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Culture Clash: Mission Magic Mystery Tour 

Latino comedy troupe Culture Clash creates a loving, sometimes impudent portrait of the Mission

Wednesday, Jan 17 2001
In this world-premiere commission for Brava, the famed Latino comedy troupe Culture Clash combines music, poetry, video, comedy, and dramatic vignettes to create a loving, sometimes impudent portrait of its favorite S.F. neighborhood. The show is at its best when it focuses on specific, detailed characters, as in the segment "Mission Mujeres." Richard Montoya plays a "Mission ghetto white girl," a lefty activist from way back reminiscing about the troubles and delights of the district while rolling a joint. Her Latina friend (Ric Salinas) drinks red wine and joins in with reveries of her own, like when she got the better of a cowardly, condescending SUV driver in a minor traffic accident. Herbert Siguenza takes a sweet, funny turn as Adelita, a pre-op male-to-female transsexual. The evening features a video montage of faces of Mission inhabitants, a stunning, eloquent defense of what the area is and what it may be losing. The Clashers also celebrate some of the heroes of the Mission (e.g., gay activist and writer Rodrigo Reyes) while denigrating members of the establishment: S.F. AIDS Foundation Executive Director Pat Christen, Dianne Feinstein, Willie Brown. (In a pseudo-debate, Christen's defender is pretty feeble, while her ACT UP denouncer is sly, witty, and pissed off. It's no contest.) The Clash occasionally takes easy, gratuitous shots at dot-commers, oversimplifying difficult problems. But overall, the troupe succeeds in creating both a love letter and an elegy for its beloved barrio.

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Joe Mader


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