Ruben Torres’ 2nd Annual HeART of LUCHA
By Brent E. Beltrán
Local music and video producer, curator, lucha libre lover and all around cool vato Ruben Torres is organizing his 2nd annual HeART of LUCHA event. It is being billed as the “largest lucha art and culture exhibition in the nation.”
Last year’s inaugural exhibition took place at The Spot Barrio Logan. For the second installment Ruben has taken over the Centro Cultural de la Raza in Balboa Park where his other art series, HeART of Lotería, took place earlier this year. In addition to these two series he also organizes an annual winter toy and clothing drive for San Diego and Tijuana youth called Love Thy Neighbor (I wrote about it here).
I sent Ruben Torres a few questions about the Mexican fascination with lucha libre, his interest in it and what one can expect if they attend the opening of this exhibition.
What is the fascination with lucha libre within the Mexican community? Why is it so popular?
I believe that the fascination began within the community when Santo started becoming a huge film star in the late 1950’s and 60’s. He would fight all the villains just like Batman. To Mexicans, luchadores were our superheroes!
In some places it’s taken just as serious as boxing and soccer. It’s a working mans sport. The upper class had the theater and the working class had LUCHA LIBRE. There are certain wrestlers that carry on the tradition of concealing their identity behind a mask and the Mexican wrestling mask is now as much part of Mexican culture as a zarape, sombrero or tacos.
What is your connection to lucha libre and professional wresting? When did your interest begin?
As a kid I watched the old black and white films with Santo and Mil Mascaras fighting mummies. To me I actually did think they were superheroes when I would see them with their capes watching the matches on TV. It wasn’t till I was older that I actually attended any matches.
I went to high school with Rey Mysterio from World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and he was already wrestling. I wrestled in high school and he came to watch one day then he invited me to train in Tijuana. He explained that his uncle was Rey Mysterio, Sr. and that he would have his uncle train me. So I asked my parents if they would take me to Tijuana to train as a luchador and they said, “HECK NO!”
He went on to drop out of school and move to Mexico City and become a star. Years later in 1998 when he started out in Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling (WCW) he reached out to me for some entrance theme music and I got him some. Then I began to produce videos for WCW and all of their Mexican stars for about a year and a half. I later hooked him up with the guys from P.O.D. and Madd One for more music. I have always had a love for the sport!
What can one expect to experience at HeART of LUCHA?
This will be the 2nd annual event and it’s a bit larger than last year. This has now been extended to a two day event!
On Saturday October 19 we’ll have over 100 artists on display, live art, five live lucha libre matches produced by Oddity Wretling Alliance (O.W.A.) and we have live music by DJ Rudy Roots, Peet-O Perez, Beto Perez and the world renown B-Side Players. Make sure to arrive early and catch a screening of the award winning film Tales of Masked Men. The Craft Monsters are producing a full mercado outside the Centro Cultural de la Raza with local artisans selling and displaying their work.
On Sunday we will have more interactive family fun with vendors doing some workshops, live art, and some kid art, and O.W.A will also have some wrestlers on hand for meet and greets with the kids.
Also, Jose Alaniz (founder of O.W.A.) is encouraging the luchadores to wear pink for cancer awareness, so we will be asking everyone to wear a little bit of pink to this event to show support.
What’s the last thing you want to say about the event?
With these events we hope to bring ART to Life! I feel that we are preserving a piece of culture and tradition. With the success of last year’s event, I am positive that this event will be one to be remembered for a long time after. Combining my love for lucha libre and my love for art we get THE HeART of LUCHA! I truly believe that there is no other event like this around!
Some of the artists who will be displaying their lucha libre themed artwork include Frank Wallz, ShoLove, Kargawd, Chuy Espinoza, Tone Chingon, Jaime Garcia, Enrique Rivera, España Garcia, Dante Orpilla, Alex Avila, Mario Torero, Mario Chacon, Victor Ochoa, YEYO, Marisol de las Casas, Mex, Wendy Wolf, Jorge Piña, Lalo Alcaraz, Black Bat, Jonathan Mercado, Cesar Castañeda, Stephanie Cervantes, Isaura Rojas, ERTH ONE, Bat Brain, Buffalo One, Lekart, LALO, Mexican Fashion, LOOK4ME, SHEMO, Tanke, and 5 year old Osmar Hernandez.
