Shortly before Occupy L.A. was evicted from the City Hall grounds, activists unfurled a large banner that read: "TIERRA Y LIBERTAD," or "Land and Liberty." The slogan had traveled a long way through time to arrive at what the Occupiers called Solidarity Park.
The slogan was coined 100 years ago by Mexican journalist and revolutionary Ricardo Flores-Magón, who lived in Los Angeles at a time of tremendous political ferment on both sides of the border… a time not unlike today.
Flores-Magón spent years agitating at the Old Plaza downtown, and even established a commune in Edendale (near where the Silver Lake Reservoir is today) with equitable gender roles and an attempt at sustainable living. For trying to enact his principles, he was jailed and convicted several times and ultimately died in federal prison.
VARIEDADES: The Ballad of Ricardo Flores Magón presents this story as the deep roots of the Occupy movement. Indeed, there is an unbroken lineage of dreamers and idealists in L.A. across the 20th century and into the 21st. The region continues to be a proving ground for radical and alternative communities of all kinds, from the Midnight Ridazz deconstructing the auto-distopia of the city with their guerrilla cycle riding to community farmers.
VARIEDADES is inspired by the Mexican vaudeville shows in 1920s Los Angeles in which Martínez’s grandparents were regular performers. The theatrical narrative—Flores Magón’s story—is performed by hosts IDA VISITING ARTIST Rubén Martínez and Raquel Gutiérrez, who in turn present the show’s interdisciplinary guests—music, theater, visual, and spoken word artists.
Rubén Martínez – Host
Raquel Gutiérrez – Co-host
Electronic Disturbance Theater featuring Amy Sara Carroll and Elle Mehrmand – Spoken Word
Jamaica Osorio – Spoken word
Richard Montoya – Theatrical performance
The Martínez del Río Band, featuring:
Rubén Martínez – lead vocal, rhythm guitar
Joe “City” Garcia – lead guitar, background vocals
Juan Perez – bass
Dennis Gurwell – accordeon
Adrian Monge – drums
Download the flyer below!