Looking back on #GivingTuesday

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Brava participates in #GivingTuesday every year. It is a great time to tell our amazing story of rising from the ashes, connect to our community with a promise for the coming year and provide an opportunity for our supporters to do their part to keep these doors open and to champion the cause of arts for everyone in San Francisco.

The Mathematics of Love photo by Gareth Gooch

The Mathematics of Love photo by Gareth Gooch

Our Story
Brava celebrates 31 years of offering support for local artists and their work. 2017 has been a banner year! In the wake of hurricanes and restricted travel, Brava presented the legendary Cuban artist and Oakland native, Pablo Menéndez and his band Mezcla to a sold-out house! The past year also saw the presentation of three theatrical premieres: Robert O'Hara's Bootycandy, Marisela Treviño Orta’s Ghost Limb, and in August Cherríe Moraga's long awaited new play The Mathematics of Love. Brava was also honored, along with writer and actor Rotimi Agbabiaka, to present the solo show Type/Caste: acting while black (& queer). Brava is home to the annual presentations of the San Francisco Electronic Music Festival, Queer Women of Color Film Festival, Sketchfest Comedy Festival and so many more. Brava's own annual events Baile en la Calle: The Mural Dances and Son Jarocho Festival uniquely reflect the cultural legacy of our community.

Bootycandy photo by Kolmel W Love

Bootycandy photo by Kolmel W Love

In 2017 more than 1,000 local artists passed through our doors appearing in theatrrical productions and staged readings, dance concerts and workshops, solo performances and opera, music performances and festivals, films, circuses alongside national icons like Gloria Steinam and Lila Downs. Brava also enjoys partnerships with over 40 local organizations, offering rental subsidies and co-presentations to become a critical space for the arts in San Francisco.

2017 also saw the opening of our newly renovated storefront with over 4,000 square feet of performance and office space. 

Our Future
In the upcoming year, Brava will present many more new projects by local, national and international artists including playwright Lisa Marie Rollins, comedian Marga Gomez, BACCE founder, actor, and director Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe, Idris Ackamoor and Cultural Odyssey. Please support Brava on #GivingTuesday and ensure that the local arts movement is vibrant and alive!

De-colonizing Technology

The Kapor Center for Social Impact recently released the findings of a study entitled The 2017 Tech Leavers Study that was the first of its kind to examine the reasons employees voluntarily leave their jobs in the tech industry.  What they found was voluntary job exits were driven by workplace culture, significantly affecting the retention of underrepresented groups - women, Black and Latinos. 

In the wake of this groundbreaking study, meet two fierce and badass Bay Area professionals who are ensuring inclusion in the future tech landscape.  From App Dev to AI, these entrepreneurs are working to disrupt the "tech bro" bias and participate in the de-colonization of technology. 

Photo credit: Lance Yamamoto, East Bay Express

Photo credit: Lance Yamamoto, East Bay Express

Dr.  Kortney Ryan Zeigler is a writer, filmmaker, artist and activist and founder of Trans*H4CK, an organization dedicated to creating technology that "economically empowers, improves access to social services, promotes gender safety and community sustainability, while bringing visibility to trans* tech innovators and entrepreneurs."  Zeigler was the first African America to complet a  PhD in African American studies at Nothwestern University. Dr. Zeigler looks at technology as a way of leveling the playing field a space to allow the dissipation of inequities and eschews the so-called "difficulties" in hiring more black people in tech. Trans*H4CK launched its first hackathon in 2013, hosted at the New Parkway in Oakland. Since then, Trans*H4CK has hosted three other in-person hackathons, which have resulted in over 30 projects created geared toward the transgender and gender non-conforming community.

