Sunday, October 31, 2010

Una Hocicona Nace y Se Hace: Interview con Adelina Anthony

Olga García Echeverría

Remember when being an hocicona (a shameless, big-mouthed backtalker) was deemed culturally improper and punishable by Draconian barrio castigos, such as public regañadas, cachetadas, or chanclazos?

We've come a long way, baby.

Well, kinda. There are still plenty of oppressed hociconas out there. The good thing is there are a good number of liberated ones too.

Meet Adelina Anthony, a queer-multi-disciplinary-artista- hocicona who can't shut up about politics, race/ethnicity, memoria, feminism, gender, sexuality, tierra, immigration y muchas otras cosas. Tan hocicona es La Adelina that she's created her very own theatrical Hocicona Series! The series, directed by the very talented D'Lo (, features three solo comedy shows--La Angry Xicana, La Sad Girl, y La Chismosa.

The word hocico literally means an animal's snout and mouth, not a human's mouth. What happens when a woman's boca becomes an hocico? Does she cower in the corner and lick her wounds? Does she lose her breath and pant frantically? Does she bark in protest? Does she raise her hocico up towards the sky and howl at the moon? Or does she snarl and bite the hand that tries to tame her? Rrrgghhh!

Adelina bites! With humor, with Spanglish wit, with batting eyelashes, with grace, con chingazos.

Wanna witness for yourself? She'll be performing from Nov 5th to the 21st in Hollywood, California. Check it out!

LA HOCICONA SERIES: An Original X-X-Xicana Comedic Triptych
McCadden Place Theater
1157 N. Mc Cadden Place
Hollywood, CA (Major cross streets: Highland/Santa Monica)

With valid senior/student I.D. $15
At the door--CASH ONLY.

Guarantee your seat by advance purchase through:

NOV. 5-21st, 2010
FRIDAYS (5, 12 & 19): La Angry Xicana?!
SATURDAYS (6, 13 & 20): La Sad Girl...
SUNDAYS: (7, 14 & 21): La Chismosa!!!

No se vayan, there's more...

Interview with An Hocicona

When did you first start doing teatro and why?
I first started doing teatro in elementary, 4th grade to be precise because I was fortunate to have a Chicano as a teacher, el Sr. Gonzales. Lucky for me, he actually saw my class clown shenanigans as a talent and not a reason for detention. He was the first adult to talk to me seriously about pursuing an acting profession and a creative writing one. I really feel indebted to him and am always reminded of how critical teachers are in a young person's life. After that debut in "The Three Noodles," well, I never looked back. I knew I was going to be an actor. Luckily, I met good teachers along the way and kept working on my skills with each project... and developed a critical consciousness that made my path even clearer and more purposeful. I do it now because it is my spirit work, and it is what I have to offer as medicine for myself and those who come with open hearts and minds.

Una hocicona: nace o se hace?
Both. Mos def, both. And sometimes, a real hocicona knows when to be silent, listen, process and then respond at the top of her lungs. Yes, those moments of silencio... that's the nuance of the rebellion in the work.

What challenges does a queer hocicona encounter in el mundo del teatro?
Ah, this could be a whole thesis paper... I suppose the biggest challenge is having gente wanting some parts of my identity, and asking me to suppress others in order to make it comfortable for their tastes. It means losing work sometimes, to stand the ground with all of my identities intact, but at least I stand whole and not fragmented or only partly seen and heard. This is how I honor those who have been holding the ground for all of us, to make the same choices of integrity.

How is La Hocicona Series different from your earlier work?
Well, for one it's a series. It's the first time I've worked "marathon" style, i.e. having multiple pieces connect with each other. Part of the challenge is creating each solo show so it stands alone, but also finding those threads that are also loosely woven in the other pieces. Sometimes the connections are not that obvious and I'm really asking my audience to do that work long after they've experienced the work... to think critically about what one character said versus another and to have an "aha" moment all on their own.

How do you create your various characters for your one woman shows--La Sad Girl, La Chismosa, La Hocicona, for example? Are they you, do they come in visions, do you dream them, catch glimpses of them on the streets?
Each character has an organic and composite process: daydreaming, ideas from just meditating with the text, and artistic challenges I set-up for myself. The characters are not me because they are extreme in their characterizations and presentation, but they have elements of my life. Partly that's why I wanted to mess with the stand-up genre and work in a series, so that my audiences could really experience the multiple voices and tensions. In the end, I've done my job as an artist if people believe I've experienced everything I talk about, hopefully, once they listen to all three "locas" it becomes clear there's a huge fiction and art-making process behind it all... because if I really did go through everything my characters talk about and enact... I should be committed to a mental hospital! Plus, I'm fortunate that I've been able to collaborate with D'Lo as my director, so when we have those initial talks about the characters and my ideas, he takes off running with ideas too. I discover what I am doing with the pieces once I'm writing them, then there's another level of discovery when I'm performing them. And I listen. To my inner voices and to everyone around me. I observe and participate because all of life is fodder for art.

Since you're an hocicona, is there anything else you'd like to add?
I love my audiences, those who keep coming back and inspire me to do the work because it means something to them. I feel really blessed that I have a career primarily built on word-of-mouth. I don't take my supporters for granted. I like how sometimes those audience members become my students in a workshop, and how I get to carry them in my heart. It's not easy to make art in this society as a queer Xicana, so I respect when we do it despite the obstacles.

Bravo Adelina! Your art empowers hociconas around the world. Rrrrrgh! Arf! Arf! Hooooooowwwl!
*Pictures of the artist by Marisa Becerra © 2010


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the wonderful coverage. Can't wait to see this!

Anonymous said...

I think you meant the word "draconian".
I look forward to the performance.

Olga said...

Oh yeah! Draconian! That's what I get for not running through spell check. Thank you. : )

Anonymous said...

Is it always capitalized?

Anonymous said...

Me encanta la loca de Adelina! Gracias por la informacion sobre sus shows!

Serena W. Lin said...

Adelina is awesome, and I look forward to La Hochicona XXX (especially the XXX). Olga, thanks for doing this wonderful interview.

Anonymous said...

Yes, thanks Olga, thanks for this piece, it's awesome :) Wish I lived in Cali so that I could see the show.

Anonymous said...

i went to the opening weekend of la hocicona series de adelina because of your bloga and it was simply AMAZING! actually, genius... why didn't i know of her before this? my friends and i went all 3 nights... and we have NEVER experienced such affirmation, joy, laughter, and provoking thought all from one performer... DO NOT MISS THESE SHOWS! con safos-melanie