Following national controversy over the resignation of a politically conservative actress from the local Spanish-language production of The Vagina Monologues, producer Eliana Lopez announced yesterday that the production has found a replacement.
Actress Alba Roversi, a veteran of the Spanish language Monologos de la Vagina, will take the place of Maria Conchita Alonso, whose departure from the play had Fox News crying foul over her being “forced out” for her conservative political views.
Any chance to needle San Francisco, right?
Roversi starred in over 20 Spanish language soap operas, though she may not have the same name recognition in the US as Alonso, whose filmography includes Predator 2 and The Running Man (with our former Governator). Roversi is in, and Alonso is out.
Alonso stirred the pot when she backed Tea Party gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnely in an ad on YouTube that garnered just over 100,000 hits. Donnely is running a long-shot campaign to unseat the ever popular Jerry Brown this November on a core right-wing platform.
“We’re Californians, I want a gun in every Californian’s gun safe, I want the government out of our businesses and our bedrooms,” he says in the controversial ad, standing in a cowboy hat next to Alonso.
“He has ‘big ones,’ and he is angry,” Alonso says in Spanish, by way of translation.
The ad had San Franciscans fired up, diverting attention away from a performance celebrating women to a political shouting match, Lopez told the Guardian. Threats of boycotts put Monologos de la Vagina in the crosshairs. Alonso told media outlets she stepped down from the play to protect her fellow performers.
The video in question, a campaign ad for Donnely starring Alonso and her dog Tequila.
“The other actors don’t have to go through this,” she said to Fox News & Friends host Clayton Morris. “They don’t deserve this. It’s on me only, they can do whatever they want with me.”
Why so pissed, San Francisco? Well, the historically Latino Mission district has good reason to not be a fan of Donnely. The Tea Party wunderkind rose to fame as a former member of the gun toting border-patrollers, the Minutemen. From the LA Weekly circa 2010:
“Tim Donnelly took two handguns on his first tour with the Minutemen, back in ’05. His Colt .45 was photogenic, like that of an Old West gunslinger. But before heading to the Mexico border, Donnelly took it to the range and couldn’t hit the target. So he bought a Model 1911c — a semiautomatic that would shoot straight, if it came to that.
The key to Donnelly’s primary election victory was his pledge to introduce Arizona’s immigration law here. If elected, he will be Sacramento’s leading foe of illegal immigration.”
Donnely was geared up to fire off his Colt by the US-Mexico border and essentially promised to bring a culture of fear to California immigrants. Is it a wonder that Eliana Lopez felt that Alonso’s endorsement of him didn’t quite jibe with the politics of San Francisco?
@SnappyKyle True, and also I’m not what you think I’m. All this is not Brava’s fault and is hurting a work from and for us. Time will tell.
— Eliana Lopez (@Elilopezu) January 22, 2014
“Of course she (Alonso) has a right to say whatever she wants. But we’re in the middle of the Mission. Doing what she is doing is against what we believe,” Lopez, who is also starring in the play, said in her most oft-mentioned quote in national media outlets.
In particular, it didn’t jibe with reasons for bringing the Spanish-language Monologos de la Vagina to the Mission’s Brava Theater, a message that may be lost in the controversy surrounding Alonso’s controversial departure.
It’s a time of increasing gentrification, when the city’s Latinos/as fear displacement and a loss of their history and esteem. She sees it through the eyes of her young son, Theo, as fewer and fewer Spanish speakers surround his daily life in San Francisco. Lopez wanted to send a clear message: our culture matters.
Latinas are worthy of celebration.
“I’ve been working on this show for almost a year trying to raise the money, find the venue, the sponsors,” she said. “My feeling was, as Latinas we have such beautiful things to offer. We have great actors and actresses who can bring things to the Mission and feel proud of. Inside me I felt, I want to bring that here, I want to do it. We can bring attention to our culture in a beautiful way, a high quality way.”
With a new actress in place, she’s ready to move beyond the controversy, she said.
“How do you say in English? The show must go on.”