 

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Laura Montoya, Founder and CEO of Accel.AI, an Oakland based startup that seeks to remove barriers that prohibit Latina engineers from entering the world of Artificial Intelligence says that the  need is to not just "hire more people of color... but really making them feel included, that their experience and work is warranted and valuable".  (creativemornings.com)

A goal of Accel.AI is work worldwide with women and displaced populations to create a network of AI Engineers around the world focusing on the populations who have the greatest barriers to access. Ironically, these are the populations who are that greatest risk of disruption by the AI technology as computers and robots replace people in jobs.

 In the Bay Area, she is a director with Women Who Code and runs a book club,Tech Lore, that focuses on preparing participants for the current tech environment through literature.  Aceel.AI tech workshops - offered at deep discounts to women and LGBTQ participants - not only teach specific skills but cover how to start a company, gain access to technology as well as empowerment skills, such as getting rid of your"imposter syndrome".  She goes into schools in low access areas and partners with several groups, like Oakland's Dub Mission and Techtonika,  to depart the attitude and skills necessary to enter and excel in the tech field.

 

Read about Kimberly Bryant of Black Girls Code, a nominee for 2017 SF Chronicle Visionary of the Year

Marin Theatre Company in hot water over new play

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Marin Theater Company has come under fire for a controversial production of the play, Thomas and Sally, by New York writer Thomas Bradshaw that takes on the historical relationship between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings. Several actors turned down the roles, signaling early trouble for the company and production. Prior to the show even opening, patrons and community members were posting on the social media pages of the theater company requesting a stop to the production, using hashtags #rapeisnotlove and #enditnow. MTC's initial deflection of these remarks was seen as dismissive. Tracy Camp, a local actor and board member of Marin's AlterTheater passed out fliers outside the production discouraging people from seeing the play; and a peaceful protest held outside the theater by Regina's Door, an organization of women in defense of sex trafficking, was met with taunts and insults by the MTC security team and eventually led to to a decision by Marin Theatre Company to call the police on the protestors. In addition, actors have insulted and demeaned the criticism from the stage in post-show addresses to the audience. 

An open letter of protest crafted by a coalition of Black women professional theater artists, which included actors Margo Hall and Lauren Spencer, who have recently been seen onstage at Marin Theatre Company, has been signed by a growing number of Bay Area performing artists. The group met with Marin Artistic Director Jasson Minadakis at the theater on October 24th, to discuss their concerns in person. 

Cathleen Riddley, a San Anselmo resident, actress and artistic director of AlterTheater, and a member of the coalition said that she hoped that the “MTC staff will hear and listen to the feedback of black women.”

Marin Theater Company has responded publicly here.

Brava projects win at Theatre Bay Area Awards!

 (l-r, Rotimi Agbabiaka, Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe)

 (l-r, Rotimi Agbabiaka, Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe)

Monday, October 30, 2017 marked the 3rd Annual TBA Awards with Rotimi Agbabiaka taking home two of the coveted obelisks! 

Rotimi Agbabiaka's Type/Caste which took top honors in the category of Outstanding Production of a Solo Play.  Rotimi also took home the TBA obelisk for Outstanding Male Actor in a Play for his show-stopping role in BACCE's Bootycandy. Both shows were directed by Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe (also nominated for Type/Caste).

Brava and BACCE won recognition in 2014 as Outstanding Ensemble for Sweet Maladies which featured Brit Frazier, Kehinde Koyejo, Lisa Anne Porter and Stefanee Martin.

 

TBA Awards began in 2014 as an alternative to the Bay Area Critics Circle award introducing a peer-adjudication system that allows TBA member companies and their staff access to productions and voting rights.  This year's extravaganza was hosted by acting and circus phenoms, Tristan Cunningham and Jeff Raz.  Donald Lacy received the Legacy Award and Jeff Carpenter was the recipient of the Charles Dean Award.

John Jota Leaños – New Media Activism

From “Corrido de Tillman,” remembering the life and tragic death of former NFL player and Army Ranger, Pat Tillman.

From “Corrido de Tillman,” remembering the life and tragic death of former NFL player and Army Ranger, Pat Tillman.

