Please visit the Fall 2012 class website project at Queer Arts Los Angeles Website.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

In the “Viva Records, Lesbian and Gay Latino Artist of Los Angeles” book by Robb Hernandez. Rodriguez recaps the meaning of the Art in Los Angeles by Gay artist. He was able to identified and push for validation for Gay and Lesbian Latino Artist in Los Angeles, which was the purpose of the book. It also brought validity to thus artist which had been marginalized for their work. Something that caught my attention was the fact that UCLA houses some of the archives, pictures and articles of the exhibitions, performances, and other events. I truly enjoyed knowing that the art was actually well received in the Feliz Navidad Expectáculo. One of the most shocking reads that I had were the comments of ignorance that people had in believes that "gay and lesbian artwork was pornographic, morally corrupt, and harmful to American families". This completely pissed me off to be honest. I really dislike the fact that people’s mentalities are so closed and so ignorant to believe that. At the same time I have to acknowledge the fact that it was during a time where people were still very ignorant about the LBGT community and culture.

As for the book, over all had a great content of LBGT art and culture, as well as very well captivated social and Latino cultural presence. Some of the art in the book was very very personable to me, because of the fact they capture the struggle of people, and the demomization of a culture/race. At the same time it made me feel proud of my background and roots.  

Friday, May 22, 2015




The Maricón Collective was incredibly stunning to me. I had seen the art before the conception of the art was missing, till yesterday, thanks to Juan. From what I gathered The Maricón collective is a composition of two artists and three DJs, from what I recall. The information given was very on point, the fact that they are giving the way we see tattoo art or Pinto Art in a homosexual stand point, brings to me a whole different dynamic to what it is that Chicano gay define as Gay-Chicano-Culture art. Compared to thus of Tom of Finland. The contras between the work of the two is the hyper sexualizing aesthetics of Tom of Finland, and comic approach to the art as thus of the Maricón Collective, which display different approach to such. Not just sexuality but companionship, in my opinion, and nonconformities to the meaning of sexuality in art.
         A term given during the beginning of the presentation me woke up on me a certain interest to the presentation, “Rasquache”. I knew the meaning as negative connotation. But the approach in definition by Juan was basically using anything on hand to make art, queer art at that. That actually got me hooked on the presentation. The message of empowerment pushed by the collective is very impressive, though for some reason I seemed to get a sense of bias on the term of Maricón, perhaps I’m being over critical, but I felt the exclusion of feminine presence. Anyway, the even was completely great. I glad I had the opportunity to attend. Below are images of The Maricón Collective and Tom ofFindlnad, to show the contrast, that is.



To(o) Queer the Writer

To(o) Queer the Writer- Loca, escritora, y chicana, by Gloria Anzaldúa

I really enjoyed reading this article.  At first, I thought that Gloria’s writing carried a somewhat abrasive attitude, as her sharp tongue was very critical of others and she seemed fickle in regards to who can and cannot label her writing identity.  But once a few paragraphs into the chapter, when she stated:  “Marking is always ‘marking down,’” my mind opened and my attitude shifted.  Lesbian, writer, Chicana, working class…“The more adjectives you have, the tighter the box.”  And what are mine?  Straight, white, student, middle class.  Or would I be considered (if I were) as just a “writer?”  I realize that Gloria is speaking from her own subjected knowledge and experience, and I can do my absolute best in understanding her viewpoint, but I will never fully comprehend.  Does this make me not as appreciative of her work or accounts?  I like to think not, but possibly because I am not Chicana or lesbian and therefore do not experience what a lesbian or Chicana will experience in life.  She states that by putting a label on her writing, depending on who it is, they (the critics) marginalize it.  White critics view her as a Chicana writer rather than a writer who happens to be Chicana; and, this, I completely understand.  But how does one name/label someone else when they do not wish to be labeled unless it is themselves doing the labeling?  When Gloria stated that “colored dykes” are the only successful ones in capturing readers’ true awareness of “how it really is,” while white lesbians’ eyes are deflected and cannot read between the lines, this struck me as both powerful and challenging.   Her statement forced me to take a step back and think about things.  I took a film class a couple years ago where we watched a handful of lesbian film clips and believe I was quite aware of every little thing happening.  Although a film is not a book and this example may be way off, I want to be able to relate myself and share my experiences, to understand, and not be oblivious or ignorant if I can help it.  I’ve also read numerous articles written by lesbian writers, but I would not have noticed their sexual preference if I had not Googled their names.  It was incredibly fascinating to me when Gloria discussed how women have been taught to write and read like men.  It is so, so true!  Most males I grew up with never read Judy Bloom or Confessions of a Shopaholic, but young girls, including myself, read both-Goosebumps, Star Wars, pirate and cowboy adventures, as well as Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Black Beauty.  This goes to show that women are far more rehearsed and knowledgeable than men.  Gloria then connects this to lesbian writers and readers.  Would the average straight woman reading a lesbian novel catch every single hidden line?  Most likely not.  Gloria then discusses a certain lesbian writing formula.  Would a straight or lesbian woman recognize a lesbian writer if she wrote a nonsexual novel?  Personally, I probably would not.  But who knows.  To me, a writer is a writer is a writer.  But at the same time, every single writer is a distinct individual with a specific type of writing style that no one else can replicate.  Writers need to be distinguished, but under their approval for the right reasons by the right people.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Gloria Anzaldua reflection of reading

