “wapango” was a perfectly good guess, even “guapango” would have made sense. Sad. The kid who won was great, though; I appreciated that he took his time and really thought about the words before he responded.

I have decided that, although I’ve never listened to DJ /rupture‘s music, he is pretty much the awesomest person ever, mostly cos (a) he really really likes cumbia (omaigá, ¡yo también!) and (b) he wrote that feature on Fader about El Guinchito. Y’all should check out that recent post he made with the Julieta Venegas remix on it. I can’t wait for her to come to NYC! I had a wild fantasy that Anita Tijoux was gonna show up & janguear* con la Julieta and Bitman, but she’s gonna be busy in Chile that week, so… HEY WAIT THE FUCK UP. DJ Raff‘s MySpace says he’s playing with Bitman for the Central Park show. HOLY MUTHERFUCK. Acabo de desmayarme from the excitement yo!!!

Hey, TTSO posted an interview they did with Nuuro y también un tipo llamado Bufi. I’d never heard of the latter but I checked out his MySpace and that shit is solid, at least on first listen.

Sorry this post is all over the place. I’m putting off work and just going stream-of-consciousness.

“Another Day” by Jamie Lidell. Not that impressive, but he looks pretty fly in that suit. At least it’s not as disappointing as the video for “Pijamas” by Babasónicos.

* I have finally accepted that the Spanglish version of “to hang out” is spelled janguear and not hanguear, which is the way I’ve been spelling it for a while.

ND/NF 2008: La Zona (Rodrigo Plá) @ Walter Reade Theater.

It was the last day of New Directors/New Films stuff. I fucking missed out on one movie I really wanted to see, Etgar Keret‘s Jellyfish, but today I made sure to see Rodrigo Plá’s La Zona. The movie’s about this closed off community–it’s literally walled off–and of how they deal when these robbers infiltrate the area. I liked it a lot because it was such a timely movie, touching on topics that really interest me such as technology, surveillance, police corruption, class differences, as well as urban/suburban issues. The narrative arc of the story was well-handled, I feel, with certain little details you forget and think are throwaways until they end up playing a big role in the story.

The movie featured that really hot woman that Gael García and Diego Luna fall for in Y tu mamá también, as well as someone who had the same last name as Javier Bardem and pretty much looked like him, so I’m guessing that it was his brother. Oh, I just googled him and I can confirm that he is indeed Javier’s brother. It was cool cos Carlos Bardem was supposed to be Mexican in the movie; I suck with discerning accents and stuff but I thought he did a pretty sweet job. Maribel Verdú kept her native accent, which I also think is cool. I thought she was underused in the movie, her character was this really honest, virtuous, moral (and superhot!!) wife married to a more amoral man, but instead of being a full character of her own, she seemed to exist as a reaction to the amoral man (played by Daniel Giménez Cacho). The boy who played the married couple’s son, Daniel Tovar, was really really good. I hope people pay attention, it would be cool to see him blow up and get even meatier roles.

The movie was showing at the Walter Reade at Lincoln Center, and I was scared it was gonna sell out so I woke up early this morning and took the train down to the movie theater and made sure to get a ticket. It was $10, which, I’m sad to announce, is a FUCKING BARGAIN. I’m not gonna complain, cos I was checking out the movie listings for the Tribeca Film Festival, and those are $15 per person. Yikes!

Anyway, since I got the ticket early, I bummed around for a while at the Barnes & Noble nearby. And guess what?? They totally had multiple copies of Alberto Fuguet’s Road Story! And I totally bought a copy! For like $18! I know it’s stupid, but it hadn’t even occurred to me it would be published en los EE.UU. Then again, I never even thought Fuguet and I would be in the same country at the same time, but apparently he’s teaching some classes at UCLA (so he blogs). I seethe with envy at those kids who get to take his classes… well, unless he’s an asshole of a teacher. Who knows? Either way, I think it’s exciting that he’s only 3000 miles away. I wish he’d stick around in the country until, I don’t know, fall–he should totally come to the NYFF then! Haha.

I would like to express my beef towards the Virgin for not stocking There Will Be Blood before the release date. What da dilly, yo! You release In Rainbows weeks in advance but not There Will Be Blood? Boo!! Oh well, at least I just have to wait until Tuesday.

