50 YEARS OF CHICANISMO www.lalocamagazine.com Display in Lifestyle until 12/31/14
TEAM LA LOCA
Ungelbah Davila Creator/ Editor-in-chief
Krissy Bencomo Creative Director/ Staff Writer
Carrie Tafoya Artistic Director/ Photographer
TABLE OF CONTENTS 12 16 19 26 30 34 37 38 40 42
A Brief History of La Causa Women of the Chicana Movement
Outlaw Artists Chibonics 101 Writing the Revolution La Plazita Heals With Culture Inside Ink, Prison Tattoos Dukeâ€™s Car Club Elvispanic!
Bubbly With Ruby Champagne
44 Abigail R. Ortiz Staff Writer
Vivian MirAnn Columnist
Simon Cantlon, Seth Browder, Ben Emerson, Jacob Dunlap
Andrea Zamora, Candice Buenabenta, Amber Fuentes, Samantha Bencomo, Katie Carlson
Model: Miss Rockabilly on the Route 2014 - Madeline Jensen Cover Artist: Ungelbah Davila Centerfold Artist: Carrie Tafoya
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Hecho en Nuevo Mejico, USA
2014 Hispano Business Woman
45 Star Power
Dear Readers, In 2010 the Indigenous Cultures Institute partnered with the U.S. Census to create a change that allowed Hispanics, for the first time in history, the option of identifying their race as White, Black, Asian, Pacific Islander, or American Indian, based on the understanding that Hispanic is an ethnic designation, not a race. This may seem like splitting hairs to some, but to 17% of the American population, and 47.3% of New Mexicans, this signified a major change in the way people of color are acknowledged in the United States. When the U.S. took half of Mexico in 1848, the Mexican government negotiated with the U.S. to legally treat its former citizens as “White” in an attempt to protect them from slavery and legal segregation. Around 1980, the U.S. government imposed the term “Hispanic” and encouraged Mexicans, and Central/South Americans to identify themselves as such, automatically categorizing them racially as “White.” This means that until 2010 we, the Hispanic population, have been legally considered “White,” but history shows us this ruse of equality was nothing more than political smoke and mirrors. Not only have Hispanics been treated throughout history as second-rate citizens, our Indigenous and otherwise mixed-racial ancestry has been largely ignored. When a people are not given the right to possess, have access to or acknowledge the truth about themselves and where they come from, when they are robbed of their rightful identities, their stories, languages and their pasts, when they are colonized, they will at some point make the choice to disappear or to rise from the ashes and reclaim themselves. We chose the latter. We chose to organize, we chose The United Farm Workers Union, the Brown Berets, The Land Grant Movement, Chicano Pride, El Movimiento, Atzlán, and Viva La Raza! We came together -- whether we called ourselves Hispanic, Mexican, Mexican-American, Hispano, Indo-hispano, Chicano or Latino – and we said, “Ya basta! Ya no tienes que sufrir mas!” “Enough! You no longer have to suffer anymore!” We fought our battles, achieved rights, and began paving the road to equality. And we lived our lives, became parents and grandparents, and then for many, we became the forgotten, placed on the shelf as a generation that once did great things. When I checked out “The Chicano Manifesto” from the University of New Mexico Library and saw that it hadn’t been opened since 1994, I knew this issue had to be created. This issue is dedicated to the memory of El Movimiento, to its hero’s both then and now, to the rekindling of La Raza, and hopefully to becoming a source of inspiration and pride for our young people.
Ungelbah Dávila Editor-in-chief
La Causa Timeline 1848 At the conclusion of the U.S.-Mexican War, the two countries sign the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, calling for Mexico to relinquish almost half its territory, including the present-day Southwestern states, making Mexican-Americans and Native Americans the only two minority groups in the U.S. to be annexed by conquest and to have their rights allegedly safeguarded by a treaty. While Article VIII the treaty protects the rights of Mexican-American landowners to retain their property, a few months after the signing of the Treaty, the U.S. Senate ratifies the treaty, deleting Article X, which guaranteed the protection of Mexican land grants, the massive pieces of land awarded to either individuals or communities by Spain and Mexico. 1850
New Mexico becomes a territory.
1851 Congress passes legislation implementing the property protection provisions of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, but only addresses grants in California. 1854 Congress establishes the office of the Surveyor General of New Mexico to ascertain "the origin, nature, character, and extent to all claims to lands under the laws, usages, and customs of Spain and Mexico." By 1880 corruption is rampant and decisions are being made based on political gain rather than legality. The attempt is abandoned. 1878 Barbed wire fences begin appearing through the territory, causing range wars to erupt between Anglo cattlemen and Hispano sheepherders, whose private property was at that time seen as unfenced range. 1891 A Court of Private Land Claims is established to deal with land ownership conflicts. Land grants totaling 34,653,340 acres are brought to the court, mostly by villagers. The court dismisses 94% of the claims. 1912 New Mexico becomes a state. Section 5 in the state’s Bill of Rights reads, “The rights, privileges and immunities, civil, political and religious guaranteed to the people of New Mexico by the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo shall be preserved inviolate.” 1947 The 9th U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco rules that the segregation of children of Mexican decent violates the Constitution. 1950 The dawn of Civil Rights work in the United States breaks. Within two decades, the treatment of American “minority” groups will have been forever altered.
history class in Los Angeles. Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzalez founds the Crusade for Justice in Denver. High school students in East L.A. form the Young Citizens for Community Action (YCCA). Tijerina and 350 members of La Alianza occupy Kit Carson National Forest Camp Echo Amphitheatre on behalf of the "Pueblo de San Joaquin de Chama," in New Mexico. In total, the Alianza has approximately 20,000 members. 1967 New Mexico District Attorney Alfonso Sanchez orders police to disband an Alianza meeting. Eleven members are taken into custody. Two days later, Tijerina conducts an armed raid in Tierra Amarilla, NM, on the Rio Arriba County Courthouse, to free the imprisoned members and place a citizen’s arrest on Sanchez for violating the Aliazna’s right of peaceful assembly. In L.A., David Sanchez takes control of the Young Citizens for Community Action and restructures it into the Young Chicanos for Community Action. The group takes a more militant stance against discrimination and police brutality, evolving into the Brown Berets by early 1968. 1968 Response to violent repression on Farm workers leads Cesar Chavez to begin a 25-day fast to keep the farm worker movement non-violent. More than 1000 students peacefully walk out of Abraham Lincoln High School in L.A. with teacher Sal Castro, joining the group of students in protest of school conditions. The student strike known as the L.A. Blowouts, inspire over 10,000 high school students to walk out by the end of the week. 1969 The Brown Berets begin publishing a monthly paper called “La Causa.” Following the lead of the Black Panthers, they also institute programs to deal with food, housing, unemployment, and education within the barrios. The first Chicano Liberation Day is organized by Corky Gonzalez and the Crusade for Justice. 1970 La Raza Unida Party emerges out of Texas and dominates the local elections in Crystal City, TX. The National Grape Boycott, organized by the UFWOC, yields contracts with most California growers. The third national Chicano Moratorium Protest against the Vietnam War takes place in Laguna Park, L.A., attracting 10,000-30,000 people. Police break up the peaceful gathering and use force against the demonstrators. Ruben Salazar, a writer for the “L.A. Times” is killed when he is hit in the head by a tear-gas canister shot by the L.A.P.D.
1962 United Farm Workers Organizing Committee, led by Cesar Chavez is initiated as an independent organization in Delano, California. Reies Lopez Tijerina drafts the first plan of the Alianza Federal de Mercedes in Albuquerque. A letter calling for an Alianza of Pueblos and Pobladores (Alliance of Towns and Settlers) follows soon afterwards
1971 La Marcha de la Reconquista, a march from Calexico to Sacramento, begins with Rosalio Munoz, David Sanchez and the Brown Berets.
1963 La Alianza Federal de los Mercedes is incorporated by Tijerina on the 115th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo. The Land Grant Movement begins.
1975 The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is extended to “Hispanic Americans.”
1965 The United Farm Workers Organizing Committee initiates a national table grape boycott. 1966
Rodolfo Acuña starts teaching the first Mexican-American
1972 In a move inspired by the American Indian Movement's (AIM) takeover of Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay, the Brown Berets initiate “Project Tecolote” and invade Catalina Island.
2000 Senate Bill 2022 is introduced, recognizing that the loss of property after the Mexican-American war has had serious repercussions in the Mexican-American community in the Southwest.
