As anti-immigrant rhetoric rises across the country, playwright and performer Adrian Villegas imagines a world where hope sweeps through the barrio.
Villegas — who brought us the poignant yet hilarious Latino Comedy Project show “Gentrif*cked,” spotlighting the effects of gentrification on Latino neighborhoods — reprised his one-man show “Barrio Daze,” which wraps up this weekend. Don’t miss your chance to catch this last performance Sept. 14-16 at The Institution Theater in South Austin.
Using cultural humor and sharp social commentary as his tools of choice, Villegas brings to life nine characters ranging from a quick-tempered Tex-Mex bus driver to a Chicano U.S. Senate hopeful. “Barrio Daze” takes audiences on a tour through one day in the barrio during a turbulent national election. The lives of all of these characters collide on an important Election Day.
Villegas’ gift for creating humanizing portraits of U.S. Latino life with wit and thought-provoking instincts make “Barrio Daze” an important performance to check out as issues of race and immigration continue to dominate national and local headlines.
When the Latino Comedy Project, a multimedia sketch troupe, returned with new material at the Out of Bounds Comedy Festival in Austin last fall, the one-night-only event quickly sold out.
In the midst of anti-immigrant rhetoric and rapidly changing local neighborhoods, Austin had missed the hilarious political satire and parodies that made LCP popular since its launch in the late 1990s.
Now, the comedy gods have answered our prayers. LCP will bring back its latest show “Gentrif*cked” for two nights on June 9-10 at the Spiderhouse Ballroom. The show, which includes a mix of live sketches, music and original videos, examines the “causes and consequences of gentrification in Austin and neighborhoods across America,” according to the troupe.
When it comes to presenting real-world issues via humor, LCP Artistic Director Adrian Villegas has said, “Comedy is a way to cut through the superficial differences.” Special guests include Austin’s only bilingual improv troupe Migas, as well as stand-up comedy by “Funniest Person in Austin” finalist Vanessa Gonzalez.
Each night features an 8 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. show. Tickets are $15 and available online at latinocomedyproject.com.
Humor can bring people together and often helps us find our commonalities. For one weekend only (Aug. 4-6), Teatro Vivo presents Mexcentrics, a Latino comedy showcase that will feature everything from ensemble performances to solo acts that highlight Latino life and culture “with authenticity, sincerity and laughter,” according to the Latino theater group.
Comedian Howard Beecher will host the showcases at 8 p.m. on Thursday and 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center. In addition to performances by Mexcentrics, the comedy troupe behind sketch comedy shows such as “Pulga Nation” and “Pulga Time Machine,” other featured comics include actress, improviser and sketch comedy writer Vanessa Gonzalez, stand-up comedian, writer and actor Jesse Pangelinan and improv comedy troupe Shades of Brown.
“It’s exciting to have such a talented team of professional actors and comedians who love to make people laugh and are dedicated to delivering an honest look at the Latino experience,” said Teatro Vivo’s Artistic Executive Director Mario Ramirez in a statement.
But you might want to leave your children at home. Teatro Vivo warns that the shows contain adult content. Tickets, which range from $15-$20, can be purchased at teatrovivo.org/buy-tickets/.