YahooGmailYellow PagesMapQuesteBayFacebookYouTubeAOL


Cruising with Sunny


Cruising with Sunny

Story and photo by:  Ramón Hernández

Remember the mid-1970s when la palomia started cruising in downtown San Antonio in their lowriders and other vehicles with their speakers blaring out Sunny and the Sunglows/Sunliners hits being played from their “8 Track” & cassette decks. “Back then there wasn’t  ITunes,  mp3’s,  Cds”. With a cassette deck we created something that should have been called “MY TUNE”s !

The same was happening from El Paso to Odessa to Corpus Christi, only the name of main drag changed, but the music was the same – “Talk to Me,” “Put Me in Jail,” “Runaway,” “Smile Now, Cry Later,” and other great lowriding rolas.

Now Sunny Ozuna is taking his fans on a different cruising scene — on a Carnival ship that sails from Galveston on Saturday, January 9 and returns on Saturday, January 16.

“This will be my first cruise, so I’m excited, especially about the places that we’re going to see,” the Grammy Award winner said during an interview at his Northeast San Antonio home.

The Caribbean Sea port calls for this cruise are the Mahogany Bay silky sand beaches and diamond-clear seas in Isla Rotan; Honduras; Belize, a former British colony on the eastern coast of Central America; and Cozumel, off the eastern coast of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula.

“We (Sunny and his wife, Janie) were just in Las Vegas and for the first time caught a couple of burlesque shows and I understand the ship features some Vegas-style shows, so we also look forward to seeing those at sea.

During this cruise, Sunny and every artist will be backed up by Calle Seis, the official Tejano Cruise band. Jimmy Edward had nothing but great things to say about his experience, solo que con mas ganas quiero hir (that’s all the more reason I look forward to going).

Another piece of good news is that this Tejano music hall of fame inductee is already in the studio working on his next album and hopefully it will be out in time to buy it as a Christmas present.

Remember when he would release an English album followed by a Spanish album and vice versa; and when he had various titles? i.e. “Little Brown Eyed Soul,” “El Monito de Chocolate,” “The Versatile …,” “El Charro Chaparro,” Young, Gifted and Brown,” “El Internacional,” “El Preferido,” and “El Orgullo de Texas.” Well, this one is titled “El Cancioncero” for his own Keylock record label.

“Es todo (It’s all) Mexicano and a little mariachi, like ‘No Te Vayas Palomita,’ which I originally wrote for Jimmy Edward. Joe Revelez did all the initial tracks on this variation of mariachi, conjunto and Tejano. Then there’s a great beer drinking song titled “’Botella Maldita.’ That means it will have horns with a little bit of accordion,” Sunny explained.

“It certainly has to have actual instruments because electronic generated sounds can never replace what a human musician can produce with has fingers. So when people hear, as an example, ‘Los Chismes,’ which I also wrote, they will go, wow!

“While I prefer the human touch, I want to go into a different level with some of the instruments. So the flutes and some voices will be duplicated electronically for a different upbeat effect that again, will have listeners going, wow. How was that sound created?”

This should whet your appetite on this production. As for the “Gira de Las Leyendas 2015” with Freddie Martínez, Augustine Ramírez, Carlos Guzmán and Joe Bravo, if you or any of your friends missed any of their shows in Texas, they will close out the year with a New Year’s Eve Dance at Casino del Sol in Tucson, Arizona.

The legends would also love to perform in your state, and/or area. All you have to do is to call Freddie at (361) 992-8411 or Sunny at (210) 653-4802.

In closing, don’t forget that you can get up close and personal with Sunny at the meet-and-greets, the question-and-answer sessions, photo ops, autograph parties, and after each performance during the Carnival Tejano Legends seven (7) day cruise, hosted by two-time Grammy Award winner, Raulito Navaira.

Other Tejano artists slated to perform during this cruise are Grammy Award winners, Rubén Ramos, Hugo Guerrero, Ricardo Castillón, Chente Barrera and Jess López; Latin Grammy Award winning Joe Posada, Grammy Award nominee Jonny Martinez, Latin Grammy Award nominee David Marez plus Anselmo Martínez, Patsy Torres, Joe Jama, René and Jessy Serrata, Chris Rivera, Nikki López and Crystal Caballero.

For more information, go to, call (512) 375-5711 or email

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 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.”




