As part of Panamerican Routes festival via Aluna Theatre I will be joining an amazing crew of Indigenous musicians - First, my bud Mas Aya Toronto resident representing us latinos en Canada Urian Sarmiento and Maria Jose Salgado ( Los Aterciopelados ) from Bogota-Colombia, Emilie Monnet + Indigenous singers from Montreal + Waira Nina from the Tinga Community in The Amazon(as) - Needless to say, a MUST SEE EVENT ) ) ) Its 10$ For more info check the link ) ) LOVEhttp://www.alunatheatre.ca/panamerican-routes/festival-lineup/colombian-amazon-v-toronto/
This post is a response to @JayMoller1 who saw my show on Sunday 16,14 at The Garrison.
Because twitter has a specific letter count restriction, it is obvious a simple tweet/reply to him cannot and will not suffice.
In the hopes my opinion can serve or be put to good use by those interested in sharing or opposing to it, I sincerely and lovingly want to add to the conversation many before me, before I was even born started and still are a part of today, which is sad, because it is a fact, that as Canadian Citizens, we walk around freely on Colonized land subservient to a racist regime in a city with this as mayor.
For those following my short career as an artist living in Canada born and raised in Colombia-South America, (not Columbia like many online sources would tell you) and for those who know me a little bit more professionally and personally, are aware of my obsession with the construct of the Canadian Landscape as well as my sense of humour, which is completely over the top, bold, sarcastic and confrontational.
I do not expect people to immediately get “what I am about” nor do I stress about or have an interest in having people “like what I do” - I am simply happy, blessed, thrilled people listen.
Listening is such a virtue in our generation, there is so much juicy distraction out there, serious talk is no fun and I am aware of this, I am currently pursuing a degree in Criticism and Curatorial Practice, we are forced (ahem, sorry…I mean) encouraged to think critically and analyze the present, the past and perhaps…predict the future, its heavy, its depressing and when one is a young single mother, it can be quite hard to engage, which is why humour and satire are tools recurrently used in my practice.
I explain it in more depth here (audio interview with Vish Khanna) and also in this interview with Chart Attack I was allowed to eloquently make my points. Judging from the ferocious/angry tweets directed at me and my lovely friends and allies, perhaps it can be helpful for you to “understand” where i am coming from.
Humour and Satire indeed were heavily used to convey a message of discomfort, rejection of patriarchy and rejection to be lied to by specifically Stephen Harper, your Prime Minister, and I say “your Prime Minister” because you have publicly expressed Canada belongs to you “Don’t mock my country” - It sure must feel good to believe so sternly that a “country” can belong to one.
For those who might be reading this open letter that did not attend my show I will describe in simple detail, how/what my performance entailed.
On a Canadian flag banner decorated stage, Tough Guy Mountain representatives Kyle and Cathy on each side of stage wearing white turtle necks and expressionless faces waved (and did so for my entire performance) two Canadian small/medium size flags. Kahuna and Highworld crew’s Kvesche and Blake Blakey started triggering a Canadian Anthem midi/instrumental and Clarinet player dressed in Canadian Flag poncho started playing along. I then come in behind him, wearing a Canada red sweater and a furry hat saluting the audience with a bright smile waving at them with an intentional “queen-like” hand gesture reminiscent (and i don’t know how successful at this i was for i am not a Performance artist) of the Hi Hitler Salute. I then begin to channel Celine Dion and sing the words “Oh KKKanada, our home ON Native Land” then I stop and take my cellphone out and ask the audience to “forgive me, I don’t know the lyrics to the anthem” the majority of the audience found that funny, and it gave me confidence to continue, like Celine, gesturing and passionately singing the rest of the anthem, skipping the sexist parts…so really I did not really sing the whole thing, I went right to “True North strong and free - we stand on guard for thee Oh KKKanada”. I remove my Canada logo sweatshirt and continue with our performance.
As read in a few post-show articles and as heard in conversation with friends in the audience, people were confused, and that is a good thing. I knew a few people would be offended, most likely those offended ones being straight white men who do not appreciate to be challenged or “insulted” via critique of the Nation.
Regular Lido Pimienta show-goers expect lovely energy, dancing and at least a 5 minute rant consisting of me critiquing, not only Harper’s regime, but men’s obsession with “pink pussy, pink nipples” which obviously goes beyond those words, when I say those things, I critique mainstream media and their Standards of Beauty forced upon/affecting girls like me who are not white, who are not blonde, who are not tall, who are not rich, who don’t have big boobs, who don’t have a pink pussy(teen-looking-shaved-white porn star), who didn’t grow up in a heteronormative household with a present father figure - The list goes on, and you @JayMoller1, if Linkedin/google image search are being truthful, these things should resonate with you, as a gay man with a interest in muscles and motorcycles.
You ask me a few questions, and I will respond, respectfully, as I am hoping you asked me originally via your twitter.
1)”@LidoPimienta Saw you Sunday night. Great voice, but what is your message re: the Canadian anthem? You say “KKK Canada” but don’t explain”
2)”@LidoPimienta If you’re going to sing our country’s anthem in the disparaging way you did, you owe it to the audience to explain why”
My first response to you would be…Frist and foremost thank you for the compliment, I am glad you at least find my voice to be good.
Secondly, I believe I did explain myself, as in every show I make it a point to do so, especially given than I sing in Spanish and I know it can be extra difficult to engage and understand where I come from. I recall critiquing Haper’s regime, but did not really stay on topic, for i focused on contextualizing “La Capacidad" a song I wrote defending women’s right to individuality, self love and the right to chose what they want to be and how they want to get there.
