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Performing Queer Latinidad

Dance, Sexuality, Politics

Ramón H. Rivera-Servera

Publication Year: 2012

Performing Queer Latinidad highlights the critical role that performance played in the development of Latina/o queer public culture in the United States during the 1990s and early 2000s, a period when the size and influence of the Latina/o population was increasing alongside a growing scrutiny of the public spaces where latinidad could circulate. Performances---from concert dance and street protest to the choreographic strategies deployed by dancers at nightclubs---served as critical meeting points and practices through which LGBT and other nonnormative sex practitioners of Latin American descent (individuals with greatly differing cultures, histories of migration or annexation to the United States, and contemporary living conditions) encountered each other and forged social, cultural, and political bonds. At a time when latinidad ascended to the national public sphere in mainstream commercial and political venues and Latina/o public space was increasingly threatened by the redevelopment of urban centers and a revived anti-immigrant campaign, queer Latinas/os in places such as the Bronx, San Antonio, Austin, Phoenix, and Rochester, NY, returned to performance to claim spaces and ways of being that allowed their queerness and latinidad to coexist. These social events of performance and their attendant aesthetic communication strategies served as critical sites and tactics for creating and sustaining queer latinidad.

Published by: University of Michigan Press

Series: Triangulations: Lesbian/Gay/Queer Theate

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-xi

Performing Queer Latinidad is a project written in travel throughout the United States during the 1990s and into the early 2000s. I first ventured into this research as a doctoral student in theater at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and then at the University of Texas at...


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pp. xiii

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1. Latina/o Queer Performance: A Critical Travelogue

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pp. 1-45

It is an overcast summer morning on June 13, 2009, as I prepare to attend Orgullo en Acción’s Fourth Annual Latina/o LGBTQQ Pride Picnic at Chicago’s Humboldt Park.2 The clouds look menacing and last night’s heavy downpour makes me hesitant about attending the outdoor event....

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2. Building Home: Arthur Aviles’s Choreography of the Public Sphere

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pp. 46-93

In this chapter we visit the primarily Latina/o neighborhood of Hunts Point in the Bronx Borough of New York City. We will look at the work of dancer-choreographer Arthur Aviles. I focus primarily on the initial three-year period of activity from his arrival to the Bronx in 1996 up to...

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3. Movements of Hope: Performance and Activism

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pp. 94-133

In this chapter we traverse along the downtown district of the city of San Antonio, Texas. We will focus on the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center. Esperanza is a queer Latina/o cultural organization dedicated to the use of traditional and contemporary Mexican and Latin/o American arts to...

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4. Quotidian Utopias: Latina/o Queer Choreographies

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pp. 134-167

This chapter (and the next) mark a turn in this book from the public interventions organized at Latina/o queer arts organizations to the quotidian aesthetics of Latina/o queer performance. I offer here a tour of Latina/o queer dance floors at various clubs in the states of New York...

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5. Dancing Reggaetón with Cowboy Boots: Frictive Encounters in Queer Latinidad

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pp. 168-203

In this chapter we travel to Phoenix, Arizona, the second fastest growing metropolitan area in the United States next to Las Vegas, Nevada, during the first decade of the twenty-first century. I focus on the Latina/o queer club scene in the city between 2004 and 2007, a time of explosive economic...

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Epilogue: Moving Forward—Between Fragility and Resilience

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pp. 204-211

I want to close this book at the very scene where I began it. I return to the Orgullo en Acción Annual Picnic in Chicago’s Humboldt Park. It is July 30, 2011, more than two years after my first visit, and the rain really did pour this time. On the morning of the picnic my Facebook newsfeed...


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pp. 213-240


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pp. 241-253


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pp. 255-257

E-ISBN-13: 9780472028641
E-ISBN-10: 0472028642
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472051397
Print-ISBN-10: 0472071394

Page Count: 272
Illustrations: 19 B&W illustrations
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Triangulations: Lesbian/Gay/Queer Theate