Film & Theater

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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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Thumbnail image for Vets 360

Vets 360

by At Large 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.

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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.

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Thumbnail image for Baja Lovers: Ex-Pats in Mexico

Baja Lovers: Ex-Pats in Mexico

by At Large 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…

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Thumbnail image for Robin Williams 1951-2014

Robin Williams 1951-2014

by Junco Canché 08.14.2014 Cartoons
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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.

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Thumbnail image for The Epic Battle between Doctor and Student Beneath the “Ether Dome”

The Epic Battle between Doctor and Student Beneath the “Ether Dome”

by Alejandra Enciso Guzmán 07.30.2014 Culture

La Jolla Playhouse stages Elizabeth Egloff’s exploration of ambition, pain relief and the beginning of health care as big business

By Alejandra Enciso Guzmán

The Ether Dome is an amphitheater in the Bulfinch Building at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. It served as the hospital’s operating room from its opening in 1821 until 1867. It was the site of the first public demonstration of the use of inhaled ether as a surgical anesthetic on October 16, 1846.

La Jolla Playhouse’s Mandell Weiss Forum has been transformed through Jim Youmans’ scenic design to portray that historic passage. Audience members witness how these men of medicine continued to search for the least painful way to surgically intervene. The play captures the circus like atmosphere that surrounded surgery during the mid-nineteenth century when both medical and non-medical staff offered various opinions on procedures carried out upon unanesthetized patients.

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Thumbnail image for The Return of Comic-Con International: Revenge of the Press Release

The Return of Comic-Con International: Revenge of the Press Release

by Brent E. Beltrán 07.23.2014 Arts

SDFP Writer Inundated with Comic-Con Related Emails

By Brent E. Beltrán

Last year I covered Comic-Con for San Diego Free Press. I wrote five articles in a series I called Adventures in Comic-Conlandia: A Nerds-eye View. You can read them here: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV & Part 5. This was my first attempt at writing about something I had loved since I started attending back in 1986. Though grueling I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and will cover the event again this week. I plan on being not so ambitious this year.

Sometimes Comic-Con sneaks up on you. You don’t know it is here until trolley station signs are written in Klingon or you’re standing in line for a happy hour beverage next to a Stormtrooper.

For me that wasn’t the case this year. You see, I’ve been inundated with press releases for the past month and it’s picked up even more within the last week. I’ve been sent hundreds of emails from the various media, toy and comic book companies that want to get the word out about their latest film, action figure or storyline.

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Thumbnail image for Welcome to Comic Con: Be Sure to Cover Your Ass

Welcome to Comic Con: Be Sure to Cover Your Ass

by Doug Porter 07.21.2014 Cartoons

By Doug Porter

The one of the largest collections of make-believe comes to San Diego this week, kicking off Wednesday night with Preview Night followed by four days of events running Thursday, July 24 through Sunday, July 27. More than 130,000  are expected for Comic Con 2014.

What should be a dream-come-true event for fans of the genres involved has turned out to be a nightmare in recent years as an institutional malaise about dealing with harassment issues has surfaced. Last year photographs of attendee derrieres were posted online after Comic-Con as some sort of sick tribute to the misogynist mentality that’s flourished in recent events in San Diego and other cities.

A group calling itself Geeks for CONsent is fighting back this year, circulating a petition aiming at getting Comic-Con International in San Diego (SDCC) to update its harassment policy. They’re asking for a “full harassment policy,” as well as anti-harassment signs and trained volunteers to deal with complaints.  

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Thumbnail image for Why Do We Love Apocalyptic Movies? The Two Basic Rules That Make Them So Addictive

Why Do We Love Apocalyptic Movies? The Two Basic Rules That Make Them So Addictive

by Source 07.19.2014 Culture

Mass annihilation is depressing, sure. But stories about it force us to imagine large-scale rebirth—and what kind of people we want to become.

By Christopher Zumski Finke / Yes!

There is a moment in the film Snowpiercer when the leader of a revolutionary uprising, Curtis, comes face to face with the man he must overthrow, Wilford. Great consequences hang in the balance of this meeting: Human extinction is possible; so is maintaining, in the name of survival, an unjust social structure dependent on slavery and violence.

After two violent but breathtaking hours of fever-pitch cinema, the two men quietly stand across a wooden table in front of a droning silver engine discussing the future of life on Earth. The frozen remains of an uninhabitable planet pass by through the windows.

I cannot get enough of the end of the world. Stories about the collapse of civilization and order—apocalyptic stories—endlessly seduce me. And I am not alone.

