Hearing Latino Voices in Contemporary Culture

Hearing Latino Voices in Contemporary Culture

Co-presented with KPCC's arts and culture program The Frame

A dynamic panel of influential cultural leaders, artists and thinkers is convened by Dr. Steven D. Lavine, President of CalArts, for a discussion about the profound cultural influence of the region’s Latino community, and the importance of ensuring that Latino voices are highlighted in cultural institutions. The distinguished panel includes filmmaker Rodrigo García (Albert Nobbs,
 Nine Lives), LACMA Associate Curator Rita Gonzalez (Phantom Sightings: Art after the Chicano Movement), writer Jeff Chang (Who We Be: The Colorization of America), and Center Theatre Group Associate Artistic Director Diane Rodriguez.

Latino communities have long been essential parts of our society and culture, and the United States is the second-largest Spanish-speaking country in the world, trailing only Mexico. The cultural influence is particularly prominent in California, where Latinos constitute nearly 40 percent of the population, and yet the demographic group remains underrepresented in many sectors—including many arts and cultural institutions.


Mexican director Rodrigo Garcia has directed a variety of independent films, including the award-winning Nine Lives; the three-time Academy Award-nominated feature Albert Nobbs, starring Glenn Close; and Mother and Child starring Annette Bening, Naomi Watts and Samuel L. Jackson. In 2000, Rodrigo’s first film as a writer and director, Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her, won the Un Certain Regard Award at the Cannes Film Festival. His most recent film, Last Days in the Desert starring Ewan McGregor, premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. Among his television credits are the cable series In Treatment, on which he served as executive producer and showrunner for the first season and received a Writers Guild of America Award in the New Series category. Other TV credits include SopranosSix Feet UnderCarnivȧle and Big Love, for which he directed the pilot episode and was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series. Garcia is also the Co-Chief Executive Officer of Indigenous Media, a next generation digital studio focused on producing original content for digital and emerging platforms worldwide. He is Co-Creator of WIGS, the digital drama channel offering over 180 episodes of scripted content. For WIGS, Rodrigo wrote and directed the WIGS series Blue starring Julia Stiles and Christine starring America Ferrera.


Rita Gonzalez is Curator in the Contemporary Art department at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art where she has curated Phantom Sightings: Art after the Chicano Movement;  Asco: Elite of the Obscure (during the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time festival); Lost Line: Contemporary Art from the Collection; and Agnes Varda in Californialand, among other exhibitions and programs. Gonzalez’s curatorial collaboration with filmmaker Jesse Lerner, Mexperimental Cinema, was the first survey of Mexican experimental film and video. It traveled to museums and film festivals internationally and resulted in the first bilingual publication on the subject. From 1997-1999, she was the Lila Wallace Curatorial Fellow at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego. At MCA San Diego, she worked on numerous exhibitions, lectures & film programs, as well as serving as curatorial coordinator for William Kentridge: Weighing and Wanting. She also co-curated the 2006 California Biennial and Adria Julia: La Villa Basque at the Orange County Museum of Art, and 20 Years Ago Today at the Japanese American National Museum. Her essays appear in Still Moving: Between Cinema and Photography (Duke University Press), Recent Pasts: Art in Southern California from 90s to Now (JRP|Ringier Zurich), California Video: Artists and Histories (Getty Publications), and the forthcoming monograph on Wu Tsang (JRP Ringier). Gonzalez is co-curating with Jose Luis Blondet and Pilar Tompkins Rivas an exhibition for the Pacific Standard Time initiative L.A./L.A. scheduled for 2017. 


Jeff Chang has written extensively on culture, politics, the arts, and music. His first book, Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation, (www.cantstopwonstop.com) garnered many honors, including the American Book Award and the Asian American Literary Award. He edited the book, Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop. (www.totalchaoshiphop.com) His new book, Who We Be: The Colorization of America, (whowebe.net) was released on St. Martin's Press in October 2014. He is currently at work on two other book projects: Youth (Picador Big Ideas/Small Books series), and a biography of Bruce Lee (Little, Brown). Jeff has been a USA Ford Fellow in Literature and a winner of the North Star News Prize. He was named by The Utne Reader as one of "50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World". With H. Samy Alim, he was the 2014 winner of the St. Clair Drake Teaching Award at Stanford University. Jeff co-founded CultureStr/ke (www.culturestrike.net) and ColorLines. (www.colorlines.com) He has written for The Nation, the New York Times, the San Francisco ChronicleThe BelieverForeign PolicyN+1Mother Jones, Salon, Slate, Buzzfeed, and Medium, among many others. Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawai’i, he is a graduate of ‘Iolani School, the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of California at Los Angeles. He currently serves as the Executive Director of the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University.


Diane Rodriguez is Associate Artistic Director at Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles, where she has held a position since 1995. From 2005 to 2014 she was Associate Producer/Director of New Play Production and from 1995-2005 Director of the Latino Theatre Initiative and a Resident Artist. She was an Associate Artist at Cornerstone Theatre from 1999-2005.  She is a Co-Founder of two theatre companies, Latins Anonymous and El Teatro de la Esperanza (Theatre of Hope).  Rodriguez was a leading actress for the Chicano theatre company, El Teatro Campesino (Theatre of the Farmworkers) for eleven years. In 2007, she won an OBIE Award for playing multiple roles in Tale of Two Cities: an American Joyride on Multiple Tracks. In January of 2015, President Obama appointed her (pending confirmation) to sit on the National Council on the Arts for the NEA. She is the current President of the Theatre Communications Group board of directors. Rodriguez received a B.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Moderated by CalArts President Steven D. Lavine

Associated Images: 

TUE 3/3
8:30 pm

G - General Audience

M - REDCAT Members

ST - Students

CA - CalArts Students/Faculty/Staff