We Want the Airwaves: Cherry Galette Cherry Galette: At one point (laughter) in my 20s I was a big Martha Stewart

fan (laughter). My partner at the time…you know…I ust really lo!e"# like# being a goo" little $ueer homemaker in all of these ways. So# basi%ally my partner got me a subs%ription to Martha Stewart &i!ing# an" the 'uly issue(('uly is my birth"ay month(( there was a pi%ture of this beautiful pastry on the front# an" it was a %herry galette# an" I was like# )*mg# what is that+ I ha!e to make it.) An" so then I kin" of starte" kin" of# you know# learning the re%ipe. An" as I was learning the re%ipe I was thinking a lot. An" my family has a !ery interesting history with %herries# whi%h is that it is the %rap I think we most often pi%ke" as farm workers in the ,orthwest. An" it-s the first %rop that I remember pi%king. An" there were these ways that I hate" %herries when I was little. An" to a"" insult to in ury# my (laughter) family plante" a %herry tree (laughter) in front of the house that we li!e" in# an" so it was like there was no es%ape. An" I %oul"n-t get away from them. So I pi%ke" them# an" then like many# you know# low(in%ome immigrant families# we ma"e the most we %oul" out of %herries. So literally there were woul" be# like# %herry pie# %herry empana"as…(laughter) like anything you %oul" possibly "o with %herry. .e ha" %herry %obbler# fro/en %herries# like# fresh %herries. 0ou-re hungry# oh go eat some %herries. It was like (laughter)# I %oul"n-t es%ape them. An" so I "i"n-t eat %herries until I was probably like 20 years ol" in the %ollege town that I was going to s%hool in. An" I remember walking in the fan%y pro"u%e market an" seeing a bag of %herries for this outrageous pri%e# an" I was like what the fuck. An" I bought them %ause I was really nostalgi%# an" that was kin" of my home%oming to %herries# an" I re"e!elope" an appre%iation an" "eep lo!e for %herries. *kay# so fastforwar" to this re%ipe. So here I was "ealing with these %herries# an" then I was remembering the signifi%an%e of that an" the signifi%an%e of %herries in my life an" also thinking about# you know# the wor" )galette) whi%h# you know# translates as )tart) really. An" to me it was kin" of a %on oining of these two !ery "istin%t…wor"s# you know# that kin" of %ombine my family-s bloo"lines an" were kin" of a )fu%k you) to the imperialist# like# 1ren%h# you know# (laughter) for%es that o%%upie" ,orth Afri%a an" the Mi""le 2ast. An" to me 3herry 4alette seeme" a great name to take on# assume# an" %arry forth in the worl" for my own $ueer purposes. An" that-s what I "i". (musi%al interlu"e) Nia King: .el%ome to .e .ant the Airwa!es. My name is ,ia 5ing# an" I-m !ery e6%ite" to be still po"%asting in 2078. 9hanks again to e!eryone who "onate" to my last In"iegogo %ampaign. I sort of took 'anuary off to fo%us on a %ouple pie%es that I-m working on for maga/ines an" also the book that I-m making out of these po"%ast inter!iews with my frien"s 'essi%a 4lennon(:ukoff an" 9erra Mikalson# but now I-m ba%k# an" this first inter!iew is with 3herry 4alette who "oes all kin"s of "ifferent "an%e# but I think is probably most well known for burles$ue as well as for being a %ofoun"er an" %o(%urator of Mangoes with 3hile# a $ueer an" trans people of %olor %abaret# whi%h is about to go on tour. I guess by the time this episo"e goes up the tour will alrea"y ha!e

starte". ;ut# the "ay this goes up((1ebruary 7((they will be performing at *regon State <ni!ersity# 3or!allis. So you %an still %he%k that out. An" then the 2n"# they-ll be performing in 2ugene# *=. 1ebruary 8 they-ll be performing here in *aklan" at the 2astsi"e 3ultural 3enter. *n the >th# they-ll be in &.A. ?th they-ll be at 1lu66 1est in 9u%son. An" 1ebruary @ they-ll be in Ahoeni6. 9hey-re gonna be in Santa 1e on 1ebruary B# San Antonio on the 70th# Austin on the 77th# Couston on the 72th# ,ew *rleans on the 7Dth. An" for "etails about where in those %ities they-ll be performing# %he%k out mangoswith%hili.%om. .ithout further a"o# here-s 3herry. (musi%al interlu"e) Nia: 0ou grew up in the Aa%ifi% ,orthwest+ Cherry: I "i". 0eah# a lot of folks "on-t know that there-s a lot of immigrant %ommunities there in the rural areas of the northwest# an" it-s kin" of the en" of the migrant %hain. 0ou know# a lot of families will start migrating from "ifferent areas of the <.S. an" then kin" of en" up there# an" there-s ust like a lot of work there# so families sti%k aroun" an" make little %ommunities# an"# yeah# that-s where I grew up. Nia: .ere there other 3hi%anaEMoro%%an folks in the %ommunity that you %ame from# or was your family kin" of an anomaly there+ Cherry: .e were the only one# yeah. I think…yeah# when I look at the for%es that "rew my folks together# you know# it-s kin" of musi% an" performati!e stuff that-s at the root of them. An" my family has really# like# funny stories about how they met. (laughter) Nia: *kay. Cherry: 0eah. (laughter) Nia: .ell# I-" lo!e to hear one. Cherry: So# yeah# my mom-s family was really# really stri%t# naturally((as a lot of immigrant families are. An" (laughter) my "a"-s family…my poor "a"-s mother ga!e birth to @ sons# all musi%ians# whi%h was… Nia: A lou" house+ Cherry: (laughter) It…yeah# it was…like…yeah…yeah. (laughter) All of our houses are lou" as a result of that# an" it was a kin" of pla%e where# you know# you were han"e" an instrument when you %oul" walk. *r you woul" grow up sitting on someone-s lap while they playe" an instrument# so you ust kin" of fell into that naturally. So# yeah# I play piano an" per%ussion. ;ut not publi%ly !ery often. Nia: I rea" that you playe" per%ussion. .hat kin" of per%ussion "i" you play+