Hidden Gems.

I’m not going to lie, I have developed a lack of respect for the commodities I’m privileged to be able to afford and acquire. Like when Tower Records closed last year? I still haven’t listened to the So Solid Crew album I bought, and that was one of the albums that I was really happy to grab onto during those last few days of chaotic deep discounts.

Which is why I’m so happy to be hearing, for the first time, the Trini Lopez album I bought at the WFMU Record Fair a few months ago.  As terrible as it is to put away my LPs and CDs without ever listening to them, it’s nice to forget about them and suddenly encounter them.

I originally bought the Trini Lopez album for the kitsch factor.  The only song of his that I’d ever heard was “America,” which I first heard at age 7-ish in my Estúpido Cúpido soundtrack.  As I mentioned a few posts back, I used to watch a telenovela in Chile called Estúpido Cúpido that was superpopular and set in the 1960s and which spawned a really popular soundtrack full of awesome songs.

Anyway, at 7 I obviously had no idea of the history of “America” as part of West Side Story.  When I first saw the movie, already in high school and already fluent in English, I was surprised by the words of the song.  Then again, you should have seen my reaction to The Sound of Music‘s “Do Re Mi” when I finally understood the lyrics… I was like WHOAAA CRAZY PUNS!!! I know, I’m an impressionable individual. Anyway, yeah, I feel weird whenever I watch the “America” sequence in my favorite musical. I think the thing that bothers me most are the over-the-top accents. I just want to tell them “Jesus, reel it in, folks!”

I wonder why Trini Lopez chose to cover this song.

As I mentioned earlier, I just bought this record for shits and giggles, but there are some real priceless gems. This album is damn good for a live album recorded back in what? The 1960s? My favorite is “If I Had a Hammer,” mostly because I’d never heard the song and never cared to because in theory I thought it was a whiny commie song. But wow, what a great song! That melody is so beautiful!

Okay, enough about my dark past as a fan of musicals.  Actually, I still like musicals, but y’know, I’ll totally understand if you tell me you hate fans of musicals.  You’re right, they can be really intense.  But I still feel a bit bad for all the Rentheads, since it was just announced that Rent is fiiiiinally closing.  RIP!  The show opened so long ago I’ve never known a NYC without Rent.


(+) Went to MoMA to see a screening of Machuca, a Chilean movie from a few years ago. It was hilarious, it was like me and maybe 200 old folks. Uh, so when I was really little, I used to watch this telenovela called Estúpido cupido, which featured this pretty handsome actor named Francisco Reyes, and he was totes in this movie looking really fly even though he had one of those unfortunate 70s pornstaches. I mean when I was little I didn’t think anything of him, but wow, I so would!

The movie itself was really cute (and fucked up and sad!) though I thought it was totally awkward seeing these prepubescent kids pretty much making out with a pubescent girl. I like to tell myself they were only a couple of years apart but honestly, I couldn’t figure out the age difference so who knows?

The most surprising thing about this movie is that they use the word “pendejo” in Chile, too. Word?!?! What’s the point of “pendejo” when you’ve got “huevón”? Oh, I guess the connotation is a bit different for each. But I don’t ever remember using that word, and I always thought it was a North-of-the-Equator word. Seriously. And I figure they’ve been saying pendejo in Chile forever, cos that movie was set in 1973.

(+) Finally got a copy of Nuuro‘s All Clear! Yay!

(+) A few days old, but a fantastic read nonetheless, mostly because it’s probably the only list you’ll read that includes both González Iñárritu and GOB Bluth. Ahhh, too good to be true. Though it’s really annoying that they refer to my González Iñárritu as just “Iñárritu.” Okay, quick lesson on names in Spanish-speaking nations! If you were to look up the director’s name in the phonebook, or some sort of official record (birth, marriage, lo que sea), he’d be listed under “G” and not under “I.” Ugh, I guess I shouldn’t complain too much, at least they got their accents on the right vowels.

(+) I’m going to see Café Tacuba tomorrow!

(+) My mom just found my huge stash of condoms! LOLLERSKATES Y’ALL. She asked me where I got them. I was like, “School!” Practice safe sex, everyone! You don’t wanna end up on Maury, that’s all I’m sayin’.


It’s the battle of the cheap-lookin’ music videos!




