Saturday, April 18, 2015

Being With: A Special Issue of Social Text on the Work of José Esteban Muñoz

Just came across the "Being With" 2014 special issue of Social Text, which Lisa Duggan mentions in her "He Does Class and Race, She Does Gender and Sexuality (and Class and Race): Heteronormativity in the Left Academy" blogpost on Bully Bloggers. (Thanks for posting on Facebook, William Calvo-Quirós!) It is a very moving and fascinating tribute to leading scholar José Esteban Muñoz (1967-2013), full of insightful essays, poems, and performance documentation. Some highlights include Jean-Luc Nancy's "Ode to José Esteban Muñoz" (masterfully translated by Damon R. Young), Joshua Chambers-Letson's reflection on organ transplants and Pedro Almodóvar's classic film All About My Mother ("Compensatory Hypertrophy, or All about My Mother"), Alexandra T. Vazquez's "Parts of a World," Joshua Javier Guzmán's "Notes on the Comedown," Tavia Nyong'o's "In Finitude: Being with José, Being with Pedro" (about Pedro Zamora), José Quiroga's "Unpacking My Files: My Life as a Queer Brigadista," and Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas's "It’s Kinda Cold Out Here: A Poem Assembled from Correspondence, with an Introduction." A beautiful publication!

Social Text (Volume 32, Number 4 121, Winter 2014, Special Issue Editors: The Being With Research Cluster).

Friday, April 17, 2015

15th Annual Latin@ Culture Show at the University of Michigan

15th Annual Latin@ Culture Show: Caminos, at the Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Image from 14th Annual Latin@ Culture Show with Lola von Miramar

Come out, come out, wherever you are! Tonight Michigan está de quinceañera! Yes! It's the 15th Annual Latin@ Culture Show and who is the host? The one and only Lola von Miramar, who is recovering from her cough but will be there with all of her wit and charm! Come to the Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre at 7:00pm. In Ann Arbor, Michigan! Viva! See Facebook event here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Larry La Fountain-Stokes Presents “The Drag of Poverty”

Article published in The Ledger:

PHOTO BY Michelle De la cruz
PHOTO BY Michelle De La Cruz

Over 50 faculty, staff, and students gathered in Jane Russell Commons on April 8 to hear Larry La Fountain-Stokes’ presentation “The Drag of Poverty: Erika Lopez, Holly Woodlawn, Monica Beverly Hillz, Welfare Queens.” Support for the event came from the Arts and Lecture Committee, Division of Culture, Arts, and Communication, American Studies Faculty, Diversity Resource Center and Staff of the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. The talk was the first of a two-part tour with a presentation at the UWT on the 8th, followed by a presentation at the Seattle campus on the 9th.
La Fountain-Stokes’ talk is part of a book project entitled Translocas: Trans Diasporic Puerto Rican Drag where he focuses in on transvestism and performance while asserting that drag has the ability to question gender and sexuality and explore things like ethnicity, poverty, and race.
La Fountain-Stokes, author, performer, and Associate Professor at the University of Michigan, focuses his research on drag performance, gender, race, ethnicity, and sexuality in cultural studies, Latin American literature, and performance studies. In the talk, attendees had the opportunity to explore sexualization of Latino/a poverty in the United States. Through examining performances of drag queens in film and television, La Fountain-Stokes walked the audience through what he calls “The Drag of Poverty” and framed a new meaning for “welfare queen.”
La Fountain-Stokes posed questions like, “what does it mean to consider drag as a political act that has the power, not simply to challenge binary gender norms, but also to question other social formations and power structures in society?” and “what does it mean to see drag as something more than mere entertainment?”
The presentation highlighted Erika Lopez’s The Welfare Queen, Holly Woodlawn in Andy Warhol’s film Trash, and Monica Beverly Hillz commonly known from the reality television show RuPaul’s Drag Race. La Fountain-Stokes used these performances to demonstrate how queer Latino/a performers from the working-class, in his words, “have been forced to negotiate challenging life and work environments and to recreate or invent themselves in some cases appropriating and flipping the stigmatized category of welfare queen…historically, marginally, minoritarian subjects such as diasporic Puerto Rican drag queens have been largely excluded from government services or assistance such as welfare or gainful employment…this leaves limited employment opportunities.” He goes on to correlate the spaces these performers find themselves in with limited employment opportunities being the exact places in which we see the aforementioned performances.
The talk concluded with a few questions posed by staff, students, and faculty members for elaboration on how the performers in such different mediums connected and more details on the compensation for the performers on the reality show RuPaul’s Drag Race. The event ended with a reception and a spread of cookies and cake.
Students received the talk well. Student Nathan Pelland said after the talk, “Sometimes I find myself questioning whether Drag Race is an alright representation of queer communities in media…it is very problematic, sometimes it’s transphobic and there are certainly racist attitudes within it…I was very enthralled in this lecture today for hitting many of those points and concerns yet also noting its significance to the gay community.”
American Studies (AMST) faculty such as Ed Chamberlin, who gave the introduction and closed the event, and Dr.Ingrid Walker were glad to have brought La Fountain-Stokes to UWT. The AMST faculty agreed in regard to La Fountain-Stokes’ works, saying that it embodied or brought together the issues covered in the AMST major. With the revamp of the AMST program, events like this shine a light on the major and represent  some of the core concepts that are covered or examined in the American Studies major.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Cuando los hombres se maquillan: Recordando a Alex Soto

