TDR: The Drama Review 45.1 (2001) 5
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To the Editor,
Congratulations to María Teresa Marrero for her timely and insightful essay on new Latina/Latino theatre and performance (TDR 44, 3:131-53). At the turn of the new millennium, these artists and their work are finally breaking out of the ghetto and the closet to boldly take center stage in the U.S. performing arts world. I was interested in Marrero's suggestion that middle-America states such as Texas (where she lives) are not ready to be confronted "with the dismantling of consecrated iconic male images onstage, particularly by a Latino" (140).
In 1994 I saw the work of San Antonio-based visual and performance artist David Zamora Casas in Mexico City, the first gay Chicano performer ever to take his work to Mexico (see Prieto Stambaugh 1996). I was so intrigued by his baroque and eclectic style that I decided to pay him a visit while in San Antonio. There, he received me in his amazing studio home, a memorable installation piece in itself. Over the entrance door, a sign painted in bright pink reads: "Anti-Oppression Church of Hard-Core Folk Art." Here's a Texan Chicano who bravely displays his rascuache-camp gay identity for all to see, in a city he admits is very conservative and can sometimes make things difficult for him.
Marrero's comments refer to artists who take an archetypal macho icon such as a boxer and subvert its gender. Zamora Casas does not do this, as his retro-punk look is already far from representing a macho stereotype. Could this be the reason he's "accepted" in Texas; because he clearly codes himself as gay and thus does not defy "Latino cultural definitions of 'heterosexuality'" (140)?
--Antonio Prieto Stambaugh
El Colegio de Michoacán
Prieto Stambaugh, Antonio
1996 "La actuación de la identidad a través del performance chicano gay." debate feminista 7, 13:285-315.