Description:

We invite artistic or pedagogical interventions and critical analyses of cultural texts that use cabaret as method. We welcome artists, scholars, community organizers, and others who are using cabaret methods, including but not limited to: variety, satire, urgency, risk, distributed expertise, sharing the stage, fabulousness, and provocation on and off the stage. In light of the theme of the Encuentro this year, we might particularly reflect “the strategy of juxtaposing the humorous and the sober” (Gutierrez 2010) used to such great effect by cabaret artists to investigate the serious ideas of the day.

We convene this Work Group in order to open the discussion about cabaret as on ongoing translocal moment in which “sexual, racial and economic minorities push back against the individualist, exemplary modern subject, cultivating instead tactical cultures of collaboration, shared resources and coalition politics” (Cowan 2015). Furthermore, we hope that this Working Group will allow for us to develop a translocal genealogy of political cabaret within the Americas, a genealogy that is often overlooked in favour of a nostalgia for European fin-de-siècle and wartime cabaret artistique.

Format and Structure:

The group will be organized based on participants’ interests. We hope to explore what cabaret means as a performance practice, and as a portable, cross-platform set of tactics and methods that continue to be central to protest movements, online organizing, and as a mode of teaching, research, knowledge production, and knowledge transfer. In this working group we will share each other’s stories of using cabaret methods on and off the stage (in performance, in the classroom, in our research, in the streets). Each participant will have an opportunity to discuss their work and receive group feedback. In the final days we may decide as a group to build something together - a performance, a street intervention, a research paper, a manifesto — or perhaps all of these!

Questions that we will like to address in the working group (not limited):

  • What is cabaret to you? What is cabaret where you live/perform?
  • What does cabaret allow you to do, where you do it?
  • Is cabaret a consciousness-raising tactic/political pedagogy?
  • Is there such a thing as a ‘cabaret methodology’? If so, how and where does it move beyond the stage?
  • If there is a theory of cabaret, what is it to you?
  • What are some limitations of cabaret? How does cabaret get a bad reputation?
  • How does cabaret differ from place to place?
  • How does cabaret become political? Is it always political?
  • Under what conditions is cabaret an organizing method?
  • How does a cabaret analysis/method/practice inform broad categories of performance and theatre like variety, humor/satire, political performance?
  • What does it mean when ‘cabaret’ means different things in different contexts?
  • How do we translate cabaret practice/method/theory? Is cabaret portable?
  • How does cabaret work beyond the stage/the theatre/the bar?
  • How might scholarly work and pedagogy also deploy the "cabaret methodology?"
  • What are ways to theorize, foreground or signal a cabaret methodology as trans-discipline, inter-discipline, intra-discipline or anti-discipline when we theorize cabaret within the larger ‘disciplinary’ history and practice of Performance Studies or Activist Studies and/or when we use this method to engage with other objects/sites/scenes/bodies of inquiry?

Languages spoken/understood by conveners:

Spanish, English, Portuguese, French (understood)

Conveners:

Laura G. Gutiérrez is Associate Professor of Latinx Performance and Visual Culture Studies in the Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Her book Performing Mexicanidad: Vendidas y Cabareteras on the Transnational Stage (2010) won The Ninth Annual MLA Prize in United States Latina and Latino and Chicana and Chicano Literary and Cultural Studies. Gutiérrez has published essays and book chapters on topics such as: Latina/o and Mexican performance art, border art, video art, and political cabaret. She is completing a monograph on racial and sexual panics in mid-twentieth century Mexico through a reading of films from the period. Her ongoing research on Mexican political cabaret will also produce a cultural history of the genre.

T.L. Cowan is an Assistant Professor of Media Studies in the Department of Arts, Culture and Media (UTSC) and the Faculty of Information (iSchool) at the University of Toronto. Cowan’s recent essays are published in Women & Performance (2018), Liminalities (2016), and More Caught in the Act: An Anthology of Performance Art by Canadian Women (2016). Cowan is currently completing a monograph, Transmedial Drag: Cross-Platform Cabaret Methods and developing two online projects: The Cabaret Commons Digital Platform and the Digital Research Ethics Collaboratory. T.L. is also a cabaret performer, perhaps best known for her alter ego, Mrs. Trixie Cane.