John Jota Leaños, director and librettist of Imperial Silence: Una Opera Muerta, showing at Brava Theater on Friday, November 3, is an award-winning Xicano-mestzo new media artist who uses animation, documentary and performance to focus on the convergence of memory, social space and decolonization, disrupting the status quo in both art and society. Leaños' multimedia artworks embody a vision of activism that is provocative and confrontational, and fresh in its approach to socially conscious art.

Leaños became the center of national controversy in October 2004 when he created a poster (featured at the right) questioning the heroicization of football player Pat Tillman’s death in military service in Afghanistan. Leaños' Imperial Silence, which takes place in four parts each representing a phase of the life cycle, remembers the life and tragic death of the former NFL player turned Army Ranger, in the act entitled “El Corrido de Pat Tillman." The photo at top is a still from this act

Brava presents Imperial Silence: Una Opera Muerta on Friday, November 3. For more information and to purchases tickets, click here.

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Barbara Dane - Stalwart of Peace & Freedom

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Barbara Dane won the respect of Black America with her voice as well as her activism. Over the course of her career, she worked with a great number of Black American blues icons including Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Memphis Slim, Otis Spann, Mama Yancey Clara Ward, Lightnin' Hopkins and others. In November of 1959, she became one of the first and few white singers to be featured in a seven-page spread in Ebony Magazine.

In 1966, Dane released a stirring Civil Rights directed album with the Chambers Brothers. That same year, she was invited to tour Cuba by the new Cuban government led by Fidel Castro and satisfied his curiosity on the US Civil Rights movement, personally in a face to face meeting. 

A stalwart of the peace, freedom and justice movements of the 1960s, Dane had associations with actor/activist Paul Robeson and playwright Lorraine Hansberry. She worked both as an artist and in citizenship alongside the peace and freedom movement singing at rallys and anit-ward GI coffehouses and with her husband, Irwin Silber, established a record label devoted to protest music. An artist such as Barbara Dane, who chooses a life devoted to the establishment of peace and civil rights, does so at great personal and professional risk and deserves our attention and recognition.   

Barbara Dane will appear with other special guests at Brava this Saturday, October 14 with her son, Cuban musician Pablo Menendez and his band Mezcla. Tickets to this historic event are sold out!

Celebrating love between the Bay Area and Cuba

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San Francisco Chronicle reporter Andrew Gilbert interviewed Pablo Menéndez for the following article about his upcoming performance at Brava Theater Center on Saturday, October 14 in which Menéndez and his band Mezcla will be performing live. The full article can be found here.

Running directly against the headwinds of American culture is nothing new for Pablo Menéndez. But in the aftermath of an election where a promise to erect a wall paved the way to the White House, he’s doubling down on building bridges.

Born in Oakland, he’s lived in Havana since 1966, when a one-year trip to Cuba with his mother, blues and jazz singer Barbara Dane, turned into a permanent change of address. Rather than cutting ties with his homeland, the guitarist has managed to stay connected to the U.S. music scene, particularly in the Bay Area, where he’s performed often with his Cuban roots rock band Mezcla.

On Saturday, Oct. 14 at San Francisco’s Brava Theater Center, Menéndez is at the center of his most ambitious U.S. show yet, bringing the latest incarnation of his talent-laden band together with a cast of Bay Area cultural stalwarts, including Dane, who recently celebrated her 90th birthday with a concert at the SFJazz Center; percussionist John Santos; flutist John Calloway; and father-and-son guitarists/producers Greg and Camilo Landau, who’ve accrued seven Grammy Award nominations between them.

’We all know the world is in crisis,’ Menéndez said, speaking from his house in Havana, where he and friends were dining on plantains from trees in his front yard felled by Hurricane Irma. ‘It seems like there’s a whole lot of money for war, and not for music. We wanted to reach a wider audience, especially a progressive audience in an iconic theater. We’re going to celebrate love between the Bay Area and Cuba.’

