Queer Latino experience on stage in ‘Brown and Out IV’ in Boyle Heights

BOYLE HEIGHTS — The queer Latino writers and actors of the Brown & Out IV Fest will hit the stage for their final performances this weekend.

The show, which was born at the Casa 0101 Theater in Boyle Heights in 2009, spotlights the works of 10 writers, who plays focus on the LGBTQ Latino experience. This version opened in early February for a four-week run.

QUEER LATINO EXPERIENCE

“People have laughed out loud. They’re cried,” said Gilbert Salazar, who wrote the play “Angelito.”

Although the subject matter in Brown & Out IV is linked to the queer experience, Salazar said audience members do not have to be queer or Latino to enjoy the production.

“A friend of mine came and gave a shout out on his podcast and said, As a straight male I enjoyed it. I learned a lot,” Salazar said. “People can expect the full range of emotions with a group of other strangers.”

Cesar Carmona, left, and Rufino Romero star in “When Boyz Cry,” one of the plays featured in Brown & Out IV, which focuses on the queer Latino experience. Brown & Out IV ends Sunday at the Casa 0101 Theater in Boyle Heights. Photo: Ed Krieger.

THEMES

The Brown & Out IV short plays, each is 10 minutes, tackle a wide range of themes including, suicide, HIV, friendship, the seeming crevasse between millennials and the older generation ,and family dynamics.  

This year’s production has been well-received with actress, Raven-Symone (“That’s so Raven,” “The View”) gushing about the 10-play production on her Instagram account.

“So proud of my friend @vpdunn (Victoria Dunn) for being involved with such an eye opening production. Well done to all the talent on stage and behind the stage. I was entertained, I was emotionally brought to a place I push led down, I laughed, and I felt empathy! It was a great night…See y’all new weekend for sure!!!! Xoxox #brownandout #lgbtq #art #theater #reallifestories #2018”

Here are the 10 plays:

  • “He said, She said, They said,”  by Jaime Mayorquin
  • “Girl Misinterpreted by Josefina López
  • “Twinks and Boobs MC” by Raymond Arturo Perez
  • “L.U.G. (Lesbian Until Graduation)” by Claudia Duran
  • “Angelito” by Gilbert Salazar
  • “Scratching the Surface” by Patricia Zamorano
  • “When Boyz Cry” by Abel Alvarado
  • “Almost Family” by Matthew Benjamin Ramos
  • “Young Dudes” by Corky Dominguez
  • “Cochino” By Richard Villegas Jr.

CASA 0101 THEATER

Despite Brown & Out IV’s sold-out weekends, Casa 0101 Theater struggles financially to keep the doors open, and theater officials have turned to social media to raise money to continue working with the community.

Founded by “Real Women Have Curves” playwright Josefina López more than 15 years ago, the theater has provides classes and instruction for the arts community in Boyle Heights as well as placing a spotlight on diverse storytelling in Los Angeles.

GIVING BACK

“I started CASA to create opportunities for actors and writers and artists,” López said in a statement. “This is the kind of place that I wanted when I was a little girl.  I thought this would be my way of giving back to my community in Boyle Heights.”

The theater needs 350 people to become $25 monthly donors on an annual basis to be financially stable. More than 100 people have already donated.

About the author

Beatriz E. Valenzuela

Beatriz E. Valenzuela is an award-winning journalist who’s covered breaking news in Southern California since 2006 and has been on the front lines of national and international news events. She also covers all things nerd, including comic book culture and video games. She’s an amateur obstacle course racer, constant fact-checker, mother of three, and lover of all things geek.

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