Borderline Brilliant

The New York Times recently profiled the Sonoran-style hot dog, a funky frankfurter sandwich birthed in the Mexican state just south of Arizona. This mouth-watering monstrosity – wrapped in bacon; festooned with pinto beans, cheese, chopped tomatoes, onions, and jalapeños; glazed with mayonnaise, mustard, and salsa; and floating upon a hearty bolillo roll – can only be found in the cities of the border states. All in all, the NYT piece was a refreshing departure from the normal politics between Mexican and U.S. cultures.

Frontierland, a film by Jesse Lerner and Rubén Ortiz Torres, takes another refreshing look at a border issue that’s not all about strife and drama. Forged from a mix of found footage, documentary travelogues, and performance-art pieces, the flick spotlights the oddity of a Mexican Beatles cover band as well as the razor-sharp work of performance artist Guillermo Gómez-Peña. As a result, the sublime and the ridiculous hold equal weight. Plus, the film proves there’s a well of hybridization and synthesis of new sensibilities in the art, music, and culture being produced along the border.

Frontierland screens in conjunction with the “Phantom Sightings: Art After the Chicano Movement” and “Locals Only” exhibits.

Sun., Sept. 20, 1 p.m., 2009
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Jose Gonzalez