Octavio Campos: We Don’t Hate You!

Arts / Article

After a two-year sabbatical, Octavio Campos is back, and he is excited about the future. Right now Campos is in the theatrical midst and mist of creating the initial raw choreographic sketches for a new set of solo (socio-political) sketches—“PLEASE DON’T HATE ME!!!” and “Mermaids, Porn Stars and Pigs”—that he will present during the Florida Dance Festival WinterFest, this weekend at the Byron Carlyle Theater.

In “PLEASE DON’T HATE ME!!!” Campos confronts issues of intolerance and acceptance and provides comfort for those who are trying to end it. The performance functions as a series of “transdisciplinary” cultural interventions that works more like a social justice campaign. According to Campos, this work represents “how I am feeling right now about my work and its future manifestations. There are so many HATE campaigns going on right now that address the issues but ‘PLEASE DON’T HATE ME!!!!’ will be different because we’ve identified who is actually doing the work to alleviate the HURT associated with the HATE—the Switchboard operators who diligently try and find solutions, give comfort and support to those in need.”

Dale Penn, Campos’ newest dramaturge, and one of the masterminds behind the Miami Gay Men’s Choir, has been instrumental in reaching out to the Switchboard of Miami, the nonprofit that will directly benefit from the awareness raised from “PLEASE DON’T HATE ME!!!”

“For too long,” Penn tells me, “hatred for ‘the other’ has been tolerated by society and even viewed as the norm.  As social service agencies and arts organizations struggle with funding cuts, this seems like the perfect time to combine forces in this unique awareness-raising campaign for the Switchboard.” The goal: they want to recruit you! The Switchboard, which deals with over 180,000 calls per year with only 30 volunteers, needs your help.

Not to be overshadowed, Campos’ “Mermaids, Porn Stars and Pigs” is a solo with guests that looks at POPlitics as a genre and the recent passing of creative giants such as Pina Bausch, Michael Jackson, Merce Cunningham and others. Campos says the project is still “very raw but I am working on a dance with a musical mash-up by composer Juan Carlos Espinosa with sound bites from Alvarez Guedes’ rant—El Día Que Cayó Fidel—and the Cuban National Anthem—La Bayamesa.”

Campos is a subversive rebel with a cause. That’s what makes him so important to our humble community. Check out his new work this weekend at WinterFest. It’ll be a riot for sure.

Event Information: Florida Dance Festival—WinterFest—Jan. 7-8, 2011 – Octavio Campos – NEW WORK in Progress – WINTER FEST – presented by the Florida Dance Association – Byron Carlyle Theater, Miami Beach, 8 p.m. Buy Tickets at: www.floridadanceassociation.org or call 305-310-8080. Only two shows, 5 minutes and brief sections of each work. For more information about the Switchboard of Miami visit http://www.switchboardmiami.org/.