4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Cantautor Latino Snubs Carlos Olmeda

Carlos Olmeda was set to compete, all he got was a Red Vine.
Carlos Olmeda was set to compete, all he got was a Red Vine.

This is the first year the Del Mar Fair staged “Cantautor Latino,” a contest that awarded $6000 to the top three artists who turned in the “best solo performance of an original song in Spanish.” First place won $3000, second won $2000, and third got $1000.

First place went to Oscar Muñoz of Chula Vista. Possibly the most recognized participant in the contest was Carlos Olmeda, who has supplied Spanish tunes to Jason Mraz, the Gypsy Kings, and Jewel/Steve Poltz. A mainstay of the local scene for about ten years, Olmeda has released five albums.

Olmeda was informed by contest coordinator Nelly Cervantes that his song “Mi Casa Es Su Casa” made him a top-ten finalist. Those ten artists were asked to play a 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. showcase at the fair on June 17. After that show, the top three would be chosen by a panel of judges.

Olmeda works as a part-time holistic health practitioner. Because “funds were limited this year,” he was “thrilled” that Cervantes gave him the last slot (3:50 p.m.), so he would lose as little work as possible. “She said she was glad to do it.... I told her that I would try to arrange it so that I was there by 3 p.m.

“In the subsequent days, she informed me in no uncertain terms that I would have to arrive at the special-events trailer no later than 2:45 p.m.”

Olmeda says that Cervantes told him she would provide a golf cart to take him and his equipment to the performance area, but he needed to be there by 2:45. “She said, ‘I’ll meet you there.’ I thought that was great because that would give me an hour to be ready for my 3:50 slot.... I called my brother Toca [who backs Jason Mraz as a percussionist and was planning to back his brother for this show] and said that I still had a shot and could he come down to City Heights to rehearse. He was gracious enough to come from Escondido two times.”

Olmeda says he and Toca arrived at the special-events trailer at 2:35, ten minutes early.

“The nice administrator behind the desk was kind enough to call Ms. Cervantes. The nice administrator said, ‘Ms. Cervantes says the contest was over. I’m sorry.’ I calmly said to the nice lady the director of the event gave me specific instructions to be standing in front of you no later than 2:45. I asked to speak on the phone with Ms. Cervantes.” Olmeda eventually got to speak with Cervantes. Olmeda recounted what Cervantes told him. “‘I’m so sorry, the contest is over. The last person finished at 2:40. But if you want, right after the awards ceremony, you can play.’ All I could hear in my head was, If you want, you can sing a song about love between all the Latin cultures and the human race, right after I stabbed you in the back. The next five minutes was like having a terrible nightmare and knowing that for many simple reasons, I couldn’t scream. I told her, ‘But, Nelly, you said specifically to be at the trailer no later than...’ Then she said, ‘Oh, we were going to disqualify you anyway because a woman who works for the fair and had a fair identification said she was your mother.’ I said, ‘Nelly, my mother passed away in 1997.’ Nelly just kept repeating her previous line, including the story of my mother’s ghost.”

Olmeda says all he wanted was his promised chance to perform.

“I handed the phone back to the nice administrator lady who walked away without a word. The other nice administrator smiled and offered me one of her Red Vine licorice whips.

“Why didn’t someone take down any info about the ghost of my deceased mother? What is this employee’s name?”

Good question. But no answers. Numerous calls to Cervantes, Luis Valdivia (director of marketing), and Linda Zweig (media director) were not returned.

Olmeda said Valdivia eventually contacted him and admitted that giving him a 3:50 set time was a mistake. According to Olmeda, Cervantes told Valdivia that she told him to be there at 2:30, not 2:45. “Mr. Valdivia said that although the ghost story was a miscommunication, there was no malice intended and that, to the contrary, she was doing me a favor the whole time. I would have preferred she tell me that anyone who showed up after 1:30 stood the chance of not playing.”

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Robert Penn Warren: youngest of the Fugitives

Prolific poet and author of the 1946 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, All the King’s Men
Carlos Olmeda was set to compete, all he got was a Red Vine.
Carlos Olmeda was set to compete, all he got was a Red Vine.

This is the first year the Del Mar Fair staged “Cantautor Latino,” a contest that awarded $6000 to the top three artists who turned in the “best solo performance of an original song in Spanish.” First place won $3000, second won $2000, and third got $1000.

First place went to Oscar Muñoz of Chula Vista. Possibly the most recognized participant in the contest was Carlos Olmeda, who has supplied Spanish tunes to Jason Mraz, the Gypsy Kings, and Jewel/Steve Poltz. A mainstay of the local scene for about ten years, Olmeda has released five albums.

Olmeda was informed by contest coordinator Nelly Cervantes that his song “Mi Casa Es Su Casa” made him a top-ten finalist. Those ten artists were asked to play a 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. showcase at the fair on June 17. After that show, the top three would be chosen by a panel of judges.

Olmeda works as a part-time holistic health practitioner. Because “funds were limited this year,” he was “thrilled” that Cervantes gave him the last slot (3:50 p.m.), so he would lose as little work as possible. “She said she was glad to do it.... I told her that I would try to arrange it so that I was there by 3 p.m.

“In the subsequent days, she informed me in no uncertain terms that I would have to arrive at the special-events trailer no later than 2:45 p.m.”

Olmeda says that Cervantes told him she would provide a golf cart to take him and his equipment to the performance area, but he needed to be there by 2:45. “She said, ‘I’ll meet you there.’ I thought that was great because that would give me an hour to be ready for my 3:50 slot.... I called my brother Toca [who backs Jason Mraz as a percussionist and was planning to back his brother for this show] and said that I still had a shot and could he come down to City Heights to rehearse. He was gracious enough to come from Escondido two times.”

Olmeda says he and Toca arrived at the special-events trailer at 2:35, ten minutes early.

“The nice administrator behind the desk was kind enough to call Ms. Cervantes. The nice administrator said, ‘Ms. Cervantes says the contest was over. I’m sorry.’ I calmly said to the nice lady the director of the event gave me specific instructions to be standing in front of you no later than 2:45. I asked to speak on the phone with Ms. Cervantes.” Olmeda eventually got to speak with Cervantes. Olmeda recounted what Cervantes told him. “‘I’m so sorry, the contest is over. The last person finished at 2:40. But if you want, right after the awards ceremony, you can play.’ All I could hear in my head was, If you want, you can sing a song about love between all the Latin cultures and the human race, right after I stabbed you in the back. The next five minutes was like having a terrible nightmare and knowing that for many simple reasons, I couldn’t scream. I told her, ‘But, Nelly, you said specifically to be at the trailer no later than...’ Then she said, ‘Oh, we were going to disqualify you anyway because a woman who works for the fair and had a fair identification said she was your mother.’ I said, ‘Nelly, my mother passed away in 1997.’ Nelly just kept repeating her previous line, including the story of my mother’s ghost.”

Olmeda says all he wanted was his promised chance to perform.

“I handed the phone back to the nice administrator lady who walked away without a word. The other nice administrator smiled and offered me one of her Red Vine licorice whips.

“Why didn’t someone take down any info about the ghost of my deceased mother? What is this employee’s name?”

Good question. But no answers. Numerous calls to Cervantes, Luis Valdivia (director of marketing), and Linda Zweig (media director) were not returned.

Olmeda said Valdivia eventually contacted him and admitted that giving him a 3:50 set time was a mistake. According to Olmeda, Cervantes told Valdivia that she told him to be there at 2:30, not 2:45. “Mr. Valdivia said that although the ghost story was a miscommunication, there was no malice intended and that, to the contrary, she was doing me a favor the whole time. I would have preferred she tell me that anyone who showed up after 1:30 stood the chance of not playing.”

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Spoiled Vegans Cafe, on the cusp of everything

Former pop up plants stakes in East Village with breakfast sandwiches and waffles
Next Article

Garbage thinking with Ben Wheatley

I’m cross about things, but I’m not doing anything about it
Comments
1

Linda Zweig did respond by email after deadline. She said it was a mistake for the Fair to have guaranteed Olmeda a 3:50 performance time. She said that Olmeda was told the cutoff time to arrive atthe Special Events trailer was 2:30. Olmeda maintains he was told 2:45. Zweig offered no response or comment about Olmeda's statement that he was told he was disqualified anyway because his "mother" worked at the fair.

July 5, 2012

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close