Friday, July 13, 2007

Cultural Harmony

Manuel Ramos

El Centro Su Teatro celebrates 35 years as a Chicano theater company in 2007. The acclaimed and award-winning artistic center and theater troupe has enriched and portrayed Chicano culture and life for more than three decades with highly original plays, poetry slams, music festivals, outdoor movies, a youth art institute, and an ongoing commitment to community involvement and awareness. Here are two upcoming events at this very busy intersection of theater, politics, and creativity.

Bowl of Beings
July 20 -28, Su Teatro presents its adaptation of A Bowl of Beings, written by Culture Class and directed by Hugo Carbajal. Here's what the Cal State Northridge Oviatt Library Culture Class website says about this play:

"The creation of A Bowl of Beings represented another turning point for Culture Clash. On September 7, 1989, Ric Salinas was shot and another actor, George Galvan, was injured in front of Ric's apartment while trying to break up a fight. Salinas sustained near-fatal injuries to his neck, chest, and abdomen, and remained in intensive care for five days. Family, friends, and fans held several benefits to raise money to help pay for Ric's medical expenses. Out of this experience came Culture Clash's A Bowl of Beings, based around themes of Chicano identity, wit, and wisdom. A Bowl of Beings ran for six months at the Los Angeles Theatre Center, and Culture Clash adapted it for television for a 1992 episode of PBS's Great Performances series."

11th Annual Chicano Music Festival and Auction
El Centro Su Teatro presenta the 11th Annual Chicano Music Festival and Auction, August 2 – 5 at El Centro’s North playground, 4725 High Street, Denver. This year’s festival promises to be the most exciting yet, featuring a spread of diverse sounds that have defined the Chicano experience in the American Southwest. It will also mark the Denver return of television and screen star Jesse Borrego (Fame, Con Air, Blood In Blood Out, 24), who will sing alongside his father and their blazing San Antonio band, Conjunto Borrego.

Thursday’s Noche Alternativa will be a late night kickoff event celebrating the new and innovative work of rising stars such as Yuzo Nieto, Joaquin Liebert, and Valarie Castillo.

Friday night’s Noche Tradicional is a commemoration of 19th Century music and a salute to the fifth class of the Musica de Colorado Hall of Fame. Featured performers are San Antonio five-button accordion master Nicolas Valdez presenting his unique style of traditional music and spoken word, from Fort Collins the legendary Grupo Aztlán, with a special acoustic set by Conjunto Borrego.

Saturday’s Pachanga will feature local Colorado roquirolas Jon Romero y Amanecer and headliners Conjunto Borrego. These guys are serving up a spicy South Texas sound straight out of San Antonio’s Westside. And what better way to wrap up the weekend than with a Mariachi celebration featuring the finest mariachis this side of the border? And that’s just the music.

The festival is also home to one of the biggest and best auctions in the Rocky Mountain region. New items are arriving daily, including Broncos (vs. Raiders) tickets, hotel getaways, spa treatments, free dinners, museum passes and more—all in addition to the handpicked selection of stunning visual art by some of the finest artists in the Southwest. Come dance under the stars at the 11th Annual Chicano Music Festival and Auction.

Please call El Centro Su Teatro at (303) 296-0219, or email for tickets and schedule information. Also visit and


Lorraine López will read from Soy la Avon Lady and Other Stories (Curbstone, 2002) at Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, Tennessee, on Tuesday July 17th from 7pm-8pm. Author and Professor Lorraine López will speak at APSU during the Tennesee Young Writers’ Workshop. The reading will be held in the Morgan University Center in room 303. This event is co-sponsored by Humanities Tennessee and the Center for Creative Arts at Austin Peay State University. Lopez also is the author of Call Me Henri, an award-winning young adult novel released by Curbstone in 2006.

Museo de las Américas presents
its summer exhibition, Con Confection, featuring three contemporary artists who have drawn from the traditional art of embroidery to create innovative results.

Artists: Lia Menna Barreto (Brazil), Ana Maria Hernando (Colorado), Carlos Arturo Arias Vicuna (Mexico) and traditional artists from throughout Latin America. Also included in the exhibition is a special documentary video about Brazilian artist Arthur Bispo de Rosario.

Confection, usually defined as an elaborate creation or a sweet combination of materials, is the key to this grouping of artists who use embellishment and decoration in their work. Mixing minimalist values with post-colonial visualizations, the artists of Con Confection thread the memories of tradition with fresh materials and layered meanings.

Lia Menna Barreto, visiting artist from Brazil, presents her past work and new projects.

The Museo is located at 861 Santa Fe Drive, Denver 303.571.4401 Members Free, General $5


Gustavo Arellano brought his unique brand of humor and satire to Denver's Tattered Cover on July 11 -- he won over the crowd and sold plenty of books. I liked that he confirmed that all of his facts really are facts based on actual studies, government reports, etc. He also explained that he gets more than thirty questions a week and has more than 180 pages of unused questions, enough to keep his column going for six more years, and that not all of his questions come from racists. Buy his book (¡Ask A Mexican!, Scribner 2007) or read his nationally syndicated column, and learn why Mexicans are known as greasers (page 19); whether menudo really cures hangovers (page 148); and why Mexican cholos call white girls güeras (page 183).


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