Film & Theater

Thumbnail image for Lena Horne: A Great Lady Who Broke the Color Line

Lena Horne: A Great Lady Who Broke the Color Line

by John Lawrence 03.31.2015 Culture

Lena Horne was the first black woman to get a contract with a major Hollywood Studio

By John Lawrence

Born into a black bourgeoisie family in 1917, Lena Horne was signed up in the NAACP by her grandmother, Cora Calhoun Horne, a college graduate, at the age of two. The Hornes owned a four-story residence in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn.

The distinguished Horne family included teachers, activists and a Harlem Renaissance poet. Lena’s uncle became dean of a black college. According to James Gavin’s biography of Lena, Stormy Weather, the black bourgeoisie were descendants of favored slaves “privileged blacks who, by virtue of their brains or their sexual allure to their masters, had worked in the house, not in the field. During the decade-long heyday of Reconstruction, they’d used their cachet to start businesses and gain social standing.”

Lena’s grandmother drilled into her respectability at all costs. She was to use proper diction, no dialect allowed, and always present herself as a lady. Cora was a determined fighter for black causes, and, despite her disdain for whites, she married a white man. According to Gavin, Cora’s cafe au lait skin, thin lips and delicate nose betrayed generations of intermingling with whites. Her maiden name, Calhoun, came from her father’s slavemaster in Georgia, Dr. Andrew Bonaparte Calhoun. His uncle was Senator John C Calhoun who championed slavery as God’s will.

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for Celebrations of César E. Chávez Span Six Weeks Around San Diego

Celebrations of César E. Chávez Span Six Weeks Around San Diego

by Staff 03.26.2015 Activism

“The legacy of the United Farm Workers union in its first decade provides us with key lessons for the present and future. It reminds us that grass-roots power organized and deployed by ‘disposable’ workers, fearlessness in the face of corporate exploitation, and the political uses of music, theater, and ritual can change history. In 2015, in a society based on greed and personal ambition, we ignore these lessons at own peril.” –Jorge Mariscal, Professor, UC San Diego

While Monday, March 31st is the official César E. Chávez day, activities celebrating his legacy as a labor and civil rights leader will continue into May. The day is commemorated to promote service to the community in honor of his life and work. The ongoing activities are about continuing that legacy.

Thanks to the UCSD Blink, produced by the faculty and staff of that fine institution, for providing us with a list of activities over the next six weeks honoring the life and achievements of César E. Chávez.

Read the full article → 5 comments
Thumbnail image for Change Is Still in the Air for San Diego Latino Film Festival 2015

Change Is Still in the Air for San Diego Latino Film Festival 2015

by At Large 03.26.2015 Culture

By Mukul Khurana

Day 3+ began with EN FAMILIA, the shorts program meant for the whole family, which had some charming and funny entries: CHULA (Puerto Rico 2014) directed by Victoria Sorberal, was one of those funny and entertaining shorts. Bebo can’t be found on his wedding day! Various detours later, it is a happy wedding. But first…

Also from the islands, THE EXTRAORDINARY MR. JUPITER (Puerto Rico 2014) directed by Federico Torres Fernandez turned out to be a lovely magical tale of romance. True love is hard to find—but not if you are a magician. ***** Life can be cruel. Sometimes, only flowers can soften the blow. In EL MAESTRO Y LA FLOR (Mexico 2014) directed by Daniel Irabien, a teacher must decide what he is willing to give up for love.

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for Change is in the Air at the San Diego Latino Film Festival 2015

Change is in the Air at the San Diego Latino Film Festival 2015

by At Large 03.19.2015 Culture

By Mukul Khurana

It seems hard to believe that the San Diego Latino Film Festival has been around for 22 years, but it’s true! But with full adult status, come some growing changes. In the background since last year, a transition has been achieved from the Hazard Center to the Fashion Valley Center. But those are not the only changes to be felt.

Phillip (Phil) Lorenzo has returned to SDLFF as Exhibition Director after a seven year absence during which he worked with SDAFF. One other thing that was different this year—it didn’t rain to mark the beginning of the festival. Instead, we were in the throes of a heat wave courtesy of our Santa Ana winds (in keeping with climate change predictions).

The people who braved the heat were rewarded by the usual excellent shorts on the first day in the form of DOCU-SHORTS. The unusual mix included a short about the decline of marriage and partnership over time, a maternity home for pregnant women in Cuba, and a photographer’s story (a man in Castro’s rebel army), among others.

