Friday, September 18, 2020

Director's Cut! Selena Quintanilla/Chrissy Hynde (Pretenders) Piece for WOWEE ZOWEE @ HiLobrow.com | Back on the Chain Gang Becomes Amor Prohibido via Xicanosmosis

originally posted: 3/2/18 6:46 PM; repost 9/18/20 6:40am

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WOWEE ZOWEE
Selena, Amor Prohibido
William Nericcio

The silvery electronic synthesizers that open Selena's Amor Prohibido (1994) usher listeners into a lush (sweet, but not treacly) aural landscape every bit as unpredictable and split (between English and Spanish) as the South Texas coastal shores that gave birth to this singing goddess of conjunto and, after Cesar Chavez (or, maybe ahead of him) the most famous Mexican American superstar the United States has ever known.



Amor Prohibido (Forbidden Love) segues into No me queda mas (I have nothing left or nothing is left to me), a dreamy/sad meditation on loving and losing. The rest of the album is the stuff of memory, released just a few months before her callous assassination by Yolanda Saldívar, Selena's fan club president and agent for her fashion line in Mexico.

Selena's album's pièce de résistance, for me, however, is her cover / revision / rendition of the Pretenders' Back on the Chain Gang, here subjected to Tex-Mex metamorphosis by Selena and her band as Fotos y Recuerdos--the edge of Chrissy Hynde's cut is softened somewhat by the potentially cheezy synthesizer beat applied by Selena, but what emerges is actually a kind of conversation between the White American Rock and South Texas Tejano music, between the edgy pre-cursor to alternative rock and South Texas Chicano rhythms--you had no choice but to dance to the evocative catchy cadences of this next world beat, this mestizo magic.

 

Selena's title transformation also foregrounds what the Pretenders's version perhaps kept more obscure, the song a paean to nostalgia and memory (facilitated by a photograph, that most weirdly fetishistic and ubiquitous of objects).

When Selena's version was released I had recently moved to the West Coast from the chilly, barren enigma (to me) of Eastern Connecticut--I remember hearing Selena's Fotos y Recuerdos on the radio, as I bopped between Chula Vista and San Diego, San Ysidro and LA in my old 1980s-era VW Rabbit diesel. Here was a song that embodied what I came to call Xicanosmosis, (Chicana/o + Osmosis) where the jangling guitars and dangerous new wave crooning of Hynde and her band was force-fused with a decidedly "Mexican" consciousness--"Mexican" not Mexican, as it came from WITHIN the United States, from a South Texas borderlands with a mind (and wit, and language) of its own.

Selena's untimely death led to her short-term apotheosis onto the top of the music charts, but it also erased the possibility that her South Texas born/borne sound would dominate the ear-space (and the Zeitgeist) of the United States.
When JLo was chosen to play her in the requisite biopic (as if there was no difference between a Tejana and a New York Boriqua--you can imagine them in central casting "They both have big nalgas and speak Spanish"), something died, or better put, Selena died a second death--the unique charm and spark of a South Texas superstar silenced and elided a second time on the silver screen.

An edited, more pithy version of the piece above appears here, improved by the magic, pruning shears of Joshua Glenn, head agent at Hilobrow.com!

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Limited Time Offer | TALKING BrownTV: Latinas and Latinos on the Screen by Fede Aldama and Memo Nericcio | $27.95 and Free Shipping

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The time that went into making this splendiferous ad clues you into the fact that miracles do happen! That advertising hype knows no boundaries!

Through a limited time offer (as long as inventory lasts) we can offer the new book by Fede Aldama and Memo Nericcio, the Rosie Greer and Ray Milland (opposite) of Latinx/Mexy Cultural Studies: TALKING #BROWNTV! 

Hit this button now, and it will be shipped to you from the rasquache Textmex world headquarters located in San Diego, CA!




About the book:

Talking #BrownTV: 

Latinas & Latinos on the Screen

Like two friends sitting down in front of the television together, in Talking #browntv, Frederick Luis Aldama and William Anthony Nericcio dialogue about the representations of Latina/os in American television and film from the twentieth century to the present day. One part conversation, one part critique, one part visual cultural studies, and one part rant against the culture industry profiting off warped caricatures of Latina/o subjectivities, Aldama and Nericcio analyze the ways in which Latinx performers have been mediated—with varying degrees of complexity—on the American screen. A comprehensive review of the history of Mexicans, Mexican Americans, Hispanics, Chicana/os, Latina/os, and Latinx performers in television and film, Talking #browntv boldly interrogates one of the largest paradoxes in the history of American television: Why are there so few Latina/os on television, and why, when they do appear, are they so often narcos, maids, strumpets, tarts, flakes, and losers?

