Today's score: A biga biga biga hunk of history via rock and rap confidential
about the Mexican farmworker who sang with Elvis back in 1956.
Pedro Gómez and the "King"
At one time Don Pedro Gómez dreamt of becoming a famous star. From a very young age he learned to work in the fields on his fathers ranch in "Los Hernández," Guanajuato. Then, when he came of age, he enrolled as a bracero, initiating a new life; over 40 years of agricultural work in the United States. And although he did not become a famous star, Don Pedro can boast to being probably the only Mexican farmworker to have sung a duo with the king of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley himself. This encounter between the "King" and Pedro Gómez occurred in 1956.
It was his second contracted year as a bracero. He was about 21 years old and working along side his father, Pedro Gómez Domínguez, on a ranch belonging to W.G. Cunningham in Levelland, Texas. At that time Pedro knew some English, since his girlfriend, Manuela Rivera, was teaching him little by little. Also she had written down for him a very popular tune of Elvis's "Love Me Tender," which Pedro soon memorized and sang, according to him, just as good as the "King" himself.
One day, Pedro accompanied his father and other braceros to Lubbock, Texas. They would come periodically to buy food, and other articles, cut their hair, send money home, and have a good time.
It turns out that the main movie house in Lubbock was presenting the film "Love Me Tender," and as a special attraction Elvis would be there live. Pedro didn't think twice and asked his father's permission to go see the movie and meet Elvis in person. At first Pedro Senior did not think it was too good of an idea, but in the end he gave his permission recommending that he stay out of trouble. They decided Pedro Senior would wait outside.
The theater was packed and ready to explode. The young ladies in particular, went hysterical every time they heard Elvis's name or his voice. Pedro was probably the only Mexican in attendance, and certainly the only bracero in the theater. He got a seat right in the middle of the hall. The ambience inside and surrounding the theater was very festive and noisy, extremely unlike Lubbock; a tranquil and conservative town in the panhandle region of Texas. From within all this excitement, the film began to roll. The public couldn't miss a second of the movie and the excitement escalated up until the long awaited moment; the intermission during which Elvis Presley would make his appearance.
As Elvis, in the flesh, came out from behind the curtain a collective roar shook the entire theater. When he greeted the crowd, everyone stood up. The applause and the shouting from the audience was deafening. The young ladies in the front row were screaming and extending their arms towards the "King," trying to touch him. Some of them cried and there was at least one case of fainting. Elvis asked for silence and the noise decreased a notch. He was going to sing the theme from the film, "Love Me Tender," and standing in the middle of the stage he asked the crowd if anyone would come up and join him. The room went silent and nobody answered. Elvis asked a few times: "Nobody?" With that Pedro Gómez got up off his seat, yelling and wailing his arms, to make himself seen amiss the noisy crowd, he screamed: "Yes, I do, I do!" The very energy of the crowd forced Pedro Gómez to the front of the stage, where he could be close to his idol. Elvis greeted him and asked him if he could speak English. "Little bit," Pedro nervously answered. The young bracero was star struck , it all seemed like a dream. Elvis asked him a few more questions and when Pedro told him he was a Mexican bracero, people in the crowd screamed "Viva Mecsicou!" to which the entire audience applauded. Elvis gave him instructions on how to accompany him in the second voice, and warned him that once the young ladies began trying to get on stage, he should jump to the back of the stage to be safe. The song began and sure enough, as the excitement grew it looked as though nothing was going to stop the compact group of youngsters in the front row. The young ladies began attempting to get on stage, and when Pedro felt the crowd coming he jumped to the back of the stage looking for safety. He caught a glimpse of a large group of sheriffs struggling to rescue Elvis from the hands of his admirers. It was total euphoria, everything around Pedro was spinning, and he escaped as best he could.
When he got out, his father was waiting for him across the street. As he got closer he noticed a certain worry and anxiety in him, and he asked him if he was al right. "Is it true you got up on stage to sing?" Don Pedro asked. Since the reply was a positive one, his father simply told him: "Do not get into any problems... Remember we have a commitment to Mr. Cunningham..." Like a good son, Pedro Gómez told his father he was not planning on deserting or violating his bracero contract. Once this had eased his fathers mind he gave him a friendly pat on the back and said: "Well, forget it, lets go have dinner..."
