Stuck With You
August 5, 2012 | Posted By: admin
This excerpt printed in In Dance Magazine:
Xandra Ibarra, “Stuck with You,” In Dance, September 2012, 5.
Ten years in burlesque has provided me with an intimate knowledge of the political and emotional consequences of performing with/against the fictions structuring Mexican/Chicana female subjectivity. Burlesque is touted as a primarily carnal art form associated with pleasure, sexual liberation and erotic agency. However I have found that the same representational power that prompts these responses (often from white audiences) is shaped and authorized by an erotic economy of white supremacy. For me, this dynamic of sexual empowerment leveraged by violent colonial constructs provokes a certain type of racial melancholia. That is, a melancholia that refuses substitution, that is stuck (Cheng, 2001). This melancholy is intensified by an incompatibility with and alienation from white audiences. I am stuck with them (you). I am stuck with an artificial me through their (your) gaze. Hence the title of my current project: Fuck My Life, or FML.
I work within spic-tacle, that is, I attempt to perform spectacles of Mexican/Mexican-American myths and narratives that render the colonial gaze laughable. My hyperracial sexual performance work is a practice of responding to the call of exhibition. I aim to exhibit a type of spichood that interrogates modes of objectification. In essence, I make a spic of myself masterfully before you do. I reorganize Latina virgin/whore archetypes, fist piñatas, poke at your Mexiphobia, dance at your event in a giant Token costume and infest your stage with Cucaracha antics. Unfortunately, these political readings are lost or ignored by most audiences and, as a result, my spic-tacles fail. FML.
The failures of spictatorship are varied. For white audiences, the hyperraciality of my work trumps the accompanied performance of hypersexuality/gender because, to them, the performance of race erases all signs of gender and sexuality. In fact, the performance of race exists in a vaccum to most of my audiences, separate from the state, separate from gender, sexuality, and themselves. I become something other, violently fragmented. FML. Another common failure is the inability for audience members to think more critically in their consumption of racialized sexual spectacles. While there is a particular type of public fascination with my work from white audiences, they nonetheless never accept that I am, in fact, performing, “I hate this, I hate you. I am stuck with THIS and YOU, and it’s your fault.” I can never escape being seen as Latina bombshell-clown-whore on stage (and life), so I willingly reorganize hollow gendered Mexican iconographic symbols. I am making art about the way you view me, making it a spic-tacle and then giving it back to you. I hope that the work will denaturalize, humiliate, and discipline your gaze. Unfortunately, the audiences for whom I perform digest none of this. FML.
It would be too easy, however, to dismiss my enjoyment in the process, creation, and the anticipation of saying “fuck you.” There is a particular type of joy, pleasure, and jubilation in preparation. Leigh Bowery once said that there was an art to getting ready and that this was in fact the best part of the evening since, upon arrival to your destination, you discover that the party itself is a bore, a failure. I feel similarly about the performance of spic-tacles. The performance produces a “state of self-impoverishment” and racial melancholia (Cheng, 2001). I am currently enjoying the preparation for the upcoming show in September. I hope that the audience will not disappoint.
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Sordid Meditations of a Rasquacha Muchacha Cucaracha
July 23, 2012 | Posted By: admin
Originally printed in CountePulse Blog on May 24th, 2012
In the end there was La Cucaracha and she was pronounced dead: dead and alive–alive and dead with a bud light.
(response to Guillermo Nericcio Garcia’s birth of a Latina Bombshell)
Everyone has dealt with at least one in their space and some of us have had to deal with being called a roach, a cucaracha, vermin. Rumors of Mexicans and other unwanted pests, infesting and infecting, scurry across the dreams of many Americans. La cucaracha is duplicitous, brown, reviled, feared disastrous, lazy, disgusting, takes up too much space, crosses your borders, has too many children, steals your job and your husband, queers your wife and will outnumber your population (cue Conan O’Brien’s sketch about the future here) in the year 3000.
I guess being a roach is not as bad as you think. Even as we anticipate your shoe sole, deportation, extermination, poison, genocidal tecnicos and death, there exist rumors of our famed immortality. Like the vampir@s we live long after humanity, like aliens we resist nuclear bombas, like chickens we live with our cabezas cut off and like las movies de horror we return and endure, again and again ready to spring into action.
Like the revolutionaries of the Mexican Revolution, we accept our place…dead on the lawn with a bud light surrounded by four eagles and a church rat.
Vermin or Cucaracha is a taxonomic term often employed by haters in describing unwanted people.
