Locals Only: the Maricón Collective Shares Their L.A. Picks

Photo by Danny Liao via LA Weekly

Words have power. No one knows this better than LA’s Maricón Collective, the group of queer Chicano/Latino DJs and artists who have banded together under a word that for many, is considered a gay slur in the Spanish-speaking community. The foursome is reclaiming the word and stripping it of its negative power, giving it a fun, affectionate spin that shows love to their queer identity- and they don’t just keep that love to themselves. Maricón Collective builds community and creates space for queer people of color through celebrations of music, art and culture.

When the collective isn’t throwing parties in East LA or the San Gabriel Valley with soundtracks that include cumbia, funk, oldies r&b and house, they’re showcasing their zine or freshening up their of Spanglish queer positive apparel line.

We talked with the collective made up of members Carlos Morales, Rudy Bleu, Manuel Paul, and Michael Rodriguez, about their fave spots to hit up in and around LA in this edition of Locals Only.

Tell us what you do?
We are an art and DJ Collective. We make art, zines, limited edition shirts, throw parties and collaborate with other Latino/Chicano artists.

How does L.A. inspire your work?
Carlos: L.A. is a huge influence in what I choose to play at our parties. Growing up I was exposed to a lot of music by my sister’s friends, DJs and radio stations like MARS FM, POWER 106, and KRLA. A lot of what I play is reminiscent of the old parties I use to go to in the 90s.
Rudy: I think L.A. inspires the collective in every aspect of what we do. We are inspired by the neighborhoods we grew up in, swap meets, vintage Lowrider, Teen Angel, and Street Beat magazines, by other artist creating work around us.

Describe the ideal night out in L.A.?
Carlos: Grabbing a drink with some friends, and checking out a band or DJ.
Rudy: What Carlos said…just add food at some point in the evening…there is so much good food.

What local bands/DJs should we have in our radar right now?
Michael: Kelela.
Carlos: There is so much talent in this city but a few local bands that are definitely worth checking out. Xina Xurner, Sister Mantos, and Macdonna. They range from dark techno/trance weirdness to disco cumbia funk to Queer Hip hop. All three have put on amazing shows with such a great energy. Always gets me moving. As for DJs, Silent Servant (who is also an electronic music project) has always been a great set to watch.
Rudy: Las Cafeteras, Generacion Suicida its the type of punk that I obsess over, Sex Stains they are such a super group of musicians and singers… great live shows, as for DJs Mas Exitos, Maurice De La Falaise.

What are the best venues for live music?
Carlos: I’ve been going to complex in Glendale for shows. Shows are usually more on the Industrial, EBM, techno side. I guess it depends what you’re into but another good spot for shows is Jewel’s Catch one. There’s always good shows popping up in galleries and back yards around the city too.
Rudy: I tend to see a lot of shows in gallery spaces, friends’ homes, though sometimes I can enjoy a show at the Echoplex.

What are the best venues to go out dancing?
Carlos: Hmmm…A backyard, warehouse, and the lash. Depends what you’re looking to dance too.
Rudy: Honestly I do most of my dancing after hours at Carlos house while he spins records for friends…or at random parties…though I still love Mustache Mondays at La Cita.

What are your favorite bars?
Carlos: An Open bar.
Rudy: Jalisco.

Best Latin place to get hangover food?
Michael & Manuel: Omaña’s in El Monte or La Moderna’s in Whittier for Menudo.
Carlos: I usually hit up Villa Tacos Corona for my hangover- Papas Burrito.
Rudy: My moms house…haha I can also eat at La Abeja in Highland Park

Go-to restaurant?
Carlos: Silver lake ramen. I love my ramen.
Rudy: I love a good diner….though some of my favorite spots are Yxta, Cooks Tortas, Atacor #11 for the potato tacos

Hidden Gem?
Carlos: Mono Records on Glendale Blvd in Echo Park. I’m always out record shopping, and I’ve found some of my best Oldies/Soul records at this spot.
Rudy: Old No. 13 Tattoo so much talent in that shop.

Mono Records. Photo via LA Weekly
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Most inspiring person?
Carlos: Anyone who never gives up on their goals and dreams.
Rudy: I have to agree with Carlos on this one…also because I draw inspiration from so many people.

Favorite local gallery?
Carlos: Superchief has a good show right now.
Rudy: Human Resources…Ooga Twooga.

Favorite local artist?
Carlos: Too many. Travis D, and Rafa Esparza two name a couple.
Rudy: Rafa Esparza, Shizu Saldamando, Juan Gudino, and of course Manuel Paul of Maricón Collective.