Que vivan los Latinos! No doubt about it, your voice IS going to get hoarse from yelling all the Viva la Independencia!, Viva la Revolucion!, Vivan los bacon-wrapped hot dog carts!, and the countless other reasons you have to shout during Latino Heritage Month in September and October.
From the Valley, to Los Angeles, to Santa Ana in la naranja, and straight into the heat of the Inland Empire, a long history of So-Cal Latinos have put their blood, sweat and tears into organizing the most monumental, largest Latino Heritage Month celebrations in the nation! Oh, and we’re definitely NOT talking about Mayor Villaraigosa’s opening ceremonies or the countless fiestas patrias festivals and parades you will find in all major So-Cal cities…we’re talking about the community street cruisin’ that stops traffic for hours druing this month. From cholos in lowriders blasting Kid Frost, to our proud So-Cal rockabillies and greasers riding around in pimped out beach cruisers, to rowdy kids just running in the streets with flags–a thing of beauty!
In between your Latino Heritage street cruisi’n, checking out Sheila E. at the opening ceremonies, and hitting up the food stands at the festivals, make sure you fit in the many alternative and indie events this month that serve as daily reminders that it’s pretty damn good to be Latino.
On top of all the obligatory festival goodness, we have 5 top picks so you can have your pastel de tres leches, and eat it too!
Kicking off this month, Miss Lebron is a play that celebrates the life of Puerto Rican nationalist and badass Lolita Lebron. Written by Rene Solivan and directed by founder of East L.A. Rep, Jesus A. Reyes, the play takes an intimate look into Lolita’s life and noble struggle to keep the soul of Puerto Rico alive by fighting to take the island out of the grasp of United States’ imperialism.
Where: Breath of Fire
When: September 4-September 26
Why it makes us proud: An endless list of pride…from hunger strikes to being charged with murder–the revolutionary Lolita kicks all kinds of imperialists’ ass, timely for the Wise Latina Sotomayor craze, written by an up and coming Latino playwright, and now for the clincher: performed at Breath of Fire Theatre in downtown Santa Ana–a theatre that promotes Latino representation in the performing arts despite being surrounded by all kinds of gentrifying gabachos and their estarbuks and lofts.
EL MOVIMIENTO CHICANO
As part of the Downtown L.A. Art Walk this month, the walk will be taking a stop at the Latino Museum of History, Art and Culture. On display? The original photography of Oscar Portillo, taking you back to one of the most important political times for Chicano identity formation.
Where: The Latino Museum
When: Thursday, September 10
Why it makes us proud: This museum is home to much contemporary art from both emerging artists and established artists like the swirling colorful work of Patssi Valdez. On this day, thousands of people will get to see the space that promotes the arts for Latino youth, keeps an archive of art work from Self Help Graphics, and now brings you some moving photography from the 60’s and 70’s streets of El Movimiento Chicano. Enough said.
Chinos en Argentina, say wah?! Take a trip into the supermercados chinos of Argentina through the North American premiere of documentary film ArgenChino. The film takes us through the personal stuggles of the Chinese immigrant community in Argentina as they fight for their place in the national culture. Plus cocktails and afterparty with music from DJ’s the Markness and Alex Stassi.
Where: The Mandrake
When: Monday, September 14
Why it makes us proud: Okay, don’t get it twisted! We don’t think Latinos excluding our Chinese familia over in Argentina or los Chino Latino barrios in Nueva York or Peru or donde sea is a source of pride. But it does make us proud to see a fresh new film holding a mirror up to our community–what are our misconceptions, where do we exclude and judge, and most importantly, how do we live with diversity? This film can only come from a place of love–some arte for your soul to move our Latino folks in a positive direction.
MUCHO MEXICAN INDEPENDENCE
Celebrate el Dia de la Independencia Mexicana with an alternative to Fiestas Patrias. The Mucho kids host a special independence night bringing in indie rokera Ceci Bastida and the soulful, melodramatico locals known as Wait.Think.Fast. As always, resident DJs serving up todo en español and the signature secret Paloma drink.
Where: La Cita
When: Wednesday, September 16
Why it makes us proud: The Mucho Wednesdays folks are unapologetically Latino all year-round (we love that shit!). DJs serving up the best in your favorite childhood classics to new indie and rarities and always keepin’ it fresh with live performing acts. The night has consistently increased exposure for local indie Latino acts…and their unbending Golden Rule? Strictly all Spanish, all night, every night, period. Mucho nice!
ASK A MEXICAN!
Straight out of el condado de naranjas, the man behind the Mexican-dad-stache of the nationally-known column Ask a Mexican, Gustavo Arellano hosts a talk on Mexican Independence Day about…well, yeah, you guessed it, his Ask A Mexican column. An opportunity to meet the wit behind the stereotype-busting author and get your copy of his latest book, Orange County signed. The man is worth listening to!
Where: Fullerton Library
When: Wednesday, September 16
Why it makes us proud: Some call him crass, but we really think he would make any Latina mama proud with his mastery of sticking it to racist gabachos like no other! Beginning as a small column in the OC Weekly in 2004, Gustavo’s column is now nationally known, and for good reason. Clearly, there is more to his work than just wab vs. gabacho humor: hedebunks long-held misconceptions of Latinos all while giving us a good laugh.