Performances Thurs, May 18 & Fri, May 19, 2017, 8pm at Living ArtSpace. The premier performances of José Torres-Tama’s 3-year investigation and community-engaged development of a mobile theatre unit. Tama has traveled several times to Tulsa taking video interviews of local immigrants who are either here with or without documents. He will help local immigrant actors and local musicians find their voice in telling their stories through community residencies. Living Arts helped fund this project through a Creation Fund Grant from the National Performance Network. After these performances, the mobile theatre, in the form of a “taco truck”, will travel around this part of the US giving performances in locations where many immigrant workers congregate.
The Taco Truck Theater is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation Fund Project co-commissioned by Women & Their Work in partnership with DiverseWorks and NPN. For more information: www.npnweb.org. The Creation Fund is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency).
Ecuadorian-born José Torres-Tama is a 2015 MAP Fund award recipient for his radical theater on wheels called the Taco Truck Theater / Teatro Sin Fronteras. This project also received a Partners in Action Award from Alternate ROOTS for the artist to collaborate with Puentes New Orleans in developing a series of events highlighting the contributions of Latina/no artists and immigrants to the post-Katrina reconstruction and 10th anniversary of the storm.
Also, he is an NEA Regional Artists Project award winner for his genre-bending performance installations and a Louisiana Theater Fellow. As a writer/poet, performance and visual artist, the effects of media on race relations, the underbelly of the North “American Dream” mythology, and the anti-immigrant hysteria currently gripping the USA.
Since 1995, he has toured his genre-bending solos nationally and internationally. Across the Atlantic, he has performed at Roehampton University and Live Art Development in London; the Bluecoat Arts Centre in Liverpool; the Centre for Performance Research in Aberystwyth, Wales; the Castle of the Imagination Performance Festival in Poland; and the Performance Festival in Maribor, Slovenia. In the academy, Duke, Vanderbilt, Cornell, Tulane, LSU, OSU, and many others have presented his performances and lectures on art as a tool for social change. Theaters like Performance Space 122 and Theater for the New City in New York, GALA Hispanic Theatre in DC, and the Los Angeles Theater Center have also presented his shows.
In 2013, he received a 2nd National Performance Network (NPN) Creation Fund Award to develop the Taco Truck Theater, and in 2009, the NPN awarded him his first Creation Fund for ALIENS, IMMIGRANTS & OTHER EVILDOERS, which exposes the hypocrisy a system that dehumanizes immigrants while readily exploiting their labor.
In the visual arts, the Joan Mitchell Foundation in New York awarded him and the Ogden Museum of Southern Arts publication funds for his art book titled New Orleans Free People of Color & Their Legacy, a visual history project of pastel portraits on paper documenting 18th and 19th century Creoles of color in the Crescent City.
Diálogos Books New Orleans recently published Immigrant Dreams & Alien Nightmares, a debut collection of twenty-five years of poems. From 2006 to 2011, he contributed commentaries to NPR’s Latino USA news journal—exploring the many challenges of life in New Orleans post-storm. He is working with University of Lafayette Press on Hard Living in the Big Easy: Latinos & Immigration Crisis in New Orleans, documenting the struggle of Latino immigrant workers in the epic recovery of the port city post-Katrina.
His battle cry is NO GUACAMOLE for immigrant haters! www.torrestama.com
Recent Press Links on Torres-Tama’s Projects:
•WWNO/89.9 FM NPR Station: Inside the Arts