Artist, Gav teacher an acclaimed performer

Ruben Gonzalez as Oscar, with Ryan Wood, director of

Recently, South Valley Newspapers ran a feature about Ruben C.
Gonzalez and the indie film,

Oscar

, which he not only stars in but wrote, produced and financed
with his

old man

savings. I’d like to tell you more about this amazingly talented
and passionate artist.
Recently, South Valley Newspapers ran a feature about Ruben C. Gonzalez and the indie film, “Oscar”, which he not only stars in but wrote, produced and financed with his “old man” savings. I’d like to tell you more about this amazingly talented and passionate artist.

Gonzalez was born in Mexico and immigrated to the United States with his parents when he was 8 months old. His father was a menial worker in the garment district of Los Angeles who, through hard work and determination, learned the business well enough to run it and eventually inherit it from its owner. He also had a beautiful – although untrained – singing voice that was not fully appreciated by his young son. Young Gonzalez did, however, like to mess with Spanish words and translate them into poetry.

Young Gonzalez graduated from high school in Los Angeles and, with his mother’s encouragement, went on to a state university for a degree in communications. In his sophomore year, he took a class with a guy he played tennis with in high school. Their renewed friendship resulted in antics that caused them to remark, “If we wrote this stuff down we could make money on it.”

The two friends answered an ad for a commercial acting workshop at East Los Angeles Community College while still attending the university. Gonzalez loved the attention he received in the workshop while Glen Chin, the acting class teacher, recognized his potential and suggested he audition for “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”.

Gonzalez not only landed the role of Schroeder but, through Chin, was introduced to the producer of an upcoming film starring a new actor named Jet Li. Gonzalez was cast in the film as a good guy and suddenly he was in demand. He has since appeared in films with Jennifer Lopez and Benjamin Bratt.

After graduating from college, he studied at the London Academy for Performing Arts, Circle in the Square Theater School in New York City, and received a master’s in dramatic arts from U.C. Davis. Along the way he studied technique with Luis Valdez of El Teatro Campesino and “La Bamba” fame.

Critically acclaimed as a solo performer and writer, Gonzalez has performed his “Diary of a Mad Mexican” and “The Messiah Complex” all over the United States and Poland. While still in Los Angeles, he supplemented his actor’s income with a day job as a substitute teacher. His relationship with 17 of the school’s most difficult students with “crazy issues” became the inspiration for his one man show,”La Esquinita, U.S.A.”, in which he portrays 11 different characters. “La Esquinita, U.S.A.” premiered at El Teatro Campesino and has played at La Pena Cultural Center in Berkeley and many universities across the country.

Gonzalez currently teaches acting for television and film, screenwriting and history of El Teatro Campesino at Gavilan College. His latest project, “Oscar” is an independent film about love, healing and redemption. Gonzalez not only wrote the script, but is the producer and plays the role of Oscar, a recluse history teacher searching for a human connection. Drawing from Gilroy, Morgan Hill and Hollister for cast and crew, Gonzalez is providing an opportunity not normally offered in Gilroy.

“This is hands-on teaching and learning,” Gonzalez said. “It is a rare opportunity in Gilroy to be ‘on set’ for a full-length film.”

His reward for the time, energy and expense of making the film is not fame or fortune, but the chance to tell his students to “do things fearlessly.”

“Live your life without fear,” he said. “Love yourself and others and have faith in what you do. It is in loving and giving that we receive. … Be you, then you can be yourself.”

On writing for stage and screen he comments, “A good writer just reports what he observes and lets the audience make up their minds. When you change the way you look at the world, the world changes.”

A spiritual and intense artist, Gonzalez is an exemplary role model for students striving to set attainable goals.

Learn more about Ruben C. Gonzalez on Facebook and watch for more information about “Oscar”. After a Gilroy screening, the movie will be entered in the Poppy Jasper, Cinequest and Sundance Film Festivals. For information, visit indiegogo.com.

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UPCOMING EVENTS

‘MOMologues’

Fridays and Saturday, Sept. 16 – Oct. 8 at 8 p.m.

Lizarran Tapas Restaurant, 7400 Monterey St., Gilroy

Reservations: (408) 472-3292

Details: LimelightActorsTheater.com

Music Academy Faculty Recital

Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m.

United Methodist Church Sanctuary, 7600 Church St., Gilroy

South Valley Civic Theater 2010-11 Member’s Choice Awards Show

Saturday, Sept. 10

Dessert, refreshments and raffle at 7 p.m., Show at 8 p.m.

Morgan Hill Community Playhouse, 17090 Monterey Road, Morgan Hill

Details: (408) 892-5763

Fundraiser for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s research

$30. All proceeds go to MJF Foundation

Friday and Saturday, Oct. 21 and 22 at 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 22 and 23 at 2 p.m.

Reservations: (408) 472-3992

Details: LimelightActorsTheater.com

‘Shout! The Mod Musical’

Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. through Sept. 18

Saturday matinee is PG, other performances are PG-13

Details: (408) 404-7711 or www.theretrodome.com

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