1988-89

The performance monologue movement is officially born. Many performance artists including Tim Miller, Karen Finley, Eric Bogosian, Spalding Gray, and myself feel that performance has become so artificial and technically complex that we need to go back to basics and recapture the power of the spoken word and performance literature. The result is a low-tech, language-based type of performance that literally fits in a suitcase. This art movement provides us with incredible geographic (we can travel with our entire production inside of a suitcase) as well as disciplinary mobility (we can present our work in the contexts of art, theatre, literature, activism, radio and film). The "performance field" expands to include spoken word poets, radical theorists, and weird stand-up comedians. We all share an interest in the transformative power of the live word and a desire to explore the flaming intersection of personal identity and social issues.

My main contribution to the performance monologue movement is Border Brujo, a spoken word monologue dealing with border identity. The script is written in English, Spanish, Spanglish, gringoƱol and various made up "robo-languages." My portable altar, which functions as set design, as well as my hand-made costumes, are composed of "pseudo-ethnic" objects, tourist tchotchkes and cheap religious souvenirs.

With Border Brujo I become a migrant performance artist, spending two years on the road, going from city to city, from country to country and back, reproducing the migratory patterns of the Mexican Diaspora. As I travel, I incorporate new texts, props and costumes into the piece. The project is documented in two videos by filmmaker Isaac Artenstein. The Brujo and I end up back at the US-Mexico border in late 1989 where I bury his costume and props and stage his performance funeral. I receive both a New York "Bessie award" and the "prix de la parole" from the International Theater Festival of the Americas (Montreal). I am suddenly propelled into the center of the art world, and my personal life becomes extremely complicated.

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*Radio Free Pocha