Ennis house still from Frank Lloyd Wright AB s9 1920 1080

Chicano Batman: Not Another Band from East L.A.

Chicano Batman is the sound of local Latino music in the 21st century. In 1993, when Los Lobos released the now classic "Just Another Band from East L.A.," the band was paying homage to -- and locating themselves within -- the legacy of Chicano and Mexican music coming from "East Los" going all the way back to icons like Lalo Guerro and legions of other more anonymous working musicians. Twenty years, later East L.A. is still an important hub of Chicano/Latino culture in Los Angeles but the cultural map of music making has also significantly shifted. Suburban sprawl, real estate prices and the changing nature of the Latino community have all contributed to a re-mapping of Latino L.A. Today, that map would have to include the San Fernando Valley, east through the San Gabriel Valley to the Inland Empire, the south harbor communities west through South L.A. and spilling over into North Orange County. Add to this the growing diversity of the Latino community as Central Americans, new generations of Mexicans and other Latin Americans have immigrated to the greater Los Angeles area. Plus, identity politics are also in flux as national identities meet ethnic constructs such as Chicanismo and Latinidad.

Chicano Batman -- comprised of Bardo Martínez (vocals/keyboard/guitar), Eduardo Arenas (bass), Gabriel Villa (percussion) and Carlos Arévalo (guitar), exemplifies this new geographic and cultural reality. Only one member, Eduardo Arenas, grew up in East L.A. The band, the brain child of lead singer Bardo Martínez began to form at a fundraiser for KPFK's Soul Rebel Radio where he met Arenas and bonded with him over a similar interest in the music of Caetano Veloso and the tropicalia movement. Drummer Gabriel Villa who emigrated from Colombia to the U.S. at the age of eighteen met Bardo at a show for cumbia group Very Be Careful. Guitarist Carlos Arévalo met Martínez through mutual friends in local music scenes and eventually joined the band in 2010.They were brought together by music not geography. 

The band simultaneously exists in the local and transnational spaces of Latino music, a sonic space of past, present and future Latina/o sounds reaching for something new. The band is in tune to local eastside musical histories dominated by Chicano bands but also in tune with Latin American and South American sounds that echo the band mates' diverse interests and personal histories. Bardo is half Columbian, half Mexican, Eduardo is Mexican-American, Gabriel is Columbian and Carlos is of Salvadoran and Mexican descent. More importantly, the band claims, is their shared musical eclecticism that is heard in the bands mix of funk, R&B, Latin soul, bossa nova, psychedelia and pop.

Full Episodes

Upcoming Airdates

Variedades: Olvera Street

This look at Los Angeles’ Olvera Street is part-history lesson and part-immersion in stereotype of the birthplace of Los Angeles. Emmy® award-winning journalist, author and musician Rubén Martínez, explores the sometimes-violent, 200-year struggle for the political and symbolic control of the city as told in “Variedades” — an interdisciplinary performance series that brings together music, spoken word, theater, comedy and the visual arts, loosely based on the Mexican vaudeville shows of early-20th century Los Angeles.

  • 2019-04-21T20:00:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-04-24T20:00:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-05-02T06:00:00-07:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2019-05-04T15:00:00-07:00
    KCET-HD

Electric Earth: The Art of Doug Aitken

This episode profiles prominent artist Doug Aitken who for more than 20 years has shifted the perception and location of images and narratives. His multichannel video installations, sculptures, photographs, publications, happenings and architectural works demonstrate the nature and structure of our ever-mobile, ever-changing, image-based contemporary condition. In his newest piece, “Underwater Pavilions,” he creates a conversation with the viewer to become fully present and immersed in the sea.

  • 2019-04-25T06:00:00-07:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2019-04-27T15:00:00-07:00
    KCET-HD

No Trespassing: A Survey of Environmental Art

Throughout its history, the natural beauty of California has inspired artists from around the world from 19th-century plein air painting of pastoral valleys and coasts to early 20th-century photography of the wilderness (embodied famously in the work of Ansel Adams) and the birth of the light and space movement in the 1960s. Today, as artists continue to engage with California’s environment, they echo and critique earlier art practices that represent nature in “The Golden State” in a particular way. Featuring artists Richard Misrach, Laura Aguilar and Hillary Mushkin.

  • 2019-04-28T20:00:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-05-08T20:00:00-07:00
    KCETLINK

La Raza

In East Los Angeles during the late 1960s and 1970s, a group of young activists used creative tools like writing and photography as a means for community organizing, providing a platform for the Chicano Movement in the form of the bilingual newspaper/magazine La Raza. In the process, the young activists became artists themselves and articulated a visual language that shed light on the daily life, concerns and struggles of the Mexican-American experience in Southern California and provided a voice to the Chicano Rights Movement.

  • 2019-05-01T20:00:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-05-09T06:00:00-07:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2019-05-11T15:00:00-07:00
    KCET-HD

Artist and Mother

This episode profiles four California artists who make motherhood a part of their art: Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle, Andrea Chung, Rebecca Campbell and Tanya Aguiñiga. There's a persisting assumption in contemporary art circles that you can't be a good artist and good mother both. But these artists are working to shatter this cliché, juggling demands of career and family and finding inspiring ways to explore the maternal in their art.

  • 2019-05-05T20:00:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-05-15T20:00:00-07:00
    KCETLINK

The Art of Basket Weaving

Native American basketry has long been viewed as a community craft, yet the artistic quality and value of these baskets are on par with other fine art. Now Native peoples across the country are revitalizing basketry traditions and the country looks to California as a leader in basket weaving revitalization.

  • 2019-05-12T20:00:00-07:00
    KCETLINK

Japanese American Masters: The Untold Story of Mid-Century Design

From the iconic typeface of “The Godfather” book cover to Herman Miller’s Noguchi table, the influence of Japanese American artists and designers in postwar American art and design is unparalleled. While this second generation of Japanese American artists have been celebrated in various publications and exhibitions with their iconic work, less-discussed is how the World War II incarceration — a period of intense discrimination and hardship — has also had a powerful effect on the lives of artists such as Ruth Asawa, George Nakashima, Isamu Noguchi, S. Neil Fujita and Gyo Obata.

  • 2019-05-15T14:00:00-07:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2019-05-15T17:00:00-07:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2019-05-16T06:00:00-07:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2019-05-18T15:00:00-07:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2019-05-19T10:00:00-07:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2019-05-19T20:00:00-07:00
    KCETLINK