Guillermo Gómez-Peña’s most recent solo performance, “El Mexorcist 2: America’s Most Wanted Inner Demon,” navigates the contested terrain known as the US/Mexican border. By telling a story of realities; he acts as a warrior in transnational identity and immigration issues. As El Mexorcist, Gómez-Peña assaults the construction of the US/Mexican border that is lined with Minute Men, rising nativism, three-ply fences, globalization, and transnational identities.
To this effect, the artist uses acid Chicano humor, hybrid literary genres, multilingualism, and post-colonial theory as subversive strategies. Shifting between languages, this "border artist extraordinaire," morphs through a series of characters as he bombards audiences with his infamous, border savvy techno-ideology and radical aesthetics. In this journey to the geographical and psychological outposts of Chicanismo, Gómez-Peña also reflects on identity, pop culture, mass media, politics and the impact of new technologies in the new millennium.
Gómez-Peña resides in San Francisco where he is artistic director of La Pocha Nostra. Born in 1955 and raised in Mexico City, he came to the US in 1978. Internationally acclaimed, brujo-poeta, theorist, MacArthur Fellow "El Mad Mex" continues to develop multi-centric narratives from a border perspective and creates what critics have termed "Chicano cyber-punk performances." During these performances cultural borders move 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."
Gómez-Peña has spent years developing his unique style of performance-activism, his “theatricalizations of postcolonial theory.” In his most recent book, Ethno-Techno: Writings on Performance, Activism and Pedagogy as in his new solo shows, he pushes the boundaries still further, exploring what’s left for artists to do in a post-9/11 repressive culture of censorship and what he calls “the mainstream bizarre.” Performances of “extreme identity” are familiar to us all through the medium of television (just switch on any reality TV program): Gómez-Peña examines where this leaves the critical practice of artists who aim to make tactical, performative interventions into our notions of race, culture and sexuality.
Gómez-Peña has received the Prix de la Parole at the International Theatre Festival of the Americas (1989), the Bessie Award in New York (1989), a MacArthur Fellowship (1991), an American Book Award (1997) and a Lifetime Achievement Award (Taos Talking Pictures Film Festival, 2000). He has been a regular commentator for NPR’s All Things Considered and Latino USA and has authored eight successful books on performance, border culture and activism.
“El Mexorcist 2 – America’s Most Wanted Inner Demon” will be performed at 8 pm on Thursday, October 16th. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students, seniors and NHCC members. Tickets can be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets, www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 505.883.7800. Tickets can also be purchased in person at the NHCC Box Office Tuesday – Friday 10 am – 5 pm or Saturday 12 pm – 5 pm or 1 hour prior to show time. For a complete listing of NHCC programs and activities call (505) 246-2261 or visit www.nhccnm.org. The NHCC is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Hispanic arts and culture at the state, national and international levels and is a Division of the Department of Cultural Affairs.