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AFS Review: News

José Torres-Tama to Perform "Aliens, Immigrants and Other Evildoers" at AFS Annual Meeting

Monday, October 1, 2012   (2 Comments)
Posted by: Lorraine Cashman

Award-winning performance artist José Torres Tama will explore the contemporary Latino/a immigrant condition at the AFS Annual Meeting October 25, 8:00--9:30 pm. The performance includes a 15 – 30 minute discussion with the audience.

Jose Tores-Tama. Photo by Jonathan Traviesa


Written & Performed by José Torres-Tama

ALIENS was developed through a National Performance Network Creation Fund award from the NPN, and with the commissioning support of MECA in Houston, the Ashé Cultural Arts Center in New Orleans, and GALA Hispanic Theatre in Washington, DC.

ALIENS, IMMIGRANTS & OTHER EVILDOERS is a sci-fi Latino noir performance solo by award-winning multidisciplinary artist José Torres-Tama, and it explores the persecution of Latino immigrants across the so-called "land of the free.” The artist satirizes the status of the immigrant as an "alien,” and shape-shifts into numerous Latino "extraterrestrials” who bilingually challenge the hypocrisy of a country built by immigrants that vilifies the same people whose labor it exploits. Politically provocative, visually engaging, and strategically comic, ALIENS puts a heart and face on the vilified "alien other.”

The "aliens" he inhabits are based on interviews with Latino immigrants in Houston, New Orleans, and Washington, D.C. who shared their dramatic border-crossing stories with the artist. Torres-Tama plays eight characters in ALIENS, and it includes a Nicaraguan woman who crossed the border when she was eight years old to reunite with her father who had escaped the country's civil war in the 1980's. Also, he performs a Honduran man who was sequestered at the border; a New Orleans Congress of Day Laborer activist whose hand was crushed in a reconstruction job; and a Mexican Methodist Minister who petitions people to see the Christ in the persecuted immigrant,

Torres-Tama dares to ask the hardest immigration question: "Since the Pilgrims arrived without papers and were the first illegal aliens, why were they not deported?”

Press Quotes:

"Powerful performance art piece lets audience feel mistreatment of Hispanic immigrants ... Torres-Tama's moving and visually stimulating piece holds a mirror --both literally and figuratively -- up to the audience." –-Times-Picayune (New Orleans)

José Torres-Tama treads that dangerously vague turf of performance art gracefully... with dexterity and daring.
---The Village Voice (New York)

…like the best performance artists, Torres-Tama seduces his audiences through humor and the ability to portray disparate characters. ---Theatre Journal

Brief Biography

José Torres-Tama is an award-winning interdisciplinary artist. He explores the Latino immigrant experience, the underbelly of the American Dream mythology, and New Orleans Creole history through spoken word poetry, critical essays, visual arts, short films, photo documentation, and performance art. Since 1995, he has toured nationally and internationally. He is the recipient of a 2010 Creation Fund Award by the National Performance Network for the commissioning of ALIENS, IMMIGRANTS & OTHER EVILDOERS, which chronicles the current persecution of Latino immigrants in the United States. He is an NEA award recipient for his multidisciplinary performance work and a Louisiana Theater Fellow. Organizations such as Performance Space 122 and Theater for the New City in New York; Highways Performance Space in Los Angeles; The National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque; DiverseWorks in Houston; and Pangea World Theatre in Minneapolis have presented his solos. In the academy, Duke, Cornell, Vanderbilt, the Ohio State University, the University of Maryland, and many others have presented his solos and lectures on performance art as a tool for social change.

Since 2006, he is a regular contributor to NPR’s Latino USA, a weekly news program for which he contributes radio essays on the many challenges of the reconstruction. Currently, Torres-Tama is working on a book of essays titled From Chocolate City to an Enchilada Village: Latino Immigrants & the Reconstruction of Pos-Katrina New Orleans, which chronicles his dramatic escape on a stolen school bus three days after the levees breached and the neglected stories of Latino immigrants who have been victims of wage theft and abhorrent working conditions while rebuilding the devastated Big Easy.

(Photo by Jonathan Traviesa)


Lorraine Walsh Cashman says...
Posted Wednesday, October 3, 2012
The performance is scheduled for 8:00--9:30 pm in the Orleans room.
Nancy Solomon says...
Posted Monday, October 1, 2012
What time will he be performing?

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