Walter Mencken 10 a.m., July 31
Why Mexicans Hated Elvis, plus Celeb Sighting: Pam Anderson
Pam Anderson caught shopping at the Swap Meet.
WHY MEXICANS HATED ELVIS!
Tijuana tabloids called him a racist and homosexual, after the singer reportedly told gossip columnist Federico de León "I'd rather kiss three black girls than a Mexican." A Mexican woman in the same column was quoted saying "I'd rather kiss three dogs than one Elvis Presley.”
Mexican Radio Exitos read de León's column over the air and spearheaded a boycott of the "insolent artist," while the powerful student group Federación Estudiantil Universitaria (FEU) held public record burnings.
When Elvis’ movie King Creole screened in May 1959 at the Américas Cinema in Mexico City, newspapers who’d advertised the film under the title Melodía Siniestra (Sinister Melody) reported a “riot” occurring.
Mexican counterculture novelist Parménides García Saldaña wrote a short story, "El rey criollo," about the screening where several hundred gatecrashers reportedly shredded the seats and threw lit papers onto patrons from the balcony.
“Before the film began,” wrote Saldaña, “it was pure chaos, a f-ing riot as they say more vulgarly. The different gangs shouted ‘Here the Guerrero [neighborhood],’ ‘Here the Roma’ ...And then some chicks come in with leather jackets with swastikas painted on them, pony tails and bobby socks, real rock and roller like…a group of guys gang up around them [and shout] “‘Dance!’”
The movie Los chiflados del rock'n roll, a musical spoof, was promoted with posters showing Elvis in drag, being shot by rifle-toting men in sombreros, under a banner reading “Die Elvis Presley!”
The book "Refried Elvis: The Rise of the Mexican Counterculture" (Berkeley: University of California Press, c1999) claims the original Elvis quote was fabricated. According to author Eric Zolov, “Herbe Pompeyo of Polygram Records in Mexico City claims that a high-up Mexican political figure wanted to contract Presley for a private party, for which he sent the performer a blank check to fill in as he wished. Presley, according to the story, returned the blank check, so the politico, extremely offended, invented the storyline about Elvis not liking Mexican women.”
Who could have imagined that, four decades later, Mexico would be producing more Elvis velvet paintings than any other region in the world…
CELEBRITY SIGHTING THIS WEEK - PAMELA ANDERSON
Rumors about Pamela Anderson's new boyfriend - a still-unnamed poker champion - are all over the internet. The Video Music Awards fistfight between her two exes, Kid Rock and Tommy Lee, has already become so famous that the duo are being offered a million dollars to slug it out in the ring.
All this ink, over a gal who still shops at the Swap Meet?
“I saw Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson at around 7AM, just walking around the swap meet from booth to booth,” says second-hand seller Ed of his second-string celebrity sighting. The buxom breadwinner reportedly spent the morning browsing, followed by and preceded by a “didja hear about” buzz everywhere she wandered.
Shoppers and sellers in all directions hoped to brush shoulders with the permed hair and rugged tattoos of the pop culture icon. “The guy she was with was talking to people," says Ed, "buying a few things here and there, and he was totally okay with anyone who talked to them. Pamela always stayed somewhere close behind him.”
Spotting the starlet down the aisle from her boyfriend, Ed says he approached her, hoping to show her some items he’d grabbed from his booth – items he felt that she’d likely never seen. “I made and designed these myself…they’re refrigerator magnets illustrated with totally authentic looking Wheaties [breakfast cereal] boxes, and they have pictures of Pamela on the box covers!”
Rather than just rushing up and sticking the magnets under what remains of the TV star’s original nose, Ed says he observed her actions and behavior for several minutes. “I figured I’d bring up the magnets gradually, and to wait for her reaction, whether she was approachable and at least had a sense of humor.”
“When I finally went up to her, I asked her if she’d sign an autograph for me. She put her head down and was saying ‘Oh no, I can’t do that.’ Then I took out one of the Wheaties box magnets and said ‘Here, you can have one for free then.’ But she was shaking her head and saying ‘Oh no, I can’t take that’ and looking all around like she was about to race away from me or duck in a booth or climb a tree, to get away from me. She hardly even looked at the box. I mean, even if you’re famous, you see yourself on a Wheaties box, it should at least be worth a double take. I’ve given away handmade custom boxes like that away to lots of famous people, and she’s the very first to say no and not even say another word about the cereal box!”
“I heard later from someone who knows her that she usually doesn’t directly buy anything herself, but she has an assistant or woman manager who follows her and does the buying. Pamela gives a signal or something and then walks off, so she doesn’t have to actually talk to anyone. The manager takes care of the money and grabs the merchandise.”
Anderson apparently turned her back to Ed and happily embraced the distraction provided by her approaching boyfriend. “When he walked up, he saw the magnet box in my hand. He kind of cocked an eyebrow and smiled, and then she grabbed him and pulled him away. I could tell that she was making sure I knew that I had been dis-missed.” He adds with a shrug, “I’m definitely glad I didn’t show her the cereal box magnet with the photo of her.”
RELATED BLOG URLS
THE DAY NIRVANA PLAYED OFF THE RECORD: 10-24-91 - Detailed feature on Nirvana playing a tiny local record store, just as their first album was hitting the charts, featuring interviews with OTR staffers, rare video footage of the event, and more... http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/bands/2007/sep/03/the-day-nirvana-played-at-off-the-record
THE DAY JIMI HENDRIX CAME TO TOWN - 5-24-69: From my extensive interviews with Hendrix bassist Noel Redding, here's the inside scoop on a legendary (and highly bootlegeed) local concert... http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/bands/2007/sep/03/the-day-jimi-hendrix-came-to-town
THE DAY BEACH BOY BRIAN WILSON GOT BUSTED IN BALBOA PARK: In June 1978, Brian Wilson - without telling his wife or fellow bandmembers - decided (inexplicably) to escape his life entirely and hitchhike to Mexico. He wound up in San Diego a few days later, mentally fogged, barefoot, and unwashed. “He was on a binge," according to Stephen Love, brother of Beach Boy Mike Love and sometime-band manager..... http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/bands/2007/sep/18/the-day-beach-boy-brian-wilson-got-busted
Like this blog? Here are some related links:
OVERHEARD IN SAN DIEGO - Several years' worth of this comic strip, which debuted in the Reader in 1996: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/photos/galleries/overheard-san-diego/
FAMOUS FORMER NEIGHBORS - Over 100 comic strips online, with mini-bios of famous San Diegans: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/photos/galleries/famous-former-neighbors/
SAN DIEGO READER MUSIC MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/sandiegoreadermusic
JAY ALLEN SANFORD MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/jayallensanford