Cesar Chavez Plants the Seeds of Comedic Success

The following year after reconnecting with UFW alum Luis Valdez and his theater group El Teatro Campesino, Scott was asked to serve on the organization’s board of directors to help fund-raise for productions. Luis and his wife Lupe created the theater group during the grape boycott in the late ’60s and early ’70s as a vehicle to take Chavez’s message to the grape fields of Delano. In those days, the group performed “Actos” from a flatbed truck for farm workers. Luis went on to write, produce and direct the 1987 hit “La Bamba.”

As one of the first fundraising efforts for the group, the brothers produced a Cinco de Mayo celebration in 1989. The event, held at the San Jose State Event Center, headlined Los Lobos, Willie Colon and a then unknown troupe called Culture Clash. The San Jose Mercury News listed the event among the top 10 events of the year in the Bay Area.

Its success caught the attention of others in the area entertainment scene. Scott and Mark were recruited as founding members of the San Jose Jazz Society, co-producing the first five years of the San Jose Jazz Festival, which is now in its 25th year.

Reconnecting with Luis Valdez led to more fundraising events and eventually to producing live comedy shows at an old movie house in San Jose. Scott was approached by the San Francisco Comedy competition to book and produce spin offs of the festival in San Jose.

“I made a deal with the local movie house—the Towne Theatre. We would get the theatre for free and keep the ticket sales and they would keep the concessions. I brought in a whole host of comedians from the competition including Will Durst, Sue Murphy, Kevin Pollack and Kevin Meany,” Scott says.

He eventually produced a show (another fund-raiser for El Teatro Campesino) at the San Jose Civic Auditorium with Paul Rodriquez and Marcos Loya. At that time Rodriguez’s biggest sell out in northern California was about 800 tickets. The day of the show only 280 of the 3,000 seats were sold. Scott was concerned but he had negotiated deals on radio, TV and billboards so he was hopeful for a decent walk-up. And he got it.

Kiki Melendez
Kiki Melendezhttp://www.kikikiss.com
Kiki Melendez is best known for her versatility; this communications major turned clinical hypnotherapist became an actress, producer and businesswoman. As CEO of Latin Hollywood Films, Kiki was involved in a host of critically acclaimed hits including Galavision’s “Kiki Desde Hollywood”, Showtime Network’s “Kiki Melendez Hot Tamales Live” and the docu-comedy “The Journey of a Female Comic”. Ever the comic, Kiki’s says she’s “hoping to remain happily married…LOL”. Kiki is also the proud mom of twin girls. More at Kiki Kiss     Website

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