A collaboration between Rafa Esparza and Virginia Grise commissioned for Luminaria San Antonio, and inspired by the writings of Joe Jiménez, flesh and bone, and from the Earth’s body: how do you pull your own sadness up from the ground? is an intimate site specific performance ritual inspired by Jiménez’s The Presence of Absence and Kites. It was performed October 23rd through to October 24th.
Esparza was born, raised, and is currently living in Los Angeles. Esparza is a multidisciplinary artist. His work ranges in medium from installation, sculpture to drawing, painting; and predominantly live performance. Woven into Esparza’s bodies of work are his interests in history, personal narrative, and kinship. He is inspired by his own relationship to colonization and the disrupted genealogies that come forth as a result of. Esparza is persistent in staging situations where he attempts to experience a time and space inaccessible to him. Using live performance as his main form of inquiry; site specificity, materiality, memory and (non)documentation are primary tools in interrogating, critiquing and examining ideologies, power structures and binaries that problematize the “survival” process of historicized narratives and the present environments wherein people are left to navigate and socialize.
Esparza has performed in a variety of spaces ranging from community engaged places such as AIDS Project Los Angeles, to galleries and museums including The Vincent Price Art Museum, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Highways Performance Space, REDCAT, Human Resources, SOMArts and most recently public sites through out the city of L.A. He is a recipient of an Emerging Artist 2014 California Community Foundation Fellowship for Visual Artists, a 2014 Art Matters grantee, and a 2015 recipient of a Rema Hort Mann Foundation Emerging Artist Grant.
From panzas to prisons, from street theatre to large-scale multimedia performances, from princess to chafa – Virginia Grise writes plays that are set in bars without windows, barrio rooftops, and lesbian bedrooms. Her play blu was the winner of the 2010 Yale Drama Series Award and was recently published by Yale University Press. Her other published work includes The Panza Monologues co-written with Irma Mayorga (University of Texas Press) and an edited volume of Zapatista communiqués titled Conversations with Don Durito (Autonomedia Press).
Virginia is a recipient of the Whiting Writers' Award, the Princess Grace Award in Theatre Directing, the Playwrights’ Center’s Jerome Fellowship, the Loft Literary Center’s Spoken Word Fellowship, Pregones Theatre’s Asuncion Award for Queer Playwriting, and is a Time Warner Fellow Alum at the Women's Project Theatre Lab. She has taught writing for performance at the university level, as a public school teacher, in community centers, women’s prisons and in the juvenile correction system. She holds an MFA in Writing for Performance from the California Institute of the Arts and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York - where she still writes plays about Tejas.
Joe Jiménez is the author of The Possibilities of Mud (Kórima 2014) and Brightest Noise (Arte Público 2016). Jiménez was the recipient of the 2012 Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Prize and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles. The short film “El Abuelo,” directed by Dino Dinco, based on Jimenez’s poem, has been screened in Belgium, the Netherlands, Mexico, Argentina, Ireland, and the US. He lives in San Antonio and is a member of the Macondo Workshops. His recent poems can be found in Fourth River, Southern Humanities Review, Codex, and Borderlands Texas Poetry Review.