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Paul S. Flores collaborating with the San Francisco International Arts Festival

Award: $35,000 Performing Arts Grant awarded in 2005

Premiered: May 18-20, 2007 at La Peña Cultural Center

Bay Area writer and performance artist Paul S. Flores collaborated with Cuban rap artist Julio Cardenas, theater director Danny Hoch, and the San Francisco International Arts Festival to create an original bilingual work that dramatizes the lives of two young Latino artists who use hip-hop to transcend national political boundaries. REPRESENTA! premiered as a multi-disciplinary theater work in May 2007 and toured to more than seventeen cities between 2007 and 2009.

The project grew out of a 2002 meeting among Flores, Hoch, and Cuban performing artist Yrak at the Cuban Hip-Hop Festival. Their collaboration took place in Cuba, through online exchanges, and in the Bay Area. When Yrak could not secure visas for travel, Cuban-born Julio Cardenas stepped into his role.

Paul Flores grew up on the San Diego-Tijuana border and has been publishing writing about California border culture and Latino identity since 1994. He has performed spoken word for international audiences as a solo artist and with Los Delicados and the Chicano Messengers of Spoken Word.

Julio Cardenas, born and raised in Alamar, Cuba, founded the rap group RCA a/k/a Raperos Crazy de Alamar. In 2001, he was among the first hip-hop artists selected to travel from Cuba to the United States to perform. He now lives in New York. Danny Hoch is nationally regarded as the leading exponent of the hip-hop theatrical form. He is the winner of two OBIE awards and founder of the Hip-Hop Theatre Festival.

The San Francisco International Arts Festival promotes San Francisco as a major center of creativity and exchange, inviting artists and audiences from around the world to an international celebration. It produces an annual festival that commissions and presents international collaborative projects.