Born, raised, and staged east of the LA River, in the historic neighborhood of Boyle Heights Xavi’s theatrical debut on stage was only two months after his birth portraying “Baby Jesus” in a production of “El Nacimiento” co-starring with his father as Jose at the famed El Million Dollar stage in Downtown, Los Angeles. This first performance in the nude of Jesus Christ would become the foundation for the courageous artistic path he would continue to walk on through the vibrant streets of his Los Angeles hometown.
From the front porch of his home he grew up admiring the Hollywood sign in the distance. His urge to perform was supported by his parents who were family entertainers, the center of attention, and like him the "class clowns". He grew up observing his father’s improvised performances at home and was encouraged to perform after Thanksgiving dinners and family gatherings. He explored the mixed rich cultura of his Mexican immigrant family, Chicanidad, and upbringing in the U.S. in his impersonations of Cantinflas and Chaplin; dancing to the tunes of Luis Miguel and Michael Jackson. When his parents were out working, he continued his performance studies with some of his favorite babysitters: El Chavo del Ocho, El Chapulin Colorado, La India Maria, Rosa Salvaje, Carusel de Ninos, Sesame Street, Video Tapes on Repeat from Jerry Lewis to John Leguizamo. When he was forced to shut the T.V off it would become his turn to shine in his living room or in front of his huge closet mirrors.
If Xavi wasn’t inside studying TV personalities, he was outside absorbing the characters and stories of his wondrous neighborhood. The stories he experienced in the streets motivated and continue to be an inspiration to write and portray them on stage, to commit them to spoken word.
Xavi’s upbringing in Boyle Heights is greatly influential in every bit of his artistry as a writer, actor, and as a human being. The vibrant colors, people, and culture of this special neighborhood in Los Angeles are the source of inspiration for his artistic work. Amongst the vibrant colors, he grew up hearing and witnessing gun-shots, sirens, helicopter propellers, screams, cries, and deaths. Losing one of his best friends to gang-violence impacted and transformed his life in a major way. After the death of his loved friend, at nineteen years young, he came across a treasure in Boyle Heights, a small community theater named CASA 0101 . That summer, he joined their ten-week creative writing and theater summer workshop for youth. At the end of the course they produced a show entitled “Voces Voices”, portraying their own life stories. The outcome was so life changing for him and all the youth who participated that they decided to start their own theater company titled Teatro East of the River (TEOTR) and continue writing and producing stories that represented their lives, their families, and communities to impact social change. Today, Xavi claims that theater saved his life and dedicates every show to the friends he lost to gang violence.
After co-founding TEOTR, his career on stage picked up rapidly. Taking everything he had learned from his parents, the streets, his drama teacher at Roosevelt High Schoo (Mr. Oliver), and even his first poetry instructor in elementary (Ms. Rose),He has gone on to act in a variety of shows with multiple theater companies in Los Angeles including, The Latino Theater Company, Cornerstone Theater, Moveable Piece, Frida Kahlo Theater, tounge in chic*ana, Company of Angels, Independent Shakespeare Company, Watts Village Theater Company, Casa 0101 Theater, About Productions, Celebration Theater, South Coast Repertory, Ensemble Studio Theater LA and San Diego Repetory.
In 2006 Xavi co-founded Los Poets del Norte with Nico Avina, "an essential spoken word duo born out of the seabed of rebellion of Boyle Heights - rhythmically vocalizing the untold urban corridos for the understanding of the Chicano reality."
Grounded in his roots and community, Xavi teaches spoken word, theater, and creative writing through TEOTR, Los Poets del Norte, the Unusual Suspects Theater Company, Company of Angels, Independent Shakespeare Co., About Productions and I.am College Track to youth in his community and the greater LA. He is passionate about working with inner city youth who like himself fell hostage to the juvenile system, education system, and are finding a means to express themselves and survive through the arts.
Beyond the stage Xavi is a distinguished graphic designer & marketing consultant. Xavi built his marketing talent at a young age beginning with his first job at 10 years old helping sell photos at Weddings & Quinceaneras for his Photographer Father, making and selling piñatas, to helping run the family owned juice bar at age 13, and marketing design for one of the largest T-Shirt manufactures in the world. Xavi attended the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising; Graphic Design, Merchandising & Marketing program. Today he is responsible for Company of Angels, The Los Angeles Theatre Center & Independent Shakespeare Co. innovative marketing rooting from. Consistently pushing for innovation, he believes hehave the ability to see beyond the expected or average solution to capture your attention. A sampling of his consulting and freelance clients include: American Apparel, Stussy, Urban Outfitters, Ford, Dr. Pepper, Vans & Jarritos. Xavi was the 2011 Ford spokesperson for the Fiesta, “Ready Pa tu Mundo” campaign and quickly became an asset to the Ford Fiesta campaign, writing and performing the commercials for TV, radio, and internet. In 2013 he co-produced and was also 1 of 100 selected participants for the spectacularly successful “Fiesta Movement”. A campaign that did an exceptional job of exposing the Fiesta name to a new generation of users gaining 6.2mm YouTube views, 750,000 Flickr views and 40mm Twitter impressions.
Recognized as a Young Leader of Color by Theatre Communications Group, Xavi is Marketing Director for The Latino Theater Company at The Los Angeles Theatre Center, Producing Director for Company of Angels and Marketing Assistant at Independent Shakespeare Co.
Xavi es una flor chillante that rose through cracked concrete into the spot light. He hope’s to be an inspiration to the youth in his community and at large. He is testimony to the positive power that the word and stage can unearth in youth who have been pushed out from schools, into gangs, inside jails and out to tell their story under the spot light and beyond its boundaries.