From the subversive critiques embedded in well-loved children’s characters like Speedy Gonzalez to the perpetuation of racial stereotypes in modern-era pornography, from Eva Longoria as ethnic mannequin to J-Lo flipping the sexy Latina music video on its head in “I Luh Ya Papi,” and with more than 150 full-color images, Aldama and Nericcio seek to expose the underlying causes as to why Latina/os constitute only 2 percent of mainstream cultural production when they’re the majority minority in the US. In a moment when anti-Mexican and anti-immigrant rhetoric oozes from TV sets and media platforms, Talking #browntv emerges as a bold antidote, an eloquent rejoinder, and a thoughtful meditation on Latina/os on the American screen and in America today.

The critics have spoken!


“From yesteryear’s phosphorescent cathode rays to today’s digital-device blue-light glows, Talking #browntv puts a critical lens on the entire history of televisual reconstructions of Latinxs. Aldama and Nericcio at once call out all those willfully ignorant—racist!—mainstreamings of Latinxs. And they celebrate constructions of a brown TV that affirm the multicolored mosaic that make up Latinx identities and experiences in the US. Talking #browntv wakes the world to the urgency for televisual media to willfully recreate the complexity and diversity of our Latinx communities.”  

Aitana Vargas, award-winning journalist 
for the LA Times, BBC, and CNN Expansión


My Dinner with Andre, except with two sassy Solons waxing wise and wacky on Slowpoke Rodriguez, Superman as Mexico’s savior, and other highs and lows of Mexican muses in American pop culture. Nomás falta the Tapatio on this intellectual popcorn.” 

—Gustavo Arellano, author of Taco USA: 
How Mexican Food Conquered America

Sunday, August 09, 2020

Sunday Funnies in the Age of the Coronavirus: La Cucaracha

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I have a new class this Fall 2020 at SDSU called Comics and History: The Virus Eye/I. As part of that class I am uploading select dispatches on contemporary comic strips--today I did one on Lalo Alcaraz and Junco Cancho's La Cucaracha.   Check it out below:




Virgil Ross Animation Style Sheet: Warner Brothers's Speedy Gonzales!





The auction price for this priceless Speedy Gonzalez artifact got too rich for my blood--I think as of now, Sunday morning August 9, 2020, the price is around $150.00.

Still, a piece of American history--in particular, an American history focused on the production of ethnic American archetypes and stereotypes. And, a piece of the backstory of how 20th century animated masterpieces were forged.

More on the image from Heritage Auctions below and a reminder that I (literally) wrote the book on Speedy Gonzales--the key central chapter of Tex[t]-Mex: Seductive Hallucination of the "Mexican" in America is focused on "the fastest mouse in all Mexico." Check it out here: https://amzn.to/2DrIouU

From Heritage Auctions page, https://comics.ha.com/itm/animation-art/production-drawing/virgil-ross-speedy-gonzales-model-sheet-drawing-original-art-warner-brothers-c-1990s-/a/122032-13740.s

Virgil Ross - Speedy Gonzales "Model Sheet" Drawing Original Art (Warner Brothers, c. 1990s).
He's "the fastest mouse in all Mexico" -- Speedy Gonzales!
 

"He was developed by Friz Freleng and animator Hawley Pratt; his official debut short, Speedy Gonzales (1955), was an Academy Award winner. One of the animators on that historic short was Virgil Ross, who drew this wonderful 16 field model sheet-style illustration with seven full-figure images of Speedy. Virgil Ross (1907-1996) was a long-time Warner Brothers animator who worked in the Bob Clampett, Tex Avery, and Friz Freleng Units. He was famous for his action and dance sequences, as well as his facial expressions. Mr. Ross began releasing hand-painted Limited Edition cels of progressions of his famous Looney Tunes scenes as part of the "Masters Collection" for the Warner Brothers Studio Stores and animation galleries. He began making personal appearances where he created one-of-a-kind drawings of the Looney Tunes characters as well as other cartoons he worked on for other studios. He received the prestigious Winsor McCay Award in 1988. Image sizes on this signed illustration range from 4.5" to 5.5". Fine condition."