Sunday, October 8, 2017

Hodgepodge 344/365 - Rubén Guevara, a.k.a. Neo-Aztek Deity, Chicano Culture Sculptor, and Tantrik Funk Monk

Warming up at Casa 0101 Theatre in
Boyle Heights, 2016
I have been busting my butt the past couple of weeks editing a wonderful collection of mostly very short chapters of a memoir by Rubén "Funkahuatl" Guevara, self-styled radical Chicano doo-wop singer and tantrik funk monk. Today I reached the end, and will be sending the (81+!) files to him tomorrow. It's a fun, cool, trippy ride, full of music, sex (or at least lust: the man, now almost 75, has a healthy libido), performance art, activism, and a whole lotta love. I thought I'd share a few things I pulled up on the web, of his music (he played with Frank Zappa as the leader of Ruben and the Jets, and had several other bands over the years, playing at odd moments with the likes of Tina Turner, Bo Diddley, Los Lobos, and others—though sadly, I found little of that on the internet).

Here is a profile of him written in conjunction with a show from last year, Confessions of a Radical Chicano Doo Wop Singer, presented in Boyle Heights.

And here, a doo-wop version of "America the Beautiful" (1974):

And this here, "The Tao of Funkahuatl" (2010), grooves:

Here he is performing his spoken-word piece "C/S" with John Densmore of the Doors, at a charity event at Tia Chucha's Centro and Bookstore in 2009:

And finally, Ruben and the Jets (as distinct from Ruben & the Jets, which was a Zappa "concept band")—this band was the real thing. Ca. 1973. Here is "To Be Loved," which Guevara wrote.

It was an honor to work on this book and learn a little more about East LA/Chicano local history and about this singular man's life and passions.

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