Steven Spielberg's light-infused aliens have nothing on the third world peoples who land in America. Close Encounters of the Third World, running April 21-May 14 at San Francisco's SomArts Cultural Center, will take a comic look at the Asian-Pacific Islander and Chicano/Latino communities in the United States and how the two groups interact with each other and America at large.
The joint effort of the Asian American Theater Company, Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center, Latina Theater Lab, Culture Clash and 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors, Close Encounters is the second partnering of the groups, following their successful show, Culture Clash with Loco Locals. Both shows have a basis in edgy sketch comedy with monologues and musical number rounding out the evening.
Culture Clash is perhaps the best known of the performance groups. Their touring Chicano/Latino comedy troupe who have opened for Santana, Los Lobos, Ruben Blades and others and appeared on Fox in "Culture Clash" and in the movies "Encino Man," "Falling Down," "Mi Vida Loca" and "La Carpa." Recent shows have included Radio Mambo and Bordertown.
Ellen Sebastian Chang directs the 15 person ensemble that draws its membership from the various companies creating the piece. Michael Chinh Ming Hornbuckle, Tessa Koning-Martinez, Richard Talavera, Naomi Quinones and Francine Torres Kelly star.
Tickets are $22-$16. The SomArts Cultural Center is located at 934 Brannan Street. For information, call (415) 440-5545. -- By Christine Ehren