Celebrating Culture

The Influence of Rasquachismo

 "Rasquache is being able to take a little pushcart that sells ice cream cones and turn it into a three-bedroom house. That is the essence of it.” -Cheech Marin

A play’s director and designers often look to existing works of art for inspiration, and the Alley’s production of Quixote Nuevo is no exception. For this show, the team was inspired by a dynamic Chicano style. For a long time, the term “rasquache” was a negative one, which conjured words like “tacky” or “recycled.” But artists have reclaimed and rebranded the style as Rasquachismo - creating the most from the least. 

Watch these clips to see the rasquache feel of Quixote Nuevo. 

Quick Listen: Cheech Marin talks about rasquachismo and chicano art

Repurpose Your Legacy

The Alley’s Education team recently worked with 10 local schools to explore the power of dreams in our lives and our community by creating an amazing 12-foot sculpture called Ambulantes. This work of art, curated by local artist Carolina Borja, can be seen in the Alley Theatre lobby during the run of Quixote Nuevo. Here’s how it went down:  

  • Houston students were asked to create art pieces in the style of Rasquachismo. Each piece reflected themes present in the Alley’s productions of The Winter’s Tale and Quixote Nuevo.  

  • Carolina collected hundreds of student-made works and turned them into the stunning and massive work of art. Students and their families will see their work at the Alley while attending the 2020 production.  

Local artist Carolina Borja guiding student work

Activity 

Teachers and community members can make their own Rasquachimo works of art, reflecting themes found in the play. Instructions for 4 different pieces can be found here

A Chorus of Calacas

"[The calacas are] a bridge between the past and the present, between one world and another, between memory and fantasy." -Octavio Solis

For this adaptation, Octavio Solis incorporates an ensemble that fluidly shifts from the residents of La Plancha to a sort of Greek chorus, led by Death himself. They are the calacas- a reference to the skeletons commonly used during Day of the Dead festivals. In Quixote Nuevo, they are led by Pap Calaca, and they follow Quixote throughout the play.

KJ talks about the show's unique take on Calacas

Calacas & Dios de Los Muertos

Is it cultural exchange or appropriation? Allure covers five important aspects of traditional skull makeup to consider before you paint. 

Dios de Los Muertos has some commonality with the Catholic celebrations of All Saints Day and All Souls Day, although it's very different in practice. The key common theme is remembering and honoring lost loved ones. 

Watch the video to learn more about the holiday, calacas, calaveras, and ever-popular catrinas.

A Unique Sound

Create your own unique sound! Whether you're broke or flush with cash, making your own instruments can be a fun challenge.

David Molina creates a unique sound for Quixote Nuevo. The show isn't a musical, but it is a musical play. It's filled with Tejano-inspired underscoring, soundscapes, and original songs. Even some of the instruments are original. 

Tejano Influence

The lyrical dialogue and intrinsic musicality of the play is a fitting tribute to the source material (it's filled with ballads and musical references).

Watch the video to see how Tejano music influenced David Molina's design for the play. If you want to know more about the music of Mexico, check out this Re-Sourced page.

If you've ever wondered what playlists your favorite literary characters might rock out to, Flavorwire has got you covered.

Copyright Alley Theatre Education & Community Engagement 2015.