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RiverCityAttractions

Diana Ross at the Majestic

Diana Ross  at the Majestic

Last Monday at the San Antonio Majestic Theater Ms. Diana Ross gave a wonderful performance to a packed house. Fans including myself were on their feet most of the night cheering Ms. Ross .

For many, it was a walk down memory lane evoking feelings long forgotten.

Having a seating capacity of 2,311 , it still felt very intimate during the hour and a half show.

With a very large  library of songs. It is most difficult to pick the favorite sung that evening.

A Partial list of songs for the evening were :

Baby Love,  Stop in the Name of Love,  Endless love, I Will Survive, and many, many more.

The dynasty she commands is evident when she walks on the stage.  The audience roared   to life when the lights shone on her.

During the show she spoke to the audience and told them that she likes the house lights turn on at times because she wants to see who comes to the show. Ms. Ross said she loves to see all the smiles out there.

With 4 wardrobe changes, she opens with a blue outfit, followed by a sparkly red number, a pretty yellow then to a sultry black. Everyone have their favorite. My color was  RED.

Ask a 100 people what you think of Ms. Ross and you would get 100 different answers. I kept mine to a hand full that night.

I asked a member of the audience “What did you think about Ms. Ross and the evening’s event.”

Great, Wonderful, I will never forget this evening, super night. And I got a Aw-Ya.!

I stand with amazement to see her.  Having to work decade after decade, from the early 60’s  till today; she is still making great music. I truly believe that music keeps you young. She looks GREAT!

As a living legend, her recordings with Motown will live on forever as well as her grace and style.

Thank you so much for the gift of music you have given us.

Story and pictures by: Joseph Martinez : River City Attractions

Super Bowl in Glendale, Ariz not Phoenix

Kaila White, The Republic | azcentral.com 7:20 a.m. MST January 30, 2015

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The Valley has had more media, celebrities and athletes traversing its cities in the past week than possibly ever, and with it comes gossip.

As outsiders discover our quirks and charms, they write, tweet and share their observations. The assessments are entertaining and insightful, like eavesdropping on a stranger talking about you.

So, what are people saying about us? How are we comparing to other host cities so far?

Early in the week, ESPN Radio and “SportsCenter” host Scott Van Pelt was surprised with how many people were already visiting Super Bowl festivities.

“I will say this: That for a Monday, there’s a ton of activity. A lot of times it’s crickets,” he said.

“I get the sense that there will be people all over town, and so because folks know what’s here, I get the sense that there will be a lot more foot traffic and activity here than some of the other (host cities).”

ESPN “NFL Live” host Trey Wingo said Wednesday he visits the Valley at least once a year and loves the golf, scenery and hiking.

“Considering everyone from our crew came from a place that just had three feet of snow dumped on it, we love everything about the Valley,” he said. “Everyone I’ve spoken to is hoping to see Phoenix become a more permanent part of the Super Bowl rotation.”

The national coverage has been, at worst, visually stereotypical, said Mark Lodato, assistant dean and broadcast news director at Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.

“What I’ve noticed most of all in terms of a visual sense is the graphics a lot of the networks are using … it’s a lot of desert landscapes, cactus, Old Western themes which I think, frankly, has rubbed some Valley residents the wrong way,” he said. “It’s not that we’re not proud of the Western area, it’s just not what we are all about.”

The final verdict won’t be in until the game is over on Sunday and thousands of visitors have departed by Monday night. Until then, here are some of the big themes surrounding the Valley in the national news.

Where is Glendale and why is its stadium called ‘Phoenix’?

The first point in any discussion about the Super Bowl is how one refers to our Valley of the Sun. (Hint: They never call it the Valley of the Sun.)

For Newsweek, the University of Phoenix Stadium is “located in the western suburb of Glendale.” To the Boston Globe, it’s “several miles from downtown Phoenix.” It’s actually a 17-mile drive from the Phoenix Convention Center, which is hosting the NFL Experience.

Vox ran an explainer on the stadium’s confusing name.

“This is the home stadium of the Arizona Cardinals NFL team, not a stadium where a university-affiliated team plays. The University of Phoenix is a for-profit college that bought naming rights to the stadium for publicity purposes.”

Pretty simple!

Apart from the stadium, Forbes reports there are “plenty of opportunities to visit the greater Glendale area,” a phrase that likely has never been applied to the greater Phoenix area before.

Glendale’s mayor is outspoken about the Super Bowl, isn’t he?

Jerry Weiers, who has been the mayor of Glendale since January 2013, has long been outspoken on his disdain for the city’s involvement with major sports and its related debt.

His scorn got national attention Monday when the New York Times reported that Weiers had not been offered a ticket to the game.

The story zeroed in on Glendale’s financial problems.

