August 18, 2015

DIY Panza Featuring Alma Rosa Rivera

Our occasional blog series - "DIY PANZA" - celebrates and profiles artists and their innovative use of The Panza Monologues, Second Edition in their community. This series features posts that showcase important, determined, and ingenious artists of all kinds who are taking our work to the next level of its manifestation. Alma Rosa Rivera contacted us through our website about producing an event in Los Angeles to celebrate the panza. She teamed up with the women of Nalgona Positivity Pride to create a well rounded Panzapalooza weekend that includes a reading from the book by local performer Perra Pumps, clips from the DVD, street vendors and pie! Yes, pie! If you are in LA join them on August 21st 8pm-11pm at La Concha, 1214 East 1st Street. Are you producing The Panza Monologues in your community? We’d love to hear your story – contact us!


Alma Rosa Rivera, Los Angeles, CA

Alma contacted us after reading The Panza Monologues book

I'm living in Koreatown in Los Angeles & do most of my organizing in Boyle Heights in East Los Angeles. What we are currently creating for our community is a Panza Positive environment to screen excerpts from the DVD/play: The Panza Monologues. This event is for las muxeres! The Xican@s who have panzas that take up space & also those who have lost their panzas. For the muxeres that carry bebes & the ones with no wombs. All of our panzas are beautiful as well as all of our brown muxeres. I am working with an up & coming muxer Gloria who runs Nalgona Positivity Pride. My objective in organizing is to support & sustain Xican@ writers as well as build intersectional sisterhood. Gloria's objective is to bring support & positivity to people of color who suffer & are suffering from eating disorders. Both of our work is important. Together we are Panza Positiva!

Catwomyn and Nalgona Positivity 
Pride are Panza Positiva!
We chose to work with The Panza Monologues because of the specific Xican@ roots the play has. Both Gloria & I identify with being Xican@ as well as indigenous. When I first heard about The Panza Monologues it was over Instagram. I couldn't believe that this play existed & was excited it had been created. I had read The Vagina Monologues. I enjoyed the book very much but it was not my gente's story! It was not told by a muxer with my experience! This book & play really is a blessing for the commuity. It's funny, positive, and can & WILL save lives. I believe very strongly in this type of work. 

My good friend Meliza Banales, Gloria, & I are working to create a Xican@ 2 Day Mini-Fest. We named it Dias de los Vivos because we are here to celebrate our community of Xican@ writers while they are ALIVE. Day One is Panza-Palooza: We will have a fabulous performer Javi whose alter ego is Perra Pumps perform two monologues and screen excerpts of the DVD. We will also have the talented Yesika Salgado! This Salvi Slam poet will move your corazon in every way possible. She's powerful! We will have tacos, pies, plus size clothing, accessories & more...all to support muxeres who take up place/space - Panza with a Z and not a S! 

Day Two: La Futura is Ahora, will have a Xican@ panel including myself, Meliza Banalez & Rios de la Luz who have currently come out with new books on Lady Box Books. We will also have a back patio FULL of xican@ zinesters selling there zines. Both these events will be in East Los Angeles in a womyn of color space called La Concha. Panza-palooza will be August 21st 8pm-11pm. La futura is ahora will be August 22nd 8pm-11pm. Both nights will be at 1214 East 1st Street, Los Angeles for only 3 dollars each night. Come join us!

August 21st in East LA. 
Show us your Panza!
We know that this event will be very important to the community because of its roots being written for the brown community. It's funny because in ways having panza & having lonjas is in our cultura. Yet we live in the United States where we are taught to feel bad because we are not thin or white. Our event is to celebrate & support all the womyn of our community. Especially those who are large & brown & face these obstacles this society gives them on a daily basis. You are all safe with us. We love you. Also not all muxeres have wombs or panochas. We love you too.

The book that Virginia & Irma published is very helpful as it has a glossary, all the monologues, and event ideas. It also tells you how to contact them in a professional manner & how to go about creating an event that is respecting their hard work. The book is a must to buy even before you decide to email about creating an event. It will give you the full insight on what you need to create a Panza Positive event & create a realistic goal.

My favorite quote from The Panza Monologues book has got to be from The International Panza; “Somos nosotros las hijas de Coyolxaugqui, full moon faces. Y yo con una panza to match. Big, round, beautiful full moon panza to match my Olmeca head.” This whole paragraph is gorgeouse.

If my panza could speak it would be a bisexual version of el borracho on a loteria card. Everything my catholic Mami hates. It would be bisexual because it is not a skinny panza..nor a gorda panza. Yet it shakes like gelatina, is uncomfortable, is not accepted by this society. It tells me “please don't hate me..” & so I feed it enchiladas & cerveza. My panza is accepted by my fiance. Which is empowering. But creating this event has been a part of my journey to accepting my own panza. I don't accept my panza everyday but I am working on it. 


More About Alma Rosa Rivera: I am 24, the child of two border breakers from San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Middle child of 5 siblings. Community organizer with Con Fuerza Collective a Xican@ feminist collective in Boyle Heights. My personal goal is to create positivety & feminism though womyn of color books; specificly Xican@ literature. I want to give womyn a space to be brave. To make mistakes & to celebrate our beautiful  culture. I don't feel enough work is going on like this in this world & even if we had it we can never have too much of this type of work either. I am also currently working on starting Callate & listen. It's a video blog on Womyn of color writers with an emphisis on Xican@ writers.  I am currently a minimum wage-working class- chica, trying to affect the world for todas las muxeres one event at a time. One book at a time. One panza at a time. I am a Xican@ hustler.

Follow Alma on Instagram: Chicana_catwomyn