Diario Judío México - In celebration of National Latino Heritage Month, The Braid, home of Jewish Women’s Theatre (JWT) in Santa Monica will reprise its critically acclaimed Chutzpah & Salsa show, a cultural collage on stage. The show will be paired with a new art exhibit featuring multidimensional works by five famous Jewish-Latino artists, so audiences can even more fully immerse in Latino arts and culture.
Chutzpah & Salsa is being partially underwritten by a grant from the City of Santa Monica and the Santa Monica Arts Commission with additional support from the Mexican Consulate and AJC. Performances will take place on October 11 and 13 at 8 p.m. and on Sunday, October 14 at 2 p.m.
“The show features twelve personal and mostly true stories of emigration to Latin America from Europe, Syria and other countries that were not “Jewish-friendly,” explains Suzanna Kaplan, Co-Producer and JWT’s literary manager. Upon arrival, the authors encountered a vastly different and exotic world. They made their way, and in many cases, prospered. However, there was always “the suitcase by the door,” an expectation that this new home was not permanent, and many immigrated to the U.S.
“National Latino Heritage Month is a time to celebrate the legacy and culture of everyone who came to the United States from Latin American countries and enriched the US in countless ways. Yet, many people don’t realize that this immigration includes 200,000 Latino/a Jews now living in the United States,” said Ronda Spinak, JWT’s artistic director. “Their stories are the heart of Chutzpah & Salsa; the stories of immigrants who came here speaking Spanish, feeling they didn’t belong, yet willing and anxious to make their way in this land of unlimited promise.
“Chutzpah & Salsa is a collection of immigrant stories that explore what you gain and what you lose in immigration. In many ways, these Jewish stories echo the stories of other Latino immigrants. We cordially invite all the members of L.A.’s truly diverse Latino community to come to enjoy, learn from and relate to our Chutzpah & Salsa show,” Spinak said.
“Chutzpa and Salsa includes a story by Sonia Nazario, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of Enrique’s Journey; about a close family member who was “disappeared” during Argentina’s dirty war. There is a story written by Ruth Behar, a MacArthur Award-winning writer about her nostalgic visits back to Cuba, and a story by Ivonne Saed, a Mexican author living in Oregon, who writes about how she must constantly explain that she is Mexican although she doesn’t “look” Mexican.
“There’s a beautiful and heartbreaking story of a man who fears his dream of becoming a fireman will never come true because he’s a Jew, and, of course, a lovely story about food, because what Jewish event would possibly work without food?” Kaplan asks.
Other featured writers include: Barbara Mujica, author of Frida, I Am Venus, several short story collections and many scholarly books, is a professor of Spanish literature at Georgetown University, and editor of Comedia Performance, a journal devoted to early modern Spanish theatre.
Deborah Silberstein Shkurovich, former managing editor of a Mexican trade publication, is a graduate of Universidad Iberoamericana and Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She came to the US twenty years ago, but says. “I still dream and count in Spanish.”
Chutzpa & Salsa Will Be Paired With a Multidimensional Art Exhibit in JWT’s Gallery
In further celebration of National Latino Heritage Month, The [email protected] Braid will debut a new art show titled: Latin American Artists – Mixografia. It will showcase five Jewish Latino artists: Arnold Belkin, Fanny Rabel, Gunther Gerzso, Mathias Goeritz and Pedro Friedeberg.
Multidimensional relief prints of murals, sculpture, painting and architecture will be featured in the show, which is being curated by Mixografia, a Los Angeles-based fine arts lithographer and publisher. Mixografia is known expanding printmaking beyond its traditional two dimensions. It is a third generation family business, founded by Luis and Lea Remba, Mexican-Jewish printmakers from Mexico City.
Working with several local artists, the Rembas developed a process that allows artists to print in relief while maintaining texture and fine surface detail. They invented a new kind of paper and papermaking machinery to capture their innovative process. After being invited to organize an exhibition of Mixografia’s prints at UCLA, the Rembas opened an L.A. studio in the 80’s.
“Mixografia’s artwork will allow JWT gallery visitors to see works by some of Mexico’s greatest artists. It will be a show like none other,” says Marilee Tolwin, director of The [email protected] Braid. Mixografia’s new techniques have redefined the category of “print” allowing artists greater conceptual possibilities, greater creative freedom and possibility.
Participating artists have major historical significance in Mexico and the United States. Belkin and Rabel were two of Mexico’s great muralists. Belkin. produced 28 major public murals that reflected his commitment to showing humanity’s most controversial and sometimes painful experiences. Rabel was born in Poland and moved to Mexico City in 1937 when WWII began. Her murals were often characterized by the display of anguish toward oppression and inherent catastrophe that accompanied the mega-growth of her new home.
Gunther Gerzso is Mexico’s most significant 20th Century Abstractionist. Mathias Goeritz left Germany and became a professor of visual education and drawing in Guadalajara where he came to be a leading figure in the development of modern art in Mexico. Friedeberg came to Mexico to escape Mussolini. He is the inventor of several styles of architecture that reflect social problems and cloud formations.
Chutzpah & Salsa will be performed on Thursday, October 11 and Saturday, October 13 at 8 p.m. and on Sunday October 14 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $35 for general admission and $20 for seniors and students. Admission to the art gallery is free. For tickets and more information, contact www.jewishwomenstheatre.org
JWT’s The Braid, voted one of the “Best Live Theatres on the Westside” two years in a row by The Argonaut, stages original dramatic performances, contemporary art exhibits, classes, and other events showcasing the diverse community of writers, artists and creators who celebrate Jewish life, one story at a time. The Braid is located at 2912 Colorado Ave., #102, Santa Monica, CA 90404. Now in its 11th year, learn more about JWT and The Braid at www.jewishwomenstheatre.org. or call (310) 315-1400.