” ‘The city of Glendale is the poster child for what can go wrong’ when a city invests heavily in sports, said Kevin McCarthy, the president of the Arizona Tax Research Association. ‘You don’t want to be building stadiums and not be able to hire police officers.’ ”

Weiers also told ESPN The Magazine’s Mina Kimes “he doesn’t expect a windfall when his city hosts the big game in February. In fact, he says, ‘I totally believe we will lose money on this.’ ”

“Glendale is no ordinary city,” Kimes wrote. “It’s a place that has given a great deal to sports, reaping little in return. Since 2000, Glendale has helped build three stadiums, including the Cardinals’ field, a silvery dome that sits in the desert like a docked UFO.”

But dang, the Valley is beautiful and pretty cool

Our beautiful weather is a no-brainer, but as people roll into town they’ve noticed our arts, culture, entertainment and dining.

ESPN NFL analyst Bill Polian praised the Valley on “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” on ESPN Radio on Monday.

“I love it here; I think it’s great. It really is my Number 1 place in the country to come in the wintertime,” he said. He visits along with other sports leaders when annual NFL football meetings are held at the Arizona Biltmore, and out of all the host cities, “this is almost everybody’s favorite place to come.”

Fernanda Santos, chief of the Phoenix bureau of the New York Times, told a Times reporter that the Valley is an ideal host.

” ‘This is a perfect place for a party,’ she said. Especially this time of year, when temperatures are in the merciful 70s, instead of the 100s, she said, ‘People want to be out and about.’ ”

Much attention has been given to the Roosevelt Row Arts District, Welcome Diner, FilmBar, Phoenix Public Market and Short Leash Sit … Stay, all of which are within a mile of the Phoenix Convention Center and have been mentioned by numerous publications.

Newsweek‘s list of the Valley’s top attractions included Scottsdale Quarter, a place where “you could cast three seasons of ‘MILF Island’ in just one hour of strolling the grounds,” and Talking Stick Resort near Scottsdale, a casino that “has fewer oxygen tanks-per-patron than the other reservation casinos around the Valley.”

A Boston Globe reporter explained the Valley to our Super Bowl tourists like this:

“If you have an opportunity to tailgate between Gisele Bundchen hunting, there is much to see here. The trick is sniffing around like a pig looking for truffles and discovering what this city offers.”

They allow alcohol in the streets!

The Republic reported last week that “Phoenix and state liquor officials have approved plans for an ‘open campus’ where adults can legally consume alcoholic beverages on public streets and sidewalks within an enclosed nine-block area. Organizers said the gathering is the largest special-event liquor license ever issued for downtown.”

The ensuing attention was, well, excited.

SB Nation tweeted “Yes. Yes, this shall do nicely.”

“Phoenix appears to be going out of its way to one-up the Super Bowl party that New York City threw last season,” they wrote Monday.

The news seemed to be the icing on the rum cake.

“An estimated 1 million people will traverse Verizon Super Bowl Central, where there will be concerts, games, attractions and nightly fireworks,” they wrote. “The centerpiece will be a 100-foot rock-climbing wall called the Grand Canyon Experience — naturally, what else would you want in the middle of the world’s largest bar?”

The Pastie Pops

The Pastie Pops

Pictures and story, joseph Martinez.

Last Saturday night I drop by “Up Town Studio” at 700 Fredericksburg Rd. to see local show “The Pastie Pops”. All involved in the show was just wonderful. The head liner was Missy Lisa, and featuring “Elle Du Jour”. There was a total of eight performers doing their own unique thing. Some, combining song with their acts Poetry and light hearted comedy

Creativity and Graceful moves went hand and hand all night long.

If you have not been to a burlesque and variety show, Ya got to go and see one.  It’s not what I was expecting. The local talents are out standingl.

Missy Lisa and Elle Du Jour, performances were well-planned out and choreograph exotic moves that titillated the audience.

I notice was most of the audience was about 75% ladys .  I ask Jasper Saint James, of  “The Pastie Pops” is this typical of your turn out. He said “Yes… Sometimes it’s a girls night out or they want to pick up some pointers so they can have some fun at home.”

Jasper has been doing burlesque and variety show with the Pastie Pops for five years.  A lively show  to say the least.  Jasper not only produces the show. He is part of it as well.

If you miss this show It will be back at “Up Town Studio” in march. Check out Face book at https://www.facebook.com/pastiepops?fref=ts&ref=br_tf

for times, dates and if you think you may have the right stuff to be on stage. Contact Jasper to get details

All I can say, the evening. It was a BLAST.

Thanks Pastie Pops

Joseph Martinez

River City Attractions.

