Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: Feminist Art Base: Carmelita Tropicana



Carmelita Tropicana. Candela, 1988.

Carmelita Tropicana in costume designed by Uzi Parnes and Ela Troyano from "Candela." Co-written with Ela Troyano & Uzi Parnes. Directed by Uzi Parnes. Play with Film, Music, Slides. Dance Theater Workshop 1988. Photo credit: Miguel Rajmil. Cast: Carmelita Tropicana, Maureen Angelos, Uzi Parnes, Ela Troyano, Merian Soto, Livia Daza Paris, Jaime Ortega, Pilar Alamo, Ishmael Houston Jones, Rebecca Moore, Annie Iobst, Diane Jeep Ries. At WOW my persona was born, baptized in the fountain of America’s orange juice in the name of Cuba’s legendary nightclub the Tropicana: “Hello people you know me. I know you. I don’t need no American Express Card. I am Carmelita Tropicana, Ms. Lower East Side beauty queen, famous nightclub entertainer, superintendent, and performance artiste. I am so happy to be here with you, because ever since I was a little girl I ax my mami in Cuba: when am I gonna be in the Feminist Cyber space of the Brooklyn Museum? And here I am.” Lillian Manzor-Coats in her article “Too Spik or Too Dyke” for Ollantay’s Theatre magazine writes: “However, the self-conscious exaggerated gestures, her constant pauses defamiliarize the racialized and gendered stereotype so as to create a distance between Carmelita and the tropical bombshell. This process is quite similar to what Elin diamond has elaborated in her work on ‘gestic feminist criticism.’ Although Diamond focuses only on gender issues, that is, she does not take into account a racialized body, her analysis of how gender is ‘alienated’ via the A-effect (Verfremdungseffekt) it is precisely what Carmelita Tropicana is doing.”


gender, performance, Cuba, identity, Uzi Parnes, stereotypes, Latina

Memories of the RevolutionCandelaSingle Wet FemaleCarmelita Tropicana: Your Kunst is Your WaffenWith What Ass Does the Cockroach Sit? Chicas 2000Milk of Amnesia / Leche de Amnesia

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