Chicano Power 1969: Fire in the Streets & War of the Flowers

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Last month, Su Teatro Cultural and Performing Arts Center fed hearts, souls, and minds with an incredible show Chicano Power 1969: Fire in the Streets & War of the Flowers. Created and produced by Anthony J. Garcia and Daniel Valdez, this world premiere was Su Teatro’s highest grossing show in history.

Many who experienced Chicano Power 1969 say that this production is Denver’s Selma, and after seeing the show ourselves, we were struck by how very true that statement is.

Powerful stories were brought to life on stage through seamless collaboration among talented performers, musicians, behind the scenes technicians, producers, and event staff. Congratulations to everyone who came together to expose these heart-wrenching, but important historical events to our modern consciousness. 

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Synopsis from Su Teatro’s Website:

  • Fire in the Streets: 9th Avenue from Elati to Galapago was covered in smoke so thick you couldn’t see in front of you. On March 19,1969, the students at West High School walked out to protest racism and marginalization in the schools, they were met with tear gas, arrests and police batons.
  • War of the Flowers: On February 15, 1969, Lupe Briseño and four striking women chained themselves to the gates of the Kitayama Carnation plant in a non-violent protest. Immediately, Weld County sheriffs arrived. Deputy D.B. Ruiz flanked by two deputies turned on a tear gas machine and sprayed a snow-white layer of gas over the women who instantly fell to the ground; coughing and weeping. 50 years later, the War of the Flowers: “Lupe’s story” will be told.

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The history behind the events recreated in the production really struck a personal chord with Kowal, who was honored to write This is My West Side for Su Teatro’s Chicano Power 1969: Fire in the Streets & War of the Flowers.

During the his pre-writing research, he noted a clear similarity between this Civil Rights story and the Selma Bus Boycotts; both events are such strong and important pieces of history and should never be overlooked or forgotten. The clip below shows Kowal at his home studio, strumming through the creative process with a rough cut of This is My West Side

 

 

Kowal also wrote Meet Me At The Arches (lyrics and chords) 

and The Hammer Came Down (lyrics and chords) 

for Su Teatro’s record-breaking production Chicano Power 1969 (lyrics and chords) 

 

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Kowal’s soulful contribution for Su Teatro wasn’t his first song-writing rodeo. His music has been commissioned by several organizations, including New Belgium Brewing Co, and The Moth story hour. Additionally, Kowal performs regularly with his band, The Reals. Check out the links below for some of his past work.

If you’d like to collaborate with Kowal, send us an email!

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