Rocks in my Salsa – Writer-performer Cristina Nava says she remembers working to create atmosphere for a romantic evening by blending salsa in a molcajete bowl she had just bought in Tijuana. Unfortunately, what she didn’t do was eliminate the tiny stone chips loosely lodged in most such basalt bowls. Her boyfriend chipped a tooth, and the rocks in the salsa have emerged as a metaphor in her first solo performance for the tiny, pain-inducing obstacles that accompany being a Chicana in Hollywood.
The piece, playing this weekend, was created in consultation with director/mentor Monica Palacios; it tells stories from the identity body politics of sexuality, homophobia and being a single Latina in her 30s, while her Mexican family waits anxiously for her to start a family. Nava also comments on her somewhat skewed relationship with The Biz. Playing an extra, Nava was incensed when asked to throw on a burka because, with her olive skin and brown eyes, she could pass for being Muslim. Talk about layers of oppression. “I’m trying to break into Hollywood and analyze how Hollywood analyzes me,” Nava explains. “I don’t appreciate having to be invisible.” Highways Performance Space, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., Oct. 6-7, 8:30 p.m. (310) 315-1459 or visit www.highwaysperformance.org. (Steven Leigh Morris)