Sunday, September 21, 2008

No Soy Marinero

In the ongoing quest for free food events (though the grants post this Friday, so it shouldn't last much longer), Lady Grace and I met up with two others at an alumni function on Wednesday. Turns out we were the only ones over the age of 23, so we ditched the private event and headed to the main area of the bar (but not before I got two platefuls of free hors d'oeuvres), where it happened to be trivia night.

We fared badly, but one of the questions was "What Mexican-American singer's former bandmembers went on to form Journey?" Partly because I sang "La Bamba" at karaoke two weeks beforehand, and partly because we couldn't name any other Mexican-American singers, we guessed Ritchie Valens. (Incorrect. It was Carlos Santana.)

Based on that, though, I decided to watch La Bamba via Netflix Instant Viewing. Except for the plane crash with Buddy Holly and the one hit song, I didn't really know anything about Ritchie Valens (or, for that matter, that "La Bamba" was a Mexican folk song before it was rockified.)

Also, ever since I watched Stand and Deliver as a kid, I'd been a fan of Lou Diamond Phillips. Then a few years ago, I found out he was a hapa brotha, which escalated the cool factor.

At any rate, as biopics about musicians go, it was pretty good. The genre has a formula, like all genres do: struggling, talented artist overcomes personal issues to make it big, then struggles with success. Movies about modern musicians seem to always have a nostalgic tinge to them, too, and this one was no different. The stories are really about innocence lost, whether it's the singer's or the audience's; viewers are left only to compare the depiction with contemporary entertainment legacies.

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