The HeART of LUCHA weekend exhibition takes place October 19-20 at the Centro Cultural de la Raza in Balboa Park. Tickets for Saturday night (5pm-12am) are $10 for adults/$5 for students and only $3 for Sunday (12-7pm). For more info visit.
Here is my Las Monthly Ondas list of San Diego’s October ondas. By no means is it a complete list (for more click the Calendar tab at the top). These are events that I’ve chosen because they take place in Barrio Logan and surrounding communities or have some significance to me. The selections are mine alone. You don’t like? Take a hike.
Oct 1 – 6-8pm
Save Our Barrios Event for Community Control
The Save Our Barrios Coalition is hosting a community event to discuss details regarding the abandoned building (old Girl’s Club) at 606 S. 30th St.
Logan Heights Library
567 S. 28th St.
Oct 1-3 – FREE
San Diego City College International Book Fair
The 8th annual installment of this book fair features readings by Geraldine Brooks, Reyna Grande, Farell Foreman, Manuel Paul López and contributors from the anthologies The Far East: Everything Just as It Is and Queer in Aztlán: Chicano Male Recollections of Consciousness and Coming Out.
San Diego City College
Oct 2 – 7pm – FREE
Reading of THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF REBELS
Please join City Works Press to celebrate the release of a new book by local author and UCSD writing instructor Mel Freilicher. He will be reading from THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF REBELS in an event that is part of the San Diego City College International Book Fair.
DG Wills Books
7461 Girard Ave.
Oct 2 – 7-9pm – FREE
Update on Struggle for Ethnic Studies in Arizona
Get up to date info on the current struggle for ethnic studies in Arizona by Tucson Raza Studies teachers Sean Arce and Jose Gonzalez.
Centro Cultural de la Raza
2004 Park Blvd.
Oct 2 – 9pm – FREE
The Roots Factory Presents…
An evening of music with Cumbia Machin, DJ Chucuchu & Audio Amazon. No cover.
3936 30th St.
Oct 3-6 – $25
The Myth Project: Altar
The Myth Project: Altar is a dance theatre work highlighting UCSD’s Che Café, the historical, radical, youth-driven, iconic institution, which has been an eatery space and center for independence, political radicalism, alternative music, and art, since the early 1980s. It is based on interviews with muralists such as Mario Torero, and writings from archives, blogs and news articles.
9500 Gilman Dr.
Student Center B-0323C
Oct 3-6, 10-12
Logan Heights is a play by written by Josephina Lopez and directed by Bryant Hernandez that explores immigration, Latina identity and San Diego’s Logan Heights.
On Stage Playhouse
291 Third Ave., Chula Vista
San Diego Comic Fest! 2013
Some of the founders of the original Comic-Con have joined forces to bring you this mini comic convention. There won’t be any movie stars but there’ll be plenty of fun comic nerd stuff to enjoy.
Town and Country Resort and Convention Center
500 Hotel Circle North
Oct 5 – 10am – FREE
March for Dignity & Respect
Join thousands across the country to tell Congress: Just and fair immigration reform is necessary.
6th & Laurel
Oct 6 – 9:30am-4pm – FREE
Friendship: In the Zone
As part of Festival Tijuana Interzona, Border encuentro will be holding a day of cross-border art and activities within the friendship “zone” of the San Diego/Tijuana border.
Oct 6 – 11am-6pm – FREE
San Diego Zine-Fest
Buy, sell and trade your zines at the first annual San Diego Zine-Fest. Plus, live bands, DJs and food.
The Spot Barrio Logan
1835 Main St.
Oct 8 – 5-6:30pm – $5
Decorating Sugar Skulls Workshop
In this workshop, participants will learn about the significance of sugar skulls and will be taken through a step by step process to decorate their own sugar skull.
Sherman Heights Community Center
2258 Island Ave.
Oct 9 – 6pm – FREE
La Frontera: Artist Along the US Mexican Border
This art exhibition, part of the Festival Tijuana Interzona, features photographs of artistic life along the border by Stefan Falke.
Galería El Salón at Casa Familiar
114 West Hall Ave.
Oct 10 – 5-8pm – FREE
Acerca de la Cerca/About the Fence
The border fence separates the U.S. and Mexico, San Diego and Tijuana but it is also a site of interventions and interactions. Maria Teresa Fernandez, Carmela Castrejon, Paul Turounet and Ana Teresa Fernandez all contribute to this exhibition.
Mesa College Art Gallery
7250 Mesa College Dr., D101
Oct 10 – 6pm – FREE
Political Equator Exhibition with Teddy Cruz
Check out this art exhibition and talk with urban planning guru Teddy Cruz.
