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Quarantine Life

CA Lockdown – Day 21

It’s a Puro Pocha Party today!

I have a long history with performance art legend Guillermo Gomez Peña. First exhibiting our video art together for the Vigo international film festival in Spain. The show was put together by Latino film scholar and former UCLA Chicano Research Center director Chon Noriega. It was sometime in the early to mid-90’s, after I’d already returned to the U.S. after years attending art school in Madrid.

Guillermo was a part of the Border Arts Workshop in San Diego, CA. We were both a part of the Centro Cultural de La Raza community and the performance art world that orbited SUSHI gallery in downtown. I attended undergrad at UC San Diego. It was an era of increased militarization around the US/Mexico border. That’s when the immigrant crossing signs started appearing on the highway.

Since that first show together decades ago, our trajectories have intersected frequently. I consider GGP a mentor and cherished source of inspiration. A creative art-primo, with whom I share a surname.

GGP as El Border Brujo

Many of the folks who comprise this Border Brujo‘s creative entourage also cross into mine. Isaac Artenstein, his frequent collaborator, exhibited my work at his Cafe Cinema. Gustavo Vasquez (featured below) showcased my videos at CineFestival in Texas. We’re all a part of the same Art Familia.

Guillermo barely made it back before the border shut down. He jetted in at the last possible hour from his chateau in Mexico City. Most of the time GGP is touring but COVID shut all that down. The upside is that this literal genius won the MacArthur “Genius” Award and continues to redefine what performance art is in the 21st century.

LA POCHA NOSTRA: GGP, Saul y Balitronica

Guillermo Gomez Peña’s performance troupe is called “La Pocha Nostra” or “La Pocha” for short. As you know, I’m “Pocha Peña” and have been using that moniker for several decades. Viva Cross Pollination!

I’m beyond thrilled to have this cultural superstar on our Dreamocracy In America show tomorrow!! Here’s a cheeky promo we shot for it:

As we wrap up rehearsing for tomorrow’s performance, I can assure you it will be a magical exchange. Here’s the show graphic:

See y’all tomorrow!

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