You can check out but you can never leave...
NOVEL * PLAY * * ESSAYS * FILM BY MARLAN WARREN
Sunday, December 20, 2009
SIZZLING MARIACHI BAND PLAYS BEVERLY HILLS
The Mariachi Nueva Generacion has been playing masses at the Church of the Good Shepherd for a while. The church is in the heart of Beverly Hills, a section of L.A. not known for honoring Latino culture, although that is clearly changing.
Pictured above is its band leader, Haitian Michelle Anglade. She is also the administrative assistant for this church.
It's a multicultural group made up of Japanese, Caucasian and yes, Latinos. Last Saturday, December 12, they played from the heart with skill and joy. I shot a little video until my camera ran out of juice. The videos are now on You Tube.
My friend Michael Hudson-Medina had brought me (and his violin). He sometimes plays with MNG. His mother is a Mexican American teacher who retires this year. When he called to invite me, he said:
"This mariachi band I sometimes play with will be playing in Beverly Hills at a Catholic Church on Our Lady of Guadalupe Fiesta Day. I'll pick you up at 7:15 in the morning."
He showed up at 7 a.m., having already been to Olvera Street to watch the mountains of flowers being placed at the Virgin de Guadalupe shrine. WE drove slowly through the quiet streets in the rain. Michael pointed out new stores that have sprung up in West Hollywood. It was the first time I'd seen that neighborhood in five years.
Michael wore his shit-kicker hat and plaid shirt for the occasion (leaving his Armani suits at home in the closet). I took pictures during the band's rehearsal before the mass and afterward in the dining hall where we feasted on quesadillas with salsa, pastry and coffee. The mariachis filled the room with joyful sounds, the music loud and soulful. Michael ran out to his car and came back with his violin to join them near the end for a few rounds.