Cherry: 2!erything. 3ongas are my fa!orite# an" also marimba. Nia: 3ool. Cherry: 0eah. ;ut# yeah# so my mom an" her sisters((a %ouple of her sisters((snu%k out an" hear" that there was this ama/ing ban" playing that they ha" to go %he%k out. An" my "a" was on stage. Nia: An" this was like where# geographi%ally+ Cherry: *h my go"# it-s like in the mi""le of nowhere. Nia: *kay. Cherry: In .ashington state. &ike# literally# if you put your finger in the mi""le of the map of .ashington state that-s where it is. Nia: *kay. Cherry: An"# yeah# you know he tells the story like# )An" I looke" out in the au"ien%e an" there was this beautiful girl# an" I sai" that-s the woman I-m going to make my wife.) Nia: (laughter) Cherry: An" my mom was like (laughter)# )*h my goo"ness# you-re lying. 9here were probably women throwing themsel!es at you# an" you "i"n-t e!en talk to me that night#) an"# yeah. ;ut he "i" en" up marrying her# an"…they ma"e me an" my brothers an" sisters so… Nia: An" your mom-s a musi%ian too# or a "an%er+ Cherry: A !o%alist. Nia: A !o%alist+ 3ool. 0eah# I rea" in your bio it sai" you were raise" by a family of legen"ary musi%(makers. Cherry: 0eah# so this is a%tually kin" of %ute# be%ause I grew up# like# going to gigs with my "a"# an" so like the touring lifestyle is !ery mu%h in my# you know# periphery of like life e6perien%e an" life e6pe%tations. (laughter) Nia: I-m sorry# what "i" your "a" play+ Cherry: *h# so he plays a%%or"ion# an" he plays ba o se6to# an" basi%ally a lot of the tra"itional stringe" instruments of Me6i%o. So# yeah. Nia: 3ool.

Cherry: An"# yeah. So# yeah# you know# basi%ally there woul" be a %ara!an be%ause e!erybo"y ha" a family an" all the families ha" to %ome along too. (laughter) Nia: An" "i" you tour ust mostly lo%ally or like all o!er+ Cherry: In the ,ortheast. Nia: *kay# %ool. So# how "i" you pi%k up "an%ing+ Cherry: ;asi%ally# my parents foun" a way on their limite" in%ome to put me in a ballet %lass when I was small# an"… Nia: Cow small+ Cherry: *h# like D years ol". An" it kin" of really stu%k. (laughter) An" that-s how it starte". An" I-m really tou%he" that they foun" ways to like pro!i"e that for me. 3ause it-s# you know# "efinitely not something that they %oul" really affor"# an" I know it meant "emeaning things like# you know# %leaning the stu"io. *r my "a" "oing# like# %onstru%tion work or other things that other families "i"nFt ha!e to "o. So# I-m really# you know# ust please" an" honore" that they ga!e me that gift# an"# you know# please" that I-!e been able to use it to my own $ueer purposes. Nia: 0eah# let-s talk about those $ueer purposes. BOTH: (laughter) Nia: So# in the inter!iew that you "i" with# oh go"# I thought it was 2astbay 26press# but maybe it was an S1 paper. 9he one where they "i" a profile of you in burles$ue# an" it was aroun" the time that the burles$ue film was %oming out. 0ou remember the pie%e I-m talking about. Cherry: *h right# yeah# that was the *aklan" 9ribune. Nia: 9hank you. (laughter) Cherry: 0eah. Nia: It sai" that you e6plore ra%e# power# an" empire through "an%e in your work# an" I was hoping you %oul" talk a little bit about how. Cherry: 0eah# so# I think those are the stories that ha!e always intrigue" me the most# an" spe%ifi%ally the story of like $ueer bo"y in "iaspora# an"# yeah# you know what are the lega%ies that we %arry with us# an" when I %hoose to put my bo"y on stage an" re!eal my bo"y in !arious ways what are the lega%ies that that %arries with it. An" one pie%e that I think "oes a goo" ob of breaking that "own is la petenera pie%e# whi%h is basi%ally

