Los Rakas perform pre-Thanksgiving Sahara Lounge show

Los Rakas
Los Rakas

Hip-hop duo Los Rakas represent Panama via Oakland. Their mix of bilingual rhymes with reggae and dancehall-inspired beats have made the group stand-outs in the Latin alternative scene.

Los Rakas, who have performed at Austin’s Pachanga Latino Music Festival as well as South by Southwest, return to Austin on Nov. 26 to perform a pre-Thanksgiving show at the Sahara Lounge at 9 p.m.

Los Rakas, who are currently on tour with Latin DJ trio 3BallMTY, had no official tour stop in Austin planned. But with the help of DJ Orión and the Sahara Lounge, Los Rakas are making a special stop in Austin before performing on Nov. 28 in San Antonio.

Tickets for the 21 and over show are $10. DJ Orión and Pagame of the Peligrosa collective as well as Benzo of the Dub Academy will join Los Rakas.


Buying power of Latino millennials explored in PBS series

Maria Hinojosa
Maria Hinojosa

If you identify as a Latino millennial, then advertisers are watching your consumer habits closely. As the population of Latinos in the U.S. rises, so does their buying power.

In a new episode of the series “America By the Numbers with Maria Hinojosa,” Austin-based advertising agency LatinWorks is featured for being ahead of this demographic shift. The episode titled “The New Mad Men,” will air on KLRU on Nov. 22 at 6 p.m. (check local listings for other PBS stations). The episode is also available online.

“Latinos are increasingly seen as pop culture influencers that can make or break brands, and marketers and advertisers are working hard to target this audience and harness that purchasing power,” said series anchor, Maria Hinojosa in a news release.  “As a result of the demographic changes we are reporting, a new ‘total market’ is emerging and at its core, Latinas and Latino millennials aged 18 to 34, are considered the main drivers of economic growth.”

My colleague Liliana Valenzuela interviewed award-winning journalist Maria Hinojosa, also of  NPR’s Latino USA, in the Statesman’s Spanish-language weekly ¡Ahora Sí! You can also read the English version here.

Hinojosa will lead a panel discussion after a special screening of the episode at KLRU on Nov. 21. The free event, which will include snacks and beverages, requires an RSVP.  A DJ will be spinning music after the panel discussion.



Catch bilingual comedy “Aye, No!” through Nov. 23

Photo contributed by Alberto Jimenez
Photo contributed by Alberto Jimenez

If you haven’t had a chance to catch the latest Teatro Vivo production, there’s still time. The bilingual comedy “Aye, No!” continues Thursdays-Sundays through Nov. 23.

In my last Cultura en Austin column, I interviewed playwright Liz Coronado Castillo about her inspiration behind the entertaining story that explores sexual identity. She also shares a cool story about why she decided to include drag queens in her work.

“Aye, No!” brings to life the story of Alicia, a college student from a small border town, who decides to bring a friend home from college to meet her traditional Mexican family. While Alicia’s well-intentioned grandmother and two nosey aunts expect a boyfriend to walk in the room, instead they meet Alicia’s girlfriend Cathy.

“I view theater as a social and political platform,” says Coronado Castillo, 36, who is also a stand-up comic. “And we can say a lot more and get a lot more people to listen and come together through humor.”

Shows begin at 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets, which are $14-$20, are available at http://ayeno.bpt.me.

Documentary on Little Joe Hernandez coming soon

Contributed by Jorge Flores
Contributed by Jorge Flores

Whether you’ve danced to his music at one of his performances or played his songs at a family pachanga, chances are that most Tejano music fans have many memories tied to the noted discography of the legendary Little Joe y La Familia.

At 74, Little Joe Hernandez has been entertaining audiences for decades and blazed a trail for Tex-Mex music in the process, earning him the nickname “King of the Brown Sound.”

Hernandez, who has done everything from squash musical and cultural barriers to energize the Chicano movement, will soon be the subject of a 2015 documentary.

Check out my latest Cultura en Austin column for more details.

Recently, I attended an event where the filmmakers were raising funds to finish the documentary. Some of Hernandez’ wardrobe was on display, including famous outfits he’s worn on stage and on album covers. Anyone remember him wearing a zarape-inspired suit jacket?

Austinites, in particular, have fond memories of Little Joe y La Familia concerts. This summer many fans reached out to me when I wrote the behind-the-scenes story behind his album cover for “Las Viejas de Little Joe and the Latinaires” by La Familia. For the album cover, Little Joe gathered Central Texas women to pose during one of the popular Saturday night dances at the old City Coliseum in the early 1970s.

Hernandez continues to perform around the country. Stay tuned as more updates are available about a release date for the documentary next year.


Video: North Austin pulga’s food, fashion reminiscent of home

Cultura en Austin welcomes guest blogger Efren Salinas, an Austin American-Statesman video journalist. Efren recently captured the vibrant life, cultura and community that buzzes inside a North Austin flea market. Check out his video, which was recently featured in our Growing Austin series, and get the behind-the-scenes story about how he discovered this cultural gem.

By Efren Salinas, Video Journalist

I was not looking for the city’s largest indoor flea market or “pulga” when I first went to the North Austin Event Center. I was actually there to cover a video game tournament being held in the event space next door, but I kept seeing people, mostly families, walking into the building. My curiosity was peaked and I walked over.

They had stores selling western wear, children’s clothing, athletic uniforms and luchador masks. Then I saw the eats! Cuban sandwiches, bistek tacos – well, I better stop because my stomach is already grumbling. I knew immediately that I wanted to try and capture the culture and energy present inside.

The interviews were the most fun for me. I spoke with Neftali Mejia, owner of Vaqueros Western Wear, who told me that when he first arrived in this country he was lucky to sell a pair of boots here and there. Years later, he would own and operate the largest western wear store at the pulga.

I also spoke to Doña Maria Ramirez Lopez, a woman who is past the age when most would have retired. She pushes a cart around the pulga selling classic treats – candied apples, “chicharones” and “cocadas” to name a few. Her daughters run a successful barbershop at the pulga as well.

In short, it was an opportunity for me to expose the Austin American-Statesman audience to a slice of Hispanic culture that might otherwise go unnoticed.