‘Brown and Out’ spotlights Latino community

By Vivian Ramirez

CASA 0101 was greeted with much success during its opening weekend of the Brown and Out Play Festival, representing the Latino lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

The Festival was a series of short plays authored by six people. All 10 plays vary from humorous to serious and touch base with nearly every emotion in between.

Brown & Out tells the stories of a wide spectrum of Latinos in the LGBT community, focusing on Boyle Heights.

“It’s an honor to be directing the premiere of Brown and Out Play Festival,” wrote Elizabeth Otero de Espinoza. “What a fabulous way to celebrate this underrepresented group of Latinos who have amazing stories to tell.”

“At this time when gay suicide and gay bashing are still serious problems in our society, I feel that mediums like theater are best to reach and educate non-queers about tolerance, acceptance and respect for fellow men and women.”

“My Perfect Boyfriend” is a monologue performed by Julissa Lopez, telling the story of a young woman who finds out her boyfriend, Daniel, is gay.

She pieces together their relationship and unexpectedly finds the signs that her boyfriend liked other men.

Even though the monologue explored a sensitive emotional area, it dived its conflicts with a comedic flair. “Then again, ‘I Will Survive’ was our song,” said Lopez.

She also joked that Daniel dressed much better than her and took her to a gay club on a date. In “Gay Cholo Charm School,” a young man struggles to be approachable and desired by other men.

However, he isn’t “cholo enough” to catch their attention. He goes through a series of steps to transform his speech and clothing style to be more attractive, but ends up finding out that he was better off being himself.

Jokes aside, the plays always succeeded to portray their core themes, which were the conflicts of being both Latino and gay.

Executive Producer for the festival and playwright Miguel Garcia wrote four of the plays. Garcia had written the play “Mayhem” as a short play alone, when he was approached by playwright and CASA 0101 founder, Josefina Lopez, to include it in Brown & Out.

He began to take writing classes at CASA 0101 with Lopez in 2007. Lopez is the writer of “Real Women Have Curves.”

“I had just graduated from Georgetown University and decided to move back home to El Monte,” said Garcia.

“I am so honored to have been given the opportunity to produce CASA 0101’s first-ever Latino/LGBT-themed play festival. During a time when we see more states legalizing gay marriage and our country further promoting equality by repealing policies like Don’t ask, Don’t tell, I truly believe the mission and message of Brown & Out could not be more timely and appropriate,” said Garcia.

“I believe it is fundamentally wrong to deny who you are,” said Garcia.

The plays vary in content, touching the many stories and voices of gay Latinos, but the overall message is the same.

“You’re perfect just the way you are,” said Garcia.

Brown & Out is hilarious, entertaining, informative and highly relatable.

CASA 0101 also recently opened a second location, on 2102 E. First St., Los Angeles, CA 90033. The play festival closes on Oct. 9. Show times are every Friday and Saturday at 8p.m. $15 general admission, $12 students/seniors with ID and $10 Boyle Heights residents with ID. Reservations are encouraged.

The play festival includes strong language and mature themes. Parental discretion is advised.

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