Step Off: The monks of the Shaolin Temple have claimed this hill as their own, and there's nothing you can do about it.
The Festival of Culture highlights Chinese, Chicano and Filipino cultural traditions
By Mike Connor
MULTICULTI is in the house—at the California Theatre downtown this weekend, to be precise—brought to you by the Chinese Performing Artists of America (CPAA), Teatro Visión and Kaisahan of San Jose, and of course the city of San Jose, which has sponsored the event since its inception in 1993. Without further ado, let's look at the roster.
Shaolin Kung Fu
Friday, March 23, 8pm
There's nothing like a good Shaolin kung fu demonstration to rekindle your dream to become a martial arts master. Yun Yin Liu and Fei Cen, both of whom are certified China Martial Arts Heroes, have coordinated a performance for monks trained at the legendary 1,500-year-old Shaolin Temple in China. Needless to say, the monks have ass-kicking skills to spare, but they take care to emphasize the tradition and artistry behind it all, demonstrating the use of both hard and soft weapons and various styles of movement that have been used for centuries to hand fools their asses on a platter.
The monks will wrap up with the Chinese Performing Artists of America's celestial dragon dance.
Tickets are $30, but a tax-deductible $70 ticket will assure you a better seat and get you started on your road to kung fu mastership with two free classes of Taichi, Shaolin kung fu or Shaolin ch'an, a form of meditation. Call the CPAA at 408.973.8276 or visit them online at www.chineseperformingarts.org.
°Latinos Presente! A Celebration in Three Acts
Saturday, March 24, 8pm
No one likes to be the Debbie Downer at a party by bringing up serious issues when everyone's having a good time, but any festival of culture worth its salt of the earth has a lively sociopolitical discussion somewhere up in the mix. Leave it to the good folks at Teatro Visión, San Jose's Chicano/Latino theater company, to host a panel discussion about the challenges Latinos face in the arts and entertainment world.
Then they switch gears for a festive history lesson featuring Son de Madera, a lively four-piece research and performance ensemble committed to diffusing Son Jarocho, a music and dance genre from Veracruz, Mexico.
Closing out the night are two members from the Chicano/Latino performance group Culture Clash, Ricardo Salinas and Herbert Siguenza, performing as CC-22, an acoustic duo performing bits of Culture Clash's 20-year catalog.
Tickets are $20-$50; for more info, call Teatro Visión at 408.272.9926 or visit them online at www.teatrovision.org. Son de Madera are also offering workshops on March 25, 4-7pm, and March 26, 7-10pm, at Mexican Heritage Plaza, 1700 Alum Rock Ave., San Jose. Fee is $10-$15 sliding scale, call 408.564.3453 for info.
Sunday, March 25, 3pm
If it's a Filipino variety show you want, then last day of the festival has your name on it—or at least it does if your name is "Pagdiriwang," which purportedly means "celebration" in Tagalog. Specifically, this is a celebration of the 25th anniversary of Kaisahan of San Jose, an organization dedicated to connecting Filipino immigrants by their common culture, to educating second and third generations about their cultural heritage and to sharing that heritage with the rest of the world.
Artistic director Helen Pastor Moreno has chosen a diverse array of performers including the Kaisahan of San Jose dancers, Filipino recording stars Jessa Zaragoza and (the extraordinarily named) Dingdong Avanzado, standup comedians Thage and Jesse, plus soprano and tenor vocalists Stella Mendietta and Enrico Saboren.
Tickets are $40 for sponsors, $25 for premier seating and $15 for general seating. A $15 donation also gets you into a reception following the performance where Jessa and Dingdong will be signing autographs. Call Kaisahan at 408.298.3787 or visit them online at www.kaisahan.org.
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