Discover NYC's most talented starving artists - before they're rich and famous. This week meet performance artist Raquel Almazan, and hear what she has to say about Butoh dance, pornography, and being a vegan.
by David Davila (playwright / songwriter)
Performance artist, playwright, and actress, Raquel Almazan, has been making people laugh, cry, and think for several years on the downtown theatre scene with shows like SHE WOLVES: WOMEN IN SEX, DEATH, AND REBIRTH, and DEATH OF THE DOLL which explore modern female sexuality and social power.
Originally from Spain, the Spanish/Costa Rican artist moved to the US at an early age and lived in every Hispanic part of the country from Texas to Florida before setting her roots in NYC. I first met Raquel at the weekly Salon at INTAR THEATRE where artists share new works for a group of non-judgemental peers. Almazan was presenting a comical look at the her mother's travels through a racist, Southern, USA and I was rolling on the floor with laughter. Now she's presenting a new one-woman show at Dixon Place for one night only that explores a porn star's journey from celebrity to outer-space refugee using mixed-media and Butoh dance that has me intrigued to say the least.
I caught up with the avante-garde performance artist, and hilarious stand-up comic, over soy-lattes at our local Brooklyn Bagel in Astoria to talk about her involvement with Butoh dance, its correlations to pornography, and how she wants to be Orson Wells...
Here's what she had to say:
(David Davila) How did PORNING THE PLANET come about?
(Raquel Almazan) The play was inspired by the book “female chauvinist pig movement”, by Ariel Levi. For fifteen years I’ve worked with marginalized women and girls (including sex workers) in schools, prisons and centers. This lead my work to demand a political process. Holding interviews in strip clubs and pornographic environments. The platform for my current piece comes from five years of processing with women, research, and public art presentations. I am now armed for the ultimate challenge of embracing and unearthing pornography in all its forms.
The piece strives to connect ancient women’s mythology with modern media, pornographic images, and how women’s sexuality is used as a weapon against themselves. I’m working to fuse today’s whore as the power symbol in finding ways to honor the virginal whore that refuses to go mainstream porn but instead redefines what it is to be feminine. (Cont.)