BAAD! Presents The Welfare Queen

Published on August 29, 2011, 2:55 pm
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Monster Girl Productions, a radical, unabashed multi-media Production Company based in San Francisco teams up the Bronx’s irreverent BAAD! The Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance to produce The Welfare Queen written and performed by Erika Lopez.

A preview performance takes place Wednesday, September 14 and the show opens on Thursday, September 15 and runs through Saturday, October 8 at the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center, 107 Suffolk Street in Manhattan’s lower east side. Show dates are Sept. 14, 15, 16, 17, 29, 30, Oct. 1, 6, 7, 8, 2011 with all shows at 8pm. Each night a guest writer will open the show. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online here or by calling 1-800-838-3006.

Erika Lopez writes and performs in this one-woman show adapted from her new book The Girl Must Die: A Monster Girl Memoir. Not content to wait until 2050 to come to power, Kitten Lopez, the undisputed/reigning queen of the short-lived Boricua Noir film era, teeters atop some overly-ambitious imaginary high heels and swaggers out into the play’s starring role to tell us all to deal with reality, grow up and have fun while doing so. The show harks back to the heyday of East Village performance art with impossibly high ideals, campy production values, and lots of sleazy, shameful excitement.

Of course there are also the ubiquitous dancing girls, Cynthia Renta’s “Monster Girl Mamiz,” and each night a writer or poet opens the show with a brief 10-minute reading of work: Jennifer Camper, Sue Frumin, Charles Rice-González,Charlie Vázquez, and others.

Kitten Lopez has co-started Monster Girl Media with James Swanson, beginning with their own new Puerto Rican-ish book publishing company of the same name, creating a little Monster Girl Mayhem by starting riots, conversations, and productions with other pissed off writers and artists. Kitten’s aspirations are to kick up a lot of sand with her fake stilettos, turn over rocks, find our audiences and financiers underneath, and have secret pacts with them, so that we can make the kind of movies, books, and merchandise they’d like to steal or take to the streets. ( / /

After poor-but happy-frolicking years of art school at The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (and stints at Moore College of Art and The University of the Arts), Erika Lopez was surprised to find herself out on the streets with a lot of attitude and an inability to hold down a job. So after a couple of crappy jobs, bad roommates, and a couple of days in jail, Erika quickly adjusted her ambitions and aimed to become a famous cartoonist for porn magazines. That didn’t go so well either. But her cartoons kept getting published in San Francisco and so she moved there. Soon after getting her own apartment with no job in sight, Lopez got a couple of grants she’d – half-jokingly, but desperately – applied for during one of her previous “fired” periods back in Philadelphia, but following through on her own dare and having nothing left to lose, she learned to ride a crappy motorcycle in a week, and rode cross country so she could at least write about doing something. When she made it safely home, she penned her way through her first novel, Flaming Iguanas, sprinkling it with enough illustrations to distract the reader from the writing. Since then she has published I Love You Like a Sister Said Erika Lopez (1995); Lap Dancing for Mommy: Tender Stories of Disgust, Blame and Inspiration (1997); Flaming Iguanas: An Illustrated All-Girl Road Novel Thing (1997); They Call Me Mad Dog!: A Story for Bitter, Lonely People (1998); Hoochie Mama: La otra carne blanca (The Other White Meat) (2001); Grandma López’s Country-Mad Fried Chicken Book. Nothing Left But the Smell: A Republican on Welfare (2003). Lopez is best known for the characters of “Grandma Lopez” and “The Welfare Queen“, which she created after she began to receive welfare after her fight with Simon & Schuster. These characters are at the heart of Lopez’s performance piece Nothing Left but the Smell: A Republican on Welfare, which she has performed at locations as varied as San Francisco (California), New York City, Edinburg (Scotland), London and Manchester (England), and Oslo (Norway).

BAAD! The Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance was founded by award-winning artists Arthur Aviles (dancer/choreographer) and Charles Rice-Gonzalez (writer) in 1998. The space produces and presents work that is empowering to women, people of color and the LGBT community through its four annual festivals BAAD!Ass Women, The Boogie Down Dance Series, Out Like That! and the BlakTino Performance Series. BAAD! is the home to Arthur Aviles Typical Theatre, a contemporary dance company and the The Bronx Dance Coalition which produces The Bronx Dance Magazine.


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