Absence

March 30, 2008

Sorry its been so long since my last post: I’m on spring break and sick, so I have not even been near my macbook. But I just wanted to share this with all of you before I improve enough to make a full post.

This is what happens on Saturday nites at diners in NYC! (I’m the one in the black shirt and short hair, my youtube debut)

Advertisements

YASSS

March 20, 2008

I just need to say: YASSS, werk!

Pluma Gay

March 19, 2008

I found it again!

Enjoy!

http://dailymotion.alice.it/video/x94qr_gay-mala-fe-pluma-gay_fun

Borderland Bodies

March 19, 2008

A few weeks ago, I mentioned a conference I attended at Sarah Lawrence on Black Power, Black Feminism. I was asked to write a creative response to my experience at the conference –but I felt compelled to pull on some of my previous experiences and writings to elucidate the conditions of a particular interaction I had with a panelist:n34605179_31196365_610.jpg

Read the rest of this entry »

Inspiration

March 15, 2008

Emanuel Xavier is one of my favorite contemporary writers. I was looking through some poems, just to serve as some inspiration for a piece I’m working on…and I came across this poem from Americano. I wanted to share it with you. If you think this is good, I hope that you will go out and support his work…(this means buy his books!)

Risk
By Emanuel Xavier

Emanuel, you know I love you, but I need you to be more affectionate. I don’t understand why you pull away when I try to hold your hand in public? I know you love me too but it makes me feel insecure. There’s nothing wrong with public displays of affection. It’s important for people to see two men or two women in a loving relationship. Society will never accept us if we hide our love like there’s something wrong with it. You, out of all people, should be aware of this. I mean, what are you so scared about? Do you really think I’d ever let anything happen to you?
I was six when a group of guys chased
what I thought was a girl
toward my stepfather’s parked car
outside our Bushwick apartment
Lifting myself from the back seat
young and curious
Mami rolled up her window as the young man smeared with make-up and blood
banged on the other side of the glass
crying for help
The mob caught up to him
someone pulled him by his long hair
dragged him to the hood of the car
smashing his face into the cold metal
Sometimes, I can still see his eyes
staring back at me in horror
I was introduced, for the first time,
to the words marica and maricón and faggot
It’s so ironic that in your writing and performances, you come across as so revolutionary and strong, but out in public, you’re so private and reserved. People look up to you and you need to take a stand. How could you get up on a stage and read the stuff you write about and then be afraid to be yourself with your lover out on the streets?

I was eleven when two men kissed outside the Manhattan store Mami had just finished shopping in
handing her bags over to me to block my view
blocking the love
Her purchases ending up on the floor
Mami ending up on the floor
pushed out of the way by some thug
Her bags, her body, beneath me
Opening up the view
to see a group of men replacing the two previous
cursin’ and punchin’
kickin’ and spitting’
howlin’ and laughin’
before Mami got up
and shoved me into her breasts to block my view
blocking the hate
Look, it’s not like we have to be on top of each other everywhere we go but it would be nice to have people realize we’re a couple every once and a while. It’s confusing. If this relationship is going anywhere, you need to work on being more affectionate.
I want so much to touch you
fall asleep in your arms
on the back of the bus
huddling together in our own little world
where the bumps and potholes
add joy to the ride
I want to kiss you out in the open
even if it means our brutal death
because our blood will feed the cracks between the concrete
weeds will grow to remind this world that nature
will never be completely destroyed
You’ve survived so much and yet you’re so scared of what people think. It doesn’t make any sense at all. A real man is someone like Stacy Amber that could live his life on a daily basis and not be afraid to walk the streets in a tight dress and high heels.

