Entertainment

In A Major Political Statement, Los Tigres Del Norte Play Concert For Inmates At Folsom Prison And It’s Captured In A Netflix Doc

Netflix just dropped an amazing documentary that follows the legendary Mexican band Los Tigres del Norte as they visit Folsom Prison in California, and perform for the inmates. Of course, this is a political act in itself: performing to those who are serving a sentence is going against conservative views that inmates should be isolated from society. This is particularly relevant in the Trump era, as convicted felons are stripped of their humanity in political discourse, oftentimes with racial and racist connotations. 

The famous Johnny Cash played a concert there 50 years ago, a great political statement at the time.

Credit: Johnny-Cash-Folsom. Digital image. Talk Business and Politics

Cash swore at and denounced the authorities in his groundbreaking performance at the Folsom Prison cafeteria. He was just spectacular, calling out mistreatment of prisoners and making inmates feel heard. Even though he didn’t go to prison himself, he often wrote songs about incarceration and received dozens of letters from prisoners. What a legend. The original Man in Black! 

Things have changed: over 40% of the inmates today are Latino. Enter Los Tigres del Norte.

Credit: Los Tigres del Norte at Folsom Prison / Netflix

The prison population encountered by Cash was mostly Black and white, and only a few Latinos spent their days behind Folsom’s bars. But the population is vastly different today, and Latino faces are seen everywhere. For the concert, Los Tigres dressed in black, honoring the memory of Cash. “Doing this job inside the prison is a very significant thing for us. We sing true stories and everything we’ve recorded we try to make it from the pure heart, taken from the feelings of the human being,” said Jorge Hernandez, vocalist and accordionist, to CD Noticias Financieras. 

And they opened the show with their own version of the iconic Johnny Cash song “Folsom Prison Blues.”

Credit: Los Tigres del Norte at Folsom Prison / Netflix

The documentary starts with full engines on. Los Tigres, with the Cash family blessing, reimagined “Folsom Prison Blues” and gave it a Mexican saborcito that is just a delight. The banjo is replaced by the iconic accordion and the inmates shed a tear when listening to the story in Spanish: a man is imprisoned in Folsom and listens to a train full of rich people go by. He knows he will never be on that train and that he will die behind bars.

As reported by CE Noticias Financieras: “The first single from the album, ‘La Prisión de Folsom (Folsom Prision Blues)’ is the first Spanish-language version of Johnny Cash’s classic song, created with the support of his son, John Carter Cash,and written in collaboration with Ana Cristina Cash,daughter-in-law of the artist”. 

Los Tigres del Norte sing about marginalized individuals.

Credit: Los Tigres del Norte at Folsom Prison / Netflix

Their corridos, some of which are controversial for humanizing cartel members, talk of rags to riches stories, but also of the many perils faced by undocumented migrants. Many prisoners at Folsom could relate. Ay, dolor. 

And the documentary shows plenty of heartbreaking stories.

Credit: Los Tigres del Norte at Folsom Prison / Netflix

Songs such as “La jaula de oro” (about an undocumented worker feeling trapped un the United States) are intercut with the inmates’ own stories of regret, redemption and loss. The first half focuses on the male population while the second explores the lives of female inmates. Many of them have found redemption in religion, while others have had to dig deep into their family past to unearth the reasons behind their crimes. 

But there are also stories of redemption.

Credit: Los Tigres del Norte at Folsom Prison / Netflix

The most teary and joyful moment of the documentary comes when a prisoner who used to be a musician shares the stage with Los Tigres. He gets the self respect he has been fighting his demons for since he was imprisoned for murder. It is a tender moment in which he probably gained the respect of all the other reclusos as well. 

Many inmates were put there because of the three-strike rule.

Credit: Los Tigres del Norte at Folsom Prison / Netflix

Some of the stories point to a fundamental fault in the system whereby no matter how small your crime is, if you got other two convictions under your belt you end up in jail. Harsh and also a rule that seems to target marginalized communities that don’t get enough help to straighten the path.

Los Tigres spent some quality time with the inmates, showing us that we all deserve a second chance.

Credit: Los Tigres del Norte at Folsom Prison / Netflix

Los Tigres del Norte have been blamed for glorifying crime and his songs have been banned in places like the Mexican state of Chihuahua. However, by seeing them laugh with and hug a group of inmates we realize that they are just able and willing to find human kindness in everyone. Sometimes, they say, all someone needs is to be heard. 

Of course, social media is going crazy about the documentary, particularly during Hispanic Heritage Month.

Credit: Los Tigres del Norte at Folsom Prison / Netflix

Even though the documentary has only been available for a few days, Twitter has exploded with positive reviews. 

The music is almost irrelevant compared to the strong political message “Los Tigres del Norte at Folsom Prison” sends.

Credit: Twitter. @urban_ag

And people are noticing. The documentary will surely spark discussions around the penitentiary system in the United States and the lives of Latinos in the face of inequality. 

