For some Mexican American millennials living in SanTana, hearing their mothers listen to the heartbroken cries of Amanda Miguel on the radio, or their fathers playing the emotionally- charged Tigeres Del Norte with his compadres on the weekends was nothing short of a common occurrence.
Many of today's Latino millennials have uniquely built their musical taste reminiscing on these childhood musical memories. These songs have revisited Chicanos in their adulthood during weddings or other obligatory parties. However, outside of these events, finding venues that play Latin music has proved to be troublesome —especially in Downtown SanTana. The recent closure of a popular restaurant and Spanish club Rancho Mendoza has compounded the livelihood of Latino centered dance clubs.
Under these circumstances, many of today's Latino youth are constantly yearning for a place to congregate and dance the night away that doesn't directly compromise the authenticity of their Latino roots. Notably, the downtown area of SanTana has notoriously tried to attract young millennials from all over Orange County to come and spend their money on restaurants and bars that play contemporary top forty, EDM, or punk shows. Such as The Yost, Diego’s, The Copper Door or Proof Bar.
Considering that SanTana has a population that’s 78% Latino, you would assume that the downtown area would cater to Latino residents unfortunately many SanTana natives are reluctant to be part of a gentrified Downtown SanTana, or simply aren’t attracted to an area that doesn’t offer any venues that honor Latino music culture. On the positive side, young Chicanos are taking matters into their own hands and creating their own spaces in a good ol do-it-yourself fashion. One of the organizations paving the way for an authentic music listening experience in the United States is the all-girl Chulita Vinyl Club —founded in San Antonio, Texas in 2013-which has chapters in San Diego and LA, and now coming to SanTana. The Chulita Vinyl Club promote “safe spaces” for the most marginalized groups and promote young women DJs that spin vinyl.
This weekend two radio SanTana DJS, Esperanza Celeste, who reps Chulita Vinyl Club here in SanTana is known as "Bombonsito" (a type of marshmallow-like candy) and her Co- host Josh —who uses the alias Jinx— are celebrating their 15th “Oldies and Old School forever” podcast with a celebratory “quincenera” dance party. “Oldies & Old School Forever is a community-based collective of Vinyl Enthusiasts that happen to have coined an hour of air-time at Radio Santa Ana that's sponsored by Latino Health Access, KPFK and many other thoughtful donors from the community. Located in El Centro Cultural de Mexico,” Celeste says.
Additionally, the “baile” (dance) as Bombonsito has called it, will also showcase different DJS from LA and San Diego to play nostalgic tunes that graced the presence of many old SanTana backyard dance parties in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, songs that could be heard at their cousin’s quince and finally music that bumped at the “car show days our older siblings and cousins would attend,” Celeste says. The DJ and her co-host Jinx hope to create “A collaboration that's hosting a purposeful dance to reclaim space and heal from the political climate and constant issues that affect our people of color communities.”
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This type of event couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time. With many young Chicanos experiencing the rise in hate crimes and divisive rhetoric, being Latino is at times felt like a stigma for many Chicanos. With our new president-elect just days away from being inaugurated, Chicanos all over the United States are hurting and feel uneasy for the people close to them that are undocumented. For this reason, Celeste sees the importance of keeping “the culture alive, and creating an outlet for young Chicanos to identify and strengthen their identity for the better good.” For many young American Latinos identifying with their Latino history is like getting to know your shadow —you always knew it was there following your every move but at times overlooked by the beholder.
Young Chicanos have the power to understand the depth of Latino culture intuitively and implement and defend it throughout their life as Americans. Undoubtedly, this event is a love letter to Latino musical artists and nevertheless a letter of defiance to a country that pushes younger Latino generations to be more Americanized.
Oldies and Old School Forever Podcast presents Chulita Vinyl Club this Saturday, at 5pm in SanTana. Chelas and tamales will be sold to benefit the artists; DJ Esperanza Celeste will disclose location in the days to come. For more information, visit them on Facebook.