The Chicano, Chicana Movement
developed as a reaction to social, political, economic and cultural inequality among Hispanos in the United States. Between the years of 1960 and 1975, parents and community members across the Southwest joined forces to inspire social change. They sought better educational opportunities for their children, who were segregated in schools and prohibited from speaking Spanish, and challenged limits on employment that pushed Mexican-Americans to assume certain positions within companies. Under the leadership of Cesar Chavez, Dorothy Huerta and others, farm workers stood united to gain work place equality and secure unionization, inspiring the five-year-long national Delano Grape Strike to demand fair wages for farm workers. Hispano youth organized, creating the Young Citizens for Community Action, the Brown Berets, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán, and the largest student strike in U.S. history with over 10,000 Los Angeles high school students walking out of their classrooms in protest of school conditions. In Texas, political group La Raza Unida Party emerged and dominated local elections, and in Denver Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales founded the Crusade for Justice. In this environment of transformation new terminology and idealism was being created. “Chicano,” originally a derogatory term for children of Mexican migrants, was quickly reclaimed as a symbol of self-determination and ethnic pride for those born in the U.S. but whose ancestors came from Mexico. The concept of La Raza and Aztlán became the crux of a new racial identity. La Raza (The Race) was adopted as a broad term used to refer to those whose ancestry is indigenous to Aztlán, the legendary ancestral homeland of the Aztec, but that may also be used to refer to those that are of the “new race” – Indigenous and European. In New Mexico, La Causa manifested in a unique way, focusing less on Chicanismo and Aztlán, and more on the rights and reclamation of Spanish and Mexican land grants, and their alleged protection under the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo and Section 5 of the New Mexico Bill of Rights. In New Mexico, the struggle of La Raza was the struggle of the Indo-Hispanos, the state’s Spanish speaking population, and a term coined by La Alianza Federal de Mercedes (The Federal Alliance of Land Grants) founder Reies López Tijerina. The term seeks to reconcile a difficult history of conquest and displacement in New Mexico, first
by the Spaniards who, through land grants and other colonization, displaced the area’s American Indian population, and later by the American Anglo ranchers who stole land out from under private Spanish and Mexican landowners. However, the term also openly celebrates the American Indian ancestry of New Mexico’s Spanish-speaking population, which they had until that time been wary of acknowledging for fear of further discrimination. First owned by the Indigenous peoples of the area, then by Spain, then Mexico and now the United States, the history of New Mexico is as complex and often times brutal as the landscape itself. But for the poor Hispano farmer living in rural New Mexico in the early 1960s, as with other Chicanos, American Indians, and African Americans of the time, poverty, hunger and discrimination were ingredients enough for revolution. Under the ownership of both Mexico and Spain, communal land had been given to communities to farm and live on, land that was by and large stolen after the Mexican-American War. In his book “La Raza,” Stan Steiner describes the conditions of rural Hispano villages in New Mexico in the early ‘60s: Some of the villagers are starving. In the adobe huts the old people sit in the dark, with no electricity, no water, no food, waiting for ‘the welfare.’ Half of the families do not earn enough to reach the government-approved “poverty line.”… They are too poor to buy tractors or seeds. It is the cruelest irony to starve in farm country. (22) It was under these conditions that Tijerina found the people of Tierra Amarilla, Anton Chico, and Rio Arriba County, New Mexico. And it was
under these conditions that the people of these communities organized, forming cooperative clinics, schools, farms, stores and other initiatives, and proclaiming that it wasn’t welfare that they wanted, it was land. In 1966 the villagers of Tierra Amarilla petitioned then Governor Jack Campbell, asking for an investigation of their land claims. And in a peaceful demonstration led by Tijerina they marched from Albuquerque to Santa Fe chanting, “We want justice, not powdered milk!” No investigation was made. Instead Tijerina was labeled a rabble-rouser, but as the status quo began to tremble so did the fears of those in power. In May 1967, a meeting was held in the Tierra Amarilla courthouse in which the villagers decided then and there to re-establish the Pueblo Republica de San Joaquin that had been dissolved in 1882. A mayor was elected, as well as a military chief, a sheriff and a town council. They proclaimed it the Free City-State of Tierra Amarilla, and, writes Steiner, “If the little village had declared war against the state of New Mexico the incredulous officials in the capitol would not have been more shocked… One by one the old land-grant villages might re-establish free city-states and a peaceful revolution would sweep through the mountains.” State police were called into action and on June 2 the village and ranch where the farmers had gathered to picnic with their families was surrounded and 11 men were arrested. On June 5, the mayor of the Pueblo Republica de San Joaquin, and the Free City-State of Tierra Amarilla issued orders for a citizens’ arrest of District Attorney Alfonso Sanchez for violating their right to a peaceful assembly. What followed was the infamous Tierra Amarilla Courthouse Raid and militant turning point in the Land Grant Movement and Chicano Movement at large. Villagers stormed the courthouse and a gun battle erupted, wounding two, but Sanchez, the man they’d come to arrest was no where to be found. Tijerina was charged with 54 criminal acts. In court he told the jury, “Yes, we are guilty of wanting our lands. We are guilty of believing in the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo. We are guilty of uniting the North. If I deserve to be punished for what I am doing for the poor people, then do it. But you cannot get rid of the land problem by putting me in jail.” He later told the people of Tierra Amarilla, “Our victory in the court was a symbol. Everybody in the world knows about Tierra Amarilla… We don’t believe in violence but we believe in Jesus Christ. The revolution of Tierra Amarilla was like Christ entering the temple and cleaning out the Pharisees.”
Drawing courtesy of artist Nelida Perez nelidaperez.tumblr.com www.nelidaperez.com
He speaks of achieving economic Gonzales.
justice and equal human rights in the United States. His strong voice resounds with the words demanding Chicanos keep their culture alive by standing proud and demanding acceptance from the general public of who we are. He speaks to the core of a movement that highlighted injustices against Mexican Americans for decades. Author Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales’s words in his poem, “Yo Soy Joaquin,” also known as “I am Joaquin,” is one of the earliest and most widely read poems associated with the Chicano Movement of the 1960’s. In the poem, Joaquin, the narrator of the piece, delves into the dilemmas facing Chicanos, at that time. These issues revolved around trying to accustom themselves to American culture while keeping their own culture alive to pass onto future generations. Joaquin narrates about his identity, as a Mexican and American, by highlighting five and a half centuries of Mexican and Chicano history. He used this history to lead him into discovering what his new identity is in a hybrid Mestizo, from racially mixed ancestry, society. This piece, similar to spoken word today, was intended to be learned and shared among youth, activists and community members, said Irene Vasquez, director of Chicano/Chicana Studies at the University of New Mexico, and co-author of “Making Aztlán: Ideology and Culture of the Chicana and Chicano Movement, 1966-1977.” “The poem's message advocated group pride and self-confidence in a past, history and identity that had been obscured by biased and oppressive social, economic and cultural institutions. Like other period pieces of the times, the content leans in the direction of male-centered discourse but the themes of community empowerment, social justice and cultural advocacy are as relevant today as they were in the past,” Vasquez said. The poem also served as a “rallying cry to unit, to move, to act … a battle cry to rebel,” said Nita J. Gonzales, eldest daughter of PAGE 14
“My father grew in a time when our history, our story, our culture was suppressed,” Nita said. “As he became more progressive he realized how little we knew about ourselves and our contributions. Through his poem he wants to assert the right of Mexican Americans to national self-determination and the creation of a mestizo nation. In this poem, he is hoping to educate the reader about our Raza’s history, strengths, and legacy of revolt.” This poem, written first in English and then in Spanish, was later adapted into a short film by leading figure in Chicano theater and the film’s director Luis Valdez and produced by El Teatro Campesino. In the movie, a firm male voice echoes throughout a series of photographs touching on the poem’s core and illustrating who Chicanos are by giving Gonzales’ words a human face. This piece served as a stepping stone for Chicano literature, which up until that time didn’t exist, but came into being after the poem came to fruition, said George Hartley, Assistant Professor of English at Ohio University in his piece "I Am Joaquín: Rodolfo ‘Corky’ Gonzales and the Retroactive Construction of Chicanismo." This new literature covered the history of Chicanos from the 1600s to 1960s. The issues highlighted in the poem are “as relevant in 2014 as (they were) when it was first written in 1967,” Nita said. “To this day I carry and read my father’s poem ‘I am Joaquin …’ she said. “It is this incredible and timeless piece of literature born out of the Chicano Movement that still serves as a philosophical foundation for the work I do and my life. It continues to remind me of who I am and that the struggle continues. It speaks to my spirit and heals my mind.” Nita is the President and CEO of Escuela Tlatelolco Centro de Estudios in Denver, Colo. This kindergarten through 12th grade school, founded by Gonzales in 1970, was created as an educational model promoting academic excellence and achievement, instilling cultural pride and inspiring students to become leaders in their community, Nita said.
