Arts Watch: Carmelita Tropicana & PS 122 Head Uptown to El Museo Del Barrio

Carmelita Tropicana, aka Alina Troyano, has made me laugh, and think, for years. When I first heard the name back in the nineties I was imagining an over-the-top Carmen Miranda type character from an old Hollywood musical, complete with a tutti fruiti hat, colorful bangles, and a song in her heart. That is exactly what I got—in a ‘downtown’ kind of way. Instead of sambas and dance numbers, this wonderful character was spewing out colorful and extremely witty narratives in an irreverent, send-up style that tore apart any notions of the stereotypical Latina. In Tropicana’s world, humor and fantasy became subversive tools to rewrite history.

Remembering Tom Murrin, Legendary Performance Art Pioneer

Tom Murrin. Photo via PAPERMAG.

Yesterday, we received the sad news that legendary performance art pioneer and playwright Tom Murrin has died of cancer. Murrin was a downtown original, heavily involved in the avant-garde theater movement, beginning at LaMaMa in the 1960s. He performed around town as “Tom ‘Trash’ Murrin” in the 1970s and in the ’80s, launched his celebrated Full Moon shows, performing as his alter-ego, The Alien Comic.

Every full moon, like clockwork, Murrin and his Full Moon Crew of downtown denizens could be seen at PS 122 performing their wacky and hilarious rituals to the lunar goddess, Luna Macaroona.