Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Star perform "History" live on "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon"

Two of my favorite MC's, BK's finest, Black Star perform "History" on the "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon." Happy Holidays everyone:)
Rest of post here

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Adam Lambert's delicate balancing act

Adam Lambert reverted back to his older, safer self today, which is to say that Lambert's PR team made it safe for old ladies and children to like his music and image.

That, in the long run, is going to be better for business for him and his camp.

Performing on CBS's Morning Show, Lambert reportedly made sure that parents knew his show would be appropriate for kids, while shying away slightly from his performance decisions during Sunday night's American Music Awards, when he capped off a sinuous dance performance with an aggressive man-on-man open mouth kiss.

With no signs of the groping, tonguing, David Bowie-esque version of Lambert that lurks in the post-prime time hours, Lambert answered questions about his performance, saying “‘‘I admit I did get carried away, but I don’t see anything wrong with it. I do see how people got offended and that was not my intention. My intention was to interpret the lyrics of my song and have a good time with it.’’

Lambert appeared to be in a bit of damage control mode. He was booked on the CBS show after being dropped from “Good Morning America” on ABC, the same network that aired the AMA's.

Lambert wants to make a statement about his lifestyle choice, enough to risk some measure of public support with his provocative performance. But regardless of how much artistic control he claims to have over his career, he's not silly enough to throw it all over a cliff.

Wednesday's performance was a clear indication of the delicate balancing act he is attempting. Stay true to his gay lifestyle, but stay safe enough to win over the grannies and kiddies who text in their votes for him on American Idol.

It's a difficult role to take on, and Lambert should be applauded for his attempt to open up his lifestyle for the world to see. But if he keeps running back to his image safety net, then he runs the risk of not being taken seriously.

And where's the statement in that?

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Part II: Interview with Kinan Valdez of El Teatro Campesino

Part II of my interview with Kinan Valdez. Here, he gives some interesting details on the Teatro's upcoming projects, and closes with some pretty cool developments with his father's signature play, “Zoot Suit.” La Pastorela opens Thursday at Mission San Juan Bautista in San Juan Bautista. You can get more information at

On the Teatro moving forward:
One of the major projects, and it is connected to these traditions, is that we've been funded by the James Irvine Foundation to develop an adaptation of the Popol Vuh. We're going to be adapting the sacred book of the K'iche' Maya into a type of outdoor sacral theater pageant that we're going to be staging during the summertime.
The idea has always been to create a type of work that mirrors what happens during the holiday season, but for the summertime. The idea of creating these huge community pageants is something that has been at least in conversation for a long time. So we're finally, thanks to the James Irvine Foundation, taking those first steps.
So next summer we'll be gearing up a workshop production of this event, and then the following year, in 2011, we'll be doing a world premier, and it will be staged up on a 50 acre parcel of land we have outside of San Juan Bautista.
We're talking two or three years effort in the making, but that's the type of effort it's going to take. That's the big project, to find a couple of pieces to anchor the San Juan performances. (More after the jump)

On the story of the Popol Vuh:
The Popol Vuh is a creation story. It's akin to the Mayan Bible. The main throughline is the story of two magic twins who are Mayan ballplayers, and the generations before them have gone up against the dark lords of the underwoarld and have died.
So these magic twins are born and are summoned into the underworld and they defeat the lord of darkness before rising and becoming the sun and the moon.
It's a creation myth and a story. I grew up listening to these stories. My father would tell us bed time tales, not of the Western canon, but from ancient America. The Teatro attempted to work on a piece in similar scope in the '70s that veered off in a different traditon. This time we're going to take the actual source.
Many people have attempted to play with this particular story. There's a famous cartoon film that the Teatro participated in the making of back in the '80s. I know Cherrie Moraga has done a puppet show version. It's one of those pieces that does exist.
Our intention is to return to sacral indigenous theater and create it on a huge canvas. I should mention when it comes to the whole project of creating tradition, it could be considered one of the classic Chicano theater forms, which is a Mito. Those experiments began in the '70s, and haven't been returned to too much. I tried to incorporate a Mito in Sam Burguesa and The Pixie Chicks. That was the first attempt. It's a new piece, but it's a traditional form.

