“El Mad Mex” visits TU for performance, workshop

By Wanda Haskel on February 16, 2017

Performance artist, writer, educator and activist Guillermo Gómez-Peña presents his one-man show Guillermo Gómez-Peña Unplugged at the TU Center for the Arts Mainstage Theatre on Thursday, Feb. 23 at 7 pm..

With heated talk about building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, and opposition to President Trump’s travel ban executive order, the immigration debate in America has reached a fevered pitch.

Leading border-crossing theory scholar, performance artist, writer, educator and activist Guillermo Gómez-Peña will impart his take on timely topics such as these during a visit to campus later this month. 

Nicknamed “El Mad Mex,” the Chicano thinker presents his one-man show Guillermo Gómez-Peña Unplugged at the TU Center for the Arts Mainstage Theatre on Thursday, February 23 at 7 p.m.

Combining spoken-word poetry, activist theory, radical storytelling and language experimentation, the Mexico City native offers critical and humorous commentary on everything from art and academia, to gender and race politics.

“Come, be offended and laugh,” says Tavia La Follette, assistant professor of theatre arts in the College of Fine Arts & Communication, who is co-organizing the event with communication studies assistant professor Desireé Rowe. 

“This isn’t just a political artist ranting,” adds La Follette. “He will be creating art commentary on the current climate.”

Director of the famed performance troupe La Pocha Nostra, Gómez-Peña will also host, along with another La Pocha Nostra member, a two-day workshop on campus. Twenty TU students from theatre, communication studies and art were accepted to the workshop through an application process. Participants are a mix of graduate and undergraduate students.

“Students will get to work with one of the greatest performance artists alive today,” says Rowe. “It’s something they’ll remember.” 

Guillermo Gómez-Peña’s multidisciplinary artwork has been presented at more than 900 venues across the US, Canada, Latin America, Europe, Russia, South Africa and Australia. He has authored 11 books; is a regular contributor for newspapers and magazines in the US, Mexico and Europe; and is a contributing editor to The Drama Review (NYU-MIT). Gómez-Peña is a senior fellow in the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, a MacArthur fellow, and a patron for the London-based Live Art Development Agency. In 2012 he was named Samuel Hoi fellow by USA Artists.

Admission to Guillermo Gómez-Peña Unplugged is free and open to the public.

This story is one of several related to President Kim Schatzel’s priorities for Towson University: Creating a More Diverse and Inclusive Campus.