The Music of Jimmy Ojotriste


5.00 · 1 ratings · Published: Nov 7th, 2015 {{ book.ratingTitle }}
The glass eyes Montero made were finely crafted and indistinguishable from a living eye. For Jimmy, the prosthetic that filled his socket was a constant source of compliment. But when people listened closely, it seemed to have a quiet moan. From El Mercadito to Boyle Heights, Jimmy became known as "El mariachi con el ojo triste." The mariachi with one sad eye.

The son of a Tijuana violinist, Jimmy was moved to L.A. when his father died. His abuela raised him and their landlord took him under the wing, creating a trio with a son and neighbor. The three kids followed Chino’s mariachi and worked the restaurants along Brooklyn, Macy, Whitter and First Street. By their teens, the boys were the best on the East Side. But Ray’s cancer had metastasized; Vic was in trouble on a Monterey Park scheme about Asian women; and Jimmy had fallen hard for a beautiful, bipolar flamenco dancer. The trio made one last push into L.A.’s music scene, hoping fame would bring what each needed. They soon discovered a bitter magic lived in Jimmy's glass eye, and it was possible to use it.

Jimmy Ojotriste is a love and coming-of-age story told in the languages of mariachi and flamenco. Vibrant and rich in the music, bustle and flavor of the East Side in the 70s and pre-internet L.A., the setting is familiar, ethnic and nostalgic: King Taco and Clifton’s; cruising and late night serenades, Hollywood clubs, Christmas tamales, beach walks and botanica witches. It is a tale where issues of race, class and faith both rise and are drowned in the exuberance of youth and the music rising from every page.

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