“Yo soy Joaquín, perdido en un mundo de confusión: I am Joaquín, lost in a world of confusion, caught up in the whirl of a gringo society, confused by the rules, scorned by attitudes, suppressed by manipulation, and destroyed by modern society. My fathers have lost the economic battle and won the struggle of cultural survival. And now! I must choose between the paradox of victory of the spirit, despite physical hunger, or to exist in the grasp of American social neurosis, sterilization of the soul and a full stomach... ”
excerpt from “I Am Joaquin” by Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales’
racism toward Anglos, advocated ethnic solidarity and suggested the overthrow of the government.” These same classes, which were finally brought back in 2013 due to a federal court order, were part of a “decades-old federal desegregation case aimed at providing equal education.” “Understanding and recovering this struggle for CCM is very important as we move forward in the 21st century, trying to develop culturally relevant studies of education to keep them going and get them into colleges,” says Vasquez. Today, Chicano(a) activism remains vital and relevant, standing up to racial injustice and focusing on initiatives to better our communities. Many of the organizations created during the height of CCM are as vibrant today as they were then, including the Center of Southwest Culture, which was part of the national committee who created the first National Earth Day in 1970 on behalf of environmental justice. This center is a nonprofit organization developing healthy indigenous and Latino communities through economic development initiatives, education and cultural work. The Albuquerque South Valley-based Los Jardines Institute embodies the ideas of Earth Day by supporting environmental, economic and social justice through agriculture and literacy, says Vasquez. In Tierra Amarilla, New Mexico, cooperatives created during the 1960s Land Grant Movement continue to support and benefit the community, including La Clinica del Pueblo de Rio Arriba, a clinic providing health services to all individuals regardless of financial status. The clinic began in 1969 as an offshoot of an agricultural cooperative called La Cooperativa, which raised produce to sustain the organization. The University of New Mexico is still home to El Centro de la Raza, which provides the tools for self-determination, personal responsibility and resiliency of the college’s Raza students. The National Council of La Raza is alive and well, and in 2009 the State of New Mexico Land Grant Council was founded to provide support to 24 land grants-mercedes recognized as units of government. PAGE 18
Sources: 1. “Making Aztlán: Ideology and Culture of the Chicana and Chicano Movement, 1966-1977,” by Juan Gomez-Quinones &Irene Vasquez 2. “Beyond Indifference and Antipathy: The Chicana Movement and Chicana Feminist Discourse,” by Denise A. Segura and Beatriz M. Pesquera 3. “The Chicana in American History: The Mexican Women of El Paso, 1880-1920: A Case Study,” by Mario T. Garcia 4. “Chicana Critical Rhetoric: Recrafting La Causa in Chicana Movement Discourse, 1970-1979,” by Perlita R. Dicochea
We understand that police are a necessary part of our world
and that they serve an important function in our society. We respect them for their service and think, for the most part, they look hot in their uniforms. That said, there is nothing more patriotic or powerful than knowing and exercising your Constitutional rights as an American citizen. During stressful situations, such as being pulled over by law enforcement or stopped at a checkpoint, the last thing many of us are thinking about are our 5th and 6th Amendment Rights to remain silent and have an attorney. We at La Loca Magazine advocate knowing your rights and with the help of The Free Thought Project hope to make exercising those right a little easier. “The biggest mistake, involving any law enforcement, is to provide too much information,” says Nina Hodjat of Hodjat Law. “While you are ‘cooperating,’ you’re providing evidence, because everything you say and do can and will be used against you.” Whether you are being pulled over for a traffic violation or stopped at a DWI or Border Patrol checkpoint, you are not required to answer any questions and have the right to evoke your 5th Amendment right to remain silent. Unless presented with a warrant, you have the right to refuse a search of yourself, your vehicle and your home. If the officer can provide reasonable suspicion that you have committed a crime, you have the right to evoke your 6th Amendment right to an attorney. The more information you give, the more self-incriminating information the officer has to use against you to arrest you for a crime. You have the right to ask the officer if you are being detained or if you are free to go. “You don’t absolutely have to roll your window down all the way,” says Hodjat. “You just have to roll your window down enough so that you can hear their questions and they can hear you respectfully declining to answer their questions.” If you do not roll your window down enough to communicate, however, you can be charged with obstruction of justice. You do not have to blow over the limit in a breathalyzer to be charged with a DUI. However, if you are stopped at a DUI checkpoint, you still have the right to respectfully decline to answer any questions or do a field sobriety test. To make all of this information a little easier to implement, we have provided you with a card, courtesy of The Free Thought Project, that you can hand to a law enforcement officer along with your ID that states your rights for you.
SIDE 1 “I hereby invoke and refuse to waive all of the following rights and privileges afforded to me by the United States Constitution. I invoke and refuse to waive my 5th Amendment right to Remain Silent. I invoke and refuse to waive my 6th Amendment right to an attorney of my choice. I invoke and refuse to waive my 4th Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. If I am not presently under arrest, or under investigatory detention, please allow me to leave.”
SIDE 2 “OFFICER, I ASSERT MY 5TH AMENDMENT RIGHTS AS STATED ON THIS CARD” Pursuant to the law, as established by the United States Supreme Court, my lawyer has advised me not to talk to anyone and not to answer questions about any pending criminal case or any other civil, administrative, judicial, investigatory or adjudicatory matter. Following his advice, I do not wish to talk to anyone about any criminal, civil, administrative, judicial, investigatory or adjudicatory matter, without my lawyer present. I waive no legal rights, nor give any consents, nor submit to any tests or other procedures, without my lawyer present. I ask that no one question or talk to me, without my lawyer here to advise me. I do not wish to answer any questions. I want to see my lawyer. Please call my lawyer immediately. See: Miranda v. Arizona, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 384 U.S. 436 (1966),Maness v. Myers, 419 U.S. 449 (1975), Hoffman v. United States, 341 U.S. 479, (1951), Lefkowitz v. Turley, 414 U.S. 70, 77 (1973), Kastigar v. United States, 406 U.S. 441 (1972).
Noun 1. Chicano Vernacular Spanglish - a nonstandard form of Spanglish characteristically spoken by Hispanos in New Mexico and the Southwest by Andrea Zamora, photos by Carrie Tafoya PAGE 26
When one is roaming the barrios of Burque, it’s a guarantee you will run in to someone who speaks to you in what may sound like a foreign language. Some may call it Spanglish, Chicano slang, or even Calo. I personally think of it as what I call “Chibonics.” It’s a combination of English, Spanish and New Mexico slang spoken throughout the state. The Spanish dialect in New Mexico is unique to other dialects Spanish spoken throughout Latin America. New Mexican Spanish descends from colonists that arrived from Spain around the 16th century. At this time there was very little contact with the rest of the Spanish-speaking world. As a result of their isolation and coexistence with Native Americans, these colonists formed their own Spanish dialect that to this day preserves antiquated elements of colonial Español. Our Spanish, as well as our unique Chibonic slang, is a form of living history, a reminder of our ancestry and a part of our raza that it is as beautiful and adaptive as the people who speak it. If you are looking to touch up on your Chibonic skills, here is a list of common New Mexico slang words and the meanings behind them.
Ah la: When something is so astonishing or unbelievable that you
have no other way to explain it, other than using these two words. Example: Ah la!! That chick had a tube top on, ey? She looked all dumb.
Sangwitch: Another word for a sandwich, just pronounced like
it’s a singing bruja. Example: Mija, can you make me a fried bologna sangwitch with mustard, por favor.
Chale: A form of disagreement, disapproval or way of telling someone, “Hell no.” PAGE 1 Example: Chale bro, I’m not driving down that street. I heard
there is a checkpoint down there.
Jodasos: When two or more people get into a physical alterca-
Example: I saw these two chicks get into jodasos over a dude last night. It was all sick. Beyg: Another word for bag, just pronounced a little different. Example: : Mijo, if you’re gonna spend the night at your Nanas
make sure you pack your pajamas in a beyg.
Muy Chingon: A phrase used to describe something that is extremely bad ass.
Example: Did you see that vato’s ride? It was muy chignon. Frajo: A cigarette Example: Hey ese, I’m out of frajos.
Can I bum one off you, and I’ll get you back tomorrow?
Jale: A job or work. Example: My P.O. said if I just stick
to my jale he won’t give me anymore random drug tests.
Pinto(a): Describing someone who has spent time in prison. Example: heard that Angie’s new boyfriend was a pinto. Not Even Aye: A way of telling
someone that there is no possible way. Example: Brandy asked me if I wanted to date her little sister, but I was like, “Not even aye.”