Bonds between artists in the Bay Area and Cuba have long defied the U.S. policy of isolating Cuba and the communist government’s efforts to sequester the island’s people. Musicians are probably overrepresented amongst the region’s small Cuban community, with recent arrivals like Oakland-based vocalist Yeny Valdes, who’s one of the special guests at the Brava show.

Menéndez has honed a singular blend of blues, rock, jazz and folkloric and popular Cuba forms by attracting some of Cuba’s most accomplished musicians. He recorded the band’s most recent album, 2014’s “Pure Mezcla,” at Yoshi’s in Oakland, but the ensemble he’s bringing back to the Bay Area features some new faces, including “two amazing women touring with us for the first time,” he said.

Mezcla vocalist/percussionist Lien Diaz got her start with the pioneering Afro-Cuban rock band Sintesis. ‘She’s one of the greatest rumberas of recent times,’ he said. ‘She actually trained as a doctor, but all that time she was drawn to Afro Cuban dance and music. Her sound is unique, not folkloric, but deep in the tradition and completely contemporary.’

The band’s other vocalist is Yuko Fong, who was born in Tokyo and moved to Cuba as an adult to pursue her love of Cuban music. Rising 22-year-old violinist Christopher Simpson is also playing his first U.S. gig with the band, which is propelled by the powerhouse percussion tandem of Octavio Rodríguez and Ruy López-Nussa, who hails from a storied musical family and performed at SFJazz last year with his older brother, pianist Harold López-Nussa.

Few relationships better capture the singular connection between the Bay Area and Cuba than Menéndez’s lifelong friendship with Alameda guitarist/producer Greg Landau. They first met in the late 1960s, when the teenage Landau visited Cuba with his father, documentarian Saul Landau (his mother is esteemed Oakland poet Nina Serrano).

As someone who’s devoted his life to documenting Latin American music, Landau sees Menéndez as ideally placed to ‘give an expression to this bridge that’s formed between Cuba and the Bay Area, to celebrate the strength of power of people to connect despite all the obstacles.’

Saturday’s event starts at 7:30 p.m. with the U.S. premiere of the hour-long documentary about Menéndez titled “Tan Lejos/So Near…So Far,” by award-winning Cuban director Lourdes Prieto and Los Angeles documentarian David Sandoval.

At a time of increasing tensions between Cuba and the United States, Menéndez believes that Mezcla carries to key to a new age.

’Rock ’n’ roll mixes so well with rumba,’ he said. ‘And Mezcla is the music of love and mutual respect.’
— Andrew Gilbert, San Francisco Chronicle

 

 

Voices of Resistance - Joan Baez and Lila Downs

Joan Baez and Lila Downs.

Joan Baez and Lila Downs.

Lila Downs from a performance on Brava's Main Stage back in the day!

Lila Downs from a performance on Brava's Main Stage back in the day!

This Sunday, October 1, Brava is proud to play host to the Chicana/Latina Foundation and their Executive Director Olga Talamante for an intimate conversation with artist/activists Joan Baez and Lila Downs. It will be a unique opportunity to hear the personal stories of two of the most talented and politically committed artists/activists of our time.  

Thank you to everyone who purchased tickets to this event (we're happy to report it completely sold out!) as all proceeds benefit the Mission and Programs of the Chicana Latina Foundation and the Fondo Guadalupe Musalem of Oaxaca.

Diana Gameros - On the Rise!

Photo of Diana by Cristina Isabel Rivera

Photo of Diana by Cristina Isabel Rivera

Diana Gameros’ steady fingerpicking and elegantly simple melody create a calm within the storm, a safe place for big questions and long-ailing wounds that transcend any news cycle. Her voice has a remarkable expressive range. She’s at once strong and breathy — in an instant, wounded and boldly searching.
— NPR

Diana Gameros creates authentic, inspiring music that reflects the 21st century experiences of an indie artist at the borderlands between cultures, languages, and genres. Whether teasing every ounce of expression from her acoustic guitar in an intimate cafe or bringing people to their feet in a club with her dynamic full band, Gameros transfixes listeners with her soaring vocals, impressive playing and captivating stage presence. Her songs and story have been featured on NPR’s All Songs Considered and Weekend Edition, Public Radio International – The World and the PBS Newshour website.

