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Radio Aztlán Is 'A Prairie Home Compañero'

Norma Martinez

Public radio fans are familiar with A Prairie Home Companion, the weekly variety show made popular by Garrison Keillor with skits, musical guests, and fake commercials.  It has a very Midwestern sensibility.  Now take that concept and give it a South Texas twist. That’s what you get with a ‘barrio-logically correct’ version that recently hit the stage in San Antonio.  

It’s called “Radio Aztlán San Anto.”  It was created by the Jazz Poets of San Antonio about 7 years ago, and is being performed at Urban 15, a performance space in South San Antonio.   Like its public radio influence, Radio Aztlán San Anto presents comedy sketches, commercial parodies, and radio dramas.  The actors sit at a long table with their scripts and microphones in front of them.

Actor Eduardo Cavazos Garza is the founder and director of the Jazz Poets.  Cavazos plays one of the on-stage actors.  He’s joined by  Dee Lusk, Sylbia Garza, and Kiki Naranjo.    Bargain sound effects are made possible with a wooden Dutch shoe, a bag of what appears to be sand, and a crinkled piece of paper.  Cavazos says there are 4 shows in the Radio Aztlán cannon, two of which are being presented at this performance. 

Cavazos plays the host of "The Lalo Cavazos Show."  He says, "We’re interviewing people about a new massive, massive brown hole recently discovered out there in our galaxy.   We’re touching on a little bit of Trump, “Trumpito,” which is Doña Cuca’s pet armadillo."

Credit Norma Martinez
Jazz Poets of San Antonio

The musical portion of the show is courtesy of the Jazz Poets of San Antonio.  "We have 4 musicians," says Cavazos.  "I play the drums, we have Carl Rush “Captain Crush” on bass, Sean Sitton on guitar, and Tom Emmerick on indigenous flute.  What we do is we figure out a groove, time and meter and a beat for each poem that the poets present."

Think of it as A Prairie Home Compañero.  A barriologically correct version for those of us listening in the barriocosm.

Norma Martinez can be reached at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter at @NormDog1