Adrian & the Sickness, Revisited

Adrian & the Sickness, Revisited

Adrian Conner and her band Adrian & the Sickness, were traveling into San Antonio to play at the “Tonic Bar” when she got tangle up in a small fender -bender.  Maybe a little bum out but, it sure didn’t show in the music she played that evening.

 Adrian & the Sickness “The Austin-based power trio Rocked all night long..

Last I saw Adrian it was about four years back. I thought to myself. “Does she still have it? “Absolutely ….  Hell,  Yaa.  No wimpy music here. Stronger, Louder and still hits that music nerve that hard rockers need. .

The performance was simply Awesome.  That evening Adrian did some Cover metal songs from AC-DC.

Her band play ordinals like “We got it all” off her latest album.  One song played was, “Tit’s And Taint’s, what can I say about it. It’s different. You just need to listen to the song to get it.

Like before, all those years back. She still loves to get close to her audience and fans by coming down off the stage into the middle of them.  Feedings off their emotions, and why not, it’s all good fun for everyone there.

The original story about the Adria the sickness at

http://www.rivercityattractions.com/off-the-beat-bone-shakers/

 

Young in heart I don’t see Adrian slowing down. In fact I think it is speeding up.

Her talent on the guitar is advance. One time I saw here play the song “Flight of the bumble bee”. That is one song that is difficult to master. But a can attest she does it and dose it easy.

2014 marks the release of Adrian’s 5th full length studio album.  Adrian is currently touring throughout 2014 to support” Be Your Own Saviour.” On the (Fantom Records label)

She is coming to town December 5th.  At the Tonic bar  http://tonicthebar.com/

 

Don’t miss them.

Last words… A rocker that, what can I say, really ROCK”S .

Story and pictures by, Joseph Martinez

River City Attractions

Thanks Adrian, Keep a ROCKING!! girl

Beyond The Canvas

Beyond The Canvas

We from River City Attractions wish to Congratulations the winners!!

First Place went to Olesya Korsakoff  & Kyle Otto as Mr Freeze.

Second Place went to Jason Lozano & Neal Henderson as The Red Lantern Atrocitus

Third Place went to Jsn Art & Belinda Lopes as Female Robocop!!!

All the competing artists and models in our opinion need to be congratulated as well.   Like going to an ice-cream parlor that has over 57Flavors what to choose… What to choose….Hummm.     It’s the same thing here at “BTC” 7th annual event. Everybody had their favorite. Seeing the models on the cat walk was wonderful and I enjoyed it immensely. One thing that caught me off guard was the time and effort the models and artists put in to get ready to compete.    It’s in the detail. Look at some of the pictures we put on line and you will see. From head to toe, it looks like a lot of work to me.   Shading is something I place close attention to. It gives depth where there is none. The overall effect was magical.

Before the competition began. It was all business. The paint was flowing. Still, everybody was polite. I ask a few questions on hair and wigs“How do you keep the paint from smearing  (use hair spray to set it)

It was a friends and family’s having a good time all around. Food trucks and venders selling their wares. A great San Antonio Night.

Anthony the poet” was at the mic introducing the models and the Artists. I got a kick how the models transform when all eye’s and lights are on them. At that point, the villains or super heroes came out. After the last model walked the stage. It was time for them to relax together in all there painted glory.

Just a reminder on Sunday the 26th it’s the ZOMBI WALK down town. BTC will be there with a booth. http://www.sanantoniozombiewalk.com/

I’ve been told it’s going to be BIG BIG BIG. Guinness book of world records is sending people to confirm if it is going to be the largest gathering of zombies.

Filming of the upcoming new movie called “ZOMBI REIGN” is schedule to be there as well. (A story and information on the Zombie Reign will be posted on this web site shortly)

Thank you having a great event here in San Antonio.

Story and Pictures by Joseph Martinez

River City Attractions ,

We want to send out a very special Thank you to Ariel Valdez,

Who look great as KAMEN RIDER GAIM and for giving us the heads up on the event.

Find out more information on BTC At

http://beyondthecanvas.org/

https://www.facebook.com/beyondthecanvassa

 

Night bird and The Damn Torpedoes

Night bird and The Damn Torpedoes

Next month Nov 8th at “Sam’s Burger Joint” Be there. It’s going to be a double header. Two of my favorite Texas bands together.

A couple of months ago I have an opportunity to check out Night bird. And,, O-Boy What a great time I had listening to them.

 Night bird – A Tribute to Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac

Speaking to my editor Eddie, What is the best way to let San Antonio know about Night Bird, He said Give them a shout out when they come back to San Antonio. What Better timing than when my other favorite Texas band comes on in to town

The Damn Torpedoes ( A Tribute to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers)

Brooke Alyson – Stevie Nicks Vocalist Brooke says, “Like Stevie, I try to take you away to a little fantasy world for a while, and simply keep the dream alive that she began. If I can do that, I’ve done my job.” Brook has the moves, she haves the voice, and importantly. She has the heart to be a performer. What I loved about Brook is how warm she is to her adoring fans. Her fellow band members are on par on talent as well.

