Growing up in Texas, it was a big deal if we got to go across town to the "other" amusement park --the one the Anglos went to that had more and bigger, usually working, rides than the one on our side. It reminds me of episodes of "Everybody Hates Chris" because I went to Chris's school, at least the San Anto version. Such memories were how some Chicanos grew up during the 1950s, events that made for a distinct, sometimes hard, upbringing.
Today ain't the 50s, thank Quetzalcoatl. This summer, 15 mostly Chicano/mexicano, Denver North High School students are invited to perform "Simply Maria", a dark comedy written by 17-year-old Josefina Lopez (from Los Angeles). Hell, they're not just going 'cross town; they're headed to "the world's largest arts gathering", the International Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland!
Chicanos performing for Scots? On a world-class stage? For the full story, you can go to the URL below, but come back when you're done:
I saw the Black Masque Theater perform "Zoot Suit" last year to a sold-out crowd, and I kept forgetting I was in a high school auditorium--they were that chido. Their performance rivaled others I've seen in professional settings, and I felt a certain rare pride in mi raza.
A great deal of credit must go to their teacher/director Jose Mercado, who fought the DPS administration when they wanted to cut the program. Mercado comes by way of the Chicano theater group Su Teatro, and he's one of the finest results of their community work.
If you ever get the opportunity to witness them perform, do it; they are impressive enough to even make you love theater.
Yeah, they need $60k! But imagine--they've almost got it. This is one of those village things; it takes more than just their work and Mercado's to get them to Scotland.
They could use la Chicanada's help. Our help.
If each La Bloga visitor contributed $10 (or more), they could reach their goal. Wherever you live in Aztlán, think of these unpaid, hardworking Chicano/Latino/mexicano kids as representatives of our shared Chicano culture, about to present it to the world.
If you have your own blog or website, consider doing a short post on the Black Masque Theater, and feel free to link to this post. Help spread the word, maybe only because we didn't get to go across town very often when we were young.
Whatever you decide to do, do it soon, today even. Their ride won't wait.
Tax-deductible checks can be made payable to North High School Theatre Dept. and sent to:
North High School
2960 N. Speer Blvd.
Denver, CO 80211
If you're visiting, emigrating to, or residing in Denver, you can also contribute by attending the fundraiser below (although I'm not certain the kids will be performing).