by Brian Sonia-Wallace
“La locura, cura,” Ric Salinas tells me. The craziness cures.
So when the Ford asked Culture Clash, Salinas’ comedy trio, if they’d be interested in making a Chicano 4th of July show, they jumped at the chance. Make a note, though, that due to the heavy winter storms and renovations wrapping up at the Ford, the 4th of July show is scheduled for “alternative fact Independence Day” on July 16.
Culture Clash is a dynamic trio of Latino/Chicano comedians and playwrights, consisting of Salinas, Richard Montoya and Herbert Siguenza, who have been making smart political comedy since 1984.
“We’re calling it Desmadre,” he says. “Desmadre means chaos, crash, mayhem! That’s how we feel with this new administration. So we wanted to ask, for the 4th of July, how could we create our own desmadre in response?”
The trio decided to enlist help. Rather than writing a play, they aimed for an outdoor concert feel, curating an evening of sketch comedy, music and stand-up. Boosting the trio’s sketches, Culture Clash’s OG Summer Desmadre will feature three musical groups and three stand-up comedians, with Pacífico Dance Company thrown in for good measure.
“The question was, how do we have a blast knowing these things are going on around us?” Salinas asked. “We have to go back to our old, old roots. That means our roots with sketch comedy, and other artists who go way back. That’s where the OG comes in – not just the Original Gangster, but the Old Guard.
“[Latin R&B band] Tierra, I never thought I’d get to work with. They are old school, even when I was in high school I’d see these guys. As soon as they heard the word desmadre they cracked up and said ‘yes.’ Alice Bag is one of the original punk rock chicanas, someone we all looked up to. And La Victoria, they came in later, but they’re a three woman mariachi band which is unusual and fantastic.”
The comedy front is just as diverse in tone and style – “Rudy [Moreno] is an unsung hero, he does shows on the Eastside and nurtures a lot of up-and-coming stand up comedians. Sandra [Valls] is from Texas, she’s a queer comedian throwing down the feminist angle. And Emilio [Rivera] is in Sons of Anarchy! He’s been onstage with us, and he’s like this homie that looks menacing but he does stand-up, so that always catches people off guard.”
“But,” Salinas assures me, when I ask how his team is planning to keep a political show up-to-date with Washington’s mile-a-minute scandals, “it will be up to the last minute material we’ll be showing because it’s so unpredictable. We’ll have the template set but the content will keep evolving.”
When asked what he most wanted his audience to know, Salinas replied, “No matter what is gonna be happening with us in terms of politics, you have to find the laughter and the humor.”
Culture Clash’s OG Summer Desmadre will take place on Sunday, July 16 at 7:30 PM. Tickets and info here.