When I turned 50 in 2009, it really was no big deal. All my parts still worked and I wasn’t in need of stool softeners. Ok—maybe half a tab. But I looked cool when I danced…that’s if you closed one eye and squinted.
So it’s now 2012 and I must say, this is a big one for me—this is my 30th year as an out Chicana lesbian writer/performer. I feel blessed, proud and shocked! Don’t people usually retire after working 30 years? Where’s my 401K? Oh yeah, next to my package of Depends. Sad.
Every now and then, I think about how I could have a 30 year old adult child who has children making me a grandmother! Weird. It’s trippy how things work out. I remember being at a crucial point in my young life; a 19 year old chick, about to come out but also thinking I could make life easier by marrying this dude—my boyfriend at the time. I wasn’t in love with him but he had pot, credit cards, a full-time job with benefits, a house and just one tiny set back—he was married and had two children. Scandalous, like Alexis Colby Carrington of Dynasty. God I loved that show.
I eventually broke it off with the boyfriend to pursue my lesbianism and my yodeling. Soon after, for one long week, I was trying to convince myself that I was “bi”. Living the kinky high life as I was going out with this 18 year old hunky boy and with a sexy babe. I fantasized, I was living in Greenwich Village, driving a convertible Karmann Ghia, listening to Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66, smoking Kool cigarettes, hard box. But the reality was, I was living in the barrio of Sal Si Puedes, San Jose; I was a baby dyke with underarm hair and I had to get the hell out of dodge.
I made my way to San Francisco, figured out I was a comic in desperate need of a comedy club. And BAM, a lesbian comedian was born. I was a novelty back then in 1982 because I was a 23 year old California native Chicana comic and a lesbian, to boot! Being very in your face about nationality and sexuality. I was called “controversial” and other names that begin with a ‘C’. Correct me if I’m wrong, people, but I believe I am the first Chicana lesbian comic to expose my inner most jokes on stage. Yes, my dear friend and the mother of my children, the amazing Marga Gomez was also doing her lesbo thing as well but she’s from New York and not Chicana. Of course we connected as a team and became known as Gomez & Palacios, The Only Latin Female Comedy Duo in The Universe. Did anybody ever see our very first show, on Ash Wednesday February 16, 1983? Those who wore ashes on their foreheads got 50 cents off the $3 admission. Yeah, that night we were high class professionals and a little drunk. But we made history being the first Latina lesbian comedy team—again, if somebody can prove me wrong, please inform me over a vegan meal—your treat.
I eventually made my way to my lady, the city of Los Angeles: a big glorious diverse trend-setting metropolis with large populations of Chicanos and Mexicanos—complex and brilliant inspiration for my work. So now I must celebrate with a 30 year anniversary show: QUEER CHICANA SOUL. It’s my quinceañera times 2. I will share some Monica classics but also premiere excerpts from my new plays and screenplays. And the highlight will be singing scads of songs with my back up band, Las Lesbian Brides. It’s going to be a funky good time. Please spread the word and join me.
Book Monica Palacios for your upcoming university and cultural events that focus on: LGBT, Chicana/Latina, Theater, Women, Gender, Performance, Race, Class, Sexuality, Vegetarian Food.