base" on a folk song that %ame out of Spain. An" it was really about these women "an%ers of ,orth Afri%a an" how they were sent to !arious %amps when a lot of war was going on an" imperialist for%es were %oming into ,orth Afri%aG these women were sent to "an%e an" "istra%t. An"# you know# then the %amps woul" be ambushe" an" %haos woul" ensue. An" I though that that was like a really brilliant anti(imperialist tool. An" I "is%o!ere" the song a%tually through one of my "a"-s gigs when I was a teenager. 3ause I-" hear" a bun%h of !ersions of the song# an" the way that it manifests is like# you know# it-s a tale of like a mermai" an" how se"u%ti!e she is an" how beautiful an" how you-ll see her an" you-ll really want to know about her an" you-ll really want to kiss her but you %an-t be%ause she-s an animal. Nia: (laughter) Cherry: (laughter) It-s basi%ally# like# yeah…an" yeah ust really talking about how animalisti% she is an"# you know# stuff like this. An" I "is%o!ere" this song sung from a woman-s perspe%ti!e at one of my father-s gigs# an" it was the first time I-" hear" it sung from a woman-s perspe%ti!e. An" in that !ersion# you know# she was talking about how har" it was to manage all the sharks that were trying to get at her an"# you know# fight the battles that she ha" to. An" it tol" the story of arri!ing in Me6i%o an"# you know# the new worl"s that she ha" to now na!igate. An" to me that was really profoun" to think about. An" you know I kin" of thought about like the new worl"s that many of us na!igate as $ueer people of %olor. 0ou know# whether it-s like lea!ing home or# you know# all the ways that we are aske" to…kin" of tra!erse# you know# tra!el# an" ourney to "ifferent realms# an"… Nia: So# then# is that like imbuing the song with sort of an imperialist meaning# or an anti…like# how…%ause )new worl") has su%h imperialist %onnotations… Cherry: *h absolutely it "oes. Nia: So what-s your interpretation of that+ Cherry: Say more about what you mean# I lost you. Nia: So# it-s talking about this mermai". An" it-s talking about all the sharks that she ha" to get away from# but is she %oming from the ol" worl" to the new worl". &ike# is she a %on$uista"or type figure or… Cherry: *h no no no…it was like she "i"n-t ha!e an option# an" she en"e" up there. An" now she was in this new pla%e an" you know kin" of ha" to fin" her way. An" so# to me# that was su%h a powerful story# an" I was like# )I ha!e to fin" out more about this song.) An" so then I began this like lengthy pro%ess of resear%h through whi%h I learne" kin" of aroun" the song-s history# an" so when I perform it I-m wearing a mermai"-s tail an" either a %ala!era mask or ha!e my fa%e painte". An" it "raws on a lot of tra"itional mo!ement from ,orth Afri%a an" the Mi""le 2ast# an" a lot of my work uses kin" of

tra"itional mo!ement from# you know# either that "iaspora or the &atina "iaspora# so# yeah# that-s one e6ample. Nia: Cow "o you "efine tra"itional mo!ement+ &ike# what "oes that mean+ Cherry: 9hat-s a goo" $uestion. 0eah# so to %larify# I mean like# you know# the "an%e forms that originate from those…pla%es. Nia: Cow "o you "an%e in a mermai" tail+ (laughter) 9hat soun"s like it-" be really "iffi%ult. Cherry: 9here are ways. I… Nia: Are your feet a%tually# like…are your legs…%an you mo!e them+ (laughter) Cherry: .ell# I "esigne" it so that the tail part was trailing behin" me… Nia: *kay. Cherry: An" the front part ha" kin" of layers of tulle that fanne" out so that a%tually I %oul" separate me feet. Nia: *kay. Cherry: An"# yeah# I thought it woul" be really really hot like the smaller I %oul" get it aroun" my %al!es# but then I reali/e"# yeah that-s ust kin" of a re%ipe for "isaster# so… Nia: (laughter) Cherry: An"# yeah…it-s always an e6periment with %ostuming like that. Nia: 0eah# so you make your own %ostumes in a""ition to "oing all the %horeography. Cherry: 0eah. An" I-m a goo" re!amper of things# so I-ll# you know# fin" something in a thrift store an" tear it up for my own $ueer purposes. Nia: .hat "oes being a "an%er mean to you+ Cherry: It means that I ha!e so mu%h oy in my bo"y on some "ays# or so mu%h sorrow on other "ays# or so mu%h story on e!ery "ay that ust likes wants to e6plo"e an" emerge out. An" it means letting go an" gi!ing myself the spa%e to make that happen. An"… yeah# mo!ement %an take so many "ifferent forms# an" there-s no# you know# I think wrong way to approa%h it. Nia: I-m remembering this story((an" I hope you-ll %orre%t me if I-m wrong((be%ause it was tol" to me se!eral years ago# an" it might not ha!e been a%%urate then. ;ut# a frien"

of mine was telling me about a Mango show that she saw that I think was for 3ounterA<&S2+ Cherry: <h huh. (laughter) Nia: An" that it was a mu%h whiter au"ien%e than Mango usually has. Cherry: *h# yeah. <h huh. Nia: An" I think it was a performan%e you "i" where someone in the au"ien%e was in!ite" to sma%k you on the ass+ Am I…saying that %orre%tly+ Cherry: <h# no# you-re totally saying that %orre%tly# yeah. Nia: (laughter) An"# the frien" who was telling me the story ha" this e6perien%e of it being like a !ery strange thing be%ause it was su%h a white au"ien%e. An" so it was like )how is the au"ien%e relating to your brown bo"y in that moment.) Cherry: 0eah# totally. (laughter) Nia: 3an you talk a little bit about like the intention behin" that pie%e an" also… Cherry: Sure. Nia: …the result. Cherry: (laughter) 0eah…so… (laughter) Nia: (laughter) Cherry: 9hat is su%h a fun story. ;e%ause yeah# like# we knew it was going to be really white. An" the %ollaborators in!ol!e" were 'uba 5alamka# 4aston Mar/o# ,i%o Ha%umos an" Irina 3ontreras. An" (laughter) ,i%o basi%ally has this %hara%ter that has appeare" in a few Mangos with 3hili shows# Arofessor Ama"or# who lo!es white women. Nia: (laughter) Cherry: 9hat-s not to say# like# I "on-t…I-m not "issing interra%ial relationships or anything like that… Nia: Ce "i" a really funny thing on interra%ial relationships that I remember really well. (laughter) Cherry: I know… (laughter) 0eah. An"# you know… Nia: ;ut it-s satire.