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Thumbnail image for The Orphan of Zhao: “Who wants to be another man’s equal? … To be powerful, one must be feared”

The Orphan of Zhao: “Who wants to be another man’s equal? … To be powerful, one must be feared”

by Alejandra Enciso Guzmán 07.18.2014 Culture

The story of loyalty, family and revenge at the La Jolla Playhouse

By Alejandra Enciso Guzmán

The latest piece currently on stage at the La Jolla Playhouse Mandell Weiss Theatre is a co-production of The Orphan of Zhao, the first Chinese play to be translated in the West. This adaptation by James Fenton is directed by Carey Perloff in conjunction with the San Francisco based American Conservatory Theater.

I am always amazed by the La Jolla Playhouse. This effort to bring different and diverse works to the stage is something not just to admire — it is something to also be grateful for.

“Staging an ancient Chinese epic for a contemporary American audience is like building a bridge between distant but entwined cultures,” shared Carey Perloff in his Director’s note.

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Thumbnail image for Film Critic Kim Jong-un Gives The Interview a Bad Review

Film Critic Kim Jong-un Gives The Interview a Bad Review

by Junco Canché 07.13.2014 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for The National American Theatre Conference in Tijuana: The Challenge of “Crossing Borders”

The National American Theatre Conference in Tijuana: The Challenge of “Crossing Borders”

by Alejandra Enciso Guzmán 07.05.2014 Culture

Tijuana and San Diego unite the border through theater

By Alejandra Enciso Guzmán

On Wednesday June 18th, more than one hundred people from different cities all over the United States crossed the border to Tijuana to discuss one thing: Theater. It was truly a historic moment. It had been years since the city of Tijuana had such a happening due to its violent chapters (which have since passed) and the bad and very widespread publicity that accompanied that time. People from San Diego just stopped crossing the border.

In November 2012 when the idea came about to organize a leg of the National American Theatre conference in Tijuana, it seemed to me that people were talking in a dead language. I was familiar with the mission of the Theatre Communications Group. It just was not as clear to me whether its reach could extend to the city of Tijuana and the rich cultural activity there.

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Thumbnail image for Latino Playwright Herbert Siguenza Talks Culture Clash, Perceptions and Legacy

Latino Playwright Herbert Siguenza Talks Culture Clash, Perceptions and Legacy

by Brent E. Beltrán 06.26.2014 Desde la Logan

The second of a two-part interview with the influential teatrista

By Brent E. Beltrán

I recently sat down with playwright and actor Herbert Siguenza for an interview about his work. This is Part II of the two-part interview.

In Part I we talked about his new play El Henry, a joint production between the La Jolla Playhouse and the San Diego Rep, and his next play Stealing Heaven about Yippie activist Abbie Hoffman.

In Part II we discuss the 30th anniversary of Culture Clash, him being a political writer, non-Chicano perceptions of his and Culture Clash’s work, his legacy as a teatrista and what he would say to aspiring Latina/o playwrights.

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Thumbnail image for Latino Playwright Herbert Siguenza Brings El Henry and Abbie Hoffman Into the 21st Century

Latino Playwright Herbert Siguenza Brings El Henry and Abbie Hoffman Into the 21st Century

by Brent E. Beltrán 06.25.2014 Desde la Logan

The first of a two-part interview with the influential Culture Clash teatrista

By Brent E. Beltrán

I’ve had the honor to work within the Chicano arts and culture community for over fifteen years as a publisher, curator, writer, organizer, volunteer and patron. I’ve met many wonderful and talented artists throughout this time.

One of them, Herbert Siguenza, gave me a call the other day and said he and his three year-old daughter Belen were across the street from my apartment to get a paleta from Tocumbo Ice Cream. He wanted to know if my son Dino and I were available to join them. Never wanting to miss out on a good conversation Dino and I decided to go meet up with them.

When we arrived Belen was splashing about in the Mercado del Barrio fountain and Dino quickly joined her. After the children got soaked we walked over to Tocumbo’s.

Since I had been meaning to interview Herbert regarding his new play El Henry I decided on the spot to interview him right outside the ice cream parlor. I opened my Voice Memos app on my iPhone and starting asking questions. This is the first of two parts. Minor editing was done to help the the piece flow.

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Thumbnail image for Get Out the Leather Jackets and the Bandanas: “El Henry” Is Coming to Town

Get Out the Leather Jackets and the Bandanas: “El Henry” Is Coming to Town

by Alejandra Enciso Guzmán 06.11.2014 Culture

El Henry will premiere Saturday June 14th…Shakespeare with a Latino twist.

