The Los Angeles Conservancy screens classic films in underused and well-preserved theaters in the downtown area. This summer rock fans get a special treat with the 1980s Ritchie Valens biopic "La Bamba" starring Lou Diamond Phillips and also featuring Esai Morales.
Ritchie Valens grew up in the San Fernando Vally in the 1950s and 1960s as Ricardo Valenzuela and scored his first Top 40 hit at the tender age of 17 with his original song “Come On, Let’s Go,” followed by an adaptation of the traditional Mexican tune “La Bamba,” his signature song. Both became hits again in the 1980s because of this film. He is credited for breaking the color barrier though he still had to change his last name somewhat in order to have a career.
Valens was tragically killed in the same plane crash as Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper just 8 short months after he recorded his first single, but he left behind many recordings. The film features East LA's native sons with locals Los Lobos featured on the soundtrack that shot them into stardom.
'La Bamba' will be shown at The Palace Theater built in 1911 during the silent era in a co-presentation with the Latin American Cinemateca of Los Angeles. Director Luis Valdez also wrote and directed both the stage and screen versions of the Chicano classic Zoot Suit, which was screened in 2011.
For more details about other films in the summer series, the initial line-up was announced on March 6 with updates to follow. Tickets go on sale to Conservancy members March 27 for $16, and to the general public April 10 for $20. If you are a film buff, this is a great time to join in order to save a few dollars and see the films as they were intended rather than on Netflix.
For more articles by the LA Rock Music Examiner, please check out the selected articles below or check out the link above. If you'd like to catch up with Los Lobos, they usually perform on Cinco de Mayo as they did last year with local bands X and Mariachi El Bronx.