JULY 9, 5:00 PM, $7
The Echo
1822 W. Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Info: 213-413-8200, http://www.attheecho.com
Contact: Rubén Martínez, 213 804 4682; ruben6211@mac.com

The third installment of VARIEDADES, a regular performance salon at the Echo in Echo Park, will focus on…ANARCHY!


The bill features the legendary Exene Cervenka of X and The Knitters fame, and founders of East L.A. punk Los Illegals… and on the other end of the generational spectrum, Chicano Son, a collective of young Eastside musicians fusing traditional music and radical politics. The evening also includes Richard Montoya of Culture Clash, interdisciplinary artist Marcus Kuiland-Nazario and the radical poet-techie of Electronic Disturbance Theater 2.0 and b.a.n.g.lab, creators of the Transborder Immigrant Tool, which helps migrants find their way to water in the desert. In addition, Iranian-American multimedia artist Amitis Motevalli will present and discuss an original short film.

There will also be special surprise guests—activists and artists all addressing the inspirational, wildly misunderstood, extraordinarily diverse world of anarchy, especially as it relates to Southern California.

VARIEDADES is co-hosted by writer and performer Rubén Martínez and playwright and cultural activist Raquel Gutiérrez, and directed by Colin Campbell. Each edition is focused on a different theme and brings together artists across generations and disciplines.

Background on the “anarchy” theme:
100 years ago, Mexican journalist and revolutionary Ricard Flores-Magón lived in Los Angeles at a time of tremendous political ferment—on both sides of the border. The term “anarchy” had widely divergent meanings depending upon who uttered and who heard it and it was often linked in the popular imagination with violent radicalism—the “terrorism” of the day.

But then there were the anarchists themselves, a motley cohort united only by their belief that a world free of capitalism and government in general was not just a theoretical possibility but realizable here and now. Flores-Magón spent years in Los Angeles trying to do just that, even establishing a commune in Edendale (about a mile and a half north of the Echo where we’ll be performing!) with equitable gender roles and an attempt at sustainable living. For attempting to enact his principles, he was jailed and convicted several times and ultimately died in federal prison.

Los Angeles is no stranger to dreamers and idealists. Across the 20th century and into the 21st the region has been a proving ground for radical and alternative communities of all kinds. And of course radical L.A. is alive and well today—from the Midnight Ridazz deconstructing the auto-distopia of the city with their guerrilla cycle riding to community farmers pitting sustainable agriculture against agribusiness.

VARIEDADES is inspired by the Mexican vaudeville shows in 1920s Los Angeles in which Martínez’s grandparents were regular performers.

The series is made possible by a generous grant from the Material World Foundation (http://www.georgeharrison.com/mwf/main.html) and Liz Garo and The Echo.

ARTIST BIOS

Many know Exene Cervenka as a lead member and co-founder of the legendary Los Angeles punk rock band, X. While that’s a good place to begin, it hardly defines her. Following the formal breakup of X—a band she still performs with on occasion—Exene continued her transformation into a more formidable solo artist by continuing to write musically—releasing critically acclaimed solo albums (1989’s Old Wives’ Tale and 1990’s Running Scared), within the print medium through poetry and books, in spoken word performances, and as a visual artist. She has also been a member of the groups Auntie Christ, the Original Sinners and the Knitters. She has just released a new solo album, The Excitement of Maybe.

Playwright/poet Richard Montoya is author of Water & Power, Palestine New Mexico, American Night: The Ballad of Juan Jose and The River. He is a founding member of the performance trio Culture Clash, which has been creating works for the national stage since 1984. He is committed to the dark and hilarious currents locked in the flotsam of America’s margins and border regions. Tea Baggers, Cartels, Militias and Taco Zonistas beware.

