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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. military.

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 community.

  • 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 Suit Riots."
  • 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 Gonzalez.
  • 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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