Borderlands Theater showcases Tucson’s avant-garde performance community in its latest venture, Border’s Edge: On the Edges of Performance. The stellar showcase features performances by word-slanger, Logan Phillips, performance artists Denise Uyehara and Milta Ortiz, acrobatics by Natalie Brewster Nguyen and Selena Tang of Flight School Acrobatics, and spoken word by Enrique Garcia (full biographies below).
A departure from the traditional theatre productions that Borderlands is known for, Border’s Edge is the brainchild of new Producing Director, Marc David Pinate. “There is a sizable community of individuals experimenting with form, pushing the boundaries of performance in Tucson, and an ever-growing audience for this cutting edge work,” said Pinate. Borderlands seeks to build bridges to these alternative styles of performance, introducing long-time patrons to new forms while attracting new audiences to the 29 year-old theatre company.
Attendees can expect to be immersed in a mind-bending, interdisciplinary, multimedia experience while performers, as living museum pieces, take over the outdoor courtyard of Borderlands Theater’s office building. Performance artist Denise Uyehara will dawn a giant paper kimono with twenty foot long arms as part of a piece called Jomon/Jámon which examines Okinawan identity and authenticity. Milta Ortiz explores marriage and feminine identity in her performance. Natalie Nguyen and Selena Tang perform a duet called Double Crossers that plays with twins, acrobatics, and the Asian female action heroine archetype. Interwoven throughout the night, spoken word poets Enrique Garcia and Logan Philips read from their recently published books, Tortoise Boy Says and Sonoran Strange, respectively.
Border’s Edge is a fundraiser for Borderlands Theater. All performers have generously donated their time and creative efforts. The event takes place Thursday, March 5 at 7pm. Admission is $10 – $20 sliding scale, at the door. Borderlands Theater is located at 40 W. Broadway in downtown Tucson. Parking is available on the street or nearby lots. For more information call (520) 882-8607.
Enrique García was born in Salt Lake City to Mexican parents and raised with superstition and an ear for stories. He moved frequently as a child, living in Nampa, Idaho, and his parents’ hometown of Estipac, Jalisco, before settling in Tucson and figuring out: Mexicans are made for warm weather. In 2014, Enrique published his first collection of poetry, Tortoise Boy Says, available through Spoken Futures Press. Now, Brown Boy #1 (as he calls himself) spends his time DJ-ing and providing funk and soul to any venue that allows such spirit summoning.
Natalie Brewster Nguyen is an independent performance artist, writer, actor, movement artist, educator, and musician. She is an acrobatic performer and creative director with her group Flight School Acro, and a performing artist with Cirque Roots in Tucson, AZ. She also teaches yoga, acroyoga, performance art intensives, and anti-racism trainings. These days in addition to teaching, writing, art making, archery, handstands, stick fighting, parenting, social justice and circus, she is focusing on her project “Love Letters Leave No Trace.” LLLNT is a series of multidisciplinary ritual installations inspired by the imagery of childrens’ birthday parties. Love Letters explores the emotional, psychological and environmental impact of human celebration through textual explosions, cake, kids, and monochromatic balloon installations.
Link to Natalie’s website
As a .5 generation Salvadorian-American, Milta Ortiz is fascinated by the in-between space of language, culture, gender roles and class, and credits this as shaping her into an artist. Milta is a playwright/performer who earned an MFA from Northwestern University’s Writing for the Screen and Stage program and a Creative Writing BA from San Francisco State University. Milta has performed in the Bay area and Chicago, and is happy to add Tucson to the list. The Zellarbach Family Foundation and Oakland Cultural Arts have funded Milta’s solo work. Her plays have been finalists in various national competitions including runner up finalist at Repertorio Español, Nuestra’s Voces play contest 2011 and Downtown Urban Theater Festival 2013, and winning the 2012 Wichita State playwriting contest with a university production in November 2012. Milta was an NNPN playwright in residence at Borderlands Theater for the 2013/14 season, where she wrote the 18th Annual Tucson Pastorela and wrote and developed Mas, which will premiere at Borderlands in the 2015/16 season. Link to Milta’s website
Logan ‘Dirtyverbs’ Phillips works to create new opportunities for the intersection of poetry and social justice in wider society. As a bilingual poet, performance artist and DJ he tours his art throughout the US, Latin America and beyond. Born and raised in the Arizona / Sonora borderlands, Phillips lived in and around Mexico City 2006-2011, where he contributed to organizing and hosting the country’s first regular poetry slam series. He is the author of Sonoran Strange, his first full-length book of poems forthcoming in fall of 2014 from Albuquerque’s West End Press. He lives and works in Tucson.
Serena Tang is an interdisciplinary performance and visual artist whose work has been presented within the United States (Brooklyn, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Denver, Berkeley) as well as internationally (Bahia, BR, Hermasillo, MX, Montreal, CA). She is a founding member of Flight School Acrobatics, an acrobatic performance group. Serena has received numerous grants including an Artist Career Advancement Grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts and a public art grant for the Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix. She has toured throughout Brazil performing with United Capoeira Association and has performed and taught acro yoga workshops in Playa, Mexico and Montreal, Canada.
Denise Uyehara is an award-winning performance artist, writer and playwright whose work has been presented in London, Tokyo, Helsinki, Vancouver and across the United States. A pioneering performance artist whose work the Los Angeles Times hails as “mastery [that] amounts to a coup de theater,” she explores what marks our bodies as we cross boarders of identity. Her book, Maps of City & Body: Shedding Light on the Performance and Process of Denise Uyehara (Kaya Press), documents recent work and her performances appear in several anthologies, including Testimonial Plays (Metheun/Bloomsbury) and O Solo Homo (Grove). Recent work: Dreams & Silhouettes/Suenos y siluetas which received the MAP Fund with Pan Left Productions and Jason Aragon, and the P.L.A.C.E. grant from the Tucson Pima Arts Council; The Senkotsu (Mis)Translation Project (Arizona Commission on the Arts Project Grant and The C.O.L.A. Grant); Archipelago with Adam Cooper-Terán (National Performance Network Creation Fund). She is a frequent university lecturer and a founding member of the Scared Naked Nature Girls. Link to Denise’s website