I love cities. I always have. They are the fascinating dinner partners of my imagination. I think that if we are patient enough and have a good guide, a city will slowly open itself up to us and share all of its layers - the essence beyond the surface where details become vivid and rush up to meet the senses.
Sharing Cuatro Corridos with a binational audience has always been a goal of mine. Almost immediately after our world premiere at UCSD, we began the journey to find a perfect home for the project in Tijuana. And the city has revealed itself to be nothing short of extraordinary.
Our first trip was organized by a wonderful guide, Tijuana resident, artist, and binational blogger, Jill Holslin. Jill introduced us to Miguel Buenrostro. Miguel's project, Reactivating Spaces has brought life back to the remarkable abandoned urban spaces of the city through a combination of cultural events, reestablishing urban occupancy and encouraging small businesses to thrive.
While we had hoped to bring a performance of Cuatro Corridos to one of these spaces, our technical needs (and the tons of percussion) proved too much of a barrier. But what we saw was remarkable. Pasajes with micro breweries, literary cafés and art galleries. An ornate deserted ballroom above a decades old dance club and the beautiful jewel box interior of a former bus station (now shopping plaza) full of balconies and dazzling light. We were introduced to some of the best ceviche I've ever eaten at the hip and modern Cevicheria Corriente Nais - Red snapper, shrimp, octopus, tuna, (sometimes served on a disk of jicama) were all fantastic and fresh.
After much searching, we finally found our home at the historic Casa de la Cultura. Through the graciousness of its director, Carmen Garcia, and with the assistance of Mexican cultural liaison Walter Padilla we will bring a free performance to their 450-seat theater.
The Casa de la Cultura is a beautiful tree-lined neoclassical building situated on a hill overlooking the city. But it is truly beautiful because it is full of life. Children of all ages study music and dance there daily. Little girls in tutus flutter past while the sound of flute and piano echo the through the halls. It's a place where people meet; there is a lovely cafe, art gallery and, of course, refurbished theater.
Ultimately, cities reveal themselves through the people who inhabit them, what they do and who they are. What I saw in Tijuana was the strength of people loving the city and proud of what it is and what it can be. And I am proud that on September 28th, Cuatro Corridos will be there too