Las Cafeteras at MACLA 3 October 2015

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I got to see Las Cafeteras, a high-energy band from East LA, last night at MACLA, which is probably the hippest art space in San Jose.

What I like most about MACLA is that they start off defining and carefully cultivating the political climate of everything they offer. They don’t stand back and make an empty space for the art like many galleries do (that’s great for some, but I prefer the political honesty and clarity). The second-best thing is that they sell good Gordon Biersch San Jose beer for cheap. They attract stuff you’re not going to see anywhere else, like the play Placas and an exhibition on the 1992 Crayola skin tone crayons that let kids draw with the crayons and write what they thought multiculturalism means. Wait, when the fuck did those crayons happen? I don’t remember this! Did my school turn a blind eye???
Las Cafeteras are all about audience participation, and I really appreciate how they talk about real stuff like student debt and the difficulty of being an artist in this economy. I’m not interested in talking about some spokesperson for some generation, but rather I’ll say simply that I feel like Cafeteras are doing a great job talking to people like me through their music, and there are a lot of people in the situation they describe who’re both ten years younger than me and ten years older.
They did the zapatazo thing, played in son and other rhythms, and ended their set with a call-and-response about gratitude. They sang in both English and Spanish. Their members definitely had an educated folk-revival type vibe. It was an awesome show. The opening act Diana Gameros was pretty great too. Viva MACLA!

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