I was sixteen when a guy chased
what I thought was a girl
toward my trick’s parked car
outside the West Side Highway piers
Lifting myself from the front seat
young and angry
John rolled up his window
as the young trannie smeared with make-up and blood
banged on the other side of the glass
crying for help
The guy caught up to her
before I stepped out of the car
pulled him by the hair
dragged him to the hood of the car
smashing his face into the cold metal
Sometimes, I can still see his eyes
staring back at me in horror
He was introduced, for the first time,
to the words change and revolution from a faggot
I just want you to be a little more affectionate. You can’t keep hiding behind, “That’s just the way I am.” That shit don’t fly with me.
I was twenty-seven when you came into my life
I had never felt more comfortable and safe
with anyone in the world
You were the first to ever challenge me
to realize that sometimes sacrifice
is the only way to salvation
to recognize that true love
requires strength and compromise
If only I had reached out
in public
to hold your hand
Emanuel, you know I love you, but this isn’t working out. I can’t live like this. I need to be with someone who is not afraid to be themselves out in public. It’s really important to me. I want to be able to kiss my lover at any given time. I need someone willing to take that risk.

Considering my upcoming master’s thesis on Queer Nationalism in Cuba, I was ecstatic to find this essay I wrote in 2003. I suppose that even five years ago I had some idea that I wanted to pursue this topic deeper, but my analytical tools were certainly limited at this point–I was only a sophomore. Although this essay is too broad to fit under the purview of my thesis, I may decide to clean this essay up a bit and present it at a conference. I know the essay is a bit long–and requires a lot of editing, but any comments would certainly be appreciated 🙂

By the way, I couldn’t post the citations. If anyone wants them, just let me know.

Read the rest of this entry »

I’ve been thinking a lot about performance and politics. During the “Black Power, Black Feminism” conference at Sarah Lawrence, I attended a panel on the Black Arts movement and I was provoked to start thinking differently about art and politics. One panelist noted that during the Black Arts movement, dancers were not respected as a “serious” art in terms of social politics. Dance was perceived as frivolous apolitical action—and not a true art in light of the movement. Yet, the panelist argued that dance was by far one of the most politicized art forms during the movement, and also one of the most accessible considering that the only tool required is the body. Something else that only requires the body is sex, but this action is hardly understood as an art. Sex is certainly a performance, no matter how many people are involved. And art is certainly also performative, but what about pornography? Can pornography also be art? Before I even begin to consider this question, it is critical to start with deconstructing what we even deem as pornographic. In light of the performative scope of my inquiry, I would like to commence with a videographic introduction.

He has a point. Let us embody this problematic as the foreplay to our work…But I’m going to take this slow.

My first love.

March 7, 2008

In 1989, I began a love affair that has lasted 19 years…with Janet Jackson. As a five year old, I was enthralled by the heavy base beats, soft voice and amazing black and white music videos of Rhythm Nation: 1814. I was not totally aware of the depth of the album’s lyrics, but as I grew older, I not only developed a better consciousness of her message, but a soundtrack reflecting the limitless highs and bottomless lows of my lived experiences.

Four years later, I danced alone in my room to janet. I released my pre-adolescent worries singing everything from “That’s The Way Love Goes” to “Because of Love”. I was shaken by the naughty lyrics of “Throb” and “Anytime, Anyplace”…those songs always required me to don my headphones out of embarrassment. I even broke the wall one evening while practicing my choreography 🙂

Last week, Janet’s lastest album, Discipline, was released…and its amazing! I definitely suggest for everyone to check it out on iTunes (this is a greener and cheaper option to CDs).

The music video to her second album single, Rock With U, was just released yesterday. I am in LOVE with it. Janet is definitely giving me everything I need. Especially from 3 minute 15 to 3 minute 22. Check it out!

Audre

March 3, 2008

During the first night, I was terrified of the novelty of my new surroundings. I attempted to breathe in the exotic chilled nocturnal breeze, but my lungs lacked the capacity to accommodate such a miraculous air. I sensed my body being galvanized a revolution of unimaginable sorts. I was not in control. A warring sense of chaud and cold began to encompass my entire being—it was a most extraordinary feeling of euphoric panic. I was outside of my domicile, experiencing the first of my many panic attacks in Canada. The air was the catalyst of my culture shock. My body, without any knowledge of this alien environment reacted irrationally. I vomited on the driveway.

