Whittier Boulevard still bleeds

DECADES OF MEMORIES—Ruben Guevara shares his memories of the Chicano Moratorium at the Vincent Price Art Museum. CN/ Hugo Dominguez, Jr.

By Daniella Molina 

Boyle Heights native Ruben Guevara, remembered best as being the backbone to the rock ‘n’ roll music of “Ruben and the Jets” read his memories of  the East Los Angeles riots, to small crowd in the Vincent Price Museum Thursday night.

Guevara is also known as Ruben Guevara “Funkhalti” the Aztec God of music.

Over a five decade career, the band’s sound traveled throughout Boyle Heights and out to distant parts of the world.  Being the son of a Mexican immigrant producer and music composer, Guevara’s passion for his music began when he was a small child.

By the time he was nine years old, he had mastered trumpet, earning himself a spot on NBC’s Easter Concert Live in 1957. Yet Guevara’s talents do not end with music notes and hit albums.

This multi-talented musician, performer, writer, and producer can be seen, playing a trumpet, in the famous “Cheech and Chong,” movie. He also wrote the song for the movie “Nice Dreams” and worked on the score for “Born in East L.A.”

His piece which is was titled “Whittier Blvd is still bleeding” was a look back into the past struggles of the Chicano heritage in Los Angeles, and bring to light to the same struggles of Chicanos today. Such as, misunderstandings and forgotten traditions of the  Hispanic culture.

“August 29, 1970. Sirens singing, sheriffs dancing to a street song of death, they cut the tongue, they killed the will, they closed the boulevard. Ruben Salazar LA TIMES journalist, sheriffs blew his head away. They cut the tongue, they killed the will, they closed the boulevard,” said Guevara.

He continued reminiscing through the decades of his memory about each year that past from that unforgettable day in Los Angeles. “Powerful voices get shot down in these United States of America, rest in peace Ruben Salazar,” said, Guevara.

His rhyming voice, cracked with emotion as he continued speaking of “La Raza” and the actions the city’s gang members on the day of the riots.

In a small passage of his memory he spoke to his friend who passed away. “Hey Magoo, what’s new? Are you dancing with the Angels? Real slow? Real tight?” He spoke to Magoo, about their memories of living in Los Angeles during the ‘70’s.

“So what’s new, Magoo? Getting ready to join you — just a few more years. Got to live good, really good,” added Guevara

Guevara’s reading was part of postscript one, of the “After the Gold Rush: Reflections and postscripts on the National Chicano Moratorium of August 29, 1970” by artist Vincent Ramos. The exhibit is avalible for viewing through November 12. For more information about the exhibit, please contact the Vincent Price Art Museum.

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