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“Documenting Performance: Queer Nuyorican Archival Poetics” | Lecture by Karen Jaime

Thursday, June 14, 2018 6:00 — 9:00 pm

In this talk, Karen Jaime interrogates the difficulties faced in attempting to establish an historic archive of performance at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. Jaime draws on over 20 years of experience as both a scholar and artist who worked and performed at the Cafe since the late 1990s, and as a current member of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe Founders Archive Project. Her work with the Founders Archive Project seeks to trace a lineage beginning with the organic artistic gatherings in Miguel Algarín’s living room to poetry slams in the early 2000s. Fueled primarily by the queer, Nuyorican, and other marginalized voices at the Cafe, these at-risk archives beg the questions: What are the cultural and economic politics enabling the archival process? Who and what deserves to be remembered?

Hemispheric Institute
20 Cooper Square, fifth floor
New York, NY 10003

Karen Jaime (Ph.D., Performance Studies, NYU) is Assistant Professor of Performing and Media Arts and Latina/o Studies at Cornell University. A Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Junior Faculty Fellow, and Scholar in Residence at the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics at NYU, Karen is also an accomplished spoken word/performance artist. She served as the host/curator for the Friday Night Slam at the world-renowned Nuyorican Poets Cafe, participated in the spoken word documentary Spit!, and was featured in the Emmy-award winning CUNY-TV program Nueva York, a show focusing on the different aspects of Latin@ culture in New York City. Karen’s current monograph, The Queer Loisaida: Perfomance Aesthetics at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, argues for a reexamination of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe as a historically queer space, both in terms of sexualities and performance practices. She has published in: Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory, emisférica, Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism, and in TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly. In addition, her poetry is included in:The Best of Panic! En Vivo From the East Village, Flicker, and Spark: A Queer Anthology of Spoken Word and Poetry, in a special issue of Sinister Wisdom: A Multicultural Lesbian Literary and Art Journal, “Out Latina Lesbians,” and in the anthology Latinas: Struggles and Protest in 21 Century USA.

About the Nuyorican Poets Cafe

Over the last 40 years, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe has served as a home for groundbreaking works of poetry, music, theater and visual arts. A multicultural and multi-arts institution, the Cafe gives voice to a diverse group of rising poets, actors, filmmakers, and musicians. The Cafe champions the use of poetry, jazz, theater, hip-hop, and spoken word as means of social empowerment for minority and underprivileged artists. Our community of spectators, artists, and students is a reflection of New York City’s diverse population; Allen Ginsberg called the Cafe “the most integrated place on the planet.” Founded in 1973, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe began as a living room salon in the East Village apartment of writer and poet Miguel Algarín along with other playwrights, poets, and musicians of color whose work was not accepted by the mainstream academic, entertainment, or publishing industries. By 1975, the performance poetry scene had started to become a vital element of urban Latino and African-American culture, marked by the release of a “Nuyorican Poetry” anthology and Miguel Piñero’s “Short Eyes,” which was a hit on Broadway. By 1981, the overflow of audience and artists led the Cafe to purchase a former tenement building at 236 East 3rd Street, and to expand its activities and programs from the original space on East 6th Street.

About the Hemispheric Institute Digital Video Library (HIDVL)

The Hemispheric Institute Digital Video Library (HIDVL) is the first major digital video library of performance practices in the Americas. Created in partnership with NYU Libraries and with the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, this growing repository guarantees historical preservation and free, online access to almost 900 hours of video through the Hemispheric Institute website. A trilingual profile (English, Spanish and Portuguese) is created for each collection, contextualizing the videos with detailed production information, synopses, image galleries, texts, interviews, bibliographies, and additional materials. Artists and organizations always retain the copyright to all their videos, as well as the original material, which is returned after digitization. With video documentation spanning from the 1970’s to the present, the collections seek to promote dialogue and a deeper understanding of performance and politics in the Americas.

The event is free and open to the public. A reception will follow. A photo ID is required to enter NYU buildings and 20 Cooper Square is a wheelchair accessible venue.