By Tatiana De La Tierra
Karen Anzoategui’s Visa to the Rescue!
Meet Visa. She has the solution to the debt ceiling fiasco, anti-Islamic Norwegian would-be murderers, and undocumented immigrants. It’s there, between her legs: magnanimous genitalia, ready to spring into action for a fee, or for a good cause. “My name is Visa. Yes, because I charge,” she coos, plumping out her bright red lips and swinging her long wavy brown hair.
She’s on the sidewalk in front of the Dose of Art Gallery in Los Angeles, at the Vanguardia Erotika Series 2 Art Exhibit, surrounded by admirers who want a photograph with her. Visa obliges, putting her left hand on her hip, thrusting her cleavage, and posing flesh-to-flesh with them. I’ve heard she’s got multiple sexual organs, and I whip out my little recorder to ask her a few questions.
How do you like having both a penis and a vagina? I ask. “There’s no borders at that point. There’s just everything. 2012, we will all become one. That’s what the Mayans are saying. We’ll become one, so let’s just have an orgy. That’s what I say.” Then, in her thick Cuban accent, she adds, “Cuando van a la luna, vamos todos.” Life according to Visa, in her skintight black lacy dress and red sequined wedge platforms, is intriguing. She carries a small shapely bottle of Patron tequila, offering it to potential customers.
What about the U.S. policy on immigration? “I feel bad for the undocumented, the illegals, whatever you want to call it, be it politically correct or not,” she says. “I would put them all in my pussy. Todos. Como Juan, Pepe, Ana Maria, Guadalupe, Cesar Chávez. A ver, todos, que vengan todos. Ahí se meten allá adentro. Make yourselves at home, there’re room, grab a beer. I’d take them to another state or something, like Nueva York, you know? I’d give birth to them all, and they’d be legal. Yes, my pussy would be a coyote.” She pauses. “My coyote pussy would not charge. That would be what I’d do for my country.”
She’s a charmer, that Visa. Coquettish and kind-hearted. Disarming. She moaned a lot and made me laugh. From whence does this trans-Latina philosopher hail?
Meet Karen Anzoategui. On Facebook, she says, “I’m a writer, actor, activist, poet and I have a solo show called SER. I work in the HIV field. I’m queer as queer.” She studied Theatre Arts at Loyola Marymount University and has been doing theatre and standup comedy for 12 years. A native of Argentina, Anzoategui recently performed her 90-minute one-woman show in Los Angeles. I was fortunate to be in the audience for Ser: LA vs BA. It’s a semi-autobiographical soccer-zany show that has young Karen bouncing from Buenos Aires to southern California amidst her family’s drama. A Maradona-infused soccer ball guided her along the way. The show was high energy and humorous, with a few still and tender moments.
Visa came to life two years ago. “I live with a lot of prostitutes on my block,” says Anzoategui. “I decided they needed a voice, so everyone can see them.” Through her work in HIV services, she’s met transgender prostitutes trying to get away from prostitution. “There’s also the struggle they go through to be a woman. They want to be seen as women but our society doesn’t accept that.” Visa is a way for people to see transgender people as real. “It might be funny, but it’s based on people I know,” says Anzoategui.
As a character, Visa is accessible to people who might otherwise be closed off to transgender people. “Everybody loves Visa, but they don’t want to talk about it,” says Anzoategui. “They love Juan Gabriel, who’s like a woman, and so dramatic. They have this fascination with Visa and they love to talk to me afterwards. It’s safe for them.”
When Karen gets into costume as Visa, she goes for it, improvising in the moment. “It gives me license. It’s liberating for me. It’s so rewarding. Sometimes you hold yourself back, but I’m free with Visa. People grab me. I love it. I feel I’m liberating them. Yes, grab me. If it was just me they probably wouldn’t do that. The impulse to do it, it’s awesome. No borders here.”
I got it. No borders. One love. One big orgy. 2012. Thanks, Karen! Thanks, Visa! So now, can Visa get to work on all those snarky right-winged senators who are bent on supporting millionaires and screwing the rest of us?