Interview with Marga Gomez

 
 

I forget who it was this year, Stockard Channing or someone or other. They don’t tend to be a lot of queer celebrities I have to say. I always like to see an organization like GLAAD, it’s nice that they honor mainstream actors and actresses for doing or playing gay people in movies. At the same time there’s a lot more queer playwrights and a lot more queer stand-ups and queer artists in the media. It would be really great for them also to take those people and raise them up and make them more visible. I guess that’s the last GLAAD award I’ll be getting! (laughs)

AE: If you ever get it (laughs). So tell me about David Schweizer. He’s your director and has worked with you on a few shows.
MG
: David is a really fancy director. He’s queer. He’s worked for 20 or 30 years. He’s got an incredible list of accomplishments. In fact he was just written up in the New York Times. He directed this opera in Glimmerglass New York which is apparently the center, the pulse of new opera, modern opera, avant-garde opera.

He’s worked all over the world and besides doing plays and operas he’s also been connected with a lot of solo performers, queer solo performers, a lot of edgy solo performers, a lot of women. He worked with Ann Magnuson, Sandra Tsing Loh. Who was very much in the news recently for being ousted from NPR because she said one of those words. So she is very much part of the censorship battle.

AE: Words? Which words?
MG
: She said “Fuck”. She thought they were going to edit that out and it was really the editor I think who messed that up. But anyway once that got on the NPR station in Southern California, she was asked to leave. Which was really stupid. Then of course they took it back but it was too late.

Anyway so he’s worked with Sandra Tsing Loh on her shows, her one-person shows. And some of the people the NEA went after. And this is the fifth project I’ve done with him. At this point it’s more cool than ever because I instinctively know what he wants and we work together really fast. The thing about David is he is usually working on three projects at the same time, so he doesn’t have a lot of time to hold my hand and walk me through things. So I have the freedom to come up with a lot of my own ideas as far as acting and staging. And I do it because I know what David would like.

This show of course, from the version we did in New York to the one we’ve done now, is greatly greatly improved. The story’s tighter; it has meaning. In New York it was just a raunchy, cynical hour and ten minutes. Now it’s really in the context of a wide-eyed idealist in the queer movement who grew up to wanting to be somebody in the queer community. And loving the attention and all that, wanting to be the emcee of the Pride she used to just sit at all starry-eyed and watch. And how that swiftly changed to just being a cynical horndog that just tries to get laid at every Pride around the country (laughs).

But we were able to at least put the cynicism in the context of what [Pride is] really supposed to be about, and what it still can be.

AE: Are you going to take the show anywhere else?
MG
: I want to get a good video of it. Then I’m not sure if I want to sell the video or not. This show is a lot of fun to perform and people ask me if I’m tired at the end. And I’m not, it’s like going to the gym or going out and playing volleyball or something. By yourself. You spin and dive and hit the ground. It’s play. But it is really taxing. I don’t want to have my whole body suddenly altered by doing this show. So I’d like to get a really nice tape of it. Maybe just have it be a script that people perform so I don’t have to do it.

AE: What do you have planned next?
MG
: After this show there’s the piece I did at Kennedy Center called “Los Big Names,” which is going to be a complete departure from this. I don’t think there’s going to be any sex in it at all. But I hope people will still come see it. In spite of the fact that there is not going to be one orgasm, and I’m not going to touch my crotch at all (laughs).

AE: I don’t know about that (laughs).
MG
: It’s a piece about my parents and myself, and it draws from some of the stuff I’ve done before about my parents which I haven’t done for years. I like to start with nonfiction and then take liberties with it. It’s a little tricky when you’re talking about your parents because I have half-sisters and half-brothers. Everything I do is really in tribute but it can’t be a puff piece either. So I go for making them mythical people. And it’s going to be a lot more about Latino culture. This piece is going to be produced in San Francisco in July. Then the plan is to move it to off-Broadway.

AE: Right on!

If you can’t get to San Francisco for your Marga fix, check her website, www.margagomez.com, for details about future shows, DVDs, or tapes of performances.

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