Santa Clara University

Bronco Profile

The Lowdown on Lowriding

Alum’s documentary highlights the cruising culture

Born and raised in East San Jose, one of Daniel Osorio’s pastimes as a teenager was cruising the streets in San Jose. Osorio ’00 credits the drag for teaching him how to communicate and, ultimately, for introducing him to his wife, Katrina Jasso-Osorio.

Daniel Osorio
Daniel Osorio ’00 pictured near SCU’s arts and sciences building with a 1951 Chevy Suburban from the Viejitos Car Club of Silicon Valley.

Together, Daniel and Katrina formed a production company—Jasso-Osorio Entertainment—just two years after Daniel graduated from SCU with a degree in Communications emphasizing video production. They launched their first film, “Lowriding in Aztlan,” in March 2004. The docu-video, which has been shown at several film festivals and screenings around the Bay Area, features footage from all over Northern California. (The term “lowrider” describes cars that have been lowered to within a few inches of the road, and the term also describes those who create, drive, and/or ride in a lowrider.) Delving deep into the mysterious culture of lowriding, the film addresses common misconceptions and stereotypes.

Through interviews with a local airbrush artist and some of the world’s most influential lowriders, examples of police harassment caught on tape, and footage of a Cinco de Mayo celebration in San Jose, the film’s core message is that lowriding is not about being into drugs or gangs—it’s a pastime consisting of self-expression, hard work, and family tradition that can be positive for a community and a reflection of Mexican-American pride.

According to Osorio, the film accomplishes two things: educating society about lowriding while helping the lowrider community understand that bad behavior is not okay.

It was the opening of the new arts and sciences building in 1998 that influenced Osorio to study video production. And although Osorio clashed with his professors at the time about what made a good film, he now credits them for giving him his first lessons on how the film industry works.

Daniel and Katrina are also giving back to their community as part of their company’s mission. Aiming to encourage people from diverse and low-income backgrounds to strive for success, Jasso-Osorio Entertainment partnered with a group of SCU students affiliated with a local chapter of Sigma Lambda Beta in 2003 to create a mentorship program for East San Jose students attending Bellarmine College Preparatory, to help them adjust to private school.

For more information on Osorio’s projects, visit www.lowridinginaztlan.com .

—Kim Kooyers is a freelance writer in San Jose

Ride for Life

Alum bikes 585 miles to support AIDS services

“When I first considered doing the ride, contemplating its scale would literally take my breath away, and it still gives me that feeling,” says Mark O’Brien ’94, who in June completed the 585-mile AIDS/LifeCycle ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. “This is unlike anything else I have ever accomplished.

Mark O'Brien
Mark O'Brien '94

Co-produced by the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center, AIDS/LifeCycle “is designed to advance their shared interests to end the pandemic and human suffering caused by AIDS,” reads the mission statement.

Mark O’Brien says several factors led him to take on the ride. “‘Controversial’ AIDS/HIV prevention initiatives like needle exchanges and condom advocacy are no longer being supported by government grants,” he explains, “so it’s up to the private sector to step up and help fund these programs.

In order to participate in the ride, O’Brien had to raise a minimum of $2,500. “The opportunity to raise money for such a worthy cause was definitely one of the factors that appealed to me,” he says. O’Brien created postcards that helped do the asking for him. He says he also got a lot of support from his co-workers at WebSideStory (formerly Atomz), a software company specializing in hosted Web software. He went on to raise more than $5,000.

O’Brien began training in August 2004 with 30- to 50-mile local rides from his San Francisco home. In October, he joined the official AIDS/LifeCycle training rides, which built up from 50 to 100 miles per ride. “This was a big help mentally. During the actual ride, I would look at the route sheet and think, ‘Okay, 81 miles today. I have done that before,’” he says.

The ride itself was quite an adventure, with grueling hills (one is nicknamed “Quadbuster”), stunning coastal views, and plenty of frivolity. At one rest stop, the supporters were dressed like characters from the movie, “The Sound of Music,” and it “included homemade curtain-fabric lederhosen and a performance by Maria and the Von Trapps,” wrote O’Brien in his blog. At one point during the ride, O’Brien even found himself longing for his job. “I am looking forward to putting my hands on my laptop next week instead of my handlebars,” he wrote.

The whole experience also brought some pleasant surprises, says O’Brien, including “the sense of community that is generated by the group training and the ride itself. That was a wonderful gift.” O’Brien has already signed up for next year’s ride.

Visit www.markobrien.com/bike/ to read O’Brien’s training and ride blogs and to see additional photos.

—Elizabeth Kelley Gillogly ’93 is the associate editor of Santa Clara Magazine.

 
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