La RaRa Noche season 2 in Tijuana MX was a tremendous success. We were able to present 23 distinct performance pieces, 5 of which were from San Diego based artists, and the other 18 performances were from Tijuana based artists. Each show was a full house with an extremely supportive audience.
Because of our open door venue the audience felt welcome to enter and also free to leave at any time giving more people walking through the Pasaje a chance to come in. The audience was constantly in flux giving the shows a sense of aliveness and intrigue for the performers on stage.
La Caja Fuerte performance venue inside El Pasaje Rodriguez proved to be the ideal location for our purpose and for the artists. Being a large enough space and rough in its construction encouraged the artists to use it freely and experiment without compromising it. Us in the production side of things were also at liberty to use it however we needed; lighting, seating, and sound was completely in our control. The audio and camera equipment we acquired from the Virgil Yeong grant gave the performances more options for sounding their performances and better documentation. We had the support of great custodial help and security who helped us maneuver through the crowds, secure our equipment and connect with the neighboring shops and businesses.
During the initial preparations for the season, my partner and I knew crossing to Tijuana to produce this show would present unanticipated challenges. One example was the transportation and security of our equipment. Without the audio and lighting equipment there could be no show. During our first show we were lucky enough to have the support of a colleague who is familiar with the process with customs when one crosses expensive equipment to Tijuana. He led us through this ordeal and made the necessary verbal and monetary exchanges for a safe crossing.
As the first show finalized another lucky strike was having yet another colleague who is in partnership with a dance studio in Tijuana. This dance studio called Danzers had enough space to store all our equipment during five weeks between each installment of RaRa. This truly made the entire season a breeze knowing that crossing the border and coming back with a car full of equipment (while waiting in line for over three hours) each time would not be necessary.
Remembering this proves to me how important it is to network and get to know and consider our friends during our creative endeavors. I learned to ask for help, consider people’s time and energy and formulate exchanges to let all who contributed to the project know that they are extremely valued.
I have learned that a project like RaRa needs consistency in all angles for it to gain momentum. When I first introduced RaRa season 2 in social media and sent an Open Call for performances I noticed a lot of people who I know are performers in the community were hesitating to fill it out. I had to personally contact each person, invite them to perform and explain the concept further and try my best to let them know they are supported and will enjoy themselves.
After the first show, it was clear that this was a good opportunity and by the third show I did not have to curate at all- everyone filled out the Open Call form and jumped into action all on their own after seeing how good the shows were. This leads me to understand that projects such as RaRa gain momentum through consistency and communication. I readily communicated each detail ( the show order, directions how to arrive at the space, flyers/posters/posts) to the audience and the performers weeks before each showing. Video content and photographs were taken and used for promotional videos on social media. All this I made sure I personally designed ( marketing, emails, promotion on social media) to use as a vehicle for learning- how to communicate more efficiently and directly with the public and the artistic community.
Thanks to the Virgil Yeong Grant we were given the opportunity to stretch our legs and make RaRa Season 2 a reality in Tijuana MX. During our first Season at Space 4 Art we were left with the impression that a showcase for performance works was needed in our community. Season 2 has now confirmed that notion; performance art, dance and time-based works that are accessible to all artists ( not institutionalized) and linked to cities across the border needs to continue and become a crucial part of our culture. RaRa for me has been a true demonstration of team effort, well spent money, and enthusiastic artists and audience members. I hope to continue this work in different ways and/or introduce Season 3 in the upcoming year.