Cherry: It-s satire# yeah. An" I will ust say that I "efinitely got hate mail as a %urator for… Nia: 1or that parti%ular pie%e+ Cherry: 0eah. Nia: .ow. Cherry: 0eah. ;ut…that-s okay…e!erybo"y is entitle" to their# you know# thoughts# an" their "esire to write an" sen" hate mail# so… Nia: I-m gonna %ome ba%k to that later. Cherry: (laughter) So# anyway…in this parti%ular…for this parti%ular show we thought it woul" be really funny to %ontinue this Arofessor Ama"or narrati!e an" kin" of see# you know# where it woul" go in front of a white au"ien%e. An" there was an element of e6perimentation "efinitely built in where we ha" kin" of the sket%h of the pie%e an" our %hara%ters. So# you know# it was like Hr. Ama"or ha"# you know# brought these spe%imens to gi!e a le%ture on an"# you know… Nia: An" you were one of the spe%imens… Cherry: I was one of the spe%imens# uh huh. 0eah# the wil" tiger from# you know# the ungle. (laughter) 0eah. Nia: *kay. Cherry: &ike the 0u%atan ungle. An"# you know# 4aston Ma/o was# you know# a flamen%o "an%er…you know# gen"er$ueer flamen%o "an%er. An"# you know# 'uba-s %hara%ter "i" not speak# an" it was also the first time((allege"ly((that 'uba-s %hara%ter was wearing pants. Nia: (laughter) *kay. Cherry: So (laughter) the way that we stage" this was really a%tually kin" of funny… !ery funny. So# Irina went aroun" with flyers to the au"ien%e before the show an"# like# it-s really funny be%ause this was our# you know# kin" of fun"raiser. An" we ust kin" of wante" to see what woul" happen# you know+ An" (laughter)… Nia: .as this like a -fu%k you- to the white fun"ers or# like…what… Cherry: It was ust…yeah…fu%k you to white suprema%y in all of its manifestations in the ;ay Area an" the fun"ing worl"# in the arts worl"...

Nia: So it-s sort of like playing on the awkwar"ness of being these brown people on stage for white people-s entertainment. Cherry: 0es. (laughter) So# Irina was passing out these flyers that were like# you know# )1u%k Hr. Ama"or. ;oy%ott this performan%e. &ike# this is not okay# you guys nee" to know what-s going on.) An" like# Irina of like going up in full %hara%ter to folks before the show. An" their rea%tions were really funny be%ause some of them were like )*h my go". I ha" no i"ea that this was happening tonight. I "on-t know how I feel about this. I…) Nia: Hi" people walk out+ Cherry: ,obo"y walke" out. 2!erybo"y staye". (laughter) An"# you know# this was after they ha" alrea"y gi!en 3ounterA<&S2 their money# so# you know (laughter) there-s that. An"# you know# other folks were like )*h# well# you know# we really support this arts organi/ation# an" I "on-t know. I-!e ne!er hear" of this person before# but I ust…I-m going to sti%k aroun" an"# you know# thank you for sharing this information with me.) An" other folks ust "i"n-t want to talk to her# %ause they ust saw an angry brown woman. An"# you know# plenty of folks in the ;ay Area# like other parts of the worl"# "on-t want to talk to angry brown women. So# yeah# we pro%ee"e" to start# you know# our pie%e. An" ,i%o woul" let us out of the %age one at a time# an" we woul" perform# an" you know# yeah# so at one point when I was out of the %age an" was "an%ing# yes people were in!ite" to pet me. An" so# yeah# I got my ass sma%ke". An"… Nia: .ait. Aetting an" ass sma%king soun" like two !ery "ifferent things. (laughter) Cherry: 9hey are two totally "ifferent things# you-re right. Nia: *kay# so someone took it upon themselves… Cherry: 9o sma%k my ass# yeah. An"# you know# I basi%ally thought it was like really funny. I was like# these white people are# you know# out of %ontrol. An" nobo"y…what was so interesting to me was that# you know# nobo"y in that spa%e $uestione" that# you know# an" yeah# how are you in!ite" to# like# pet somebo"y an" all of a su""en you-re sma%king their ass. (laughter) 0ou know+ An" so to me it was a really interesting performan%e e6periment aroun" the brown bo"y in white spa%es an" white art spa%es an" white ;ay Area $ueer spa%es. An"# yeah# so at that point in the performan%e Irina-s %hara%ter((who was plante" in the au"ien%e((got up an" ma"e a big "eal. An" still# like# nobo"y in the au"ien%e (laughter) like# "i" anything. ,ee"less to say# we weren-t in!ite" ba%k…(laughter) Nia: (laughter) 9hat-s really the best pla%e to en" that story. Cherry: 0eah.

Nia: ;ut it-s making me think of…"o you know the performer &271+ 9he $ueer hip hop artist+ Cherry: <n(unh. Nia: I saw him open for another rap group that I really like a %ouple years ago# an" some people were like up onstage "an%ing with him# an" this white $ueer person ust li%ke" him. &ike# from his hip to like his shoul"erI An" I was ust like# J.hy woul" you e!er think that-s okay+K 0ou ha!e a brown $ueer person performing on stage# for you to feel so entitle" to their bo"y that you woul" put your tongue all o!er it (laughter) while they-re performing# it was ust like terrifying. Cherry: 0eah# an" I think# yeah…"efinitely I think within an arts %onte6t too. 0ou know# I feel like those two e6amples are "ri!en home e!en further I think# in terms of like the %onsumable brown $ueer bo"y. An"# yeah# you know the relationship to the au"ien%e in those %ases# you know# an" how it feels mu%h "ifferent naturally when you ha!e an au"ien%e of $ueer an" trans people of %olor. Nia: Ho you think it-s be%ause it was a white au"ien%e that they felt entitle" to your bo"y in that way+ *r "o you think that a $ueer au"ien%e of %olor might ha!e ha" like…I mean e!en if they ha" the same rea%tion# you-" probably interpret it really "ifferently# right+ *r am I putting wor"s in your mouth+ Cherry: .ell# I think that "ynami% woul" %ertainly be "ifferent. 0eah. It… ust be%ause# if it-s a brown person# rea%hing out to sma%k your ass that-s a lot "ifferent than a white person rea%hing out to sma%k your ass. An" of %ourse# like# matters of %onsent %ome up with both# you know# an" I "on-t want to minimi/e that. ;ut# an" I also want to %larify that# like# walking into that performan%e e6periment we kin" of knew that anything %oul" happen. An" so# yeah# we were kin" of prepare" for that# "efinitely. (laughter) Nia: 0ou sai" something about wanting to be a%%ountable to your au"ien%e# an" I-m %urious what that looks like for you as a %urator. Cherry: Sure. So…it looks like…making sure…to the e6tent that we are able to# as %urators an" pro"u%ers# that nothing ableist# ra%ist# transphobi% happens on our stage# an"… Nia: 9hat-s interesting be%ause# like# someone slapping you on the ass %oul" %ertainly be interprete" as ra%ist right+ Cherry: *h# for sure. An" I want to say like# yeah# that situation was uni$ue in its e6perimentation. 0eah.