El distinguido y reconocido transformista puertorriqueño Alex Soto falleció el jueves 9 de abril de 2015 a la edad de 49 años debido a un fallo cardíaco. Se encontraba en Springfield, Massachusetts (EE. UU.) recibiendo tratamiento médico y rehabilitación por su condición de diabetes y las complicaciones de salud que acarreaba. Nos solidarizamos con su familia y much@s admirador@s en este momento de gran tristeza. Conmovedoras expresiones de pésame han sido emitidas en la prensa por Samantha Love y en Facebook por Barbra Herr, Yoryie Pas Iempre y el bar Zal Zi Puedes, entre otr@s. Tuve la oportunidad de ver a Alex Soto en La señorita Margarita (obra del dramaturgo brasileño Roberto Athayde) en el Centro de Bellas Artes de Santurce y en la obra Vidas de herejes de Héctor Méndez en el Festival de Teatro del Tercer Amor en el Teatro Coribantes en 2007, la cual reseñé en Claridad.


Aquí compartimos un video producido por El Nuevo Día sobre el tema del transformismo en Puerto Rico:


Conferencia Distinguida Nilita Vientós Gastón: Rubén Ríos Ávila presenta la Conferencia "Cartografía Queer"

Conferencia Distinguida Nilita Vientós Gastón


Conferencia Distinguida Nilita Vientós Gastón: Rubén Ríos Ávila

presenta la Conferencia "Cartografía Queer"

Jueves 16 de abril, 2:30pm, Anfiteatro 2 DMN,
Universidad de Puerto Rico, Río Piedras
La Conferencia Distinguida Nilita Vientós Gastón del Programa de Estudios de Mujer y Género elige cada primavera honrar el legado de Vientós Gáston e invita a ofrecer una conferencia, a una investigadora o investigador, creador o creadora de las diversas disciplinas cuya obra se haya distinguido por su excelencia y por su relevancia para los estudios de género. Este año se le ha conferido al Dr. Rubén Ríos Ávila. La conferencia, titulada "Cartografía Queer", será el jueves, 16 de abril de 2015 a las 2:30 p.m. en el Anfiteatro 2 del Edificio DMN de la Facultad de Estudios Generales. 

¡Les esperamos!
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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Cooking with Drag Queens Season one Premiering April 22!

Today at the University of Washington, Tacoma!

Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes
Speaking today on The Drag of Poverty: Erika Lopez, Holly Woodlawn, Monica Beverly Hills, Welfare Queens. 4:15pm, Milgard Assembly Room, Univ. of Washington, Tacoma