Shit, I think they both lose! The videos do not live up to the songs!

Es Para Mi.

Below is the video for Anita Tijoux’s “Despabílate.”  I’m not sure I dig the video, and you probably shouldn’t press play if you’re sensitive to flashing lights.  On the other hand, the song is awesome and playful and Julieta Venegas totes shows up in the video.

Folie a Deux.

Weird, PBS is showing this Spanish movie called El espíritu de la colmena maintenant and it sort of reminds me of Gemelos, the play I saw last week. It’s not like the two works have much in common, but both are stories about two sets of siblings who seem to live in their own world and are resourceful, and it’s during wartime.

I haven’t really been following the movie (as I’m busy typing and all) but I definitely plan on checking it out of the library if they have it.

Anyway. I’ve been meaning to write about Gemelos, which was presented by the Compañía Teatro Cinema. I just don’t knkow what to say about it. I’ve been thinking about it all week. I’m barely coherent in any of the languages I know; I don’t really have the vocabulary to explain how it made me feel. The ticket was an impulse purchase, after reading a review, but I ended up with a front row ticket anyway. I was so sad the entire time. I was tired from the Café Tacuba show, and the story was so beautifully told. I was pleased that it wasn’t just a beautiful presentation and that the content of the play was good, too. This was a really sad bildungsroman, at first the twins are really cute, but then they start doing stuff that’s clearly not right. I did laugh (¡en carcajadas!) in some parts. I’ve never been to such a minimal yet complicated staging. It was like a mini-theater on the stage. There were only three of them, two men and one woman. The acting was compelling. There was pretty music and puppets and… and I don’t know. It was, in some ways, very artificial, as if to say “Yes, you are watching a play and we are only actors with props and scenery changes,” but I got so sucked in and the message of the play felt even more real. I just felt so overwhelmed and I felt so alone. I knew from the first minute I’d be unable to explain the play to anyone I met, and I wished so badly that someone had share this experience with me, that they’d seen all the beautiful things I saw. I felt so alone.

Totes Random.

Well, I just sent these songs to myself (from my desktop PC to my laptop), but I think it’s a waste to be the only one to download these ~*HOT JAMZZZ*~ so I’ll share.

(1) The first is that song that plays in a loop on the Amores Perros DVD menu that you’d think would drive you crazy but it’s so damn good and fierce and aggro and if there’s one song that truly represents the movie, it’s probably “Sí señor.” It’s not “Me van a matar,” which is more of a “Hey, Julieta Venegas sorta had cred back in the days (lol)” song; it’s not “Aviéntame,” which is more of a “Yay, Meme gets to sing” song. Oh wait, I guess “De perros amores” is the most representative song, cos it has the Control Machete grit in contrast to Ely Guerra’s vulnerability. But it’s like, these three songs I just mentioned aren’t in the movie actually. “Sí señor” is, and used in a fantastic way.

(2) The other song is just a cover of “Whip It.” En español. By Los Prisioneros. Doesn’t that sound awesome? To be honest, it’s mostly awesome because it’s faithful to the original.

Control Machete – Sí señor

Los Prisioneros – Azota

Singers and Songwriters.

At the end of last year I found out about Britta Persson and, although I found her to be one of those potentially boring, quiet singer-songwriter girls à la Feist, I became obsessed with this under-2 minute ditty called “You Are Not My Boyfriend.” The video for this song left me with mixed feelings, sure (Peptobysmol targeting the indie-pop crowd!!). But when I hear that song I love the intensity and I could play it over and over and over. I thought she’d be pretty much forgotten, but I read recently that she came over to the US of A, so I guess that’s cool.

To be honest, I had forgotten her for the most part, so imagine the surprise when my mp3 player started playing “Bellamy Straat Straat.” I had no recollection of the song but it sucked me in and now I can’t stop thinking about it. I’m glad I didn’t delete the album after listening to it just a couple of times.

Another singer-songwriter dude worth checking out–and I do feel like he’s absolutely underrated–is Leo Quinteros. He’s already been around a bit and I adored his first two albums. But I never hear buzz about him, I wonder why. Maybe he’s not from Concepción? Conce is considered the big indie rock scene in Chile. Or maybe he’s not chillin’ with all those hyped up Quemasucabeza kids? I dunno, either way, he’s not getting proper uh, props.

