Teatro Chucheros

The young people, including several children, had their faces painted partly in skull face; boys with a cursory knowledge of music played bass, violin, guitar, and drums in the background; and a small but appreciative audience that included parents and friends smiled, laughed, and applauded during the opening performance of Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural's newest arts theater project: Teatro Chucheros (named after our cultural establishment in the Northeast San Fernando Valley).

Funded in part by the City of San Fernando, the play brought out the history of the community surrounding the San Fernando Mission, including the devastating impact the Spanish invadors had on the Native peoples, but also the role of their descendents and Mexicans in creating and expanding the city's roots, flavors, and future.

Taught and organized by the renowned Chicano comedy theater group, Chusma Theater Collective, Teatro Chucheros gave these youth and children theatrical and comedic skills as well as important history lessons, confidence, and recognition. We are thankful to Chusma as well as the City of San Fernando for making this project possible. We are also hoping it will continue and expand as an ongoing project of Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural.

Speaking of which, it's always great to come back from my many trips to this cultural space created by my wife Trini, my brother-in-law Enrique Sanchez, and myself, something I've always dreamed of and now have seen become a positively invaluable meeting place of books, art, poetry, performance, music, dance, and our indigenous Mexican and Central American roots.

Open to all people who can appreciate and honor these aspects in themselves, we've become a beacon of imagination and creativity in a community that had no bookstores, cultural outlets, or even movie houses until Tia Chucha's Cafe Cultural opened its doors more than four and a half years ago (in an area with more than 400,000 people, mostly Spanish-speaking, although LA is considered the Entertainment Capital of the World).

Thank you all, especially the children, the youth, their parents, and their teachers for expanding this dream of community empowerment.

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