Vaudeville, Folklorico, and Mexican Cinema

I have three stories published on KCET this week!

The first is about the Hola Mexico Film Festival. 2020 marks its 12th year and founder Samuel Douek had to make numerous changes to move the festival to an online format.

Read about it here: https://www.kcet.org/shows/southland-sessions/the-hola-mexico-film-festival-moves-online

Next is my conversation with Adriana Astorga-Gainey and Jesenia Gardea of the Pacifico Dance Company. The Los Angeles-based non-profit company takes a serious approach to folklorico dance that centers on training professional dancers.

Read it here: https://www.kcet.org/shows/lost-la/pacifico-dance-company-sharing-the-love-of-traditional-mexican-dance-around-the-world

Finally, my favorite of the three: I delve into the history of Hispanic/Spanish-language vaudeville in Los Angeles.

Read all about it here: https://www.kcet.org/shows/lost-la/broadsides-reveal-las-once-booming-hispanic-vaudeville-scene

Captain Tsubasa Returns To Consoles

Captain Tsubasa, aka Oliver Atom, aka Los Super Campeones, made a long-awaited return to video game consoles last week with the release of Captain Tsubasa: Rise Of New Champions.

I haven’t gotten my hands on the game yet but I did take the time to dive into the history of the world beloved franchise featuring Japan’s most famous & fictional superstar athlete for Gamecrate.

LINK: https://gamecrate.com/brief-introduction-captain-tsubasa/26213

Takahashi’s original manga series ended in 1988 with Tsubasa and the Nankatsu youth squad winning various youth tournaments, including the U-17 World Championship as a member of Japan’s national youth squad. The series ends with his decision to travel to Brazil to continue playing soccer.

Through various sequels, fans watch Tsubasa grow from aspiring pre-teen soccer hero to a globe-trotting professional adult soccer player. The first sequel, World Youth, featured Tsubasa joining Brazilian club Sao Paulo/F.C. Brancos and winning the FIFA World Youth Championship with Japan.

In Road To 2002, Tsubasa has moved to Spain to play for FC Barcelona/FC Catalunya, though he is temporarily relegated to the team’s B squad. He is reintegrated into the main team in time to help them defeat their eternal rivals, Real Madrid, in a thrilling 6 – 5 victory. The series continues with Golden 23 in which Tsubasa, still playing for Barcelona/Catalunya, also helps the Japan national team qualify for the Olympics.

The manga’s current run is titled Rising Sun and focuses on Tsubasa’s and Japan’s exploits in the Olympics where Japan has made it past the group stage and is facing off against Germany in the quarterfinals. One can assume that they’ll defeat Spain the semifinals and move on to win the final versus the winners of the quarterfinal matches between France, USA, Brazil, and Argentina.

Indie Venues In So Cal Struggle To Remain Open

The music industry has found itself in a unique predicament during the pandemic. The global shutdown forced festivals and artists worldwide to cancel all live performances for the foreseeable future. One solution to the global quarantine has been the use of distanced concerts at drive-ins and, more popularly, streaming concerts online with the help of radio stations and other media companies.

One sector of the live performance industry that has been overlooked is the plight of independent venues. In my latest story for KCET, and my first for their new initiative Southland Sessions, I write about the National Independent Venue Association, a non-profit working with independent venues in the US to help them get the assistance they need to remain open until the pandemic ends and millions of music lovers can regroup at their favorite venues to see their favorite artists.

LINK: Endangered Indie Music Venues Band Together to Seek a Lifeline

EXCERPT:

After 25 years of live music, The Satellite (also formerly known as Spaceland) in Silver Lake will remove its performance stage along with the infamous shimmering, sparkling, blue-and-silver curtain that served as a backdrop to thousands of nightly concerts as the owners transition the business into a restaurant for the COVID-19 era.

“We can no longer afford to wait for the day we will be allowed to have shows again,” reads a statement on the venue’s website. “If we do that, we will not have the money to continue and will be forced to close forever.”

The future of live music venues, especially independent ones, in SoCal and across the nation, looks bleak, and the present-day situation is already precarious. Venues have had no source of revenue since the announcement of the pandemic in early March and continue to struggle to survive. The statement by Satellite owner Jeff Wolfram is just one example of the extreme measures some owners are taking to keep their businesses alive in any way possible.

FC Barcelona Camp Nou tour 2019

I visited FC Barcelona‘s Camp Nou stadium last year on April 5th, which was the day before they defeated Atlético de Madrid with two late goals. It was exciting to have walked down the same tunnel many legendary players have walked through.

Here’s a short video of the tour including the walkthrough of the locker room area and the player tunnel ending with the entrance onto the field:

And a few photos:

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Lionel Messi’s 5 Balon d’Or on display at the stadium museum.
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The press area.
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The full album of photos is available at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/afroxander/albums/72157714330528121