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Arts & Culture

Everything Comes From The Streets

A street lined with parked customized lowrider cars.
Courtesy of Kelly Whalen
A street lined with parked customized lowrider cars.

Airs Thursday, June 21, 2018 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV + Monday, June 25 at 9 p.m. on KPBS 2

"Everything Comes From The Streets" traces the early roots and history of lowriding in San Diego, California, and the borderlands, featuring the men and women who pioneered and shaped the Mexican American movement defined by self-expression and cultural ingenuity.

The film draws on intimate interviews, archival footage and rare old home movies and photographs unearthed in the making of the film to present an engaging and rich story covering nearly 30 years of lowriding from the 1950s to early 1980s.

Everything Comes From The Streets: Trailer

The story begins with the advent of social or “jacket” clubs in the early 1950s, when young Chicanos and Chicanas were organizing dances and community events while developing a collective identity.


As jacket club members with cars began to modify them, a parallel movement was occurring in neighboring Tijuana, Mexico, and a distinct aesthetic emerged -- cars built to be slow and low to the ground.

Inspired by the organization and creativity of the era, the next generation of lowriders in the 1960s formed car clubs and became active in the larger Chicano Movement, including the land take-over of San Diego’s historic Chicano Park.

In the late 1970s, lowriders affirmed their identity by adapting old airplane hydraulic parts to make their cars hop and evading law enforcement regulations; and lowriding expressions expanded as women formed their own car clubs.

Police surveillance and media hysteria led to the eventual outlawing of cruising, bringing to an end one of lowriding's most dynamic eras.

But recently the old past time of cruising has been revived again with hundreds of car club members assembling weekly to express their pride in their cars and culture.


This film celebrates a deep form of cultural expression, reflecting a long history of struggle and affirmation rooted in the streets.


Directed by Alberto López Pulido, produced by Alberto López Pulido, Rigo Reyes and Kelly Whalen, and edited and photographed by Kelly Whalen. Supported by Cal Humanities and the University of San Diego.