San Diego's Lowrider History Documented
You've probably seen them, lowriders displaying their cars at parks and car shows with unique customizing, artistic painting and pumped up frames - that's part of the lowrider culture. And San Diego was a big part of that movement. That's what filmmakers wanted to document in "Everything Comes from the Streets".
The documentary is directed and co-produced by University of San Diego Ethnic Department Chair Alberto Pulido. He says documenting the history and contribution made to the lowriding culture is an important part of the region. "A big part of lowriding is about family and community and bringing people together and the contributions they made," Pulido tells KPBS. The film features the lives and voices of the pioneers of the lowriding movement in the borderlands of San Diego and Tijuana that brought forth a unique Chicana and Chicano lowrider expression.
Rigo Reyes, co-producer of the documentary, is also the founder of the Amigos Car Club. He has been lowriding for 35 years. "Very little has been written about the history here in San Diego," he says. The film also highlights the voices of women lowriders many who started back in the '70s.
Lowriding offered many in San Diego communities an escape. "I was introduced to the lifestyle as a kid," says Reyes. He says growing up in the Barrio could be dangerous.
"For us an alternative (to gangs) was focusing our energy and resources into something positive," he says.
Filmmakers also wanted to focus on the positive sides of lowriding and not the negative images they say are seen in movies and music videos.
The culture has changed since the early days of lowriding in San Diego. "What's happened is lowriders have moved to car shows and it involves money," says Pulido. But he says lowriding has become more mainstream. "Lowriding is worldwide," he says. "Japan, Europe, Brazil all have lowriding communities."
Both men say that educating the public on the history of lowriding is crucial. "More than anything we want to leave something for future generations and hope the new generation picks up where they left off, says Reyes. "If they learn about the past they could keep from repeating mistakes in the future," he says.
"It's very gratifying to recognize and honor these pioneers," says Pulido. "It's not just about the flashy bells and whistles, it's also about what they did and choices they made."
(Kelly Whalen, a San Diego native was a co-producer and editor for the documentary)