Ritchie Valens and the hit single he created, “La Bamba” still resonate with audiences, particularly with the recent 30th anniversary celebration of the biopic starring Lou Diamond Phillips and Esai Morales. The film, recently honored as part of BAMcinématek’s ¡Sí Se Puede! Pioneers of Chicano Cinema program, is set to screen in the city of Pacoima for a very special tribute on August 25.
Pacoima residents will be able to take in a screening of La Bamba in honor of the unveiling of the Ritchie Valens Memorial Highway, a portion of the 5 freeway that travels through Valens’ hometown. The screening and tribute will take place at Ritchie Valens Park in the city, with an official ceremony and performances by Valens tribute bands before the screening.
The campaign to rename the freeway was led by Assembly Raul Bocanegra who said, “[Valens’] music inspired and influenced a generation of Chicano artists in our community throughout the world.” Monica Rodriguez, Los Angeles City councilwoman, concurred in a statement saying, “Ritchie Valens exemplifies the talent and greatness that exists in this community.” For Valens’ sister, Connie, the tribute shows he was “not only a rock ‘n roll pioneer, but a role model for artists and youth all over the world.”
The event takes place from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Ritchie Valens Park in Pacoima.