Comic performer Michael Chih Ming Hornbuckle and the ensemble 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors collaborated with Culture Clash, Latina Theater Lab, and Asian American Theater Company to create a collection of comedy skits, monologues, and musical numbers about cultural identity and intersections between the Asian Pacific Islander American and Chicano/Latino communities. The finished piece, Close Encounters of the Third World, was directed by Ellen Sebastian Chang and produced by Pamela Wu.
Participating performing groups represented different cultural backgrounds, ages, and theatrical styles, but shared an interest in using comedy as a tool for political and cultural criticism. The 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors got their start at Asian American Theater Company in 1993; the two companies shared the goal of advancing opportunities for emerging talents with Latina Theater Lab; and they acknowledged Cultural Clash for its inspiring influence.
A number of these artists had previously collaborated at La Peña Cultural Center to create the wildly popular Culture Clash with Local Locos. Local Locos was based on an intense workshop process, led by Culture Clash, and the artists proposed to lengthen this successful approach in developing their Creative Work Fund-supported work. However, Culture Clash’s heavy performance and film schedule made it impossible to convene all of the partners for an extended period as planned. Therefore, the partners developed the work both collaboratively and independently and Culture Clash spent an intensive weekend with them, helping with rewriting.
Asian American Theater Company was founded in the 1973 and was dedicated to the development and presentation of work by, for, and about Americans of Asian Pacific Islander descent.