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La Bamba

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La Bamba

Image credit: La Bamba, 1987

Sometimes, a girl just needs a good excuse for a margarita. Such is the case with this week’s film La Bamba (DVD/Download). In the pantheon of cheesy musical biopics, this is one of the better ones. Music by Los Lobos, a great cast headed by Lou Diamond Phillips, and of course, those catchy Richie Valens tunes. Do I shed a tear on the Day the Music Died? OK I admit… just one.

Because of La Bamba, the world was introduced to two important things- the history of chicano rock n’ roll, and perpetual People magazine crossword clue Esai Morales.  Despite its 1950’s setting, there’s a definite 80’s sheen to the picture (a la Dirty Dancing). Santana guitar riffs, bad perms, etc. Despite wanting to mock La Bamba, it legitimately sucks me in every time. The story of young, talented Richie Valens (née Valenzuela) who at 17 was killed in a plane crash with Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper, just as his career was taking off- well, it tugs at the heartstrings.

In happier times however, there are some great scenes of Richie learning to play “La Bamba” in a Tijuana brothel with his alcoholic brother Bob. In tribute to Richie’s Mexican heritage, while watching La Bamba I recommend drinking a Cerveza-Rita.


1 bottle Mexican beer (such as Dos Equis)

2 oz tequila

1 oz lime juice

2 oz orange juice

1 oz Cointreau

Simple syrup (to taste)

Blend tequila, lime juice, orange juice, Cointreau, and simple syrup in a blender filled with crushed ice until a smooth frozen consistency. In a chilled glass, pour beer 2/3 of the way up. Top with margarita mixture.

Cerveza- rita

One can’t help but wonder what would have happened to Valens had he not died so young. Would he have become the Latin Elvis? Married Donna and pissed off her racist father even more? We’ll never know. One thing is for certain though- because of his music, and this film, Richie Valens has become immortal. Cheers!