Adam Walton – Guitar/Vocals Nice clear and clean  What more can I say . He is very good. Just one of the many reasons I am going to Sams Burger joint on the 8th

   Wolff DeLong – Bass/Vocals/Percussion. Wolff has a deep history playing music and worth going to their web site to read the details. His playing is spot on. See more at: http://www.nightbirdtribute.com/about.html#sthash.edCt2ejg.dpuf  

Kelli Thompson – Keys/Vocals/Acoustic Guitar/Percussion    Playing from a young age; Kelli Carries herself well on stage.  From marching bands  to metal band and receiving  a full music scholarship at Illinois Weslayan University. You can see that music is flowing in here veins. See more at: http://www.nightbirdtribute.com/about.html#sthash.edCt2ejg.dpuf

Jason Phillips – Drums Jason Also started playing at a very young age. When I look at a tribute band I look on how well the duplicate the original music.  all I can say is job well done. A very fine drummer. See more at: http://www.nightbirdtribute.com/about.html#sthash.edCt2ejg.dpuf

The Damn Torpedoes A super tribute band that’s what they are. Check the out cool story and pictures on the Damm Torpedoes’ here at http://www.rivercityattractions.com/the-damn-torpedoes-a-tribute-to-tom-petty/

I can hardly wait to Brooke Alyson and Ty Hurless Sing at Sam’s burger Joint.

Don’t make a mistake; mark your calendar – Nov 8th.

Story and Pictures by Joseph Martinez

Want to see more on night bird?

http://www.nightbirdtribute.com/welcome.html

https://www.facebook.com/stevienickstributeband

https://twitter.com/nightbirdlive

 

The Blue Note Ringos

The Blue Note Ringos

Story and pictures by Joseph Martinez

“We don’t do costumes.” Frankly they don’t need it. Their talents flow freely on stage. It’s a joy to find a hidden gem here in San Antonio.  If you Love “The Beatles” you will truly enjoy the

 The BLUE NOTE RINGOS .

The Ringos are a cover band that stays true to the original songs played by The Beatles.

I get the impression of reverence when I was listening to them. I can truly see that they Love the Beatles music.

What I very much appreciate was any song in the vast Beatles library, they could play.

And not just so,so but, just like I remember when I played them on vinyl long ago.

The music was flawless. Not a miss- note at all.

I especially like the obscure title they covered.

Bulldog, Dear Prudence, Lovely Rita, Strawberry fields, Magical mystery tour; just to name a few.

Band members

Key Board vocal: D. G. Lara

Guitar: – Joe Killough

Bass guitar Daryl Chadick

Lead guitar vocal: Val Cronk

Drums: Karl Yelderman

Check out the blue note ringos web site for more information on them

http://www.thebluenoteringos.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Blue-Note-Ringos/144322402365421

http://www.reverbnation.com/thebluenoteringos

Get in touch with then at   dan@thebluenoteringos.com

 

Really… words can’t take the place of hearing them.

You can find them at the “COVE”; the first Thursday of the month.

Sit back and enjoy the music, grab a cold beer.

Now you are set for a great night

Thanks guy’s

Joseph Martinez

River City Attractions

Alamo City Comic Con Experience 2014

Story by: David A. De La Rosa

Photographs by: Joseph Martinez

Alamo City Comic Con Experience 2014

I went to last year’s inaugural Alamo City Comic Con, and left that experience very impressed. I walked into this second annual convention wondering if the organizers of this event could top off the previous convention. My expectations were high, I’m happy to report that I was not disappointed with this 2014 convention. This event had everything you would want from a comic con family fun, costumes, art work, toys, comic books, and special celebrity guests.

First let me state the differences between this year’s con from the previous one. Last year I had interviewed a few vendors they told me that they had not anticipated the huge turnout, and something had to be done for next year’s con in regards to the convention space. I knew what the vendors were talking about the space was kind of limited, and people walked the isles like cattle with no room to breathe much less peruse the merchandise. Only one exposition hall had been used last year.

Social media stated that this year the entire convention center would be utilized. I walked into the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center the first day of the con, and saw that all of the exposition halls had been used. This space was easily three to four times the amount from last year. The expanded square footage in convention space translated into an increased number of artists selling their prints, I didn’t remember there being this many artists last year. The increase in convention space also helped with the autograph sections in which lines for these can get long and seem not to move at all. This year was great for those seeking autographs because it seemed to go without a hitch.

