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Salinas, Ricardo | Special Collections & Archives

Name: Salinas, Ricardo
Variant Name: Ric

Historical Note:

Ric Salinas was born in El Salvador, and moved to San Francisco as a child. He grew up in the Mission District and attended San Francisco State University, where he participated in the theater program and earned a degree in Speech Communications. A member of Teatro Latino, Salinas became interested in the Chicano movement because there was not an equivalent within the relatively small community of Salvadoreños in San Francisco.

Culture Clash was founded on Cinco de Mayo, 1984 at René Yañez's Galería de la Raza/ Studio 24 in San Francisco's Mission District by Richard Montoya, Ricardo Salinas, Herbert Sigüenza, and José Antonio Burciaga. Sigüenza had trained as a visual artist, Montoya's background was in spoken word poetry, and Salinas had performed as a break-dancer and bilingual rapper. The group was originally called Comedy Fiesta and conceived of as a troupe of six actors, comedians, and poets including Marga Gómez and Monica Palacios. The group eventually fragmented, and Culture Clash was formed with four members Burciaga, Montoya, Salinas, and Sigüenza. Burciaga left the group in 1988 and died in 1996.

Some of their best-known plays include The Mission (1988), A Bowl of Beings (1991), S.O.S—Comedy for These Urgent Times (1992, written in response to the Los Angeles Riots), Carpa Clash (1993; carpas are Mexican vaudevillian tent shows), Culture Clash Unplugged (1994), Radio Mambo: Culture Clash Invades Miami (1994), Bordertown (1998), Nuyorican Stories (1999), and Mission Magic Mystery Tour (2001). Many of these pieces were site-specific commissioned works. Bowl of Beings is particularly well-know as it was filmed for PBS' Great Performances series in 1992. Culture Clash performed their adaptation of Aristophanes' The Birds for South Coast Repertory Theater in San Diego, California and the Berkeley Repertory Theater in Berkeley, California in 1998.

Culture Clash's first book, Culture Clash: Life, Death, and Revolutionary Comedy, appeared in 1998. This publication includes scripts of many of their plays. In 2001 they published Culture Clash in AmeriCCa, a book that explores what it means to be an American through a series of vignettes. The book was inspired by the show Culture Clash Coast to Coast, which premiered at the Japanese Cultural Center in Los Angeles.

Through the efforts of comedian "Cheech" Marin, Culture Clash developed a show for Fox Television, entitled Fox Television's "Culture Clash." The show ran from 1993 to 1995 with a total of 30 episodes. The comedy sketch show featured guest appearances from Edward James Olmos, Jimmy Smits, Maria Conchita Alonso, and Dolores Huerta.

Los Boys de CC have been featured together and separately in several feature films. All three appeared in 1992's Encino Man as Loco, Enrique, and Chuly. Montoya was in Lucky Luke (1994), Falling Down (1993), and Hero (1992). Sigüenza can be seen in Star Maps (1997) and Hero (1992). In 1992, they co-produced and wrote Columbus on Trial, an award-winning short film.

In 1989 while trying to break up a fight, Ric was shot and severely wounded by a 17-year-old gang member with a sawed-off shotgun. The fight took place outside of Ric’s house in San Francisco, where he had been meeting with Richard to discuss Culture Clash business. This incident was incorporated in Bowl of Beings.

The members of Culture Clash also work on their own theatrical projects. Herbert Sigüenza was in Yo Soy Cantinflas, based on the life of the Mexican comedy star.

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