I find it quite challenging for me to often relate or understand some writing, poetry, etc written first hand of course of one's experience as queer or LGBT. I can understand as a Latina, but is often challenging to put myself in someone else's shoes. However, I do enjoy hearing one's thoughts, experiences, and challenges faced identifying as queer which helps me have a better idea. I may never be able to write in her perspective nor she may never be able to write in my own perspective not because of differences in sexual identity but as a person in general. Even identical twins do not have the same personality and characters as one another. I truly like Anzaldua's quote "One always writes and reads from the place one’s feet are planted [...] ones particular position, point of view” (273).  As previously described, if I will never be able to truly grasp her perspective, but I can always educate myself and be open minded to attempt to read and write to find the queer writer. 

Reflections on "To(o) Queer the Writer"

Gloria Anzalduá addresses the semantic limitations of the term lesbian. Lesbian is a direct derivative of Λέσβος, the island of the ancient Greek poetess, Sappho. Female eros for each other was not known elsewhere in antiquity. The term could have probably been used as a code word to speak about such a love during a time of violent oppression in Europe. Coming from a European context, this word became problematic when used to assimilate ethnicities, classes, and races. She proposes that applying this term to a subculture within a larger subculture “subsumes” the smaller subculture. She uses adjectives that represent her identity to reclaim herself, while the mainstream culture uses those same terms to marginalize her work. Is it possible for a larger subculture to marginalize a smaller subculture from whence it came? The answer to this question leads to another question asking where LGBT rights come from. On the other hand, her article seems to be obsessive with her own identity, an obsession to be acknowledged as a unique individual: “I want to be able to choose what to name myself. (263)" However, I don’t understand her stance against theories and academia, and I don’t think she understand how exactly such theories were founded in academia. There are much more destructive theories and much more violent forms of oppression than those she fears.

To(o) Queer the Writer

Gloria Anzaldúa's essay prods holes in a lot of conversations that are quickly disregarded as being too controversial, too touchy, or too personal. She simply attacks that evasiveness head on, by clearly stating her feelings and observations about the injustices she perceives in circles which are supposed to be about supporting marginalized identities, yet focus too narrowly on only one aspect of those identities, disregarding color and disparate identity in a way that is whitewashing.

I think what most of her argument comes down to is the colonialist notions that white Americans still hold, and even though those people may be in the gay or lesbian community, they forget other aspects of the community, such as queer people of color, exist in the world in a very different way. I found this all fascinating, especially since I question the inability to use queer, lesbian, or gay, even when one is not strictly homosexual.

Thoughts on the Maricón Collective and the themes of masculinity

The Maricón Collective is composed of two artists and three DJs, who collaborate and promote a counter culture representation of homosexuality through art and social media. They create outsider art, which is art created by socially marginalized individuals presumed to be outside of mainstream art and society. Prison art, rasqueche, and camp aesthetic are the characteristics of their collective. Pinto art is reminiscent of tattoos, depicting Chicano homosexual lovers. In comparison to Tom of Finland, this is a definition of virility that is particular to the gay Chicano community. Rasquache was defined by Fernandez as using resources at hand to create queer art. A good example of camp aesthetic is Tom of Finland, where the men depicted is so hyper virile to the point of being comical. The art produced by Maricón exhibits such campiness and humor pertaining to sexual deviances. The purpose of Maricón is to reclaim the term through art and social media from pejorative use. By doing so, they reclaim a place to celebrate the LGBT community. What I found interesting was their presentation of virility in homosexuality, which, as they observed in social media, has been used as a means of self-reflection and identity. Since their main subjects are male Chicano homosexuals, there was little representation of other spectrums of LGBT. Here is a piece redefining maricón through masculinity: 



To(o) Queer the Writer

It's been a while since I resonated with a reading so much that I know that it's something that I want to be keep referring to in my activism and in my ventures to navigate the world as a queer, disabled, woman of color.

I appreciated Anzuldua's defiance to white, middle-class standards and the way those who don't identity as white and middle-class hold ourselves up to and follow these standards. It is important to reflect upon the way our identities and the way people view our identities will influence the way we go about our work, as well as the way people view our work.