Nia: I think what I-m trying to say is that# like# how "o you "efine that line+ ;e%ause when you-re talking about "oing satire in regar"s to ra%e# but then on top of that# like# you know $ueer an" trans A*3 au"ien%es ha!e !ery "ifferent lines in terms of like… Cherry: *h# yeah# mmm(hm. Nia: …in"i!i"ual to in"i!i"ual in terms of what they feel is like appropriate or offensi!e. Cherry: ,o# I think that that-s a really !ali" an" soli" point. Nia: I-m not trying to %all you a ra%ist# by the way. (laughter) Cherry: (laughter) ,o# but it-s true# yeah# %ertainly it makes me think of the use of satire. An" there-s %ertainly been a lot of satiri%al work on our stages. &ike# a ton a%tually. Nia: .hi%h I lo!e. Cherry: 0eah (laughter). An"# yeah# but for me a%%ountability aroun" that means# like# being willing to engage in a %on!ersation with somebo"y if they-re feeling things about it. Nia: 0ou mean an au"ien%e member or a performer or…+ Cherry: An au"ien%e member "efinitely. 0eah. ;efore shows we usually ha!e a performer-s %ir%le like a month or so out# an" sometimes it-s a longer planning pro%ess if it-s a really intri%ate show. So# folks are aware of ea%h others- work an" %an offer thoughts an" fee"ba%k an" ask $uestions an" kin" of "ig in in that way# whi%h I fin" really useful. Nia: Cow "o you %hoose your performers+ Cherry: So (laughter) I wish that we ha" more %apa%ity be%ause I know that there are so many won"erful# talente" performers out there. An" there are two of us with limite" %apa%ity. An" usually we are always keeping our eyes open for new folks an" new performers an" also %ommitte" to ha!ing performers who ha!e been on our stages before# be%ause I think that there-s kin" of a le!el of "eeper engagement with the work an" "eeper risk taking that %an happen if you-re performing with a group of people o!er a perio" of time. An" at the same time it-s really important to ha!e new performers on the stage an" gi!e them a %han%e to show%ase their beautiful work an" help "e!elop it. Nia: So is there like a ratio that you shoot for in terms of like new artists !ersus artists you-!e worke" with before+ Cherry: I think within like a %alen"ar year it-s probably like about a thir" new an" the rest folks we-!e performe" with pre!iously.

Nia: An" "o you…I feel like this is gonna soun" weir" no matter how I put it… Cherry: 9hat-s okay. Nia: Cow mu%h is "i!ersity a fa%tor in %hoosing who performs+ Cherry: It-s a%tually a huge fa%tor. 0ou know# be%ause yeah we "efinitely want to ha!e a show that resonates with as many au"ien%e members as possible. An" of %ourse that-s like a really lofty goal to ha!e an" sometimes it-s "efinitely impossible. Nia: 0ou usually ha!e about B performers in a parti%ular show%ase+ Cherry: 0eah. An" we typi%ally "on-t want somebo"y to e!er be the only# you know LM# 0# or :N…that-s performing. An" sometimes that-s unfortunately una!oi"able ust be%ause of s%he"ules an" who-s a!ailable on a %ertain night. Nia: 0eah# an" if you-re trying to get like a really "i!erse group of B then you-re not going to ha!e 2# 2# 2# an" 2 (laughter). Cherry: 0eah# yeah. So# we try to approa%h it with a lot of gra%e an" %ons%iousness an"# you know# "oing the best that we %an. An" a%knowle"ging that sometimes the best we %an isn-t goo" enough# an" to try an" "o better. Nia: Is that something you re%ei!e…is "i!ersity something that you re%ei!e %riti%ism aroun"+ I feel like there was a time when it was largely like %is women an" trans men# an" I feel like it-s been "rifting away from that in the last %ouple of years. Cherry: 0eah# "efinitely. 9hat-s something that I think it-s really important to speak to. 0eah# is that…yeah# when we starte" it was# you know# "efinitely folks who were kin" of in our networks whi%h is mostly %is women an" trans men# you know. An"# yeah# it-s been in%reasingly important to mo!e away from that an"# you know# to really think about %elebrating the won"erful resilient trans women of %olor artists who are ali!e an" not ust# you know# mythologi/ing our "ea". An" that-s something that we-!e "efinitely re%ei!e" %riti$ue aroun" an" that we ha!e intentionally worke" at impro!ing in our work. Nia: An" how "o you "o that+ &ike# is it a spe%ifi% sort of re%ruiting effort or…+ Cherry: .ell I-m %onstantly look at performan%e s%enes in like "ifferent %ities an"# you know# trying to figure out who-s "oing what an"# yeah# looking at lineups an" trying to learn about "ifferent artists. An" I also think it-s ust like really goo" when people sen" us their stuff or# you know# intro"u%e themsel!es. 3ause that-s a great way to get to know# you know# new folks an" new artists. So I en%ourage that for sure. Nia: So you-re re%epti!e to like %ol" %alls+ Cherry: *h yeah.

