Alejandro the macho busboy still dreams of the night he was seduced by one of his customers, an Anglo performance artist. “We in the food service industry have a saying: Never sexually get involved with your clients,” he asserts. “Leave that to trained psychiatric professionals.” But Alejandro couldn’t resist: “She was so beautiful. And so incredibly blond–like a Spanish TV anchorwoman….I want to conquer her, she wants to conquer me. Which one of us is Columbus and which one of us is Mexico?” Before his climactic encounter with a feminista firing squad, Alejandro pops up in several sketches in The Pain of the Macho, Rick Najera’s one-man show about the ups and downs of Mexican American manhood. Other vignettes focus on TV newscaster Roberto Guitterez, who is possessed by the spirit of Desi Arnaz; a Vietnam vet turned border patrolman named Buford Gomez; and Miss East LA, who refuses to relinquish her crown even though her time in the spotlight is up. A regular writer for Fox TV’s In Living Color, the 31-year-old Najera has a flair for stinging oneliners; as a performer he’s adept at quick-sketch characterization and mimicry. Here he aims his nervy barbs at nagging racial, sexual, and class inequities and anxieties in an American melting pot always on the verge of boiling over. Goodman Studio Theatre, 200 S. Columbus, 443-3800. Opens Tuesday, July 6, 7 PM. Through July 18: Wednesdays-Thursdays, 7:30 PM; Fridays, 8 PM; Saturdays, 6 and 9 PM; Sundays, 2:30 PM. $12.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Rudy Meyers.