Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Spic Up! Speak Out! This Spring at El Museo del Barrio

El Museo del Barrio launches its "Spic Up! Speak Out!" Spring performance series this Saturday, March 15th, with the wonderful, stupendous, mellifluous, confrontational, sexy, sensual, tough and sensational Mariposa as MC. In observance of Women's History Month, Mariposa will oversee a night of spoken word goodness from women poets melleSOL, Alba Hernandez, Sheila Maldonado and Sandra Garcia Rivera.

Future performances will be curated by queer poet and performer Emanuel Xavier (April 19) and hip hop poet Oveous Maximus (May 17th).

Now, a minor dust-up has arisen with Mariposa telling the Village Voice “I would not have chosen this as the title of the series; I prefer to think of the empowering acronym by Puerto Rican poet and playwright, Frank Perez. He states that S.P.I.C. stands for Special People of International Character.”

The Voice easily dismisses Mariposa with a few words: "Well, whatever. The point is to showcase urban poets while providing a platform for audience members to let loose on the mic."

Not so much Emanuel Xavier who explains over at his blog:
As a Latino artist, the use of the word 'spic' within my own work is used purposely as a re-appropriation of a derogatory term which has been used throughout the years to demean our people. The use of the word as part of a title for a series of eminent spoken word poetry events, Spic Up! Speak Out!, presented by El Museo Del Barrio pushes past boundaries and is appropriate within the context of this title. Without denying its controversy, when we use it ourselves as artists to establish empowerment for our work and move beyond its oppressive implications, it strengthens our voices within the community and empowers our vision for unity. It is important for us to reclaim this word as artists and continue to provoke and create unabiding dialogue which is in the true spirit of the spoken word poetry movement. I would never lend my name to anything that subjugates my vision as an artist or as an individual. Therefore, these events have my full support.
Emanuel is the author of Pier Queen and Americano, and editor of Bullets & Butterflies: queer spoken word poetry and Mariposas: A Modern Anthology of Queer Latino Poetry.

2 comments:

mellesol said...

Ha! As if Mariposa can be easily dismissed by anyone! The "dust-up" of which you wrote was also not sparked by anything Mariposa might have said. There are people who have sent emails and made phone calls (might have been 100 people, might have been 3 - who knows)tho let the organizer of the event know that they did not appreciate or understand the use of the term for the name of this series. Mariposa and the performers of the March 15th show support the event regardless of individual opinions on the use of the word.

Andrés Duque said...

Thanks melleSOL for clarifying a few things!