Nia: An" what "o you look for+ &ike# how "o you "e%i"e who-s Mangos material+ Cherry: *h go" (laughter). Nia: *r "o you ust know it when you see it+ Cherry: I "on-t feel like there-s one sort of# you know# artist profile that fits. If you look at who-s going on tour with us this year there are# you know# artists with a wi"e range of performan%e e6perien%e. Nia: 0eah# I know 'ulio is like mostly known as an illustrator# so I-m %urious to see what his performan%e is gonna be like. Cherry: 0eah# "efinitely. 0ou know# an" some of the folks on tour are newer performers an" ha!e less e6perien%e# an" some are like really !eteran %areer performers. An"# yeah# I woul"n-t say that there-s anything that an artist has ha" to a%%omplish or anything. It-s not like that# you know# it-s more about looking at the story that the work represents an" also# you know# how a potential pie%e fits on a gi!en stage for a %ertain pro"u%tion aroun" a %ertain theme. Nia: So# like# whether it relates to the theme or whether it relates well to the other pie%es in the show+ Cherry: 0eah. ;e%ause we "efinitely think about o!erall narrati!e an" shaping it in that way. An" so e!en if an artist# you know# a parti%ular artist-s propose" pie%e might not be a goo" mat%h for a %ertain show it might be a great mat%h for# like# the show that-s %oming in a few months# you know. 9his is (laughter) perhaps my fa!orite Mangos show that we "o e!ery year# an" I ten" to… Nia: So you usually "o one aroun" Oalentine-s Hay# one aroun" Calloween. An" the Oalentine-s one I think ten"s to be a little bit more upbeat+ I mean# it-s always like a range. It-s always sort of an emotional ourney e!ery show# but the theme for…so# the 1ebruary one is %alle" Whipped… Cherry: <h huh. Nia: An" then the *%tober one is %alle" Beloved: Remembering Our Dead… Cherry: A Requiem For Our Dead. Nia: So that ten"s to be a little bit more somber. Cherry: Somber# "efinitely# yeah. 0eah# an" I-ll ust ba%k up to talk about the histories of the shows. So# yeah# &eah an" I met in the summer of 200># an" we were both !isiting the ;ay Area. An" we were at an artist-s retreat an" !isiting our sweethearts at the time

an" ust like ha!ing a goo" time in like really %ol" San 1ran%is%o. An" we were both like# )you know what I ha!e this "ream# an" you know really+ I ha!e the same "ream too. Cow "o we make this happen+ &et-s make this happen.) An" like we li!e" in two totally "ifferent %ities at the time so… Nia: An" you two ha" been talking online for a while. Cherry: 9his is true# yes. 9hat rumor is true. .e a%tually met !ia 1rien"ster (laughter). Nia: 9hat-s a"orable. Cherry: It is. I wish I %oul" like get ba%k into my ol" 1rien"ster profile. It was like really hilarious. It sai" that I was rumore" to o%%asionally la%tate te$uila. Nia: (laughter) Cherry: 9hat was…I %annot %onfirm or "eny that rumor (laughter). Nia: *kay. Maybe we-ll fin" out at the ne6t Mangos show. (laughter) Cherry: (laughter) ;ut anyway# so yeah that-s how we met an" reali/e" we ha" this share" !ision an"# you know# starte" kin" of "reaming long "istan%e about what it woul" be like. An" so 200? was the year that we really starte" working on it. An" it was in the era before# like# %ell phones so all of this business was %on"u%te" like !ia %alling %ar" an" (laughter) yeah. So# at the time she li!e" in 9oronto an" I li!e" in the %ommunity that I grew up in be%ause I-" gone through like this whole or"eal with my house floo"ing an" ha" lost e!erything that I owne" an" was like# well fu%k it# like I ha!e to go ba%k to my parents- house. An" a%tually… Nia: .here "i" your house floo"+ Cherry: It was on the 2ast 3oast. Nia: *kay. Cherry: 0eah# it turne" out to be like the best year of my life to li!e where I grew up as an a"ult $ueer# but it was also kin" of a little bit %ra/y to start imagining this wil" performan%e pro e%t there. An" I like" that it was a goo" pla%e for me essentially. So# we got together# "i" this first year of touring# were kin" of ama/e" at how it turne" out. An" there-s lots of stories that I %oul" tell about the early tour. Nia: I woul" lo!e to hear those (laughter). Cherry: 0eah. Cow basi%ally… it was really beautiful an" ama/ing. An" I remember &eah pi%king me up from '15# an" we were like )oh my go" we-re really "oing this# we-re really "oing this.) An" she ha" a @(seater mini!an e!en though there were B of us.