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for The Rep’s Oedipus El Rey: A Greek Classic Meets Chicano Mysticism

The Rep’s Oedipus El Rey: A Greek Classic Meets Chicano Mysticism

by Doug Porter 03.17.2015 Courts, Justice

By Doug Porter

We are fortunate to live in a city where theater and the performing arts flourish. San Diego’s offerings are enriched by companies large and small; those that hew to tradition and those willing to stretch the limits of artistic expression.

The San Diego Repertory Theatre has been at it for nearly four decades, “promoting a more inclusive community through work that nourishes progressive and social values.” The current production of Oedipus El Rey speaks to those values through a modern day adaptation of Sophocles’ classic Greek drama, first performed in 429 B.C.

The ancient temples of Thebes are recast as the barrios of Southern California. Greek mysticism is supplanted by Mexican mythology. And the city-state is presented as gang turf. The familiar chorus from Greek theater is now bilingual and just as nuanced as ever.

Read the full article → 1 comment
Thumbnail image for ‘The Grift':  Mysteries and Cons at the Lafayette Hotel

‘The Grift': Mysteries and Cons at the Lafayette Hotel

by Alejandra Enciso Guzmán 03.07.2015 Editor's Picks

Theater without the seat

By Alejandra Enciso Guzmán

Sometimes the word “theater” can be an intimidating one. Different festivals and companies around the world are recognizing that feeling of intimidation and have designed productions in non-theater related spaces like basketball courts, school yards, parking lots and so on. San Diego is also exploring this dynamic with events such as The Fringe and WoW (Without Walls) festivals.

Each festival, as with every project, entails a learning process. Since the WoW festival is designed to happen every two years, there are several shows in prep for it which give people the idea of the festival. These shows also act as a thermometer, testing out audience’s response to the building hype.

“The Grift,” the latest presentation in the WoW series, is a very particular, creative and innovative way to not only attract new audiences but to also boost teamwork and new relations and friendships. This theatrical event was created exclusively for the Lafayette Hotel, a California boutique hotel located in North Park since 1946.

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for 5 Takeaways After Watching ‘The Hunting Ground,’ the New Documentary on Campus Sexual Violence

5 Takeaways After Watching ‘The Hunting Ground,’ the New Documentary on Campus Sexual Violence

by Source 03.06.2015 Culture

By Sandra S. Park / ACLU Blog of Rights

Agonizing. Enraging. Inspiring. These are a few words that came to mind after watching “The Hunting Ground,” a new documentary on campus sexual violence that opened this past weekend.

Like “The Invisible War,” the Oscar-nominated documentary on military sexual violence also created by Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, “The Hunting Ground” makes the case that there are systemic problems at colleges and universities to addressing sexual assault that must and can be confronted, right now.

As public debate continues on how we can best respond to campus sexual violence, the film makes an important contribution by highlighting the voices of survivors, their parents, and university staff in rallying together to become advocates.

Read the full article → 1 comment
Thumbnail image for Many Battles Being Fought Over Climate Change

Many Battles Being Fought Over Climate Change

by Doug Porter 03.05.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

The State of California Water Resources Control Board says residential water conservation is not working and there are rumblings about adopting permanent, rather than emergency water conservation measures.

Former Todd Gloria staffer Nicole Capretz has started a non-profit group to keep pressure on the City of San Diego as the Climate Action Plan moves from concept to reality. Activist groups, led by the local chapter of 350.org and the Environmental Health Coalition staged a rally in Balboa Park on Monday to urge local leaders to move decisively.

And a two-decade-long study by scientists with the University of Southern California offers up proof that declining air pollution is measurably improving children’s health.

There’s all this and much more in today’s news wrapup…

Read the full article → 3 comments
Thumbnail image for 22nd Annual San Diego Latino Film Festival Media Kick-Off Party (Video)

22nd Annual San Diego Latino Film Festival Media Kick-Off Party (Video)

by Horacio Jones 03.04.2015 Culture

By Horacio Jones

For 22 years the San Diego Latino Film Festival put on by the Media Arts Center has brought great independent cinema to San Diego. It has become a unique event that many locals look forward to every year.

This year the film festival has moved their venue to AMC Fashion Valley 18 and has a new sponsor – San Diego County Lexus Dealers. During the Media Kick-Off Party I caught up with festival founder Ethan van Thillo, who gave a preview about what to expect during this year’s film festival. Several local filmmakers and actors were also in attendance and I interviewed Adriana Bush about her local documentary “Jessica Fights Back.” I also got to speak with a young local actress, Johanna Trujillo about her starring role in “Lake Los Angeles.”

