Soledad en masa

Renewal

with 7 comments

Friday, July 11th, 2008

This past Friday, July 11th, I attended a free Mariachi Los Camperos concert, put on by Grand Performances. I had never heard of this series of free concerts in Downtown Los Angeles until two weeks ago, when I found out about the free concert, but I am sure glad I did find out. I was able to convince the parents to come to the concert as well, so we all attended (with the younger brother, naturally). More after the jump, with a large number of photographs.

Watercourt Stage

The concert was held at the Watercourt Stage at California Plaza, a truly beautiful outdoor venue above Olive Avenue and between the California Plaza towers, two of my favorite towers in Downtown L.A. (they’re sleek!) and we arrived around 6:45, enough time for me to walk around California Plaza and take pictures of Downtown from my perch above Olive St.

Buildings of Los Angeles

Above are some pictures of buildings that I took from my perch. I’m not an architecture critic, but I really enjoy looking at these towers, especially the first two. I’ve always preferred steel, glass, and straight lines, which might explain why I had a great time reading The Fountainhead two years ago. There’s something about steel and glass that exemplifies progress to me.

Angels Flight Track

For the first time ever, I saw Angels Flight! Hopefully the next time I see it it’s operational. Looks fun, plus with all the history involved.

View of Olive Street facing northMessing around with my camera

Looking east from California Plaza

Now don’t come to me and say L.A. is not a city. It is a very vibrant city and region, maybe too vibrant, but have to know where to look. See where the locals congregate.

More people arrive

As the start of the concert neared, more and more people were appearing to fill the seats and all the other open areas available at the Watercourt Stage. It was indeed a beautiful sight.

A bit after 8 p.m., the concert started with a performance by Son de Madera, a son jarocho group from Veracruz. They were alright, not a great opening act and their performance was forgettable. Their song choices were not upbeat enough for the night and felt like they were dragging the songs out. Too many of their songs were in minor (and somber) keys. At intermission, a member of Ozomatli came to the stage and spoke a bit about donating to Grand Performances (I was too busy to hear it because I was buying something to eat and ran into a number of South Gate mariachis with whom I have performed in the past).

Finally, at a few minutes past nine, Mariachi Los Camperos finally took the stage and proceeded to blow me away (just like every other time I’ve seen them). Here are the songs they performed:

  1. Los camperos/El son de la negra
  2. Hay unos ojos (sung by Ismael Hernández)
  3. Los pollitos
  4. España cañí
  5. Popurri José Alfredo Jiménez (Camino de Guanajuato/En el ultimo trago/Tu recuerdo y yo/Tú y las nubes/Serenata huasteca)
  6. Popurri de canciones infantiles (Amongst them, “La vibora de la mar” and “El jarabe tapatío”)
  7. Popurri Vicente Fernández (La ley del monte/Los mandados/Volver, volver) [“Los mandados” is always a hoot to sing.]
  8. Somos novios (Instrumental)
  9. Por tu maldito amor
  10. México lindo y querido/¡Viva México!
  11. Pilón: Some song with Son de Madera (it might have been Siquisirí, I don’t remember.)

Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano

It was great concert and like always, Mariachi Los Camperos didn’t disappoint. That night, I couldn’t sleep because my head was remembering all that I experienced at the concert. It was a feeling that I know so deeply yet every time I feel it, it feels new.

Written by soledadenmasa

July 15, 2008 at 2:59 am

Posted in Mariachi, Music, Summer

7 Responses

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  1. Great pictures of the city. I’m glad you had a great time at the california plaza. They’ve been having that concert serious for a while now and I feel bad that I never wrote anything about it or spread the word. My friends aren’t really that interested in the kinda shows they put on over there…sigh….

    el random hero

    July 15, 2008 at 3:16 am

  2. When I visited a couple of weeks ago, we were waiting for a friend of ours (who never showed) at California Plaza so we could head down to Grand Central Market and have some tacos de pescado and a torta de buche (mmmm….).

    At any rate, we finished eating and walked around a little bit. We made our way to the foyer of the Million Dollar theatre, where I saw an amazing, classic poster for a Mariachi group (whose name escapes me… ). It made me wonder whether you had run across it. If you hadn’t take a gander next time you’re around. It might still be there. And, speaking of architecture, check out the Bradbury Building across the street from the teatro.

    tirado

    July 15, 2008 at 10:49 am

  3. Awesome photos, Diego. Not only did you capture Los Angeles as an amazing city, but a romantic one too. You were able to use the landscape as not only a side of LA we don’t usually see, but it’s quaint lucidity and splendor.

    The watercourt stage looks real neat from where you stood, not to mention Angels Flight, which I have yet to see in person! That, as well as a real mariachi performance.

    Angel's Refugee

    July 15, 2008 at 3:15 pm

  4. ERH,
    Three years ago, I once told a friend that all I needed to enjoy myself for a day was to be at Downtown, a camera and bus fare back home. That hour or so I spent taking pictures of the area around California Plaza was therapeutic (hence the title of this post). Most of my high school friends would have just ignored them, but I know a few that appreciate some of the artists they feature. I think I might go back near the end of the season for another event.

    tirado,
    I haven’t been near el Milión Dolar yet, but I will make sure to do so soon.

    AR,
    I disagree with you on calling L.A. quaint, lucid, and splendorous. Categorizing the city under such terms is, in my eyes, a disrespect to the large number of areas that don’t fit the those perceptions. The region itself is more of a large series of contradictions and clashing ideals, especially when comparing any area of the city with Wilmington.

    Mariachi performance, you say? Let’s go to Cielito Lindo or any other Mexican restaurant (I know a good one in Carson).

    soledadenmasa

    July 19, 2008 at 1:10 am

  5. It is true that Los Angeles is a place of vast contradictions. Upon moving into the city, I found something enlightening and powerful that is too difficult to explain. Be it with higher learning or work, I found LA to be my fortress and a beacon of transcending solitude that has inspired my every action be it with the art world, writing, and interacting with the human spirit. For that I can appreciate Los Angeles as well as it’s various imperfections. Of course, what I previously stated was an overview of my personal experiences in LA, but it isn’t too say I haven’t had my share of discouraging and un-cool happenings. Gracias de todos modos!

    Angel's Refugee

    July 19, 2008 at 10:45 am

  6. Check out http://latinourbanforum.blogspot.com/. We put up two links of mini-mariachi based documentaries on one-man mariachi operations. I think you might enjoy it. peace

    metro_vaquero

    July 31, 2008 at 11:35 am

  7. I saw them! The dude from San Fernando looked familiar.

    soledadenmasa

    July 31, 2008 at 9:19 pm


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