l to r: Liz Miller-Kovacs, “Pink Venus” (2019) (left); Rochelle Fabb (right) (all images courtesy the artists unless otherwise noted)

Bitch Slap! is an evening of performance and video art by several female and non-binary artists. Organized by Liz Miller Kovacs, hosted by Rochelle Fabb, and produced by Marcus Kuiland-Nazario, the performances challenge traditional notions of femininity, while also tackling stereotypes about race, gender, and sexual orientation.

Nao Bustamante and Matt Johnstone, “The Perfect Ones” (2007), eight minutes, film

Johnny Forever Nawracaj’s performance STUDS (2019) subverts the gender binary through an awkward, architecturally aided dance. Teetering on high heels, they will struggle to strap 10-foot-long wall studs to their body using panty hose. The Perfect Ones, a 2007 film by Nao Bustamante and Matt Johnstone, follows an amnesiac housewife as they discover a new life after entering a lesbian punk club. Dulce Soledad Ibarra’s video-performance work Tierra Rara (2019) features telenovela auditions by actors across the Latinx diaspora.

Xandra Ibarra, “Spictacle III: La Virgensota Jota” (2015), 6:20 mins, video

Between 2002 and 2012, Xandra Ibarra performed hundreds of live “spictacles” (“spectacles” modified by a derogatory term for Latinxs), as her alter ego La Chica boom. These raunchy, campy skits played on racial and sexual tropes regarding her identity as a queer, border-straddling Latinx woman. In Virgensota Jota, she plays the role of La Virgen de Guadalupe, Patron Saint of Mexico (and Patroness of the Americas since 1999), who births “a Hitachi Wand vibrator, converts herself into the Mexican version of the Statue of Liberty and masturbates to orgasm while chewing gum.” Liz Miller-Kovacs also takes aim at another iconic female figure, Botticelli’s Venus, who emerges into a future “filled with psychedelic sludge” in her surreal 2019 performance Pink Venus. In her 2018 video Thou, Micaela Tobin, who performs as White Boy Scream, transforms from an elegant opera diva dressed in white to a purple-hued “ube queen” in celebration of her Filipina heritage, as the music dissolves from melodic hymn to aggressive noise.

Using lo-fi abjection, transgressive humor, and campy theatricality, the artists in Bitch Slap! prove that there are multiple ways to express the feminine, as well as critique the gendered status quo.

White Boy Scream (Micaela Tobin), directed by Katie Stenberg, “Thou” (2018), three minutes, video

When: Sunday, October 6, 7–10pm
Where: Human Resources (410 Cottage Home Street, Chinatown, Los Angeles)

More info at Human Resources.

The Latest

Matt Stromberg

Matt Stromberg is a freelance visual arts writer based in Los Angeles. In addition to Hyperallergic, he has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, CARLA, Apollo, ARTNews, and other publications.