People in these lines waited for autographs from the likes of Stan Lee (creator of Spiderman, Fantastic Four, and the Hulk, to name a few comic book heroes) there was also crew members from the starship Enterprise, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, and Walter Koenig. I wanted to see Freddy Krueger himself Robert Englund and he was there signing (for a complete list of special guests www.alamocitycomiccon.com/guests ).

There was also a ball room set up for photo op’s with these celebrities. The extra space was a major improvement from last year. The vendors got their convention space increased; also the isles were widened so more free flowing foot traffic helped convention goers shop from vendor booth to booth. I have to tell you I really appreciated that because last year people kept on bumping into me when I was looking through stacks of comics.

The increase in space also helped another aspect of the convention experience which is attending the Q&A panels. There were three or four panels going on at the same time every hour. That to me was great also the people running the event also tried very hard to have these panels on schedule. Last year the schedule for some of these panels were out of control. This year’s event was better organized the lines to get into the convention center that wrapped outside around the block were done away with. There were lines inside the convention center that directed attendees to attain their passes and exclusive con premiums. This was great because this year there was a little bit of rain, and I would have hated to see a bunch of people in wet costumes.

My personal experience attending the convention was great I didn’t spend all of my time analyzing and critiquing everything I had fun too. I like attending the panels I went to five of them the Nightmare on Elm St. panel, the horror panel, and the Stan Lee panel. I was thoroughly entertained by them all they were very informative and it was great to see people like Robert Englund, Linda Blair, and the national treasure himself Stan Lee. One of the main draws to this convention was The Walking Dead actors in attendance. Their panel was great, and the actor’s insight with regards to the characters they portray on the show very informative. Everyone in the audience could tell that the panelist wanted to be there. Each actor was very friendly, and open to answering the audiences questions. There was mutual admiration between the panel and the audience.

Another panel I attended and enjoyed was the Weird Science panel. I was a preteen when I first saw this movie, and I laughed my head off at the theater. Both of the stars of this film were there Anthony Michael Hall, and Ilan Mitchell-Smith. They both spoke about their careers and the film. It felt great to see them at the con, but it also made me think the movie came out almost 30 years ago. I’m getting old.

I like the fact that I could walk around in an event such as this, and ask convention goers in costume to pose for photographs. There is always great homemade costumes that make you say wow. Where else can someone go see their favorite heroes or villains in the flesh other than a comic con? Some families came all dressed up, seeing mom and dad get into the act is fun.

I also attended a costume contest on Saturday, and I was very moved when time was taken to celebrate the life of Aquaman San Antonio, Jonathan Vela. For those of you who do not know he was a gentleman who dressed up as Aquaman who would go to hospitals to entertain sick children and brought awareness to various children’s causes. The Vela family was on hand for this tribute, and received a humanitarian award called the Trident posthumously for Jonathan. Its events like this small tribute that makes this comic con a community festival, one more thing to be proud of our beautiful city. It makes me think that this whole event is not solely motivated by money. There is a sense of community and family woven in the fabric of this comic con.

I went to the Stan Lee panel; a gentleman stated he and his family came all the way down from North Carolina to meet Mr. Lee. I was surprised by how far people were willing to come to our city for this event. This comic con has grown a lot for its two years in existence, and believe it will continue to grow maybe one day become this biggest in the country.

You know things are always bigger in Texas.

See Ya Next year!!   River City Attractions

Lucky Díaz Hits the Musical Note on the Head

Lucky Díaz Hits the Musical Note on the Head

By Ramón Hernández

All year long, Lucky Díaz, his wife, Broadway performer Alisha Gaddis, their daughter Ella and his Family Jam Band are aqui, alla and everywhere touring from California’s west coast to the east coast of New York.Gibby-Flaco-Lucky

Above all, the Latin Grammy award winners are performing children’s music to sell-out crowds at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan and Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts near Vienna, Virginia plus other nationally known prestigious venues while established popular Tejano acts struggle to find gigs due to a decreasing number of Tejano music venues.

The difference is that nationally touring Lucky Díaz and the Family Jam Band indie rock band from Los Angeles, which is hailed as “the best band on the children’s scene” by USA Today and CBS, is churning out No. 1 and Top 10 kid’s hit tunes such as “Lines and Dots,” “Thinamajig,” “What Ya Say?” and “Shimmy.”

But in spite of rave reviews of their first five compact discs, numerous articles in the print medium and cyberspace; plus awards, accolades and other honors that fill up an entire page, they have never performed in Texas.

The truth is that their calendar is jam packed with dates for Mystic, Connecticut; the Center for ARTS Natick in Boston, Wilmington, Delaware; Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., the Chesapeake Arts Center in Baltimore, St. Louis, Missouri; Tulsa, Oklahoma, Las Vegas and Portland, Oregon; to name a few – and for some of them, they did eight shows in four days.

