Archive for the ‘lincoln center collins’ tag
“Education is the vaccine for violence.”
I remember at the end of a meeting, a colleague asked me once if I was an academic or an activist. I was struck by the question, for at the heart of it, there seems like there should be a separation of the two. That they are somehow incompatible or at the very least, capable of distorting each other so that neither can be truly a reliable performance or identity. I wonder what Edward James Olmos would say if asked whether he is an actor or activist? After all, do those two terms not come from the same linguistic root?
Olmos’ early life was framed by the forces of the barrio in which he lived in East LA and a passion for baseball which would teach him the values that he would need to escape a common fate of most of the barrio brothers – life in a gang. As Olmos told a reporter from Time, “Inside this world, everyone was the same. We were all poor. And the only way to survive it was through a constant struggle of trying to be better today than you were yesterday.” To improve his own chances of getting out of poverty, Olmos would form a successful rock band, attend East Los Angeles Community College during the day and study during set breaks when they played the clubs at night. He would also fall in love with acting and yet, start a business delivering antiques to make enough money to live. Once the band broke up, he would deliver furniture during the day while working in experimental theatre at night, building his path to the TV shows and movies — the actor –he would come to be known as — Zoot Suit, Miami Vice, Stand and Deliver, The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez, Selena, American Me and others as he continues his performative work. Much of this work would reflect his values and commitments to the Hispanic community, especially its youth, and their future (the activist). By his own account, 94% of his time is spend working for free – trying to make life better for others.
Named by Hispanic Magazine as the nation’s most influential Hispanic American, Olmos is a U.S. Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, a national spokesperson for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, and Executive Director of the Lives in Hazard Educational Project, a national gang prevention program funded by the U.S Department of Justice. As he recently told Hispanic’s Katherine Diaz, “I would hate to look back on my life and only see myself as a person who made lots of money and was a star and made Rambo and Terminator movies. I have made my body of work something that I am proud of and that in 100 years, my great-great-grandchildren will go and see my work and say, ‘well, grandpa really did some extraordinarily different kinds of work.’”
Actor or activist? It seems more important to commit yourself to causes in which you believe and work to make your work serve them. We hope you will join us for what promises to be an extraordinary evening with Edward James Olmos entitled, “We’re all in the same gang”, on Tuesday April 28th, at the Lincoln Center Performance Hall, starting at 7pm. Tickets are $10 adult, $8 students/seniors (60+). A limited number of seats are available for a special Meet the Speaker ticket which includes preferred seating and a reception with the speaker afterwards.
Wherever you go, there you are.