"Music Journalism Has Never Looked Better"
"Building a ‘free’ future"
Written by Emma Sadowski, Managing Editor
Excalibur, York University's Newspaper
Wednesday, 22 March 2006
Journalism is in a state of crisis. There, I said it. It has been compromised miles from its initial intention the truth. Truth has been handed a rubber dingy, and has been told, with a shotgun to its head, to get out. Corporate sponsorship, government control and centralized ownership of publications have all contributed to the production of this blurry concept of storytelling we read in the Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail everyday.
As a young and plucky university student, I had the idealistic goal of becoming the journalist that would eventually crack a big scandal or bring a nasty corporation down to its knees. Unfortunately the more I continued on with my studies, the more I began to realize that in order to truly achieve the job of my dreams, I would have to put my morals and ethics on the backburner, and lock up the freedom of my voice. I couldn't find, even though I dug to the very depths of my soul, a good enough reason to want to do that. Music journalism has never looked better.
This year as managing editor at Excalibur has taught me so much about the world of journalism; it's not an easy place to be. However, to spare myself, and the reader, from having to read another "woe is me - journalism is hard" editorial, I'm not going there.
Student press is an interesting entity. It's grown up enough to take care of itself financially, and yet immature enough to make stupid mistakes. It has the option of reporting on what it wants, but sometimes fails to see past the end of its nose. But the practice of running a newspaper and reporting on a community that is so tight knit that not even a sneeze goes unnoticed has been a fantastic training ground for the future of any young journalist, including myself.
From covering news stories late into the night to working through - and making sense of - student union politics, my thirst for a story has never been so insatiable. Student press has allowed me to cover events, people and organizations freely without having to adhere to anyone's demands.
Conversely, I have also come to understand attempts to silence my voice and right as a journalist. From being requested to produce questions before an interview to being asked to leave certain events, these not only reaffirm this crisis that we are experiencing but suggests that journalism has taken a turn for the worst. How did society come to distrust our integrity? How did truth get given the finger?
As I prep myself to exit the comfortable world of student press, I carry with me my initial ideals and love for the truth. If people have things to hide, they should be uncovered; if scandal is happening, it should be uncovered. As a team of young journalists, we should all strive to break down the walls put up around the truth and strive to regain the trust of a public that deserves much more than what they presently get.
I believe that it is up to us, the next generation of journalists, politicians, doctors, filmmakers, music makers, artists, entrepreneurs or wherever your aspirations lead you, to make a difference and correct this world that is filled with crisis. The world is in our hands.
Savvy gal just back from SXSW waxed beyond enthusiastic for this movie she saw there:Before the Music Dies
(maybe coming soon to a theater near you)
Eavesdropping on the information superhighway. Yes, punkers, this hot tip was snatched and cut and pasted right straight from a post to girl group
(Public Screening of Nightclubbing coming up March 31 in NYC)
"I just watched a screening of "Nightclubbing: The Original Punk Rock Music
Video Series," by Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong. These two women hauled
video equipment around and filmed some extraordinary footage of the nascency
of New York punk.
Highlights for me included:
The Dead Boys, both by themselves and "assisted" by Divine;
Debbie Harry singing the VU's "Femme Fatale";
A wrinkle-free Iggy Pop assaulting his mike stand, with the Sales Brothers
A short-haired Bad Brains blasting through "12XU";
The Heartbreakers in two different decades -- out of tune in both;
The Cramps being creepy and stunning, and mixed so that the vocals were
pretty damn audible;
Max Blagg's harrowing heroin poetry;
A teenaged Talking Heads doing their uneasy, all-acoustic "Psycho Killer";
So many incredible songs in there, by Suicide, John Cale (in a leg cast and
surgical scrubs), Stilettos (feat. Tish & Snooky of Manic Panic fame),
Teenage Jesus & the Jerks, the Contortions, DNA, Suicide, the Dead Kennedys,
the Bush Tetras, lots of Richard Hell... and hell, even the Go-Gos were cute
and fun... And everybody was so damned YOUNG in these
* * * * * * * * *
So anyway, there will be a public screening of this footage on Friday, March
31, at 6pm (doors open at 5:45) at NYU's Cantor Film Center (36 East Eighth
Street). After the viewing, the filmmakers will be discussing the film and
its cast of characters (they knew everyone back in the day, and were
throwing fun anecdotes around, all this evening)...
It's a bit early, but it's all freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!
There will also be an after-party at CBGB from 8:30 to ???. Lots of scary,
over-the-hill, Pun Krock Kollektors playing scary, over-the-hill, Pun Krock
Kollektible music. Max Blagg doing a reading of some sort @ 10pm.
* * * * * * * * *
So who will come?!?!?