Collection Title: Jesusa Rodríguez & Liliana Felipe : El Hábito collection
Title: Palenque político
Alternate Title: Political cockpit
Date: 1999 Nov
Location: Performed at Teatro Bar El Hábito, Mexico City, in Nov. 1999.
Work Type: Performance., Cabaret., Theater., Political performance., Satire., Queer performance.
Jesusa Rodríguez, writer, director, producer ; Liliana Felipe, producer, music.
Jesusa Rodríguez, Isela Vega, Yoma Vela, Roberto Cabral, Liliana Felipe (musician).
Run-time (hh:mm:ss): 01:33:08
Language: In Spanish.
Synopsis: In this 'political-poetical-philosophical-musical' cabaret performance, Jesusa Rodríguez and Liliana Felipe take on Mexico's electoral climate in order to pose a comment on ethics, politics, Mexican folklore and pop culture. Rodríguez populates the scenario of the 'palenque' ('cockpit', a place for popular gambling games like cockfighting) with chameleonic characters Chona Schopenhauer ('the only ranchera philosopher'), Pita Amor (an old-fashioned, affected performer of poetry) and Don Andrés Soler (a very macho, politically conservative old man), among others, through which the artist criticizes the corruption and violence associated with Mexico's political climate. In a 'phenomenology of fortuitous becoming', the universe is portrayed as 'a palenque where anything could happen', and Mexican electoral processes as a 'gamble'.In this vein, and interspersed with parodic renditions of traditional folk songs by Rodríguez and 'sexy ranchera' Isela Vega (a famous Mexican vedette), the audience is invited to play a satirical Mexican 'lotería' (with cards like 'The Wetback', 'The Zapatista', 'The First Lady', and 'The ATM' substituting the traditional icons of this popular game) and to gamble, control, and judge an electoral 'cockfight' where puppets of political candidates race to be the first to reach the finishing line of Mexico's presidency. Mexican director, actress, playwright, performance artist, scenographer, entrepreneur, and social activist Jesusa Rodríguez has been called the most important woman of Mexico. Often referred to as a 'chameleon,' Rodríguez moves seemingly effortlessly and with vigor across the spectrum of cultural forms, styles, and tones.Her 'espectáculos' (as both spectacles and shows) challenge traditional classification, crossing with ease generic boundaries: from elite to popular to mass, from Greek tragedy to cabaret, from pre-Columbian indigenous to opera, from revue, sketch and 'carpa,' to performative acts within political projects. Humor, satire, linguistic play, and the body are constants in her productions. She seeks to render corporal and, thus, visible, the tensions between the discourses in operation on and through the individual and collective body. Rodríguez's energy is intense and her commitment non-negotiable, always interrogating the nature, site, and consequences of power and its representation. Liliana Felipe, one of Latin America's foremost singers and composers, was born in Argentina in the 1950s. She left for Mexico just before the outbreak of the 'Dirty War' (1976), but her sister and brother-in-law were both 'disappeared'--victims of the military dictatorship's criminal politics.Liliana's music has a wide following in Latin America. She continues to be a powerful presence in Argentina, working with human rights organizations--especially H.I.J.O.S. (the organization of the children of the disappeared). In Mexico, Liliana went to one of Jesusa Rodríguez's performances. Jesusa, catching a glimpse of Felipe in the audience, remembers saying to herself: 'I am going to die with that woman.' Since then, Liliana and Jesusa have created two performance spaces, El Cuervo and later El Hábito in Coyoacán, Mexico City, that they still run. They 'married' in February 2000. El Hábito ( is a hotbed for intellectuals, feminists, gay rights activists and open-minded, progressive people who want to be engaged by a smart and critical humor. In this off-off space, and with the collaboration of their theater cooperative Las Divas, Jesusa y Liliana have produced hundreds of shows since the 1980s.
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Copyright Holder: El Hábito
Contact: Jesusa Rodríguez, Liliana Felipe
Jesusa Rodríguez
Liliana Felipe
Madrid 13
Coyoacán, México D.F., 04100