Posted in Almost Dorothy, Culture Clash

Miguel Gutierrez & the Powerful People: It’s a Chemical Reaction


I make performances that are about things and are things themselves. The things they are about are big: how to live in the world, how to love, how to feel about being yourself. –Miguel Gutierrez

Miguel Gutierrez | Photo by Neil de la Flor

Ma and I are Kismet after watching Miguel Gutierrez & the Powerful People fly like wombats in Last Meadow at the Colony Theater on South Beach, which is just north of South South Beach. We were like eh and what at first but then the chemical reactions began. Because they’re powerful people, of course.

Miguel Gutierrez | Photo by Neil de la Flor

Of course, we are not that powerful as people, at least not as human people who are only people who are not superheros or drag queens on the side. Last Meadow was (and is) all about repetition and process, about holding hands with the right man  (Tarek Halaby/Michelle Boulé) or woman (Michelle Boulé/Tarek Halaby) (or with what man and/or woman feels right) and dancing in various stages of duress. Even in underwear.

The performance made sense when I dropped my mouth purse on the floor when Miguel walked on stage in a skirt. That’s when I realized it’s all about the velocity of ma dressing me and me dressing ma, of the purse falling to the floor, and of our irreversible contract with dentistry.

Ma and I chilled and took off our shoes and socks. The usher informed us that we are not things in themselves, yet, so we had to put our shoes and socks back on, sit in silence and focus. And so we did. In our best human posture. Sockless.

Miguel Gutierrez | Neil de la Flor

Secret #1: That’s Miguel Gutierrez as ma with her hands on her head. Ma had her hands on her head, too.

Secret #2: I float when I’m with and without ma, yet I never want to go home again. All I want to do is dance in a cute pink dress.

Secret #3: I photographed the backs of heads because that’s where the answers are embedded.

Secret #4: Mixed messages are the only messages we get (Miguel Gutierrez).

Miguel Gutierrez | Neil de la Flor

Ma and I counted the photons in the room. The sum equaled 10,000 super moons. Halfway through our counting, the performance gave ma the chills, which means ma cried or leaked something more radioactive than chicken soup out of her bloodshot eyes, when the  Powerful People sang an a capella version of Madonna’s (not the  Virgin Mary’s) “Physical Attraction”.  Because of that performance, ma can’t stop crying, or weeping, or expelling the chemical compounds in her head.

It’s a physical attraction, the Powerful People sang. It’s a chemical reaction, yeah, ma sang. Maybe we were meant to be together, I sang. Even though we never met before.

Miguel Gutierrez | Neil de la Flor

This is an FYI Bulletin: I think ma has gone black-swan recital mad cow now. Even though ma is a mamaqueen I never know when to  know when to take her banjo playing seriously away.

This is an FYI Bulletin, too: Ma knows how she feels but she’s not sure how she is supposed to feel. About herself. About  me. And I can’t stop contemplating myself in cut off shorts climbing an impossibly tall bonsai tree.

Miguel Gutierrez | Neil de la Flor

I can’t explain why ma is crying. She is  still crying and crying still beneath her red Chinese lantern strung up over her headboard like a side of beef. It’s been 24 hours and her big toes are the only toes that make sense to me right now as she rocks back and forth gripping her big toes. I think I need a vaccination or someone to perform the chicken dance on my behalf.

Miguel Gutierrez | Neil de la Flor

If you look acutely, you can see cute things, like the Powerful People performing the chicken dance at my banquet. If you look remotely, you can see how to live in the world, upside down or floating, and how to love or be loved, floating upside down, and how to feel about being yourself when you’re Ms. Doubtfire, or on fire, or doubt the existence of fire. There were powerful people in the room but none of them stood up because they just don’t know themselves. Yet.

Miguel Gutierrez | Photo by Neil de la Flor

Secret #5: Miguel reminded ma of another man whose name begins with M.

Secret #6: Physical attraction is a chemical reaction that begins with Saint Peter.

Secret #7: Chemical attraction is the origin of babies.

Miguel Gutierrez | Neil de la Flor

Everything gets red toward the end. Even the red gets redder as we (or it) moves faster in (or away) from our geographic locomotion. Like redshift, even the stars shift and leave scars across the blinding black universe. Ma looks invisible in bed contemplating Miguel Gutierrez. She looks as vulnerable and alone as an amoeba in a spacesuit.

Miguel Gutierrez | Neil de la Flor

In retrofit, Last Meadow reminded me, and especially ma, that humans want to feel human about themselves. It reminded me of what my BFF Squinny said about humans when we went break-dancing the other night. We’re always in the middle of our healing room, she said. Because when we reach the end of healing, we’re capital-D Dead. And no one wants to be in that room, ever. Not even the most powerful people in the bedroom.


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I'm not real, but I'm a writer.

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