Truchas: To be cautious and on the
Example: Truchas holms, I heard that vato is crazy. Spensas: Basically another way of saying, “My bad.” Being sorry and/or remorseful. Example: Spensas! I didn’t mean to break your Virgin Mary candle. I’ll buy you another one when I go to the dollar store. Carnal: A friend that you consider so close to your heart that they are basically like family. Example: Orale carnal. Come over this evening for dinner. We’re making tacos. Eeeeeeee: Best
described as another way to say, “Wow.” Something that has you in awe. Example: Eeeeeeee, you better be careful out there jita, or else La Llorona might get you!
Chingaso: To strike, hit or fight someone. Example: He disrespected his sister so they started throwing chingasos. Ombers: An expression that PAGE 1
implies “uh oh.” Example: Ombers! I’m going to tell dad I saw you kiss Juan after school.
Oh Si: To disagree or not believe what the person is telling you. Example: Rosa said she has a $100. Oh si, she don’t even work. Esce: A word meaning “supposedly.” Example: Esce they borrowed that
car from his mom, but I think they stole it.
Gacho: When something is done in
bad taste or in a bad manor. Example: Dang! Did you see how she slapped him? That was all gacho.
by Nikki Delaney photos by Gabriela Campos
Two of New Mexicoâ€™s literary treasures, Jessica Helen Lopez and Rudolfo Anaya, are
both highly renowned, award-winning writers residing in Albuquerque who have become important voices for Hispanic and human rights through their educational, empowering and inspirational work. PAGE 30
JESSICA HELEN LOPEZ Lopez, an adjunct instructor with the
University of New Mexico’s Chicana and Chicano Studies where she teaches the class Borderlands Poetics, is a lead mentor for the Voces 2014 Summer Writing Intensive Program for teens. Lopez holds the distinction of the first Chicana female to be named the City of Albuquerque Poet Laureate, and is the creator of “La Palabra-The Word is A Woman,” a collection of visual and literary art that celebrates and empowers femininity. She holds the title of 2012 and 2014 Women of the World (WOW) Albuquerque Slam Poet Champion. She is the author of two collections of poetry, “Always Messing With Them Boys” and “Cunt.Bomb,” and is a TED Talk speaker alumni. Nikki Delaney: What have been the biggest inspirations for your writings? Jessica Helen Lopez: My motivations stem from my life experiences as a brown woman, a mother and a victim of domestic violence, as well as my experiences growing up in a Machismo-centered culture where women suffered many injustices. Women were considered “less,” and I knew early on that I didn’t want to be limited. I found that writing and performing transformed me by providing a way for me to express by inner self without restriction, and it strengthened my confidence as well as provided me ways to become active in my community. I am moved to write about pertinent topics, such as border issues, femicide, rape culture, gender expression, women’s rights, sexuality, cultural topics and other messages that personally inspire me. ND: Which of your writings has the most meaning to you? JHL: My book “Cunt.Bomb.” has had the most meaning to me. When “Cunt.Bomb.” was considered as the title, I was aware that the word “cunt” was commonly used to degrade and negatively label women, but I was drawn to its meaning and wanted to reclaim the word to demystify and de-weaponize it. The book is a collection of poems that remind women that their body is their own and that being a female is powerful. True feminists do not hate males, since the ideals of feminism itself does not lend itself to hate at all. With this book, I have tried to write words and ideas that empower women out of the submission they may feel and teach them to embrace who PAGE 1
they are as females. ND: Your work is centered on topics of “Chicanisma,” “Feminestizaje,” and “grass roots activism.” Can you explain these concepts? JHL: Chicanisma is a term used to describe the culture of being a Chicana. Feminestizaje is a term used to describe mestasa (mixed blood) feminists. I do see poetry as an act of activism. I try to align my writing with my actions to help create change in my community. Grass roots activism entails doing the best of your ability with the resources that you have. Coordinating and organizing people to fight for
“Poetry is a vessel for empowerment.”
– Jessica Helen Lopez their beliefs in regards to topics that impact us in our own back yard - topics such as abortion and contraception rights, female rights, deportation and family. I run with a pack of poets and we do what we can to create awareness and promote tolerance, which I feel is better than apathy. ND: How has growing up as a Chicana and living in New Mexico influenced your work? JHL: I am not originally from New Mexico, but I moved from the Los Angeles area to Deming when I was younger, and I grew up mostly there. Deming was a small farm border town and it was a culture shock… In Deming there was segregation even among the brown community. It wasn’t until I moved to Albuquerque that I knew I was home. I learned to let water roll off my back here and found that I could truly express myself here. I found that in Albuquerque, they truly celebrate culture and there is a sense of pride that I have never found anywhere else. Albuquerque is colorful, quirky and the landscape is gorgeous. I’ve learned about the stories of the people here and I’ve fallen in love. I feel great pride to live in Albuquerque ND: How has living as a Pocha (a non-Spanish speaking Chicana) impacted you? JHL: I wrote a poem called “Pocha,” which narrates the history of why I don’t speak
Spanish and how my birth right was taken from me because my grandparents and parents weren’t allowed to speak their language in school. I have written about what it feels like to not have my language and to have my culture exploited for monetary means. I am protective of my culture and it offends me when the things that matter to us as a people are stripped away. Like when Disney was trying to copyright Dia de los Muertos so they could make a movie about it, they soon learned that they were in over their head by trying to commercialize something so sacred to us. ND: How do you feel your work is relevant to the Chicano Movement? JHL: I was always inspired by the Chicano Movement of the 1960s. I wasn’t born then, but I remember reading about it, watching movies about it and hearing stories of my family living through it. My grandfather was a farmer and he told us that they got paid only if they were lucky, and were often sprayed in the face with pesticides. My grandfather eventually lost his eye due to this and the vision of him with his eye patch covered in turquoise was always so fierce to me. I was told, in protest, by my family not to eat grapes, which I didn’t for over 10 years! I knew early on in my life that things weren’t right around me and I learned to be radical, and eventually my work reflected this. Every time I write, read, get published, am awarded, become involved in projects and organize, it’s always progress for the Chicano Movement. I remember reading Jimmy Santiago Baca’s work and feeling it light me on fire and wanting to write about such passionate and relevant topics. I feel that writing should have a purpose. I am proud to be a Chicana poet on fire and wanting to write about such passionate and relevant topics. I feel that writing should have a purpose. I am proud to be a Chicana poet.
“Every time I write, read, get published, am awarded, become involved in projects and organize, it’s always progress for the Chicano movement.”
“Literature is power, if you deny a culture its literature; you deny them the power to express their full potential.” – Rudolfo Anaya
RUDOLFO ANAYA Anaya is considered one of the founders of contemporary Chicano literature. He has been hailed as one of the most renowned Mexican-American writers of all time, and his work holds an important place in Chicano literary curricula, with novels such as “Bless Me, Ultima” appearing as staples on school reading lists. Anaya was born Oct. 30, 1937, in rural New Mexico and raised in Santa Rosa by his cattle worker and farmer parents until the 8th grade when they moved to Albuquerque. Anaya began writing “Bless Me, Ultima” in 1963, and independent publishing house Quinto Sol quickly published the book after awarding it Best Novel Written by a Chicano in 1971. He explained how frustrating it was for him to write "without models or mentors,” saying, “I was still imitating a style and mode not indigenous to the people and setting I knew best. I was desperately seeking my natural voice, but the process by which I formed it was long and arduous … because the thought was still prevalent in academia that Chicanos were better suited as janitors than scholars." In the years since, Anaya has made himself a significant figure in the landscape of Chicano literature. While he has been able to make his existence known and his unique voice heard throughout the world, he says that he still looks forward to a day when Chicano youth will find their own path to such recognition considerably less arduous.
Remember, a few years after “Bless Me, Ultima” was published it was taken out of classrooms in Bloomfield, New Mexico, and burned. We, Chicanos, were telling the stories of our community and those in power didn't want to hear it. In many respects those in power still reject our literature. Arizona recently banning Chicano literature is an example. Literature is power, if you deny a culture its literature; you deny them the power to express their full potential.
“Every single work by a Chicano or Chicana is relevant to describing who we are. A love poem is just as relevant as a fiery speech to march against injustice. Everything counts.”