I wrote this last year. But something has transfixed me. I’m not blocked…

I want to transform my writing.

I need to find the voice to speak, simply. Where can I locate the words to set me free from this complex? I’ve been thinking about tools. Audre warned us about the tools–they won’t dismantle that fucker’s house. But I am filled with fear that I have been overcomed by that fucker–he raped the voice out of me. and I’m not going to let him have it for one more second.
Audre, cuentame, how did you do it?

Over the past few weeks, I have been conducting non-stop research for my thesis prospectus and I came across a really interesting article on AIDS Activism and Feminist Theory by Katie King. Although the article does not fall under the purview of my project topic, I felt impelled to draft a brief intervention, namely because I’ve been feeling starved for work on the intersections of feminist and queer theory.

I remember a time at Hamilton College when Chandra Mohanty insisted that AIDS is a feminist issue. She proceeded to advise the class that in order for us, as feminists, to begin to understand the HIV/AIDS pandemic, we must think trasnationally and translocally in the same moment. For Katie King, AIDS activism presents potential shifts in feminist theory. King notes that “feminist as theoretical agents are both accountable to and shaped by these shifts that are radically altering transnational locations of power.” What King refers to as “global gay formations and local homosexualities” and their subsequent connections with HIV/AIDS that presents an apparatus for “the construction of political identities.” These identities are engendered within the postmodern cultural conditions that are currently enveloping our world through commerce and globalization. Yet, within this context, a process of glocalizing is also occurring through the hybridization of sexual identities with local and western sexualities at it core.

In October 2004, I attend a symposium entitled Homosexualities, HIV/AIDS and Hivos in Amsterdam. One of the main purposes of this symposium was to discuss possible strategies for creating new alliances with queer and feminist theorists on addressing HIV/AIDS. On this particular day, no new strategies were created, but certainly new epistemic networks were formed. One possible reason that no strategies were created that day is because within our postmodern cultural conditions, strategies stabilize identities, create new binaries, and in turn are counterproductive. King notes that “in such activist engagements and political realliances, overlapping AIDS activisms [must] challenge the simple binaries and the misleading charges of essentialism that academics use to process, categorize, and taxononomize political identities, struggles, and literatures and to manage political alliances in U.S. feminism. Is King suggesting that we return and rearticulate identity politics? King asserts that the global gay formations and local homosexualities are in fact creating three direct consequences for feminist theory. The first is “a new appreciation for ‘cultural feminism,’ which [she] claims is the proper name for our apparatus for the production of feminist culture: a sometimes essentialist and sometimes anti-essentialist synthesis of identity politics and sex-racial productions of feminist and gay culture.” Many believe that identity politics is a failed political project, but I am not so quick to disregard its accomplishments. The second is the destabilization categories to re-define HIV/AIDS. Is this best accomplished through a return to consciousness-raising groups, cultural analysis, or art theoretical agitprop activism? The third consequence King mentions “comes new visibilities created by such activism…that suggest directions for gay/lesbian/feminist/gender studies in a global gay formations and local homosexualities.” But, would Barbara Kruger’s appropriation art of a hand grasping the words, “I am out therefore I am” translate or transliterate transnationally and translocally?

In order for us as feminists to understand HIV/AIDS as a feminist cause, we must reevaluate several issues. First, we must recall the fundamentals of our struggle. The global gay movement first theorized sexism as the root cause of homophobia. This exhibits a fundamental alliance that can be reestablished between queer and feminist theorists. We must understand the layering of identities, and evaluate whether performative politics of identity are applicable to HIV/AIDS activism. We must, as Mohanty advised, think both transnationally and translocally, while also considering the borderlands. Finally, we must, as Sandoval proposes envision a democratization of oppression to engender an “identity politics…mapping across classes, sexualities, religions, nationalities, and ethnicities.”