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OSF's CultureFest

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UNIVERSES, a fusion theater troupe of hip-hop, jazz, gospel, blues and Spanish boleros. Photo courtesy of Oregon Shakespeare FestivalPhoto courtesy of OSF
 Posted: 9:26 AM October 04, 2012

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival will host a celebration of multiethnic cultures Thursday through Sunday, Oct. 4-7, with CultureFest. The event will feature a variety of shows on OSF's Green Show stage, 15 S. Pioneer St., Ashland, along with play readings, a film screening, discussions and Spanish open-captioned productions of "Party People," "Troilus and Cressida" and "Romeo and Juliet."

Using this season's high-energy, mixed-media, festival production of "Party People" as a central theme, CultureFest will kick off at 6:45 p.m. Thursday with a Green Show performance by UNIVERSES, the poetry-theater-music ensemble that created the work.

A Friday screening of "¡Palante, Siempre Palante! The Young Lords," followed by a question-and-answer session with Felipe Luciano — Afro-Puerto Rican poet, journalist and co-founder of the Young Lords-New York Chapter — will be presented at 10 a.m. in the Varsity Theatre, 166 E. Main St. The panel will be moderated by Mildred Ruiz-Sapp, co-author of "Party People." Admission to these events is free.

UNIVERSES will present another "Party People" salon, "A Conversation With Bobby Seale," at 10 a.m. Saturday in OSF's New Theatre.

Seale is a co-founder of the Black Panther Party. He has continued working as an activist, writing a number of books and teaching at Temple University in Pennsylvania. His best-selling cookbook, "Barbeque'n With Bobby Seale," benefits various nonprofits. In 2002, Seale founded Reach, a nonprofit committed to youth-education programs, continuing the community outreach of the original Black Panthers.

Tickets to this event cost $9, $7 for ages 6 through 17.

"Las Colibri," the electrifying, female mariachi group seen in last season's production of "Measure for Measure," will perform at 12:30 p.m. Friday and at 6:45 p.m. Saturday on the Green Show stage.

At 2 p.m. Friday, a reading of "Alexandria," a Middle-Eastern/American play by Alex Lewin, will be presented in Carpenter Hall. A discussion will follow. The reading is free.

Syrian-American hip-hop artist and poet Omar Offendum will perform in English and Arabic at 6:45 p.m. Friday and Sunday on the Green Show stage.

Eugene Taiko, a Japanese drumming ensemble, will perform at 12:30 p.m. Saturday on the Green Show stage. A performance of traditional Native American drumming, dancing and storytelling by Dancing Spirit Drum will be presented at 12:30 p.m. Sunday.

Another play reading, this one of Luis Alfaro's new play, "Bruja," will be presented at 2 p.m. Sunday in Carpenter Hall. A discussion will follow. Alfaro's play "Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner" was presented at OSF several seasons ago.

Throughout the weekend, OSF will present Spanish open-captioned performances of current productions: "Party People" at 1:30 p.m. Friday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday; "Troilus and Cressida" at 8 p.m. Friday and 1:30 p.m. Saturday; and "Romeo and Juliet" at 8 p.m. Saturday. Regular show tickets will be required for these performances.

Food will be available throughout CultureFest from the El Gallo taco truck parked in front of the New Theatre.

See for a comprehensive schedule. Call 541-482-4331 for tickets.

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