Out in the Tropics and Into Performance

Written By ArtBurst Team
January 22, 2016 at 6:48 PM

That’s so Miami is probably a good phrase to describe the kaleidoscopic quality of Out in the Tropics, a contemporary performing arts festival that brings to South Florida a wide range of cutting-edge gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer artists or works of art. Now in its fourth edition, part of the beauty of Out in the Tropics – which runs from June 13 to June 16 – resides in that it appeals to the diverse groups that make up this city. “This is not just a gay festival, but a festival that celebrates the GLTBQ culture,” explains Ever Chávez, founder and director of FUNDarte, the local non-profit artistic organization that presents Out in the Tropics. “We are not in the ghetto. We are provocative.” Hence a lineup that includes: – A daring lesbian theater collective from Havana, El Ciervo Encantado (The Enchanted Deer), making its U.S. debut with the very satirical, very funny and very Cuban interactive performance Cubalandia, on Friday and Saturday. – Queer Cuban American performance art veterans from New York City, Carmelita Tropicana (Alina Troyano) and her sister filmmaker Ela, bringing their latest work, Post Plastica Miami 2013, on Saturday. – Wildly original actor, singer/songwriter, playwright, and gay stage wonder Taylor Mac, with his A 20th Century History of Popular Music Abridged, on Friday. – And the all male, hunky, and versatile – from Vivaldi to Gaga – string and singing quartet Well-Strung, on Sunday. “I like the idea that Out in the Tropics is open. I like openness,” says Carmelita Tropicana from her home in New York City. “We are in a world that thinks differently about identity. What identity was in the ‘80s is no longer the same thing,” says the Havana-born artist. “We all want a huge public, but how do we continue to push the envelope, how do we continue making things that matter, saying something?” Saying something is what Cubalandia does, making us marvel at how director Nelda Castillo and actress Mariela Brito get away with what they do: being critical of life in Cuba and of all its harsh realities via the hilarious, eye-popping role of Yara La China, personified by Brito. “This is a piece with a lot of urgency,” says Castillo by phone from Cuba. “All our works have been strongly critical of the problems we face, but we have never been censored because they are serious and well-researched.” Castillo sent Brito on a trip around Havana to find out what people were saying and how they were reacting to the changes of Raúl Castro. This led to the creation of a piece two years ago in which Yara La China becomes the audience’s tour guide on a journey across the island. “We discovered that the subject, although it stems from a local angle, works well because the theme is universal. It’s the theme of surviving in difficult conditions,” adds Brito. “And people connect.” Which in the end is what Out in the Tropics is all about: people connecting. Out in the Tropics, June 13-16, at the Colony Theatre, 1040 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach, and at the Miami Beach Cinematheque, 1130 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. Tickets at the Colony, $30 general admission; for times and tickets go to,; 305-674-1040. Tickets at the Cinematheque: $10 general admission; A version of this story asppears in the Huffington Post

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