Writer, Musico, Performance Poet, Political & Cultural Commentator
Writer and performer Rubén Martínez is the host of VARIEDADES (“variety show” in Spanish), a 21st-century variant of old Mexican vaudeville shows. Artists and thinkers come together across generations and disciplines—musicians, writers, painters, public intellectuals, and activists. Imagine the intellectual backed up by the house band, the writer interviewing the painter, the entire cast joining in on a hootenanny. As emcee Martínez weaves narratives together while embodying the interdisciplinary spirit—spoken word artist and musician, professor of literature and activist. What focuses the performance is a single, unifying theme—and at the moment there is none more critical than the drug war, which, as VARIEDADES presents it, involves the United States as much as it does Mexico. With performance and conversation, with drama and pathos and comedy, a bi-national cast approaches the complexities honestly and entertainingly.
Martínez is also a dynamic solo “performance lecture” presenter. He recently completed his fifth book, Desert America: Boom and Bust in the New Old West, a compendium of memoir, reportage, and criticism about race, class, gentrification, and drug addiction and violence in the contemporary American Southwest, published by Metropolitan/Holt.
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