International Chef Waldo is Extraordinaire

Photos by Ramón Hernández

12-13-ChefWaldo-ReducedChef Waldo Frank Óscar Castro Zambrano is so prominent and so much as has been written about him and his famous dishes in countless superlative adjectives that it is hard to describe him and his creations without fear of being accused of plagiarism.

The story of this Wonderful, Amazing, Latino, Distinguished Outgoing human being, who is also Courteous, HHelpful, Exceptional and Flamboyant, is as astounding as its subject.

The world renowned chef’s love for cooking began when he was just a young boy and cooking became a passion that made him the best among his peers. Perhaps his secret is several lifetimes of recipes that his mother passed down to him as a sort of culinary inheritance.

Waldito, as he is affectionately called, completed his culinary studies in Lima, Perú in October 1981, spent two years working each position in the kitchen, then went on to cook in the most prestigious Peruvian hotel chains that sent him to Jamaica, Puerto Rico, the Cayman Islands and other Caribbean countries as an executive chef.

To learn firsthand about other Latin cuisines and the meaning of food in other countries, the industrious young man also spent some time traveling to Brazil, Ecuador and Bolivia.

That accumulated experience translated into an impressive resume that allowed the ambitious young chef to explore new horizons. He set his vision on the United States and in 1986, the chef, who was born on the fourth of July, migrated to Miami where, a year later, the go-getter obtained his certificate for Interior Decoration from the University of Miami followed by a business management degree in 1989.

Determined to succeed, in 1995, Waldo was named “Manager of the Year” of the Hyatt Regency at the Almamera in Coral Gables, Florida and in July 1999, he participated in El Foro 99, a technical symposium and exposition for professionals in the Latin American Food Industry.

The achiever forged ahead as production chef, banquet chef, executive chef and executive Sous chef for five-star hotels such as Hotel Inter-Continental, Don Shula’s Hotel & Gold Club, Radisson’s Deauville Resort,  the Sheraton and the Colonnade Hotel in Miami, Coral Gables, Miami Beach and Bal Harbour, Florida. It was also at these hotels where the charismatic chef was put in charge of private banquets for President Bill Clinton, Julio Iglesias, Enrique Iglesias, Meryl Streep and many other world-known celebrities.

Then it was on to the Doubletree Hotel in Atlanta, Buckhead, Georgia, where in 2002, the now acknowledged, class act chef received the “Leader of the Quarter” award.

Returning to Miami before the end of the year, the daring and dynamic chef opened Chick-N-Grill and by November, food critics for newspapers such as Perú Hoy were writing rave reviews about the tender, juicy and tasty chicken that emitted an exotic aroma, but was yet healthy due to Waldo’s unique combination of tropical herbs.

As a business owner, Waldo became the vice-president of the American Christian Chamber of Commerce and also started giving back to the community. Hence was recognized for his efforts with a Certificate of Appreciation from Dade Partners.

The year 2005, also signaled the first of many accolades to follow when he received a citation from the El Rey Jesús Leadership Institute.

Not one to rest on his laurels, in 2009, Chef Waldo arrived in the Alamo City to manage the Crowne Plaza Hotel. However, he was ready to set Texas’ culinary world on fire and give the city his Divine Taste in the way of catering with flair, but why San Antonio?

“I call it the baby Miami because there are people from so many nations and cultures; and it’s expanding,” the gregarious chef said with a smile.

Quickly building up a reputation for his culinary skills, it wasn’t long before the remarkable Peruvian became even more visible when he was featured on the Food Network’s television show, “Iron Chef” and “Hell’s Kitchen.”

The problem is that only those that attended an event that he catered, were able to enjoy his succulent dishes. To go public, in 2010 Waldo came up with the idea of mixing food with entertainment in the way of live music acts when he organized “Sabor A Mi” for the National Hispanic Professional Organization (NHPO). The ingenious chef then garnered more publicity when he delighted many San Antonio mom’s by cooking up a special international breakfast for a Telemundo television Mother’s Day event.


The demand for his culinary delights indicated that he needed to open his own restaurant, but no one would help him. However, he was daring, rented a space in a strip center and started out with one table with his wife Josephine “Josie” Bocanegra waiting on first one, then two and three tables as the determined chef cooked, served, washed dishes and ended the night with broom and mop in hand as he helped his wife clean up the place.