ND: “Bless Me, Ultima,” explores the relationship between a young Chicano boy and Ultima, a curandera or folk healer and spiritual guide. Is "Bless Me, Ultima" autobiographical? RA: “Bless Me, Ultima” has a lot of autobiography in it. Things we didn't talk about in those days occurred. Our stories were full of people with Nikki Delaney: WWhat has been the inspirapower. I knew people like that. I guess we all did. tion for your writings? It took the novel to reveal the work of our curandRudolfo Anaya: In my first novel, “Bless Me, eras, our healers. Ultima,” my goal was to capture parts of my Today there is much more knowledge of our childhood and the beautiful gente that swirled curanderas, women I call our "first spiritual around me. As I got deeper into the novel I feminists." They were strong women who took on realized I was writing about the spirit of the helping roles others would not. I celebrate the people, los Nuevo Mexicanos. A lot of that spirit healing care they have given our community. came not only from the place, el Rio Pecos and vicinity, but also from the stories the people told. ND: Your work has a highly "Chicano-centric" content, do you feel that this contributed to the difficulties in getting published by mainstream publishers? RA: In the 1960s, mainstream publishers weren't interested in anything written by Mexican Americans. They didn't even know we existed, and if we didn't exist we couldn't write, so they said. They were too East Coast-centered. So, yes, my novels are centered in Nuevo Mexico, but writers from all over the country use their particular culture and place as content. Why couldn't I use my place and cultura to tell my stories?
ND: What do the terms "Chicano,” “Hispanic” and “La Raza" mean to you personally, culturally and/or historically. RA: Mexican Americans of the 1960s created the Chicano Movement. We are Chicanos. To me Hispanic identifies anyone who comes from a Spanish language culture. La Raza are the mestizos of this hemisphere that are of European and Native American descent. I am raza. Although I don't know my Native American ancestors, I know I am mestizo. I grew up knowing only my hispano grandparents of the Pecos River Valley. I know very little of my Anaya ancestors from La Merced de Atrisco.
ND: The Chicano movement took place in the 1960s, likely during the time you were attending UNM. Do you feel that your writings were either influenced by the Chicano Movement or had an impact on the movement? RA: My second novel, “Heart of Aztlan,” validates the concept of Aztlan, which was very important to defining Chicano/Chicana identity in the 1960s. It also describes the rights of workers to unionize. But I feel, and have always said, that every single work by a Chicano or Chicana is relevant to describing who we are. A love poem is just as relevant as a fiery speech to march against injustice. Everything counts. ND:During the Chicano Movement, UNM students formed the United Mexican-American Students group. How did you experience the Chicano Movement at UNM? RA: In the 1970s, I was teaching at UNM. I was fortunate to have some of the most conprometidos (involved) students on campus. We invited Chicano/Chicana writers to present their works. Many of the writers came from Angela de Hoyos to Ricardo Sanchez. Jamie Chavez (a local poet), helped tremendously in the effort. We called our series Sol y Sangre. It was an exciting time. Also, I started teaching a Chicano literature class. I co-authored a collection of essays, “Aztlan, Essays on the Chicano Homeland,” with Francisco Lomeli. ND: In 1963, Reies Lopez Tijerina, who was the founder of the Land Grant Movement in New Mexico, formed the Alianza Federal de Mercedes to restore the legal rights of the heirs to Spanish and Mexican land grants that had been guaranteed under the treaty ending the Mexican War. How did this man and his movement impact you? RA: I am heir to the Atrisco Land Grant. That land grant has since been sold. Reies Lopez was very important to members of land grants. Whether one agrees with him or not, he was telling us to hold on to our land grants. I, and many others, opposed the sale of the Atrisco Land Grant. ND: What else would you like to say to Chicanos/Hispanics and everyone else who will be reading this article? RA: We still have a long way to go. Get with it! PAGE 33
The cottonwood trees of the bosque lean carelessly close to the street, like ancient citadels overseeing the traffic that idles lazily up and down Isleta Boulevard in the heart of Albuquerque’s South Valley. Along this route, between adobe mom and pop storefronts, lays a small compound of buildings brightly decorated in uplifting images of human perseverance and integrity, behind them sit a tipi and an inipi (sweat lodge). The pride in this community haven by the people who love and operate it can be seen in the frequent depiction of its name almost everywhere you look, written in beautiful, loving script – La Plazita Institute. La Plazita is a community hub, designed around the philosophy of "La Cultura Cura" (culture heals). The institute’s long list of programs challenge individuals to draw from their own traditional backgrounds to express values of respect, honor, love and family while supporting them in leaving behind destructive lifestyles. La Plazita serves Albuquerque’s most vulnerable youth populations and their families, the majority of which are of Hispano/Chicano/Mexicano and Native American heritages. The individuals served have been previously incarcerated and/or involved with gangs, and often come from families with multigenerational legacies of poverty, gang involvement and substance addiction. Along with a long list of services and programs offered through La Plazita, weekly meetings are held for community members to discuss and learn about issues affecting themselves and their neighbors. On this muggy July evening the topic of discussion at the monthly People Making a Change meeting is the juvenile justice system, which, attendees learn, contains a majority of Hispanic youth from the South Valley. “We stood up for corazon and dignity and stood up to our so-called enemy. It is harder to show an enemy respect than it is to create violence,” La Plazita founder and Executive Director Albino Garcia, Jr. tells the group before him. He is reminding them how the relationship between the community and members of the judicial system has evolved from one of distrust to cooperation in the decade since La Plazita’s creation, and how transformation has translated into progress for their young people. The crowd learns that over the course of the last 13 years, through programs such as the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative and Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Detention Coalition, the number of youth in detention in Bernalillo County has dropped from 120 to 46, arrests have been reduced by more than
Ceramics Instructor Russell Urban draws a design on a vase at La Plazita Institute.
“THERE IS AN ENORMOUS NEED FOR OUR WORK AS OUR POPULATION TENDS TO FALL THROUGH THE CRACKS OF CONVENTIONAL SOCIAL SERVICE INSTITUTES. WE PROVIDE WHOLE FAMILY, CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE SUPPORT SO AS TO FACILITATE HEALING AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF CORE IDENTITY AND SELF-ESTEEM.” WWW.LAPLAZITAINSTITUTE.ORG
half, healthy alternatives to detention, such as La Plazita, have been created, and major steps are being taken to eliminate racial disparity from the system all together. With over 30 years of community outreach work and gang intervention under his belt, Garcia established the institute in 2004, and in 2009 the institute gained its non-profit status. La Plazita is an extraordinary example of an individual seeing a need in their community and the community taking up that vision to assume ownership and responsibility for its progress and welfare. On any day here you will witness people finding their voice as they gather to talk, children becoming empowered by learning to create and grow things with their hands, and those in need finding strength through their ancestors’ ancient healing ways. “La Plazita is a community-based organization that provides leadership opportunities, encourages entrepreneurship, and engages youth and family in their healing and holistic development,” says co-executive director Theresa Gonzales. “Our focus is to acknowledge our indigenous roots, to emphasize the importance of collaboration, and to inspire change through individual and collective efforts that embrace non-traditional leadership, values, diversity, and improve economic and community capacity by focusing on our assets and strengths.” She says that everyone who works at La Plazita has “overcome significant obstacles to get where they are. Our motto is, we are who we serve.” Ceramics instructor Russell Urban developed the ceramics program at La Plazita more than two years ago after spending 27 years in state and federal prisons. He began by joining the institute’s Pathways Program, under the direction of Tomas Martinez, which helped him enroll at CNM, then obtained a position working at La Plazita. Urban, who learned to do ceramics in prison, teaches the art to youth in alternatives to detention programs, as well as youth and adults in the community that have an interest. The program uses ceramics as art therapy and participants also learn entrepreneurial skills. The institute also offers silk screening classes, under the direction of Eddyberto Cardenas. Silk screening jobs can also be commissioned through La Plazita with the profit going directly to the institute. The institute is maintained mostly through foundation grants but also by programs such as silk screen printing, farming and ceramics. La Plazita also sells produce grown at their three certified organic farms, known as La Plazita Gardens, to groups such as Albuquerque Public Schools. La Plazita Gardens is also a major contributor to a collective of South Valley local farmers who produce enough food to provide 250 parcels of food each week to local families. “Our farm, silk screen printing and ceramic production activities are a form of social enterprise,” says Gonzales. A cornerstone for the institute are the cultural healing services they offer free of charge, including inipi and cannupa (sweat lodge and sacred pipe) ceremonies, curandera healing through Kalpulli Teocalli Ollin, and AcuDetox. Lakota language and tai chi classes are also offered. “We keep young people above the ground, plant seed, and sustain our own healing while healing others, by maintaining a connection to our ancestors through indigenous practices and through the philosophy we strive to live out each day. La Cultura Cura,“ says Garcia.
