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Performance in the Borderlands: 2015-2016

Spring 2016

2016 Black ARTS Matter

Creator: Dr. Nia Witherspoon
Producer: Performance in the Borderlands
Sponsored by: Theatre & Performance of the Americas, Performance in the Borderlands, School of Film, Dance and Theatre

Sunday, Feb. 21, 2 – 3:30 p.m.
Title: Writing Workshop for Film and Television
Location: Burton Barr Library
Facilitated by: Cassandra Nicholson

Tuesday, Feb. 23, 7 – 9 p.m.
Title: Pre-show - Black Arts Movement Sharing and Readings
Public invitation to share (open mic style) the works of seminal authors from the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s - 1970s.
Lead by: BlackPoet Ventures
Location: TBA

Weds, Feb. 24, 6 – 9 p.m.
AZ ArtWorker Theatre Workshop with Asantewa Sunni-Ali
Title: Solo Performance: Pathways to Radical Self and Community Reimagination
Location: Black Theatre Troupe Opening
Presentation: Fatimah Hallim "Art in prisons"
Sponsor: Arizona Commission on the Arts, Black Theatre Troupe

Thursday, Feb. 25, 6 – 8 p.m.
Title: Local Black Arts
Panel Black artistic leaders talk about their work in Arizona in theatre, visual art and film.
Lead by: Mujeres del Sol
Location: TBA

Friday, Feb. 26, 7 – 8 p.m.
Keynote: Tia Oso
The importance of arts to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Location: Mesa Arts Center, Dobson Theatre
Collaboration: MAC Free

Friday, Feb. 26, 8 – 9 p.m.
Title: Spoken Worlds Series, Featuring Dahlak Brathwaite
Hip-hop and spoken words performance about the experience of young Black men in America.
Location/Collaboration: Mesa Arts Center

Saturday, Feb. 27, 1 – 3 p.m.
Title: "dat Black Mermaid Man Lady"

Stage reading & performance by Sharon Bridgforth & Sonja Perryman
Location: ASU Tempe Campus, Directing Studio

Saturday, Feb. 27, 7 p.m.
The America Play & Talk Back
All guests and participants invited to watch The America Play
Location: ASU Tempe Campus, Directing Studio

Sunday, Feb. 28, 4 – 6 p.m.
Title: BlackARTSMatter post-show panel
Guests speak on the importance of Black ARTS in the service of social movements and creating new paradigms for social and political thought.
Location: ASU Tempe Campus, Directing Studio


BlackARTSMatter, in conjunction with the opening Suzan-Lori Parks' "The America Play" aims to assert the power of the arts in movements toward justice as black folks. The engagements will offer a series of panels, public talks, workshops, and play readings centered on Black experiences and the importance of Black epistemologies and aesthetics. The event will gather artists, activists and thinkers, poised to facilitate dialogue between students, faculty, and the community themed around 1) mobilizing theatre communities around Black Lives Matter; and 2) interrogating the potential of theatre's unique contributions to the Black Lives Matter movement. It will consist of a series of staged readings, performances, speakers, workshops, and panels to be shaped in collaboration with each contributor around the above themes. We are inviting an array of black artists, activists, and thinkers to come together for this convening to both present their work and strategize new ways of thinking about art’s integral role in the Black Lives Matter movement. Collaboration with: Mesa Arts Center, Arizona Commission on the Arts, Black Theatre Troupe, South Mountain Community College


Fall 2015

September 2015
Conjunto Blues - Nicolas Valdez 
Conjunto Blues is the newest performance by SanAnto’s own cultural activist, Nicolas Valdez. By threading together performance poetry, live music and documentary footage, Conjunto Blues explores the historical and social conditions that led to the development of Conjunto music as an expression of cultural resistance and liberation. “We are all the products of great migrations,” proclaims Valdez. Conjunto Blues follows the migration of the diatonic button accordion, first introduced to Texas by German settlers and appropriated by Xicano communities along the US/Mexico border that, combined with the 12-stringed bajo sexto, has become the heart and soul of Conjunto music. According to Juan Tejeda, founder of the Tejano Conjunto Festival in San Antonio, Conjunto music is “an original American ensemble” that tells the story of the Mexican American working class. Conjunto Blues also pays homage to his abuelito Ramon, whose enthusiasm and love for Conjunto music first led him to the accordion. By age 9, Valdez was learning from the legendary Valerio Longoria, Master Accordion Instructor at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center’s Xicano Music Program, the first of its kind in the United States and founded by Tejeda. 

October 2015 | PHX / Douglas, AZ 

From October 5 – October 16, ASU Performance in the Borderlands will host artist Ana Teresa Fernandez for a statewide residency. The broad aim of the residency is to introduce communities across the state to Ana’s work, themes, and contributions to border arts and politics. The bilingual residency includes public talks, a public art project, community workshops, community dialogues, artist visits, and professional development training. The residency will culminate in a public painting/erasing of the border between MEX/US as Ana reproduces her most famous work, Borrando la Frontera. The interest and investment for this residency is twofold: 1) to build statewide partnerships with organizations and institutions to increase the accessibility of ASU Performance in the Borderlands' work to multiple publics; and, 2) to engage and build on the themes of feminism, border politics and arts production present in Ana’s work. Key to the success of the residency is the central role that partners play in developing both the content and community engagements. Ana Teresa Fernandez was born and raised in Tampico, Mexico. She received her MFA in 2006 from the San Francisco Art Institute. Through painting, performance, and video, Fernandez enacts and participates in the politics of intersectionality, as it shapes the personal identity, the political rhetoric and culture, and the everyday tasks of ordinary people. Her work illuminates the barriers, both psychological and physical, that confine and divide gender, race, and class in western society and the global south.

November 11-15, 2015
Guillermo Gomez Pena and Pocha Nostra Residency and workshop 
Raised in Mexico City, Gómez-Peña came to the US in 1978. His work, which includes performance art, video, audio, installations, poetry, journalism, and cultural theory, explores cross-cultural issues, immigration, the politics of language, "extreme culture" and new technologies in the era of globalization. A MacArthur fellow, he is a regular contributor to the national radio news magazine All Things Considered (National Public Radio), a writer for newspapers and magazines in the U.S. and Mexico, and a contributing editor to The Drama Review (MIT). For twenty years, Gómez-Peña has been exploring intercultural issues with the use of mixed genres and experimental languages. Continually developing multi-centric narratives and large-scale performance projects from a border perspective, Gómez-Peña creates what critics have termed "Chicano cyber-punk performances," and "ethno-techno art." In his work, cultural borders have moved to the center while the alleged mainstream is pushed to the margins and treated as exotic and unfamiliar, placing the audience members in the position of "foreigners" or "minorities." He mixes English and Spanish, fact and fiction, social reality and pop culture, Chicano humor and activist politics to create a "total experience" for the viewer/reader/audience member. These strategies can be found in his live performance work, his radio chronicles, his award-winning video art pieces, and his five published books. Through his organization La Pocha Nostra, Gómez-Peña has focused very intensely in the notion of collaboration across national borders, race, gender and generation as an act of citizen diplomacy and as a means to create “ephemeral communities.” 


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Mary Stephens
Program Director