His new song (on MySpace) “Por ahí van” is kinda weird but really catchy! It makes me really excited about his next album.

Britta Persson – Bellamy Straat Straat
Leo Quinteros – Tu Show

Canción de Lejos.

Look at this video. It’s Los Bunkers doing a li’l bit of “Llueve sobre la ciudad” and a li’l bit of “Miño”. Like five or six years ago, I heard about them through some fellow Strokes fans and thought they were pretty cool. But a funny thing happened, their official website died in the ass for a while. And since they weren’t a big band, of a modest following in Chile only, there wasn’t a lot of press about them online. Blogs weren’t as big as they are now, either. I had no idea what the fuck had happened to them. So every now and then I wondered: had I imagined this band? Or did they exist for a little bit and break up, like a million other unknown bands do everyday?

Then another funny thing happened. Their website came back to life. I can’t explain how fucking happy I was. Not only did it show me that they weren’t a figment of my imagination, I also realized how cool their music truly was. They were back, and better than ever. Right now they’re one of the hottest groups in Chile. Like two or three years ago they were invited to play the festival in Viña (trust me, it’s a big fucking deal), but they didn’t get the billing they wanted, so they said, “No thanks, we’ll do it if we can headline.” Sure enough, they got even bigger and they got to play a sweet set at the festival earlier this year. Insane.

So watch that video. You see all those people? They know all the words to both songs. Brilliant. Sometimes I feel really alone because none of my friends know what I’m talking about, but seeing stuff like that is heartwarming. I’m glad Los Bunkers exist, and that they’re good, and that they’ve got a solid fanbase.

Hope their material doesn’t deteriorate.

Y miren qué chistosos, también…

Appy Polly Loggies.


Ahem. Back to the music.

Let’s see, I was at Super 45* and this album review fascinated me so I hunted down the album and I have to say I’m impressed. Y’see, I’ve heard some of Gepe‘s stuff and I thought it was good but not my thing. I found him too much of a boring singer-songwriter at times. But it’s like I can’t deny him anymore, I really like Hungría! So to the dude in Gepe: my bad.

Another person who deserves an apology from me is Ely Guerra. I feel bad, I know part of it had to do with the fact that she’s ~*SO DAMN PRETTY*~. I dismissed her as a lightweight and I admit she doesn’t ROCK OUT like some people, but what the hell, she still writes solid material. And from what I can tell, she’s a pretty good performer too. Too bad she’s had trouble finding her audience.

In addition, I’ve been listening to this dude named DJ Raff, who has pretty much worked with all the people who matter in Chilean hip-hop. Really nice stuff, he’s more of a studio mastermind I think.

Gepe – Hebra prima

Ely Guerra – Bésame

DJ Raff – Break it Like U 1

*You should also check out Super 45’s recent “New Sounds of 2007” feature, though part of me can’t believe they chose Valentina Fel as one of their winners. It’s weird, I love that cheapass funk carioca sound but for some reason I’m not down with her stuff.

Porque los pobres…

I watched this student film today called Todos Somos Guerreros, which is about Bolivian hip-hop. The students who made it are Eli Breitburg-Smith and Meredith Webb. It was pretty short but I was definitely impressed with the handful of people featured in there; I think they’re all from the same local hip-hop scene in El Alto (near La Paz). I really liked the music. It reminded me of Makiza, who have a similar vibe though I feel like their themes are a li’l different. Like Makiza even rap in French and shit; as Anita Tijoux says in one of the songs, “soy una trotamundos.” I feel like the music by the Bolivian artists is grounded locally, at least from this documentary. They’re all about bringing up their own communities and there was even one dude rapping in aymara. I was like, dude.

Also, one talking head totally namechecked Immortal Technique. I only found out about this guy a couple of months ago… when he showed up to talk to my class. And I was so impressed!! I just never got around to write a post about him. Seriously, one of the most well-read hip-hop artists I’ve encountered. Also, an incredibly intimidating dude. I mean he was very nice, had a great sense of humor, but even he admitted that it’s very unpleasant to see him get mad for real.

Anyway, I was watching this documentary and they mentioned Immortal Technique and I was like… “Uh, srsly? They know about this dude in Bolivia?!” Haha.