On past attempts at producing Mitos:
We've done experiments with the Mito form. Part of what we also established in the past year was an ongoing collaboration with migrant education (students) to develop enrichment programs with migrant students.
The other thing that's tied into this is we're trying to gear up this thing called The Salinas Valley teaching tour, a small tour of all the cities of the Salinas Valley, the ones that often get neglected. Everyone focuses on Monterey, and proably sections of Salinas. But they don't focus on east Salinas, Chualar, Soledad, Greenfield, all the way down to King City.
Working with migrant ed was an eye opener for us. We said to ourselves, ‘There is this entire region that we need to be reaching out to. Particularly when the model of the teatro is that when people don't go to the theater, then the theater must go to the people.
The program we're trying to build is a two-day session. One day we would come in and do a free performance in the parks for the communities of those cities, and on the next day, we would offer free theater workshops, and it would be a two-day engagement.
We're hoping to get that kicked off in some fashion. If we don't get that funding for the whole thing, then we'll actually organize at least a pilot program in two cities. That is an imporant project, particulalry if we're going to be Teatro Campesino, then we have to go into these regions that are rural and where they're always neglected.

On what the upcoming 45th anniversary means:
Most of us here have our eyes on the 50th (anniversary). As I mentioned, it's about maintaining this tradition. For me, it's helping to facilitate the building of a structure here that will carry the Teatro well into the next 20-25 years. I think the work of the Teatro is important, but also, I think, I mentioned the tradition of Chicano theater, It's geared towards social change. That itself needs to be protected.
We could find ourselves subsumed in a more traditional western theater model, where Chicano theater will be nothing but content. The agrument here is that Chicano theater isn't just Chicano characters, but is actually a form and apporach to creating theater.
I know for some people that may not be so exciting because there are all these new things to be created, and I recognize that and that's absolutely important and viable and it needs to be done. In fact we have our Teatro Lab, which will be maintained over the next few years for new work. But the larger part will be maintaing this tradition.

On the Teatro Lab, which is the Teatro's wing for developing new works:
We're in the middle of developing “La Esquinita USA,” which is a one man show being developed by Ruben C. Gonzalez. That will have its world premier under the auspices of the Teatro Lab next year in spring.
Next year, we are also developing under the auspices of La Pena (Cultural Arts Center in Berkeley), my brother Lakin's show, “Victor in Shadow,” which will have its world premier at La Pena before coming here in 2011. That's a new piece about the life and death of Victor Jara, a famous Chilean musician, poet and writer who was captured in Pinochet's military coup in 1973.
The Teatro Lab is still something that we're all gearing towards. We're going to do at least one Teatro Lab performance and reading every year.

On the current work of his father, Teatro Campesino founder Luis Valdez:
With my father, he is going to be directing “Zoot Suit” in Mexico City. It's the first time a Chicano playwright has ever been welcomed by Mexico.
He's going to be working with La Compania Nacional, so he's already engaged in pre-production of that process. The national company of Mexico is going to be producing Zoot Suit in Spanish in the spring of next year. So that's an achievement and an honor, the first time that a Chicano artist is being recieved in that way.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Part I: Interview with Kinan Valdez of El Teatro Campesino

Full Disclosure: I've known Kinan Valdez for more than 12 years. In 2001, I played the title role in El Teatro Campesino's traveling production of “Guerilla Radio.” I have an insider's knowledge of his directing skills and process. And I have always been impressed.

So having our paths intersect the past couple of years has been a nice change of pace from my previous interaction with him, when he was leading sweaty theater workshops in the sometimes dank recess of the ETC playhouse in San Juan Bautista. As a director, he was demanding but respectful of his production team, and I always had fun working with him.

And now I get to write about him as an artist, which is fun. My feature on the Teatro's winter production “La Pastorela” runs Sunday, but this is the raw text of my interview. He talks about this year's show and gives some insight into the future of Chicano Teatro and where he hopes to lead the company (part two will delve even more into the Teatro's future plans).

Here is Part I of my interview:

On the Teatro's anniversary:
It's our 44th anniversary. Officially, in November, we're officially celebrating the 44th anniversary, so to a certain degree, we consider 2010 a 45th anniversary season.

