In The Tortilla Curtain, the novel that named the ubiquitous cultural divide that defines so much of life in the Southwest, T. C. Boyle did a great job dragging the hidden injuries of race and class into the light, but he also left some room for hope. “There are always surprises,” writes Boyle. “Life may be inveterately grim and the surprises disproportionately unpleasant, but it would be hardly worth living if there were no exceptions, no sunny days, no acts of random kindness.” This Sunday, one of those “acts of random kindness” will strike at La Cumbre Junior High School when the Del Castillo Band take the stage for the second La Noche Brava concert, organized by the Vineyard Valley Theatre Company and cosponsored by Sings Like Hell. The show is a benefit for the school, but it’s also an attempt to bridge the cultural gap separating S.B.’s English- and Spanish-speaking populations.
Veteran producer Lee Rosenberg, the man behind La Noche Brava, lives in the Santa Ynez Valley and feels strongly about the mission of Vineyard Valley Theatre Company, which he describes as striving to “cross racial boundaries and bring people together through entertainment and culture.”
Equal parts intellectual and entertainment-savvy entrepreneur, Rosenberg links the work he does on concerts such as this one with an ongoing dialogue among community leaders in the Santa Ynez Valley about such crucial issues as immigration. Not content with simply talking about things, Vineyard Valley has as its modus operandi a willingness to get out and try something new. After the success of last year’s Del Castillo show at the Solvang Festival Theater, Rosenberg felt that it was time to come to Santa Barbara with his concept. He told me, “There are three objectives here: to raise money—at least $20,000—for the La Cumbre Junior High; to raise the profile of the school, which is an exemplary organization with a great leader; and finally, to bring together Latino and Anglo audiences for one night of great music.” Del Castillo plays La Cumbre Junior High this Sunday, September 5, at 8 p.m. For tickets and information, call 963-0761 or visit lobero.com.