Speaking of protest music, I bought a Quilapayún album!!! Apparently Other Music had a couple of them. I was so shocked that I couldn’t stop thinking about it, so on Tuesday when I went to buy the Patrick Wolf album I bought Basta. To be honest, I bought it to cancel out the fact that I was buying something so overhyped like the Patrick Wolf album. I mean I love Patrick Wolf, but seriously, there’s just been SO much coverage of him lately. No wonder he’s throwing hissy fits about needing a beauty rest or whatever.

The cover of the Quilapayún album has a dead bird on the cover. It makes me uneasy to look at the album cover, honestly. Y’know vibes of avian flu and just general diseased pigeons roamin’ ’round NYC. But the songs are really cool, nothing like Chilean protest music, huh?

A very basic site on hip-hop from El Alto, Bolivia.

Immortal Technique’s MySpace, though honestly now I think I was the last person to find out about him… I’m so ignant.

Please Hold.

Hey bitches,

Been a bit busy. See there’s this thing called “school” and I for some goddamn mysterious stupid ass reason give a damn about my grades. Can you believe it? I’m way too old to still care so much about getting As. Or in my case, hoping for Bs, haha.

Here’s a few songs. One by my favorite Afro-Filipino soul singer, Joe Bataan; another recent one from the Calle 13; and probably my most played song this week, “Tren al Sur” by one of my favorite new wave bands ever, Los Prisioneros.

Joe Bataan – Young, Gifted and Brown
Calle 13 – Un beso de desayuno
Los Prisioneros – Tren al Sur

Be back soonish,

PS: Apparently Joe Bataan is the dad of the girl who won a spot as a Pussycat Doll recently. Not sure if this is true but damn.


YES! I RULE THE WORLD. I finally got my hands on the latest Volován album, Monitor. In truth, this album was released a few months ago, but there hasn’t been much buzz over it, especially not in the US. Back when The Strokes were supposed to be cool (lol, remember??), Volován were dubbed “the Mexican Strokes.” They even had US distribution and shit!! Their self-title first album was a solid pop album and I’m still baffled that they never became famous, not even south of the border. Even worse, I think on In-D* they said that the band’s label folded or dicked them over o algo así, no estoy segura. Maybe you can look it up on the In-D YouTube archives. But basically, the band never got a fair chance to take over the world!

Speaking of bands that were dubbed as “the next Strokes,” Los Bunkers (they were “the Chilean Strokes”) are releasing a live DVD in the US. It comes out tomorrow! God bless, Nacional Records. Plus, it’s gonna include their videos, so I’m definitely thinking of buying it. I’m sick of watching the muthafuckin’ “Miño” video on YouTube!

Another exciting release tomorrow is the new Calle 13. HOLY SHIT! I have been waiting for this piece of crap for months now. It’s pretty much the only album I’ve been waiting for and it’s finally coming out! I can’t wait to hear the track with Tego Calderón. Even better, I love the arrangements that Visitante creates. I love Residente but we all know the real magician in the group is Visitante. Jon Pareles has already given his blessing to the new album… I can’t decide whether this is good or not. Can you imagine el viejo listening to this album? And seriously, did he get a translator to explain all the dirty lyrics? LOLLERSK8S!!!!!

So here are some tracks you can listen to while you recover from my abuse of exclamation marks:

Volován – Monitor
Volován – Flor primaveral (from their first album)
Los Bunkers – Ven aquí (from their most recent, Vida de Perros)
Calle 13 – Tango del pecado

*In-D’s not that great of a show but I still like watching it. It helps me keep up with Mexican stuff. Plus, la VJ Reclu is mad cute.

Fave Music Videos by Latino Artists

A continuation of my previous post.

Los Prisioneros (Chile) – We Are Sudamerican Rockers

Soda Stereo (Argentina) – Cuando pase el temblor

Café Tacuba (Mexico) – Aviéntame

Vaquero (Mexico, again) – Sunshine

and because I can’t post this one enough:

Zoé (Mexico) – No me destruyas

ALSO! Here’s a video by Los Bunkers, “Miño.” It’s probably the best song this Chilean band has written. This song is named after this man who committed suicide (in public!) by setting himself in flames. It’s a long story, but one that shocked me when I found out the basis of this song.