On the idea of Chicano Teatro as a traditional art:
I read somewhere the definition of traditional art. They said a traditional art is something that is not based on individual achievement, but a collective wisdom that's amassed and and passed on from generation to generation. It dawned on me not so long ago that the way we practice Chicano theater at El Teatro Campesino is starting to head into this realm of traditional art. That as a project is important.
To be able to mark all the achievements in the art forms that were developed by these Chicano generations, and marking them as a traditional form is a project that seems worth wile into the future, especially as part of the organizational method of the Teatro. On top of creating new forms and new journeys, that seems to be a real important project, so that legacy of cultural and political advancement is protected.
There are other groups that practice (Chicano Teatro) and that have defined it as a traditional art. I think it's a relatively new project. I have a tendency to think that the methods are an the forms.
So you have actos, corridos and mitos, which would be what people would refer to as classic Chicano theater forms. I would start to redefine them as traditional. And it's okay to protect those and codify those as a traditional form.
Where the experimental or any artistic movement come in and taking those forms and experimenting with them. That's one of the projects here. All the shows we've done, even “Sam Burguesa and The Pixie Chicks”took some of those traditional forms and threw them together to see what happens. (More after the jump)

On whether he views himself and the company as gatekeepers for Chicano teatro:
We talked about my generation, because I like to think in terms of generations. There's the generation before, and then there's my age group, which has been around for 15 years.
(And now I'm) trying to mentor this next group. It always felt like our responsibility was to be the bridge, to make sure the survival of this particualr type of teatro went from the 20th century into the 21st century. That is a responsibility that our generation, my generation, assumed some 15 years ago. It's part of the work that we need to do.
We all have different ideas as individual artists and I have my own aesthetic as an individiaul artist, but when we come under the banner of El Teatro Campesino, there's a very specific project at work.

On passing the torch to26-year-old director Adrian Torres:
It's a long range torch passing. It's part of strengthening the roots of the company. Paqt of what happened is that the last transition (when he took the reigns from his father Luis Valdez) was marked by probably too abrupt shift. My generation didn't have the mentorship, because the older veteranos held it so long that they needed to take a break. So when we came in, we didn't have the same type of mentorship. There was one one in ther 30's or 40's that we were working with. They were all in their 50's, and we were in our 20's. So we had to constantly do this cultural translation with these groups. This was a project where I wanted to be a young mentor, one that I didn't have.
Adrian is part of this other, larger generation. They started appearing on the scene three years ago. So our efforts have been geared towards rebuilding this ensemble, training this particualr group in the Teatro Cmepesino style, which, you know, is also all of the philosophical underpinnings of the company, in terms of being based in Mayan philosophy. It is something that we have to start with every group that comes in, every new generation.
The shift began in late 2005, and picked up steam in 2006 and 2007. In that time, what happened is we reverted back to the old teatro model of having an ensemble, a performing ensemble and a core company/community of actors. That community, or core company, has multiple generations in it.
It has me and other people in their 30s, and all the new generation in their 20's, and it has a few high schoolers we have been training.
And then, people like Noe Montoya, who I like to say is back in active service with the Teatro. He's in his 50's. For us, he's played Juan Diego since 2002 in our Christmas shows. But he actually was from Hollister and was a teenager when he joined the Teatro back in the 70s. Then went to go pursue other interests, then slowly became a member of the Teatro once again. Just organically.

On his role in this year's production of “La Pastorela”:
I'm one of the producers. I am there to make sure the tradition is maintained. That's about the extent of my involvement. I'm a consultant, but it's Adrian's vision, so it's important that he be given the opportunity to push those artistic boundaries however he needs to. It doesn't serve anybody if you have another director. I go and check in and watch the run throughs.

On whether it was tough to relinquish the title of director:
No, not for me perosnally, because I believe in the tradition. I wasn't alwasy the director. I grew up with it as a kid, as a performer, so my first 20-something years was as a participant in the process. Even before, when I didn't direct, I ended up jumping in wherever necessary.
I'm really grateful that it's in strong and capable hands, so it's actually a gift to not have to worry abou tthe shows. Most people say as a director, you want to hold on to that. But it's never been about power. It's about empowering. That's one of the beautiful things that's happening.
(Torres will direct the Christmas shows) as long as he wants. That's the thing. When you assume the directorship, you're also assuming responsibility for the tradition. And the Teatro will be behind it. It still happens to be our most beloved tradition, and it's the thing that's anchored all generations of the teatro.

