Quinceañera (1998)
  • Title: Quinceañera
  • Holdings: photo gallery, video (HIDVL)
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • Date: 6 Feb 1998
  • Location: University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • Type-Format: performance
  • Cast: Alberto Antonio Araiza, Paul Bonin-Rodriguez, Michael Marínez
  • Credits: Alberto Antonio Araiza, creator; Paul Bonin-Rodriguez, creator; Michael Marínez, creator; Joe Salvatore, director.

Quinceañera (1998)

Quinceañera’ is a video documentation of a performance created collaboratively to address
the 15th anniversary of the AIDS pandemic. As a collaborative creation, these stories can be read not only
like personal stories, but also as the stories of a community. Alberto Antonio Araiza, Paul Bonin-Rodriguez,
and Michael Marínez worked together in community-based activism, and create a multi-disciplinary
performance piece that involves storytelling, ritual, performance and visual arts. For this reason,
Quinceañera’ transits between the cheerfulness of a creative process and the engagement with a topic that is
full of fear and sorrow. The ghost of AIDS permeates relations between persons and their own traditions,
stories, and histories. Particularly, the social ritual of the ‘quinceañera’ – the debutante party reserved for
young girls in Spanish-speaking communities – becomes a space of contesting gender and sexuality roles. At
the same time that the piece reveals how rituals are gendered, it also highlights how affective responses to
pop culture can be understood as newer familiar traditions. The role of Spanish language, unapologetically
spoken in the piece, underlines the fact that gender, ethnicity, and race are intertwined in social
marginalization. Along with an honest and strong affirmation of race and sexuality, the virus that marks the
body signals identity and belonging. The three male characters explain how AIDS affected gay population,
and the discrimination that comes with the epidemic. The group of men breaks into songs advocating for
justice for all people infected with AIDS, and the entire queer community. The video documentation also
features a talk back with the performers and the audience members.

icon Quinceañera Collaborative Statement (61.54 MB)

icon Quinceanñera Artist Statement (63.3 MB)


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