Participants:

  • Carina Guzman
  • Cecilia Sotres
  • Christina Baker
  • Christina Streva
  • David Tenorio
  • Fabián Céspedes
  • Fernanda Souza
  • Eduardo Fajardo
  • Juliana Fadil Luchkiw
  • Mark Sussman
  • Martha Toriz-Proenza
  • Nora Isabel Huerta Huajardo
  • Pako Reyes
  • Stephen Lawson
  • Vicente Leite Filho
  • Yecid Calderón Rodelo
  • Maria Paz Valenzuela Silva
  • Rosanne Sia
  • Liliana Ramírez
  • Bretton White
  • Gisela Martinez
Published in Work Groups
Friday, 26 April 2019 17:59

Joshua Chambers-Letson

Joshua Chambers-Letson is Associate Professor of Performance Studies at Northwestern University. He is the author of After the Party: A Manifesto for Queer of Color Life (NYU Press, 2018) and A Race So Different: Law and Performance in Asian America (NYU Press, 2013). He is currently working with Tavia Nyong’o to prepare José Esteban Muñoz’s The Sense of Brown for publication with Duke University Press.

CDMX, Mexico. June 15, 2019.

Watch the roundtable with Joshua Chambers-Letson here.

Published in Interviews
Friday, 26 April 2019 17:59

Petrona de la Cruz Cruz

Petrona de la Cruz is co-founder of Fortaleza de la Mujer Maya (FOMMA) with Isabel Juárez Espinosa. She has achieved international recognition for her work. Her play, Una mujer desesperada was produced in 1993 in San Cristóbal as part of International Women’s Day and has been published in Holy Terrors: Latin American Women Perform (Duke University, 2003). She has also participated in diverse acting and directing workshops in the United States with Doris Difarnecio, Amy Trompetter, and Paty Hernandez. She is currently a board member of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics.

CDMX, Mexico. June 14, 2019.

Published in Interviews
Friday, 26 April 2019 17:58

Lilian Mengesha

Lilian Mengesha is a director, dramaturg, and Assistant Professor of Race and Performance in the Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies at Tufts University. Her research focuses on contemporary indigenous performance art of North and Central America, particularly on art that address legacies of violence against women. In her performance work, she aims to make legible temporal scales of memory as measured through social and ecological difference, as in “manifestroom” (2014), “an emotion is a sign that something has shifted” (2016), and in her current devised work that focuses on the history of the ocean.

CDMX, Mexico. June 12, 2019.

Published in Interviews
Friday, 26 April 2019 17:58

Donna Kaz

Donna Kaz is a performer, activist, author, and a leading feminist voice on how to combine activism and art. For the past 20 years, she has been proving feminists are funny with Guerrilla Girls On Tour. Her new eBook, PUSH/PUSHBACK: 9 Steps to make a Difference with Activism and Art, is at ggontour.com. donnakaz.com | @guerrillagsot @donnakaz

CDMX, Mexico. June 12, 2019.

View Donna Kaz's lecture here.

Published in Interviews
Friday, 26 April 2019 17:58

El Ciervo Encantado

Nelda Castillo founded El Ciervo Encantado in Havana in 1996 as a space of experimentation and exchange that fosters innovative connections between theater, visual arts, music, literature, dance, theoretical research, etc. Thanks to this interplay of knowledges, El Ciervo Encantado connects with different spaces of artistic and cultural production, escaping any attempt at categorization.

CDMX, Mexico. June 14, 2019.

View El Ciervo Encantado's performance here.

Published in Interviews
Friday, 26 April 2019 17:57

Antonio Prieto

Antonio Prieto-Stambaugh is a professor and researcher in the School of Theater and the Center for the Study, Creation, and Documentation of the Arts at the Universidad Veracruzana, where he is also Coordinator of the graduate program in Performing Arts. He is a member of Mexico’s National System of Researchers (SNI), specializing in contemporary Mexican theatre and performance with a particular interest in artists who work on issues of gender, the nation, sexuality, and ethnicity. He holds an M.A. in Performance Studies from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and a Ph.D. in Latin American Studies from the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of Mexico’s National Autonomous University (UNAM). He has edited four books, including Jerzy Grotowski. Miradas desde Latinoamérica (Universidad Veracruzana, 2011) and Corporalidades escénicas. Representaciones del cuerpo en el teatro, la danza y el performance (Universidad Veracruzana, 2016), with con Elka Fediuk. He is currently Director of the journal Investigación Teatral. Revista de artes escénicas y performatividad.

CDMX, Mexico. June 12, 2019.

View Antonio Prieto-Stambaugh's keynote lecture here.

Published in Interviews

Despair & disgust vs integrity & wisdom: An endgame in 7 acts

Samuel Beckett tells of a tailor taking weeks to make a pair of trousers, while God needed only six days to create the world. Which turned out better? Can art out perform nature? What are the possibilities for millions of species, including our own, in the Anthropocene? Do artists have special responsibilities and powers to help effect a transformation of attitudes and behaviors? On a personal as well as social-political level, is there anything to be optimistic about when the choice is despair and disgust versus integrity and wisdom?

