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'Zoot Suit' riots anniversary subject of weeklong series of events
STANFORD -- A weeklong series of events are scheduled at Stanford
University to mark the 50th anniversary of the Zoot Suit Riots in Los
Angeles, a significant confrontation between Chicano youth and the U.S.
The events are co-sponsored by Casa Zapata, the Chicano/Latino theme house
on campus, and Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA), a student
organization. The two groups annually stage events commemorating the Zoot
Suit era of the 1940s.
The events scheduled for the week of Feb. 1 explore a period of solidarity
and pride among Chicano youth, or pachucos, and the pachuco identity.
Beyond Zoot Suit Week, Feb. 1-6, additional events - lectures, concerts
and films - will be held in February to mark the anniversary. Organizers
extended the scope of the program because the anniversary is considered
especially significant in light of historical comparisons with the Los
Angeles riots of last April.
Following is the schedule of Zoot Suit Week events. Unless otherwise
noted, all events take place in the Casa Zapata lounge and are open to the
- Monday, Feb. 1, 5:30 p.m.: Screening of Luis Valdez's Zoot Suit, the
movie version of Valdez's acclaimed Broadway play.
- Tuesday, Feb. 2, 8 p.m.: Jose Cuellar, professor of Chicano studies at
the University of California-Berkeley and "Dr. Loco" of Dr. Loco's Rockin'
Jalapeno Band, will speak on "The Meaning of the 50th Anniversary of the Zoot
- Wednesday, Feb. 3, 7 p.m.: Miguel Delgado, actor and one of three
choreographers who worked on Zoot Suit, will speak on the theatrical aspects
of the play and movie, and discuss dances and culture of the era. Delgado
also worked with Valdez on the movie La Bamba and with singer Linda Ronstadt
on her "Corridos" production.
- Thursday, Feb. 4, 6 p.m.: Alfredo Mirande, professor of sociology and
ethnic studies at the University of California-Riverside, and currently a
Stanford law student, will present "The Zoot Suit Riots of 1943 and the Los
Angeles Riots of 1992: Comparisons and Contrasts." Mirande is the author of
Gringo Justice (1987) and The Chicano Experience (1985).
- Friday, Feb. 5, 5:30 p.m.: Workshop on how to dress like a "Zoot Suiter"
of the 1940s in preparation for a dance on Saturday at which 1940s clothing
is encouraged. Instruction for women includes how to roll their hair and tips
on fashions of the era. Men will learn how to get and wear pachuco chains and
how to achieve the "pachuco look."
- Friday, Feb. 5, 6:30 p.m.: Free dance lessons on such popular dance
styles of the 1940s as "boogie" and "swing." Guest instructor is Carlos
- Friday, Feb. 5, 7 p.m.: A repeat screening of Zoot Suit.
- Saturday, Feb. 6, 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., Casa Zapata Dining Hall. Annual
Zoot Suit Dance, featuring live music by Dr. Loco's Rockin' Jalapeno Band.
This band is well known in the Bay Area and has been the opening act on tours
by Los Lobos, the Los Angeles band that performed on the La Bamba soundtrack.
The dance will include a costume contest and a dance contest.
For more information about Zoot Suit Week, or other events taking place in
February, contact Maria Peters at 497-6479 or Laura Aizpuru at 497-6993.
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