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3 The Other Train That Derails Us: Performing Latina Anxiety Disorder in “The Night before Christmas”

Aldama, Arturo J. ePub

ANGIE CHABRAM-DERNERSESIAN

Anxiety is an activation of our senses and our physical readiness so we can assess our surroundings or look for dangers—and so we can be more ready to run or fight. Like the flashing red lights and crossing guards that come down over a railroad track when the train—still miles away—goes over a switch.

DR. J., “ANXIETY, PRACTICALLY SPEAKING

After a hard day’s work, Doña Elena sits down to watch her favorite telenovela, armed with a piping hot cup of café con leche (coffee with milk) and her favorite pan dulce (pastry). She has much company in this much-awaited daily ritual, according to transnational studies of Spanish media culture (see, e.g., LaPastina n.d.).1 Across Latina/o America, viewers of Spanish-language television—men, women, and children alike—join her in savoring yet another installment of this hugely popular televisual genre.

In this particular instance, not long after a reprise of the previous day’s melodramatic plot line, Doña Elena’s television ritual is rudely interrupted by a program change. In a programmed announcement, Doña Elena and her fellow viewers are met head-on with the image of a larger-than-life train that threatens to barrel out of control, lunging out of the small screen and engulfing their bodies, spirits, and home spaces. The burning light of the train offers no escape from televisual darkness or human entrapment. Viewers are thus caught unawares, somehow right in front of the path of the monumental, horrific train, provoking a primal urge to flee or seek protection—what therapists call the “flight syndrome.”2

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9 Roland Barthes, Mojado, in Brownface: Chisme-laced Snapshots Documenting the Preposterous and Factlaced Claim That the Postmodern Was Born along the Borders of the Río Grande River William Anthony Nericcio

Aldama, Arturo J. ePub

WILLIAM ANTHONY NERICCIO

The editors have asked that I add a prolegomena to the forehead or face of this essay, and I am happy to do so. Way back in the day (old skool grad school days, when this son of la frontera was kidnapped by the Ivy League and whisked away to freeze his nalgas off in Ithaca, New York), I was a big fan of Roland Barthes—I thrilled to the jouissance of the pleasures of the text, read and reread the dispatches in Mythologies, etc. etc. Long story short, I escaped the wicked pirates of Cornell, got a job at the University of Connecticut, jumped ship to Califas and SDSU and, my first year there (1991, shh shh!) I wrote an in-house grant proposal and was awarded five hundred smackeroos to purchase my first 35 mm camera. The rest, as they say, is history. What follows are the theorylaced meditations of a Chicano on crack Kodak, a Mexicameran-American (that’s me in the center there to the right of Edward James Olmos; Barthes’s there to the right of me, or at least his photoshopped ghost is); I am utterly responsible for the contents of this rasquache semiotic whatsit and beg you reward the editors of this collection for allowing it to appear in these pages.

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7 Performing Indigeneity in a South Texas Community: Los Matachines de la Santa Cruz Norma E. Cantú

Aldama, Arturo J. ePub

NORMA E. CANTÚ

It’s a brisk morning in early March 2009 in San Antonio, Texas, and the annual women’s march celebrating International Women’s Day is about to begin. We will march past the Alamo, past San Fernando Cathedral, past the hotels and businesses with early morning tourists and local patrons. The march will go from Travis Park to Milam Park—Anglo names for spaces that in the old days were called “plazas.” A young girl no older than twelve, dressed in a long brown cotton skirt and a red blouse with a red headband across her forehead, holds an eagle feather. She will do a water blessing before the march begins. Her father, who also has a red headband and is wearing a white cotton shirt and pants, beats a flat drum solemnly. The crowd of a couple of hundred people hushes solemnly and listens to her soft song. She dips the feather in water and sprinkles the ground. Some of us face the four directions as she sings her blessing prayer in a language we don’t understand. Could it be Coahuiltecan? That was how Fabiola, one of the organizers, introduced her—as a member of the Coahuiltecan nation. But pretty much all vestiges of the many dialects of that language that were spoken in South Texas for centuries are gone. Erased. Only scraps survive, mostly in old prayer books; the Christian prayers used to indoctrinate the native people paradoxically remain as testaments of the old language. As a child, I went to “la doctrina” to learn the Catholic prayers—in Spanish, of course. But I also went to see the matachines dance to the beat of the drum. In this chapter, I focus on the latter, the folk religious dance tradition of los matachines, as I interrogate the indigenous identity we as Chican@s identify and disidentify with in the particular area of South Texas.

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Introduction Toward a De-Colonial Performatics of the US Latina and Latino Borderlands

Aldama, Arturo J. ePub

CHELA SANDOVAL, ARTURO J. ALDAMA, AND PETER J. GARCÍA

Latinas and Latinos represent the largest and fastest-growing ethnic community in the United States after “non-Hispanic” Whites (14 percent of the US population, approximately 55 million people in 2010).1 Yet the cultural impact of US Latina and Latino aesthetic production has yet to be fully recognized within the US nation-state and beyond. This book moves beyond the by now de-politicized and all-too-familiar cultural theory of the twentieth century and beyond so-called “radicalized” examples of aesthetic production to unravel how culture is performance. Moreover, the following chapters travel beyond the linguistic surfaces and aesthetic limitations of “Latina and Latino” cultural production to reveal the less familiar and unexplored performance terrains of the “Borderlands.” Indeed, Performing the US Latina and Latino Borderlands is a book that challenges readers to engage those profound intercultural, psychic, social, and transnational effects that are being generated through US Latina and Latino testimonio, theater, ceremony, ritual, storytelling, music, dance, improvisation, play, nagualisma-o, call-and-response, spoken-word, visual, body, digital, and sculptural enactments. Each contributing author introduces readers to performance topics, performing artists, and performative enactments that comprise the field of Borderlands Performance Studies. This field is identifiable through its commitment to an alter-Native cultural engineering, the technologies of which we editors identify as “de-colonizing performatics,” and the mestizaje, the hybridity, the bricolage, the rasquache interventions organized around de-colonization that we call “perform-antics.” Join us then as we set the academic stage where complex scholarly engagements are linked with the entertaining, enlightening, and emancipatory aesthetics of Borderlands Performance Studies.2

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12 Sonic Geographies and Anti-Border Musics: “We Didn’t Cross the Border, the Borders Crossed Us”

Aldama, Arturo J. ePub

ROBERTO D. HERNÁNDEZ

What must be done is to restore this dream to its proper time . . . and to its proper place . . .

FRANTZ FANON (1967)

Strong whirling sounds grow louder and louder. The surrounding brush sways violently and is nearly uprooted. A helicopter hovering overhead nears, and you hear the desperate words, “Levántate compadre / ¿Que pasa? / ¿Oyes ese zumbido? / Si, compadre . . . es el helicóptero . . . / Métete debajo de esos matorrales . . . de volada, apúrate. / Híjole, se me hace que ya me agarraron / Eso es lo de menos compadre, se me hace que ya nos llevo, la que nos trajo compadre.”

(Get up compadre / What’s happening? / Do you hear that noise? / Yes, compadre . . . it’s the helicopter . . . / Get under those bushes . . . quickly, hurry up. / Oh shit, I think they got me . . . / that is the least of it, compadre . . . I think the one that’s taking us . . . is the one that brought us here, compadre.)1

The above exchange opens Tijuana NO’s 1998 hit song “La Migra,” whose land and soundscape bears an eerie resemblance to the terrain near my childhood home, where corrugated steel extends into the Pacific Ocean, creating a rhythmic rumbling sound as wave after wave crashes up against the U-S///México border2 wall in the area once known as Friendship Park.3

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