Barrio Logan at the Epicenter of Grassroots Arts & Culture Movement
By Brent E. Beltrán
Word is out that Barrio Logan is a thriving, happening community that treasures its art and culture. Not a week goes by without some type of artistic happening taking place within this predominantly Mexican neighborhood.
Places like Chicano Park, Voz Alta, The Roots Factory, Glashaus, Bread & Salt and even the placita at Mercado del Barrio feature a variety of arts and culture events that showcase the desire to create and present. This weekend is no different.
The first annual Barrio Art Jam and the second annual Barrio Film Fest are going down simultaneously. The neighborhood may be relatively small but there is plenty of artistic space for both of these grassroots ventures to thrive.
The Barrio Art Jam is the brainchild of, and organized by, Latin jazz trumpeter Bill Caballero with help from Voz Alta Project Gallery curator Carlos Beltran. When asked where the idea for the event came from Bill Caballero stated: “The Barrio Art Jam kind of grew out of the jam session that we do at Voz Alta. Let’s do the same thing but on a larger scale.”
This combination of music and art, to be held at the recently opened Bread & Salt arts venue in Logan Heights, will showcase some of the best local talent in the Latin music genre as well as a collection of posters from past Voz Alta shows designed by many of San Diego’s finest underground artists.
There will be two rooms dedicated to live music. While a band performs in one room another will be setting up in the other to start immediately after the aforementioned group finishes. This will provide a constant source of music for those in attendance with no dead time in between acts.
For only $10, which will go directly to the musicians, you will get to hear regional musical standouts Cantua, Surefire Soul Ensemble, Son de San Diego, Afrojazziacs, Israel Maldonado and Quinteto Caballero, the Latin jazz group fronted by Bill Caballero. Each of these performers presents their own unique take on various types of Latin music.
Some of the artists whose posters will appear include Salvador Gonzalez, Milo Lorenzana, Acamonchi, Armando de la Torre, Ted Washington, Ben Grillo, Brandon Roth, Rob Benavides, Irma Aguayo, Jimmy Ovadia and Anselmo Garcia among many others. Besides this exhibit their work has been shown at various local venues and galleries including Barrio Logan’s Voz Alta, The Roots Factory and The Spot.
“I’m picking the best posters. There’re probably over thirty posters that artists have designed for their art shows. We’re going to pull out all of the raddest. The posters are from poetry events, music events and from art shows. The top guys in San Diego, my choice of top guys,” says Beltran.
In addition to the artists above Bread & Salt artist-in-residence and former gallery owner Roberto Salas will have an open studio showing some of his artwork.
Barrio Logan restaurateur Gail Covner of Blueprint Café will also offer a variety of culinary goodies for sale including beef sliders grilled to order, her signature salad that features chicken, nuts and a delicious spicy lime dressing, as well as fresh baked cookies and soft drinks for those that skipped dinner or get the munchies.
This mixture of aural delights and eye popping visuals is a must attend for all lovers of Latin art and culture. “People should come if they enjoy listening to good music, spontaneous music, and they can appreciate some cool artwork on the walls by people from this general area,” finishes Caballero.
So get off your nalgas and cruise down to the barrio for a great time.
But that is not all that is taking place in one of San Diego’s most historic neighborhoods!
The firme folks at The Roots Factory, with a little help from the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park, are bringing the community at large their second annual Barrio Film Fest. Last year’s festival, which was run on a shoestring budget, was a hit. Now that they’ve teamed up with MOPA, and have a slightly larger budget, this year’s Barrio Film Fest is sure to build on the success of last year’s event.
Barrio Film Festival screenings take place in the evening this Saturday and Sunday at MOPA. Some of the films that will be presented include:
- The Unique Ladies, a documentary on San Diego’s only all female lowrider car club
- Everything Comes from the Streets, a documentary on the history of lowriding in the San Diego/Tijuana area
- The Sakumentary, a documentary on street artist SAKE
- Tales of Masked Men, a documentary on “the colorful, fascinating and mysterious world of lucha libre”
- Ciudad Merced, “a poetic journey through life’s rhythms and spaces in one of the oldest and most vibrant neighborhoods of Mexico City”
- Bombing Arizona, “Underground street artists in Arizona seek to express, create, and inspire, whether or not their creations are legal”
- Hey Vato, “Two philosophical cholo puppets talk about love, life and possibly your mom”
The film festival is being promoted as a “showcase of independent short films, art & music.” In addition to the numerous screenings that will take place at the MOPA facilities there are also a variety of ancillary arts programming at different venues including at Barrio Logan’s The Roots Factory and The Spot as well as at musical locales the Ken Club and Til-Two Club.
Though it may be a film festival whenever Bob Green and Ana Brown of The Roots Factory produce an event there is always art and music involved. This one is no different.
There will be a Kickoff Party on Friday, September 20 at Til-Two Club featuring music video screenings and live music by LA reggae band Arise Roots and San Diego punk/ska groups Eskera and Mala Salud plus the hip hop sounds of Scatterbrain.
During the afternoon of Saturday, September 21 there will be a Group Art Show at The Roots Factory and a simultaneous Video Installation happening at The Spot. When Saturday’s screenings conclude at MOPA there will be a Barrio Film Fest After Party at The Ken Club featuring live cumbias by Viento Callejero and Cumbia Machin.
On Sunday, September 22, when the festival ends at MOPA, an Awards Gala will honor the filmmakers at The Spot and put the final stamp on the weekend with live music by Quita Penas.
This weekend is just one example of the vibrant culture that originates and takes place in Barrio Logan. There are many artistic actions that take place in La Logan on a regular basis. Come out and support grassroots arts and culture.
Barrio Art Jam takes place from 9pm until 1:30am at Bread & Salt located at 1955 Julian Ave. For more info visit.
Barrio Film Festival locations include:
Museum of Photographic Arts: 1649 El Prado
Roots Factory: 1878 Main St. (in the alley behind Ryan Bros. Coffee)
The Spot: 1835 Main St
Ken Club: 4079 Adams Ave
Til-Two Club: 4746 El Cajon Blvd
For more info on times and cost visit.