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Arts & Culture

"La Carpa" At Guadalupe Cultural Arts Turns Back Time With A Tent Show

The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center is reviving an old tradition called "La Carpa Guadalupe." La carpa is "the tent," and the event is like a traveling tent show.

“It’s a traveling exhibition that’s going to have different showings here in San Antonio," said Haydeé Muñoz de la Rocha, curator assistant at the Guadalupe. "It’s emulating the tradition of the early tent shows of the early 1920s. It’s a very interesting tradition that the Mexican-American culture has. They were usually owned by families.”

“So probably back then there was La Carpa Mendoza, La Carpa Martinez,” I said.

“Yeah, La Carpa Garcia, La Carpa, in this case we’re using La Carpa Guadalupe,” Muñoz de la Rocha said.

The first performance is at the Museo Guadalupe parking lot at 6 p.m. this Friday. As to what you’ll see, it’s got a lot less to do with circus and a lot more to do with performance art and the spoken word.

“Yes, there will be performance art," Muñoz de la Rocha said. "There’s also art that’s more like traditional visual art. It’s like a mix of both of them. It kind of comes from the circus tradition, but it’s really more like a theater tradition.”

And yes, if you’re wondering, this bi-lingual event is family-friendly.   

“We’re going to have food, we’re going to have live music, so I think it’s going to be a very fun event for all of the people to come,” Muñoz de la Rocha said.

La carpa also has a decidedly populist stance, according to Muñoz de la Rocha, gleaned from history itself.

“It also comes from that art for the people -- theater for the people tradition,” she said.