And it is bringing families together.

Credit: Twitter. @selfproclvimed

Can we join you and sing hasta el amanecer

And of course it is giving la raza all the feels.

Credit: Twitter. @gabyseeta

We are right there with you, Gabinha. 

Puro Orgullo Mexicano!

Credit: Twitter. @YayyitsDre

Gracias, Netflix. 

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Could These Space Bubbles Be The Future Of Concerts?

Entertainment

Could These Space Bubbles Be The Future Of Concerts?

You could soon be watching a performance of your favorite reggaetonero from the comfort of a giant inflatable bubble…thanks to Covid-19. 

People are going to concerts in ‘space bubbles’ and could this be the new normal?

Last month, the band Flaming Lips staged two shows where socially distanced concerts were taken to a whole new level. The band successfully pulled their first official “Space Bubble” concert at the Criterion theater in the rock band’s native Oklahoma City. A second show took place the following evening.

In a creative effort to provide a Covid-safe atmosphere, the Lips provided 100 inflatable see-through pods for attendees to stand in while watching the band perform on stage. Each bubble held up to three people.

The clever idea for the socially distanced concert stemmed from the famous clear orb Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne has used for years to roll across crowds during the band’s festive concerts.

In addition to audience members, both Coyne and the other band members were enclosed in their own plastic bubbles during the Oklahoma City concerts. At one point during the concert, Coyne is seen holding a shiny silver-lettered balloon that reads “F— YOU COVID19.”

Ok, but what happens if you have to pee or it gets too hot in those bubbles?

Well, it turns out that they’ve thought of all that as well. Inside each bubble was a high frequency supplemental speaker – which helped prevent the sound being muffled – as well as a water bottle, a battery-operated fan, a towel and a “I gotta go pee/hot in here” sign.

If it got too hot, the bubble was refilled with cool air using a leaf blower, and fans who needed the bathroom were escorted by venue staff once they had put on a mask and stepped outside their cocoon.

The bubbles hold enough oxygen for three people to breathe for over an hour and 10 minutes before they need to be refreshed, although a towel is needed to wipe down the condensation.

According to an instructional video posted on the singer’s Instagram feed, the concert ends with everyone rolling their bubbles to the exit door, where they must re-attach masks before unzipping and leaving the venue.

Meanwhile in countries where people actually follow social distancing and mask guidelines…

While packed concerts may be little more than a hazy memory in most parts of the world, 22,000 fans flocked to see rock band Six60 in Hastings, New Zealand, on Saturday with no need for masks or social distancing. It was the second date of their tour, after another 20,000 watched them play the weekend earlier.

The fans were asked to check in to the venue by scanning a QR code, and to have a Covid-tracing Bluetooth app enabled in case they did come into close contact with anyone with the virus.

The country, with a population of five million, has recorded 1,927 confirmed cases and 25 deaths over the course of the pandemic.

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Michelle Obama Will Be Cooking With Kids In Her New Netflix Show

Entertainment

Michelle Obama Will Be Cooking With Kids In Her New Netflix Show

As if we needed another reason to tune into Netflix, Michelle Obama will be bringing a new cooking show to the streaming giant aimed towards kids. The former First Lady was well-known for her health and fitness initiatives while in the White House and now she’s bringing that same passion to a fun new cooking show.

Michelle Obama launches a new cooking show on Netflix for kids.

The former first lady announced on Instagram that she’s launching a children’s cooking program, called Waffles + Mochi. The show will follow two Muppets-esque puppets – Waffles and Mochi – who dream of becoming chefs. One day, they’re hired by a magical supermarket and embark on a series of far-flung adventures to discover new foods from around the world. They travel to Peru to try potatoes in the Andes, try spices in Italy, and make miso in Japan—finding plenty of friends along the way. According to Netflix, Obama will act as the grocery store’s friendly owner.

The show starts streaming on March 16. Although it’s aimed at children, she says parents will enjoy it too: “I know that adults will also get plenty of laughs—and some tips for the kitchen.”

The show is in many ways an extension of Obama’s platform as First Lady.

Credit: Waffles + Mochi / Netflix

The theme of the show closely aligns with Obama’s “Let’s Move!” public health campaign, which was aimed at curbing childhood obesity. As one of her signature platforms, she tried to lead initiatives that helped families get access to healthy, affordable foods and increase their physical activities.

“In many ways, this show is an extension of my work to support children’s health as First Lady—and to be quite honest, I wish a program like this had been around when my girls were young,” Obama wrote on Instagram. “I also know that this is a difficult time for so many families, and I’m hopeful that this delightful show can bring a bit of light and laughter to homes around the world.”

“Waffles + Mochi” is just one of the former First Lady’s many media ventures. Her “Becoming” documentary is already on Netflix, and in 2020, she launched a podcast on Spotify. Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground Productions has a multi-year production deal with Netflix.

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