Mexican performance artist Astrid Hadad opened Live Art LA/LA, the performance art celebration of the Pacific Standard Time festival, in a raucous and inspiring performance at The Mayan. Hadad, whose politically infused work is a provocative mixture of ranchera, street theater and cabaret, draws on traditional Mexican and Aztec iconography to express themes of activism, protest and struggle against colonialism.
Far from a didactic recitation of resistance, Hadad’s work is a joyous outpouring of celebratory outrage. She praises the courage of those who fought against oppression and injustice, while also embracing the humor and irony of the human condition. The plight of poor women is cast as a heroic and courageous martyrdom in the face of intolerable oppression, but always painted with a wry smile and even joy.
Hadad’s rich vocal talent is combined with an extraordinarily clever visual sense. Her often outlandish costumes, which inspire both laughter and awe, have layers of hidden symbolism, both mocking and embracing stereotypes, all the while poking fun at everything from mass culture to globalism and religious dogma. Above all, Hadid creates a joyous, entertaining and memorable event – an outstanding opening to Live Art LA/LA