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Ephemeral Forums

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Jorge Leal

on 29 March 2017

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Transcript of Ephemeral Forums

Mitotes Efímeros: Ephemeral Forums and Enduring Rock Angelino Transnational Spaces in Southern California
Starting in the 1990s a transnational music genre known as “Rock en Español” (REE), gained considerable popularity in Southern California as a Pan Latin-American music genre.
The genre which combined British and American rock styles with Latin American sounds, was irst promoted by immigrant youth —who had recently migrated from Latin American cities— and quickly embraced by U.S. born Latinas/os.

Ephemeral Forums
Mitotes Efímeros Archive

Compiled by:
Jorge N. Leal
South East Los Angeles
As the result of deindustrialization, white-flight and the increase of the Latina/o population within the last twenty years, the cities and communities of South East Los Angeles have rapidly transformed into predominant Latino barrios.
Economic conditions have been challenging for a lot of the residents in South East L.A. Nonetheless a vibrant, yet often overlooked underground youth music scene has managed to emerge in the area since the mid 1990s.
Eclipse & La Raza 1991 show in a Latina/o theme restaurant Maywood.
These bands were the early REE pioneers who played a brand of rock and roll infused by the a bluesy Rolling Stones style by the way of Mexico City working-class barrios.
REE 1992 Show in Salón México in the core of Pacific Boulevard in Huntington Park.
Las Pampas
Starting in late 1994, Las Pampas, became the nucleus of the REE in Los Angeles. The South Gate located became notorious for the Carlos Gardel portrait that graced the notoriously small stage, and its lenient all-ages admittance policy.
For over three years Las Pampas and its enigmatic Afro-Latina owner hosted most active REE Angelino bands as well as Latin American touring acts such as Argentina's Cadena Perpetua, Un Kuartito, and Babasónicos among others.
The Former Site of
Las Pampas, 2015.
Southern California, particularly South East Los Angeles became a fertile site for the creation of ephemeral forums where youth gathered to listen to Rock en Español among other music genres. These DIY sites served as impromptu venues where young Latinas/os converged and created both temporary and enduring collective relationships.

These ephemeral forums brought together Latina/o youth irrespective of their national origin, citizenship or migratory statutes. Thus, shattering —even when only briefly—intra-ethnic divisions that many times had separated Latina/os in the past.

The following flyers are fragmentary archives of the shows and forums that were conceived in the last two decades. These images hint at the imaginative use of language and the cognitive mapping of Southern California by immigrant intellectual producers.
These pamphlets also serve as evidence of evolving, connections between Chicanas/os and Latina/o migrants and by extension, the transnational collaborations between L.A. bands and audiennces with their Latin American and Iberian counterparts.
Club Rock En Español (CREE) was fan club formed by two SELA Mexican American young women in 1989. At its peak, CREE had close to 5,000 members from multiple U.S. Latina/o communities and Latin America.
Chicano Rock
Rock En Español
Luna Park in West Hollywood
Rock Angelino
arrives to Chinatown
Moving beyond SELA into other parts of Southern Californnia, the REE shows at the legendary Hong Kong Low are pivotal part of the 1990s Chinatown revival as an underground destination of live music, that first began during the iconic L.A. punk era of the late 1970s and 1980s.
C.R.E.E. and the festivals Years.
By 1994 the C.R.E.E. transformed into a powerful women's concert production collective, succesfully organizing three annual massive REE festivals at the site of the former Lincoln Heights Jail.
These festivals featured transnational line-ups with talent from Los Angeles, México as well as emerging multi-ethnic bands such as Ozomatli and King Changó (NYC).
Transnational REE and Ska in the New Millenium
By the 2000s, the ephemeral forums had extended to other Southern California locations and REE shows were being booked in legendary Hollywood clubs such as The Roxy. Influenced by the earlier REE generation, many of these shows featured transnational line-up, which included bands from L.A. other California cities, Latin America and even Europe.
By examining these ephemeral forums, we can identify and examine the formation of youth-oriented spaces of encounter. Also how Latina/o youth created their own sense of the metropolis as how it fostered the creation of social spaces in Southern California.
These discursive social space promoted a sense of belonging, transnational political awareness, and solidarity between youth that held different migratory, citizenship status and access to upward social mobility.
Due to the lack of music venues or public spaces in this deindustrialized urban environment, “music activists” have created countless “ephemeral forums” to stage concerts or youth gatherings. These impromptu venues remain open for one night, a series of months or until overzealous landlords, zoning bureaucrats and of course, the police arrive.

The following flyers are testimonies of some of the first Rock en Español shows that were held not just in SELA but in Southern California.
CREE members first joined and communicated with the CREE fouders Yvonne (Gómez) Draza and Flora Rae Tapia and then other members through postal letters. The members eventually began to meet up in person in CREE organized events throughtout SELA.
Las 15 Letras performing at Las Pampas (1995)
While there were some intra-ethnic differences along language and acculturation issues, soon Chicano Rock bands and audiences began to recognize the Rock Angelino participants as fellow travelers.
This lead to countless of shows where Chicano Rock and Rock Angelino bands shared billing.
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