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for The “Darrell Hammond Project” at the La Jolla Playhouse

The “Darrell Hammond Project” at the La Jolla Playhouse

by Alejandra Enciso Guzmán 02.19.2015 Culture

By Alejandra Enciso Guzmán

When the name “Darrell Hammond” is heard or read, the immediate association is with Saturday Night Live and comedy. Hammond holds the title for being the longest running cast member on the show (14 years), as well as for the most impressions by a single Saturday Night Live cast member: Bill Clinton, Regis Philbin, Dan Rather, John Travolta, Jesse Jackson, Richard Dreyfus, Jay Leno, Donald Trump and Sean Connery in the ever-popular “Celebrity Jeopardy” skits. He also has the distinction of being the person that has said the show’s catch phrase “Live From New York, It’s Saturday Night!” the most often.

In 2011, Hammond released his memoir “God, If You’re Not Up There, I’m F*cked: Tales of Stand-Up, Saturday Night Live and Other Mind-Altering Mayhem.” It was so well received that Hammond scaled the piece to a live performance. “The Darrell Hammond Project,” co-written with Elizabeth Steins, is the result.

Read the full article → 1 comment
Thumbnail image for Stories from Young Minds Taking the Stage

Stories from Young Minds Taking the Stage

by Ernie McCray 01.27.2015 Arts

By Ernie McCray

The Playwrights Project has been producing plays written by dramatists, under age 19, for 30 years.

It all begins with the California Young Playwrights Contest, a statewide competition.

This year there were 581 entrants, way more than usual, and the stories of eight extremely talented writers made it to the stage – at the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre at the Old Globe, no less.

Four of the plays earned full production and four are performed as staged readings – and I mean “staged,” because the Playwrights Project has no bounds when it comes to creative performances.

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for The American Sniper As Hero

The American Sniper As Hero

by Source 01.24.2015 Culture

By FDRDemocrat/ Daily Kos

The controversy over the movie American Sniper has predictably reopened the divide among many Americans over the Iraq War.  What is more interesting is how the choice made by director Clint Eastwood to choose a sniper as a heroic archetype unravels classic notions of what is considered heroism.

The concept of heroism has been with humanity since the beginning.  At it’s heart it contains a common thread where the hero (or heroine) risks themselves for the sake of others.

How then to adapt the heroic archetype to the profession of sniper?  This is no easy task.

Read the full article → 30 comments
Thumbnail image for ‘Steal Heaven’ Is a Must See

‘Steal Heaven’ Is a Must See

by Ernie McCray 01.10.2015 Arts

By Ernie McCray

This New Year, 2015, was already moving along nicely for me, but it shifted into high gear the other night when Maria and I went to see the San Diego RepertoryTheatre’s “Steal Heaven,” a play written by one of my favorite theater artists, Herbert Siguenza. This multitalented actor, playwright, director and producer is a founding member of Culture Clash, a performance group known for its rich satirical look at the world and its politics – from a Chicano perspective. I’ve loved everything they’ve ever done.

Read the full article → 4 comments
Thumbnail image for Herbert Siguenza on ‘Steal Heaven’: We Have More Power Than We Think

Herbert Siguenza on ‘Steal Heaven’: We Have More Power Than We Think

by Alejandra Enciso Guzmán 01.02.2015 Activism

The San Diego REP begins 2015 with Herbert Siguenza’s tribute to Abbie Hoffman

By Alejandra Enciso Guzmán

Abbie Hoffman was an American political activist who also founded the Youth International Party (Yippies) in 1968 and was known for his successful media events. The Yippies were likely to use ‘guerrilla’ theater or public pranks to bring attention to their causes.

Hoffman’s legacy lives on at the San Diego Repertory Theatre when it stages the world premiere of “Steal Heaven.” The production, which opens on January 10 is by Herbert Siguenza who also acts and co-directs along with Todd Salovey.

“Abbie Hoffman was a political figure of the sixties. Some people called him ‘crazy’ or ‘ultra-radical’ but the things he was saying back then have all come true,” …

Read the full article → 4 comments
Thumbnail image for San Diego Rep’s “Honky” Navigates the Murky Waters of Race, Rhetoric and Basketball Shoes

San Diego Rep’s “Honky” Navigates the Murky Waters of Race, Rhetoric and Basketball Shoes

by Alejandra Enciso Guzmán 11.12.2014 Culture

An interview with playwright Greg Kalleres about the West Coast premier

By Alejandra Enciso Guzmán

Greg Kallares felt inspired while writing TV commercials for Jordan and Nike during his undergraduate years in New York. As his insight into the advertising industry grew and his own writing progressed he felt the need to write a play.