If one follows the Family Jam Band on Facebook, on July 11 Lucky posted, “36 shows in 42 days – over 20,000 kiddos dancing! And we aren’t done yet.”

That’s pretty impressive for a band that Lucky started five years ago and in 2010 released Luckiest Adventure followed by Oh Lucky Day in 2011 and A Potluck in 2012. The latter was ranked as the #1 Cool Kids Album by People magazine and USA Today.

After that fans urged Lucky to explore his Latin American heritage in his songs and they recorded ¡Fántastico! Without planning it, that CD, which was appropriately released on Cinco de Mayo, found a new audience of families yearning to see their children be bilingual.

“When we performed at the Clive Davis Theater at the Grammy Museum (Sept. 14, 2013) and the kids saw me, they were able to see someone like them. We need to give them inspiration that ‘hey, I can do that too.’ This was something that kids like us, with immigrant parents, needed,” Lucky said during a telephone from his Silver Lake, California home.

This is one of the many accomplishments of the son of migrant farm workers who marched alongside César Chávez in the 1970s, yet when Lucky and his siblings were children, they grew up listening to a mixed mash of the Beach Boys, the Beatles “Here, There and Everywhere” and others.

“Things like racism bring families down, but my parents, Héctor and Irene Díaz, had hope for my brother, José Carlos, and I. But as it turned out, my brother went on to work in Liverpool and is now the curator of the Bass Museum of Art in Miami Beach; and I never dreamed that I would be traveling and winning awards. That’s why I tell kids to go to college and be someone.”

A true role model, who practices what he preaches, Lucky completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts at Berklee College of Music and Alisha is a BFA graduate of the prestigious Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and she completed performance studies at the University of Sydney in Australia.

Hence they believe that the goal of every child should be to study and become a chef instead of a cook, a doctor instead of a nurse or the owner of a store instead of being a cashier. Otherwise, the day will come when Hispanics/Latinos become a majority in numbers, but still be treated as a minority.

Lucky is 5-feet-10-inches tall, has a full beard, a hairy chest and a gorgeous wife is therefore masculine. So what is he doing performing kiddie songs?

“We need to let kids be children as long as they can be. Children’s art is complex and does not get respect. So you really have to think about the lyrics. You have to think about happiness and write happy songs. My daughter, who is ten and named after Ella Fitzgerald, has been doing this since she was two; and why do I do it? I just love it. I think kids are the biggest listeners because they don’t judge, but you have to be honest because you’re connecting with the kids and they can sense when you’re not honest,” said the ultra-enthusiastic kid at heart.

Mindy Thomas of Sirius XM stated that ¡Fántastico! set the standard for Spanish-language music for kids. In the process, this CD made Lucky Díaz and the Jam Family Band “the very first Americans to ever win a Latin Grammy for “Best Children’s Album.”

Next, following the success of Lishy Lou and Lucky Too, the husband-wife duo and their band showcased at Kindiefest at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and spent the summer touring with more than 50 dates in three months and this does not include the demand to appearance in numerous television programs.

Now the singer-songwriter-musician is set to conquer Texas with the recent release of Aqui, Alla in which he draws from his Tejano influences.

You see, Lucky, who although was born in Miami where his older sister married a Cuban gentleman, spent countless three-month summer vacations with his uncles and aunts in San Antonio and Devine, Texas where he was weaned on Tejano music and was influenced by Flaco Jiménez, Little Joe, Sunny and the Sunliners plus Selena.

“I practically grew up in San Antonio and I consider myself a Tejano,” Lucky continued. “I wanted to make a record with a really cool idea.”

The result is Aqui, Alla, which unlike their previous Spanish-language reworking of their English-language hits and “De Colores,” is made up of all new original tunes.

The album kicks off with the festive, rocking, contagious “Viva La Pachanga,” a rousing dance number guaranteed to get everyone out on the floor features Flaco Jiménez on accordion. Furthermore, the lyrics are so simply that you’ll immediately be able to sing along.DavidLee-Gibby-Ruben-Lucky

“Orale” an excellent instrumental with touches of mariachi, starts off with haunting, scary sounding, “orale, orale,” then goes into a fast paced percussion driven beat followed by Gilbert Velásquez playing a killer rock-edged guitar, is an exclamatory tune playing homage to the Southern California “Rampart Sound” of the 1960s.

“La Pequeña Araña” will go down in music history as the ‘first Spanish-language version’ of the old nursery rhyme of a certain ambitious itsy bitsy spider.

