Don't Fear the Reefer

Former stoner now gets high on Chicano art

Excuse us while we daydream. Imagine being defended by power attorney Claudia Schiffer or watching Queen Latifah debate Hillary for a seat in the Senate. How about confessing your sins to Cheech Marin, best known for his offbeat stoner films with former partner Tommy Chong? Penance would be to sing three rounds of “Proud Mary,” followed by a sermon praising medical marijuana as part of God’s plan. “Of course, I’d be Pope by now,” Marin tells New Times. “I’d tell jokes. It’s all about getting butts in the pews.”

The comedian/actor makes a rare live appearance during a program titled "A Conversation With Cheech Marin" at Mesa Arts Center. He'll discuss his career and kick off the world première of the "Papel Chicano: Works on Paper From the Collection of Cheech Marin" exhibit, which opens the next day with a free 7 p.m. reception at the center's Mesa Contemporary Arts gallery.

Following his split with Chong, Marin starred in numerous movies and television series, directed the Broadway play Latinologues, and started amassing a Chicano art collection that has mushroomed into one of the world's largest. So why put it on public display? “It’s a tax write-off, pure and simple,” Marin quips. “Seriously, I’m bringing [Mexican-Americans] out of invisibility. It’s hard to get interested in art when you go to the museums and there’s no pictures of your people on the walls.”


Thu., Sept. 13, 7:30 p.m.
 
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