Xandra Ibarra is an Oakland-based performance artist, ecdysiast and community organizer from the El Paso/Juarez border
La Chica Boom is a neo-burlesque project that questions sexual/racial representation, queer formations, and compulsory whiteness.
My performance work interrogates the spectacular suffering and survival of fixed images/narratives that have reduced Latinidad to a list of hollow iconographic symbols. I integrate my prior experience in physical theater and burlesque in an attempt to reorganize symbols such as piñatas, virgens, cockroaches, wrestlers, tapatio and border whores. My work is not about what Mexicanidad is but about the spectacle of mimetic Mexicanidad as a disciplined and controlled existence. As a result I consider much of my work minstrel performance or “spic-tacle” (a term/concept I coined) in that it focuses on the degeneracy and power of spectacles that play with notions of Mexicanness. My hope is to perform work that is both against and engaged in the colonial gaze and nostalgia for Mexicanidad.
My community organizing work is located within immigrant, anti-rape and prison abolitionist movements. Since 2003, I have actively participated in organizing with INCITE, a national organization dedicated to creating interventions at the intersection of state and interpersonal violence. I currently organize with FUSE, a national grassroots collective that supports sex workers of color. I lecture Ethnic Studies courses at San Francisco State University and have presented my academic and performance work at various Universities and institutions across the country.