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Latinos, British post-punk music, and rising up in Southern California

Music saved Richard T. Rodríguez’s life.

The primary time Rodríguez noticed Boy George in a televised music video, he was in awe. The androgynous determine wearing flamboyant apparel instantly drew the eye of a then teen Rodríguez. Different British musicians equivalent to Siouxsie and the Banshees, Adam Ant, and Tender Cell, amongst others, helped create a way of place — and acceptance — as he explored his personal identification and his Mexican American tradition within the Nineteen Eighties.

Punk music within the Nineteen Seventies and 80s was related to rebels and anti-establishment attitudes each in the USA and the UK. It was that very same sense of displacement, of not “becoming in,” that allowed Mexican and Mexican American youth to attach with main bands such because the Conflict, the Intercourse Pistols, the Treatment and the Smiths.

Now Rodríguez, 51, a professor of English and media and cultural research at UC Riverside, has taken all this historic context and positioned it right into a 264-page e-book that completely interlays music, lifetime of Latinos in Southern California, and his private reminiscences of rising up within the Nineteen Eighties. The e-book, “A Kiss Throughout the Ocean: Transatlantic Intimacies of British Publish-Punk & US Latinidad,” revealed by Duke College Press. That is Rodríguez’s second e-book.

  Richard T. Rodríguez is the author of “A Kiss Across the Ocean: Transatlantic Intimacies of British Post-Punk & US Latinidad,” published by Duke University Press.  (UCR/Stan Lim)

Richard T. Rodríguez is the writer of “A Kiss Throughout the Ocean: Transatlantic Intimacies of British Publish-Punk & US Latinidad,” revealed by Duke College Press. (UCR/Stan Lim)

“Every one among us has a unique relationship with music and the artist. For lots of us who grew up marginalized attributable to our sexuality, class, ethnicity, it resonates much more,” stated Rodríguez. “When rising up, you gravitated to what gave you a way of empowerment and that’s what music did for me and for therefore many different individuals. Music saved my life.”

“A Kiss Throughout the Ocean,” whose title derives from Tradition Membership’s 1983 Lengthy Hammersmith Odeon live performance, focuses on what he defines as post-punk. For Rodríguez, the “put up” in post-punk “heralds punk’s afterlives that type a family tree” that embraces a stylistic hybridity almost about sound, vogue, and politics.

By means of musical anecdotes Rodríguez narrates his personal coming of age story, sharing among the harsher realities of household life and social discrimination and his concert-going adventures with buddies in Santa Ana, Los Angeles, and past.

“Sure, the music helped my identification and past. After I first described the scene the place I am watching Boy George on TV, I used to be not compelled to decorate like that, but it surely contributed to discovering who I’m, who I used to be,” stated Rodríguez, who discovered a ardour in educating. His dedication to mentoring has received him awards lately, together with UCR’s Charles Weis Service Award and the Richard A. Yarborough Award.

Earlier than the pandemic, Rodríguez participated in a School-Led Training Overseas Program, or FLEAP, in Scotland. FLEAP college students discovered in regards to the growth of punk and post-punk music by visiting museums and accessing official and unofficial archives, all whereas assembly students, journalists and musicians.

His college students inspired him to DJ at UCR’s radio station, KUCR 88.3FM. Since 2020 I’ve been “Dr. Ricky on the Radio” each Thursday from 3-5 pm, providing listeners a repertoire of Nineteen Eighties hits. On Thursday, Sept. 15, he’ll dedicate the present to bands talked about in “A Kiss Throughout the Ocean.”

Richard T. Rodríguez, professor of English and media and cultural studies, is also a DJ on KUCR.  He appears every Thursday night as

Richard T. Rodríguez, professor of English and media and cultural research, can also be a DJ on KUCR. He seems each Thursday evening as “Dr. Ricky on the Radio.” On Thursday, September 1, 2022, I’ve ready to go on the air. (UCR/Stan Lim)

Rodríguez was one among hundreds of Southern California Latinos who grew to become lifelong admirers of post-punk music and of artists equivalent to Depeche Mode, New Order, and Siouxsie Sioux. The connection got here from many angles; he argues that artists equivalent to Siouxsie resonated with Mexican American youth due to her middle-class upbringing of her, feeling like a misfit as a result of her household residence of her was the neighborhood eyesore, or as a result of no person might pronounce her of her final title.

Siouxsie additionally gave Latinas an out, Rodríguez stated. The hair, the sharp eyeliner, and daring lipstick gave them a way of self-assuredness. Her music de ella and her persona de ella created a power subject that helped repel the racial and homophobic slurs many marginalized children encountered in school.

