Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Tish Hinojosa, Rosana DeSoto & Daniel Valdez in Su Teatro's 'Westside Oratorio'

Friday before last I was steeped in the act of submitting. I was sending out manuscripts of both fiction and poetry: a first for me. I was in a frenzy of meeting postmark deadlines along with package laden holiday mailers. My good friend B called and said she had tickets to Su Teatro's "Westside Oratorio" with Daniel Valdez for that night. I had been meaning to go, but what with the deadlines, and T's mother's accident, I'd forgotten all about it. Since I'd been typing all day, and the night before, I hadn't bathed and was certainly not feeling very social without it. B came by and gave me a ride to the only post office open at the time. Then we came back to my house with not enough time for me to jump in the bath. I was already deciding not to go. It was just too much, and I knew I'd see so many friends I hadn't seen in a while that I would want to talk with -- but without a bath? Besides, we were waiting to hear how T's mother was doing as there was/is a good chance she might be staying with us as she is welcomed to do. I hadn't talked to T yet as he wasn't home from work yet when I'd left. Daniel is an old friend from San Jose. My brother once played with and went on tour with him as he played with Teatro Campesino for several years before that. I really wanted to go but I was exhausted. Then B said: "Tish Hinojosa is going to be there." "TISH? Okay, I'm going." I love Tish Hinojosa. She performed at the Latina Letters Conference a couple of years ago, and I was so thrilled to be on the program that year.

The performance was excellent. Outstanding, really. I found it all quite moving as well. The songs were well-written. Daniel played choral conductor. Everybody was sharp. One truly outstanding performer was a 13 year old singer, Victoria Olona who sang with her sister Jessica who was also good. I met her afterwards and was struck by her obvious intelligence and poise. It so good to see such fresh raw talent. I met her father who said he had brought his daughters to try out for the choir and they put him in there, too. Talented family. I also had the pleasure of meeting the new Chicano novelist, Mario Acevedo who had overheard me talking to someone about my new novel. I brought a few books and saw some people I was hoping to see: Chicano poet & former partner in the Floricanto Colorado project, Ramón Del Castillo (I forgot to tell him that the poem I wrote for him on the occasion of achieving his PhD was in the book) and literary critic & historian, Luis Torres. Afterwards I got a ride home with my friend, musician/ singer Ellen Klaver who was playing in the play, so I got to tag along at the cast party that was hosted by artists Maruca and Daniel Salazar in their beautiful Denver home.

Friday's performance was a special one with guest actors Jesse Borrego (dreamy) and Rosana DeSoto along with Tish. Jesse was incredible in that they were all just flown in that day and had little rehearsal time, but Jesse fit in seamlessly and was an excellent actor and singer. At the party, B pulls me over to Rosana saying, "This is the actress I was telling you about who is from San Jose." I'm generally shy and socially inept, so I'm sure I had one of those moments. I don't remember, Rosana kept us laughing too much. I liked that she admired my stone beaded necklace I got in Isla Mujeres from "the Bead Ladies" for five bucks-- I like anyone who likes rocks. Later, towards the end of the party, Tish, Daniel & Rosana went outside (oh yeah, it was bitter bitter cold and icy that night) to the bonfire. I have always loved Rosana's role as the mother in La Bamba: "My grandpa was a full blood Apache!" At some point it gonged on me that my screenplay has a major role for an older Chicana, Mariposa, which I had always imagined for someone like Elizabeth Peña. DOH! After laughing until my sides hurt, literally, with them around the fire, Rosana started for the house alone to gather her things to leave. "It's now or never," I said to myself, and followed her. I told her about my movie, "PIGMEAT: The Life And Times of Memphis Minnie" and that I was a published poet and professor of creative writing. And that I have been writing this script for twenty years. By the time we got to the house, we talked some more. When I told her about the role in more detail, she got really interested and asked Tony Garcia of Su Teatro to give me her email. Then she wrote on the program for me. Jesse Borrego (dreamy) was there and overheard us, so I started telling him about the script, too, remembering as I did so, that there was also a role for a long-haired Chicano-Indio who is the love interest of the Chicana character. "That's what we need, more strong roles for Chicanas," said Rosana. "And maybe a Chicano production company to produce them," said Jesse. "I'm hoping to sell it to Oprah," I blurted out, then added, "as the movie's about a rural black woman born in Mississippi as was Oprah." "It can happen." He says. "It can happen." I say. "You never know," I say. "You never know," he says."

I go home and work on my script some more. I work out a part for Tish, the "Goin' Back to Texas" scene.

You never know.

(Thanks, B!)


Blogger dragonflyfilly said...

Oh, don't be frightened by this old photo of me...i'm totally into nostalgia at the moment. By the way, i was promted to comment here because you look very much like a friend i had many years ago.

i have been trying to write a script for a movie for about 5 years now -- i cannot get past the first small scene...any suggestions?

cheers for now,

28/12/05 16:32  

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