My latest article for KCET is available to read and enjoy. It’s a deep dive into Coras USA, aka Coras de Los Angeles, a local soccer team that existed for 50 years in southern California. The team was a cultural umbilical cord for Mexicans in Mexico and the US and later became a gateway for young players hoping to become professionals.
What began as a fun ritual for the weekend grew into a family legacy of community-building that lasted half a century. During its existence, Coras USA united working-class, immigrant families from Nayarit and other regions of Mexico in Los Angeles and provided youth players a pathway towards a professional career during its final years in the city of Riverside.
“Its original name is Deportivo Coras USA,” explained Lopez of the team founded by his father and uncles. “The first name that it had was Coras de Los Angeles. Along the years, it had a couple of name changes like Deportivo Nayarit [and] Deportivo Coras Nayarit. It’s always been Coras but it’s been known for Coras de Los Angeles because it branched out of Coras de Tepic.”
Café Tacvba arrived to town this past weekend and it was one of the best concert performances I’ve seen in my entire life. I wrote a short recap of the night for LA Taco.
Here’s an excerpt:
After eight songs, all classics re-envisioned for acoustic performance, Jerzaín Vargas (trumpet) and a brass band joined them on stage for a trio of songs, starting with “La Muerte Chiquita.” Gustavo Santaolalla also made an appearance to play a charango during “Olita de Altamar.” The gasps and applause that emanated from the audience when the stage lights revealed his face would have one believe that royalty had mysteriously coagulated from mist.
And that’s thanks to your truly! Yes, Howler has returned from the ashes in a web-only format for the time being and I was invited to write up a fun story about the most famous Welshman’s arrival to California.
[Imagine] Bale behind the steering wheel, his family in tow, checking his options on Google Maps as to whether he should take the 405 south to the 10 to the 5 or head further south on the 405 to the 91 to the 5.
“Lucha libre is something very dear and personal to all Mexicans,” continues Arau. “All of my work, be it music, animation, film or art, is about popular Mexican culture and lucha libre is one of the most visible things there is. Compare that with the culture here, the gringo culture, where a mask is usually something associated with terrorism, with sadomasochism. There’s no tradition behind it whereas in all of Mexico, the Indigenous communities use masks, all of the fiestas in every state utilize masks, there are museums dedicated to masks made of different materials. For us, masks are something very natural.”
The space features a store that sells custom lucha libre merchandise including apparel such as shirts, hats and leggings printed in-house at the Republic of Lucha Print Shop. There are small baskets filled with plastic-mold action figures of masked wrestlers. Two large, glass cases contain mannequin heads adorned with various wrestling masks worn in official matches by wrestlers such as Fenix, Penta, Psycho Clown, Tinieblas Jr., and others, all for sale. They also host the Lucha Movie Club most Saturdays each month when the rooftop is converted into an outdoor movie theater to screen classic lucha libre films, such as the ones featuring El Santo and Blue Demon, and more.
I wrote about the Los Angeles Aztecs of the North American Soccer League (1970s) for L.A. Taco:
Perolli’s crew burned through the opposition, and won the Western Division Trophy. Weeks later, they won the NASL Championship Trophy after they defeated the Miami Toros (unrelated to the former LA/SD team) after penalties. It was the first time a professional soccer final was televised nationally in the United States.
“It was one of the most exciting games of the season,” says Gregory, “because we tied the game in the last minute, three to three.”
That debut season would be the only year that the Aztecs ever won a title. Their sister indoor squad didn’t fare any better as they won a single division championship in their final year, 1981. Gregory sold the team after the first season. He and Perolli accomplished the goals they set for that first year and he wanted to focus on his medical career.
“It grew so fast that it grew right out of my hands,” he remembers. “I was a doctor and I was actively practicing and I could never have handled it after that.”