One other connection is Child Congo Powers, a queer third-generation Mexican American born in La Puente, California. He was a guitarist for the Cramps, the Gun Membership, and Nick Cave and the Dangerous Seeds. Child grew up listening to every part from oldies to Mexican rancherasand admits that though he didn’t converse Spanish, his Latino options at all times made him really feel judged and unaccepted.

Additional referencing the post-punk music connection between the UK with Southern California, Rodríguez recollects a British journal interview with John Lydon, singer for the Intercourse Pistols. The interviewer asks Lydon what individuals in America consider him and the way he has spent free time in Los Angeles. “I dangle round with the Chicanos who’re into all that cruising round in ’50s vehicles. I’ve obtained a ’57 Caddy … so I am going into races now — some critical inventory automobile stuff. I adore it.”

Lydon’s feedback in that 1984 dialog supplied the validation Rodríguez stated he wanted to rise above when different bands, their followers, and journalists questioned why Chicanos had been inquisitive about post-punk music, Rodríguez stated.

In some unspecified time in the future journalists grew to become obsessive about answering why Morrissey had such a giant Latino following. Rodríguez wrote this e-book partly to reply that query.

“I used to be repeatedly annoyed and aggravated. The reply is, ‘Why not?’” Rodríguez stated of why he determined to pursue penning this e-book. “Generations of Latinos who’ve been listening to British music. I needed to debunk myths and present this music appealed to children of colour, individuals of colour; there was this distinction within the music that drew us to it. It allowed us to precise our originality.”

Music was additionally a transatlantic driver of social change, Rodríguez stated. Within the Nineteen Eighties the USA skilled political conservatism, a recession, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and extra. Social protests had been taking place world wide.

One of many songs that resonated with youth was “Ghost City” by the Specials:
“This city (city) is coming like a ghost city
Why should the youth battle towards themselves?
Authorities leaving the youth on the shelf
This place (city) is coming like a ghost city
No job to be discovered on this nation
Cannot go on no extra
The individuals getting offended
This city is coming like a ghost city…”

“The music introduced us collectively,” Rodríguez stated.

E-book discussions with Richard T. Rodríguez:

Thursday, Sept. fifteen
Dr. Ricky on the Radio: Tune into KUCR 88.3FM on Thursday, Sept. 15 from 3-5 pm when Dr. Ricky will focus on his e-book and can delight listeners with a Nineteen Eighties playlist.

Saturday, Sept. 17, 4 p.m.
BookMobile — Bristol Meals Court docket
1180 S. Bristol St.
Santa Ana, Calif.
RSVP: The occasion will probably be a dialog with Dr. Marlén Ríos-Hernández.

Thursday, Oct. 6, 7 p.m.
Fabulous Books
San francisco California

Thursday, Oct. 20, 7 p.m.
Ladies and Youngsters First Bookstore
5233 N. Clark St.
Chicago, Sick.

Reward for “A Kiss Throughout the Ocean”

“This can be a e-book written from the guts. Learn it, be taught, and really feel. I vote for Richard T. Rodríguez, a topic near my coronary heart.” — Holly Johnson, artist and singer of the band Frankie Goes to Hollywood

“On this part-memoir, part-ethnography of England and SoCal within the Nineteen Eighties, writer Rodríguez, a professor of media and cultural research and English at UC Riverside, investigates what binds these two seemingly disparate cultures. Beginning along with his personal tween-age fandom of Boy George and the Tradition Membership, Rodríguez plumbs the depths of the passionate, typically tainted love affair between British post-punks and the Latinos who worship at their altar.” — Suzy Exposito, Los Angeles Occasions

“This at-once scholarly and private e-book is a transferring tribute to the escapism and luxury that music may give to essentially the most marginalized members of society: Rodríguez gives well-researched evaluation of the influences on and of post-punk bands, in realms from Rodríguez’s e-book efficiently balances an mental understanding of the cultural ramifications of post-punk music with poignant and alluring background tales, interesting to students and followers. okay.” — Lisa Henry, Library Journal

“Breathtaking and medicinal, that is a kind of shock books that you just did not know you wanted till you learn it. And after studying it (in a single wonderful, page-turning sitting!) there’s a feeling of being fuller. It permits a heartful recall of the ample creativity of individuals previous and current who did every part to make minority misfit sensibility and follow. In its luminosity and particular vibe, A Kiss throughout the Ocean provides readers the instruments to surprise with precision about intuitive pulls to sounds and their surrounds. This e-book is a robust power for good.” — Alexandra T. Vazquez, writer of The Florida Room

Richard T. Rodríguez, professor of English and media and cultural studies, is also a DJ on KUCR.  He appears every Thursday night as

Richard T. Rodríguez, professor of English and media and cultural research, can also be a DJ on KUCR. He seems each Thursday evening as “Dr. Ricky on the Radio.” On Thursday, September 1, 2022, I’ve ready to go on the air. (UCR/Stan Lim)

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