The unique aspects of San Pedro’s culture are a compelling reflection of our community and can attract new visitors, residents, and businesses. It’s also a vital determining factor of how our community interacts, responds, and grows. Culture plays a significant role in the lives of everyone in society, and it can give us a sense of belonging.
When we share our cultural references, we feel nurtured and even loved. Sharing history and ideologies with our neighbors and friends gives everything unity. It ties us to our ancestry and provides a sensation of longevity, giving each of us a feeling of truth and living an authentic life.
To honor and bring attention to the power of partaking in our diverse cultures, the Arts District has relaunched our in-person Arts Appreciation Series, Culture TALKS!, along with the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, Arts for LA, KPCC/LAist, and San Pedro Today.
Begun in 2018 on Mexico’s Independence Day as an expression of the Arts District’s commitment to community arts education, these programs will seek common ground by engaging participants in conversations about culture and how the arts inspire empathy, understanding, and identity.
As we celebrate our diversity, we seek to enrich our collective sense of place to unite us as a community. Culture TALKS! speakers are selected based on their art and activism. They will discuss how Los Angeles residents are rising to challenges, affecting not only artists but the existence of healthy, sustainable, diverse communities.
On February 25, 2023, in partnership with the Arts District’s Culture TALKS! Series, Culture Clash’s Richard Montoya will talk with KPCC Retake host John Horn about how the filming of Chavez Ravine: In 9 Innings came to be and why this story continues to resonate almost 20 years after its stage premiere. We’ll also get a chance to see a few innings on the big screen and a live performance.
Producer, Live Programming & Events for Southern California Public Radio Rebecca Stimme explains, “Part of the mission of LAist is to explain L.A., including its complicated history and rich multicultural communities. In that way, we share the goal of Culture Clash, who have become prominent tellers of distinct L.A. stories. So, we’re thrilled to partner with the San Pedro Waterfront Arts District’s Culture TALKS! to revisit Chavez Ravine: In 9 Innings and explore the themes of the virtual Center Theatre Group production.”
Rebecca continues to detail KPCC’s involvement, “The event allows us to present something a bit more theatrical than we usually have the opportunity to do, with a live performance of a monologue from the show, a screening of several of the ‘innings,’ and conversation between Culture Clash’s Richard Montoya and Retake host John Horn.”
Since 1984, Culture Clash (Richard Montoya, Ric Salinas, and Herbert Siguenza) has been creating adventurous works for the national stage. Born in a long-gone art gallery in the heart of the Mission District of San Francisco, the performance trio knows about adversity and the need to evolve and find new ways to reach new audiences, especially in these pandemic times.
From Richard Montoya of Culture Clash, “At the height of the global pandemic, Center Theatre Group asked Culture Clash to consider what our theater might look like in a time when audiences could no longer gather. We’d seen enough zoom script readings to realize that was not the answer. But how to get theater to displaced audiences — and where did our audiences go? — was a mystery like the Corona itself!”
Richard goes on to say, “Two things became clear. The audience was decentralized, with no plan to return to where they normally gathered, and the City of Angels was empty at night! Perhaps we could own — or borrow — the streets and play out selected scenes of our play about L.A. that were more filmic? We thought in terms of cinema or digital video — not theater. Chavez Ravine seemed ripe and ready for episodic storytelling.”
What emerged was Chavez Ravine: In 9 Innings, a cinematic reinterpretation of the beloved 2003 play. Using existing footage, newly filmed scenes, original music, and spoken word, the result was a fresh look at the story, with a city in the grips of a pandemic as the backdrop.
The Arts District invites you to join us for an “away game” and travel to Pasadena for a seminal work of L.A. theatre. Tickets can be purchased at www.laist.com/events. spt
Do you have arts and culture story ideas? Please share them — email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.