Los Angeles, CA
The Theater at Ace Hotel
Perla Batalla's "Discoteca Batalla". Throughout the 60s and 70s Discoteca Batalla was a well-known landmark in the Latino community in Venice, California. This mom and pop discoteca (Spanish for record store) was a haven for desperately homesick immigrants from all over Mexico and Latin America. It was a spot to gather, exchange news from home, buy the latest Spanish language pop exitos or maybe just enjoy sweet coffee and pan dulce with the proprietors, Barbara and Jorge Batalla. Jorge was a singer and radio D.J. He knew the lyrics to every traditional Spanish language song ever written. His wife, Barbara hand wrote letters home for the working men and women separated for years at a time from their families. Perla Batalla is their daughter—a singer best known for her decade-long work with Leonard Cohen, as well as with such artists as Lou Reed, Sonny Rollins, k.d. lang, Rufus Wainwright, Jackson Browne and Laurie Anderson. While the record store closed its doors over 40 years ago, the experiences and stories shared there are part of L.A.’s heritage. Batalla’s new work, Discoteca Batalla, is an homage to this long lost moment in time.