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.

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

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