UPDATE: For a group that's about to get booted from its space due to gentrifiers, members and friends of the Centro Cultural de México had a gay old time yesterday at their anti-gentrification protest during the SanTana Artist Village monthly First Saturday Art Walk.
About 55 people began the protest at the Centro's space around 6 p.m., rehearsing the play they would display before the public over the next two hours at key places in SanTana's gentrification wars. They snaked out of the Knights of Pythias building holding artwork, signs, strumming guitars or taking turns yelling from a makeshift bullhorn that read "Voice of the Voiceless."
The coup de grace, however, was a coffin built just for the occasion, featuring the names of victims of the city's gentrification schemes: the carousel, quinceañera shops, kiosks, and other businesses. Of course, what ensued wasn't funeral procession so much as a Second Line, and you can see proof of the matter after the jump!
The procession went from the Centro to the front of Fallas Paredes, a discount store on the corner of Fourth and Sycamore streets. There, performance artist Scott Keltic Knot put down some rhymes in English (and Spanish!) railing about the gentrification in the area. From there, they marched to the newly christened Plaza Santa Ana, which once held a collection of Mexican stores that the city literally bulldozed into the ground; it was one of the faithful departed the coffin commemorated.
After that, the procession went to the Yost Theater, where they proceeded to do a bit of street theater en Español. At this point, the crowd was easily 150.
The play lasted about 15 minutes and was a dramatized rendition of what happened to the Centro. Three women representing the Centro's greatest contributions to the city--artists, son jarocho music, and the Orange County Dream Team--pretended to be seedlings that bloomed upon nurturing by culture. Brave New Urbanists and councilmembers then came in, said it was important to make money, and booted out the garden.
So A Raisin in the Sun it was not, but the play was effective and even funny. Throughout, volunteers passed out hundreds of fliers and talked to curious onlookers explaining the issues at hand. The procession then went on to the fountain at the middle of the Artists Village, where they reenacted the play in English. Your humble reporter missed this part, though, because he had to rush back to the parking meter lest SanTana's notorious traffic cops give me a ticket, but people who were there told me that the artists and onlookers in that region reacted with dismay at the Centro introducing reality in their slice of paradise.
The evening concluded at Cafe Calacas, where there was a lucha libre match going on. At this point, I joined the county's other SanTana reporters, Orange County Register veteran Andrew Galvin and Voice of OC whiz kid Adam Elmahrek (and his chica) in enjoying mulitas at Tacos y Mulitas Ruben, which neither had ever tasted, which goes to show how much either truly knows about SanTana. They made up for their oversight, however, by trading stories with me on the evil pendeja that is councilwoman Claudia Alvarez.
Updated, Sept. 2, 9:46 a.m.: Aw, fuck--here comes one of the most worthless individuals in the world, Hector Carreón of the gay-trashing, Jew-bashing La Voz de Aztlan website railing about a Jewish takeover of SanTana, a scribble that will only further confirm to gentrification foes that Mexicans really are racist and evil.
Gotta do other things, folks, and will address this more at length later today, but for right now: NO ONE pays attention to La Voz de Pendejos. DO NOT view their views as somehow representative of the views of SanTana's anti-gentrification activists. If anyone uses their website as proof of anti-Jewish sentiment among said activists, it's false, lazy logic. And, most importantly: FUCK La Voz de Aztlan and its insane one-man operation, Hector Carreón. Still going to post anonymous death threats against me, pendejo?
Original post, Sept. 2, 8:06 a.m.: This is going to be fun: tomorrow, during downtown SanTana's Art Walk, a group of activists will stage an anti-gentrification protest through "art and action" starting at 5 p.m.
"Our action is inspired by the events and the people in this city, the many communities in Orange County and the entire country as a whole," reads a press release. "The usual suspects will be present but, unlike the usual Artwalk, the uprooted community will have a voice through our culture and our art."
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What exactly that's going to entail remains to be seen. Flash mobs? Instant murals? Street preaching? Roving bands of son jarocho musicians?
"Using art for community and not for profit, Santa Ana residents will transform the street into their own cultural space and present their own response to Santa Ana's current gentrification battle," continues the release. "The real loss behind gentrification, this type of economic development and modernization schemes has been lost in the political and media spectacle. What are the real losses when gentrification hits? What vision of Santa Ana and culture is being lost, and who is being uprooted? This action is meant to bring the issue back to what's really at stake."
I'm not sure who's behind this, as the usual suspects of the Centro Cultural de México and the business owners opposed to Downtown, Inc. aren't signatories to the press release, so you're just going to have to go down there and find out. Oh, will the Brave New Urbanists have a snit that their liberal play date will get besmirched by malcontent Mexis! See you there!