On October 24th, 1871, 20 Chinese men were tortured and hanged in downtown LA. This mass lynching—one of the largest in U.S. history—took place on Calle de los Negros, named for its original inhabitants: dark-skinned Californios of indigenous, African, and Spanish blood. This coincidence of space insists: the American story, of migration and displacement, is a palimpsest—a parchment written on, erased, then written on again, the traces of the old words ghosting underneath the new.
Part lecture, part performance, part artist talk, Virginia Grise will speak about moving bodies, porous borders and her upcoming performance project “rasgos asiaticos” in Houston next spring, which aims to re-imagine how we think about immigration in the US-Mexico borderlands. The project will be developed in conversation with local artists and University of Houston students (organized by Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts) and presented in April 2020 by DiverseWorks.
Virginia Grise (b. 1976, USA) is a recipient of the Whiting Writers’ Award, the Yale Drama Award, the Princess Grace Award in Theatre Directing, among other awards. Her published works include “Your Healing is Killing Me” (Plays Inverse Press), “blu” (Yale University Press), and “The Panza Monologues” co-written with Irma Mayorga (University of Texas Press). Her work has been performed at Bihl Haus Arts, Company of Angels, Highways Performance Space, REDCAT, and Yale Repertory Theatre, among others. Grise has taught writing for performance at universities, public schools, community centers, women’s prisons, and the juvenile detention system. She holds an MFA in Writing for Performance from the CalArts and a BA in History and Spanish from the University of Texas at Austin. She currently lives in Austin, TX.
“These Are My Papers: A Performance Talk by Virginia Grise” is presented by DiverseWorks, in collaboration with Blaffer Art Museum and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts at the University of Houston.
“rasgos asiaticos” is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation Fund Project co-commissioned by DiverseWorks in partnership with MECA, Houston; CalArts Center for New Performance, Valencia; Performance in the Borderlands, Phoenix; Fulcrum Theater, New York and NPN. The Creation Fund is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency). “rasgos asiaticos” also received generous support for development by the MAP Fund, Soho Rep Theater’s Writer/Director Lab, and Pregones Theater’s Asuncion Award for Queer Playwrighting.
Image: Archival family photograph (left); Virginia Grise, Photo: Netza Moreno (right).