The Getty Villa
Culture Clash presents
Date: Friday, February 2, 9, 16, 2018 at 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, February 3, 10, 17, 2018 at 4:00 and 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, February 4, 11, 18, 2018 at 4:00 p.m.
Due to artist scheduling, Saturday, February 24 performances of SAPO are changed to Saturday, February 17
In mid-1970s San Francisco, a young Chicano band named SAPOsporting afros, sweaty vests and bell bottom jeanssets out to surpass Santana's success by making it big in the music industry with their own smooth acoustic Latin sounds. They meet a shady producer/agent and upholstery guy also named Sapo who promises SAPO-the-band a record if only they come down to L.A. where an industry "god" lives in a yacht off the Malibu coast. It's a slithery world of mischief and deception and slippery hippy lily pads where anything goes, loosely based on Aristophanes' The Frogs. This program contains language that may not be suitable for children under 13.
Vaneza Mari Calderón
Sean San Jose
Buyepongo as El Sapo:
|Lighting Design||Richard Montoya|
|Scenic Design||Tanya Orellana|
|Sound Design||Ric Salinas|
|Costume Design||Benita Elliott|
|Projection Design||Yee Eun Nam|
|Musical Director||Michael Roth|
|Stage Manager||Giselle Vega|
Once again Culture Clash is drawn to the classic and relevant texts of Greek playwright Aristophanes Jones. Of course his name was not Jones but there is a familiarity to his humor, satire, and biting views of society that he may as well be a Jones or a Garcia or a lead in a modern TV writers' room. In Aristophanes' The Birds there was the search and desire to live in a sanctuary among the birds which the humans then destoryed. In PEACE, two commoners get a huge dung beetle to help their master fly up to the gods to negotiate peace after a decades long war! In The Frogs, a god ventures to the Gates of Hell to roust a poet who might help sooth a crumbling civilization.
In each play Culture Clash finds the simple thread and rewinds, re-mixes, and retells the crux of the original while always endeavoring to honor the OG Aristophanal wildness. It takes an army to explore and find the relevance in each play but Aristophanes himself leaves a wild blueprint from which to play and ply one's satiric skills. For Peace and The Birds the literary god and dramaturge John Glore was the fourth Clash member at the writing table. He guided us back to the ancient text of his Yale Drama School tenure and the dog-eared books where yellow highlighter earnestly underlined important notes like:
"Written at a time when Athens reeled in exhaustion after decades of war, her political and cultural fabric unraveling, THE FROGS represents Aristophanes' turning toward the past to search out the wisdom to deal with the disasters threatening his city."Notes like this are lifelines of clarity and they strangely, hauntingly echo our current state of affairs. Smarty pants Johnny 'Machine Gun' Glore, now Artistic Associate Director at South Coast Repertory, was correct to point us to it once again and we are ever indebted to him for this and the continuing conversation.
Poets and poetry have always been a huge aspect of Culture Clash's creative thrust. Jose Montoya was the godfather of Chicano Poetry, one of the first word smiths to use CALO a free mix of Spanish and English, earthy humor, and deep drama on the page not unlike a Culture Clash or Luis Alfaro script. The most recent U.S. Poet Laureate was Chicano, as were the recent L.A. and San Francisco Laureates! Perhaps their words can help sooth a divided nation: Walls, Travel Bans, Supreme Court Justices our world seems to be teetering once again.
What will be the role of the artists and writers? To ignore? Or present frivolous farces and musicals? Or to dig into the canon of the Greeks and other classical texts that tell us something about ourselves on ever deeper levels? Shakespeare, Aristophanes, and Socrates, they've all been here before. They can teach us volumes, if only we can hear them through the endless and blaring news cycle and the loud profane voice that emanates from a large White House on a cold and isolated hill. Thank you Getty Villa Labs, collaborators and audiences. Get ready for another wild ride in the shotgun seat of our customized lowrider chariot!
Special gracias to our Getty Villa amigos Anna, Laurel, and tío Ralph!
This past year marked the company's 33rd year anniversary as the most prominent Chicano/Latino performance troupe in the country, with work ranging from sketch comedy to drama, to adaptations of Aristophanes, to co-writing Frank Loesser's long lost musical Señor Discretion Himself based on a story by the late Budd Schulberg. Founded on May 5 (Cinco de Mayo), 1984, in San Francisco's historic Mission District, Culture Clash consists of Richard Montoya, Ric Salinas, and Herbert Siguenza.
This prolific group's most recent plays include: American Night: The Ballad of Juan Jose for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, in Ashland, Oregon. This play was selected to launch "American Revolutions: The United States History Cycle," along with other writers such as David Henry Hwang, Suzan-Lori Parks, Naomi Wallace, and Robert Schenkkan. They also presented Peace at the Getty Villa, Palestine, New Mexico at the L.A.'s Mark Taper Forum and Culture Clash in AmeriCCa at venues throughout the U.S.
Culture Clash made television history with the first-ever Chicano sketch TV show: Culture Clash, which aired on several Fox syndicated markets. In addition, Culture Clash produced interactive video installations for Cheech Marin's Chicano Now-American Expressions art show, which toured nationally for over five years.
Culture Clash is the recipient of numerous awards, commissions, and grants, including a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Helen Hayes Award, the Latino Spirit Award, the Los Angeles Hispanic Media Award, the Nosotros Golden Eagle Award for Outstanding Theater Group, the Liberty Hill Foundation Award, and dozens of city and state proclamations and commendations. Their videos, short films and art exhibits have been shown at the Smithsonian, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Sundance Film Festival, the San Juan, Puerto Rico Film and Video Festival, the Art Institute of Boston, the Palm Springs Film Festival, and the Los Angeles Film Festival, among others.
Culture Clash has three books of compilations: Culture Clash: Life, Death and Revolutionary Comedy, Culture Clash in AmeriCCa and Oh Wild West: The California Plays, with TCG Books. Audio versions of Radio Mambo, Bordertown, and Chavez Ravine are available through Los Angeles Theatre works, www.latw.org.
The name Buyepongo translates to "cause a ruckus" which certainly describes the scene on the dance floors around the world whenever the band launches into its energetic and instantly infectious rhythms. It also describes the L.A. group's riotous mash-up of influences, which absorbs hip-hop, punk, funk, and jazz sounds into a tropical blend of styles from across the Latin American diaspora. Like its name, the band is part hybrid, part invention, something untranslatable that nevertheless perfectly captures their uniquely vibrant spirit.