Los Illegals have been refried in the major press circles as” Tito Puente on LSD” since 1979 and helped kickstart the “80’s Eastside Renaissance.” The song “El Lay” off their Internal Exile LP became an anthem & rallying cry for the city’s marginalized and scapegoated. Their hard rebellious yet patriotic stances/performances have won them numerous awards, friends, enemies, and death threats. They have been documented and filmed by such luminaries as DA Pennebaker and Agnes Varda for broadcasts in Japan, Germany, Italy, and the UK. For their VARIEDADES PERFORMANCE, they will be joined by cellist María Elena Gaitán, AKA “Chola con Cello,” has created a body of work performed throughout the country and in Europe.

2nd generation LA native Marcus Kuiland-Nazario’s performance works have been featured in both national and international festivals both in and out of Drag at venues, including L.A.C.E, The Mark Taper Forum, REDCAT at the Disney Concert Hall, USC, UCLA, Highways Performance Space, ICA LONDON, and the Rompeforma festival in San Juan Puerto Rico. He is currently the host of Crafternoon, REDCAT Lounge’s adults-only monthly drop-in craft center and is Production Manager for the Los Angeles Library Foundation of Los Angeles’ new series This Is Your Library.

Amitis Motevalli was born in Tehran, Iran and moved to the US in 1977. Her work as an artist incorporates a combination of near-eastern aesthetic with a western art education. Amitis Motevalli is a recipient of the Center for Cultural Innovation Artistic Innovation Award, the Visions of California Award, fellowships from the California Community Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation Fellowship, and the NEA/Warhol Foundation. Motevalli is also the director of The William Grant Still Arts Center. http://www.amitismotevalli.com

Electronic Disturbance Theater 2.0 and b.a.n.g. lab has developed the “Transborder Immigrant Tool (TBT),” a cell phone designed to offer poetry and locative information to help migrants find water-caches in the southern California desert. The artists working on TBT are Brett Stabaum, Micha Cardenas, Amy Sara Carroll, Elle Mehrmand, and Ricardo Dominguez. The Transborder Immigrant Tool has been exhibited at the California Biennial 2010 (OCMA), Here Not There (MOCA, La Jolla), and recently in San Salvador, El Salvador. (http://bang.calit2.net/xborder)

Chicano Son brings together the experiences, sounds and cultural resistance of the Chicano community with the traditional instruments and styles of the son jarocho community. The members of Chicano Son come from such bands as East Side Punk band “Subsistencia”, Chicano Madness groove band “Blues Experiment”, traditional Son Jarocho group “Son de Madera”, conscience chicano cruising band “Slowrider”, Chicano Soneros “Mitiote” and austin Based “indie en espanol Ensemble “Maneja Beto”.

A writer and director for theater and film, Colin Campbell was nominated for an Academy Award for his short film, Seraglio. His play, Golden Prospects was nominated for five LA Weekly awards and was Critic’s Pick in TimeOut NY, LA Times and LA Weekly. He is currently in post-production on his third feature film, Guido, starring Alki David, Billy Zane, Armand Assante, Gary Busey and Lupe Ontiveros.

Raquel Gutiérrez is a community-based performance writer, playwright, community organizer and cultural activist. Gutiérrez is one of the co-founding members of the performance ensemble, Butchlalis de Panochtitlan (BdP), a community-based and activist-minded group aimed at creating a visual vernacular around queer Latinidad in Los Angeles. Gutiérrez is also the Manager of Community Partnerships for Cornerstone Theater Company, the leading purveyor of community-based theater in the United States. She holds degrees in performance studies from New York University and in journalism and Central American studies from California State University–Northridge.

A native of Los Angeles and the son and grandson of immigrants from Mexico and El Salvador, Rubén Martínez is a writer, performer and teacher. He is the author of several books, including Crossing Over: A Mexican Family on the Migrant Trail. As a musician, he has collaborated with the likes of Johnette Napolitano, The Roches, and Los Illegals. He is Fletcher Jones Chair in Literature and Writing at Loyola Marymount University

The Martínez del Río Band features Rubén Martínez and his longtime musical collaborator and guitarist Joe “City” García, native of New Mexico and weaver of Latin, spiritual and r&b style. The group is rounded out by Dennis Gurwell on accordeón, John Schayer on bass, and Andre Allen on drums.