Her entry into NPR’s Tiny Desk contest received a special mention and she recently toured with Tiny Desk winners Tank n the Bangas. She is the recipient of the Emerging Leader Award from the Chicana/Latina Foundation for her work in music and social justice activism.

On Saturday, November 12, Diana celebrates the release of her new album, Arrullo, with a CD release concert at Brava Theater Center. Information and tickets here.

Watch and listen as Diana plays "¿Cómo Hacer?" - a song made up of questions that came out of her need for home, wisdom and forgiveness.

Brava Open House & Fiesta de las Américas

Artwork by @rioyanez

Artwork by @rioyanez

This Sunday, September 17, Brava joins Calle 24 and the Latino Cultural District in bringing Fiesta de las Américas back to the Mission! From 11am - 5pm, the 24th Street corridor will be alive with dance, music, food, and family friendly activities! Las Fiestas de Las Américas celebrates the culture, arts and music found from Patagonia to the Arctic Circle, with particular focus to the Latino diaspora who have made San Francisco their home for generations.

During the Festival, make your way down to Brava at 24th and York for a full day of music and dance. AND, stop in for a sneak peek of our newly renovated storefront spaces! After years of fundraising and planning, the renovations on the spaces are nearly complete. The new spaces boast a state of the art cabaret, offices for Brava's expanding staff and other neighborhood nonprofits, and dressing rooms and shower facilities for performers!  

Did you know:

  • The first people to live on the land that is today known as The MIssion District were the Yelamu people part of the Ohlone nation that inhabitied the entire area that is now Northern California.
  • The Mission houses the oldest surviving structure in San Francisco, the Mission San Francisco de Asís, the little white "church" on Dolores and 16th.
  • Between 1838 and 1841, the population of Yelamu fell from 400 to 50 people. Between 2001 and 2011, The Mission's Latino population fell by 20%.

Pablo Menéndez: Musician, Ambassador, Son

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On Saturday, October 14, Brava presents the live concert Direct from Cuba featuring Pablo Menéndez & Mezcla plus a screening of the documentary film Tan Cerca... Tan Lejos / So Near... So Far which reflects on Pablo Menéndez’ journey and his life story as a “musical bridge” between the United States and Cuba. This historic evening will also feature a special performance by Menéndez' mother, the legendary singer Barbara Dane, who was the first public person to defy the State Department ban on travel to Cuba after the 1959 Revolution and sang all over the island, on televisions, newsreels and on the front page of the newspapers, making her a symbol of the possibilities of friendship between the US and Cuba.  

In the interview below, Pablo talks about his mother's legacy and his life as an artist in Cuba.

Brava brings trio of Latin performances to the stage this fall

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This fall, Brava presents a trio of performances by Latin American artists at Brava Theater Center. The presentations include a wide range of events, from the documentary film So Near... So Far, about the Cuban musician and Mezcla founder Pablo Menéndez, to a Day of the Dead opera from the other side. Read on for more!

  •  On October 14, Direct from Cuba  Pablo Menendez & Mezcla perform with a host of Bay Area musical giants, including a special appearance by his mother, the legendary jazz vocalist and social activist Barbara Dane. Tickets for this event are on sale now!
     
  • On November 4,  John Jota Leaños and Sean Levon Nash collaborate on Imperial Silence: Una Opera Huerta, a Day of the Dead opera from the other side. The opera’s Intermezzi involve live musical interpretations of songs such as “El Corrido de Pat Tillman,” “Lamento Desaparecido,” “This is the House that Blacks Built,” “La Llorona” and others, and dance performances by Jesus Cortes and Vanessa Sanchez. 

