Culture: The Gangster of Love


Every once in a while, we take a break from the grind of policy and politics to make a comment on art. This is that time, thanks to a generous invitation from the Magic Theatre. The lengendary incubator of some of the most incendiary plays of the 20th century thought we should stop what we were doing and come see Jessica Hagedorn’s Gangster of Love. They were right. 

Immigration is in the headlines every day, but rarely do we get a look at it that is as nuanced as this play dishes out. Filipino immigrants, Milagros and her two surly teenage kids hitting San Francisco’s panhandle in the heady 1960’s act out all the crashing identities that happen when a strong traditional culture runs head into a completely different set of practices and ones undergoing huge and confusing changes – in the moment.

The play gets the surfing the waves feelings that accompany such experiences and the reality that some can take it all in and craft a whole being persona that holds all the contradictions, and some sink underneath it all. And that is perhaps mostly about luck and who has your back.

The play is about the different kinds of resilence and lack of resilence: coping strategies, where inspiration comes from, the ways that difference kills and the ways that difference can deliver us our full humanity.

Through May 6 at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco

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