In 1969, legendary L.A. restaurant La Fonda pioneered the concept of mariachi dinner theater, pairing an evening show by venerable L.A. ensemble Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano with the restaurant’s Mexican and Mexican-American dishes. For this episode, a 1980s menu from the restaurant was given to Mariachi Arcoiris de Los Angeles, L.A.’s path-breaking queer and transgender mariachi, led by director Carlos Samaniego (he/him). He imagines a concept for his own dinner theater, one shaped by the music and story of Mariachi Arcoiris.
Joining the conversation are acclaimed historian Natalia Molina, who has just finished a book on her family’s former Echo Park restaurant the Nayarit. Along with host Erick Galindo and series curator Josh Kun, the group gets into the intersection of food and entertainment and what restaurants tell us about histories of community-making in Los Angeles. They share personal stories of meals and music enjoyed at La Fonda and how those experiences were formative to their paths. Mariachi Arcoiris perform a mariachi classic and one of their own compositions, an anthem for a new generation of mariachis.
Watch the full show here: EPISODE THREE: Exclusively at La Fonda