“I decided to open my own restaurant because it was in my plans, but it wasn’t easy trying to take an idea to make money without having money. The business was going up, but I still needed help and that’s when they told me about Acción,” Waldo said of the organization that was instrumental in his survival.

Then, as a music promoter and sponsored by NHPO, in October 2010, he brought in Tito Puente Jr., Domenic Marte and Los Tres Reyes to the Sunken Gardens. And yes, those in attendance were introduced to Waldo’s cooking.

The following year, Waldo hosted his own International Month Celebration that featured foods from ten countries on January 15, 2011 at Wonderland of the Americas. Later that same year, he brought his Taste of the America’s event plus eight salsa/merengue/reggaeton bands to what was now the “Sabor A Mi” International Festival Salsarengueton.

His “Taste of the America’s” also razzle dazzled event goers to the Fats Tuesday event at Wonderland of the America’s. In summary, all his events were huge hits.

In 2012, the established, acknowledged professional chef was called upon to provide his input at the St. Philip’s College committee meetings as an advisor to help them keep their curriculum up to date in regard to their teachings to culinary, pastry and restaurant students.

The rise of this formidable chef was surprisingly astonishing. Was it because of his exceptional cooking skills and exotic, creative dishes or was it due to his endearing personality?

Waldo attributes his rise to fame to persistence and most important to God, who heard and answered his prayers.

Most people agree that he is todo corazón, he’s all heart and that has made him highly respected member of our community. A classic example of what he is doing for others is Chef Waldo’s Wheel Chair Foundation through which this Good Samaritan’s co-president, Josie, and James Holtzclaw formed with the main purpose of taking care of children and others with disabilities by specifically distributing wheel chairs obtained through private funding sources and donations, to those in need at no cost.

“The Bible says, ‘give and you shall receive.’ I’m a Christian, so I have a lot of faith and with a good woman and son by your side, how could I not be blessed,” the extremely, generous 52-year-old restaurateur said.

“I give back to the community because I simply like to help people and I love to do everything I can for a human being; and if you give, they’ll love you back.

Now that you have met the man behind the taste, this writer will introduce you to his craft and the culinary creativity that has made him a star, that thanks to a slew of glowing rave reviews by top-notch, tough as nails, highly opinionated food critics, is fast becoming legendary.

When it comes to catering special events, ceviche is at the top of his menu and Waldo makes this dish by placing shrimp and fish into an artfully crafted citrus marinade and it isn’t long before the acid in the juice begins to ‘cook’ the fresh chunks of fish, scallops, shrimp and more. After you take a bite of this zingy creation, you will never want to eat any other version again.


Incidentally, the ceviche is served with a small glass of the marinating leche de tigre (tiger’s milk) juice, which is reputed to act as an aphrodisiac.

Other goodies in the salad section include saipicon de pollo. The main course on the carving station is a choice of pork, chicken rotisserie; yucca cooked two different ways, tostones and maduros.


The hot station may features parmesan risotto, tomato basic risotto, paella Valenciana, fresh Napoleon vegetables plus homemade chicken and pork tamales wrapped in green banana leaves.

To quench the thirst and make the food go down smoothly, Chef Waldo prepares his famous homemade orange, pineapple and peach iced tea.

Waldo’s patrons cannot help but sate themselves followed by taking care of their sweet tooth with a vast array of fresh fruits that one can dip in a cascading flow of chocolate. Then there’s his popular tembleque and crema voltiada, which looks like, but is the opposite of flan.



As for what is featured in El Ceviche de Waldito’s restaurant, the ceviche and other delectable native gastronomical delicacies such as the papa a la Huacaina and picante de mariscos — a slightly spicy blend of sautéed seafood from crab, shrimp, octopus, calamari, tilapia and mussels — are not a buffet item, but are a part of the Peruvian menu, which Waldo is ready to prepare at a moment’s notice.

The papa de Hacaina rocks and some food critics have asked for bread to scoop and sop up the sauces because as they say, “It’s that good.”


Edmund Tijerina of the San Antonio Express-News wrote: There are so many versions and slight variations when it comes to making lomo saltado (stir-fried beef strips with onion and peppers tossed with French fries) that it’s worth trying several to get a sense of which version you prefer. All the more reason for trying more Peruvian cuisine and Chef Waldo serves as an excellent guide.”

