While the Miami head office of Queerguru’s international media conglomerate basked in 75 degrees this week, our London outhouse was caught in a surprise April snow shower. So we had to ask ourselves ‘are we really ready for LA in Summertime?’. Turns out we were thirstier than spring-breakers in covid lockdown.
Let’s start by saying Carlos Lopez Estrada’s Summertime gets away with a lot. A lot. It is an intertwined series of poems and characters that alliterate, rhyme and expounds their way through the LA summer heat. The satire is deft but the homage is sincere as each seeming stereotype is elevated by the heroism of verse. There are very few movies that could successfully deliver the rhyme “I was walking down Santa Monica, Without my harmonica, The only thing I had to say, is that I love all the people in LA”. But it does.
We start with the angsty skater chick rolling down the sidewalk strumming her guitar and bowling down her fellow pedestrians. Then it’s off to meet the social media queen who Yelps every restaurant whether he has eaten the food or not and proves that opinions are like a$$holes, everyone has one, but they should be shared with care. Followed by the underdog rap duo who are hustling their way up but still love their moms. There is the late-night burger flipper who flips out, the angry woman seeking closure on the door of the man who scorned her, and the couple’s counselor who has written a book called “How to Rap Battle Your Demons”. Throw in a hipster in hotpants discussing Marxist dialectic in the music of Britney Spears and you end up with a burrito that would be hard to swallow if it didn’t have the perfect mix of meat and heat.
Summertime is expansive, inclusive, and defiant. It radiates the magic of youth, the desire for affirmation, and the release of self-expression. 90 minutes of free verse sounds like a challenge but in the deft hands of these poets, it creates the momentum of drama and the reward of humor. And it is so very, very LA.
Review by ANDREW HEBDEN
Queerguru Contributing Editor ANDREW HEBDEN is a MEDIA & CULTURAL STUDIES graduate spending his career between London, Beijing, and NYC as an expert in media and social trends. As part of the expanding minimalist FIRE movement, he recently returned to the UK and lives in Soho. He devotes as much time as possible to the movies, theatre, and the gym. His favorite thing is to try something (anything) new every day.