By A. Cruz-Malavé
Within the culture of the Latin American testimonio, this can be the tale of Juan Rivera, a.k.a. Juanito Xtravaganza, a Latino runaway adolescence who finally ends up homeless within the streets of recent York within the overdue 70s and turns into companion of the across the world well-known Nineteen Eighties Pop artist Keith Haring in the course of one of the most frenetically efficient years of his short existence, as advised to the writer and retold via him. A hybrid text--part testimonio, half linguistic and cultural research, and half artwork criticism--this can also be a historical past of recent York Latino neighborhoods in this interval of devastating disinvestment and gentrification, in addition to a private, heart-felt meditation at the paintings of listening and the moral limits of representing queer Latino lives.
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Extra resources for Queer Latino Testimonio, Keith Haring, and Juanito Xtravaganza: Hard Tails (New Directions in Latino American Culture)
Started coming around my parents’ house, and he was real beautiful—long blond hair, green eyes, pretty face—and I’d play in the basement with him. And soon I started sensing that both H . . and L . . were vying for my attention, that they were both in battle over me. And they’d always come in separately, but then one day they got drunk and came together looking for me. I’d already moved from my parents’ house, and was living in New York with my first lover N . , and was visiting my parents, when I heard someone knocking on my bedroom window.
And I was late, and getting madder, and wanted to see what had happened to my car. So I tried to pull him outta the way, but he wouldn’t budge. Till I finally grabbed him, looked him straight in his demonic eyes and said, “¿Qué te pasa? ¿Tú quieres que te dé?! ¿Es eso?! ” And I busted his face. AC-M: Was that . . then a turning point in your relationship? JR: A serious turning point! From then on he moved outta the way. AC-M: And had he damaged your car? JR: No, it was just one of his weird little games .
AC-M: So you got real close! JR: Real close. She was like a mother to me, and she loved me—like a son. And she’d always tell me she hadn’t been with a man for ten JUANITO XTRAVAGANZA years or twelve, ’cause the last one she’d been with was a lot like C . . She couldn’t talk to another man, she couldn’t go out of the house, she couldn’t do this, couldn’t do that . . Till one day she just got up, picked up a gun, and told him if he didn’t go, she’d blow his brains off! And he got scared and left, y nunca más volvió .