25 Chapters
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16 Loving Revolution: Same-Sex Marriage and Queer Resistance in Monica Palacios’s Amor y Revolución

ARTURO J ALDAMA Indiana University Press ePub

MARIVEL T. DANIELSON

The brilliant campaigning and historic outcome of the 2008 United States presidential election resonated on local and global levels, shattering—in the views of many—the glass ceilings hovering just above the heads of people of color in the United States. Yet amidst the echoes of celebration, a multitude of voters watched in disbelief as the passing of California Proposition 8 stripped away the rights of same-sex couples to legally marry—a right recognized by the state Supreme Court in May 2008. For nearly six months, queer couples across the state had enjoyed equal access to the rite and rights of marriage before this proposition reversed the historic court ruling.1 Los Angeles–based Chicana writer and performer Monica Palacios staged her dissenting voice in the form of protest performance. Palacios’s treatment of same-sex marriage and Proposition 8 first appeared in an updated version of her one-woman show Greetings from a Queer Señorita that ran for four weeks in Santa Ana, CA, in summer 2008.2 In October 2008 at Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica, CA, Palacios merged the new pieces on same-sex marriage from Greetings to create Amor y Revolución, a silly, sex-laced, and politically charged romp through this defining political milieu for queer Californians.3 From political propaganda to popular reception, Palacios’s performances confront the issue of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer4 rights through the reinscribed metaphor of revolution—a war and a fight for the right to love. Transcending the language of violence and combat, Palacios’s works seize a productive theatrical space of revolutionary love in the face of hateful media representation, legislation, and political campaigning. Invoking Augusto Boal and Gloria Anzaldúa’s living discourse on theater and theory, I will discuss how Palacios’s performances fashion an interstitial space of queer reinscription, coalition, and inspiration for queer and Latina/o communities.

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7 Performing Indigeneity in a South Texas Community: Los Matachines de la Santa Cruz Norma E. Cantú

ARTURO J ALDAMA Indiana University Press ePub

NORMA E. CANTÚ

It’s a brisk morning in early March 2009 in San Antonio, Texas, and the annual women’s march celebrating International Women’s Day is about to begin. We will march past the Alamo, past San Fernando Cathedral, past the hotels and businesses with early morning tourists and local patrons. The march will go from Travis Park to Milam Park—Anglo names for spaces that in the old days were called “plazas.” A young girl no older than twelve, dressed in a long brown cotton skirt and a red blouse with a red headband across her forehead, holds an eagle feather. She will do a water blessing before the march begins. Her father, who also has a red headband and is wearing a white cotton shirt and pants, beats a flat drum solemnly. The crowd of a couple of hundred people hushes solemnly and listens to her soft song. She dips the feather in water and sprinkles the ground. Some of us face the four directions as she sings her blessing prayer in a language we don’t understand. Could it be Coahuiltecan? That was how Fabiola, one of the organizers, introduced her—as a member of the Coahuiltecan nation. But pretty much all vestiges of the many dialects of that language that were spoken in South Texas for centuries are gone. Erased. Only scraps survive, mostly in old prayer books; the Christian prayers used to indoctrinate the native people paradoxically remain as testaments of the old language. As a child, I went to “la doctrina” to learn the Catholic prayers—in Spanish, of course. But I also went to see the matachines dance to the beat of the drum. In this chapter, I focus on the latter, the folk religious dance tradition of los matachines, as I interrogate the indigenous identity we as Chican@s identify and disidentify with in the particular area of South Texas.

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19 No Somos Criminales: Crossing Borders in Contemporary Latina and Latino Music Arturo J. Aldama

ARTURO J ALDAMA Indiana University Press ePub

ARTURO J. ALDAMA

Anti-immigrant discourse in general and anti-Mexican hate speech and hate crimes in particular are a central piece of contemporary US political and public culture. The racist sense of entitlement by anti-immigrant xenophobes is echoed in a variety of formats including public radio, prime time news shows, and the blogosphere, and it is a central platform of many Republican senators, governors, and elected city officials such as mayors. Anti-immigrant games such as “Catch the Wetback” are the new form of political theatrics on many college campuses, and the Southern Poverty Law Center that does the Klan Watch has noted an incredible increase in hate-motivated violence toward those perceived as undocumented in the United States in the last several years.

The issues that concern me most are the arrogance of power and the absolute sense of racial entitlement that drive the supposedly fringe paramilitary nativist and neo-Nazi vigilante groups along the border and throughout the United States (which, in a loose chronology, include the Barnett Brothers, Ranch Rescue, the American Border Patrol, the Christian Identity Movement, the National Alliance, and the Minute Men) that have spread into the American mainstream. In fact, the political and public cultures of the United States carry an enormous weight of transversal racial hostility, evidenced most recently by Arizona Senate Bill 1070.1

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12 Sonic Geographies and Anti-Border Musics: “We Didn’t Cross the Border, the Borders Crossed Us”

ARTURO J ALDAMA Indiana University Press ePub

ROBERTO D. HERNÁNDEZ

What must be done is to restore this dream to its proper time . . . and to its proper place . . .

FRANTZ FANON (1967)

Strong whirling sounds grow louder and louder. The surrounding brush sways violently and is nearly uprooted. A helicopter hovering overhead nears, and you hear the desperate words, “Levántate compadre / ¿Que pasa? / ¿Oyes ese zumbido? / Si, compadre . . . es el helicóptero . . . / Métete debajo de esos matorrales . . . de volada, apúrate. / Híjole, se me hace que ya me agarraron / Eso es lo de menos compadre, se me hace que ya nos llevo, la que nos trajo compadre.”

(Get up compadre / What’s happening? / Do you hear that noise? / Yes, compadre . . . it’s the helicopter . . . / Get under those bushes . . . quickly, hurry up. / Oh shit, I think they got me . . . / that is the least of it, compadre . . . I think the one that’s taking us . . . is the one that brought us here, compadre.)1

The above exchange opens Tijuana NO’s 1998 hit song “La Migra,” whose land and soundscape bears an eerie resemblance to the terrain near my childhood home, where corrugated steel extends into the Pacific Ocean, creating a rhythmic rumbling sound as wave after wave crashes up against the U-S///México border2 wall in the area once known as Friendship Park.3

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24 Rumba’s Democratic Circle in the Age of Legal Simulacra

ARTURO J ALDAMA Indiana University Press ePub

BERTA JOTTAR-PALENZUELA

The procession to the rumba in Central Park starts at West Seventy-second Street, and the first spiritual stop is John Lennon’s memorial, “Imagine.” Each Sunday, fans adorn the shrine with flowers, candles, and idiosyncratic offerings as devotees play acoustic guitars, flutes, and, occasionally, drums. The rumba procession continues past Asian masseuses promising full relaxation in twenty minutes and Daniel Webster’s bronze statue reminding us: “Liberty and union, now and forever, one and inseparable.” At this point, you can hear the rumba drums; on your right, a jazz band plays along West Drive. As you walk toward Cherry Hill fountain, the rumba pulse fuses with the sounds of the pan-African djembe circle at Bethesda Terrace. Continue toward the lake, where the Colombian opera singer navigates his gondola through the Victorian landscape and the tourist economy surrounding it. Down the hill, near the bow bridge, is where you’ll find the rumba circle.

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