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Commune with Culture

Dan Guerrero

Photo Credit: Zeke Ruelas

October 05, 2006

TEMPE, Ariz. – This fall, the arts and cultures of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands region can be explored through ASU’s Performance in the Borderlands Project events – everything from Gaytino!, a riveting autobiographical play to Movimientos!, a children’s reading and movement program. The events, workshops, lectures and discussions with artists, critics and scholars run Oct. 30-Dec. 19, and are presented by the ASU Herberger College of Fine Arts School of Theatre and Film. Several events are part of Smithsonian magazine’sCulturefest.

“This season brings one of the most significant recent Latino performance projects to our stages as Danny Guerrero presents his critically acclaimed Gaytino! in a one night Phoenix premier event,” says Ramon Rivera-Servera, assistant professor of Theatre in the Herberger College of Fine Arts and Southwest Borderlands scholar.

In addition to the special November performance by Guerrero, the Performance in the Borderlands Project also partners with Smithsonian magazine for its Culturefest celebration, Nov. 2-5.

“These special events held throughout the greater Phoenix area, offer cultural and artistic programming that showcases the wealth of the imagination across the U.S.-Mexico border,” Rivera-Servera says. 

Everyone interested in exploring topics related to the performing arts can come together at Performance in the Borderlands Project events to better enrich their knowledge about the people who live in and define the borderlands region. 

“The Performance in the Borderlands Project continues to strike a balance between engaging the many performance traditions of the American Southwest and charting the future of our culture through provocative and passionate exploration of the past, present and future of the arts in our region,” Rivera-Servera says.   

The Performance in the Borderlands Project is a research, education and public programming initiative dedicated to the understanding and promotion of cultural performance along the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands. In working to understand the diversity of cultures and artistic traditions in the region, this initiative examines a broad range of performance techniques including theatre, dance, musical practice, ritual, celebrations, and social and folkloric dance.

For more information on the series, contact assistant professor of Theatre, Ramon Rivera-Servera, (480) 965-0157.

Following is the fall 2006 Performance in the Borderlands Project calendar of events.  All events are free unless otherwise noted.

Lunchtime Lecture Series
This series of lectures focuses on various topics in relation to Performance in the Borderlands. Patrons are welcome to bring a lunch during the various lectures.

  • Oct. 30, noon-1:30 p.m.
    The Black Body Stands, Still: Stillness within J.T. Zealy's Daguerreotypes 
    ASU Memorial Union, MU 215 
    ASU Tempe Campus
    A public lecture by Dr. Harvey Young from Northwestern University re-thinking the Black Diaspora in terms of stillness and immobility through a close analysis of J.T. Zealy's 1850 photographs.

  • Nov. 7, noon-1:30 p.m.
    Contemporary Children’s Theatre in Mexico

    ASU Fine Arts Building B029, ASU Tempe Campus
    A survey of contemporary theatre for youth practices in Mexico by Marco Novelo from Teatro Imaginarte in Mexico City.

  • Nov. 14, noon-1:30 p.m.
    Performing Mestizaje, The Native Body and the Borderlands 
    ASU Memorial Union, Room 219, ASU Tempe Campus
    Dr. Alicia Arrizon from the University of California at Riverside presents a provocative lecture on the traditions of representation of native bodies in the racial mythologies of Performance in the Borderlands.

Smithsonian Culturefest
Throughout Phoenix and Scottsdale
Performance in the Borderlands has various events in conjunction with Culturefest 2006, which runs Nov. 2-5. Smithsonian Culturefest pairs the Smithsonian Institution’s most interesting experts with local standouts to highlight the true cultural treasures of Arizona. For more information on Culturefest, visit or call (800) 774-5020.

  • Nov. 2, 10:30 a.m.-noon
    Movimientos! Dancing Into Reading

    Burton Barr Central Library, Children's Story Room, 1221 North Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85504
    Movimientos! is a reading and movement program for children ages 4-8 featuring Herberger College of Fine Arts faculty Ramon Rivera-Servera and Joel Valentin-Martinez. The project combines a public reading program of an illustrated book (selected in conversation with the booking library or venue), which relates to the natural and cultural wealth and diversity of the Southwest Borderlands region of the United States with an engaging creative movement activity to develop a fun and engaging 90 minutes of educational entertainment.

  • Nov. 3, noon -1 p.m.
    Craftsman’s Theatre: Tourism, Craft Markets and Indigenous Cultures in Oaxaca, Mexico

    ASU Art Museum
    This lecture looks at the contemporary indigenous crafts industry in Oaxaca in relation to international tourism. The presentation is arranged as a tour through the homes and studios of some of the most interesting and important Oaxacan artists working today.

  • Nov. 3, 8 – 9 p.m. 
    Contemporary Imaginings of the U.S.-Mexico Border

    Bentley Projects, 215 East Grant Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004
    This lecture looks at contemporary renditions of the U.S.-Mexico border region by an international roster of artists. Looking through the visual repertoire of these artists, Ramon H. Rivera-Servera proposes the arts as a significant venue for imagining the futures of U.S.-Mexico relations and to allow for the more complex philosophical engagement with the question of national boundaries in a region so historically porous and interrelated.

  • Nov. 4, 2 – 3 p.m. 
    Contemporary Imaginings of the Borderlands

    Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street, Stage 2 Theater, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
    This lecture looks at contemporary renditions of the U.S.-Mexico border region by an international roster of artists. This journey carries the audience through the imagination of some of the most creative and thought-provoking artists working in Mexico and the United States today. Also at SMoCA you will be able to see the exhibit, “The Border Film Project:  El proyecto fronterizo,” which evolved from a series of collaborations that focus on life on the Arizona/Mexican border.

Nov. 4, 7:30 p.m.

ASU Galvin Playhouse, ASU Tempe Campus
Tickets: $7 
Mariachi to Merman. Sondheim to Cesar Chavez.  Show tunes and canciones en Español. A remarkable life journey from East L.A. in the 50s, to New York’s Great White Way in the 60s and 70s and back to Hollywood, moving from the back of the bus to the front of American pop culture. A father/son relationship and a treasured boyhood friendship drive this 75-minute autobiographical play through decades of Chicano history and the gay experience from a unique and personal perspective. Touching, hilarious and absolutely one-of-a-kind, Dan Guerrero finally brings his two fascinating worlds together in a riveting solo show.

Dec. 19, 7 p.m.
The Phoenix Pastorela

ASU Galvin Playhouse, ASU Tempe Campus
Tickets: $25, call 602-242-4481
The Mexican Consulate General in Phoenix and the Performance in the Borderlands Project invite you to the third annual performance of the Phoenix Pastorela by Borderland’s Theatre. A funny and playful interpretation of the Mexican Shepherd’s play imbued with the end-of year review of life in Arizona.

The Performance in the Borderlands Project is sponsored by the Herberger College of Fine Arts and its School of Theatre and Film, the Office of the President, the City of Tempe, and the Mexican Consulate General in Phoenix. 

Arte Es Amor is a joint program of ASU and Tempe’s Mill Avenue District partners, including the City of Tempe, the Tempe Convention & Visitors Bureau and Downtown Tempe Community, Inc.  It is sponsored by Southwest Airlines.

The Herberger College School of Theatre and Film provides a comprehensive range of courses in performance and directing; design and production; new work development; theatre and performance studies; film; and theatre for youth. Its Theatre for Youth program is nationally ranked in the top three and the creative writing/playwriting program is ranked 15th among public institutions by ?U.S.News & World Report.? Learn more about the School of Theatre and Film at: