Agustín Lira 🎶 ¡Quihubo Raza!
“Y el mexicano hacerse gringo,
No puede, ni quiere.
Y el mexicano hacerse gringo,
No puede, ni será.
Porque en sus venas trae la sangre
Chichimeca, zapoteca y de los yaquis
Xochimilca y de los mayas,
Y en su cuerpo trae la sangre de
Cuauhtemoc, de Morelos y Zapata, y el famoso Pancho Villa.”
Agustín Lira, founding member of El Teatro Campesino, sings his classic “¡Quihubo Raza!” at the Millennium Stage in the Kennedy Performing Arts Center on September 14, 2011.
As he explains, the song sings about the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, and how 148 years later, Mexicans in the United States are still dealing with the effects of this broken treaty.
In 2005, Smithsonian Folkways released this song as part of a 19 track compilation album titled Rolas de Aztlán: Songs of the Chicano Movement
Writing on the Wall, Newark, NJ Graffiti, Pt. 1
This short film by Sandy King is an engrossing snapshot of Newark in the mid-1980s.
The opening shot is from the vantage of car driving east on West Kinney Street. Suddenly there’s a gap in the frontage and floating for a moment the downy-looking terra cotta of the Medical Tower Building and the dark spire of Christ Church, warping and pixelating on the converted VHS. Two of the three apartment buildings shown on this stretch of West Kinney have long since been razed.
Later the VOS crew greets one another on University Avenue near that old Burger King parking lot, reborn as the MBNA Building about three redevelopment cycles ago. A much younger Ron Rice stands on the steps of City Hall, his hair styled to a jaunty angle.
Finally, Too Sweet Hakeem leads the group down into a sunken lot on Halsey Street where Rutgers employees can now park their cars and pop in for Harvest Table paninis.
The New York Times makes it seem like a match made in heaven: “Ai Weiwei was one of the most famous prisoners in recent history. Now he’s taking on one of the most infamous prisons of all time” — that prison being Alcatraz, the San Francisco facility that was closed down in 1963 and turned into a famous tourist destination. The piece goes on to report that the renowned Chinese dissident artist chose the location because he is “interested in exploring conditions in which individuals are stripped of basic human rights,” but that Ai is “not thinking about work that will directly connect to my own detention” by the Chinese government in 2011.
The combination of Ai and what used to be an infamous prison — one that now hosts up to over a million visitors a year — is an intriguing one. Art on display in a prison isn’t usually meant for public view, because let’s face it, not that many people want to hang around a prison in their spare time. It’s the fact that Alcatraz is now an established tourist destination that makes it a perfect spot for the unique exhibition.
While the site of Ai’s project hasn’t housed inmates for 50 years, art is still being made inside functioning prisons, most of the time by inmates themselves, through workshops and even programs that encourage prisoners to take up acting in Shakespearean plays. But it’s only when they involve a famous outsider, like Ai, that prison-based art projects and performances tend to get the attention they deserve.
READ MORE on Flavorwire