Jenny Burman Jenny Burman
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Montoya on the Echo

In recent days, Culture Clash’s play "Water & Power" has received a great deal of attention – including in LA Observed. Yesterday, I tracked down Richard Montoya, W & P’s author and one of the principal players, for the following micro-interview. Montoya is a resident of Echo Park.

CHICKEN CORNER: Why did you choose the Paradise Motel, on Sunset Boulevard, as the setting for most of Water & Power?

RICHARD MONTOYA: I love that place, it creeps me out, and it is strangely lovely in the rain. All that purple.

CHICKEN CORNER: If you could redesign the county seal (on Water & Power vehicles, for example) what would it look like?

RICHARD MONTOYA: It would be the manhole cover in the show graphic.
More ominous and scary.

Chicken Corner: Do you miss Carmelos, the Cuban diner, on Sunset and Lemoyne?

Richard Montoya: I like Masa [the restaurant that replaced Carmelos]. Things are going to change and the Cuban places were not that friendly. Sorry, I like that there is still a tortilla factory and should that ever change to another American Apparel I would be pissed.

CHICKEN CORNER: Which do you prefer, the Downbeat Café or Chango?

RICHARD MONTOYA: The Downbeat is closer but I like the funkiness of Chango, I meet my actor buddy Roger Smith there, and it’s fun and beautiful to walk thru the Echo - we saw an entire
family packing their Aztec headdresses into a Hugo. That is magic realism.

CHICKEN CORNER: Did the Ramparts scandal inform your creation of Power’s character in any way?

RICHARD MONTOYA: Of course it did. I am haunted by the death of Biggie Smalls as I am Elliott Smith who lived and recorded in Echo.

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