Chulita Vinyl Club (CVC) takes great care in researching and keeping ourselves informed about the safety of our collective and community of patrons. Each of the seven CVC chapters runs autonomously with our mission and intentions in mind. It is to this end that the Austin chapter would like to share a booking incident that may have been brought to your attention this November.
The CVC Austin chapter was recently approached by the producers of Almost Real Things (ART) to participate in their upcoming ART Club Block Party to inaugurate “a mixed-use community offering membership to Austinites pursuing their passions” on East Riverside in Austin, TX. As with all booking inquiries, our chapter asked questions and did research when considering whether or not to accept this gig. We reached out externally to other community organizers to better understand Almost Real Things as an organization, and spoke internally amongst each other to ultimately make the decision to confirm the gig with faith that ART had fully represented their involvement with developers and had a clear plan of action surrounding the co-facilitation of a community planning process. On November 1, after ART reached out to share more information about their plans for ART Club and their new event location, we voiced our hesitation in participating and asked for time to discuss our involvement amongst ourselves. After considering the event further and through multiple conversations within CVC Austin, we of our own accord decided to withdraw as a participating artist. As a collective, we engage in critical dialogue regarding the responsibilities that come with our stature. This includes the challenges surrounding where we take up space and how that can be used as an act of resistance or celebration. We view the ART Club Block Party event as misaligned with CVC’s values and the values of our community of patrons, primarily because the project lacks public engagement, inclusivity, and POC in leadership roles.
On November 6, CVC Austin sent them official notice of cancellation in writing and returned their deposit making the event’s contract null and void. Our name has not been fully removed from the official lineup due to personal delays on ART's end resulting in public confusion. Because of this, the Austin chapter feels the need to explain our initial involvement and subsequent decline after further consideration. ART has promised to remove us from all promotional materials as quickly as possible and are becoming keenly aware of the magnitude of their artistic endeavors and are making efforts to engage in dialogue with other POC artists and organizers in Austin.
Ultimately, CVC Austin has chosen to take a path as public performers to remain curious and open to the community in which we live in. Instead of creating a cage of self imposed and inflexible parameters in which to develop our skills, we take risks and leaps of faith in order to grow as creative and cultural producers. We do it with the best intentions for ourselves and others. We hold compassion for each other and our adversaries and commit to the work that these types of relationships demand. We genuinely care about our craft as performers and value our role as educators and ambassadors who are striving for a future that is inclusive to communities marginalized due to class, race, gender and ethnicity.
There are many ways to resist cultural erasure, many ways to survive and act upon the principles one believes in. Chulita Vinyl Club is simply one organization with the mission of creating a space of empowerment for women identifying and non binary folks through the engagement of our vinyl collections as public performing DJs. Over the last 4 years as a national movement we have played thousands of shows, donated our time, energy and passion to countless non-profit and fundraising opportunities. We have hosted open table sets to share our skills generously, we have taught workshops all over the country to young women of color stepping their toes into the music industry. We have played weddings to help celebrate loving unions, we have been invited to spin as birthday gifts at surprise parties, and we have collaborated with musicians we never dreamed of ever being in the same room with. We have earned our way into an industry that has not and maybe will never be there to welcome us with open arms. We approach clients, venues, and organizers with difficult questions that challenge preconceived notions of our identity. We ask to be fairly compensated for our talent and labor, and sometimes we are met with aggressive pushback. At the end of the day, we have the network we have built internally as Chulitas and externally as a network of audience members and allies.
In a society where we are told to second guess ourselves, to apologize for our existence and to discount our intuition and ancestral knowledge, the Austin chapter of Chulitas says no. We trust ourselves and we extend that same trust to you. We do not want to ostracize each other when we make mistakes or cause harm, because we need this uncomfortable space to build our relationships and to practice being kind with each other.
We have learned so much since our debut in December 2014 and each difficult task has been an opportunity for growth.
We hope you continue to learn with us. Stay trucha, friends.