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Guide to the Herbert Sigüenza Culture Clash Collection, 1984-2005
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Biographical Information:
  • Access Terms
  • Administrative Information
  • Arrangement of Materials:
  • Scope and Contents

  • Overview of the Collection

    Collection Title: Herbert Sigüenza Culture Clash Collection
    Dates: 1984-2005
    Identification: URB/CC-HS
    Creator: Sigüenza, Herbert
    Physical Description: 5.98 linear feet
    Language of Materials:


    Spanish; Castilian
    Repository: Urban Archives
    Abstract: A founding member of Culture Clash, Herbert Sigüenza was born in San Francisco. Culture Clash was founded on Cinco de Mayo, 1984 at René Yañez's Galería de la Raza/ Studio 24 in San Francisco's Mission District by Richard Montoya, Ricardo Salinas, Herbert Sigüenza, and José Antonio Burciaga. Culture Clash's brand of Chicano comedic theater has brought them to renowned venues including the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, the Lincoln Center in New York City, the Huntington in Boston, the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, The Alley Theatre in Houston, Texas, the Seattle Repertory Theatre in Seattle, and the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.
    Other Information:
    This collection was processed in part under a U.S. Department of Education Title V Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Grant.

    Biographical Information:

    Herbert Sigüenza was born in San Francisco. His parents are from El Salvador, and the family returned there to live when Sigüenza was nine years old. During that time El Salvador fought the "Soccer War" with Honduras. A Civil War broke out in El Salvador one year after Sigüenza left the country at age seventeen.
    Returning to California, Siguenza attended the California College of Art and Crafts and received a degree in art, printmaking, and silk-screening. From there he went to work at La Raza Graphics Center in San Francisco, where he was the art director, leaving after ten years. After working with graphic art to educate and organize people, Sigüenza spent the next six years working with Teatro Gusto. This association with theater led him to co-found Culture Clash.
    Culture Clash was founded on Cinco de Mayo, 1984 at René Yañez's Galería de la Raza/ Studio 24 in San Francisco's Mission District by Richard Montoya, Ricardo Salinas, Herbert Sigüenza, and José Antonio Burciaga. Sigüenza had trained as a visual artist, Montoya's background was in spoken word poetry, and Salinas had performed as a break-dancer and bilingual rapper. The group was originally called Comedy Fiesta and conceived of as a troupe of six actors, comedians, and poets including Marga Gómez and Monica Palacios. This group worked with Luis Valdez's El Teatro Campesino. The group eventually fragmented, and Culture Clash was formed with four members Burciaga, Montoya, Salinas, and Sigüenza. Burciaga left the group in 1988 and died in 1996.
    Some of their best-known plays include The Mission (1988), A Bowl of Beings (1991), S.O.S--Comedy for These Urgent Times (1992, written in response to the Los Angeles Riots), Carpa Clash (1993), Culture Clash Unplugged (1994), Radio Mambo: Culture Clash Invades Miami (1994), Bordertown (1998), Nuyorican Stories (1999), and Mission Magic Mystery Tour (2001). Many of these pieces were site-specific commissioned works. Bowl of Beings is particularly well-know as it was filmed for PBS' Great Performances series in 1992. Culture Clash performed their adaptation of Aristophanes' The Birds for South Coast Repertory Theater in San Diego, California and the Berkeley Repertory Theater in Berkeley, California in 1998.
    Culture Clash's first book, Culture Clash: Life, Death, and Revolutionary Comedy, appeared in 1998. This publication includes scripts for many of their plays. In 2001 they published Culture Clash in AmeriCCa, a book that explores what it means to be an American through a series of vignettes. The book was inspired by the show Culture Clash Coast to Coast, which premiered at the Japanese Cultural Center in Los Angeles.
    Through the efforts of comedian "Cheech" Marin, Culture Clash developed a show for Fox Television, entitled Fox Television's "Culture Clash." The show ran from 1993 to 1995 with a total of 30 episodes. The comedy sketch show featured guest appearances from Edward James Olmos, Jimmy Smits, Maria Conchita Alonso, and Dolores Huerta.
    Los Boys de CC have been featured together and separately in several feature films. All three appeared in the 1992 film, Encino Man as Loco, Enrique, and Chuly. Sigüenza's film credits include Star Maps (1997) and Hero (1992). In 1992, Culture Clash wrote and co-produced the award-winning short film, Columbus on Trial.

    Access Terms

    This collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.

    Genre/Form of Material:

    Paper records
    Photographic material

    Personal Name:

    Siguenza, Herbert

    Topical Term:

    Culture Clash (Comedy troupe)
    Playbills--United States
    Theater -- United States

    Administrative Information

    Processing Information:

    Robert G. Marshall, Rebecca S. Graff; February 2004

    Conditions Governing Use:

    Copyright for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection has not been transferred to California State University, Northridge. Copyright status for other materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

    Conditions Governing Access:

    The collection is open for research use.

    Electronic Format:

    Digital reproductions of selected items in this collection are available electronically as a part of the Latina(o) Cultural Heritage Archives  project. For more information please see http://digital-library.csun.edu/.  

    Preferred Citation:

    For information about citing items in this collection consult the appropriate style manual, or see the Citing Archival Materials  guide.

    Related Materials:

    Arrangement of Materials:

    Series I: Plays, 1987-2005
    Series II: Troupe, 1983-2000
    Series III: Personal, 1984-2003

    Scope and Contents

    The Herbert Sigüenza Culture Clash Collection consists of materials related to the professional and personal life of Herbert Sigüenza, including the production, performances, and publicity of the Culture Clash theater troupe. The collection has been organized into three series: Plays (1987-2005), Troupe (1983-2000), and Personal (1984-2003).
    Series I, Plays, consists of articles, brochures, flyers, letters, magazines, mailings, photographs, playbills, posters, press releases, programs, publicity, reviews, schedules, scripts, sketches, stage and costume drawings, stage notes, and story boards. The  materials are arranged alphabetically by the title of the play.
    Series II, Troupe, consists of materials that were created by and for the Culture Clash Troupe that are not part of the previous series. Materials include articles, business documents, calendars of events, letters, performance signup sheets, magazines, photographs, and schedules of events and are arranged alphabetically.
    Series III, Personal, contains personal materials from Sigüenza. The series is arranged alphabetically.