By Alejandra Enciso Guzmán

The Without Walls (WoW) Festival is site specific theater held at different venues throughout San Diego. The La Jolla Playhouse showcased this program in October of last year to great critical acclaim. “While the central idea of Without Walls is about exploring new theatrical forms by moving beyond the traditional four walls of a theater, we’ve found over the past several years that WoW is just as much about collaboration,” said Playhouse Artistic Director Christopher Ashley.

The latest WoW production is El Henry, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part One, written by and starring Culture Clash’s Herbert Siguenza. Siguenza describes his artistic approach, saying “The original play is about the king and queen of England, my adaptation is about California in the future, the year 2045. I imagined that by that time, California will be in its majority Latino. So, all the characters in this play are Chicano and Latino.”

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Thumbnail image for Is There Something Fundamentally Wrong With Societal Expectations of Intimacy and Love?

Is There Something Fundamentally Wrong With Societal Expectations of Intimacy and Love?

by Source 05.30.2014 Culture

By Doctor RJ for Daily Kos

Human relationships sometimes don’t make a lot of sense. But there’s nothing that says they have to be “fair.” All of us have dreams and desires for the lives we would like to experience and who we think we might want to experience those lives with. Society has a way of making value judgments about a person if they’re a virgin in their 20s or unmarried in their 30s. But the whims of the fates don’t always give us what we want or who we want. Most people don’t go on a shooting spree when they get turned down. However, some do.

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Thumbnail image for Classic Children’s Stories Transformed through Electroluminescent Puppetry

Classic Children’s Stories Transformed through Electroluminescent Puppetry

by Alejandra Enciso Guzmán 05.14.2014 Culture

Moving sculpture and dance update stories of humanity’s universal struggles

By Alejandra Enciso-Guzmán

California, get your kids ready for a unique opportunity when two timeless tales come to the stage at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. On May 17 and 18 Lightwire Theater (New Orleans based) will bring its unique method of storytelling through its signature electroluminescent puppetry. The beloved characters in Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling and Aesop’s fable The Tortoise and the Hare are transformed by the cutting edge technology.

These two performances follow Lightwire Theater’s recent breakout success on America’s Got Talent where they received accolades from the judges and audiences. The production at the Segerstrom Center promises stunning imagery, compelling choreography and stirring music. As I mentioned in the piece regarding Alvin Ailey Dance Company, these types of performances are not around every day; it is indeed a great opportunity to have fun with the family and see new forms of artistic expression.

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Thumbnail image for A Look at a “Dangerous Friendship”

A Look at a “Dangerous Friendship”

by Ernie McCray 05.06.2014 Books & Poetry

By Ernie McCray

A couple of years ago at a showing of “Sing Your Song,” a documentary that highlights Harry Belafonte’s role in pursuits for human and civil rights, I met Ben Kamin, a scholar who has written much about the social struggles of those times. I just finished reading, with delight, his latest book, “Dangerous Friendship.”

The book puts the spotlight on Stanley Levison, a little known figure in the civil rights movement, who fully dedicated his life to helping Martin Luther King.

Regarding this man, Clarence Jones, another prominent aide to Martin, says “I am extremely upset, and I get angry, 24/7, and have been for many years about the glaring omission of the name and history of Stanley Levison in the civil rights chronicle.”

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Thumbnail image for California Premier of “Water by the Spoonful” at The Old Globe

California Premier of “Water by the Spoonful” at The Old Globe

by Alejandra Enciso Guzmán 05.06.2014 Culture

By Alejandra Enciso Guzmán

Over the course of eight years, playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes wrote three plays inspired by the experiences of her cousin, Elliot Ruiz. Each play stands alone, but taken together, the plays follow the history of a family. Each uses a different kind of music–Bach, Coltrane, and Puerto Rican folk music–to trace the coming of age of a bright but haunted young Puerto Rican man.

The first play Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue takes place in 2003-2004, when Elliot is 18 and 19 years old. The piece became a finalist for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in Drama.

The second one, Water by the Spoonful which won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Drama is set in 2009, six years after Elliot first left for Iraq. In this play the former marine is back in the United States working at Subway and trying to kick-start his acting career. In the final play The Happiest Song Plays Last, Elliot has returned to the Middle East – this time as a consultant on a film about the Iraq War.

The Old Globe ‘went to the middle’ and presented the California premiere of Water by the Spoonful.

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