Monday, May 5, 2008

Mother's Day Tribute & Post-Chicano Blues

In El Sereno and environs, life will not be the same but it goes on, because go on it must. After turning the final pages of The Shadow of the Wind, an extraordinary novel by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, I linger on the moderate attempts made over the last few days to once again inhabit the land of the living and to once again be inspired by the landscapes of love and art. The annual summer youth play at Plaza de la Raza, an adaption of Teatro Campesino's El Soldado Razo by Culture Clash's Herbet Siguenza, reminds us of the need to examine the costs of war, both literally and metaphorically, in our community. Doff o' the old bowler hat to me friend Herb for a putting together a play in Lincoln Heights with more than a score of neighborhood and community youth, righteous kids who helped write the script then put on quite a show and even danced salsa with Vicky Grise and the ever fabulous Karla Legaspy at Friday's opening night after-party. Compound that particular joy with a Saturday night splash at Ave. 50 by the Inspiration House Poetry Choir. Joining the usual crew was the "Chola con Cello" herself, María Elena Gaitán, who lit up the already intoxicating fusion of improvised music behind live poetry delivered at volcanic intensities with her relentless bow. Y finalmente, I was able to sit in on the discussion between Sandra de la Loza and Harry Gamboa at Los Angeles County Museum of Art as part of the "Phantom Sightings" exhibition. Not a whole lot of new ground covered, but at least it wasn't a rehash of the same old tropes. Ms. de la Loza, if a bit nervous before such a large crowd and for the fact that the show has been the subject of far ranging polemics, discussion and criticism, reminded us that we can and must reappropriate media and public symbols in order to restore forgotten or intentionally whitewashed history. It is this re-write of truth and distortion of historical fact to create myths and collective amnesia, she seems to suggest, that makes possible a world where urban youth are criminalized and dissent, critical thought or free-speech, at every level, is quelled before it truly ever even begins with the complicity of corporate thought control as issued by mass media in support of a hegemonic state and both its internal and external policies. So here we are, folks, well into the hyperglorified Cinco de Mayo celebration, a holiday rarely celebrated in Mexico, if you must know. Stay tuned for this Friday's "Homenaje Dia de las Madres: Honoring our Mothers and the Earth." It's a fundraiser and tribute at the Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock. The reading begins 8 p.m. and will include sets from spinmasters Fermina D and DJ Hugo Molina.

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