Sunday, November 20, 2016

graduate school 11-20-16

To write and read and grade and "budget", while my gay rights are under threat, while my undocu-queer lovers are in danger, while my career may be destroyed, seems so ridiculous, and I am beyond frustrated.
Every time I read another headline about Trump's moves to settle fraud cases, or pick another cabinet member, I wonder how much longer it will be until I am without rights, unions, work, money, homes, loans, or a career. I wonder, even more than before, if my dream of becoming a Professor of Dance is even possible--not only for the lack of employment, but because in the future, Dance may not even be a field. I doubt it, but it is a scary thought as de-funding of the arts is even more possible.
Beyond all of this are my limits. Or, I should say, deep inside myself, away from the politics of the country, is my energy that is constantly near depletion. Between conferences, meetings, classes, teaching, grading, lecturing, writing papers, reading, collaborating, planning, is this very sad thing, of which I am unsure I can afford living as a graduate student. I am following all the tricks and and strategies of my peers, following "the hustle", and for now I am okay--but I am for sure living like an outlaw, juggling legality. I am for sure wondering how long I can keep this up, or what will happen this next coming summer. Without a "home" to really return to, I am constantly scared that if I fail, I will be lost in the streets of the Inland Empire.
Now, I know, yes, there are plenty of peers that will help me out. I will most likely not be forced to live in the stacks of the Rivera Library, but how does that feel? To live in the care of peers because you have nothing else? I do not know, and I do not want to find out.
It is with these thoughts that I look to the strength of my undocu-queer friends and peers. They are the ones taking huge chances towards their survival and education, against deportation. Without sometimes an ability to work, get loans, or get scholarships, how do they make that hustle work? I never really know, but I am grateful when they let me in on their secret lives.
I miss my full time job with benefits. I miss my 3 part times jobs with benefits. I miss making art and never sleeping. And I miss my dad helping me out, and calling me to check up on me. I miss all of those things, and I feel very alone.
In the desert of it all, in the small budget of the winter, I wonder if I will be able to pay back all of my bills, and still get a fucking stupid card for my friends...but I am not sure I will be able to.....
...we shall see...

Saturday, November 12, 2016



Dear Dante, what is realness?

You wanna talk about realness? Let's talk about realness! 

Realness, as a term, comes from the Ballroom Scene, and so I must start there. However, I am not going to use Peggy Phelan's (realness as "just" passing) or Judith Butler's (realness as something that cannot be read) ideas of realness, I am going to use the Ballroom's idea...which is living your truth. 

Now to say that there is a singular truth is to think inside of a western construct of individuality. Instead, I pose to use the perspective of the Black Radical Tradition (from Cedric Robinson), which says we are many, and we share with each other many ideas. We are not individuals, but many individuals in our collective accumulation of experiences. This allows us to know that there are many truths, many realness that we can explore, dance, and become.

To look at realness as an academic-ethnographer, the Ballroom Scene provides us evidence that there is no such thing as "real" or "authentic". Thus, if valuations and qualifications can be simulated, then there is no differentiation between the "real identity" and the "mask/veneer/facade". What this reveals, is that there is a "real identity of the other, known inside ourselves, as ourselves" -- then, realness is the praxis of excavation of those identity performances and dances, and presenting it, performing it, in originality and fierceness.    

I hope that clears some things up.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

CORD+SDHS Conference Paper

To Learn the Kids:
Dipping into the Genealogy of Voguing’s Pedagogies


Voguing, a primarily improvisational form, requires the dancer to perform in kinesthetic discourse with a Master of Ceremonies (MC) and the surrounding audience at the Ball. Participatory in nature, all people present to voguing (in the Ball) have actions to do in anticipation or reaction to the dancer’s improvisation. This paper investigates how new codifications of voguing techniques are born or regulated, as voguing leaves that Ball space, and is abstracted from its forming community. As non-ball participants learn to dance and teach voguing, fears of an inauthentic practice percolates up for the traditionally Black and Latino queer and transgender dancer-practitioners. The “5 Elements of Voguing”, which mandates a dancer show their skills, at minimum, in doing “Hand Performance, Duckwalk, Catwalk, Spins, and Dips”, provides a code of technique that enacts a level of protection for voguing from its dilution. This required display maintains some sort grounding and control of the combined techniques for improvisation, or new choreographies, that form voguing. This paper finds that though older legendary dancers of voguing teach the children (novice dancers) how to vogue, in turn, the children are the creative force who expand voguing by 1) creating new sub-categories (version of voguing), or by 2) modifying the previous technique formats. If authentic voguing is tied to a technique, which is constantly in evolution, then we must look to the genealogy voguers as a living authenticity. As new generations of queer Black and Latino youth and non-ball dancers vogue, there are new techniques of voguing born.