Actor Danny “Machete” Trejo got his signature tattoos in prison, the most famous of them being a huge chest piece of a vaquera (Mexican cowgirl) done over two years at three infamous institutions (San Quentin, Folsom and Soledad). Prison ink can be crude, but it can also be beautiful and meaningful. Same goes for “hood tats,” especially the uber-detailed black and gray stuff.
Stripping away the negative connotations and simply celebrating the work in the context of its history can be illuminating. This benefit for Plaza de la Raza, hosted by Trejo and Bernadette Macias (from CMT’s Tattoo Titans) will celebrate body art both old-school and new, from all walks of life, with emphasis on the intricate styles that have evolved within the Latino community.
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An art exhibit curated by Freddy Negrete from Shamrock Social Club promises to be the centerpiece attraction, but there’s a lot more color here, too: a female tattoo artist competition, pinup fashion show, body painters, bands (Johnny Cash tribute band The Walking Phoenixes, The Blackouts, LP3 & the Tragedy) and DJs Big Mike, Breesa Renee, Tony Addiction and PhillySaTuRn spinning jams throughout the evening.