By Guillermo Gómez-Peña
A self-described migrant provocateur with a ''hyper-Mexican mustache and loungy sideburns,'' Guillermo Gomez-Pena plays as he lives and travels -- from the United States via Europe, Asia, and North Africa -- making his border crossings and crosscultural misencounters into paintings. He displays in Spanish, English, and Spanglish, looking for Mexican and Chicano groups, retracing the roots of his history, and revisiting the numerous overlapping cultures to which he belongs: diasporic Latin american citizens, humans at the margins of society, the hybrids, the renegades.
In harmful Border Crossers, he interweaves poems, functionality chronicles, essays, radio scripts, and reflections on tradition, politics, and identification, from his existence at the highway. His landmark items -- reminiscent of his interlude as an ''endangered species'' inside of a Plexiglas field and his disarming confessions -- set the tone: through turns surprising, facetious, erotic, political, and pressing. Passionate, myth-breaking, emotionally resonant, and electrifying, risky Border Crossers connects a notable variety of matters, revealing what is going into the making of functionality paintings, and developing Gomez-Pena as one among this century's such a lot persuasive voices for a without boundary lines destiny.
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Extra info for Dangerous Border Crossers
People were encouraged to light a candle or deposit “personal offerings” on the tables. We often got photos, expired credit cards, tampons, condoms, cigars, flowers, and coins. Two “nuns” (actress Norma Medina and dancer Michelle Ceballos) 3 performed the dual roles of caretakers of the Temple and living icons. Norma was dressed as an expectant “chola/nun,” with two tattooed tears running down her left cheek (one for each murder she committed, according to Pinto [Chicano 3 In Providence, dancer Michelle Ceballos was replaced by Iranian-American dancer Carmel Kooros.
GGP crawls back onto the chair while speaking. ) GGP El Mariachi with a biiiiiig moooouth. RS Not anymore carnal. GGP Mexi-cyborg el extra-extra-terrestre. RS Not quite yet. You wish. GGP El immigrant bizarro con su mente explosiva y expansiva al servicio de la fragmentación político-poética. RS State your function or lose your greencard. GGP To you or to the audience? RS To the audience. GGP My normal state of being, carnal, is to die for you, cause after all these years I’m still imprisoned inside this historical purgatory.
The soundscape for the piece, a montage created by Rona Michele, combines prerecorded rap and rock en español with live arias by opera singers. Roberto shifts from his robo-gang member persona to a Rastafarian preacher announcing the arrival of a “new, postdemocratic era,” and a martyred, transgender Christ, while I alternately embody a kind of cybernetic Stephen Hawking, a hermaphrodite shaman (aka Gran Vato, President of the US of Aztlan), and an S&M Zorro. In addition to the various manifestations of her “Clepto-Mexican Gringa” cyborg, Sara also appears in BORDERscape as a schizophrenic Southern Belle transvestite/essentialist Chicana academician, satirically commenting on sensitive issues of race and gender.