“Cantaba La Rana” is a riveting, bouncy, 1960s bubblegum music type tune that will have your kids hopping with joy; and don’t be surprised if the infectious beat does not bring out the child inside you and give you the impulse to dance along with your young ones. And don’t be surprised if mobile DJs wind up playing this feel-happy song at family gatherings, rivet.

Rubén Ramos’ spine chilling “Hui, hui, ay viene el cucuy. Watch it now, watch it now, here it comes” starts off “El Cucuy” in a tune about the Mexican bogeyman that is sure to become a Halloween party favorite.

“Tu Eres Amor” is a sugary, mushy love ballad for those experiencing their first tinges of ‘puppy love.’

“Vamos a Contar” has such a great, good ole 1950s old school rock tune with enough doo wops that it will take you to the good ole days in what is the most commercial song in this CD.

The title tune is a touching; moving song about a dual culture in which both Mexican nationals and Americans of Mexican descent, sadly but true, find differences in each other as Lucky sings:

Yo naci aqui y uste nacio alla (“I was born here and you were born there [indicating Mexico])

Aprendi una idioma que uste no entiende (I learned a language that you don’t understand)

Soy de aqui y soy de alla también (I’m from here, but also from there)

Somos de aqui y somos de alla también (We’re both from here, but also from there) …

“This was the most important song for me and I hope somebody covers it,” Lucky said of the song that is going hit a chord with Mexicans and Tejanos.

The album ends with “De Colores,” a traditional Mexican song featuring David Lee Garza on accordion.

“Recording this album was a dream come true and my parents cannot believe that Flaco was in the recording session,” the Latin Grammy winner said.

Incidentally, both his parents now live here, where his father owns an air conditioning business and his mother is a visual artist, who goes by the moniker of Nenoo. In fact, one of her painting, “Felicidad,” won first place in the “Spirit of San Antonio” contest.

Getting back to the CD, other Tejano musicians who participated in this album were Carlos Álvarez, vihuela; Noe A. Benitez on tenor saxophone; and Christina Martínez-Benitez on trumpet and background vocals.

Following their appearance on CNN En Español’s “Showbiz,” the program’s host remarked, “You are going to instil a desire to hear music in Spanish in children and adolescents who live in this country.”

Another critic noted that in an era where some of the most notable artists in the American mainstream have reached their highest level of success recording kid-friendly music, it is refreshing to see Tejanos following similar trends. And Mr. Shepard at www.zooglobble.com/blog/2014/7/18/itty-bitty-review-aqui-alla-lucky-diaz-and-the-family-jam-band said, “Lucky merged indie-pop with Tejano and created a new genre: Indie-jano” thus coining a new music genre.

This writer could go on and on about this ground-breaking, out-of-the-box CD featuring the Tejano legends that Lucky grew up with, but let it suffice to say, “how can you miss not being nominated for another Grammy when this production includes a 13-time Grammy winner, a five-time, a two-time and two one-time Grammy Award winners.

“I was surrounded by great artists. Tejano culture is so important because it’s a good mix of Americana and that why I also appreciate Los Texmaniacs,” Lucky added.

To find out the magnitude of Lucky and the Family Jam Band’s popularity and their achievements, check out the following websites: www.luckydiazmusic.com, www.facebook.com/pages/Lucky-Diaz-and-the-Family-Jam-Band/182600891967, http://queentickets.worldcafelive.com/event/450931-lucky-diaz-wilmington (great biographical article), http://owtk.com/2013/06/lucky-diaz-and-the-family-jam-bands-fantastico-year, www.sanantoniomomblogs.com/summer-resources-for-dual-language-kids, http://mommasbacon.com/2014/05/05/lucky-diaz-and-the-family-band-aqui-alla-cd-all-ages and if you Google them, in at least a dozen other websites. In addition their videos are all over YouTube.

To book Lucky Díaz and the Family Jams Band, e-mail him via his website.

Verónique Aims to Carry Tejano Music Torch Forward

 Verónique Aims to Carry Tejano Music Torch Forward

By Ramón Hernández

Verónique Medrano was four and encantadora (charming) when the world lost Selena and was too young to realize what had transpired.

“I was a ‘90s kid, so I grew up listening to Selena, Emilio, La Mafia, regional pop hits such as ‘El Coco Rayado’ and watching Paquita del Barrio on Mexican television,” Verónique said during an interview at the Hispanic Entertainment Archives.Veronique-Encantadora-CD

“You see, I grew up ‘On the Border by the Sea’ in the southernmost part of Brownsville (aka La Southmost).  Besides listening to the radio and cassette tapes at home, there was always music in the house because there’s a lot of artistic nature in the family.

“However, it was Selena that inspired me as I sat glued to our TV set watching her on the ‘Johnny Canales Show.’ My mother even took me to the filming of the movie at the Alamodome and later, Norma (Red) won tickets to go see the movie at Cinemark in McAllen.

