October 2008

Self Help Graphics, a nationally recognized center for Latino arts that develops and nurtures artists in printmaking in East Los Angeles, has had a long tradition of involving the community in its Day of the Dead celebrations. Unfortunately, this might be the last event of its kind. See excerpt below from a recent LA Times article. If you have to miss this weekend’s events, you can catch the upcoming long-month altar exhibit “A Call to Witness: All is Not Forgotten” from November 2nd through the29th.


“When last we left our embattled arts activists at Self Help Graphics, they were on the verge of eviction from their longtime headquarters in East L.A. Even some true believers were ready to count out the struggling community-based institution that has been a beacon for Chicano art for almost four decades…

The agency’s ultimate location remains in doubt but not its mission. This week, Self Help seemed as vital as ever as volunteers prepared for the folk holiday it helped popularize in Southern California 35 years ago with its first All Souls Day festival. Appropriately, it’s still finding meaning in a Mexican ritual that celebrates death as a transition, not an ending…

Signs of life abounded at its landmark location on César Chávez Avenue. Baroquely festooned altars were being installed in the gallery. Those big papier-mâché heads were waiting to be painted for the procession. And a new generation of volunteers rallied to carry on the work, led by newly installed board President Stephen Saiz, a Disney executive who sports cool sunglasses and Apache hoops in his ears.

“There’s really a sense of community and family with what’s going on at Self Help,” says Saiz. “People want to see the agency flourish.”

In the Day of the Dead tradition, people create altars to departed loved ones, with photos and meaningful objects, even their favorite food. The idea is that the living can still commune with the dead. This year, four families from the community have been invited to join veteran artist Alma Lopez and others creating altars/installations for the month long exhibition, curated by Reina Prado and titled “A Call to Witness: All Is Not Forgotten.”

Organizers expect the event to rival those from the ’70s, fueled by the possibility that this may be the last at this location. The festivities begin at 7 p.m. Nov. 1, with the creation of the community altar led by artist Ofelia Esparza. The following day, the procession will feature kids with painted faces, mariachis performing favorite songs of the dead and people carrying “altars on a stick.” LA Times

Click here for a full schedule of this weekend’s events at Self Help Grahics, click here for the full L.A. Times Article and click here to read my LA Taco interview with East LA artist Rosanna Esparaza, daughter of altar maker Ofelia Esparza, and learn more about her family’s long-time involvement with Day of the Dead preparations. This year Rosanna shared that her family’s “altar is dedicated to all the businesses that were established in East L.A.  during the time my mother was growing up. Many business owners were Russian, Jewish, German and French.  They spoke spanish to their Mexican patrons and extended credit to them.  Very interesting neighborhood.”

Well, let’s check it out!



For All Time
Written by KJ SANCHEZ

Scenic Designer – Amy C. Maier
Costume Designer – Elizabeth A. Cox

Lighting Designer – Geoff Korf
Sound Designer – Michael Hooker

Production Stage Manager – Lindsay Byrne

Community Partners include:
All Saints Church in Pasadena, The California Institute for Women, Families to Amend California’s Three Strikes (FACTS), Partnership for Re-Entry Program (PREP) and South Asian Network (SAN).

October 30 – November 23, 2008
@ Shakespeare Festival/LA
1238 W. 1st St.
Los Angeles, CA 90026

With three initiatives on the upcoming California ballot involving the state’s prison systems, local voters have the opportunity to gain perspective on the issues by attending a vital piece of theatre that center’s around the ins and out of our state’s criminal justice system.

For All Time looks at criminal justice head on by presenting real stories of victims, offenders, family members, law enforcement officials, lawyers, and the overall impact of criminal actions, the process of judgment, and the system of incarceration.

As these new initiatives call for nearly $1 billion in state funding for the prison system, along with the decriminalization of drug offenses and boosting penalties for gang-related activities, which will have a particularly devastating effect on young offenders, never are the themes in this play more crucial and more relevant.

“Rest assured that Cornerstone’s compassion and inclusiveness will be combined with a hot-button fearlessness.” – Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times

Times & Dates:
October 30 – November 23, 2008
Thursdays – Saturdays at 8:00p.m.
Sundays at 3:00p.m.
Plus Wednesdays November 12 & 19 at 8:00p.m.

To Purchase Tickets:
or call (800) 838-3006
Reserved tickets are $20 online
Pay-What-You-Can tickets available at the door

For information about talk-backs and community dialogues, call (213) 613-1700 x. 33
or visit our website and sign-up for e-mail updates.


Free Screenings of Four Los Angeles-Themed Documentaries at L.A. Archives Bazaar This Saturday

Archives Live posterFour Council-supported films, “The New Los Angeles,” documenting the city’s recent political and social history; “The Eastsiders,” about the historic Central Avenue area before 1965; “Chicano Rock,” Jon Wilkman’s film tracing the history or rock ‘n roll and Latino identities in East Los Angeles; and “Chinatown Remembered: Los Angeles During The 1930s And 1940s,” about the creation of first planned Chinese American community in the United States, will be screened at the L.A. Archives Bazaar this Saturday.

The Bazaar, an annual gathering to show off Los Angeles history and provide a clearinghouse of information, features exhibits by local historical collections, museums and archives as well as book signings and panels on such topics as family genealogy and digital archives. The Bazaar runs from 10 am to 5 pm on Saturday, October 25 at the USC Davidson Conference Center, 3415 South Figueroa Street (at Jefferson Boulevard). See Map

Admission is Free. Parking is available for $8 at USC Parking Structure D next to the Davidson Center.

Film Screenings Schedule
Location: Cardinal Room and Gold Room, 2nd floor

“The New Los Angeles”
10:30-11:45 am

“The Eastsiders”
12:30-1:30 pm

“Chicano Rock! The Sounds Of East Los Angeles”
2-3 pm

“Chinatown Remembered:
Los Angeles During The 1930s And 1940s”
3:30-4:30 pm

Click here for the festival’s brochure.

directed by brian de palma (1976, 98 mins)
courtesy mgm home entertainment

new time!!!
gates at 5:30pm. Film at 7:00pm.
$10 donation tickets available at gate. parking $5.

hollywood forever cemetery
6000 santa monica boulevard at gower
no reservation necessary.

Sophisticated and terrifying, Carrie is one of our favorite horror movies ever! DePalma’s direction, Spacek’s fantastic performance and some great 70s cheese make this one of the scariest and most fun films in the canon. The humiliation of high school reaches its peak with the taunting of oddball student Carrie, who’s telekinetic powers allow her to exact a hair-raising revenge. The cast is top notch, including John Travolta, Karen Allen and PJ Soles with an unforgettable performance by Piper Laurie as the fanatical mom. Join us under the stars for this one-night-only screening of DePalma’s masterpiece.

For more information go to http://www.cinespia.org.

Through the passions and politics of a soccer match, solo theater artist Anzoategui explores the complexities of Latino identity in Los Angeles, and the nuances of being born to Argentine parents in a predominantly Mexican community.

I first saw Karen perform SER last year at CASA 0101 and knew that this very unique show was just at the beginning of what I hope will be a long career. Karen, along with other artists, will be performing tonight at 8:30pm as part of the Fall STUDIO series at the REDCAT. The STUDIO is a quarterly series of new work and works-in-progress featuring dance, theater, multi-media and music performances by Los Angeles area artists.

Click here for the full program.

And click here for a very spirited conversation with Karen about burlesque revival in Los Angeles.

“I’m also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said such things as, “Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.” Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer’s no, that’s not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, ‘He’s a Muslim and he might be associated terrorists.’ This is not the way we should be doing it in America.”

“I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine.  It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.  And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son’s grave.  And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone.  And it gave his awards–Purple Heart, Bronze Star–showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death.  He was 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn’t have a Christian cross, it didn’t have the Star of David, it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith.  And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey.  He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life.  Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourselves in this way.  And John McCain is as nondiscriminatory as anyone I know.  But I’m troubled about the fact that, within the party, we have these kinds of expressions.”

“And I’ve also been disappointed, frankly, by some of the approaches that Senator McCain has taken recently, or his campaign ads, on issues that are not really central to the problems that the American people are worried about. This Bill Ayers situation that’s been going on for weeks became something of a central point of the campaign. “Mr. McCain says that (Bill Ayers)’s a washed up terrorist, but then why do we keep talking about him? And why do we have the robocalls going on around the country trying to suggest that because of this very, very limited relationship that Senator Obama has had with Mr. Ayers, somehow Mr. Obama is tainted. What they’re trying to connect him to is some kind of terrorist feelings. And I think that’s inappropriate. Now, I understand what politics is all about, I know how you can go after one another and that’s good. But I think this goes too far, and I think it has made the McCain campaign look a little narrow. It’s not what the American people are looking for.”

“I think the American people and the gentlemen running for president will have to, early on, focus on education more than we have seen in the campaign so far.  America has a terrible educational problem in the sense that we have too many youngsters not finishing school.  A third of our kids don’t finish high school, 50 percent of minorities don’t finish high school. We’ve got to work on this, and my, my wife and I are leading a campaign with this purpose.

Also, I think, the new president has to realize that the world looks to America for leadership, and so we have to show leadership on some issues that the world is expecting us to, whether it’s energy, global warming and the environment.  And I think we have to do a lot more with respect to poverty alleviation and helping the needy people of the world.  We need to increase the amount of resources we put into our development programs to help the rest of the world.  Because when you help the poorest in the world, you start to move them up an economic and social ladder, and they’re not going to be moving toward violence or terrorism of the kind that we worry about.”

Click here to read the full transcript and access to video clips of the MSNBC interview.

Adramelech’s Monologue ~ Bootleg Theater ~ Through Nov. 12 ~ Echo Park

Adramelech’s Monologue @ The Bootleg Theater ~ 2220 Beverly Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90057

Tuesdays and Wednesday Through November 12th @ 8:30 P.M.

“The actor does not walk into the theatre, the actor moves forward with the theare between its teeth.”- Valere Novarina

If you need stories that begin with “Once Upon a Time…” and end with some semblance of understanding what just happened, Adramelech’s Monologue is not for you. In fact, if the name is already a turn-off, stay out of Adramelech ’s kitchen. If however, you deal in words, treasure in-your-grill acting, and are drawn to the work of Gertrude Stein and Sam Beckett, this 50-minute performance piece by Valere Novarina is for you.

The work is a sprawling, insane, babbling monologue by a bug-eyed lunatic with a shaved head and unshaven face. He is clearly a writer (it takes one to know one). He looks like an inmate and in one way or another, is a prisoner to his own sharp mind. Dominated by a massive white wall of blank paper, his floorboards stuffed with crumpled paper sheets, and his floor strewn with more of the same, Adramelech has apparently spent untold insomniac days and nights, maybe even weeks, with one fuck of a case of writer’s block. The emptiness of the barren paper looms so large over this man, he has become a shell, a revolving-door depository for learned, repeated, and written words.

Click here for full LA Taco review by Taco writer Hadley.