Los Cenzontles Cultural Academy and McEvoy Foundation for the Arts
Celebrating Regional Performing Arts for McEvoy Arts’ Next to You Exhibition
Roxie Theater, San Francisco • July 18, 2021
Watsonville Film Festival • September 15–18, 2021
Plus Celebrando la Cultura Concert, Watsonville • September 17, 2021
SAN FRANCISCO, CA, July 8, 2021 —McEvoy Foundation for the Arts and Los Cenzontles Cultural Arts Academy are pleased to participate in community-benefit screenings of the award-winning documentary Linda and the Mockingbirds in conjunction with the exhibition Next To You, on view at McEvoy Arts through December 4, 2021. The film screens first on Sunday, July 18 at San Francisco’s Roxie Theater. From September 15–18, the Watsonville Film Festival presents a virtual screening and joins McEvoy Arts and Los Cenzontles to present Celebrando la Cultura, a free outdoor evening concert in the Watsonville City Plaza on Friday, September 17, featuring performances by Los Cenzontles and additional Mexican-American cultural organizations.
Linda and The Mockingbirds (2020) pairs acclaimed musician Linda Ronstadt with Los Cenzontles (“mockingbirds” in the Nahuatl language), a Bay Area-based artist-driven nonprofit, band, arts academy, and production studio committed to amplifying the roots of Mexican culture. In this documentary by award-winning director and producer James Keach, Ronstadt, musician Jackson Browne, and a busload of Cenzontles journey to the little town of Banámichi in Sonora, Mexico, where Ronstadt’s grandfather was born. The film details Ronstadt’s long friendship with Eugene Rodriguez, a third-generation Mexican-American and musician who founded Los Cenzontles thirty years prior with the mission to reconnect working-class kids with the dignity and beauty of their ancestral music and culture. Along the way, the pounding feet of zapateado dancers, the strumming of jarana and guitar, the clacking buzz of the quijada, a donkey jawbone, and a chorus of soulful voices celebrate pride and self-knowledge with a solid, rootsy groove. “This is not Latin-ish ‘Dorito music,’ Ronstadt says of the film’s musical backbone. ‘This is Mexican music.’”
The Roxie Theater hosts a community screening of the film with cast and crew in attendance on Sunday, July 18 at 2pm. With the moviegoing experience disrupted by the pandemic, the event offers a first viewing on the big screen for many of the children, performers, and families featured in Linda and the Mockingbirds. Preceding the film is Good Morning Aztlan(2002) directed by Les Blank and Maureen Gosling and featuring Los Cenzontles. Tickets, on sale now, range from $9-10. Children 11 and under are admitted free while supplies last.
“We are honored that Linda and the Mockingbirds will enjoy its theatrical premiere at the Roxie, in collaboration with McEvoy Foundation for the Arts,” says Eugene Rodriguez, founder and director of Los Cenzontles. “Our community of artists and students will finally be able to celebrate its release together while sharing it with the public.”
From September 15–18, 2021, in honor of Mexican Independence Day, Linda and the Mockingbirds is available to watchonline at www.watsonvillefilmfest.org. The online screening is augmented by Celebrando la Cultura: Los Cenzontles in Watsonville, a free, outdoor concert in Watsonville City Plaza during the weekly farmers’ market at 6pm on Friday, September 17. The concert features performances by Los Cenzontles, Los Originarios del Plan (presenting Tierra Caliente and Arpa Grande music), and a dance performance by the Watsonville-based Estrellas de Esperanza, a youth folkloric group. Celebrando la Cultura is a co-production of Los Cenzontles and McEvoy Arts with the Watsonville Film Festival. Additional support is provided by the City of Watsonville and the Watsonville Campesino Appreciation Caravan. The event honors the impact of Mexican music and culture on the Bay Area’s performing arts traditions and celebrates the vibrancy of the Pajaro Valley’s agricultural community and farmworkers.
“We are thrilled to partner with Los Cenzontles and McEvoy Arts to present this beautiful program,” says Consuelo Alba, director and co-founder of the Watsonville Film Festival. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to celebrate Mexican-American culture, honor our farm workers for their essential work and build bridges between urban and rural communities.”
“It’s time to sing the praises of the Bay Area’s landmark performing arts community, known around the world and yet silent throughout the pandemic,” adds Susan Miller, executive director of McEvoy Arts. “Let’s come together safely to celebrate the pleasure and delight of live arts experiences and discover how it feels to dance, laugh, and play together again.”
Next to You (through December 4, 2021) presents artworks from the McEvoy Family Collection that celebrate the joy, vitality, and healing power of the performing arts. The exhibition includes the Screening Room program Hearing Aids, a two-session program of short films about the senses and communication, guest curated by Alison O’Daniel,and a series of live engagements in collaboration with a diversity of cultural arts organizations. Additional partners include the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), CounterPulse, Kronos Performing Arts Association, and Tiny Dance Film Festival.
