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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Gay Latino youth coming of age poetically...

Last night I had the pleasure to attend the first performance of the Maricolectiva at the East Las Vegas Cultural Center. The artistic collective is made up of three gay Latino poets - Emmanuelle J. Leal-Santillan, Yosimar Reyes and a fixture of the Las Vegas Gay Latino movement Xuanito Espinoza-Cuellar. In addition there were drag performances by Candy, Brissa and Zaragoza Goy Rabago Villarreal.

The performances and dialogs of poetry reflected contemporary themes affecting gay Latino youth in the United States. Though being able to speak both Spanish and English would have been highly recommended for those in the audience, the show was a smattering of poetry readings, dialogs and drag performances. Each of the performers felt extremely comfortable on stage with their dialogue, which were comedic at times while bringing up important subject matters that affect many in the LGBT and Latino Communities.

Each of the performers had their unique strengths but one stood out and that was the dialog of Xuanito Espinoza-Cuellar. I will tell you this, Xuanitos command of the Spanish and English languages was stunning. His performances were stellar and one that left me hungry for much more. Besides being an activist on issues affecting the LGBT community he is a fervent supporter of immigrant rights that take him beyond one issue but multiple complex issues that directly affect his life and his poetry. The tone of his dialogues, filled with Spanish nuances and double entendre was amazing. In addition, the fact that this was coming from someone of such a young age only demonstrates to me that he is poised to take on the world by storm, whether it is a life as a comedian or political activist or both perhaps; the latter more than likely.

Being Gay and Latino is never easy and these young performers demand the public's complacency with their sexuality. The "Macho" culture that exists in Latin America makes it extremely difficult to be gay but the cracks in this archaic social structure are beginning to show thanks to the young who are willing to look progressively into the future. Goodness knows change is the only constant and these performers know it well and use it to their advantage. I am definitely looking forward to seeing more performances by the Maricolectiva.


posted by Brian Paco Alvarez, Curator and Chronicler of Culture at


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