-La Chica Boom
Vermin is a species regarded as pest or nuisance, those associated with the carrying of disease…especially those that injure …[the] game.”
A hippie is like a cockroach. So are the beatniks. So are the Chicanos. We’re all around, Judge. And judges do not pick us to serve on Grand Juries.
-Oscar Zeta Acosta
The city swarms with these vermin, particularly those who profess the tenets of Diogenes, Antisthenes, and Crates.
-A. D. 165 Lucian from Parrhesiasts-Diogene,: The Cynic Philosophers and Their Techniques [excerpt from seminar given by Foucault in 1983)
Appeals to racial identities to ground the elimination of other groups needed no justification in the truth discourse of biology. While, in Rwanda, Hutus referred to Tutsis as ‘cockroaches’, such epithets were hardly elements in a political rationality drawing on biological understandings of racial difference.
–Paul Rainbow and Nikolas Rose
I understand how bad things are in Mexico that people feel they need to leave to better themselves but doesn’t it make sense that when you come here you should change the trashy ass dirty ways you live; take a fucking class to learn English; and just flat out strive to be better? But instead you have decided to stay dumb, not learn English, and make what money you can then send it back to your shitty country; in turn making our country start on the path of being just as shitty as the one you came from. I’m sorry but life was so much better in Washington without you fuckers… I would go back but just like a cockroach your invading that state a well!!
-Written on the thread of comments on Gustavo Arellano’s “Ask a Mexican”
As a spaniard I apologize for my ancestors creating such a horrible, disgusting, moronic race know as “mexicans” hopefully someone rises up in opposition to their lowlife, corrupt ways. All you nasty messyskins need to get the fuck out or be exterminated.
-Written on the thread of comments on Gustavo Arellano’s “Ask a Mexican”
The song La Cucaracha (below) is well known among many Mexican’ts and it was one of the most popular corridos sung by soldiers during the Mexican Revolution.
The cockroach, the cockroachcannot walk any moreas he has no moremarijuana to smoke.The Carrancistas are leavingthey are leaving with empty stomachfor the Villistas saythey are going to die of hunger.Poor cockroachis bitterly complainingthat he has no ironed clothesbecause of the lack of carbon.(Choir)Poor Madero is leftby almost everyoneHuerta, the drunken banditis only good for an ox to plough.
We take unstarched clothes
day after day
and without such chic
we are considered blockheads.
Everyone is fighting for the chair
which is the source of much money
Pancho Villa at the North
and at the South viva Zapata!
I am excited to laugh at one thing:
to see Pancho Villa without a shirt
and I am terrified by one thing:
to see the vile Huerta in a shirt.
I need a good Ford
to arrive to the place
where the Convention
was sent by Zapata.
A colorful parrot
says to a mottled one
whoever jokes with my country
let him be taken by the …
Some plunder a lot
and then are hidden far away
protected by the law
while we are considered guilty.
How beautiful are the camp-followers
when dancing the fandango
Viva Pánfilo Natera
the pride of Durango.
The cockroach is already dead
he is taken to be buried
he is followed by four eagles
and by the mouse of the church.
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La Cucaracha, la cucaracha,ya no puede caminar,porque no tiene, porque le falta,marihuana que fumar.Ya se van los carrancistas,ya se van por el alambre,porque dicen los villistas,que se estarán muriendo de hambre.Pobre de la Cucaracha,se queja con decepción,de no usar ropa planchada,por la escasez de carbón.(Coro)Pobrecito de Madero,casi todos le han fallado,Huerta el ebrio bandolero,es un buey para el arado.
La ropa sin almidón,
se pone todos los días;
y sin esas boberías,
se me figura melón.
¡Todos se pelean la silla
que les deja mucha plata;
en el Norte Pancho Villa,
y en el Sur Viva Zapata!
Una cosa me da risa:
Pancho Villa sin camisa,
otra cosa me da horror,
al vil Huerta en camisón.
Necesito algún “fortingo”
para hacer la caminata,
al lugar donde mandó
a la convención, Zapata.
Una guacamaya pinta
le dijo a una colorada,
quien se meta con mi patria,
se lo carga la…
Hay unos que roban mucho,
y luego huyen muy lejos,validos de fuero y mando
y de que nos creen penditentes.
Qué bonitas soldaderas
cuando bailan el fandango.
Viva Pánfilo Natera,
el orgullo de Durango.
Ya murió la Cucaracha
ya la llevan a enterrar,
entre cuatro zopilotes
y un ratón de sacristán.