Known for his roles on television’s Nash Bridges and the cult comedy film Up in Smoke, Cheech Marin has been blazing a path in entertainment since the 1970s. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Marin cultivated a love for art at a young age. Today, he is considered one of the world’s foremost collectors of Chicano art. With enough art to fill a museum (more than 700 pieces and counting), Marin decided to do just that. In spring of 2022, the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art and Culture opened in Riverside. Affectionately known as “The Cheech” for short, this Inland Empire museum houses some of the finest examples of Chicano art in the country.
As a guest on the California Now Podcast, Marin discussed his passion for the arts at length. He also took the California Questionnaire, answering questions about some of his Golden State favorites. Here’s what he had to say.
Where do you live?
I live in Los Angeles and Joshua Tree.
Los Angeles because I was born and raised there. I'm a third-generation Los Angelino. Joshua Tree because I love the desert and we found this wonderful little house there. All you have to do is come and sit in it and you get better.
Who or what is your greatest California love?
I love that we have the ocean…the shoreline. I lived in Malibu for 40 years right on the beach and every day is a different day.
What is the biggest misperception about Californians?
The biggest misperception about Californians is that they're all the same. This is the most diverse state in the union and there's one of everything or there's a 100,000 of everything. Let's put it that way.
What is the stereotype that most holds true?
It’s always sunny in California.
What is your favorite Golden State splurge?
California, and especially Los Angeles where I live, it is one of the restaurant capitals of the world. You can get any kind of food and the best that there is of that food in California (and especially Los Angeles…and San Francisco…and anywhere you want).
Time for a road trip—where are you going?
I like the desert because you don't have to do anything. You just have to go and stand in the air and it's just the best.
If you could decree an official state culinary experience, what would it be?
On the quest to find the perfect taco.
Where would you go for the ultimate shopping spree in California?
I'd go to Costco. That's my favorite because I'm a cook. I cook every day.
Best California song?
“California Girls” by the Beach Boys because it has California and girls. My two favorite things.
How would your California dream day unfold?
First, I get up whenever I feel like it––and that's my biggest pleasure in life, to just sleep until I feel like getting up––having a cup of coffee and looking across the desert at the mountains. That's a perfect day to me. I would go outside in the warm desert day and smoke a big blunt.