WALNUT CREEK, CA — A vibrant week-long celebration of Latin American arts and culture comes to the Lesher Center for the Arts with Fiesta Cultural, offering comedy, theatre, visual arts, and a free street fair. All events take place June 20 – 25, 2023 at the Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr, Walnut Creek. Offerings are: Headliner performances brought to audiences by the Diablo Regional Arts Association, including Latinx comedian Gina Brillon (June 22), legendary jazz musician Arturo Sandoval (June 23), Afro-Mexican fusion music from international sensations Las Cafeteras (June 24), and modern Mariachi Herencia de México (June 25); the Lesher Foundation Newsmakers: Lesher Speaker Series guest Ana Navarro (June 20); Center Repertory Company’s performances of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit musical In the Heights (runs through June 24); Bedford Gallery’s exhibition titled About Face (runs through June 25), and a free street fair featuring live music, dance, food, and activities from the diverse cultures of Latin America (June 24).
For tickets and more information, the public may visit www.lesherartscenter.org or call the box office at (925) 943-7469 (open Wed-Sun, 12-6pm).
Fiesta Cultural is proudly supported by an honorary host committee of local community and business leaders, and a steering committee of artists and arts leaders. Sponsors of the festival include Kaiser Permanente, Lesher Foundation, NBC Bay Area, and Telemundo Area de la Bahía 48. The Fiesta Cultural Street Fair is sponsored by Chevron.
“The arts have long been recognized for their power to connect individuals and heal communities,” says Dr. Ken Grullon, Kaiser Permanente Physician-in-Chief in the Diablo Service Area. “At Kaiser Permanente, we know that part of being healthy is balancing everyday demands and doing what makes you happy. I am delighted to be the Honorary Chair of Fiesta Cultural and help bring the diversity of Latin arts to the Diablo Region – there is so much to share!”
Complete Events List
Ana Navarro – 7:30pm, Tuesday, June 20
Fiesta Cultural kicks off with a talk by national political strategist Ana Navarro, political analyst for CNN, CNN en Español, Telemundo, and co-host of ABC’s “The View.” Respected on both sides of the aisle for her straight shooting and candor, Navarro frequently appears on “Meet the Press,” “Bill Maher’s Real Time,” “Anderson Cooper 360,” “The View,” and others. In touch with current hot-button political issues, she offers audiences an insider’s view of national affairs. Navarro has served as the national Hispanic co-chair for Governor Jon Huntsman’s 2012 campaign and was the national co-chair of John McCain’s Hispanic Advisory Council in 2008. This appearance is presented by the Lesher Foundation Newsmakers: Lesher Speaker Series in partnership with Los Cenzontles Cultural Arts Academy.
In the Heights – Wednesday through Saturdays, May 27 – June 24
Lesher Center’s professional Center Repertory Company presents the Tony Award-winning musical In the Heights. With music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda (creator of Hamilton), this vibrant singing/dancing production highlights the diverse Nuyorican community of Washington Heights in NYC, with brilliant choreography and an exuberant score that merges hip-hop, salsa, merengue, and soul.
Gina Brillon – 7:30pm, Thursday, June 22
Laughter is on the bill with an appearance by Latinx actress, comedian, writer, and mom Gina Brillon, star of the Amazon Prime special “Gina Brillon: The Floor is Lava,” winner of the 2021 Gracie Award, and “Easily Offended,” streaming on HBO and HBO Latino. Brillon has appeared on “The View,” “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “Kevin Can Wait,” and “The Conners.” The first (and only) Latina winner of NBC’s “Stand up for Diversity” Showcase, she is a singer, published writer, and poet whose work has appeared in the New York Post and Daily News, among others. Also, the first Latina comedian to be a finalist on “America’s Got Talent,” Brillon is now the co-host and Executive Producer of “The State of: WOMEN,” a podcast that explores which U.S. states are getting gender equity right and which are failing – and what listeners can do about it.
Arturo Sandoval – 7:30pm, Friday, June 23
The weekend starts on a jazzy high note with an appearance by Arturo Sandoval, one of the world’s leading performers on jazz trumpet and flugelhorn, as well as a renowned classical artist, pianist, and composer. A protégé of the legendary jazz master Dizzy Gillespie, Sandoval is a 19-time Grammy nominee, recipient of 10 Grammy Awards, 6 Billboard Awards and an Emmy Award (for his compositions for the HBO film starring Andy Garcia, “For Love or Country” based on Sandoval’s life).
Fiesta Cultural Street Fair – 12pm to 7pm, Saturday, June 24
Saturday afternoon brings the heat with a free street fair offering music, dance, food, activities and more from the diverse cultures of Latin America.
Las Cafeteras – 7:30pm, Saturday, June 24
Lesher Center expects the roof to be raised and the walls to vibrate with the joyous sounds of Las Cafeteras, who have taken the music scene by storm with their sonic explosion of Afro-Mexican rhythms, electronic beats, and powerful rhymes that document stories of a community seeking to “build a world where many worlds fit.” Emerging from East of the Los Angeles River, Las Cafeteras remixes roots music as modern-day troubadours, honoring the past by using electrifying traditional instrumentation such as the eight-string Jarana, four-string Requinto, Quijada (donkey jawbone) and Tarima (a wooden platform). Las Cafeteras sing in five distinct languages—English, Spanish, Spanglish, Love, and Justice—believing that everyone understands at least one of those languages. International appearances have taken them from Bonnaroo to the Hollywood Bowl, and in performances with Gypsy Kings, Los Lobos, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and more.
About Face – 1pm to 5pm, Wednesdays – Sundays through June 25
Visitors can also check out nearly 100 local, national, and international artists who challenge traditional portraiture with current concepts and perspectives in the Bedford Gallery’s exhibit entitled About Face. This fascinating exhibit highlights contemporary portraits and explores how the genre continually changes and evolves as artists respond to the present moment. The exhibit features rich and compelling work by Latin artists, as well as works from around the world.
Mariachi Herencia de México – 3pm, Sunday, June 25
Fiesta Cultural concludes with Mariachi Herencia de México, a new generation’s take on traditional Mexican music. A recent Latin Grammy nominee, Mariachi Herencia de México has become the voice of a new bicultural generation in the United States, blending the historic traditions of mariachi music with the vibrant sounds of North America in wildly popular albums that top the Latin streaming charts.