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Outing the Gay Mariachis

The prevailing reaction to Abel Salas' online piece, “L.A.'s Only All-Gay Mariachi Band,” a profile of Mariachi Arcoiris de Los Angeles, was summed up by reader Rigo Martinez Jr., who asked: “So what! Do they sound good?”

But a larger debate unfolded amidst the massive reader response to our article about the new band, whose name in English means “mariachi rainbow.” Juan Carols Pesqueira explained, “It helps our youth and anybody else that hasn't come out know that they aren't alone and that they can become whatever they want in life. … We band together against haters and bullies!” Luis Lopez-Maldonado promised, “I'm hiring them soon! Fabulous. Orgullo Latino 🙂 Music should transcend all barriers, all walks of life, and all bullies.

Too political for Al Orozco, who said, “No one cares who they sleep with. I've heard some firme mariachi in my lifetime and not once did I wonder who the hell they were having sex with.

Reminding us that arch humor lurks beneath many a controversy, Dieciocho Diez commented, “To be fair, all mariachis are gay.”

Where's Barbra? Where's Joplin?

Last week's story, “The 20 Best Pop Songs in History by Female Artists,” written by our expert panel — Katie Bain, Art Tavana, Kelsey Whipple, Mary Carreon, Liz Ohanesian, Andrea Domanick, Daniel Kohn and Andy Hermann — created a storm over how to define “pop.”

Said Gskaalurd, “Musically, most of these artists are not that great. Whitney, yes, I agree she should be in the top 20 as well as Donna Summer. But where is Barbara [sic] Streisand for Pete's sake?! Where is Diana Ross? Well, being 51 years old, I come from a different era of music so I do disagree with the list overall, but I know this is just my opinion and doesn't count for much.”

Andreihp42 was quicker to the draw, writing “No Janis? Moron.

That's when the self-perceived music historians began weighing in, with Adrian3850 explaining, “Whoever considers Janis Joplin a 'pop singer' is an idiot.” But is Adrian3850 right? Andreihp42 inveighed, “If you understood what 'pop' means, you would realize in her day Janis was a 'popular' artist. In fact, she had a Top 40 hit. 'Me and Bobby McGee.' The definition of pop. Google it if it's too hard for you to believe.”

Correction

In last week's Music feature, “Queen of the Night,” we incorrectly said A Club Called Rhonda has hosted parties at Coachella for the past two years. The parties, called Rhonda, Queen of the Desert, have taken place for four years. We regret the error.

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