Qmmunity: Video by Queer Latinx Artist Xandra Ibarra Pulled From San Antonio Art Exhibit

Plus Ballroom Basics, Greetings From Queer Mountain, and more


Ibarra with her Tapatio Cock (Courtesy of Xandra Ibarra)

I want to talk about strap-ons. Specifically, Oakland, Calif.-based artist Xandra Ibarra's Tapatio Cock, a sculpture the queer Latinx artist wears in her video Spictacle II: La Tortillera. San Antonio's Department of Arts and Culture recently deemed the video "not appropriate" for display in the "XicanX: New Visions" exhibit at the Centro de Artes, a gallery owned and funded by the department. In an email to Qmmunity, department Director Debbie Racca-Sittre said that upon reviewing the video and consulting with the City Attorney's Office before the Feb. 13 exhibit opening, the department notified the curators, collective Dos Mestizx (Suzy González and Michael Menchaca), the video would not be displayed. When I asked why the video was considered inappropriate, Racca-Sittre pointed to the video's "graphic simulation of a sex act." The deed (I'm assuming) is when Ibarra, dressed as her persona La Chica Boom, mimics ejaculating Tapatío from said pepper-sauce pecker. As the El Paso-born artist explains to me, the work is "poking fun at the fear that Mexicans will overpopulate and infect the national body." Lewk, I understand the department has the right to determine what's displayed, and indeed, it's an all-ages venue. (Options like curtains address the latter, however.) What I don't understand is censoring a queer Latinx artist's work in an exhibit that, per Racca-Sittre's statement, has "incredible value to our community and beyond ... especially relating to the inclusion of LGBTQIA+ artists in a field historically comprised of cisgender straight males." Hmm. I can't help but think that this decision, by extension, reinforces the toxic notions that 1) queer sex is obscene, 2) non-normalized sexual acts are obscene, and 3) art challenging such notions is obscene. You can't cherry-pick the provocative. On Feb. 25, the Centro de Artes Committee held a meeting that ended with a collective vote to reinstall the work with a curtain and disclaimer; however, according to Dos Mestizx, the decision will need to be voted on yet again by the city's Arts Commission. "There is no place for homophobic treatment within San Antonio Arts Programming," wrote Dos Mestizx in a press release. "The City's response to Xandra Ibarra's artwork is fundamentally illegitimate, unjust, and deserves reevaluation." (See Dos Mestizx's petition here.)

2 To Do

Ballroom Basics Unbounded has partnered with House of Lepore's mother, Girl6, to teach you the 101s with a ballroom vet. Choose between two sessions (10am-noon; 2-4pm), and sign up quickly! Sat., Feb. 29, 10am-4pm. Museum of Human Achievement, Springdale & Lyons, 262/880-6982. $5-10 sliding scale.

Greetings From Queer Mountain These storytellers – including Q contributor James Scott – are diving into madness: the madness that lies within and without. Tue., March 3, 9-10:30pm. Cheer Up Charlies, 900 Red River. Free.

Q'd Up

RuPaul's Drag Race Viewing Party Another season, another chance for the best queen to win. Fridays, 8pm. Sellers Underground, 213 W. Fourth.

Final Friday Say "buh-bye" to February. Last Fridays, 10pm. Highland Lounge, 404 Colorado.

Refrescos y Reflejo Hosted by Austin Latinx Pride. Sat., Feb. 29, 1-3pm. Epoch Coffee, 2700 Anderson.

Bitchcraft A thoroughly queer sensory experience. Sat., Feb. 29, 11pm. Unit 108, 720 Bastrop Hwy. $10.

Spill the Tea With the Beckies, obvi. Sun., March 1, 1-4pm. Fluff Meringues, 4800 Burnet Rd.

Burger Sunday With yer local LGBTQIA volleyball league. Sun., March 1, 3-8pm. Oilcan's, 211 W. Fourth.

The DWNLD Mondays never looked so fine. First Mondays, 6:30-9pm. Butterfly Bar at the Vortex, 2307 Manor Rd.

Workout! With Erica Nix Make exercise fun again. Tuesdays, 6:30pm. Myo Massage, 4616 Triangle Ave. #407.

Fragile Rock, Pelvis Wrestley, Stretch Panic Rawk out on a Tuez. Tue., March 3, 9pm. Cheer Up Charlies, 900 Red River. Free.

Queer Film Theory 101 Celebrate the queer eye. Wed., March 4, 8-10pm. Barrel O' Fun, 1911 Aldrich Ste. 120-B.

Want more queer? Visit austinchronicle.com/qmmunity

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Austin LGBTQIA, Xandra Ibarra, San Antonio Department of Arts and Culture, La Chica Boom, Centro de Artes, Debbie Racca-Sittre, Dos Mestizx, Suzy González, Michael Menchaca

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