Don't think of El Vez (L.A.'s Robert Lopez) as camp. He may imitate the swiveling hips and big hair of his namesake, but his music also taps the Mexican-American roots of rock 'n' roll — bands like the Sir Douglas Quintet and Richie Valens. There's also a kind of postmodern genius to the way he borrows songs from everyone from Elvis to James Brown to David Bowie, and remakes them into pro-Chicano anthems. And he's funny. Lopez is doing his Christmas shows in town this week (Dec. 20 at the Elbo Room in San Francisco, and Dec. 21 at the Ritz in San Jose), so don't attend unless you want to hear "Santa Claus is Sometimes Brown." As my co-host Tomas Riley notes, El Vez is about being culturally seen, and in Riley's house, Santa Claus is always brown. Details here.
Feliz Navidad From the Mexican Elvis
El Vez does his Christmas show at the Elbo Room and The Ritz (Photo: Courtesy of El Vez)
For arts stories you won’t read anywhere else, come to KQED’s Arts and Culture desk.