The member of SA’s Club Social y Cultural Peruano is so enamored with cooking that he loves sharing the multifaceted cooking methods of his native country as much as he enjoys cooking those incredible dishes.

The fabulous multiple choice buffet, at a reasonable $6.99 is within anyone’s budget; and it includes a choice of pernil (roast pork),  chicken, soup and salad plus a choice of white rice or the classic Puerto Rican/Cuban arroz con gandules, habichuelas guisadas (black beans), tostones (mashed and fried plantains), sweet plantains, hibiscus tea and dessert.


So to taste wonderful international flavors without traveling to the mountains of Perú, go to Waldito’s where you will get twice the quantity of other restaurants, but at half the price.

In the print medium, food reviews on Waldo’s savory, mouth-watering dishes that include photographs that make a person drool, have been featured in Flavor (San Antonio’s Ultimate Food Lover’s Guide) and San Antonio and Austin’s Wedding Guide Magazine. Waldo would also like to thank Richard Teitz at SA Current magazine, Amanda Lozano at La Prensa, Vladmir Ramírez at El Mundo de Austin and Chris Vásquez at The Helotes Echo to name just a few other publications.


No wonder this culinary star received a Medal for his selection as Chef of the Year at this year’s Alberto Alegre Awards, which were sponsored by Radio Digital 104.1 FM and in demand for television interviews.

Certificates, restaurant reviews and other accolades wallpaper two sides of his restaurant, so come out and find out what all the fuss is about and meet the showman chef whose backstage is the kitchen and his stage is behind the buffet bar or serving lots of hugs and banter on the floor

El Ceviche de Waldito is located outside Loop 410 and one block north of the CD Exchange at 5526 Evers Road.



San Antonio Luminaria 2013

San Antonio Luminaria 2013

Story and photos by Joseph Martinez

Rain ,Rain stay away and it did. For the folks who braved the cool night they were treated to an amazing evening loaded with the sight, sound and the aroma of food lingering in the air. Walking the park grounds I came to a opinion wishing there were  two of me so I can see and enjoy twice as much. There were 6 stages and over 600 artist.

The LANGTON DRIVE band caught my attention they were playing by the Tower of the America’s. With the look and the flavor of Joan Jett , this rock-punk like band had the crowd hopping.  With matching pink ties and black shirts these young rockers have a bright future in music. More info?

The next band I ran across was the HARES, a well season- 6 member band that play a wide range of music. Like rock and Latino with a jazzy feel. (Wish I had more time to listen to them) more info?!/TheHares

The Jazz POETS of San Antonio with the jazz poetry band backing them up helps to keep  them on track. Performing at U.N.A.M. building; at times there was only standing room. The Talent was not short in demand, spoken in English and in Spanish it was just right for the night. More info?

Walking and enjoying the sites I came across “Saint Apophenia” it was shining on the wall. What the heck is that?  Check it out on line

Proxy Theatre Group did some short and powerful acting using limited props. It felt like being in theatre in the round. Need to know more?    or

At the Valero stage,The Invincible Czars, an  Austin  rock band was on tap to please  everyone. The group  did their modernized arrangements of classical composers and some original songs as well. Beautiful, sometime haunting sounds. Playing to the back drop of an old black and white  movie. Do you want to see more about them? or


The Tower of the Americas was flooded in lights looking as if it was freshly painted. Tents illuminated from the inside out giving the illusion of a ghost like people looking out windows (A little creepy)

All around, you would see family, couples and groups of friends roaming the different venues and enjoying the sights.  At times I would accidently bump in to someone and what I mainly heard was “I’m sorry” or “Excuse me.” This  friendliness in general is just part of what makes San Antonio a large town with a small town feeling.

This review of “Luminaria 2013” shows only a small amount. Truly, it is something that one must experience in person

With so many sites to see, Do yourself a favor for “Luminaria 2014”. Grab a map and a list of events ,mark the MUST SEE artist and prepare yourself for a night of excitement.

See ya next year!

Joseph Martinez

River City Attractions




SAN ANTONIO (March 8, 2013) – The Sixth Annual Luminaria will take place Saturday, March 9, 2013 in HemisFair Park and downtown San Antonio from 7 p.m. to midnight.  Luminaria will take place, rain or shine.  However, in the event of rain, music and art installations will be moved inside the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center and the indoor venues in HemisFair Park will also be open.

