The “Tucson’s Heart and Soul, El Casino Ballroom” project
will propel the final push in the ongoing creation of a documentary film on Tucson’s
historic El Casino Ballroom.
Founded in 1947 and this year celebrating its 65th
birthday, El Casino is the last of Tucson’s great, large Latino ballrooms that
sprang up around WWII as a place for Tucson’s Mexican American population to
hold its celebrations, concerts, political and social gatherings. Over the
years it opened its doors to other populations not broadly welcomed in the
white clubs of the day, and even many events that catered to Anglo populations.
Its large dance floor brought crowds for such diverse musical acts as the Glenn
Miller Orchestra, Pedro Infante, Little Joe y La Familia, Tito Puente, Count Basie, Fats Domino, Los Lobos, the Dirty
Dozen Brass Band and more.
The one-hour film funded by this project will tell the
stories El Casino Ballroom’s walls hold, through the voices of those who
attended events, rallies and celebrations over its six-plus decades.
The project will fund the hiring of three paid interns,
transcriptionists to write out every word of the many interviews, plus pay for
the time of a videographer and video editor, as well as hall rental and crew
fees to make the film’s August, 2012 premiere at Tucson’s Fox Theatre a free event,
open to all of the public, and costs associated with the project rewards.
Work on the project has been underway since June, 2011.
For more information go to:
http://www.danielbuckleyarts.com/el-casino-ballroom-documentary/ or the documentary blog or Facebook page.
Once the film is complete all of the raw footage and
transcripts will be turned over to the Arizona Historical Society for study and
use by future generations in whatever projects they may envision.
The El Casino Ballroom Documentary is the fifth in Daniel
Buckley’s Cine Plaza at the Fox Tucson Latino history documentary series,
created in conjunction with co-producers Ralph Gonzalez and Julie Gallego in
partnership with the Arizona Historical Society, the Fox Theatre of Tucson and
KXCI Radio. The project received additional funding from the Tucson Pima Arts
Council’s PLACE Initiative grant program.