“I was very much inspired by the industry,” Kalleres told the San Diego Free Press. “It is a very white industry. I was struck by how white it was and how comical it became to watch people discuss the demographics with a certain level of discomfort.”

Read the full article → 2 comments
Thumbnail image for San Diego Community Speaks Out Against Police Brutality

San Diego Community Speaks Out Against Police Brutality

by At Large 11.07.2014 Activism

Don’t Shoot: Show Love to Take Place in Barrio Logan  

By Nepantla Collective

In light of an ongoing epidemic of police brutality, both locally and around the globe, where targets are predominantly impoverished, marginalized and/or people of color, the Nepantla Collective will be hosting a one-day event in Barrio Logan, entitled “Don’t Shoot: Show Love”. This event will take place on Saturday, November 8, 2014 from 3pm to 10pm in in Barrio Logan’s Barrio Arts District.

Monica Hernandez of the Nepantla Collective breaks down why they decided to organize the events and why Barrio Logan was chosen as the venue:

A few years back, my best friend was severely brutalized and beaten by SDPD. Granted he had been rightfully stopped for a traffic violation & had drank a few beers that evening, but by no means did that warrant the excessive force that left his entire body severely bruised. He could barely walk for days, but what hurt me more than to see him in such physical pain, was the look in his eyes that reflected a loss of dignity, which had been brutally stripped from his soul that day.

It was the same look my brother had when he was released from incarceration after being arrested at a student protest. My brother had been charged with assault and battery of a police officer, when in fact it was them (about 3 – 4 officers) who had kicked and broken one of my brother’s ribs. Fortunately we had video footage of the incident and after over a year in court, the Superior Court of Alameda County not only dismissed all charges but also granted a factual finding of innocence.

Read the full article → 1 comment
Thumbnail image for San Diego’s German Film Festival Opens with an Explosive Journey into “The Dark Valley”

San Diego’s German Film Festival Opens with an Explosive Journey into “The Dark Valley”

by Jim Bliesner 10.16.2014 Culture

By Jim Bliesner

The fourth annual German Film Festival in San Diego opened on October 11 with “Das Finstere Tal” (The Dark Valley). It is an Austrian Western set in the Tyrol Mountains on the Italian border.  The film, directed by Austrian Andreas Prochaska,was the winner of eight German Film Awards.

“Das Finstere Tal” centers on a small family cult whose leader has six sons. They carry out a reign of terror upon the members who seek sanctuary in the camp, cradled in a crevice of the steep Tyrol Alps.

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for The Search for a Way Out of the Dark: “Rabbit Hole” Opens the Season at San Diego State University

The Search for a Way Out of the Dark: “Rabbit Hole” Opens the Season at San Diego State University

by Alejandra Enciso Guzmán 10.02.2014 Culture

SDSU School of Theatre, Television, and Film opens their 2014 – 2015 Theatre Season with David Lindsay-Abaire’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play

By Alejandra Enciso Guzmán

“Rabbit Hole” is the season starter at San Diego State University. It is directed by Peter James Cirino who is also Director of the San Diego Asian American Repertory Theater.

A shocking and sudden loss leaves young couple Becca (Katie Rich) and Howie (Christopher Yarrow) redefining their existence as they grow apart. Eight months into their loss, Becca’s younger sister Izzy (Courtnee Stagner)—a not too stable girl who loves to party—announces her unexpected pregnancy, adding a bitter-sweet ingredient to the already complex mix.

“Rabbit Hole” is a tough piece of work to put together and perform, especially with young actors. In this case, Cirino’s direction shines through the talented portrayals of its cast.

Read the full article → 1 comment
Thumbnail image for Trouble in Kingdom City: “If You Try to Repress Something, It’s Going to Come Out Somewhere Else…”

Trouble in Kingdom City: “If You Try to Repress Something, It’s Going to Come Out Somewhere Else…”

by Alejandra Enciso Guzmán 10.01.2014 Culture

By Alejandra Enciso Guzmán

Playwright Sheri Wilner was intrigued by a 2006 article she read in The New York Times about a controversial high school theatre department in a small Missouri town. She explained her impressions of the article during an interview with San Diego Free Press, how it triggered her play “Kingdom City” which opened with a world premier at The La Jolla Playhouse on September 4th.

