DIRECTOR CARLOS LOPEZ ESTRADA PROFILES LA THROUGH THE EYES OF YOUNG POETS IN SUMMERTIME

INTERVIEW BY TIM ESTILOZ

Over the course of a hot summer day in Los Angeles, the lives of 27 young Angelenos intersect. A skating guitarist, a tagger, two wannabe rappers, an exasperated fast-food worker, a limo driver—they all weave in and out of each other’s stories. Through poetry they express life, love, heartache, family, home, and fear. One of them just wants to find someplace that still serves good cheeseburgers. 

Inspired by a spoken-word showcase featuring 25 diverse high school performers, Carlos López Estrada (Blindspotting, Raya and the Last Dragon) proposed a collaboration to develop the performers’ work into a loose, interconnected narrative, encouraging the non-actors to express themselves and their relationship to their city. With its Slacker-inspired structure, fanciful form, and exuberant magical realism, Summertime is a free- verse poem—of the kids, by the kids, for the kids. The young poets radiate vitality, honesty, and profound emotion. By the time they wind up together in a tricked-out mega-limo overlooking the city, we believe in what their crazy, creative togethernessrepresents: hope. As the driver says, “Y’all got a pocket full of dreams, so don’t let me down.”

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