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My Lecture/Concert at the Marin County Civic Center
March 29, 2007

by Mark Guerrero

     On March 29, 2007, I did a lecture/concert and a screening of "Lalo Guerrero: The Original Chicano" at the Marin County Civic Center in San Rafael, California.  It was in a building that was awesome in size and design.  No wonder, the legendary Frank Lloyd Wright was the architect.  The event was part of the Cesar Chavez Day festivities.  I was invited by the Assistant Public Defender in Marin County, Jose Varela.  Jose happens to be the brother of well-known Bay Area Latin jazz radio host, Chuy Varela.  The idea was for me to screen the documentary, do a question and answer session, and sing some songs solo with acoustic guitar.  The event was sponsored by the Board of Supervisors and OLE (Organization of Latino Employees).  I was flown up to the Oakland Airport and put up in a wonderful, historic hotel called the Claremont Resort & Spa in Berkeley.  What made the trip a little difficult was that I had performed at the Cesar Chavez Awards Dinner in Los Angeles the night before.  I had to stay in a hotel near the Ontario Airport in Southern California to be able to catch an 8 a.m. flight to Oakland.  By the time I got to the hotel and was able to fall asleep, I only slept about 2 or 3 hours.  I had to wake up early enough to get ready and get to the airport an hour and a half before the flight.  Upon arrival in Oakland, I was met by one of the other Marin County lawyers, whom I followed in my rental car up to the venue in San Rafael.  It was about a 45 minute drive.  The event started at noon and I got there about 11 a.m.  I was not exactly feeling fresh.  However, we screened the documentary on time for about 80 people in the Board of Supervisors Chambers.  About half of the audience was made up of at-risk 8th graders.  The remainder were county employees.  The organizers were worried that the 8th graders would not pay attention and might misbehave.  As it turned out, they were great and paid attention to the film and the whole three hour presentation.

     After the screening, I answered questions from the audience about my dad and the film.  I also performed several songs as we went along.  I sang my song "The Ballad of Lalo Guerrero," which had been used in the documentary over the ending credits.  I also sang my dad's "Los Chucos Suaves" and his parody, "Tacos for Two."  On "Los Chucos Suaves," I was accompanied by pc Muñoz on the cajon (a percussion instrument, which is a wooden box with a snare inside).  The player sits on it and hits it with his hands like a conga drum.  It worked really well on "Los Chucos Suaves" and we had a good time playing together for the first time.  pc is a friend and a Bay Area songwriter and recording artist whose music I like.  I had invited pc to come to the event and I'm pleased that he did so.  Another friend I invited who attended was Alfredo Arteaga, who's a professor of Chicano Studies at U.C. Berkeley.  I had spoken at one of his Chicano music classes at Berkeley in 2005.  I also screened a video of my performance with my dad in Paris, France in 1998.  Since we were at the end of our allotted time, I just showed the finale of the concert.  Everyone seemed to enjoy the presentation and Jose and I heard nothing but good comments about it afterwards.  Later, Jose, Alfredo, pc, and I went to a Chinese restaurant in the neighborhood and had some good food and even better conversation.  The next day I flew out of Oakland and arrived in Ontario at 2 o'clock in the afternoon.  As I got off the plane, by chance I immediately ran into Los Lobos who were waiting to board a plane to Tampa, Florida for a show.  They were all there and we talked for a good 15 minutes.  I hadn't seen them in about 10 years!  It put a nice cap on a hectic, but fulfilling and enjoyable 48 hours, starting with the Cesar Chavez Awards Dinner in Los Angeles.


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