Saturday, June 11, 2011

'Naco es chido': A poor man's 'Spinal Tap'

Posted By on Sat, Jun 11, 2011 at 8:02 PM

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Naco es chido, directed by Sergio Arau (A Day Without a Mexican), will be shown on Sunday, June 12, at 2 p.m. at the Guadalupe Theater (1300 Guadalupe) ($4; free for Guadalupe members). It is a mockumentary about a real '80s band, Botellita de Jerez, arguably the most influential Mexican rock band ever (without them, there would be no Maldita Vecindad, no Café Tacuba, no Molotov, no El Gran Silencio). If you speak Spanish and are familiar with Mexico City slang, this movie is a riot.

Botellita de Jerez (1983-1997 and 2005-present) is Sergio Arau (aka "Uyuyuy," guitar and vocals), Armando Vega Gil (aka "Cucurrucucú," bass and vocals), and Francisco Barrios (aka "El Mastuerzo," drums and vocals). As players, they were always as bad as the movie, but the movie ultimately works because, just like the band, it doesn't take itself seriously and it is a feast for the ears, if you understand the crazy magic of Mexico City slang.

The great thing about Botellita de Jerez is that the "guaca-rock" they created (a style that mixes blues, Cuban son, punk, cumbia, performance art, and Mexican pop culture) inspired a generation of great Mexican bands with an original, 100 percent Mexican identity (unlike the British and American copycats of the past). But despite their musical limitations, the band was known for their smart, humorous lyrics, and the movie is named after a line in "El guacarrock de la Malinche" ("todo lo naco es chido," or "everything low-class is cool").

Even though it follows the spirit of This is Spinal Tap (but with a lot less budget), the movie is different in several ways: besides the mock interviews and fake story line (a long lost master is found, and the label must convince the band members, who are now homeless or in a mental institution, to perform together again), it also uses real historical footage of Botellita during its heyday and real interviews with bands influenced by them.

If you couldn't care less about the history of Mexican rock, don't even bother. But if you know who Botellita, Molotov, Maldita, or Café Tacuba are, this one's a must-see.

***

Naco es chido (2010)

Dir. Sergio Arau; writ. Sergio Arau, Tihui Arau, Francisco Barrios, Armando Vega Gil; feat. Sergio Arau, Armando Vega Gil, Francisco Barrios, Yareli Arizmendi.


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