“The article talked about how ‘Grease’ created some controversy in the school. And the next play that was being done was ‘The Crucible'; the principal was worried that that might cause controversy too, so he preemptively cancelled the play. I consider ‘The Crucible’ a masterpiece, I think it is one of the most important plays ever written. But if it where my 14 year old niece in the play, it becomes a different story. That was the fear I could understand.”

Read the full article → 7 comments
Thumbnail image for ‘Harlem, Harlem’ Revival Show Is a Groovin’ Tribute

‘Harlem, Harlem’ Revival Show Is a Groovin’ Tribute

by Ernie McCray 09.30.2014 Film & Theater

By Ernie McCray

I knew when I stepped into the theater for Harlem, Harlem that I would be shaking my booty in my seat.  I could feel it in the energy of those in the building with me.

The Ira Aldridge Repertory Players’ evening of music and dance was hosted at the Educational Cultural Complex in National City, but it was like a scene in Harlem — people smiling and flashing “What’s happening, y’all?” kind of greetings throughout the room.

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Vets 360

Vets 360

by Horacio Jones 09.13.2014 Film & Theater

SDFP videographer interviews members of the organization Veterans 360

Video by Horacio Jones

Upon moving into my new office I ran into an organization across the hall called Veterans 360 which is dedicated to helping veterans. Since I always felt that veterans have gotten a raw deal from the government in exchange for their honorable services to the country, I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to find out more about what could be done to help veterans and also find out for myself why they are having such a hard time getting back into civilian life.

Rick Collins, the founder of Veterans 360 was very accommodating and even helped to recruit some veterans who told us about their personal challenges since separating from the military and what they think needs to be done to alleviate the problem.

Read the full article → 1 comment
Thumbnail image for San Diego Rep Opens the Season with “The Pianist of Willesden Lane”

San Diego Rep Opens the Season with “The Pianist of Willesden Lane”

by Alejandra Enciso Guzmán 09.03.2014 Culture

A young girl’s gripping tale of art preserving life

By Alejandra Enciso Guzmán

Over the course of the past weeks, responses to the ALS ice bucket challenge have become viral sensations. At its heart, the ALS challenge is a testimony to the hope and courage of people living with the disease and the generosity of people who want to help cure it. The San Diego Repertory Theatre is opening its 39th season with the play “The Pianist of Willesden Lane.” Although it is set in a different time and under different circumstances, it too is a story of hope, courage, generosity–and virtuosity.

Read the full article → 1 comment
Thumbnail image for Baja Lovers: Ex-Pats in Mexico

Baja Lovers: Ex-Pats in Mexico

by Horacio Jones 08.31.2014 Editor's Picks

SDFP videographer interviews American ex-patriots living in Baja California

Video by Horacio Jones

Last week I had to travel to Rosarito for a video gig, so I took the opportunity to pay a visit to a couple of friends who had moved to Baja a few of years ago.  I decided it would also be a good idea to do some kind of story about ex-pats living in Baja while I was there.  So I paid Shari and Fernando a visit to see what it was like for them now that they live along the Baja coast.

During the trip we also met another Shari and an artist named Gretchen who has opened up a place called Art House Rosarito, where she lives, creates art and plans for sustainable communities.  She also opens up her home to other artists to stay and work at.

In this report they discuss what it’s like to live in baja, as well as the differences between the U.S. and Mexico.  This is an expansive subject and you could certainly make a feature documentary about it, and I hope in the future to be able to make a more comprehensive report on the subject. Who knows, maybe I’ll even make the move…

Read the full article → 6 comments
Thumbnail image for Robin Williams 1951-2014

Robin Williams 1951-2014

by Junco Canché 08.14.2014 Cartoons
Read the full article → 1 comment
Thumbnail image for Remembering Robin Williams: Laughter Unbound

Remembering Robin Williams: Laughter Unbound

by Source 08.13.2014 Arts

By Court Allen

My favorite comic and actor has passed away. The loss of such a talented and unique individual, one who has touched my life in so many ways over so many years, is really beyond words to describe. I was shocked to hear the news; it really threw me for a loop.

First, it should be noted that I have a general dislike for celebrities. I consider most of them vacuous and inane. They get paid ridiculous amounts of money for what they do, but they are the equivalent of court jesters. Despite this fact, we assign them a status better left to those with truly valuable impact, like teachers, scientists and civil rights advocates — folks far more deserving of celebrity.

My point? I never felt this way about Robin Williams. Never.

Read the full article → 5 comments