 “We are confident that, rain or shine, San Antonio’s Sixth Annual Luminaria will be a night to remember,” says Richard Rosen, Artistic Director of Luminaria.  

 Luminaria is San Antonio’s annual celebration of art and artists, and this year marks the sixth anniversary of the arts event. Luminaria is a free event that showcases all art forms in both indoor and outdoor settings in downtown San Antonio. Over 600 artists will showcase original works of art and performances specifically created for Luminaria.

 “This annual celebration of the arts has become a hallmark event, showcasing San Antonio as a creative and contemporary art and music hub,” says San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro.  “I  want to invite everyone to come and experience an extraordinary Luminaria event that takes place in HemisFair Park and areas throughout  our vibrant downtown.”

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Richard Rosen, Associate Directors Kathy Armstrong and Mellissa Marlowe and the Luminaria Steering Committee selected 90 artists and groups with the best original installations and performances within six artistic disciplines (Dance, Literary, Media, Music, Theatre and Performance, and Visual).

Through one night of arts, we seek to re-imagine downtown San Antonio as a canvas for enlightened, innovative, edgy, surprising, and interactive contemporary artwork from all artistic disciplines.

 About Luminaria

Luminaria is San Antonio’s annual celebration of art and artists.  Held annually in March and overseen by San Antonio’s creative leaders, Luminaria is a free event that showcases all art forms in an outdoor setting in downtown San Antonio. Luminaria spotlights the region’s cultural assets for local citizens and visitors alike and is made possible through the generosity of artists, arts organizations, volunteers, and public and private donations. Launched in 2008, the event drew 315,000 people to downtown San Antonio last year alone.

 Luminaria’s name is San Antonio’s adaptation of “White Nights”, originally conceived in Paris, France in 2002, in an attempt to bring contemporary art to the masses in public spaces, while inspiring dialogue and engaging the public to examine its significance and impact on public space. For more information, please visit Like Luminaria on Facebook at or follow Luminaria on Twitter @LuminariaSA.

Whatever Happened to Sunny (Youngs)?

Published October 7, 2012 | By Ramón Hernández

Remember the late 1980s and early ‘90s when Tejano music was so popular that Black and White female vocalists such as such as Ruth, Jean Le Grand and Sunny started to record this genre.

Le Grand is now on national television and we have unable to locate Ruth. However, Sunny is back in San Antonio as Laura Youngs and last month the Houston-born Air Force brat came to the Hispanic Entertainment Archives to give us her story.

Sunny grew up in Canada, McConnell AFB in Kansas and Amarillo Air Force Base watching musical on television and going to concerts with her mother, Jackie. At eight her father, Pat Youngs, relocated his family to San Antonio before departing for Viet Nam.

“As for my early influences, my mom loved taking me to see Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, Engelbert Humperdinck, Tom Jones and others,” Sunny recalled.

“I remember swaying on a swing set singing “It Must Be Him” in 1966. Then my mom took me to Joske’s where Vikki Carr was signing autographs. Then we went to her concert where she asked me to come onstage and afterwards, backstage. So she was a big influence on me.”

Here she attended St. Peter’s Catholic School, where, after her coach suggested she learned to play an instrument, she learned to play guitar. And by twelve, she was able to play most church songs and wrote her own tunes.

“They were mostly love songs because that’s when you’re young and in love – you’re not pissed off yet,” she said with a laugh.

By the time she reached sixteen, Sunny, whose real name is Laura, was performing in coffee houses.

“One evening I was at a quinceanera and one of the musicians was flirting with me. So he let me sit in and sing ‘Shaky You Booty’ and I’m sure I shook my booty too. The result is that by the end of the night, he had hired me as the lead singer for Danny Martínez and RPM.

“The first two Spanish-languages tunes I sang were ‘Y Volvere’ and ‘Cuando Caliente el Sol,’ but I didn’t have a clue as to what I was singing. I didn’t record, but through him, I met and sang with George Rivas, George Prado, Clifford Scott and Sauce González plus the Felix Solís and Ramiro Cervera orchestras.”

At twenty, Laura became engaged to a U.S. Marines pilot and after he died, she was too heartbroken her songwriting days came to an end.

Life goes on for those left behind and along the way, she went to London, where she sang with Charlie Watts and met Keith Richards. In 1988, the then telephone company employee decided to go to Acapulco for a well-earned vacation. While there, she jammed with bands and orchestras at the various hotels and clubs singing Spanish tunes.