The Canadian paraphernalia and our over-use of the flag and patriotic flare is a direct tie to the Nationalism in the Olympics right now.
I wanted to build a bridge or create a direct link between The Olympics and Genocide, I thought it was so obvious…This is something so common in my vocabulary and conversations with my friends…Genocide is not something in Canada’s history, it is an ongoing process - When it comes to Privilege, some people like to remain “ignorant”, it is convenient, they pretend “they don’t understand”, if they really wanted to, they would - We all know this, I was not born here, and living in Colombia “learning about Canada” knowing I would be another immigrant here, Canada is pictured as this ever benevolent nation in which the rights of women, elders, LGBTQ, immigrants etc are honoured, granted and respected.
Never does one learn about the atrocious, dehumanizing attacks to The Originals as I prefer to call my Native/Aboriginals sisters and brothers of “your country” we (I guess the other?) call Canada. Never does one learn about forced slavery of Chinese communities who actually build the railroads of this fine Nation. Never does one learn about the First Five numbered Treaties or the Epic struggle that lead to the execution of Louis Riel Its all here and here there is so much (more)out there in the open, that we as people drowned in privilege refuse to address, refuse to discuss, especially, if one is in a position of power, even more so, if we happen to be “entertainers” and i do not appreciate when many of my peers, which I absolutely love and adore, choose to write about things that carry no weight or essence to them on a larger scale…
Please know, I am completely aware that I am writing way too much, but also know, you are not the first person to accuse me of “mocking your country” and you probably won’t be the last, which is why, after the very long and heated twitter discussion happening right now, I owe it to myself, my child, to my friends who support me, to my family who have experienced racism in Canada in way more dramatic ways than me, experiencing unfair incarceration, the death of a son, my brother who was a victim of mainstream media that media written by white corporations who bank in millions of dollars annually in the glorification and exotification of a black, brown, latin youth who are “misunderstood” by the system, unable to escape a history of inequality - a doomed future in a “Country” catered to white straight males and females - Because that is the world we live in, because patriarchy has it so that people like you can be “offended” by people like me, because how dare I critique genocide, how dare I critique a “Country” who has “been so good to the immigrants, refugees, Chilean political/exiles, “free” healthcare, “equal” marriage laws, “easy access” to “best education” and so much more - That of course, Harper and his regime, are rapidly making more and more difficult to access.
All of those wonderful things cannot cover the facts that the land we walk on we took from their rightful owners and that pressure must be added to the rulers of “your country” so that they do what its right, there are signed agreements, way past due, ignored by “your country” which I as a mother, as a “New Canadian” cannot stomach and often depresses me and makes me wonder “should I go back to MY country?” - A demand, made in the past, by white straight males APPAULED at my screaming at them for cat calling me as I walk down the street to pick my son from daycare.
Did you know the Olympics are held in a country who incarcerates teachers for telling their students that being GAY is a thing? Did you know families in Russia have been displaced of their modest homes to make way for “fancy” hotels for athletes via demolition of their property using corruption money? Have you no idea of “your tax money” has being unilaterally decided/destined to support Palestine’s Apartheid as if that money should not rather be sent towards subsidized/social housing (100,000 homeless families in Toronto alone!), or perhaps to sexual education programs for youth, daycare subsidy to low income families in “your country”? Have you no idea of the debate happening now to RENAME Union Station for Sir John A. Macdonald, directly responsible for Residential Schools in “your country”? You do know what a Canadian Residential School system is right? Did you know, the official corporation dressing “your Canadian athletes” is the Hudson Bay Company? The same corporation responsible for the killing, raping, displacement of aboriginals, their land and dignity? Have you no idea of Hudson Bay Traders delivering diseased blankets to Aboriginals and thus wiping out generations - Does any of this sit well with you?
It does not sit well with me, and if people are willing to give me a spotlight, I will use it to shine it on these issues, because I refuse to be subservient to evil, I refuse to be Harper’s servant and I have been since I moved here in 2006; and I did not even know it because I was ignorant, I was innocent, and never before moving to Canada, “your country” the “Best country in the world” was I aggressively asked to “move back to my country” or accused of “Mocking the flag” or being called “Racist” as if that is even possible.
I answer your questions with all the honesty and respect I can possibly provide you with. I am in awe of people like you who takes no responsibility or ownership for what really went and goes down in “your country” which I call KKKanada, because it is an accurate name for it.
For those of you reading and sharing my views and noticing any glitches or misinformation, please feel free to contact me directly so that I can rectify asap. Same goes to links and photos provided, will remove material upon request.
For those of you reading and thinking I should move back my my country, don’t worry, it is my dream to live back in KKKolombia, equally sexist and racist, but at least, just like pretty much in the States, people do not suffer from Passive-Agressiveness or Apathy, like we “oh so polite Canadians” are guilty of. In the States, if people don’t like you, because you are black, they will tell you right away, in Canada, they will smile politely at you and keep walking as if you don’t exist. They ignore “the other” which is by far more violent.
Malcolm X once said “You’re not to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it.” And we should honour that fact and take action, for ourselves, for the children of tomorrow, for L I F E.
If you read all of that…Thank you and my apologies for taking time from your cute kitties dressed as bunnies, I sure love escaping to la la land, but wouldn’t it be great if we could ALL ENJOY from the kitties dressed as bunnies equally?! In every nation?!
Thanks for the overwhelming love received so far, it helps me wake up every day even when some days seem too hard to even open my eyes.
Love to all, and love to you Jay Moller, I sincerely hope you understand where I am coming from and that you one day can become our ally and recognize “your country” as/for what it is - a racist regime on Colonized Land.
B R I D G E S
T O R O N T O
<3 ) ) ) )