On the history of the T eatro's Christmas plays:
“La Virgen del Tepeyac” had its' first performance in 1971. La Pastorela began in1975 as a puppet show. Then in 1976, it became a street theater performance. Then in the late 1970s, it moved into the Mission San Juan Bautista and hasn't left. Definitely since 1981, it's an unbroken streak.

On what the Teatro's Christmas productions mean to him:
I know we talk about what Christmas means and what holiday means, but for me, that community engagement will always be associated with the holidays. The act of giving and touching other people. There would be no Christmas or holiday spirit for me without these shows. That's whey even the years I wasn't doing it, I was drawn back to it. Even in college, I felt the need to jump into the show. The spirit and unity we create with the community in the process of making this show is what the spirit of Christmas is supposed to be about. So the fact that there are other generations already growing up in this show is really special.
I've seen people who have grown up and are growing up, and the kids come back year after year. Those are the tradition keepers that are running around now with painted faces.

On this year's production:
The production has got a cast of a little over 50 people. It's slightly more traditional than previous versions. The original casting dymanmic has been implemented.
Luzbel is once again played by a man. In this case he's played by Eduardo Robledo. He's celebrating his 40th anniversary as a teatro veteran. He joined in 1969, and has returned in 2009 to honor his 40 year to doing teatro in general.
Christy Sandoval is playing Satanas, one of our new next generation performers. It's the first time in a long time a woman is playing Satanas. That was part of the original tradition.
Jillian Mitchell is also part of our core company. She's playing San Migue. Rounding out the cast is El Hermitano, who for the first time in history is being played by a woman, Romina Memoli Amador. She's a visiting artist from Honduras. A woman has never played Hermitano. The part is still male, as they always don a mask. That's an exciting change there.

On why he chose director Adrian Torres:
As a director in his own right, the fact that Adrian is a visual artist and has a strong visual sense (is a big help). When you're dealing with a show that requires an ability to create images that tell the story as well is important. That visual sense is absolutely key.
The other factor (in his selection) was his sense of humor. As a comedic actor, he's very funny in terms of creating a physical comedy, hat sense of humor (helps) in being able to mine certain moments. It will be a treat for the audiences.
The last thing is the fact he too is reared in this tradition. He understands it organically. He's not a visitig director who says ‘This is (going to be) a western theater approach to making this show happen.
He actually started first back in 1999 as a teenager, and in 2001 he was performing as a devil. He was a devil, and he ended up playing Satanas many years and now has moved on to the director's chair. It's that organic transition that is essential to maintain these traditions.
People will be happy to see his work as an actor (turned director). He has a small following. He's one of our standout performers as an actor. And now they will get a chance to see those comedic sensibilities of his as a director.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Carmel's Jamielee Darley is top two finalist for Victoria's Secret Runway Model Competition

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She's one step away from walking the runway alongside the world's most beautiful supermodels, and Carmel's Jamielee Darley can taste it.
"I can't believe that I'm this much closer," said Darley, 23, after being announced as one of the two final contestants in the Victoria's Secret runway model competition. Kylie Bisutti of Simi Valley was also named as a finalist.
"My dream is right there . I'm going to keep on pushing until I get it," said Darley.
Darley was one of 10 finalists chosen nationwide to compete for a spot as a Victoria's Secret runway model, known as an Angel, during the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, scheduled Dec. 1 on CBS. Heidi Klum will host this year's show and Black Eyed Peas are scheduled to perform.
Current and past Angel's include supermodels Klum, Tyra Banks, Rebecca Romijn and Gisele Bündchen.
Darley answered an open call in Los Angeles and was selected as a finalist. She and the other finalists were shipped out to an apartment in New York City, where they competed in several "tasks" that included photos shoots other modeling gigs.
Darley made it to the final five through online voting, then on Tuesday she and the five finalists were brought out to Times Square, where the the top two were announced.
Darley's image was projected on a Times Square wide screen alongside the other finalist. Her jaw dropped as she saw she had made it.
"I am with her in New York and one proud papa," wrote Rober Darley, Jamielee Darley's father, in an e-mail thanking supporters.
The final online voting will be held beginning at noon Nov. 23 and ending at 5 p.m. Nov. 24. Fans can vote at or
Rest of post here