“Cary Zayas, a KGBT reporter, interviewed me before the movie began and asked me how I felt about watching the show.  I told her I was excited because I thought that I was going to see Selena.  At the end of the movie the realization of her death hit me.  I was uncontrollable and asking countless questions about her now being an angel; and for me, it still hurts,” the now enchanting 23-year-old recording artist recalled with great detail.

Sharp as a tack, Verónique was reading at second-grade level in kindergarten; and when she entered Incarnate Word Academy and Sister Dorothy Salazar saw that she was very special and also recognized her vocal talent, she encouraged her to enter a talent contest. Verónique did and won a box full of huge Crayola’s.

“And the walls of our house still has all those marks,” her mother said with a laugh.

Her aunt Norma Linda González is married to Joseph Mattingly, a Liturgical Music Director for the Newman Center at the University of Iowa in Coralville.  So, between the ages of seven and thirteen, Veronique would visit them during her summer breaks and tour with the Newman Singers as they sang in churches and revivals across the United States, plus attending Christian music conferences in Washington, D.C.; and not to be left out, she even got to sing a couple of solos with her cousin Andy Mattingly.

Then her life went back to normal, that is, until she entered López High School, where she played Top 40 and indie music on the high school’s radio station and joined the school choir.  Her hard work and tenaciousness paid off since she made the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) Region XXVIII Vocal Division in 2009. In the spring of 2009 she was a part of the All-State Choir, and went to San Antonio and performed at the Lila Cockrell Theatre.

 

After all was said and done in a series of competitions that started out with 15,000 contestants, her vocal talent took her all the way to the finals against the best ten in the state. She ended with the distinct title of ‘TMEA’s 2009 Region XXVIII State Choir, Alto II’ and her prize was a trip to New York City where the 18-year-old Aquarian got to perform at the Lincoln Center.  Now how many young Tejano singers can match that?

“It was on a Memorial Day weekend and I got to take my parents, we ate at Tavern on the Green and we went to check out a few Broadway plays.

“I saw ‘Phantom of the Opera’ and all its pomp and circumstance and I said to myself, ‘This is amazing. I need to do this and I don’t care if it’s Broadway or a theater at any big city.’ And that’s when the professional bug bit me!”Veronique-Cover-2-Reduced

Back in Texas, a strong believer in education, she attended UT Brownsville her freshman and sophomore years where she was part of the UTB/TSC Master Chorale and Mariachi alumni.  If that was not enough, she also hosted “Sting Radio,” an on-line weekly one-hour program; she then finished her last two years at UT Pan-Am (UTPA). During her junior year, Veronique produced a documentary on the Queen Isabella Causeway collapse titled ‘The Queens Collapse” and it got so much attention that it was featured at Cine El Rey.  She finished her senior year as the television station manager at UTPA Bronc TV.

In May 2013, Veronique graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English, a minor in philosophy and now it was time to get serious about music. However, everyone needs to be gainfully employed in order to survive.  “I was literally blessed because I got hired as a digital multi-media manager right after graduation,” Veronique said.

Her entry into Tejano music began with “Te Dejo Claro,” and “Te Equivocaste Conmigo,” both written by Rogelio Banda.

“For ‘Encantadora,’ I teamed up with Guillermo Martínez, who is an incredible songwriter and has written for Control and Grupo Azido among other Latin artists.  My awesome producer, Santiago Castillo, plays six different instruments on this project and also wrote ‘Que Dolor.’  It was important for me to work with individuals who understood my voice and were willing to work with my ideas.”

As for the CD’s content, both versions of “Si Tu No Vuelves” are absolutely, spine tinkling, beautiful. “Hola” is a simply entrancing duet with Guillermo, but the stand-out song in this CD is “TekJano Jam.”  “It’s one of the songs that I wrote,” the 5-feet-7-inch tall warbler said beaming with pride.

“Selena left the torch there for someone to take and I wanted to grab that torch and I do not want to compare myself to Selena, but when you listen to this album, you will hear that I am trying to go where she was going had she lived.

 

Asked for a closing statement for her Piñata Army (fans), the enchantress responded, “I love my fans and I want my Piñata Army to be a part of my musical journey.  Change does not occur over-night, music styles differ with each generation, and together we can be a part of that change.

“Every step has been a big labor of love, but as for my immediate goals, I would love to perform at the Tejano Music Awards.

For booking and personal appearances, contact her manager, Norma Red at (956) 639-3440. We also recommend you check out her webpage at www.veroniquemedrano.com for lots more information and a slew of great photographs by Rocío “Yeey Click” Velásquez and as Verónique says, “Follow me and all of my shenanigans on my Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.”

 

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