La Plazita Farm Apprentice Frank Romero works at the institute’s Chavez Community Farm.
by Andrea Zamora, photos by Carrie Tafoya One in five Americans have at least one tattoo. Most get their work done by an artist in the relative comfort of a licensed tattoo shop. But not all. While tattoos have reached the level of haute couture, with Ed Hardy handbags and faux tattoo sleeves available in corner boutiques for middle aged women who want to take a walk on the wild side, the art forms’ very real bad-boy roots still exist. Prisons, one of the nurseries for early tattooing, remain a hotbed of tattoo culture. Some prison tattoos mark their owners with codes of allegiance. Spyder’s tattoos provide a visual reminder of faith and triumph. Spyder, 29, received his first tattoo behind bars. In the more than six years that he’s spent incarcerated he’s given himself many more tattoos. The self-administered tattoos are produced with scavenged materials; whatever he had available to make ink, needles and a tattoo guns. It can be very difficult, he says, to acquire essential tattoo materials while locked up. “One time we got our hands on a pair of clippers and took the motor out to make our own tattoo gun,” he says. Prison ink, called “soot,” is made from baby oil that is burned until it’s black and then mixed with either more baby oil or shampoo. As for needles, Spyder would make them out of the springs of writing pens, uncoiling them and then sharpening the metal tips with a nail file from the commissary. “Put it all together with a button off of our clothes and we would start tattooing single-needle,” he says. While it’s not uncommon for some former inmates to regret the permanent markings leftover Many tattoos that have been assimilated into mainstream tattooing originated within the darker realms of gang and prison life as a code or language of alliance. Do you know what the original meanings of your tattoos are? Three Dots in a Triangle: Usually found either on the hand between the thumb and pointer finger or sometimes next to the eye means “mi vida loca.” This usually means the person has had a hard life or been through something traumatic that they will remember for the rest of their life. Teardrop: This tattoo can have several different meanings, including the person has killed someone in prison or has a loved one who was killed in prison. The number of teardrops can also mean the years spent in prison or the number of people this person has killed.
from doing time, Spyder says he has no regrets. “I feel like I have earned my ink and every piece of art on my body is a part of my life that I went through and it represents something that I have overcome and conquered,” he says. Spyder, whose prison time begin at the age of 19, says that he started getting tattoos to feel more “accepted.” Yet the significance he attaches to his tattoos has changed over time. More than just helping him fit in, Spyder’s ink began to write the story of his past, his struggles, and his accomplishments. Most of his tattoos are religious because during that time he says he was looking for something or someone to turn to for help getting out of the hole that he had dug himself into. After being released from prison Spyder decided that he wanted to do something more with his life and turn his experiences into something positive. “I started drawing more, and I decided this was what I wanted to do with my life,” says Spyder. He has now been tattooing professionally for the last 7 years and is part-owner of his own tattoo shop, Original Sin, where the walls are filled with beautiful artwork that he created while incarcerated. He keeps it up as a reminder of his past and the experiences he has been through. “I can do things in my art that I could never do in reality,” he says. His view on tattoos? “Get something that means something to you, this is the only thing that we take with us when we die so make it meaningful.” Shamrock: A tattoo that is associated with white supremacist prison gangs in the California area known as Aryan Brotherhood. The Aryan Brotherhood is also known to use the number 12 as the number 1 symbolizes the letter A and the number 2 symbolizes the letter B. The Number 13: Connected to the gang MS13. The 13 symbolizes membership in the Mara Salvatrucha 13 gang. This tattoo can be found on different parts of the body including the neck, the hands, back and stomach, but most commonly the face. Spider Web: Most commonly it means prison time served or murder. The number of concentric circles represents the years spent in prison. Older meanings of the spider web tattoo are that the person had murdered someone in prison. It could also mean that the person has killed an enemy, which serves as a warning to others.
Pinstriper Joey Demny’s concentration is as unwavering as his hand, holding a long sword-like brush dipped in red, visceral paint. In smooth, gentle swoops he confidently lays down a design of masterful symmetry, its crimson arches meeting and crossing just so on his metal canvas. Outside his garage, which is filled with the work of fellow pinstripers and the result of collaborative pinstriping jams, his children glide along the street of their Rio Rancho neighborhood on custom lowrider bikes while their father works on his own custom baby, a 1948 Chevrolet Fleetline. Four years ago this artist and Santa Fe native joined the Bernalillo chapter of the oldest national lowrider club in continuous existence, the Duke’s Car Club. Like many lowrider aficionados, Demny’s interest in these low, colorful rides was a love at first sight story, and with deep family ties in Northern New Mexico, perhaps a hereditary calling, as well. “The club was started by a group of brothers in (Los Angeles) where young people’s life choices were either to become involved with gangs or cars,” says Demny. The club, which has grown into one of the largest lowrider clubs in PAGE 38
the country, got its start in the late 1950s in South Central Los Angeles when single mother Josefina Ruelas moved her five boys to the United States from Tijuana, Mexico. Out of a need for protection, the brothers soon affiliated themselves with the 38th Street Gang, but in an attempt to steer the boys onto a more constructive path, their uncle “Tinker” began spending his weekends taking his young nephews to junkyards to buy parts or old cars they could transform into something productive. Uncle Tinker’s plan worked and soon the Ruelas brood was busy building and modifying anything with an engine, including motorized skateboards and scooters. Today the club, says Demny, truly operates like a family and their core values revolve around class, respect and, of course, familia. According to the club’s website, the mission of the Duke’s is to “continually promote the concept and improve the image of lowriding through dedication, commitment, and involvement within our organization and communities…. The Duke’s have formed a rock-solid reputation in the auto industry, and are inextricably tied to the Chicano history of the American Southwest.”
Ben Emerson: Do you think that lowriding is exclusively Hispanic? Joey Demny: Nah, it's definitely coming outta the box a bit. I don't think any car should be exclusive to just one race. Cars will break a barrier down very quickly. People that may have never talked to me will because of my car. I respect all cars. I like 4x4's and hot rods, but lowriders just called to me. BE: I'm beginning to see that the lowrider, Chicano style is starting to really influence the kustom culture, why do you think that is? JD: ‘Cause it looks good! Kustoms and lowriders, to me, are almost the same thing because we are all trying to make a badass car with what we have by either adding or taking away. BE: What do you think is the appeal of lowriding, and why do you think it became a popular outlet for Chicanos? JD: I can only say how I see it, and for me, I wanted to express myself. Yeah, there are a million cars that are like this, but this one is mine. So, I do things to it to express myself. Some people might say, “Well, why are you gonna do that?” And I say, “Cuz it's mine, it's what I do.”
BE: How did you get started with pinstriping? JD: I've been pinstriping for 12 or 13 years now. I started by messing around on my own cars. One day my wife said she thought I should try and take it to the next level, so I started working on other people’s cars. As for budget, it all depends on what I'm doing and what your budget is. But for me, every job is just as important as the next. I mean, I'm working on someone’s car and the honor is all mine. It means a lot to me when someone likes what I do.
In 1988 performer El Vez, the self-proclaimed Mexican Elvis, began performing “Immigration Time,” a song written about the political hot topic but sung to the tune of The King’s “Suspicious Minds.” Over 25 years later he is still performing the song that is as relevant now as it was then with funny yet impactful lyrics such as, “I’m caught in a trap, I can’t walk out, because my foot’s caught in this border fence.” Other Elvis re-writes include “You Ain’t Nothin’ But A Chihuahua,” and “Lordy Miss Lupe.” To El Vez, Elvis represents the American rags-to-riches dream that is available to everyone, regardless of his or her demographic. But while he is most well known for his Elvis impersonations, the Chicano performer’s music runs the gamut of music and pop culture history, all the while infusing PAGE his 1own personality and ideals into the message.
UUsing humor and satire, Robert “El Vez”
merge the two worlds incredibly well and get a message out while giving people a good time. EV: I am an entertaining protest singer! Entertaining is in the forefront. Not all El Vez songs are protest songs, but there is a good chunk. I like my protest songs the best because they get the point of injustice across, but they are still entertaining, especially in live performances.