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

RIP: Ken Ober of MTV's "Remote Control"

I was enamored with "Remote Control" during my tween years. I always loved playing along at home. I can't quite put my finger on what that was, but I know a big part of it was Ken Ober. Just something about him was really cool. He seemed like a nice, approachable guy. Plus, he helped introduce the world to Dennis Leary and Adam Sandler, so that's something, right? RIP Ken.

AP swipe after the jump.

’Remote Control’ gameshow host Ken Ober dies at 52|

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ken Ober, who hosted the 1980s MTV game show ‘‘Remote Control’’ and helped produce the shows ‘‘Mind of Mencia’’ and ‘‘The New Adventures of Old Christine,’’ has died. He was 52.
His agent, Lee Kernis, says Ober was found dead Sunday in his Santa Monica home. Kernis says Ober complained of headaches and flu-like symptoms on Saturday night but the cause of his death wasn’t clear.
Ober hosted five seasons of ‘‘Remote Control’’ beginning in 1987. Contestants in lounge chairs were asked pop-culture questions from categories such as ‘‘Dead or Canadian?’’ The show featured early appearances by comedians Adam Sandler, Denis Leary and Colin Quinn.
Ober, who was born Ken Oberding in Massachusetts, is survived by his parents and a brother.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Carmel's Jamielee Darley makes the second round in Victoria's Secret Angel's Camp

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I posted a story yesterday, but I wanted to follow up with local gal Jamielee Darley's progress in the Victoria's Secret Angel's Boot Camp competition, where the winner gets to be a Victoria's Secret Runway Angel.

Above is the latest video, posted at You can vote for her there, as well as at

Voting lasts through 5 p.m. PST, Tuesday, Nov. 17. Stay tuned for more updates. And don't forget to vote!

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

MC Lars Gives Current TV a Lesson in "Nerdcore 101"

Another friend of "The Beat," MC Lars, has a new spot up on Current TV. Shot right here in Carmel Valley!
The video gives a quick breakdown of the Nerdcore canon (with MC Chris, a nerdcore flip-flopper, listed at No. 2).
Funny part: Lar's hypeman/friend DJ shows up in a random shot, then quick cut to Lars in a hot tug (!). Never thought I'd see Lars shirtless (and never wanted to see that, for that matter). All good.

Rest of post here

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Free Download: New Album from Santa Cruz artist Nima Fadavi "Behind The Beat 1"

A good friend of "The Beat," our boy Nima Fadavi (Ineffable Music Group) has a new album out titled "Behind The Beat 1" featuring Nima's bangin' production and a nice selection of artists, including The Grouch, Pep Love, Sunspot Jonez of Living Legends, and local favorites Ghambit and Sincere.

The best part of the deal is you can download if for FREE at his site, Show some love to the local boy (by way of SC, now residing in The Bay) done good.

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Raw Dios- a headRush Produciton (I'm In This!)

My Bay Area familia is presenting their latest show, “Raw Dios,” at La Pena Cultural Center in Berkeley. My crew, Baktun 12, produced and performed a big chunk of the audio dialog that accompany's the live performance. If you're in the Bay (and sadly, I won't be there for this opening event) please go and check this out and let me know how I sound:)

Peace to my headRush famm-bamm.
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Cambio interview Part II

Part two of my interview with Cambio of Para La Gente.

On his musical evolution:
Before, honestly, I wasn't comfortable in the first years of PLG. The process of creating music was different.
I was uncomfortable with a certain style. I said I want to create (a different) type of sound. I had lot of conversations with (band mates) Zach and Omar, and we'd be in each others car and listening to something that's different from what we're playing on stage. I finally said let's create something we're comfortable with. Now, the crew is genuinely into the music.
PLG formed in 2003. There's been a huge difference since then.
There's a video for one of the old songs “Brown and You.” And there was this YouTube comment that said “Where's Cambio?” And I'm all over the video! That said a lot about how different the band has become.
We're at where we're at because we made changes. The “People Living Growing” album was us saying ‘This is where we're at, so get comfortable.” We've probably lost about half of our fan base because of the changes, but from that half that stayed with us, we've gained a new fan base and doubled the number of fans that we originally had.