“I’m very spontaneous. So when I came back I quit my day job, sold my car and moved to Acapulco. I knew I have no job waiting for me, but I had that passion and a lot of confidence,” Laura continued.

The first door she knocked on was that of Juan De Pablos at the Hyatt Regency and he was skeptical of the Anglo blue-eyed blonde. That is, until Laura followed him up to the hotel’s ballroom where the Marcario Luviano Orchestra was playing. Little did De Pablos realize that Luviano and Laura had previously met and she had sold him with her interpretation of “My Funny Valentine” when she sat in with him during her vacation?

“When Macario saw me, he asked me to come up on stage and sing. Nightclub owner (now vice president of the Acapulco Association of Discoteques) Tony Rullan and his wife Linda were also there. I got out four lines of ‘Sabor A Mi’ and got a standing ovation. Juan even stopped smoking his cigar and when I got off I went up to him and said, ‘Do you still want to audition me?’

“I was so cocky. The end result is that I was set up with a suite overlooking the ocean and I sang two years, mostly in Spanish, with the Macario Luviano Orchestra at the Hyatt, who played an instrumental version of ‘Laura’ as my introduction.

“In some ways, that was the best time of life because I got to sing what I wanted and in Mexico, people love their music. Unlike jazz, everyone would clap and women would give me their earring.

“My Spanish was not fluent, but just being immersed in it and loving the language, it then came overnight. Again, I didn’t get to record, but that wasn’t even a factor because you’re in Acapulco where you look out the window and you sing, ‘life is good.’

After her stint at the Hyatt, Laura had a say so in how they designated a new club named Antigua where she also became the featured act. After she tired of the ocean paradise, she moved to Mexico City.

“It Chilangolandia and the whole onda was different. I remember sitting in a lounge and jamming with such singers as Marco Antonio Solís, Óscar Chávez, Chamin Correa and others until the sun came up, but everything was who you know; and after three months it was time to come home.

When Laura came back in 1990, she was greeted with a banner that read, ‘Welcome Back Laura.’ She jammed with the Sauce González and Jack Barber bands. Than Albert Esquivel became her booking agent, she got her to record at Texas Sunrise Studios in the Rio Grande Valley, met Mazz and appeared on the Johnny Canales Show.

“The night Betsy Escobedo came to see me perform, I wound up getting signed to RP Records by Manny Guerra when he was recording for CBS at the time José Rosario was working there. By now everybody was calling me ‘Sunshine’ and they cut it short to Sunny. Then, when Sunny Ozuna asked Manny not to do that, I came out as Sunny Youngs,” Laura said of her name change.

1991 - RP Records Publicity Photo

Her first 45 rpm single release under CBS Discos International was “No Lo Creo Más” and it received airplay as far as Spain. The flipside was titled “La Esperanza.”

“Then I did the Pura Vida Music Awards, performed at the Island Club and did a lot of festivals and big events with soundtracks, but my only problem was that I didn’t have a manager that knew more people than I did, but I made a name for myself because I’m a hustler.

“It’s supposed to be exciting to get a recording contract, but I had no say so whatsoever and as an artist, if you don’t feel the song, then you can’t interpret it properly. So I started getting bored because I didn’t like the songs that were picked out for me.”

Hence Laura, then known as Sunny, made a name for herself in record time during her short-lived stint in Tejano music.

When the blue-eyed Tejano songbird went back to Acapulco in 1992, the headline in the El Sol de Acapulco was that she was back in town, relegating the likes of Rocio Durcal and Emmanuel to the middle pages. Then she went on tour with an American Top 40 show band, opened for the Coasters in Las Vegas, moved to Dallas, did radio jingles for commercials and starting singing jazz.

“In 1996, I moved to Palm Beach, sang with the Norm Kubrin Trio, met a guy, fell in love and went away with him for seven years,” Laura said of her disappearance.

“In 2003, I moved back to the Alamo City, went to work as a commercial underwriter at Hartford Insurance and stayed under the radar for a while.”

To satisfy the music bug, she jammed but didn’t do anything notable until she joined Evolution, a ‘80s club dance band, in 2008. But she didn’t feel challenged and quit.

“I had to up my level of musicianship, so I went into a ‘search and find’ mode because I didn’t know what I really wanted to do. All I knew is that I wanted to record and get back on the road.”