Biographies

Richard Schechner is editor of TDR, author, theatre director, and University Professor Emeritus in Performance Studies at New York University.. His books include Environmental Theater, Performance Theory, Between Theater and Anthropology, The End of Humanism, The Future of Ritual, Performed Imaginaries, and Performance Studies: An Introduction. He was a producing director of the Free Southern Theater and founded The Performance Group. He has directed theatre, led workshops, taught, and lectured in the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia.

Didanwy Kent Trejo (Presenter) holds an MA and a PhD in Art History from UNAM. She is currently a full-time professor at the College of Dramatic Literature and Theatre at UNAM’s Faculty of Philosophy and Letters. She teaches in the Graduate Program of Music, the Graduate Program of Arts and Design, and the Graduate Program in Art History at UNAM. Her areas of research span the field of performing arts, particularly opera, theater, and performance, as well as contemporary social and artistic practices.

Published in Lectures

The Mutant Sponge from Estridentópolis

Performance is a mutant sponge that absorbs and transforms all expressions of performing arts, social movements and sociocultural theories. By making noise, this very powerful sponge has the ability to shake the structures that surround it. In Mexico, its history is linked to the legacy of the Estridentista movement, which emerged from the ashes of the Mexican Revolution to propose the first underground avant-garde of the country. During the 1920s, the movement sought refuge in the city of Xalapa, the capital of Veracruz, which came to be known as Estridentópolis. It is in such movements of political exile and artistic dissidence, in communities of creators who resist demagogy through critical humor, that the mutant sponge of performance finds a key strand of its genealogy. Estridentismo created a type of performance called “The Mexican Bat Theater,” a hybrid show that combined folk dances with urban satires, with characters ranging from rural charros to "fifís," or city dandies. This performative “Bat Theater” takes us across the borders of space and time to meet the Chicana poet Gloria Anzaldúa, who was inspired by the bat god of the Indigenous Zapotec culture to theorize the ability of border-crossing artists to see the world upside down.

Biography

Antonio Prieto-Stambaugh is a professor and researcher in the School of Theater and the Center for the Study, Creation, and Documentation of the Arts at the Universidad Veracruzana, where he is also Coordinator of the graduate program in Performing Arts. He is a member of Mexico’s National System of Researchers (SNI), specializing in contemporary Mexican theatre and performance with a particular interest in artists who work on issues of gender, the nation, sexuality, and ethnicity. He holds an M.A. in Performance Studies from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and a Ph.D. in Latin American Studies from the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of Mexico’s National Autonomous University (UNAM). He has edited four books, including Jerzy Grotowski. Miradas desde Latinoamérica (Universidad Veracruzana, 2011) and Corporalidades escénicas. Representaciones del cuerpo en el teatro, la danza y el performance (Universidad Veracruzana, 2016), with con Elka Fediuk. He is currently Director of the journal Investigación Teatral. Revista de artes escénicas y performatividad.

Published in Lectures

The 4T's Enigma: Against Hate, Humor

“What would be the wonder, of such noble quality, which is blindness with the eyes and, without vision, understanding?”
-Sister Juana Inés de la Cruz

This lecture revolves around the resistance to change and the possibility of collectively facing a new reality of equality and justice in Mexico.

Biographies

Jesusa Rodríguez (Mexico, 1955) is a scenic creator. From 1980 to 2018, she directed and performed in opera, theater, and political farces. Since December 2018, she has been a Senator in Mexico. Her greatest achievement was, and still is, to accumulate disgrace. She was awarded Best Actress at the Festival of the Americas in Montreal, 1989, and is a recipient of a 2000 Obie Award, with Liliana Felipe.

Arturo Chávez López (Presenter) is a Sociologist with a PhD in Sociology from the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences (FCPyS) of the UNAM. He holds a Master’s degree in Political Sociology from “Dr. José María Luis Mora” Institute and a BA in Sociology from the FCPyS. He is a full-time professor with the Center for Sociological Studies, and currently holds the position of Secretary General of the FCPyS of the UNAM. He previously served as Head of the Division of Professional Studies and Coordinator of the Center for Sociological Studies. His areas of research include political sociology and sociology of law; sociological theory and methodology in the social sciences.

Diana Taylor (Presenter) is University Professor and Professor of Performance Studies and Spanish at New York University. She is the award winning author of multiple books, among them: Theatre of Crisis (1991), Disappearing Acts (1997), The Archive and the Repertoire (2003), and Performance (2016). Her new book, ¡Presente! The Politics of Presence, is forthcoming with Duke University Press. Taylor is director of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics which she helped found in 1998. In 2017, Taylor was President of the Modern Language Association and was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2018 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Science.

Published in Lectures
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