Working on “Or Does It Explode.”
It's been more than a year of sitting on “Hard Times.” (They recorded it last November, and the process began in September). Most of the album was done in April.
The target audience is Latin America. I think it will do well too.
I havent' seen a lot of Spanish and English hip-hop come together. I'm really trying to features more Spanish language artists.
I can go to Mexico and not spit one song in Spanish and they feel me. That's the most nerve-wracking part. Going down there with my fucked up Spanish. It's hard. I still get really nervous. I still get the same kind of anxiety.

On how fatherhood has changed him.
I'm just a lot more honest. I'm too grown to fuck around and bullshit and do things I'm not comfortable with. It forces you to be responsible.
Fatherhood is really missing right now. We're trying to reclaim fatherhood with no examples. I want to let people know I'm a father, and it's okay to be a dad and make that shit cool.
He's gotten the support of his family, which has helped. “First and foremost, thanks to my partner. Without that support, I would not be able to go record, go to practice. I want (my son) to grow up and be like ‘I'm going to pursue my art because I saw my dad pursue his art.’

On the show set:
PLG plays five tracks from the album. Our audience is growing, and we realize that we're going to give them that substance because we're genuinely having a good time at the show.
Most people that listen to dead prez listen to Too $hort or Bun B. I listen to Q-Tip's album and Mos Def's album and I'll be like they're talking so much shit. Why can't I talk shit on a track?”
I don't know why it took time for me to get confidence in myself. Just be yourself and in that process you realize (what you can do).

Rap is very necesssary. I wish everyone would recognize it and support it.

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Monday, November 09, 2009

Carmel's own Jamielee Durley aims to be the next Victoria's Secret Runway Angel

Carmel High School grad Jamielee Durley is one of 10 contestants in the Victoria's Secret "Angel's Boot Camp." She is living in a New York apartment, being taped around the clock and competing with other models to be the next Victoria's Secret Runway Angel.

You can vote for her at or, and see videos of her and the other contestants. Above is her profile video. So vote for the local gir!

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Cambio/PLG Week @ “The Beat”

This week is officially “MC Cambio/Para La Gente” week @ The Beat, in honor of our comrade Cambio, who dropped his latest album "Or Will It Explode.”

He will hold a CD release party Friday night at Giovane's in Salinas (more info @

I'm prepping a proper story for Thursday's GO! section, but here is Part 1 of my conversation with Cambio, held last week @ The Cherry Bean. Here, Cambio breaks down how he landed some of the artists who collaborated with him on the album ( of dead prez, Joell Ortiz) and more:

On how he got the collaborations going with and Joell Ortiz:
I had done the connection through Bocafloja. Boca is cool with
I hit up (stic's) manager at first. He said "I'm down. I like the concept. I like the beat.“He did it really nice and humble.
Same thing with Joell. For that one I had to show them what I had done already. They wanted to see videos and hear the music. Then they said "We'll fuck with you." They're really picky about attaching their names to projects.
The collabs are significant for someone from this area. I think when I initially tell people about the collabs, they say “Where are you from again? You're not from New York, L.A., San Fran or Oakland?” (It's good because) that way other people can recognize that there's good hip-hop comping from this area.

On repping for his hometown east Bakersfield:

“It's like saying your from east Salinas. It's a whole other thing.”

On who is releasing the album and where it is being released:

The release is straight up independent, through Quilombo Arte. It will be distributed mainly to Latin America. It's more aimed at Latin America.
The Quilombo Artists collective is comprised mostly of spoken word artists and MC's. It's mostly spoken word and hip-hop.
Bocafloja added myself and Para La Gentes. We're part of the California portion of that.
The last two summers we've toured Mexico. We played Puerto Rico in August 2008. That's all through Quilombo.

