No Virgins Lie Here: Butchlalis Rock the House with Panty Splash Hour
The gender-bending, genre-melding performance art of the Butchlalis de Panochtitlan is hard to define, but it's fun and very funny to watch. This foursome of queer butch Latinas uses video and sketch-driven performances to explore sex, sexuality, race, romance, community, identity and growing up brown and butch in greater L.A.
If that description makes you cringe because (like me) you've sat through a few too many evenings of performance art that's so pretentious and boring you’ve considered chewing off your own limbs to escape, the BdP is the exuberant antidote. "We're trying to create characters that speak to our different experiences as brown butches. We try to see ourselves in a way that's true and funny and relevant and experimental and not preachy," says Raquel Gutierrez, one of the ensemble's co-founders.
On Saturday night the Butchlalis will be rocking a show they've dubbed The Panty Splash Hour as part of the Aqui No Hay Virgenes exhibit that showcases the work of queer Latina artists. The event is (I think) loosely affiliated with WACK!, the retrospective of feminist art that's on view at MOCA until July 16.
Gutierrez, who serves as the assistant director of the Center for Feminist Research at USC, says that when she was approached about organizing Aqui No Hay Virgenes she knew exactly what she didn’t want: anything that had virgins or goddesses, hence the show's title. "I didn’t want to operate under a strict rubric of identity. And I didn't want to do the typical Latina identity show… I wanted to feature people whose work speaks to a certain kind of visual radicality when it comes to Latinas. I don't want to say [the show] is half gay and half straight. I just want to say that it's artists who are willing to do anything."
Despite what may seem like a fierce exterior, the BdP foster an inclusive vibe. "People ask us, 'Who's your audience?' And we're like, 'Who have you got?' The show isn't just for people of color," says Gutierrez. "This show is for anyone who's willing to come to the table and eat with us.