This episode features Dana Bostic and his Chicago gang, The New Breeds. Bostic, known as "Bird," came of age on Chicago's tough west side. He grew up slinging drugs on the corner and ended up a heroin kingpin in his hometown. With a connection to a Mexican cartel, Bostic's New Breeds would package and distribute heroin and defend their turf with violence. When the body count started to rise, Bird and the New Breeds were taken down. They are all serving significant sentences in prison.
This episode explores the gangland matriarch Maria "Chata" Leon and the criminal underworld created by her murderous brood of gangbanger children. Leaders of the Drew Street Clique of the Avenues Gang, this family ruled a small pocket of Los Angeles for decades. By way of slinging crack cocaine and methamphetamine Maria Leon accrued a great amount of wealth but her status in the hood dwarfed any financial gain she could earn. With an air of invincibility, Maria Leon commanded a reign of terror in L.A. only to be brought to justice by vast federal RICO indictments and multiple military style police invasions into her neighborhood. Maria now awaits her third deportation in federal prison in California.
During the 1930s, partly to avoid the hillbilly image and partly owing to Hollywood's romance with the West, country music headed to the range. Western fringe and cowboy hats turned up on many singers onstage, while Gene Autry and Roy Rogers hit the country charts as "The Singing Cowboy" and the "King of the Cowboys," respectively. Autry made it big in Hollywood and on the radio, singing favorites like "Here Comes Santa Claus" and "Frosty the Snowman." Rogers and his wife, "Queen of the West" Dale Evans, also straddled the worlds of music and movies with their Wild West personas.
The association of country music with the wide open spaces of the western United States made such a deep impact on popular culture during this time that it never quite faded from the public perception of the country genre. To this day, Cowboy Country music serves as a reminder of our continued yearning for a life that's beautiful, pastoral and—ultimately—more simple.
In entertainment, where the line between fiction and reality is often blurry, names are a crucial part of a celebrity's image. Stage names are often chosen to make an actor or musician's name easier to pronounce or remember, or simply to make it sounds more attractive. Here are famous celebrities who have changed their names.
Got chaps? Their cowboy and cowgirl personas are tough, rugged, and wild—just like the frontier in which they come from—and in turn, they elicit the nostalgia of The Old West with its fierce individualism and sense of golden opportunity. From the indomitable swagger of John Wayne to the intimidating scowl of Clint Eastwood, explore our Wild West Film Actors group.
They make music with instruments they were born with - their voices. Gifted vocalists have entertained audiences across musical genres from the tour de force arias of Luciano Pavarotti to the classic crooning of Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett to the soulful vocals of artists like Aretha Franklin and Mahalia Jackson. With their powerful lyricism, singers like Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and Bruce Springsteen became poet laureates of American music while artists including Joan Baez and Joe Strummer used their voices to prompt social change while they entertained. Rockers from Elvis Presley to The Beatles to Kurt Cobain helped define their generations through their songs while icons like Michael Jackson, Cher and Whitney Houston shaped pop culture with their larger-than-life voices and personas. See these and more famous singers who have struck a chord in musical history.
The United Service Organization was founded in 1941, as a way to provide morale to service members through entertainment. Hollywood was happy to promote its patriotism (and its stars), and sent entertainers to combat zones, often in danger, to perform for the troops. From Marilyn Monroe to Stephen Colbert, many of the biggest names in showbiz have put on shows for the American service members around the world. Check out these famous USO entertainers.