In his chapter “Stages: Queers, Punks, and the Utopian Performative” in Cruising Utopia, José Esteban Muñoz models for us what he terms the “productive consumption” of photographer Kevin McCarty’s work. Inspired by Muñoz’s dialogic approach, recognizing that our own being-with him can take place only through his writing, I have structured this essay as a staging of a conversation between his previous recordings (aka writings) and Los Angeles–based writer/director/performer Luis Alfaro’s solo performance piece St. Jude. An acclaimed Chicano writer, performer, theater director, and activist, Alfaro is one of a number of artists that Muñoz engaged with in the performative collaboration between artist and writer. By focusing this essay on Alfaro’s work, I aim to not only work through the otherwise fixed schema of grief’s stages—the phases and places to which it continually moves and inhabits. With the kernels of potentiality that St. Jude offers, this essay also moves alongside Muñoz’s writing and thinking from queer utopia to brown feelings. “Time after time” does not just invoke a sense of pastness, a condition of postness, or the implication that we are living “after” the fact of José Esteban Muñoz’s death. Instead, guided by his treatise on stages and theories of performance’s potentiality, this essay argues that “time after time” signals the important work of returning to and recognizing Muñozian traces in the artists and artistic objects he studied, in the places visited and dwelled, in the writing and thinking he has changed forever.
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Christine Bacareza Balance; Time after Time: St. Jude, Stages, and Muñozian Traces. Social Text 1 December 2014; 32 (4 (121)): 105–113. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01642472-2820460
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