On the process of recording the album:

I took a really long time with the album.Bocafloja's the one who randomly heard that last album (“The Bridge Called My Back”). Hopefully that worked as a stepping stone.
The last PLG album was loosely associated with Quilombo Arte. The nex one is “official, official.”
We're just trying to make it a big collective. When we went to Mexico (in June and July), it was really live. People recieved us really well.
The album is out in December on iTunes and CD Baby. People can purchase it right now on www.

(More after the jump)

On his videos:

The director is Javier Goin. We were touring with Bocafloja in 2008 and he did the video for “Astro Travellin.' ” He did “Who I Am.” He wanted to do it in the city, but I said “I want to do it in a place where you don't typically see a hip-hop backdrop, where it's a club or skyscrapers on a street. Out here, there's fields and tractors. We wanted to do it from our community (perspective). I'm just trying to show people, I try to come really hard lyrically with this song. That type of lyricism is, for this area, it's a different type of aesthetic for me.

On exposing his students at Watsonville EA Hall Middle School his music:

I give them albums, and I think they support the music. I'm trying to show them we're community people too, and my vehicle happens to be hip-hop. I think they appreciate someone can take that genre and make it intelligent, make it okay to rhyme smart and have fun.

On the evolution of his art:

Before, honestly, I wasn't comfortable in the first years of PLG. The process of creating music was different.
I was uncomfortable with a certain style. I said I want to create this type of sound. A lot of conversations with Zach and Omar, we'd be in each others car and listening to something that's different from what we're bumping. I finally said let's create something we're comfortable with. Now, the crew is genuinely into the music.

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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Luis Rodriguez speaks @ CSUMB, El Sausal Middle School this week.

Author Luis Rodríguez will speak twice this week in Monterey County, leading a discussion at CSUMB's University Ballroom from 7-8:30 p.m. Wednesday, then visiting El Sausal Middle School in Salinas on Thursday. Below is the official press release from CSUMB:

Luis Rodríguez

“Art is the heart's explosion on the world. There is probably no more powerful force for change in this uncertain and crisis-ridden world than young people and their art. It is the consciousness of the world breaking away from the strangle grip of an archaic social order.”

Nov. 4, 2009, 7:00-8:30pm

CSUMB University Center Ballroom


November 5, 2009, 7:00-8:30pm

El Sausal Middle School Gymnasium

Through education and the power of words, Luis Rodríguez saw his own way out of poverty and despair in the barrio of East LA and successfully broke free from the years of violence and desperation he spent as an active gang member. Achieving success as an award-winning Chicano poet, he was sure the streets would haunt him no more — until his young son joined a gang himself. Rodriguez fought for his child by telling his own story in the bestseller Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A., a vivid memoir that explores the motivation of gang life and cautions against the death and destruction that inevitably claim its participants. Always Running earned a Carl Sandburg Literary Award and was designated a New York Times Notable Book; it has also been named by the American Library Association as one of the nation’s 100 most censored books. (more after the jump).

Luis Rodríguez is an accomplished poet and is the author of several collections of poetry, including My Nature is Hunger: New and Selected Poems 1989-2004. He also writes books for children (America Is Her Name and It Doesn't Have To Be This Way: A Barrio Story). As well he authored Hearts and Hands: Creating Community in Violent Times and a novel, Music of the Mill.

Rodríguez is also known for helping start a number of prominent organizations — such as Chicago’s Guild Complex, one of the largest literary arts organizations in the Midwest; Rock a Mole (rhymes with guacamole) Productions, which produces music and art festivals, CDs and film; and Youth Struggling for Survival, a Chicago-based non-profit community group working with gang and non-gang youth. In addition, he is one of the founders of the small poetry publishing house Tia Chucha Press, as well as Tia Chucha's Café & Centro Cultural—a bookstore, coffee shop, art gallery, performance space, and workshop center in Los Angeles.

This event is sponsored by the Service Learning Institute, CSU Monterey Bay, with generous support from the Surdna Foundation. To request accommodations for a disability, please contact Student Disability Resources (Bldg. 47) at 831.582.3672 or Deborah Burke at 831.582.361 before Oct. 28,

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Cambio feat. "Hard Times"

Here it is, new Cambio (of PLG) featuring (dead prez, RBGz). Very dope track from Cambio's upcoming album "Or Does It Explode?" More to come from Cambio this week. Be on the lookout.
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