In September 1974, Chico and the Man was an American sitcom on NBC that starred Jack Albertson as Ed (the Man), an old difficult-to-deal-with owner of a run-down garage in East Los Angeles, and Freddie Prinze as Chico, an upbeat, optimistic Chicano street kid who came in one night and cleaned up the shop and moved into a van that was parked inside the shop. Hard to believe, but this show was the first U.S. television series set in a Mexican-American neighborhood. It was also a huge show for our movement, as the show’s intro/opening showed a Lowrider cruising by a busy local intersection. That’s the day Lowriders went Hollywood! The Gypsy Rose was that now famous car, and through this show, it opened the doors for Lowriding to be on the worldwide stage. Everyone who drove a Lowrider was recognized more, too. Jesse Valadez was the proud owner of the Gypsy Rose and served as the Imperials Car Club leader back then.
Unfortunately, Jesse Valadez passed away recently at an unfortunate time, but his memories and the legacy he left behind will continue to grow forever, just like the roses that were hand painted on his legendary car. In Jesse’s last days he was sent home from the hospital to rest and be with his family and friends. While he was there, his club took it upon themselves to vote and make him honorary president. When I visited him, I was told about what the club had done out of love and respect for him and I told him, As long as there are still the Imperials, you will always be the leader.’ He certainly leaves a whole lot of memories behind, as this humble, soft-spoken Lowrider Legend shared good times with everyone. Things won’t be the same anymore without him that’s for sure, and I encourage those who loved him to remember the love he had for his family, the passion he had for the paintjob on his ’64 Impala, and remember that just about anybody that was involved in Lowriders were all his friends too.
Jesse Valadez was chauffeured in a procession that was lead by his Gypsy Rose one last time, leading him to his final resting place. The church and cemetery were standing room only, as car clubs past and present arrived to pay their respects. Some jackets in the church even had to have the cobwebs removed so that they could be worn to represent their club’s presence in honoring Jesse. It was good to see the different club colors and plaques everywhere in E.L.A., and only a legend like Jesse could bring that into fruition; it’s just too bad it had to be in his memory. I’m sure he was happy at such a large gathering of blue, maroon, and black colored jackets paying their respects as he looked down from up above, and that was all due to the fact that his hard work in the culture earned that respect and privilege. God Blessed Him, and all of us for having known him.
The Chicano Civil rights movement, also known as the Brown Berets, represented Latino unity and resistance against discrimination. Since the late 60’s, their agendas were to fight police harassment, and draw attention to inadequate public education, healthcare, and job opportunities. Long time community activist Gloria Arellanes was only 19 years of age when she had the ideological pride, tenacity, and purpose to jump on a bus and travel from E.L.A., to Washington, DC as part of a campaign to protest and help spread awareness in other cities in order to create a national effort towards combating the social ills and repeated violations of civil rights that destroyed communities through prejudice and racism. Her experience led her to join the Brown Berets, and the subsequent Movimento that followed. She has recently donated a collection of her reflections to Cal State University L.A. The historical items sat in her home for nearly 40 years, and they include documents, artifacts, flyers, newspapers, books, buttons, posters, and photographs that date from 1967 to the late 70’s. Please march over and visit our June Raza Report to find the story of the battle cry that helped fight social and political injustice and uplifted the cultural history of the Chicano/Latino community in E.L.A., and the United States.
In our Image section, we honor Low Conspiracy’s very own Jose Martinez. He has definitely lived a few lifetimes as a true Lowrider legend from the San Jose area. He has come a long way since his days in the high school parking lot; he has built cars that have raised the bar for Nor Cal; he has helped to promote the early days of Lowrider Magazine, and he was the first president of one of the most respected Lowrider car clubs. Jose has judged thousands of cars at Lowrider events, and helped to change the rule books over time. Even better, Jose is always willing to have a cold beer with you to hear you out, reminisce on old times, and help to guide you or come to reason when times change in the Lowrider world. After almost four decades, this man has been a concrete image of what Lowriding is all about. Lowrider is Jose Martinez; been there done that, and still here doing that, too.
Well, it’s finally that time for the temperatures to warm up and the Boulevards to heat up with all of the hottest new builds that you guys have no doubt spent many a cold winter’s night working on in your respective garages. Lowrider Magazine Edhas been with you for over 30 Summers, documenting the latest and greatest rides on the streets and Boulevards near you. Many of you may be unaware that we have also been cruising another highway as of late the information super highway, better known as the internet, with our site lowridermagazine.com.
For those of you who haven’t checked out lowridermagazine.com; what are you waiting for? For those of you who have, thank you! The site is jam packed with exclusive and continued stories from monthly issues of Lowrider Magazine. We just want you to take advantage of the vast expanse that the Internet carries. We realize that many of our readers may deal with computers a great deal within their everyday lives, and we just want to remind you that our site is a great way to get your Lowrider fix in when there isn’t a magazine issue within reach. Our Site is blowing up to the point where we feel it is just as valuable to be featured on the Web as it is in the Magazine. We have now included more opportunities to feature your picnics, car shows, anniversaries, and On the Scene features as exclusives on the Web for Millions to view! We’ve got past and present magazine features on there, as well as interactive forums where you can connect with your fellow riders and discuss everything from the latest aftermarket accessories, car club activities, and even parts, tech, and car sales.
I just want to emphasize that while Lowrider has been here for over thirty years, we plan to be here for another thirty, and connecting with our readers through our website is an integral part of that plan. We are going to constantly change with the times and format to stay ahead for generations to come. If an old school guy like me can get on the site, then its user friendly for anyone, so take the time to log on today, and bookmark it to your list of favorite sites, you’ll be glad you did.
Ride in peace Mr. Imperial Material,
Respectfully as always,