Angel Juarez (Young Alicia Parla) in the world premiere production of Josefina López's 'Queen of the Rumba.' Photo by Rudy Torres.

Boyle Heights has so many amazing staples that I’ve grown to love over the years. It’s a special place that I hold dearly to my heart that I really began to explore more during my time at the Beat. One place that I’ve been going to for years is Casa 0101. A local theater founded by Real Women Have Curves author Josefina Lopez in 2000, this playhouse has always done a great job of bringing unique art and live theater programs to the neighborhood for over two decades now. 

I had the pleasure of seeing The Queen of the Rumba there last week and it was well worth it. Written by Lopez and directed by Corky Dominguez, the play revolves around an aging Cuban prodigy battling cancer who shares her fond remembrance and life reflection with others in the hospital. 

With vivid visuals and dance, this take on the real life of Alicia Parlá is something you should watch before its world premiere production is up. The show is currently running up until October 22nd, with shows Fridays & Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 3 pm. Tickets are available online for $20-$25. Also, make sure to keep an eye on our website for an appreciation of the play from yours truly.

Cultural events happening this season

If you’re looking for a fun night out in Boyle Heights this Friday, pull up to the Paramount on 2708 E Cesar E Chavez Avenue for a live comedy variety show by the group Spanish Aquí. Featuring an interview with actress Gina Torres, stand up from Steve Hernandez, a poetry reading by Angela Aguirre and musical performance by Reina Macias, there’s something for everyone happening tonight. Tickets are currently on sale online starting at $22.66. Doors for the event open at 8 pm, with the line-up set to take the stage at 9 pm.

If you’re from Boyle Heights, you probably know that Self-Help Graphics & Art always has an array of events happening as Día de Los Muertos approaches. Even as its main facility on 1st Street is undergoing renovations, the organization is still hosting cultural programs at different spots on the Eastside for folks in the community looking to celebrate the season. 

One event happening this Saturday, October 7th is a marigold paper flower workshop for artsy folks looking to contribute to the nonprofit’s community altar. The event will run from 12-3 pm at the TONALLI STUDIO/Colibri Boutique on 4539 E Cesar E Chavez Avenue. Registration is completely free and available online. This workshop is part of a series of Día de Los Muertos events happening every Saturday. Information on workshops happening on the 14th, 21st and 28th is also available on the organization’s Eventbrite.

La Plaza de Cultural y Artes is also hosting a cultural workshop on Saturday at its downtown center at 555 North Spring Street. This Hecho con Amor workshop will teach participants how to create cultural sugar skulls, which hold a deep significance for those who celebrate Day of the Dead. The event is set to run from 10 am through 12 pm, with tickets available online for teens (13-17) at $30 and adults (18+) at $60.

For folks looking for a different kind of cultural event, the Don Quixote Event Center at 2811 Olympic Boulevard is hosting a Lucha de Los Muertos event on Sunday, October 8th. This live lucha libre fight will feature 6 matches, running from 4:30-8:00 pm. Tickets are available for purchase online, with presale tickets available for the front row at $50, second row for $35, $25 for general admission and $15 for kids. It’s sure to be a memorable night!

Giving back to the neighborhood

The 9th Annual “I Matter” Girls Empowerment Conference is taking place this Saturday, October 7th on the East Los Angeles College Campus at 1301 Avenida Cesar Chavez Avenue. Open to all girls aged 12-18, this impactful and important event has had a major impact in the lives of many in the neighborhood for nearly a decade. 

With powerful speakers, interactive sessions and live music, you definitely don’t want you or someone you know within this demographic to miss out. Interested attendees can register online, with the full event schedule running from 10 am through 3 pm available here.

In collaboration with Visión City Terrace, the Latino Equality Alliance is hosting a community clean up around the famous El Pino cultural landmark in East Los Angeles on Saturday. A meet & greet before the clean-up is scheduled for 8:30-9:00 am for folks looking to connect with others in the neighborhood. The actual clean up will run from 9-11 am from 500-598 N. Indiana Street. Advanced registration for the event is encouraged here, though folks can also walk in to volunteer.

Northeast Trees is continuing its efforts to beautify Ascot Hills with two programs happening this weekend. On Saturday, the group is hosting a California Bush Sunflower transplanting event at its plant nursery located at  4371 Multnomah Street from 8 through 11 am. 

On Sunday, volunteers are welcome to come help the organization spread mulch in preparation for fall planting days. A part of its micro-forest project, this event will run from 9 am through noon. Interested attendees are encouraged to bring garden gloves, a hat, sunscreen and water, and there is no need to register for these events in advance.

For folks in need of health-related resources, LA General is hosting its annual Hispanic Heritage Month Health Fair on Wednesday, October 11th. The event is run from 10 am through noon at 2051 Marengo Street, and will also include cultural performances. Fun Fact: The hospital’s current CEO was born and raised in Boyle Heights. I had the chance to speak with him earlier in the year for a story on volunteers at the hospital, make sure to check it out here.

As always, please let us know what you think of this newsletter and send us your events to include in future editions. 

Alex Medina is a graduate of Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School and 2018 alumnus of the Boyle Heights Beat. He is a recent graduate of Hamilton College in Central New York where he majored in Hispanic...

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