Lopez, 53, laces classic American music with poignant Chicano power messages, bling and a little punk rock. Having released 7 albums and touring internationally, in 2011 El Vez was included in the “American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music” exhibit at The Smithsonian for taking the “Elvis-impersonation phenomenon and reinventing it into a cross-culSC: If El Vez were a meal, what would that tural live performance combining a love of meal be? Elvis with an impressive knowledge of popular EV: Something fresh and raw, perhaps a music and a pro-Latino political agenda.” One ceviche, or maybe a steak tar-tar. Lots of meat! of his gold suits is displayed between memoraBut spicy and acidic, like a Thai version. bilia from Ritchie Valens and Celia Cruz. Simon Cantlon: How would you describe the El Vez experience? El Vez: Elvispanic! El Vez is an exciting Las Vegas, rock ‘n’ roll homage -- satire of the Elvis history and legend through the eyes of Chicano Culture! SC: I interviewed you once at Cantor’s Deli in New York City and you started chanting protest rights rallying anthems for the Mexicans working in the kitchen. Do you consider yourself a revolutionary? EV: El Vez can be a revolutionary! But he can also be a preacher, a teacher, a politician, a healer and a stealer (of ideas). Similar to the idea of Elvis in his films --he was a pilot, a race car driver, a farm hand, a cliff diver, circus performer, a carny etc., etc. SC: Would eating at one of your El Vez Restaurants be for the taste buds what listening to El Vez music is for the ears? (El Vez has two restaurants named “El Vez” in Philadelphia and NYC.) EV: Alas, the experiences are very different. The restaurants are great and flavorful, but do not have as many clashes of salty and sour, bitter and sweet, hot and cold as does the music of El Vez. The music isn't always concerned with going down smooth or being palatable. SC: You infuse a lot of Hispanic elements into your music and themes? Does being Chicano play a large part in how you present yourself to the world as a performer? EV: When I am El Vez, for sure! It is one of the main focuses, after being entertaining. I am lucky I have many other outlets where I can change my focus or drives. SC: Are you more of a protest singer or more of an entertainer? It seems that you
SC: If El Vez were a cocktail, what would it be? EV: A drink would be complex, smoky, bitter, tart! A combo of Mezcal, Campari, lime with a
kicker to throw in like chili or an extra note herb! SC: If you could perform with any artist who is no longer alive, who would it be and why? EV: The French artist Marcel Duchamp. He is my favorite! It would probably be more concept driven. He wasn't an entertainer so it would be in a completely different realm. I love his ideas, how anything can be considered art if it is put into the right context. SC: Does the music of El Vez make people fall in love? EV: I know of many couples that met for the first time at El Vez concerts that have gone on to get married! I am also a registered reverend, and I have married many couples. You too can get married by El Vez! SC: What do you think Elvis would think of El Vez if he were alive today? EV: I think Elvis would see the humor in El Vez and appreciate what I do. I have worked many times with the Elvis Presley Estate. Half of them love me and half of them hate me, which I think is a great balance. Priscilla Presley said once, "We like El Vez, he doesn't bother us with stuff. He does his own thing and leaves us alone." Not the greatest endorsement, but I like that she knows who I am. Lisa Marie Presley married my first El Vez guitarist, Michael Lockwood. She had twins with him. I know she has one of my EL VEZ, CHE IT LOUD t-shirts! SC: What is the strangest place you have ever performed? EV: Hmmm…a laundromat in the Mid-West? An Air Raid Shelter in Aachen, Germany. SC: You’ve been performing for 25 years now, what does that feel like? EV: Old, but happy! I accomplished a lot and had great experiences. Entertained thousands of people, was allowed by my fans to make a living from it for all these years. El Vez allowed me the luxury to do all my other side projects. It is nice to be King. SC: What will your tombstone say? EV: “TCB EV Now your work is done.” PAGE 41
Vivian MirAnn: Could you start off by telling us where you’re from, originally? Ruby Champagne: I was born in Orange, California, but these days, I’m calling Long Beach home. VM: Our current issue of La Loca Magazine is celebrating Hispanic cultures and influences in society today. Could you tell our readers what your ethnicity is? RC: My background is Mexican-American. My mom comes from Mexico City, and my dad is from El Paso, Texas. VM: I’ve watched your Facebook posts quite a bit since you won at ABurlyQ!, and you always seem to have so much going on in your life and career. How did you get started in burlesque? RC: I got started in burlesque in New York City in 2006, when I signed up for the New York School of Burlesque. After enjoying countless shows in New York and being a fan of burlesque for years, I felt it was the perfect opportunity to learn the art. And I wanted see if it was something I could pursue to perform on stage. What do you know? It was!
hope to see your career go? RC: Going on my eighth year as a burlesque performer, I am still hopeful to get the opportunity to perform in Europe. Other than that, I continue to enjoy every opportunity to perform and represent my culture and classic Burlesque. I hope to keep performing for as long as I can! VM: Wonderful! I’m sure our readers would love to see you out and about in LA or on the road. Before we wrap up, is there anything else you’d like to share about yourself, your career, or heritage? RC: Earlier this year I was invited to be a Headline Performer in the Inaugural Latin Burlesque Festival of 2014 in Dallas, Texas. This was a supreme honor! I'm extremely honored for the privilege to be a headliner for a festival. It’s my first time in this title. Even more exciting is to have this title be for the Latin Burlesque Festival, which will feature and showcase fabulous Latin culture and inspiration within Burlesque! I’m very excited!
VM: New York has an amazing scene for burlesque! There are so many clubs and performance spaces there. What are some of your favorite places that you’ve performed at? RC: Some of my favorite venues to perform at include the Kimo Theater in Albuquerque, and the Yost Theater in Santa Ana, California. VM: I’m so glad that Albuquerque made the cut! Now you’ve been performing quite a bit around the country and in a lot of festivals. What are some of your awards or titles that you’ve earned, and what shows do they hail from? RC: I won the Miss Viva Las Vegas title in 2010, which is held yearly at the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender in Las Vegas. I also won the Best Soloist title in 2012 at the ABurlyQ! Burlesque & Sideshow Spectacular in Albuquerque. And, I earned the Top 10 Performer 2013 award in “Time Out Los Angeles” magazine. VM: Impressive! Now, as a Chicana performer, do you base performances on your cultural background? RC: Not all of my performances are based on my cultural background, but I certainly love to perform my acts that do feature them! I do tend to lean towards songs that have a Latin influence to them, as well. VM: I don’t think I’ll ever forget the costume you wore here while on stage. Red, white and green never looked so good, or sparkly! Do you have a signature cultural piece that you'd like to tell our readers about? RC: One of my signature acts, La Mexicana, is a fusion of traditional Folkloric dance and mambo. I wanted to showcase the beautiful dance of Folklorico, so I chose to open my act with "El Jarabe Tapatio," known as the Mexican Hat Dance. I then segue into the tease portion by performing to a snazzy mambo version of "Tequila." VM:: Can you tell us a bit about how your culture has influenced your performance career? RC: Some of my performances have a cultural influence or inspiration in them, which I greatly enjoy showcasing. Having a tagline of "The Mexican Spitfire of Burlesque" has sparked interest in my art, as people are interested in seeing how I represent the Mexican culture. I believe they are pleased to see someone portraying a strong, positive and proud Mexican American! VM: Those are three words that fit you perfectly! Gorgeous is another word I’d pick. Now, with your successes in mind, where do you
During times of economic struggle some of the most uplifting stories will come from the working class folks you see every day in your community. We decided it was time to give a nod to our inspirational business owners who have pursued their ambitions even through hardships and a downturned economy. We heard many inspiring nomination stories but chose the owner of Albuquerque’s Bocadillos New Mexico, Marie Yniguez, as La Loca Magazine’s Hispanic Business Woman of the Year. Bocadillos is a full-service catering and school-meals company. The heart that has gone into this business, the good they do for the community and the sense of familia they have created within their staff represents everything La Loca stands for. Bocadillos features several masterly crafted slow-roasted sandwiches that are piled high with delicious local ingredients and lots of love. We suggest calling in your order to avoid the hungry mobs that crowd the small 15-seat dining room in their North Valley location during lunch hour. It won’t be long before the expansion of their dining room and patio will be complete, providing more of an opportunity for their customers to hang out and enjoy each other’s company. This slow roasted sandwich heaven is located at 1609 Indian School Rd., NW. You may notice a familiar Bob’s Big Boy logo on the side of the building that’s been decked out in tattoo’s and bears a striking resemblance to owner Yniguez. Spending her childhood bouncing back and forth from Hurley, NM, and Albuquerque’s South Valley has infused Yniguez’s business with small-town values and Hispanic culture. “I’ve spent my entire life working for the little guy. I’ve worked for big corporations but I never liked it. I never felt at home. I never felt like family,” she says. It was out of necessity that Yniguez’s business was born, and from her warm approach to business that keeps the company moving forward. After suffering a minor stroke at 32 and losing her job, she found herself with a wife and daughter to take care of without any means of income. “I had to figure out a way for my daughter to live. I needed to make sure she had stuff to make a sandwich and had shoes on her feet,” Yniguez says. It was then that Yniguez and her wife began making burritos and selling them from their home, which led to a few catering jobs here and there. Once the couple realized they could make a living off Yniguez’s special cooking gift, they decided to go for it and apply for an official PAGE 44
business license. “I’ve been cooking with my mom, my grandma, my sisters and my tias since I was 12 years old. I’ve cooked all over the world with the Army, so I had this crazy culinary experience. But this all started because I can make a mean burrito,” she says. After becoming officially licensed, the couple took over the café inside the South Valley Economic Development Center, which serves as an incubator for small businesses. The SVEDC provides a commercial kitchen and office space for new and old businesses. “At that point we didn’t even have a car. We were literally riding the bus to the SVEDC every day,” she says. It was then that catering jobs started taking off and the couple landed a catering deal with a local charter school. Now they are happy to be serving five different charter schools, which they cater twice a day. This allows them to provide kids with delicious, nutritious meals that are all built from scratch and made almost entirely with local ingredients. Since they began their contracts with the charters, one of the schools has reported a 17 percent improvement in student’s math scores, which they attribute to the positive changes in the children’s eating habits. For her positive contributions to the health and well-being of Albuquerque’s future entrepreneurs, as well as overcoming struggles and obstacles while creating a positive work environment for the local workforce, we are proud to recognize Marie Yniguez as La Loca Magazine’s, Hispanic Business Woman of 2014.