  • On November 12th, local favorite Diana Gameros will celebrate her new album Arullo with a CD release party and concert (and a special guest - her mother!).

An explosion of Latinx Theatre

Photo by Gareth Gooch of The Mathematics of Love at Brava Theater Center

Photo by Gareth Gooch of The Mathematics of Love at Brava Theater Center

Brava's Summer of Xicanas which ends this week with the final performances of Cherríe Moraga's world premiere, The Mathematics of Love – appears to be leading the nation, as theater institutions around the country lend space to Latino (aka Latina and Latinx*) Theatre with newly announced festivals and initiatives. Finally, perhaps, the U.S. theatre community can give proper attention to the body of work that has been and is being created by the voices of Latin American theater artists.

In Chicago, a month long event organized by the Chicago Latino Theater Alliance will be held at the city's major theaters including Steppenwolf Theatre and Victory Gardens Theater. The first annual Chicago International Theater Festival will take place from September 29 – October 29, 2017 and will feature U.S. premiers by Cuba's Ludi Teatro, Puerto Rico's Arte Boric, and Chicago's Water People Theater alongside classics such as Ariel Dorfman's Death and the Maiden and an adaption of Strindberg's Miss Julie by  J. Ed Araiza, UCLA Dept head, veteran of El Teatro de la Esperanza, and original member of SITI Company.

This fall, San Diego Repertory Company will also launch the Latinx New Play Festival, which will open for two days on September 2, with a new play by Bay Area's own Ric Salinas and Herbert SIguenza of Culture Clash. Sam Woodhouse, the Rep's Artistic Director, says it is a formalizing of "our process of finding new Latino plays for audiences with a festival."

Photo by Gareth Gooch of The Mathematics of Love at Brava Theater Center

Photo by Gareth Gooch of The Mathematics of Love at Brava Theater Center

Geva Theater (Rochester, New York) Artistic Director Mark Cuddy, calling this year "a landmark season on Broadway" – alluding to the inclusion this year of several stories written and performed by people of color and the success of Hamilton – says "There's been a change, a tipping point.... We're in a different era. Not everyone understands that."
When Arizona Theatre Company's outgoing Artistic Director David Ira Goldstein urged the Board to "strongly consider someone other than a white male" to replace him, they failed to find someone with even a different first name – hiring David Ivers to lead the organization.

Read more about the challenges in this interesting article on Arizona's  struggle to create theater that reflects the states's demographics and the full article on diversity in theater in Rochester.

Photo by Gareth Gooch of The Mathematics of Love at Brava Theater Center

Photo by Gareth Gooch of The Mathematics of Love at Brava Theater Center

*Like Black, African-American, POC, etc., the irony of cultural specificity is that it often demands the acceptance of many identifiers. Roll with it!

The Mathematics of Love - "Perhaps it was just the cry of a woman wanting freedom"

The Mathematics of Love is a provocative new play that creates a fascinating intersection between past and present.
— Lisa Manter, Theatrius

Read the full review in Theatrius here.                              

In a landscape dominated by white male voices, Cherríe Moraga has successfully raised her pen to add hers to the canon.  Her return to her Brava roots  Cherríe is a co-founder of Brava is without a doubt one of the most anticipated moments in current theater. The Mathematics of Love opened with a thunderous standing ovation from a sold out crowd this past Saturday. Don't miss this seminal work from one of the world's most vital voices. Remaining performances Thur-Sun, August 17-27. Tickets

Of The Mathematics of Love, Cherrie Moraga says: "I began 'Mathematics' in the effort to tell a Mexican and American story about how the two cultures first encountered one another in a genocidal history in the making; but more importantly to me, as a feminist writer, it was a history shaped by the intimate sexual encounter between a European man and an Indigenous woman. Malinxe Tenepalwas a Native American slave who was given to the Spanish Conquistador, Hernan Cortés upon his arrival in Mexico in 1519.  She became his mistress, translator and tactical advisor in the conquest and, although a slave, is historically considered a “traitor” to Indigenous Mexico.

