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USC Visions and Voices
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Tonight at the Palace!: A Variedades Tribute

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October 26, 2017 • 7:30 pm

(All times are in PDT)

Step into a 1950s variety show, reimagined for a 21st-century audience. Spanish-language vaudeville shows, or variedades, were centerpieces of early L.A. entertainment, catering to Latinx communities in movie palaces that are now considered historic architectural sites. Revisit this spectacular history at the beautiful Downtown Palace Theatre, built in 1911 as one of the first homes of vaudeville in Los Angeles. The evening will feature traditional Mexican music by La Familia Gonzalez de Los Angeles, who performed at variedades as children in the 1970s and ’80s; the hip hop, house, popping, locking, and Afro-Latin moves of Versa-Style Dance Company; a jam session with legendary Latin American session players, including Abraham LaborielPaulinho Da Costa, and others to be announced soon; and a screening of Laurel & Hardy films.

About the Artists:

Alex Acuña is a Peruvian drummer and percussionist who plays Afro-Cuban and jazz music. A former member of the jazz-fusion band Weather Report, he has played with leading musicians including Ella Fitzgerald, Elvis Presley, Carlos Santana, U2, and many others. (IMDb)

Percussionist Paulinho Da Costa is one of the most recorded musicians of our time. He played on Michael Jackson’s Thriller and the soundtracks for Saturday Night FeverDirty Dancing, and Purple Rain, among a huge number of monumental projects. His roots are as a samba musician in Brazil. (IMDbWikipedia)

Mexican music education often begins in the home. Born to Mexican immigrants from Guadalajara, Jalisco, La Familia Gonzalez de Los Angeles features Gabriel, Martha, and Claudia Gonzalez. Gabriel is a Grammy Award–winning singer and longtime collaborator of Quetzal. Martha is the singer-songwriter and percussionist for Grammy Award–winning band Quetzal. Claudia Gonzalez-Miranda has also been recognized for her songwriting and dynamic performance style via her group CAVA. The Gonzalez family began performing in the Mexican Variedad circuit that frequented the state of California in the 1970s and ’80s.

Abraham Laboriel is a Mexican American bassist whom Guitar magazine called “the most widely used session bassist of our time.” He has played on more than 4,000 recordings with musicians including Madonna, Quincy Jones, Dolly Parton, and Stevie Wonder. (IMDb)

Versa-Style Dance Company is a group of young, conscientious artists representing the diversity and beautiful complexity of Los Angeles. Their highly energetic performances fuse dances that are culturally significant to their community, including ’90s hip hop, house, popping, locking, whacking, and boogaloo, and Afro-Latin dance styles such as salsa, merengue, cumbia, and Afro-Cuban. (FacebookInstagramYouTube)

Presented by USC Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative. Organized by Josh Kun (Communication and Journalism) as part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, an initiative of the Getty. The presenting sponsor is Bank of America. Major support is provided through grants from the Getty Foundation. Co-sponsored by El Centro Chicano.

Photo (Palace Theatre): August Bradley
Photo (Versa-Style): George Simian
Photo (Laurel & Hardy): Hulton Archive