by the El Reportero’s staff
The eclectic Tenderloin, near neighbor to cultural, civic and government buildings as well as the hotels, shopping and tourism of downtown San Francisco, is the subject of a new documentary film by Henri Quenette, premiering at the San Francisco Main Library on March 25.
Long known as the “heart” of San Francisco, the Tenderloin is a refuge for elderly, disabled and low-income working people striving to stay in the city. This area is perhaps the last frontier in SF’s ever-expanding gentrification trend. It has a high density population and visible issues with drugs.
Henri Quenette’s moving documentary film about San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood, Love Me Tenderloin, shows the everyday lives of four inhabitants living in the Tenderloin: Bridchette, Arnold, Woody and Indian Joe. Through these lives, the viewer learns about the many difficulties of living in the Tenderloin.
Almost a quarter of the neighborhood’s residents live below the poverty level. Despite the challenges, the film also offers hope, by highlighting how much love there is among the residents of the neighborhood and the people who work there to improve the life of the Tenderloin residents.
Film premiere: San Francisco Main Library’s Koret Auditorium on March 25 at 5:45 p.m. A reception will follow the screening, sponsored by the French American Cultural Society.
PLACAS: The perilous journey of a new play about escaping gang life and a perilous tattoo
San Francisco International Arts Festival (SFIAF), Laney College Theater and Paul S. Flores present the return of playwright Flores’ stage play PLACAS starring Ricardo Salinas of Culture Clash. PLACAS will make its East Bay premiere at Laney College Theater near Lake Merritt in Oakland, March 27-29, 2014.
PLACAS (barrio slang: a code word for graffiti tags, a nickname or body tattoos) is a stage drama about family, transformation and redemption that focuses on a Salvadoran former gang member in the barrio trying to reclaim his family while letting go of his past. Set in today’s San Francisco, it explores the benefits and risks of tattoo removal for gang members thru one man’s determination to reunite his family after surviving civil war in El Salvador, immigration, deportation, prison and street violence.
PLACAS focuses on inter-generational relationships between young men and their fathers and uses the metaphor of tattoo removal as a way of moving forward and as a path to a possible solution.
PLACAS stars Ric Salinas as Salvadoran immigrant Fausto Carbajal, a now middle- aged ex-gang member recently released after nine years in prison. As a requirement of his parole Fausto must remove the tattoos that mark him as a member of his gang. Wearied by what has been a lifetime of violence, he accepts the terms. He is determined to reunite his family, traumatized by three decades of war, forced migrations and street crime. He returns to San Francisco to live with his mother, a war refugee, and hopes to re-unite with his ex-partner, Claudia and their now teenaged son, Edgar. Fausto visits Claudia and Edgar.
But Edgar, who has not seen his father for most of his life, resents Fausto and displays disturbing character traits that remind Fausto of himself in his youth.
It is clear that the reunion will be difficult. Fausto realizes that his son is in danger of being initiated into a rival gang when Edgar is arrested for carrying a gun to school and placed on probationary house arrest. Fausto attempts to persuade Edgar against joining the gang and offers to move the family out of the neighborhood, but Edgar runs away. Fausto must find Edgar before the police do. His process of transformation is both physically and emotionally painful, but can he save himself, and is it enough and in time to save his son?
Ric Salinas (Culture Clash) returns to the stage at Laney College as part of a five-city tour which begins Thurs. March 27 – Sat March 29, at 8 pm. in Oakland.
Tickets: $15 – $40 Reserved Seating Box-Office: http://www.sfiaf.org, 1-800-838-3006.
Group Rates Available: Call 415-399-9554 for info.