An" I was like# )oh my go"# &eah# what are we gonna "o+) She was like )ohhh# it-ll work out# boo. It-ll work out. .e-ll ust# like# s$uee/e in.) ,ee"less to say it "i" not work out. An"# 5ay <lan"ay ;arrett# who I-m really thrille" is a%tually %oming with us on this tour# whi%h feels really sweet# be%ause they were on our first tour# en"e" up like %rou%he" on the first "ay in this little tiny spa%e (laughter)… Nia: ;etween the two seats+ Cherry: 0eah# between the two front seats# an" was like… Nia: .ith like the sti%k shift in between their legs# or was it automati%+ Cherry: It was automati%. It was like so un%omfortable# an" it was like ugggh this is not %ool. ;ut they took it !ery gra%efully an" then ha" their partner at the time "ri!e them aroun" e!erywhere (laughter). Nia: (laughter) Cherry: So there was that# an" there was like ust the beauty that it was happening an" that there were au"ien%es night after night who were# you know# showing up like really hungry to re%ei!e the work. An"…also like I remember we got put up((I "on-t e!en remember how this happene"((but we got put up at the =it/ 3arlton in Montreal whi%h was like (laughter) you know not ne%essarily aligne" with any of our personal politi%al !alues# an" "efinitely not our e%onomi% situations. Nia: .ho put you up+ Cherry: I %an-t remember if it was a wealthy person or a uni!ersity or both…but…that happene". An" you know we were like… Nia: .ere you all in one room+ (laughter) Cherry: ,o. ,o we were in two rooms# an" they were fan%y. An" there was this moment of like B little…I "on-t wanna say like little# but we were mu%h younger then...but# you know# $ueer an" trans people of %olor# you know li!ing out this like fantasti% life an"# yeah# kin" of how sweet that felt# an" ama/ing. Nia: An" then was it ba%k to sleeping on floors the ne6t night+ (laughter) Cherry: It kin" of was# yeah. (laughter) ;ut anyway# yeah. I also remember ust kin" of how surprise" we were that it was a su%%ess# you know. An" we both %ome from grassroots organi/ing# )we-re gonna "o this# we-re gonna make this happen# "on-t tell us we %an-t) ba%kgroun"s. So# we ma"e it happen an" we foun" a way. ;ut we also "i"n-t really anti%ipate like things like paying oursel!es an" that we-" be able to pay oursel!es an" that we woul" make bu"get an" be able to pay e!erybo"y# you know+

Nia: So# you en"e" up with more money than you e6pe%te" on the first tour+ *r "i" you not start paying yoursel!es until later+ Cherry: .hen I say more money I think it was like >00(@00 "ollars more# so it wasn-t like an e6orbitant amount# but we were...it felt like an a%%omplishment. Nia: 0eah# "efinitely. 9o not be in the re" after something like that… Cherry: 0eah. Nia: 9hat-s pretty impressi!e. Cherry: So after that year we both mo!e" to the ;ay Area an" got really e6%ite" about "oing shows here as well# an" so there were kin" of D signature shows that were born that year ncuentros# whi%h was about immigrants- e6perien%e# an"… Nia: I think I went to that one. .as that the only one…the only year where you "i" ncuentros# or "i" it %ontinue after+ Cherry: *h no we-!e "one it a few times. 0eah. .e ha!en-t "one it in re%ent years# an" it-s probably time to "o it again. So…that was born. An" then Beloved was born# an" Whipped# whi%h was our…this show that-s going on tour. So our show about lo!e# se6# an" "esire. An" yeah so# ea%h Mangos show is a really memorable e6perien%e# but I think that this is my fa!orite one# be%ause at its %ore it-s like about e!erything. (laughter) It-s about like why we-re here in our a"ult $ueer li!es an"# you know# yeah# kin" of the impetus of all. An" so it-s so fas%inating to me to get to see how artists %hoose to portray those stories. An" I-!e been really please" with like all the "ifferent manifestations of lo!e an" lo!e stories that ha!e feature" on the stage as a result of it. Nia: 0eah# so this is your Bth anni!ersary tour that-s %oming up. Cow ha!e you kept the organi/ation going for so long+ Cherry: (laughter) Nia: I mean like…I was gonna say )what is the glue that hol"s it together). I feel like you an" &eah are the glue that hol"s it together but like you guys ha!e ne!er…you-re not a nonprofit offi%ially# are you+ Cherry: .e ha!e a fis%al sponsor. Nia: *h# okay. *h# that-s right# 3ounterA<&S2 right+ Cherry: (laughter) 0es.

Nia: (laughter) ;ut# I guess it-s ne!er seeme" like you…it-s !ery grassroots an" !ery HI0# an" it seems like a tremen"ous amount of work. An" so my $uestions are like# how "o you not burn out an" how "o you not run out of money. (laughter) Cherry: 9hose are like really goo" $uestions. So# yeah. I will be totally transparent an" say that…say a few "ifferent things in response to that. 9here ha!e been times when like your asses were literally sa!e" by…like# we ha!en-t re%ei!e" many grants# we really ha!en-t. ;ut there ha!e been# yeah# times when like one %ame in an" literally sa!e" our asses or# you know# all of these things woul"n-t ha!e happene". ;e%ause as you %an imagine# trying to raise money for up(front tour e6penses is# like# really really really really har". .e-!e also been able to sur!i!e "ue to %ommissions that like Pueer 3ultural 3enter will gi!e us for a show in 'une an" without that it woul" be really har" to make that 'une show happen e!ery year. An"# yeah# we are an organi/ation that-s relie" a lot on the support of our %ommunity# so# you know# whether it-s like passing the hat or ha!ing# you know# fun"raiser house parties to ust get us through. 0eah# that-s kin" of how we-!e ma"e it. An" there-s "efinitely been times when we felt like we nee"e" a break an" nee"e" to pause. So# like# not mu%h happene" between 200Q an" 2070. 0eah# I feel like that was mostly a year off for us. An" I think what-s kept us going is# you know# thinking about the future. Meaning# like# future generations of $ueer an" trans people of %olor artists an" arts organi/ations who will %ome after us# an" ust wanting to lea!e# you know# a lega%y behin". An" also thinking about kin" of our au"ien%e an" the fee"ba%k that we-!e gotten about how important that spa%e is for so many folks. An"# yeah# I think ba%k to a%tually (laughter) my parents# be%ause when I was small I saw the ways that they were really able to impart hope in people whose li!es were# you know# often felt really really hopeless. 0ou know# farmworking life is har". 9he life of a laborer is har". 9he life of an immigrant is har". An" to kin" of see the ways that they %oul" make people forget about their troubles for a night an" kin" of gi!e them the fortitu"e an" oy an" lo!e to %arry forth for another week or another "ay or another whate!er it was for the person who e6perien%e" it# it was really powerful. An" I think about Mangos kin" of in the same way. Nia: 0eah# "efinitely. I guess one of the reasons I aske" about how you-!e kept the organi/ation going so long is that it…I %an-t imagine what a tremen"ous amount of work it is to pro"u%e these shows an" pro"u%e these shows for B years. An" it-s really…I mean# there is no staff really. It-s ust like you an" &eah are the %urators an" %ofoun"ers# an" then there-s sort of a re!ol!ing %ast of performers that work with you. Cherry: 0eah. Nia: So# what all "oes it take to put these shows together+ &ike# what-s the behin" the s%enes work that nobo"y sees+ Cherry: *h# man (laughter).

