At the age of seven, playwright Alvaro Saar Rios had a hell of an epiphany. "We were listening to the radio, dad was playing some ranchera music," he says, "and I was like, 'Why does dad always have to listen to Mexican music?' And my big brother said, 'Because he's Mexican.' 'No way!' And my brother's like, 'You're Mexican, too.'" It was 1983, and that was a big deal for the native Houstonian - every time the grandson of Mexican immigrants had heard his peers say the M-word, it'd been preceded by "dirty," "lazy" or "stupid." It had never been used to refer to him or anyone in his family. But Rios embraced and explored his newfound heritage, a process central to his one-man, quasi-autobiographical show, One Hot Texican Summer (or the Summer I Found Out I was Mexican). The little boy protagonist gets acquainted with Mexican history in the electricity-free days after Hurricane Alicia rips through his Cottage Grove neighborhood. Beyond that, he does what any seven-year-old who's out of school might, hang around with his big brother and learn unintentionally comical and, for a kid his age, slightly tragic truths (pro wrestling isn't real, and using a salsa-seasoned blender to make a milkshake isn't a good idea). 7:30 p.m. Heinen Theatre, Houston Community College, 3517 Austin. For information, call 713-718-6570 or visit central.hccs.edu. Free.
Wed., July 7, 7:30 p.m., 2010