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“A rolling tortilla stuffed with

cilantro and hot chile dreams

of mailing money to Mexico

passes from a mother

to a son. The taco maker dashes

cebolla against the grill. He wears

an apron, matted against mole

skin, carries his form when

he peels it off. At 2AM….”

~ excerpt from The Taco Truck

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This weekend, at the PowerHouse Theater in Santa Monica, follow Lisa Marie Sandoval on her quest for the Holy Rhyme when this voluptuous Sicilian-American uptown girl dives from her privileged Encino background straight into the barrio in her show The Yowling, as part of the What’s the Story Festival playing through Sunday, February 18th. Highland Park is the northeast neighborhood of this particular huera’s nightmares, filled with challenges beyond whether to meet at the mall or the galleria. Slowly dragged into a different world, the Valley princess stumbles into finding herself, God, and the guttural cry of her soul before doing the unthinkable…going and marrying one of “them:” A “man who stopped at the sixth grade, was in the Mexican army, crept across the border because he was curious about what lay on the other side and makes little money from standing on a street corner… A man who is enough man to understand the scars on her heart.”

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Through an exotic blend of dance, drama, storytelling, and poetry, Lisa Marie Sandoval sweeps you into a story of love, angst, fear, and hope that demonstrates the skill of opening up to your identity and humanity with tremendous beauty.

The lifelong promise of collaboration between Lisa Marie and hubby Florentino didn’t stop at the altar. Artistically endowed Florentino Sandoval designed the beautifully evocative poster and the sets for this weekend’s performances using carrizos to suggest the many corn stalks growing in Highland Park’s backyards.

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Lisa Marie Sandoval is performing The Yowling under the guidance of sometimes-redhead, but always-master-of-the-solo-art form, Stacie Chaiken, artistic director and founder of the First Annual What’s The Story Festival of new solo plays playing Thursday the 8th through Sunday the 18th in Santa Monica at the PowerHouse Theatre, 3116 2nd Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405 at 8PM.

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The festival opens on Thursday, February 8 and Friday the 9th at 8pm with Actor/Writer Alan Rachins‘ hilarious and unsettlingly relevant tale of avoiding the draft circa 1962 America in Ready! Aim! Slit Your Wrists: My Army Story.

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The closing show on the bill this first weekend is Jennifer Pagan’s THE SHOEBOX LOUNGE about a Louisiana girl who doesn’t drink. She just sips. A lot. Strutting the French Quarter in moldy Ferragamos, sharing storms and spirit with her beloved New Orleans while exploring, with unusual gusto, how both she and her city can mend and flourish anew. One story involves 7-year old J. Lo. making her own communion in her grandmother’s closet with wine found in her nanna’s shoebox. Her parents had previously decided against communion since the nervous teen puked on her patent-leather white shoes before entering the church, fearing a repeat performance might see her “throw up on Jesus” during the ceremony.

For tickets and information, go to www.powerhousetheatre.com/now_playing.shtml

Lisa Marie Sandoval will be performing THE YOWLING on Saturday at 6pm and Sunday at 3pm. She is a community poet who likes to spread spoken word about the home she found in HP. She frequently collaborates with neighborhood artists, galleries and community organizations such as the Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock. In 2003, Lisa Marie received a grant from the City of LA Culture Affairs Department for her Life Through My Eyes Youth Poetry project which gave Northeast L.A. youth a chance to perform their poignant and powerful tales of life in the barrio. In the words of another proud Angeleno, Sandoval’s “powerful performances at “Time at the Rock” in Eagle Rock were truthful and heartfelt… We are truly blessed to have an artist like her.” ~ Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa, then City Councilman of Los Angeles.

Here is Lisa on meeting the man from Morelia, Michoacan (from THE YOWLING):
“The wind blows the rain against my back and gusts me through the church door.

A smile and a hand.

In pressed black slacks and a burgundy button-up

filled with wide shoulders

hugged tightly around the waist with a leather belt . . . the jornalero.

His mocha-java eyes stare back at me framed by a bronzed complexion.
I stretch my hand to meet the soft mound of the palm he offers.

He presses my grasp in greeting.

“Welcome, Dios te bendiga,” he says. “Bienvenida, God bless you.”

He turns to lead me to a seat.

His rear, so dear, like the David,

two muscles meeting and mating

as he moves to guide me.”

(Originally, Frankiely wanted us to use this poem about the poet’s husband, until we got wind of the taco truck one… ~ Ed.)

Check back with us next week to get a taste of the second weekend’s eclectic performers.