Sterotypical Mexican Neighborhood

I had some Westsider friends that once did a report for a fairly big magazine about some stuff in Boyle Heights. It was weird to read it because it was all a lie, created basically out of thin air with some details provided by yours truly. (I always help friends in need. Well, almost always.) I chuckled at one particular part they added to the story that seemed like an especially cliched stereotype of Mexican neighborhoods, the sort of reality that only exists in the minds of outsiders. But there I was this morning at an LH eatery, waiting for my plate of Huevos a la Mexicana (hey, a man can’t live on Huevos Rancheros alone!) when all of a sudden…

…it happened to me, some roving band of Mariachis barge in through the door to play for the crowd. When I read that in the magazine story I thought it was stupid as Mariachis are usually hired beforehand and are at the place for a show. The only strolling musicians tend to be trios and conjuntos, but even they just pluck at their instruments until you pony up some lana to pay for a proper tune. But as you can see from the video, sometimes the stereotypes are true. Haha, how awesome is that? Checkout the trumpeter trying to play and talk on a cell phone at the same time. Even more special.

They played throughout the meal, kinda loud but quite entertaining. I’m pretty sure they were hired by the man that brought me the delicious glass of water, as a surprise serenade for his wife the cook. Stereotype or not, life in Lincoln Heights is never dull.

This entry was posted in La Comida, Lincoln Heights, Musica, This Chicano Life, videos. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Sterotypical Mexican Neighborhood

  1. AEK says:

    That’s so awesome!!

  2. cindylu says:

    Hah! This kind of reminds me of the time I was at the intersection of Soto and Cesar Chavez and heard an El Camino bumping “Oye Como Va” (Santana version, of course) and som músicos to my left outside of an eatery playing a more traditional Mexican song. It felt totally contrived, as if it should have been in Mi Familia, but it was real and kinda cool.

    I want a surprise serenata!

  3. P-3000 says:

    aye, Chavo
    You need to get out of LH more and get to BH. That happens ALL THE TIME, EVERYDAY in BH.
    Maybe our proximity to Mariachi Plaza and Mariachi spot #2 which in on Chavez, we have tons of Mariachis at our eateries. Sometimes when I’m at Chispa de Oro on my corner, full on mariachi then the two or three different conjuntos or trios.

    Have you ever run into the White Mariachi? He usually comes into La Parilla on Chavez. He’s a trip. Can sing. He carries CDs and headphones for you to sample it before you buy. True gringo capitalist! Can’t hate him. His wife/gf(?) took him to Mex and he got into the music. Been playing since on the streets, paying his dues.

  4. Jesus Quiroz says:

    Turning up the culture to #11. Sweet.

  5. YEahhhhhhhhhhhhh! free water and music you cant beat that! and the guy sitting in the booth in front of you did not seem one bit interested lol…the best part the guy on the cell phone blowing the horn in between ” que Pasa Vieja!”

  6. tacosam says:

    P-3000, his name is Mateo El Gringo Mariachi. I bought his CD to help him out one time, plus he played a few songs for my soon to be wife at the time. It was a cool momento.

  7. I miss doing the random mariachi restaurant attacks!!! My group would sometimes go into restaurants and play a song just for the hell of it, but only when we knew there was no mariachi in there. You took this on Mother’s Day, I assume? This kind of stuff happens more on Mother’s Day than on any other day.

  8. tin says:

    one time I took my compañera to dinner to a Mexican restaurant. The Mariachi played a couple of songs, than approached me and asked me “cual le cantamos,” and here I think, cool, free songs. The kept asking me, and after the third song, they told me that it was 30 dollars. I felt dumb, but I paid. After all, Alejandra seemed happy.

  9. La Claudia says:

    Oh Snap, thats never happened when I’ve been there!…They have the great food there-its my favorite place to go its just down the street. They have the great home made tortillas-Yum!!!

  10. hector says:

    P-3000 is right, that happens pretty frequently in Boyle Heights. I’ve been in eateries a couple of miles from Mariachi Plaza where mariachis came in, going table to table.

    The trios seem to do this more, though. Those poor guys seem to have to hustle for a living a little bit more, but that’s just my perception. I could be wrong. I have a feeling a lot of mariachis live for big weekend gigs. I don’t think they do the restaurant table-to-table tour as much.

  11. Aleks says:

    +2 on the mariachi thing happening more in BH. The one thing I hate about the musicians coming in when I’m there is that I don’t really want to buy a song, but then I feel like a cheap-ass if I don’t buy at least one. They give you that look.
    I enjoy when there’s a big group of people sitting close to me drinking it up and there’s always that one guy who wants to show off and look like the high roller and keeps paying song after song. I get free entertainment with my meal!!

  12. mad mexican says:


    I had a conjunto of three old guys play me two songs, than they asked for twenty dollars. Those old guys must have thought they were Vicente Fernandez of Elvis, a $1.00 song on a juke box would have been much better.

  13. chef carlitos says:

    An update on mateo el gringo mariachi, he used to spleep in back of tamales liliana on Cesar Chaves,in mientras tocaba por alli en la calle fue juntando dinerito y gravo su segundo disco en CUBA,con musicos de a devis,y and now his is being in national TV and is kind of a local celebrity,he studied in UCLA i think and choose to be a gringo mariachi instead as he was enamored of our music.. now he does well under the circumstances.
    My kids (teens) get a kick out a song que no tiene ni pies ni panza,is his song and it`s included on his 1st CDho wrote it in ingles and translated it from a dictionary so it makes absolutely no sense at all,,it`s called PEPITA..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *