12/14/08

EL VATO LOCO

TAKE A TRIP BACK IN TIME, BACK THROUGH ALL THOSE YEARS, ALL THOSE DECADES, THROUGH ALL THOSE STREETS AND NEIGHBORHOODS, THROUGH ALL THOSE TIMES AND STYLES WHICH THE CALIFAS BATO EVOLVED THROUGH. VISUALIZE THE ERAS HE LIVED IN AND VISUALIZE HIS WORLD. REMIND YOURSELF OF ALL THAT YOU WITNESSED, WETHER FROM THE MOVIES, THE MAGAZINES OR TRUE LIFE EXPERIENCE; SEE THE RIDES HE RODE, THE ATTIRE HE WORE, THE ARSENAL HE CARRIED, THE SHOEWEAR AND THE ACCESSORIES HE USED TO DEFINE HIM.

The original vato loco was there even before there were even pachucos, cholos or pelones; pero he did evolve through them and through the ever-changing tiempos; always adapting to the new environment of the changing world.

From the cholo courts and the labor campos, from la colonia or la loma, from the brickyard and from all corners of the young metropolis, he stepped into the streets and dancehalls, bien tranquilon ‘pa controlar su espacio and to socialize con la palomilla.

El vato loco siempre andaba bien firme cotorreando con toda la raza en el barrio. Le cae aqui y le cae por alla, tirandose un rol todo el dia. Strollin’ por ahi and over there tambien. Nowhere was out of bounds for the vato loco. La playa or downtown, moviendo su jale or at the parque. Come the afternoon he was found walking his hyna home from la escuela and afterwards he headed over to the kickback spot and waited up for the dark of the night, so he could trip out with the homies like shadows under a dark sky, with only the moonlight to light up the night. El vato loco walked through some potholed filled streets, through little hillsides and dirt lots como figuras macabras to reach the hang out and get stoned under the star filled night.

The years passed and soon this vato loco merged with the flamboyant underworld zoot-suiter version of the vato loco and he’s taken on a voyage of no return. El chuco, the new image of the vato loco, the new loco in the barrio, a hipster of the times, all up on the game and full of stilo, but one filled with violence at its core.

It became, as if there were two pachucos. One pachuco is the angel pachuco and the other es el mero chamuco, a good pachuco and a bad pachuco, all rolled up in one. Like the plays of life, lo bueno y lo malo. The cards dealt to him in life are what he actors in. He’s not a bad guy, but he could become one in a fraction of a second, and he’s not a good guy; otherwise he wouldn’t be playing the role.

In the dark city nights, in the nightlife, in the streets and in the clubs, playing hustle, playing hard, making tranzas, playing straight or jugando a la mala. Hardiendo un leño con su ruca by his side. The life of the new vato loco is that of a jugador, the in-between player learning the streets before moving onto the big league. Like in them gangster times of the roaring twenties, el pachuco vato loco knew the places, knew the moves, knew the rules, and knew the game well. From places and people, from the walk to the talk, he knew and got down well in it.

El vato loco decorated his body con tacas, lucky charms of sorts that gave reverence to someone or something very dear to his corazon, symbols for life!

A Jefita’s name or a crucifix, a rose or a heart traversed by a dagger, the tale of love! Maybe some teardrops to compliment the pain he carries inside or a spider web to remind him that his life is still trapped in this sinister and wicked world.
A Virgen Guadalupana to watch his back or a Sagrado Corazon to show him the way.
A cross on his hand to guard him from doing injustice on anyone or a ring of thorns on his neck as a reminder to fulfill his life before he departs.

His body is the shrine for all these and more, a visual exposition of the soul inside.

The marks represent peace and love, as well as pain and suffering, lagrimas y sonrisas, the experience of life blending together to claim the body they adorn.

Those things dearer to him, a vato loco tatted early on, but today they are combined with gang shapes and symbols, from simple set initials, to majestic emblems of membership and rank. From head to toe tacas the can be found on the new vato loco. And they tell the story of what is most dearest to the modern vato loco; prison towers, block walls, cob webs, calacas y mascaras or some old english letras, down to “A Black Hand or a Bloody Machete”

And so the vato loco carries on!

The original vato loco did not need to be high on chemicals, 'cause all he ever needed was un churro and a borlo to drop in on and that was his high.

When morning comes, today's vato loco is found on the couch or en el back yard shack bien pasado, a huevon sin que hacer catching up on valuable sleep time, depending on who’s point of view, but a vato loco nevertheless.

No comments: