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Night Howl
By Karen Reardanz

[whitespace] Culture Clash The Mambo Kings: The three members of the satiric comedy/theatre troupe Culture Clash take a wry romp through Miami's cultural makeup with 'Radio Mambo' on Saturday at UCSC's Mainstage Theater.


Miami Calling:
Troupe combines comedy and politics for raw and enlightening performances

CULTURE CLASH LEFT AN INDELIBLE MARK on my mind after I saw one of its shows in Southern California some seven years ago. With a mesh of political satire, raw honesty and biting wit, the trio has never been one to mince words, but it does so with such clarity and talent that even those getting the fun poked at them have to sit back, chuckle and think.

The Los Angeles-based Clashers began almost 15 years ago and have seen their way through seven full-length theatrical productions, a Fox TV show and spots in films as diverse as Encino Man and Mi Vida Loca. But through it all, Richard Montoya, Rica Salinas and Herbert Siguenza (collectively Culture Clash) have never lost sight of their true aim--to present elements of Chicano life to the masses in an anything-but-watered-down manner.

Culture Clash's newest show, Radio Mambo: Culture Clash Invades Miami, turns the spotlight on the Florida city's culturally diverse population, and particularly its relationship with its Cuban neighbors. Acting like pseudo-cultural anthropologists, Culture Clash put so much time into the show's research, they could have turned the piece into a senior thesis. The 20 sketches evolved from interviews the Clashers did with more than 70 Miami-area residents. Pulling bits and pieces from each interview, they create a cast of richly prided characters full of nuance and idiosyncrasies. From Haitians to Chinese, from Jewish folks to Irish Catholics, Culture Clash whacks 'em all.

The boys are usually on the money with their parodies, and their biting bits of vaudeville, stand-up and theater are more than entertaining, they're thought-provoking.

Culture Clash performs on Saturday at 8pm at UCSC's Mainstage Theater. Tickets cost $16/$13. For more info, call 408-459-2159.

Women's Rites

Spring is in the air (though with all the never-ending rain, you might not know it), and a group of women performers tips its collective hat to the changing seasons with Spring Girl Fest.

Sort of a home-grown version of that big tour of female acts from last summer--gosh, what was that called? Oh, um, Lilith Fair, that's right--the Spring Girl Fest triumphantly returns to Kuumbwa after the success of last year's Girl Fests.

Sunday's show is practically bacchanalian (minus the drunken revelry, of course) in its celebration of the spoken word, with pieces by local performance gurus Melissa Banales, Jeanette Aguilar and Shoshana von Blackensee plus Wendy-O-Matic, Debra Fay Holton and T'ai Jamar.

Musical representation comes in the form of jazzy folk rocker Diane Patterson, folky songwriter Cindy Kalmenson, Jessica Rose, Molly Fleming and Sue Doogan.

Rounding out this evening of estrogen-rich arts is Mindy Dawn Friedman's unique blend of juggling and comedy.

The show is on Sunday at 7:30pm at Kuumbwa, 320-2 Cedar St., SC. Tickets cost $5 in advance, $8 at the door.

FutureThink

Cindy Kalmenson warms up before her Girl Fest gig at the Ugly Mug on Saturday. ... Singer/songwriter Havilah also brings her acoustic folk rock to the Ugly Mug, this time on Wednesday (April 22).

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From the April 16-22, 1998 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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