“AS THE BARRIO TURNS AND THE MENUDO BURNS….”
During the 1980′s one of my students brought me a cartoon drawing he had made of two barrio vatos,“Cho & Lo” (Cholo) asking what I thought of turning them into live characters. At the time, I was teaching Chicano Studies at Delta College in Stockton and working with the Chicano Community Program at the University of Pacific’s radio station KUOP-FM, 91.3, an NPR affiliate, doing Chicano and Precolumbian poetry, and skits and so his idea was a natural for radio. He would play the role of “Cho” and “I” the part of “Lo” and his lovely wife would do the introduction to each episode “As the Barrio turns and the Menudo burns”, over the background song, “Cisco Kid” by “War.”
Thus, began a run that would last through the end of the 1980s and become a Sunday staple for the weekly program, and we would be catapulted for local fame, with kids in the schools rushing us for autographs!
We decided to address issues we found relevant, important or humorous, always with humor, slapstick, tongue-in-cheek, and satire: education, cultural conflict, gangs, drugs, machismo, the farm worker struggle, discrimination, and immigration. Some episodes, of course, were non-nonsensical or just plain Locuras. Our episodes began live on the air as the two of us read from prepared scripts, with only a few minutes rehearsal before each show. In time, we began to add extra readers, and sound-effects and we progressed to taping them during the week for each Sunday’s airing, and that allowed us to add stock sound-effects, dubbing and over-dubbing and to correct our flubs.
For years, all that remained of “Cho & Lo” were memories and compliments by a random listener we would run into a Walmart or the mall.
But fortunately I had a small stash of recordings of Cho & Lo which I had transferred to cassette tapes and recently I have been working on producing a CD with a collection of some of our Locuras.
The CD will be available in early August and I will post updates here, date of release, price, and how to order a copy. I can assure you this CD will be a “tripiazo.” Stay tuned for the next episode!!!