Photos by Carrie Tafoya
The next few months will be full of useful energy for
with Seth Browder
us all. With full moons coming through each month and the new moons bringing much needed balance, this will be a great time for you to regroup and sort your finances. This is not the season to go crazy spending for holidays, buy local and keep it simple.
spiritual or physical. Either way, this is a great time to do it! Get out and explore options, tell your loved ones how much they mean to you, break out of your shell a bit and realize you’re stronger than you think.
Leo – July 23rd to August 22nd
Aries – March 21st to April 19th
The next several weeks you may feel the urge to be more impulsive and spend a bit more freely. Try to compose yourself and work on your inner-self a bit more. Use this energy to focus on your emotions and on learning to be more patient, even if it’s with daily duties. This holiday season is really the time for you, so if you need to splurge, do it on yourself with a bit more self-control.
Taurus – April 20th to May 20th
This holiday season you will definitely enjoy all the foods around you, so indulge! In November and December really focus on all that you have, all the people that make you laugh, all the amazing things you’ve drawn into your life, and be grateful. One thing I encourage you to do before the winter months set in is go into nature and breathe it in -- instant balance.
Gemini – May 21st to June 21st
Dear Gemini, October through December are going to bring you some quick mood swings, be ready for it ahead of time. This is a perfect time for you to teach yourself some major self control, don’t let anyone get the best of you. My suggestions to you are to balance yourself out, enjoy the new autumn air, and since this is a great time to be more creative, do something new and fun.
Cancer – June 22nd to July 22nd
You’ve probably been thinking about some kind of personal change recently, perhaps
Over the next few weeks you may start to feel more confident in areas you always questioned. Go with it! Urges to surround yourself with your closest group of friends or family will be pretty strong, and I encourage you to do it. Now is a great time to explore outside your box.
Virgo – August 23rd to Sept. 22nd
Virgo, I can see it already, you’re pre-organizing the upcoming months. These next several weeks, feel free to loosen up the reigns a bit and let things fall as they may. Get out more and soak up some new energy. In December keep focused on your finances and treat yourself before splurging on others.
Libra – Sept. 23rd to October 22nd
The months to really be you and to be focused on all you love are here. I advise you to roll with it, step outside of your comfort zone and let yourself experience something new. It’s important to really stay balanced over these holiday months. Try to not be combative, and walk away from anything that may be bringing your mood down. Try a new coffee or tea and take some time for yourself to reflect on how far you’ve come this past year.
Scorpio – Oct. 23rd to Nov. 21st
Sagittarius – Nov. 22nd to Dec. 21st
Being close to only a handful of people, this is a great time for you to get out with them more. Make it a point to make plans and start breaking repetitive habits. Over the next couple of weeks it’ll be crucial to stimulate yourself more, maybe through movies or something motivating. My advice is to go see a new flick with a loved one, talk about it, break it down, and do this several times over the next few weeks.
Capricorn – Dec. 22nd to Jan. 19th
These months may always feel a bit rougher on you than others, but this is a prime time to keep your creative juices flowing. Finish old projects or start new ones. Get out and breathe a bit. It’s easy for others to view you as a loner or having stinginess in your attitude. Well, let them believe what they want; this is a great time for you to be you and prove ‘em wrong. Enjoy the next few weeks, and spoil yourself a bit.
Aquarius – Jan. 20th to Feb. 18th
Over the next few weeks you will feel overly intuitive, even to your already intuitive nature. Your usually free-spirited attitude should stay on the down low a bit, and keep yourself grounded as much as possible, maybe by walking in nature or finding an indoor pool. Try and focus on you. Keep a journal handy for anything out of the ordinary that you feel coincides with your intuitive flow. Now, get out and do something new.
Pisces – Feb. 19th – March 20th
These upcoming weeks may feel like it’d be easiest to be a recluse, and almost like You may feel a bit more sensitive to the you’re offbeat a bit. Ignore that feeling, it’s simplest of things, but these next several just the offbeat energy working around weeks will be working in your favor, so utilize the positive in your life and open up you. Indulge in some new music or new projects, or spend some time around a bit more. Get out and enjoy the new people who give you that lift in spirits you season change. This is a good time to write, paint or be creative in areas that are need. Try a new chocolate or tea to spark that inner happy-self again. foreign to you. Use your intuition to feel it out. PAGE 45
DISCOVERING LA RAZA
“I’m not Chicana. No, I’m not Latina. I’m Mexican-American. I’m Hispanic,” is the response I would give individuals who asked me to classify who I was under narrowly defined terms. But then the La Loca Magazine editor-in-chief, Ungelbah Davila, assigned me the task of writing about the women of the Chicano/Chicana Movement, or El Movimiento, from the 1960s. In between crinkled history book pages and coffee-stained research articles, I discovered I’ve had it wrong this whole time. The blood that courses through my veins is Hispanic and Chicana, which I learned means an American whose parents or grandparents came from Mexico. And that’s when the past and present struggles of mi raza, my race, slapped me in the face. I felt their burdens load onto of my shoulders as a veil lifted from my eyes and I glimpsed into a past when monstrous adversity haunted those I love. I was shocked to learn children were not allowed to do what came most naturally to them, speaking Spanish, their native language, in schools. Educational learning centers were segregated from those who came from Mexican descent. I later became outraged when I read about the federal class action lawsuit, Madrigal v. Quilligan, in which 10 Hispanic women, who didn’t understand English well, reported being sterilized without giving proper consent or through coercion at the Los Angeles County Hospital between 1971 and 1974. These unsuspecting women were never informed, misinformed or lead to believe false pretenses in order to force them to sign consents before or after delivering a baby to have their tubes tied. Doctors even told them these procedures could be reversed. A key witness, speaking against Dr. James Quilligan, testified that Quilligan had said, "Poor minority women in L.A. County were having too many babies; that it was a strain on society; and that it was good to be sterilized." I fought back tears when I found out one Mexican woman, who couldn’t speak English, was ridiculed and laughed at in court by lawyers and the judge for taking the man who broke into her home and raped her in front of her children -- her soon to be ex-husband whom she was in
the process of divorcing -- to court. “That’s an insult to me as a Mexican woman, and to that woman, and to all Chicanos, because here is a Mexican woman who is hoping that she can depend on the law, on the judge, to set this matter straight, and he laughs at her in addition to which he admonishes her and tells her off for not knowing English. “Furthermore, he wanted her to pay him, the husband, damages when he raped her in front of her children! So is there in fact any justice, or does racism impede justice for us?” wrote Adelaida R. Del Castillo in “La Vision Chicana,” published in “La Gente De Aztlan” in 1974. My chest puffed up with pride when I turned up a case where female employees in El Paso, Texas, joined labor unions to stand up against their laundromat employers for the mutual good of their fellow workers, demanding to be paid what they deserved and not a penny less. La Causa that united Chicanos and Chicanas together decades ago played out in front of me with the faces of my family as the victims, but also as the strong united front demanding justice for a better tomorrow. I can only hope to leave such an inspiring and empowering legacy for my descendants. Because my great grandparents conquered these demons, I will never experience the feeling of being bound by social shackles. Their experiences then have shaped me into who I am today, generations later, and explain why I am the way I am. I now have the ability to be a career-minded mother who is unashamed of her Mexican descent and where she comes from, and proud to speak and teach her child both Spanish and English. I am proud I can have my tortilla, beans and posole con chile verde and eat them too, proud to roll the “r” in my last name, and proud to make a grito during my favorite ranchera song. We have a long way to go before injustices are a thing of the past, but thanks to the path my forefathers and foremothers trudged I am stronger, even more determined and capable to continue fighting for a future where my children, and anyone considered “different,” will no longer face inequality and injustices. Que viva la Raza!
ABIGAIL R. ORTIZ