The radical spirit of Ricardo Flores Magón still inspires
<table><tr><td>From <a href="http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/posts/la-et-cm-ballad-flores-... Times</a> - By Reed Johnson
<em>'The Ballad of Ricardo F. Magón,' a multimedia play at the Ford Amphitheatre, honors the anarchist and writer.</em>
<p>If the Mexican revolutionary anarchist and writer Ricardo Flores Magón were alive today, he'd probably be camping out with the Occupy movement and urging his blog followers to storm the barricades.</p><p>The slippier question is: What would be on his <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="PRDCES000000025" title="Apple iPod" href="/topic/services-shopping/electronic-devices/apple-ipod-PRDCES000000025.topic">iPod</a>? <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="PECLB002140" title="Woody Guthrie" href="/topic/entertainment/music/woody-guthrie-PECLB002140.topic">Woody Guthrie</a>'s rabble-rousing "All You Fascists"? The Smith's smirkily subversive "Shoplifters of the World Unite?" Or maybe "Spanish Bombs," the Clash's fiery lament for the socialist brigades who died battling Gen. <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="PECLB001785" title="Francisco Franco" href="/topic/entertainment/francisco-franco-PECLB001785.topic">Francisco Franco</a>?</p><p>Those fist-pumping anthems, among others, will ring out from the Hollywood Hills on Friday night when a dozen musicians, artists, academics and cultural comrades-in-arms unite to perform the "The Ballad of Ricardo F. Magón," a multimedia play with music at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre.</p></td><td><img title="alt culture should die" src="http://anarchistnews.org/files/pictures/2011/magon_bros.jpg"></td></tr><...
<p>Hovering spiritually over the proceedings will be Flores Magón, an Oaxaca-born writer, publisher and professional agitator who spent several years in Los Angeles and whose life (1874-1922) was filled with enough melodramatic turns to stock several biopics.</p><p>Apart from being a lively subject, the show's creators believe that Flores Magón's example as a kind of utopian provocateur makes him a relevant figure today, whatever one thinks of his incendiary politics.</p><p>"When I really started cracking open the history books on him, I just fell down the rabbit hole and I was just enthralled, because it's such a wonderful epic story," says Rubén Martínez, an author, musician, Emmy Award-winning TV host and English professor at <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="OREDU0000658" title="Loyola Marymount University" href="/topic/education/colleges-universities/loyola-marymount-university-OREDU0000658.topic">Loyola Marymount University</a> who will co-narrate Friday's tribute with writer and performance artist Raquel Gutiérrez.</p><p>Modeled on the old Mexican <em>variedades</em> (variety show) format and billed as "a night of performance unearthing radical L.A. history," the revue will alternate semi-staged spoken narration with musical numbers by several of L.A.'s best-known Latin-alternative artists. Among those aiming to evoke rock music's anarcho-revolutionary spirit will be members of the band Quetzal, Ceci Bastida, vocalist La Marisoul of La Santa Cecilia, Chicano Son and the Martinez del Rio Band.</p><p>The performance will be broadcast by KCET as part of the <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="ENTTV000000000683" title="Television Stations" href="/topic/economy-business-finance/media-industry/television-industry/television-stations-ENTTV000000000683.topic">television station</a>'s Live @ the Ford series.</p><p>"It's a variety show — something for everybody," Gutiérrez says. "Anarchy Under the Stars."</p><p>The historical figure who inspired this activity, though little-known in the United States, is generally regarded by Mexicans as a national hero, a rock god who fought on behalf of the downtrodden.</p><p>After living through decades of dictatorship, Flores Magón had come to regard all forms of government as enemies of the people and set about trying to topple the power structure. Among those who dearly wished him censored, shackled or dead were Mexican dictator Porfirio Díaz; his democratically elected successor, President Francisco Madero; the LAPD; and the then-ultra-conservative Los Angeles Times, which regarded him and his insurrectionary cohorts as dangerous criminals.</p><p>Flores Magón was no pacifist, Martínez says, but the pen, not the gun, was his weapon of choice.</p><p>For a time, Flores Magón, his brother Enrique and their <em>Magonista</em> followers used Los Angeles as an operations base for trying to spark a revolutionary uprising in neighboring Baja California. Always on the run and one step ahead of Mexican government assassins, he continued to publish his radical newspaper Regeneración, out of downtown L.A., when he wasn't serving prison time. (He died at Leavenworth Penitentiary, age 48.)</p><p>Although the performance will recap some of this history, its emphasis is equally on celebrating the transgressive and inspirational power of popular music. Alt-rocker Ceci Bastida, who studied Flores Magón in history class while growing up in her native Tijuana, said he'd been a creative inspiration for her former band Tijuana No!, a pioneer of the border city's ska-punk-rock scene in the 1990s.</p><p>At the Ford, she'll be performing her cover of "Spanish Bombs," a Tijuana No! signature, and another of the band's songs, about the "missing" and "disappeared" victims of political persecution in Latin America.</p><p>"We looked up to people like Flores Magón, people like Zapata," Bastida says. "The songs that I write do talk about social issues, and they do talk about things that are happening in <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="PLGEO00000613" title="Mexico" href="/topic/intl/mexico-PLGEO00000613.topic">Mexico</a>."</p><p>In dramatizing the story of a neglected chapter of L.A. history, the show's creators also hope to suggest parallels between the life and times of Flores Magón and our own agitated era.</p><p>"It's a way to talk about the anxiety of what our country is going through," Gutiérrez says. "The Occupy movement is the physical, messy, anarchic manifestation of our anxiety. Now here's a way to talk about it in a way that brings light to history."</p><p><em><a href="mailto:email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org</a></em></p><p><em>--</em></p><p><strong>'The Ballad of Ricardo F. Magón'</strong></p><p>Where: John Anson Ford Amphitheatre</p><p>When: 8 p.m. Friday</p><p>Tickets: $20</p><p>Info: fordtheatres.org</p><p><style type="text/css">