One of my favorite paragraphs in the reading was the one on identity. Anzaldua referred to identity as a river -- a process. As much as we put boundaries around our identities and what it means, we have to remember that it's always changing and different for everybody even if you share an identity with them.

So, what does it mean to create artwork or writing as gender, sexual, racial minorities? Why do we have to specify our work as, for example, queer or Chicana? One of the reasons may be because we have to create spaces for ourselves, since existing spaces weren't necessarily created for us.

Anzanldua

I loved this article, and a lot of points resonated deeply. Especially those that still held true in my online circles, and various communities I am in still fall into the trap. The trap, namely, being that labels are becoming prisons and it is all too easy to fall into one category of labels. I think intersectional feminism is a good response to this trap, a method for understanding how our identities mesh and relate with each other, and how it affects us on every level. But it's still hard to escape being viewed singularly, and having your identity stripped down to one basic term. When that happens, what one identity are you okay with being viewed as? It reminds me of when Dan Guerrero came to class and spoke on how a portion of his life was spent as a proud and out gay advocate, and another one was spent as a Latino advocate....and it wasn't until more recently that he combined the two identities. I think to move forward in a manner that honors all of our identities, we have to start with consciously and purposefully acknowledging that they all contribute to who we are, and one is not any less important than the other.

Thoughts on Anzanldua

     Gloria Anzandula's "To(o) Queer the Writer--Loca, escritora y chicana" is about the perils of writing, specifically for those whom identify as queer. Anzandula is interested in a new way of reading, a new way of thinking about writers, and in doing so, she acknowledges the importance of audience. She speaks of ways that text can be read through a bodily exploration, rather than relying on the traditional methods of writing. "Making  meaning is a corroborative affair." (269), she warns us.
     In "To(o) Queer" Anzandula also unfolds the consequence of subjectivity, and categorizing of lesbian writers, because what does it truly mean to be a lesbian write? For Anzandula being a lesbian writer has often meant a reject of her multidimensional identities.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Pedro Magdaleno

  My name is Pedro Magdaleno, I am currently a Gender Studies Major, LGBT Studies Minor and Chicano Chicana Studies Minor/Major (transitioning from minor to major). This is my first year in UCLA as a transfer student. My interest in the course is because of the fact that it is art, and queer art for that matter, and well… we all need some art in our lives. In reality, I realize that I am happier when I express myself through art. I finally came out to myself as a queer man, without any holdbacks. I realized that expressing myself artistically and being authentic to who I am makes me feel human and present. I used to paint murals in high school and did paper-mache and wood shavings sculptures, during community college. Over all I have been very creative, but always hiding behind the “artist” mask not the Pedro identity. As for now I feel that appreciating art and being true to me should have a different out come, so the answer to the question will be “I want to see what I can produce as a queer artist without hiding behind the artist mask, and grow from there.” The class over all also seems amazing already, I feel a very positive energy from it. I’m looking forwards to learn more from it. 
 (Not Late, Respost)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Chicos Modernos -- VIVA!

In the essay titled “Viva Records: Lesbian and Gay Latino Artists of Los Angeles 1987-2000,” Robb Hernández discusses the cultural productions and contributions made by the Chicana/o-Latina/o art collective Viva! (Long Live!). Roland Palencia founded the collective in 1987 as a reaction to the AIDS epidemic that was killing thousands of people in the U.S. during this time. Utilizing the tactics of “AIDS activism, feminisms, and Chicano militancy” combined with a modern sexuality and gender politics, the Viva collective was able to mobilize a movement within the scape of the Latina/o community in Los Angeles.

Throughout Viva’s contributions, two things stuck out to me. As someone who attended the very first Models of Pride event in the 90’s, I have a distinct memory of member’s of Viva speaking to us as queer youth of color. For many years I had a copy of a book of poetry called “Chicks & Salsa” with a caricature of a dancing tortilla chip with sexy legs on the cover. Reading this book made me nostalgic of that monumental event and the empowerment I felt meeting educated queer Latin@s, one of the first times I’d experienced meeting a Latin@ in the academy.

Another valuable take away from the essay is the discussion of Joey Terrill’s contributions to Viva. An artist I’ve come to admire, and have the pleasure of interviewing for my senior thesis. His mini comic called “Chicos Modernos (modern boys),” was a catalyst for Latino’s to engage in discussions on safe sex; written in English and Spanish, the comic was a great medium for the non-English speaking community who were rarely addressed during the epidemic in the 1980s-1990s. As his earlier works with the zine “homeboy beautiful” produced in the late 1970s commented on homophobia within the Chicano movements, “Chicos Modernos” served as both a form of entertainment and a vital educational tool.