Monday, October 09, 2006

Lalo Guerrero: The Original Chicano!

The LALO GUERRERO:THE ORIGINAL CHICANO! screening on Saturday afternoon meant a room full of love, tears, happiness and nostalgia as fans came to watch this moving tribute to the father of Chicano music who died last year. Written and produced by his son Dan Guerrero and Nancy de los Santos, this made for TV documentary covered the highlights of Lalo's 70+ year career, from Zoot Suits to support for Cesar Chavez and the farmworkers, Las Ardillitas and more. From heartbreaking boleros to marijuana boogie tossed with a couple of rancheras, Lalo did it all and this doc captures it beautifully. During the Q & A and at the afterparty, Dan Guerrero shared several anecdotes about his father and for those who had the privilege of seeing him perform live, it's hard to believe he's gone.

Director, producer and son of Lalo Guerrero, Dan Guerrero.

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East Side Story Kicks off Friday Night at the Egyptian

EAST SIDE STORY, a hilarious and heartfelt gay love triangle with an unnatural heterosexual twist set in East LA and directed by Carlos Portugal, kicked off the festivities Friday night. Portugal's debut feature had the audience in stitches as he covered such themes as gay love in East LA, gentrification, family business politics and more. A treat (and veritable feast for the eyes).

Director Carlos Portugal (far right) and cast at the Q & A following the screening of East Side Story.

Actor Steve Callahan, one of the leading men of East Side Story, and Tonnie Ponce de Leon at the afterparty.

The soundtrack of East Side Story was featured homegrown musicians who played at the afterparty in the Egyptian courtyard. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 08, 2006

L.A. Latino International Film Festival 10/5-10/15 2006

Plume Noire Picks at the 10th Annual Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival

Along with the heatwave, the crappy summer blockbuster season is over, the air is crisp, and festival season is in full swing. October means films from Latin America & the U.S. at the historic Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. This year's line up proves promising with a few thrills. Thrill #1 is a tribute to Antonio Banderas on October 14. Thrill #2 is Jorge Perrugoria, the Cuban actor who returns with Barrio Cuba. Here is our partial list of picks for the 2006 festival.

LALIFF always features Latin American music, composers, singers & musicians and this year is no different. Just take a look at the diversity:

Son Dan Guerrero produced and cowrote this documentary about his legendary father, who died last year.

A doc about the Texans who went from playing cantinas to getting airplay all over the States.

An inside look in to the life of the Brazilian poet and singer who wrote the classic bossa nova hit "Girl from Ipanema" and whose play "Black Orpheus" was the basis for the film.

A doc by Caroline Neal about the search for the real maestros of tango's golden age.

CUBA CUBA CUBA films are always at the top of my list and LALIFF always brings a good selection that showcases their rich culture, history, music and sense of humor.
Barrio Cuba, directed by Humberto Solas and starring Jorge Perugorria (who was here L.A. last year for the hilarious screening of Frutas en el Cafe) takes a look at living in modern Cuba.

El Benny, directed by Jorge Luis Sanchez chronicles the life of one of Cuba's most famous singers, Benny More, who changed love songs forever with his classic tune "Como Fue".


We can always count on the Brazilians for their smart combination of sexy and hilarious. In SE EU FOSSE VOCE (IF I WERE YOU) a tired married couple switches bodies.


Illegal (& legal) immigration and the wretched results of globalization were, are and continue to be on the forefront of most political discussions this year.

Two Spanish films take a look at illegal immigration. LAS CARTAS DE ALOU (LETTERS FROM ALOU) chronicles the struggle of an African immigrant while FLORES DE OTRO MUNDO (FLOWERS FROM ANOTHER WORLD) features a Dominican and a Cuban trying to survive in Madrid.

The documentary CROSSING ARIZONA examines immigration and border policy from both sides of the fence. MAQUILAPOLIS (which screened for free at the L.A. Film Festival earlier this summer) takes a hard look at the transnationals along the border in Tijuana and the disaster they create in the communities around them.

The struggle of the South Central Farmers of Los Angeles has been chronicled in three documentaries: SOUTH CENTRAL FARMERS, SAVE THE FARM & AQUI ESTAMOS Y NO NOS VAMOS.

While I can understand why ALAMBRISTA! (THE ILLEGAL) starrring Edward James Olmost is in the program this year, it doesn't explain why BATTLESTAR GALACTICA was added as a screening. It would have been better to screen a classic episode of Miami Vice with Inspector Castillo.....