147 W. San Ysidro Blvd.
Oct 10 – 6:30-8:30pm – FREE
KNSJ 89.1 San Diego Mayoral Candidate Forum
Representatives from the San Diego Free Press, La Prensa San Diego, Voice of San Diego, and City Beat have been invited to ask questions of invited mayoral candidates David Alvarez, Kevin Faulconer Nathan Fletcher, Mike Aguirre and Bruce Coons.
Cal Western School of Law
225 Cedar St.
Oct 12 – 6-9pm
Art Pulse Six Year Anniversary
Art Pulse invites you to join the celebration of their 6 year anniversary and big, new move to Bread & Salt in Barrio Logan. There will be live music, food trucks, libations, art and more.
Bread & Salt
1955 Julian Ave.
Oct 17 – 6-9pm
Omali Yeshitela: One Africa! One Nation! One Party! Tour
Check out the words and power of Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the African Peoples Socialist Party and one of the foremost African revolutionary theoreticians as he continues the struggle for African liberation.
World Beat Center
2100 Park Blvd.
Oct 18 – 6-10pm
Queer in Aztlán Book Reading
Join the editors and some contributors to the anthology Queer in Aztlán: Chicano Male Recollections of Consciousness and Coming Out as they read from the book.
3909 Centre St.
Oct 19-20 – $5-$10
HeART of LUCHA Art and Culture Exhibition
In collaboration with the historic Centro Cultural de la Raza gallery in Balboa Park, HeART of LUCHA will feature the largest lucha libre inspired art exhibition in the nation. Plus, music by The B-Side Players and local DJ’s.
Centro Cultural de la Raza
2004 Park Blvd.
Oct 24 – 6:30-9pm – FREE
Environmental Justice and the State Exception
USD Department of Ethnic Studies presents the 11th annual Ethnic Studies Labovitz-Perez Lecture featuring professor Devon Peña. He will discuss the limits and contradictions facing the environmental justice movement as it enters the third decade of activism.
University of San Diego
Oct 25 – 1pm-3:30pm – FREE
Environmental Justice and Water
Professor Devon Peña, a nationally and internationally recognized scholar, will speak on water and environmental justice concerns amongst Chicana/o, Mexican, and indigenous communities in a transborder context.
San Diego State University
Hardy Tower 140
Oct 25 – 5pm – $5-$10, No one turned away
“Let Um Hear Ya Comin” Film Screening
The screening of this independent Black Power film will also feature speeches, poetry, hip hop and reggae. Organized by the Black Riders Liberation Party and Committee Against Police Brutality.
World Beat Center
2100 Park Blvd.
Oct 26 – 5:30-10pm – $40
Noche de Mole
This event serves as the Historic Barrio District CDC‘s Annual Fundraiser. The highlight of the evening is the delicious variety of mole sauces, a traditional Mexican cuisine which is also a common offering during Día de los Muertos. The event also features live entertainment and a silent auction. Guests also get to enjoy a preview of the community altars, before they are open to the public.
Sherman Heights Community Center
2258 Island Ave.
Oct 30, Nov 1-3
Journey of the Skeletons: A Día del los Muertos Showcase
A día de los muertos inspired play directed by Hector Rivera & Bernardine Hernandez. Plus, a Día de los Muertos art exhibit and live music.
10th Ave. Theatre
930 10th Ave.
Regular Barrio Logan area happenings:
LATIN JAZZ JAM – Donations Welcome
Check out one of San Diego’s finest musical treasures, Bill Caballero, as he hosts his weekly Latin jazz jam every Thursday from 7-10pm at Voz Alta Project, 1754 National Ave., Barrio Logan
SOBRERUEDAS EN EL BARRIO: Neighborhood Market
Sobreruedas en el Barrio is a neighborhood market featuring local vendors from the Greater Logan Heights community. The market is located on 30th Street between Imperial Avenue and L Street, and is open every other Sunday from 10am-2pm. Next markets: October 6 and October 20
Get involved in Barrio Logan! The Barrio Logan Association community benefit maintenance assessment district meets monthly. Next meeting is Thursday, October 17 at 6pm at San Diego Public Market.
The Chicano Park Steering Committee meets monthly at 3pm in the Kiosco in Chicano Park. The next meeting is Sunday, October 27.
If you want your event to be considered for a future Desde la Logan listing send an email with event info to firstname.lastname@example.org.