Nisha Rathode

Carmelita Tropicana

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Name  Carmelita Tropicana
Role  Film actress

Books  I, Carmelita Tropicana
Siblings  Ela Troyano
Carmelita Tropicana Brooklyn Museum Carmelita Tropicana
Movies  Latin Boys Go to Hell, Loisaida Lusts
Awards  Obie Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance
Nominations  Lambda Literary Award for Drama
People also search for  Ela Troyano, Marga Gomez

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Alina Troyano, more commonly known as Carmelita Tropicana, is a Cuban-American stage and film lesbian actress who lives and works in New York City. Troyano burst on New York’s downtown performing arts scene in the eighties with her alter ego, the spitfire Carmelita Tropicana and her counterpart, the irresistible archetypal Latin macho Pingalito Betancourt, followed by performances as Hernando Cortez’s horse and la Cucaracha Martina from her childhood fairy tales in Cuba. In Tropicana’s work humor and fantasy become subversive tools to rewrite history. In 1999, she received an Obie Award for Sustained Excellence in Performance. She is the sister of the independent film director Ela Troyano, who directed Carmelita Tropicana: Your Kunst Is Your Waffen. Both form part of the alternative arts scene in the East Village and Lower East Side. Tropicana started her career in the early 1980s performing at the WOW Café Theater (a woman's theater collective) and now performs extensively in spaces such as Performance Space 122 and Dixon Place. In 2010, Tropicana served as a co-hostess to Vaginal Davis' performance piece "Speaking from the Diaphragm" at Performance Space 122. Tropicana often collaborates with her sister and with other performers such as Marga Gomez. She is the author of a collection of performance pieces and short essays called I, Carmelita Tropicana: Performing between Cultures that includes four performance scripts, a screenplay, and three essays. Some of her work was featured in tatiana de la tierra's magazine Esto no tine nombre, which gave voice to Latina lesbians all over the world and published the artistic pieces of Latina lesbians like Tropicana's.


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Tropicana’s performances plays and videos have been presented at venues such as the Institute of Contemporary Art in London, Hebbel Am Ufer in Berlin, Centre de Cultura Contemporanea in Barcelona, the Berlin International Film Festival, the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, the Mark Taper Forum’s Kirk Douglas Theater in Los Angeles, and El Museo del Barrio in New York. Her work has received funding support from the Independent Television Service, the Jerome Foundation, and the Rockefeller Suitcase Fund. Upcoming projects include S-B, a collaboration with filmmakers Ela Troyano and Susanne Sachsse, and El Comandante, based on her father who fought in the Cuban Revolution.

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Criticism and Interviews

Carmelita Tropicana Performances by Peter Cramer Jack Waters and Carmelita Tropicana

The performance art of Carmelita Tropicana has received considerable critical attention from scholars of queer latinidad and performance art, most notably José Esteban Muñoz and Yvonne Yarbro-Bejarano. In his text, Disidentifications, Muñoz uses the work of Carmelita Tropicana to illustrate the ways "camp" and "choteo" function as distinct comedic modes of disidentification. Her work has also been cited in: From Bananas to Buttocks: The Latina Body in Popular Film and Culture, Selenidad: Selena, Latinos, and the Performance of Memory, José, Can You See?: Latinos on and Off Broadway, Virtual Gender: Fantasies of Subjectivity and Embodiment.


Carmelita Tropicana Carmelita Tropicana
  • Creative Capital award, 2016.
  • Anonymous Was a Woman, 2005.
  • Obie for Sustained Excellence in Performance, 1999.

    Carmelita Tropicana Brooklyn Museum Carmelita Tropicana


    Carmelita Tropicana Wikipedia

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