"To Be Or Not To Be... Carlos Mencia", was a star-studded, red-carpet event on Sunday May 17th, featuring the brilliant and insightful comedy of headliner Carlos Mencia. The event took place at the famous Conga Room in downtown Los Angeles. It was standing room only for the show which was hosted by actor Tony Plana, with special appearances by Jimmy Smits, Edward James Olmos and Ed Begley Jr. to name a few. Also in attendance were a host of English and Spanish-language celebrities that included Andy Garcia (Ocean's Thirteen), Maria Conchita Alonso (Saints & Sinners), Hector Elizondo (Cane), Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives), Nestor Carbonnell (Lost), Tony Shaloub (Monk), Antonio Sabato Jr. (General Hospital), Freddy Rodriguez (Ugly Betty), Lauren Velaz (Dexter) and Rob Morrow (Numbe3s).
Carlos Mencia was hilarious and at the top of his game as he poked fun at his Latino upbringing. Although growing up in East Los Angeles was an extreme challenge for him, Carlos was able to use those experiences to not only be funny and entertaining, but to rise above it all and become one of our most beloved stand-up comedians and television personalities. The show was an eclectic mix of comedy and music with a few surprises as well. One of the funniest moments in the show came when Carlos Mencia and Richard Montoya did a comedic rendition of the classic Romeo and Juliet. The evening also included special performances by Culture Clash and other legendary artists from classic chicano bands who performed their signature hits.
This amazing Charitable event was generously sponsored by DirecTV to benefit the East LA Classic Theatre program (ECT). Tony Plana founded the organization in 1995 and serves as The Executive Artistic Director. The program brings well known television and film actors into inner city schools to teach the students about the craft of acting, being able to speak in public and to help boost self-confidence. This literacy outreach program produces classic Shakespearean plays with professional actors and introduces the students to classical theatre. Several of the children from the program were welcomed on stage to eloquently talk about their individual experiences. The event also helps launch DirecTV Mas, a new Latino-focused Billingual Programming Package from DirecTV.
The East LA Theatre Company has provided literacy skills and English language development as part of the school curriculum. Through various after-school programs, students are introduced to Theatre Arts in a fun, contemporary and interactive way. ECT is also the only Latino based Theatre Company that offers professionally performed Shakespeare adapted for youth in underserved communities. In addition, ECT provides culturally relevant productions that compliment current educational mandates. The core programs include Beyond Borders: Arts and Language for Youth, Language In Play (LIP) and Shakespeare For Youth Productions. In 2008 alone, more than 15,000 children from 43 schools in the greater Los Angeles area have been part of the this amazing and educational program.
The Conga Room was founded in 1998 by real Estate Entrepreneur Brad Glickstein and co-owned by Jimmy Smits, Jennifer Lopez, Sheila E., Amaury Nolasco, Baron Davis, Trevor Ariza and will.i.am. The Conga Room known as "the House of Blues for Latin Music", has earned a following with its hip ambiance and its hot performers. It hosts record launches, movie premiers, award shows and parties, including the 2001 Latin Grammy Award Presentation. It also features concerts by top Cuban and Latin tropical legends such as Celia Cruz, Tito Puente, The Buena Vista Social Club and its stage has also been graced by the likes of Shakira, Juanes and Carlos Santana. The venue was designed by the award-winning Belzberg Architects and reflects the vibrant energies of Barcelona and Mexico City.
For more information about The East LA Classic Theater Program got o the website http://www.eastlaclassic.org/
To learn more about DirecTV Mas go to http://www.directvmas.com/