by Irma Herrera
The 2017 Rogue Festival is almost here. KRL will be featuring several Rogue Performer Preview articles between now and the beginning of the Festival on March 3. You can find all of the Preview articles so far in our Arts & Entertainment section.
We will also be reviewing many of the shows, and we may even do some more video interviews. Check out our Rogue Performer event page for more information as it becomes available, and you can also check out the Rogue 2017 website.
“Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you.”
This childhood rhyme is one the biggest lies we tell children. Name-calling certainly does hurt us, and this goes way beyond racial epithets. When our parents, siblings, friends, or teachers tell us we are inept, estupido, ugly, gordos…it leaves deep long-lasting hurts.
Tell Me Your Name, my one-woman show, invites you to consider the many messages we convey by the names we call people and by the effort, or lack thereof, we make to pronounce a person’s name correctly. Join me for a visit to my hometown, Alice, Texas, where the two communities—Mexican-Americans and Anglos—live side by side with little, and usually negative, interactions. You’ll meet the Filipino nuns in my segregated parochial school (Alice was as segregated as Birmingham, Alabama) who taught us English with heavy Tagalog accents, as they tried their best to punish the Spanish out of us. And I’ll also introduce you to a drawl-talking high school teacher, racist Anglo students, and my first white friend.
You journey with me through the football-crazy spirited campus at the University of Notre Dame where I attended law school, and Washington State’s Yakima Valley where I represented Spanish-Speaking farmworkers in my first legal job. I finally settle in the San Francisco Bay Area, and my travels to Spain and Denmark leave me reflecting on the importance of names.
The rhetoric from on high is pushing us to be more polarized. But let’s face it, you can’t have your beloved Mexican food without Mexicans, and our most popular music, slang, and fashion, has deep roots in the African American community. Folks, we’re in this boat together, and America can only be “Great” when we understand the many roads that brought us to this juncture. Only then can we truly appreciate the many ways our different cultures, foods, religions, and languages have woven a multi-colored and textured tapestry of beauty that is the United States of America.
My show, in which I play 21 characters, is a mash up of stand-up comedy, history lesson, and language lab. In addition to laughing out loud, your Spanish vocabulary and pronunciation will improve as you brush up on California’s history. There are reasons why many places in our beautiful Golden State—Sierra Nevada, Tiburon, Sacramento, Fresno—bear Spanish names.
I look forward to meeting you at the Rogue Festival and hearing the story of your name.
Tell Me Your Name at Rogue Festival 2017
Written and performed by Irma Herrera
Friday, March 3 @ 5 p.m.
Saturday, March 4 @ 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 5 @ 3:30 p.m.
Friday, March 10 @ 8 p.m.
Saturday, March 11 @ 3:30 p.m.
826 N. Fulton St., Fresno
Tickets $10, plus $3 for Rogue wristband, one time purchase; Buy at any show