Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Old, New, and Same Old Stuff

Michael Sedano

Old and New, Aristophanes and Culture Clash

When Aristophanes’ hot new comedy, “The Birds” debuted in the 400 B.C. season, it sold out every performance at the Athenian Antistrophe Festival. History doesn’t record any of the above, but it’s a for sure fact that when Culture Clash debuts its interpretation of this work later this month at the Getty Villa, it will be to fully sold-out houses.

Money cannot buy a seat at the performances. For one thing, admission is free. For another, the free tickets for the group’s three performances on the weekend of March 16-18, 2007 were booked within a few hours after the Getty opened its phone lines to accept reservations.

I’m intrigued at what the three members of Culture Clash are going to do with Aristophanes’ plot and characters. Two disaffected Athenians have taken it on the lam from the corruption of the big city and dream about a utopian city founded upon bird principles. They journey to Cloud Koo-Koo Land, where birds rule. In a scene out of Tippi Hedren’s worst nightmare, the feathered fiends are about to peck the intruders to death until the humans convince the birds that birds are greater than the gods themselves. Later, a variety of supplicants from the world of humans and gods come to visit, to beg their own set of wings, or perhaps a bribe or two, only to receive a beating for their trouble. There’s a bit more than this to the plot, but not much more.

What in the world will Culture Clash do with such material? I have tickets for the Saturday matinee, and will report thereafter.

Next week, look for a La Bloga interview with members of Culture Clash for a preliminary report. Culture Clash includes Ric Salinas, Herbert Siguenza, Richard Montoya.

Past La Bloga Culture Clash features:
Zorro in Hell
Water and Power

SOS - Same Old Stuff

Los Angeles’ Eastside features some of the most exciting art galleries around. Eagle Rock’s Carlotta’s Passion and Highland Park’s Avenue50Studio present new and exciting shows regularly. But they’re the best kept secrets in LA because the region’s leading newspaper, the Los Angeles Times, absochingaolutely refuses to cover their shows, nor anything east of midtown, other than J-Town's MOCA. It’s like an ongoing Ken Burns documentary, if it’s Chicana Chicano, it’s got to be hidden away, ignored. The latest episode in this deliberate emendation of cultura chicana is the Times’ recent decision to cancel Lalo Alcaraz’ daily comic strip, “La Cucaracha.”

Oddly, the reason the Times gives is it has too much space. The Times knows it’s pulling a fast one on the community. Here’s what it says in the Times’ webspace:

Today an enhanced Kids Reading Room on Sundays replaces the page that ran Mondays through Fridays. We've expanded to two pages on Sundays, a day when more parents have time to share the page with their children and teachers can see the content before the school week begins.

New Sunday features include a children's story, Book Club, Creativity Corner and Jokes & Riddles. And we'll still have the popular Kids Across/Parents Down Crossword Puzzle and Book Reviews by Kids. Enhanced content and new features are also coming to latimes.com/kids.

Sounds reasonable. But here’s what the printed paper reads, on page E12 of the March 5 edition:

To make room for these changes, these comics are eliminated Monday through Saturday: “La Cucaracha,” “Mallard Fillmore,” “Candorville” and “Mr. Boffo.”

Odd that the virtual Times, which reaches La Bloga readers outside the paper’s Southern California circulation area, hides the news of its cancellation of “La Cucaracha”. Alcaraz’ comic strip is the only nationally syndicated chicano daily comic strip. The object of outrage from defensive conservatives and Hispanic vencidos, Alcaraz’ work has been cancelled by newspapers across the US. I thought the LA Times had a stronger commitment to its Eastside readership. Wrong again, gente. I hope someone with a more mathematical mind than mine can explain how expanding a Sunday section by moving stuff from Monday through Friday--doesn't that create a hole?-- requires the elimination of Monday through Friday features.

That this makes no sense is SOS, same ol’ stuff. I’m sure the Times will give Ken Burns’ World War II documentary a month of paeans to his greatness as a quintessential Unitedstatesian story teller and historian. Burns, like the Times, is intent on selling the lie that Chicanas Chicanos don’t exist. I hope Boffos, Candors, and Mallards will join my outrage at the Times’ decision to eliminate the only authentically Chicano voice in its pages. Hope, and fifty cents, will buy you a daily LA Times. Just don't expect to find any chicana chicano content for your hard-earned money.

New and Just Maybe, an Honest Voice for LA?

Interesting news on the new media front. The former owner/publisher of alternative weekly Times competitor, the LA Weekly, announces this week (March 7) the launch of a new weekly magazine, Real Talk LA. As announced on February 15:

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Media pioneer Jay Levin, former publisher and founder of LA Weekly, announced today the launch of Los Angeles-based Real Talk Media Group, a media company that he founded to offer innovative, inclusive and authentic forms of media that target metropolitan communities. Levin also announced the launch of the companys first properties, RealTALK LA magazine and Realtalkla.com, aimed at Los Angeles diverse communities.

Levin has proved to be a real media innovator, taking the LA Weekly from insignificance to powerhouse recently acquired by a big East Coast publisher. La Bloga will be at the launch party, so look for reports on that event in next week's La Bloga.

So that's Tuesday, March 6, 2007. Les wachamos el martes proximo, or next Tuesday, whichever comes first.


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