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 didnâ€™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. â€œIâ€™m trying to break into Hollywood and analyze how Hollywood analyzes me,â€ Nava explains. â€œI donâ€™t appreciate having to be invisible.â€ 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)