Rafael de la Rosa is the director of advocacy at the Hospital Association of Southern California. He was previously the assistant vice president for government and community relations at California State University, Northridge. Before sitting on the panel for the Zócalo program “What Do We Want From the Next L.A. Mayor?” in May 2022, he joined us in our green room to talk about horror movies, disco, and the Cinerama Dome.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A movie director.
What was your favorite movie growing up?
When I was a kid, I used to watch every scary movie there was. I don't know why I used to watch them as a kid, but I loved them. Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street … all of them. But now I have to be dragged by friends to see them; I just get too scared.
What’s your favorite movie now?
Apocalypse Now, but I also love Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Those are two very, very different movies. One is the ultimate buddy flick. And the other is a scary, dystopian, downward spiral of man.
If you could travel anywhere in time, where would you go and why?
I am a first-generation Mexican American man. So I'm always like, well, if I went to like the ‘50s, wouldn't be great for me. I think of my two grandfathers working in the fields of Oxnard. But I love disco. I love disco music. It’s my favorite music. So I want to say the ‘70s. I DJ for fun with my friends, and I always play disco music. So I would just love to be in that era of time.
Do you have a favorite disco artist?
I love Chic. They were also producers—they produced a ton of songs for Diana Ross and Donna Summer, and they’re just like a staple band from the ‘70s.
Where’s your favorite place to go in L.A.?
My favorite place to be is in a dark movie theater, watching something for a couple of hours—no phones, no interruptions. So I guess I would say the Cinerama Dome. It is so uniquely L.A. I miss it. I saw so many movies there, and it's just so sad what's happening to cinema right now in our beautiful and vibrant city.