Operation Gatekeeper

Emigdio Vasquez, Orange

ArtPublished September 2010

Artist
Emigdio Vasquez, Orange

See It
“Detras de la Cortina,” (Behind the Curtain) an exhibit chronicling the Chicano art movement in Orange County, runs from Sept. 4 through Oct. 17 at Grand Central Art Center, 125 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, 714-567-7233,
www.grandcentralartcenter.com.  

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Background
Dubbed “the godfather of Hispanic artists” by The Orange County Register, Vasquez says his photo-realistic paintings and murals are “examples of social awareness and visual interpretation of history.” Vasquez’s interest in art began in kindergarten. He drew comic books about the Mexican Revolution during his childhood and earned his master’s degree in art from Cal State Fullerton.

Creation
Vasquez gathered news photos of Mexican laborers being deported, then used a technique he calls “photo scrapping.” Named after the Clinton administration’s border-control program, the painting combines several themes, Vasquez says: a contempt for foreigners, the laborers’ motivations for coming to the United States, and the confluence of Mexican and American politics.

Inspiration
“I attempted to give a visual edge to the plight of the laborers. Hopefully paintings like this can facilitate dialogue about better worker programs, faster immigration policies, and awareness of honest, hard-working individuals seeking employment. Perhaps focusing on the difference between the hard-working individuals and the criminals that traffic in drugs, guns, and violence would be a good first step.”

 

Tidbit

Kyle Selig, a Huntington Beach High School Academy of Performing Arts student, earned best performance by an actor honors at the National High School Musical Theater Awards—plus $10,000. Winning makes him eligible for a scholarship to New York University, pending his acceptance to the school.

 

Front and Center

Killer Thrillers
Cue the spooky organ soundtrack and blood-curdling screams: On Sept. 30, Fullerton will be invaded by monsters and mayhem. But instead of running for the hills, head to one of the eight venues participating in the first Fullerton Shadows Theatre Festival, a month of horror, science-fiction, and mystery programming. A collaboration of the Muckenthaler Cultural Center and local theaters, the festival offers a glimpse of the city’s visual arts scene, as well as thrills and chills. Some highlights:

FOX THEATRE The vintage—and closed—moviehouse opens the fest with a free screening of “Murder on the Orient Express” (1974) shown on the building’s exterior.

MAVERICK THEATRE An undead double bill pairs “Zombie Love: The Musical” and “Night of the Living Dead.”

OC THEATRE ORGAN SOCIETY The silent “Phantom of the Opera” (1925), starring Lon Chaney, is accompanied by
a score played on a Wurlitzer organ.

MUCKENTHALER The center offers performances ranging from supernatural poetry readings to scary storytelling. The festival’s closing event, the Moonlight Masquerade Ball, also takes place here and is a fundraiser for the cultural center’s education programs.

The festival runs through Oct. 31. For more information, visit www.fullerton?shadows.org

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