The story of Malinche and Cortés, the symbolic “parents” of México, parallels the much more benign union of my own parents (my Anglo father, Joseph, married my Mexican mother, Elvira, in 1948).  “Mathematics” is a story that began with these facts, but readily took on the deeper truth of fiction.   

My mother’s Alzheimer’s served as the initial writing catalyst for the play.  Through her dis-ease, I learned to marvel at the body’s capacity to remember even as it forgets its words. When Elvira, the matriarch of a 100-plus relations and the family (oral) chronicler, began to forget, her silence ignited in me a sudden visceral recognition of the cultural knowledges that had been denied us as Mexicans in the U.S.  The lost has been vast and profound.

Indian memory resurrects itself in the body of its descendants. History comes to visit us in our children and grandchildren and through the phenomenal promise of theater. Through writing, I’ve found resonance between the grand story of Malinche and the ‘small’ life of a Mexican- American woman, living with her gringo husband, two blocks from the Indian burial grounds of the San Gabriel Mission, where I grew up. 

It has been pure privilege to witness this work come to realization through the collective spirit and enormous talent of all its collaborators.  I am grateful."

                                                                                                                    – Cherríe Moraga

Photos on this page by Gareth Gooch

Celia Herrera Rodríguez: Conceptual Designer, The Mathematics of Love

Set for The Mathematics of Love, Brava Theater Center –  designed by Celia Herrera Rodríguez with Tanya Orellana (2017)

Set for The Mathematics of Love, Brava Theater Center –  designed by Celia Herrera Rodríguez with Tanya Orellana (2017)

Conceptual Designer for The Mathematics of LoveCelia Herrera Rodríguez is a San Francisco based painter, installation and performance artist and frequent collaborator with Cherríe Moraga.   

For The Mathematics of Love, Rodriguez has designed set and costumes and directed the overall visual storytelling of the play.

 

 

A frequent collaborator of Cherríe Moraga, Celia has been the conceptual, set, and costume designer for many of the recent plays. Rodríguez' designs are thorough, infusing every inch of the stage with a visual historical narrative that is vibrant and immediate.

Other theatrical collaborations with Moraga include The Hungry Woman: A Mexican Medea, La Semilla Caminante (Brava Theater Center, 2010), and New Fire (Brava Theater Center, 2012).

The Hungry Woman –  A Mexican Medea, set design by Celia Herrera Rodríguez (2005)  

The Hungry Woman –  A Mexican Medea, set design by Celia Herrera Rodríguez (2005)

 

Rodríguez's own work has been exhibited and performed around the world from Medellin, Columbia, Brussels, Belgium, to Alanya, Turkey. Her work is permanently housed in private collections as well as public collections in the Gorman Museum at UC Davis and the Institute of American Indian Art in Sante Fe, New Mexico. She lectures in Xicana Indigena Art Theory, History and Practice at UC Berkeley.

Scenes above and below from New Fire, Brava Theater Center (2012)

Scenes above and below from New Fire, Brava Theater Center (2012)

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Cherríe Moraga - A Vital Voice

Cherríe Moraga is one of the most influential writers that is read today.  Her new play, The Mathematics of Love, makes its World Premiere at Brava in August. 

Perhaps known best for the seminal anthology The Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color (co-edited with Gloria Andaluza) - a staple read in graduate programs in literary arts, gender, sexuality, race and/or cultural studies.  Her work is ground-breaking and she has become a guru for young writers, activists and cultural artists of color.  Her voice on cultural issues is seasoned, sharp, complex and vital.