Laura’s turning point came when she met rock guitarist Roger Méndez, who was already rehearsing with Juan Ornelas, bass; and Robert Weathers, drums. So she decided to attend one of their rehearsals and audition them, but when Méndez started playing, she said, “Oh my God, they are auditioning me.

“The chemistry was there. Why rock? Because vocally, it’s challenging and I found it was right up my alley. I love it because I get to belt out the songs, especially with a range like mine.”

12 Gauge

Their name is 12 Gauge and they are now working on releasing an entire rock album with some songs in Spanish. If the songs are anything like their cover of “La Negra Tomasa,” they are going to make it into the American mainstream.

Each member of 12 Gauge has a string of impressive credits and merits their own article. So let it suffice to say that the buzz for this group, which plays from classic hard rock to metal, is huge.

“We have been approached by a major label and our goal is to be an internationally touring band; and I’m going to give up my day job,” the now stunning redhead said with a lot of enthusiasm and conviction.

To become a 12 Gauge Band (featuring Laura) fan is easy. Just go see them perform at the Revolution Room on Broadway Street on Friday, October 5; or at Steely Nevada’s at 7530 Bandera Road on Saturday, October 20.

For bookings call (210) 378-8142 or Roger at (210) 896-9029. For more information and pictures go to, or

Laura belts out a song at Steely Nevada ‘s

“Las Tesoros de San Antonio” A WestSide Story”

 Las Tesoros de San Antonio”

 “A Westside Story”

Jorge Sandoval is a local actor, filmaker, photographer and technican. He returns to filmaking with the exiting documentary “Las Tesoros de San Antonio”/A WestSide Story.”Experience the sights and sounds.

Saturday, 6th Oct, 2-3:00PM  

Central Library Auditorium

800  Soledad                                                                                                                                                                                               




Sunday, 7th Oct ,2-3:30 PM

Bazan Branch Library

2200 W.Commerce


Vikki Carr to be Grand Marshall of the 62nd Annual Fiesta Flambeau Parade

Its official, Vikki Carr is this year’s Fiesta Flambeau Parade Grand Marshall.

The announcement was made during a press conference held at the Fogo De Chao Churrascaria inside the Marriott Rivercenter Hotel this Wednesday.

Trina Guevara, FFPA’s public relations director, started the ceremony by introducing KTSA’s Elizabeth Ruiz, who in turn announced Sunny Ozuna as this year’s Honorary Grand Marshall with a rousing introduction.

This year’s theme for the night parade is “Legends in Music” and Ozuna, leader singer of Sunny and the Sunliners, will have his own float in this parade in which the spotlight will highlight the rich artistry of music.

“And I have a surprise for everyone,” he said after reminding those in attendance, he is presently celebrating his fiftieth anniversary in show business this year.

“I have invited several other music living legends to ride in my float, but I’m not going to tell you who because that’s a surprise.”

Rumor has it his guests will probably be Rene Rene, Rudy Tee Gonzales, Joe Bravo and Jimmy Edward. Whether this is the case is anyone’s guess. It may one, two or three of them or other pioneer Tejano music icons.

Major corporate sponsor Time Warner Cable was represented by Gavino Ramos and Zabrina Spindler, who were also on hand to explain their company’s participation.

Tony Alvarado, FFPA’s president, had the distinct pleasure of introducing Carr. Then she surprised and thrilled a room full of radio, television and print media reporters when she made a grand entrance dancing with two Samba Vida dancers.

Carr looked fabulous. She was very relaxed and very entertaining as she spoke at length of her love for San Antonio, her husband, their children and their grandchildren.

Following her speech, Carr and Ozuna posed with FFPA First Lady, Sylvia Alvarado and the entire. Then she accommodated everyone by posing for individual pictures followed by interviews with Ruiz and Univision television.

A surprise celebrity, who showed up to visit with Carr, was Mexican actress and recording artist Rosalinda Risso, whose father, Salvador Ángel Risso, owned many palenques throughout the country and worked with Carr for many years.

Afterwards, most of the people in attendance stayed to enjoy tasty hors d’oeuvres or rushed back to their newsroom to write their story.

According to Alvarado, this year, 700,000 to one million people are expected to attend the Fiesta Flambeau Parade – the largest parade in the world — on Saturday, April 24.