L.A. Familia


L.A. Familia

L.A. Familia
©1993, Harry Gamboa Jr.
l-r: Barbara Carrasco (Mother), Humberto Sandoval (Dad), Diego Gamboa (Son)
The Chicano nuclear family sets out on a collision course with dysfunctional appeals for calm and chaos as bullets fly in the desolate Los Angeles urbanscape.

Humberto Sandoval (Dad)
Barbara Carrasco (Mom)
Diego Gamboa (Son)

L.A. Familia, a 37-minute video directed by Harry Gamboa Jr., was included in the 1995 Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art and has also been screened at Centre Pompidou, Japanese American National Museum, and other institutions.


Next of Kin: The Family in Chicano/a Cultural Politics, by Richard T. Rodriguez, Ph.D., Duke University Press, 2009, provides a critical examination of L.A. Familia.

L.A. Familia is included in the DVD compilation of 1990’s video by Harry Gamboa Jr., sponsored by UCLA Chicano Studies Reasearch Center.


Another Hole In The Behead

Another Hole In The Behead

Another Hole In The Behead
a play
Harry Gamboa Jr.

At center stage, a man’s tormented and restless torso is contained in a large
black fabric/paper bag. Several dollar bills are strewn on the floor near
the bag. Fifteen (25) still images of a head are projected in a slow
patterned sequence that will span the duration of the performance. At the
end of the performance a brief video clip of a head will be projected. The
unidentified torso will read the following text into a microphone (if
possible, recorded voice is an option).


It isn’t enough that my body
was dumped in parts
discarded among the ruins
as the city burned
chaos reigned.
All disorder is common ground
Reckless bullets
cutting down the citizenry
emptying the kindergartens
wiping away the universities
pedestrians strewn across
the asphalt streets and playgrounds.

It isn’t like
the world is going to stop
but the atrocities keep mounting up
losing count
all of my family, friends, colleagues,
lost in the discord
buried in debt and doubt
I need this confusion
to blow me
another hole in the behead.

I used to play with the notion
that abstraction was a piece of clay
stuck in the libido
or in a hidden crevice
that needed to be licked
or kicked
out into the open
where I could rub it into shape
turn it into a cup
something useful
to drink a life worth living
firing it at the highest degree
of disdain
for all things perfect
making it the iconic object
of rasquachismo
useless in its funtionality
and even less so in its beauty.

The bonding amongst likeminded people
was disentangled
when we all learned the rules of
eating our own
as a tasteless spice
that contributed nothing
to the fullness
of our appreciation
for fleeting appetites
that desire endless
slabs of flesh
nor quenched our longing
for the acrid taste of
from all who are unwanted.

The identity of facial features
a mouth
stitched brows
tinged with bitterness
while drips of honey
masquerade as melodramatic tears
ears misplaced
and scalp flapping
as the leading edge
of what can be easily
ripped away
like a flag
to signal the end of a race
the start of a war
something to wipe away
collateral mierda
defaced at its best.

I was among several thousand
who were unceremoniously
tossed onto the highway
terrified motorists
took pictures
ubiquitous smartphones
unable to configure a pattern
of depersonalization
of dehumanization
of antipersonnel techniques
of persuasion/dissuasion
causing everyone to drive
in circular motion
digging a hole into the
collective memory
the horror that we’ve become
taking multiple glances
at ourselves
as the disembodied
of unmentionable acts
that inspire us all to
plead for more.

The disconnect
isn’t a metaphor
as the actual
isn’t a concept
the pain is only imagined
as is the
that is conjoined with
with social, political, and cultural
the etiquette of the sharpened knife.

I’ve looked into the empty mirror
and saw the eternal
that holds everyone in awe
where we come from
is to where we will all return
reflecting a past that is a
of broken moments
interspersed with fragments
of dispersed energy
blowing kisses
into the hollow
tastes like granite and diamonds
burns like sex.

When I was young
my head could fit into any noose
as I became older
it became increasingly difficult
to get my head
around complex issues
as I was usually engaged
in face-saving tongue-wagging
where I disputed
everything that has been
held in high regard
by the elite
costing me dearly
resulting in great personal satisfaction.

The swiftness was illusory
as it was the masses that
dredged through myopic sludge
fully polluted with spliced genes
broken chromosomes
reconfigured into replicated
while theoretical implications
pressed forward
until the critical mass
achieved maximum apathy
the death mask of the living.

I had a feeling that society
was in rapid auto-annihilation
as the assault against children
escalated with mass poisonings
the elderly were flattened by massive machines
young people were randomly disappeared
with everyone else being held
in senseless suspension
by blinding belief systems
that would cause us all
to lose our most cherished ideals.

Another Hole In The Behead
©2012, Harry Gamboa Jr.

Premier performance by
Xavier Cázares Cortéz

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Vincent Price Art Museum
East Los Angeles College




©1984, Harry Gamboa Jr.

l-r: Juan Garza, Linda Gamboa

Vaporz, a young couple is at wits’ end while trying to outmaneuver the silent treatment as crossword puzzles spell out impending doom.

Juan Garza
Linda Gamboa
Humberto Sandoval

Vaporz, a 7-minute video directed by Harry Gamboa Jr.

Vaporz is included in the DVD compilation of 1980′s video by Harry Gamboa Jr., sponsored by UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center.