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

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Otro Corazon

As someone who identifies as a queer Chicana, this conference was such a treat! I am beyond grateful to, first of all, celebrate the 20th anniversary of the LGBT Studies at UCLA; secondly, I am grateful to have celebrated with the guidance of many talented queer artists and everyone else involved. As I believe always is with LGBT communities, the space was warm and inviting from the start: we were given "love pills" at the registration table to, I think, encourage an intimate and welcoming space.
I am, fortunately, bilingual: English and Spanish, meaning I did not need any translations during the conference discussions/performances. This allowed my immediate connection to "rasquachismo," as it sounds like something my mother would call me if I behaved badly. But as the conference continued, I realized my relationship with it was much more profound. Growing up as a first-generation queer daughter of Mexican immigrants, the lives of my entire family revolved around figuring out how to live in this place and doing so with what little knowledge and resources we had. That is rasquachismo -- fregado pero no jodido. Because rasquache artists make do with what they have at hand, their art is colorful and may juxtapose ordinary objects into un-ordinary combinations, but they are still art, and they're beautiful as I, or any one of the artists from the conference, may argue. And these artists don't just create it, they live it.
Take David Zamora Cases, for example, who performed Valentine to a Demigod. Zamora Casas' presentation included many sounds other than his voice, including bells. And when they imitated a rooster's cock-a-doodle-doo, they also said "suck suck suck cock!" This struck the audience as a surprise, but a pleasant one that made us laugh. And Rite Urquijo-Ruiz who performed the Pan Dulce (?), not only wore a tie shaped like a vagina visible to everyone in the audience, but they also did a mic check with, from what I heard, the word "pussy" several times. Though passed off as a mic check, the audience once again laughed. Just like the in-you-face, flashiness of rasquachismo art, they themselves present themselves and their identities in a much similar way, and they love it. It makes them happy. One of the other performers, Tey Marianna Nunn, proved this when they showed the audience a photo of their work desk, all decked out rasquache. Then followed by a photo of their home in similar trend.
Rasquache art is "making do with what you have and it is organic." Organic meaning from within, with love, authentic, like us.
While I may be focusing on the artists in this post, I learned a whole lot at the conference about art and love and passion and persistence. Artists are their art. I learned about loving myself uninhibited and unapologetically.

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