The Mathematics of Love runs August 10-27 at Brava Buy Tickets

The Mathematics of Love runs August 10-27 at Brava

Buy Tickets

Cherrie Moraga speaks in the 2013 documentary Makers: Women Who Make America 

Unconditional Love

What a summer to be an intern at Brava! I went from reading Cherríe Moraga's Loving on the War Years in my militarism class at San Francisco State to helping promote the world premiere of Moraga's play, The Mathematics of Love. The Mathematics of Love opens on Thursday, August 10, 2017. 

The Mathematics of Love tells the story of Peaches, an aging, mid-staged Alzheimer's Mexican woman married to her Anglo husband, Poppa. The couple is awaiting their out-of-town-son, "God" in the Lobby of Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel. Malinche, a 16th century Native female slave turned slaveholder, wearing red lipstick and sunglasses with a "small pyramid of Louis Vuitton luggage" trailing behind her. In Peaches' time traveling encounter with Malinche, she is forced to concede a radically ledger on her life; it's love and losses--the sum of a 500 year old rupture in America. 

I have yet to see the play (and seriously can't wait!), but I've spent some time researching the themes and characters Cherrie Moraga presents. I have so many thoughts and questions about her upcoming play. Like, is, Malinche's "small pyramid of Louis Vuitton" a metaphor for her life? Will she ever feel the love desired, romantically and platonically? Although Malinche was born into a noble Aztec family, a series of unfortunate events happen throughout her life: Malinche was close to her father who passed away; her mother, being so self-centered, sells her into slavery, leading her to have a misconception of love...

We hope you'll join us to see Cherríe Moraga's new upcoming play. Can't wait to tell you more after the world premiere of Mathematics of Love

GHOST LIMB showcases the work of fight choreographer Marilet Martinez

From a single slap (A Delicate Balance), or an alley mugging (Rent), to an all out battle, physical violence in a script should always be handled by a fight choreographer. For Ghost Limb, currently playing on Brava's Main Stage, Marliet Martinez (also an actor) is that person. 

"My main focus when creating this particular fight scene was to have the violence explode onto stage then vanish quickly. So that the family barely has time to process what just happened. Stage combat is a story telling tool, and in this moment I wanted to highlight the helplessness of common people when military rule become the order of the day. "  - Marilet Martinez

A short video of Marilet's work on Ghost Limb.

For more on fight choreography read Melissa HIllman of Impact Theatre's article on the subject.

Marilet Martinez

Marilet Martinez

See Marilet perform in the SF Mime Troupe's summer show, WALLS, in parks around the Bay Area.

From Audience to Intern

Official Selena Q. Perez Fan T-shirt

Official Selena Q. Perez Fan T-shirt

Hello! My name is Chalyna Lazo, Brava’s new Communications and Marketing intern. I’m very happy and excited to be guest blogging for Brava this summer!

My first experience with Brava was three months ago when I attended the “Selena Night” with some friends. We wanted to celebrate Selena’s life and music, so we went to Brava for the screening of the 1997 biopic and a dance party.

My overall impression of the event was the authenticity: attendees were diverse, all sharing a space where they admired a beautiful soul who brought joy to many. A 20th anniversary screening of Selena was an excellent choice for Brava, because Selena inspired so many artists to pursue their dreams. Brava isn’t just a space for professional artistic opportunity, but felt, to me, like a safe haven for all of us.

The mission and atmosphere was so beautiful, I wanted to continue learning and growing with Brava. At the “Selena Night” I expressed my interest in becoming an intern and was fortunate to become part of their staff for the summer. My experience as Brava’s intern has been amazing adventure so far.

For Brava's “Summer of Xicanas” series, I have been researching the themes in Ghost Limb and The Mathematics of Love to provide audiences background to the references the directors use in their plays. For additional content, check out my blog post on Argentina’s period of State Terror during the military dictatorship of the 1970s and 1980s.

I would like to personally invite all of you to the premieres of Ghost Limb on July 13 – 23 and The Mathematics of Love, running August 10 – 27. I will also be at the Brava table in the lobby during some of these events, so stop by and say hi! We hope to see you there!