SD Rep serves up a timely messageTop Highlights, Scene Out Thursday, August 2nd, 2012
Social Chaos: Scene Out
Zoot Suit is the first installment of San Diego REPertory Theatre’s 37th season. It is presented in partnership with The San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts. Written by Luis Valdez, considered one of the most important and influential playwrights living today, the musical is set in Los Angeles during World War II. It was around this time when young Latinos in California, for whom the media used the then-derogatory term Chicanos, created a youth culture. They adopted their own music, language and clothing. For the men, the style was to wear a zoot suit – a flamboyant long coat with baggy pegged pants, a pork pie hat, a long key chain and shoes with thick soles.
The rising action of the plot is the infamous Sleepy Lagoon murder. The Zoot-Suit Riots had racial and social resonances that ring true even in today’s society. In times of war and a downward economy there has always been a scapegoat. The main character, Henry Reyna (Lakin Valdez), wrongfully got arrested throughout his life. He was even accused of stealing a car which turned out to be his father’s. The lack of respect and abuse of power was dominant, as an officer stated in the musical, “You can’t treat these animals like people.”
At the end, the mythical character of “El Pachuco” (Raul Cardona) reminds the audience that there are many choices and many endings. The lesson of not turning a blind eye to prejudice may not reach all but hopefully it reached some. Gangs don’t sprout up from fair treatment, but from the disenfranchised. The musical runs till Aug.12. For more info visit sdrep.org
Saturday, we attended the opening reception for Xavier Ramirez’ Solo Art Show at The Roots Factory in Barrio Logan. Hip-hop music by Scatter Brain & V-Rock and Dathomir Horace filled the young and chill art space. Ramirez, who performs under the name Broth Goard, used props, sounds and movement to augment his dark-themed black-and-white paintings and drawings. The images were intriguing and everything had a street-art tone.
Kitty Diamond is now open across from Numbers, where Flame used to be. It’s been transformed into a mix of a live arts and performance venue; a couple of artists painted in the window and several items are available to browse and purchase inside the club. The beer was reasonably priced at $5 but the cocktails were pretty weak for $8. The bartenders were friendly and the music is definitely different from the other clubs we’ve been to in Hillcrest. We liked the vibe but the crowd was minimal even past midnight on a Saturday. We hope it picks up, it would be nice to have a place that attracts an eclectic crowd.
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