Community Screening: Linda and the Mockingbirds
Sunday, July 18, 2021 • 2pm | Roxie Theater, San Francisco
$10 General Admission • $9 Seniors w/ ID | Free admission for children 11 and under
Virtual Screening: Linda and the Mockingbirds
September 15–18, 2021 | www.watsonvillefilmfest.org
Celebrando la Cultura: Los Cenzontles in Watsonville
Friday, September 17, 2021 • 6pm | Watsonville City Plaza, Watsonville, CA
For registration and ticket information, visit www.mcevoyarts.org/events. All live events are presented in accordance with current health guidelines.
Los Cenzontles is a grassroots artist-driven organization committed to amplifying the roots of Mexican culture through classes, events, media, and performances. Founded in San Pablo, CA in 1994 by musician and educator Eugene Rodriguez, Los Cenzontles provides the local community with a family-friendly setting for traditional arts education and cultural events. The Los Cenzontles Academy connects students of all ages with maestros of traditional Mexican genres instilling a sense of cultural pride and participation in living traditions. Our full calendar of events features performances by our students, our own professional touring group, Los Cenzontles, and well-known world musicians and visiting artists. Los Cenzontles documents this journey of continuing the long tradition of authentic Mexican art with CDs and DVDs to share with the world and future generations.
Estrellas de Esperanza is a youth folkloric group that has been performing throughout Santa Cruz County and beyond over the past 13 years. Estrellas members not only learn traditional dance steps, they also learn about the different regions the dances come from and their history, ultimately instilling pride of culture, language, and music in the youth. Founder and maestra, Ruby Vasquez has an extensive background having danced for Esperanza del Valle for 34 years. Because of her deep passion for traditional dance and music, Ruby often brings Maestros from Mexico to teach the youth authentic dances not often seen in the area.
The Roxie Theater, a San Francisco landmark in the Mission District that reopens in May 2021, brings people together to meet and connect through distinctive cinematic experiences. Guided by the passionate belief that engaging with a movie doesn’t end with the credits, the Roxie invites filmmakers, curators, entertainers and educators to interact with our audiences. The Roxie provides inspiration and opportunity for the next generation and serves as a forum for the independent film community reflecting the spirit of the diverse Bay Area population.
The Watsonville Campesino Appreciation Caravan is a volunteer-run organization providing much-needed and much-deserved supplies, information, food, and appreciation to farmworkers in Watsonville. The group is made up of community members, educators, and students who provide crucial information about health & safety regarding COVID19 and resources that are available to them in the Watsonville community. Every penny of the funds they raise goes directly to local farmworkers and their families via https://gofund.me/877ba13a.
The City of Watsonville is located ninety-five miles south of San Francisco and has 51,000 residents. It is a rich agricultural community famous for its fresh berries, apples, and cut flowers. Watsonville, located in the lush Pajaro Valley, offers an ideal climate and the small-town charm of a rural community. Watsonville is more importantly recognized for its ethnic and cultural diversity, history of activism, generations of artists, dancers, and filmmakers. More than 80% of its population is Latino, and 31.5% of its population is under nineteen years of age.
The Watsonville Film Festival showcases Latinx filmmakers and stories that illuminate our shared humanity and inspire positive change. Founded in 2012, WFF developed from a grassroots collective into a non-profit arts organization offering year-round programming that celebrates powerful filmmaking and local creativity. WFF strives to make its programs accessible to all, leveraging the power of film to build bridges, spark conversations and imagine new possibilities in the heart of the Monterey Bay.
Exhibition & Screening Room
Next to You (May 28 – December 4, 2021) is an exhibition of modern and contemporary artworks from the McEvoy Family Collection that celebrates the joy, vitality, and healing power of the performing arts. As the world emerges from the coronavirus pandemic and its requisite isolation, Next to You acts as a farewell ballad to a strange and challenging time and a look towards a future where we are reunited. With the performing arts cultural sector largely inaccessible during the pandemic, the exhibition showcases dance, theater, music, circus arts, film, and other creative forms.
In the Screening Room, Alison O’Daniel guest curates Hearing Aids, a program of short films and videos that consider a new sensory sensitivity to our surroundings and a greater awareness of the body’s intricacies of communication. The films, spanning the 1970s to the 2010s, explore sensory experience in relation to topics as varied as urban surveillance, the natural landscape, and Indigenous history. Session 1 screens daily from May 28 through August 31, 2021. Session 2 debuts September 1 and runs through December 4, 2021.
McEvoy Foundation for the Arts presents exhibitions and events that engage, expand, and challenge themes present in the McEvoy Family Collection. Established in 2017, McEvoy Arts creates an open, intimate, and welcoming place for private contemplation and public discussion about art and culture. Rooted in the creative legacies of the San Francisco Bay Area, McEvoy Arts embodies a far-reaching vision of the McEvoy Family Collection’s potential to facilitate and engage conversations on the practice of contemporary art. McEvoy Arts invites artists, curators, and thinkers with varied perspectives to respond to the Collection. Each year, these collaborations produce exhibitions in the Foundation’s gallery, new media programs in the Screening Room, as well as many film, music, literary, and performing arts events each year. Exhibitions are free and open to the public. For more health, safety, and admissions information, please visit mcevoyarts.org/visit.
Additional Press Contacts:
Dave Millar, Director of Marketing & Communications
Watsonville Film Festival
Consuelo Alba, Executive Director