May 20, 2016 at Phoenix Theatre in San Francisco.
Directed by Eric W. Reid
HBO Def Poet and Youth Speaks co-founder Paul S. Flores takes us back to the 1990′s to capture the abrupt changes seen throughout the Mission District brought on by the dot-com boom and bust, the real estate bubble, constant immigration and forced evictions. Portraying a kaleidoscope of offbeat, vibrant characters, Flores gives voice to the techies looking to remodel the place, to the Latino bohemians wandering the bars and cafes, to locals and immigrants with a stake in the heart of San Francisco’s oldest neighborhood. At the crux of You’re Gonna Cry is a heartbreaking story chronicling the human cost of gentrification. Flores brings a critical perspective combined with raw realism and even a gangster puppet show to illuminate a historic moment when the city’s facade and cultural landscape changed.
Flores was named The San Francisco Weekly’s 2011 Best Politically Active Hip-Hop Performance Artist for his solo show YOU’RE GONNA CRY, directed by Brian Freeman which documents the demographic shift of The Mission District after the “dot-com” boom. Flores’ play REPRESENTA! features Cuban rapper Julio Cardenas, directed by Danny Hoch, and originally produced by La Peña Cultural Center and the San Francisco International Arts Festival at the Hip-Hop Theater Festival in 2007 and later toured to 17 cities. His newest play PLACAS: The Most Dangerous Tattoo (2012) was directed by Michael John Garcés, and starred Ric Salinas of Culture Clash. PLACAS premiered at the Lorraine Hansberry Theater in Union Square, San Francisco as a co-production of SFIAF and Central American Resource Center, and later toured to The Los Angeles Theater Center, and Off Broadway at the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater in New York City. Flores was named a 2015 Doris Duke Performing Artist. He has received the 2016 Gerbode Hewlett Playwrighting Commission, National Performance Network Creation Fund, NEA Theater grant, San Francisco Arts Commission Individual Artist Grant, CCI Investing in Artists Grant, and National Association for Latino Arts and Culture Fund for the Arts, among other awards.
Flores is a highly respected youth arts educator. As a co-founder of Youth Speaks Inc., he introduced spoken word to hundreds of thousands of youth all over the country, and helped develop the national platform for young people to build peer relationships and strategize toward a better future through the Brave New Voices: National Teen Poetry Slam, now seen on HBO. Flores currently manages the Latino Men & Boys Program, funded by The California Endowment, at The Unity Council in East Oakland. He is also adjunct faculty of Theater at the University of San Francisco.