Nia: (laughter) Cherry: So# yeah# I mean it-s a labor of lo!e %ertainly. An" if I "i"n-t ha!e su%h lo!e for %reating the spa%es an" su%h lo!e for gi!ing "eser!ing artists spa%es to show%ase an" "e!elop their beautiful work# yeah# I "on-t know that I-" still be "oing it. 3ause it is a lot of work. 0eah# so it means like some really long "ays sometimes# be%ause this is essentially what we-!e "one on top of alrea"y busy li!es with "ay obs an" in"i!i"ual artist %areers an" family an" e!erything. So# yeah# it has meant really long "ays. An" the behin" the s%enes work is like planning months in a"!an%e what-s going into# you know# a %ertain show an" starting to think about the pro%ess of e!erything from starting to think about whi%h artists to what spa%e %an we get for what pri%e an" starting to negotiate with !enues o!er that. An"# you know# making sure that all the te%hni%al pie%es for the show are together. An" in %ases where it might be like kin" of a longer(term show# or rather a show that in!ol!es a lot more planning# helping to "e!elop artists- work# so getting in the stu"io with them an" helping kin" of grow an" kin" of shape the work an" %hallenging them. An"# yeah# it-s… oh# I-m like getting way off tra%k# okay let me… Nia: ,o# it-s fine. Cherry: *kay (laughter). An"# you know# things like managing the kin" of publi%ity pie%es so you %an make sure that you ha!e an au"ien%e. An"# yeah# that is a part that gets har" sometimes in %ities where# you know# you "on-t ne%essarily ha!e a lot of frien"s or folks. &ike# Couston# 9e6as was that %ity this year. An" there were some folks who were like really e6%ite" about bringing us there. An" I %ontinue to ha!e ner!es about what our au"ien%e turnout is gonna be# you know# e!en though we-ll put a"s in like the weeklies an" "o what we %an aroun" 1a%ebook promotion an" "ifferent so%ial me"ia promotions. 0eah# it-s e!erything from managing the artisti% "e!elopment of a pro"u%tion to the te%hni%al pie%es of it putting together the te%h sheet so# you know# whoe!er is working te%h that night knows about light %ues an" when a %ertain song or !i"eo shoul" play# an" all of that fun to# yeah# "oing all that promo. An" then when the pro"u%tion is a%tually happening making sure that artists ha!e e!erything they nee" an" are set to go# you know# shine an" be beautiful onstage. Nia: An" what is your goal# both for the artists an" for yourself+ &ike# what are you hoping will happen as a result of ha!ing been part of Mangos .ith 3hili+ Cherry: .hat a goo" $uestion. I think…the big goal is to… gi!e people hope an" gi!e people healing an" make people laugh. An" to ha!e some element of their li!es an" truths an" "reams an" e6perien%es an" realities refle%te" in what we put on our stage. An" 9he =ebirth has this $uote that I really like that-s like# )If our oy makes you oyful an" our pain helps yours fa"e# then we ha!e be%ome frien"s here on 2arth. An" this is greater than any simple hello or embra%e %oul" e!er hol".) An" it-s basi%ally that. Nia: 0eah. 9hat-s a pretty awesome $uote.

Cherry: So that-s one goal. An" I-" say the other goal is ust aroun" !isibility an"# you know# keeping on going in an arts worl" that is really white# e!en $ueer arts worl"s# you know# really really really white. An" wanting to keep this work going so that artists ha!e a pla%e to show%ase their work an" au"ien%es ha!e a pla%e to %ome an" see stories like theirs. Nia: So# as we talke" about earlier this is the B(year anni!ersary tour. An" why shoul" people %ome out an" see this one in parti%ular+ Cherry: .ell (laughter)# somebo"y aske" me re%ently )what is your most trans%en"ent moment in Mangos history+) an" I kin" of feel like it-s right know# an" that-s saying a lot be%ause there-s been a lot of memorable an" trans%en"ent Mangos moments. ;ut the fa%t that we ha!e ma"e it to here. 9he fa%t that we are B years ol"# operating on a shoestring bu"get# but figuring it the fu%k out be%ause that-s what we know how to "o. An" the fa%t that# we want to make this work happen "eeply. An" we-re thinking about the artists who are gonna %ome after us. 'ust the fa%t that we-re here is a mira%le. An" I-m really really e6%ite" about the %ommunities that we-re going to !isit on this tour. Nia: 9his is an international tour# isn-t it+ Cherry: I suppose so. It woul"n-t be our first# but yeah (laughter). 1rom Oan%ou!er# ;ritish 3olumbia to ,ew *rleans. An" we ha!e some ama/ing artists %oming along with us. It-s gonna be won"erful an" memorable. An"# you know# lo!e stories are powerful stories. Stories of ust "esire are powerful stories. An" I know that ea%h artist is going to bring their story of lo!e an" "esire in a really beautiful# powerful way. (musi%al interlu"e)

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