Guest post by Pat Reardon.

San Jose Mariachi and Mexican Heritage FestivalThe 19th annual San Jose Mariachi and Mexican Heritage Festival opened this week and will run through Sunday, September 26.  This year, the events have broadened significantly from past years’ festival offerings that focused mainly on world class Mariachi music. This year’s activities, broadened by artistic director Linda Ronstadt and theatrical producer Dan Guerrero include a film series, lectures and the world premiere of the theatrical production of “¡Adelita! The Women of the Mexican Revolution”.

Dan Guerrero kicked off the festival this week with “Gaytino!” his charming one person autobiographical play that chronicles his life from his boyhood in East Los Angeles to his extensive career on Broadway and then back again to California where he rediscovers his Mexican roots. Poignant and funny, Guerrero’s performance is masterful!

Over the next week, the festival will include a number of workshops, performances, film premieres and lectures that are designed to entertain and educate participants of all ages. The film offerings include two dramas, “La Misma Luna”, the touching story of a young boy who travels alone from Mexico to Los Angeles to find his illegal immigrant mother and, “Cartas a Elena” a story of hope and young love filmed in the Chihuahua area of Mexico. Also featured are three documentaries about significant contributors to Mexican American culture; Cruz Reynoso, the first Latino to sit on the California Supreme Court, Lalo Guerrero, the legendary “Father of Chicano Music (and Dan Guerrero’s father)”, and “The Storm That Swept Mexico” about the Mexican Revolution. Check here for film schedules.

Starting on Sunday September 19, informative and educational events will be presented throughout the festival. Mariachi workshops will be held at the Children’s Discovery Museum and the Wyndham Hotel. For the novices, Bill Sperry will lecture on “Mariachi for Gringos” at the Martin Luther King Library. The highlight of the week will be a conversation with the legendary civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, who will be presented with the Steinbeck Award for her lifetime of achievement. Check here for dates and times.

One of the highpoints of the festival is the world premiere of “¡Adelita! The Women of the Mexican Revolution” presented on September 25th at the San Jose State Event Center.  “¡Adelita!” a new theatrical piece conceived by Grammy winner Linda Ronstadt and created and directed by Dan Guerrero tells the story of the women who fought in the Mexican Revolution. Guerrero uses traditional music and dance with historic visual projections to create a magical fable. This celebration of the 200th anniversary of Mexican independence features the acclaimed Eugenia Leon and the world class Mariachi Cobre and Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano. Click here to purchase tickets.

On Sunday September 26 at 10:00am the festival ends with “Concerts for the American Dream at the Outdoor Feria” at the Plaza de Cesar Chavez. This incredible all day event features music, food and cultural celebrations. Presenters include, Los Lobos, Intocable, Los Tex Maniacs, Ozomatli and Mariachi Azteca. Tickets for this event are $15 and can be purchased online here.

Before the concert, there will be a Mariachi Mass at 10:00 at the Basilica of Saint Joseph.

Additional information and a full schedule of events can be found here.