Shooting Columbus – ends April 8!

April 3, 2017

Review in the AZ Daily Star.  Tickets at

Ryan Pinto and Jules Grantham in Shooting Columbus. Photo by Julius Schlosburg.Save


Shooting Columbus March 29 – April 8, Borderlands Theater

March 20, 2017

Get your tickets early!  Follow us on FaceBook.

Free admission to Indigenous people of the Americas – call (520) 882-7406 to reserve free tickets – space limited.
Details below.

Read the article in the Arizona Daily Star!

Shooting Columbus ensemble

L to R: Loving, Adam Cooper-Terán, Julianna Grantham, Matthew Saraficio, Ryan Pinto, Denise Uyehara. Direction by Rachel Bowditch.


“If settlers never arrived in this land, how would your life be different?”

Borderlands Theater proudly presents Shooting Columbus, written and performed by the Fifth World Collective, a group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists from the state of Arizona. The work examines the consequences of time travel and the current resistance of Indigenous people in the face of continual oppression by the United States government.

Shooting Columbus is an immersive site-specific performance in which the audience walks through La Pliita Cultural Center, encountering theater, movement, soundscapes and video projection that re-imagine history and memory. The show presents poetic imaginings of a radically different past to foster dialogue about a radically different future.

Fifth World Collective:
Adam Cooper-Teran (Yaqui, Chicano)
T Loving (Black, Cherokee)
Ryan Pinto (Hopi, Omaha, Dine, Northern Ute)
Rachel Bowditch (European American)
and Denise Uyehara (Okinawan, Japanese American)

Over the past three years, the Collective has researched issues affecting Indigenous communities in the Southwest, including how the U.S.-Mexico has created an arbitrary line through Tohono O’Odham and the Yaqui (Yoeme) nations, making it difficult to travel for tribal ceremony. They also visited the Black Mesa and the Kayenta coal mine, interviewing Diné (Navajo) community members who reside there. Lead artists held multiple devising retreats in at the Global Justice Center in Tucson, Arizona State University, Tempe, and Outta Your Backpack Media, Flagstaff.

Rachel Bowditch directs, with dramaturgy and playwriting by Denise Uyehara, in collaboration with the Collective. Script informed by interviews with Marie Gladue, Fern Benally, Ross Canyon, Rosemary Tona-Aguirre, Alex Soto, and Tygel Pinto. Community insights and collaboration with Klee Benally.

Performance ensemble: Matthew Saraficio, Julianna Grantham, Gertie Lopez, Brett Boyce, Tessai Velasquez-Thurman, Sarah Haro. Borderlands Theatre (Marc David Pinate). Greg Houston (lighting), Adam Cooper Terán (sound/media), and Genevieve Heron (set), and Andy Gonzalez (stage manager).

La Pilita Cultural Center 420 S Main Ave. Tucson AZ 85701.Tickets: $7-$26 with various discounts.
Limited free admission for Indigenous Peoples of the Americas.
Please call the box office (520) 882-7406 to make free reservations.

3/29 – 7:30 pm Preview (HALF OFF All tickets $7/$12!)
3/30- 7:30 pm Opening Night Gala: With light refreshments plus meet and greet the collective. ($26/$14)
3/31 – 7:30 pm ($14/$19.50/$23.50)
4/1 – 7:30 pm ($14/$19.50/$23.50)
4/5 – 7:30 pm ($14/$19.50/$23.50)
4/6 – 7:30 pm ($14/$19.50/$23.50)
4/7 – 7:30 pm ($14/$19.50/$23.50)
4/8- 7:30 pm ($14/$19.50/$23.50)


This project is made possible, in part, through support from: MAP Fund; the Network of Ensemble Theaters’ Travel & Exchange Network (NET/TEN), supported by lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Art Works/National Endowment for the Arts.   

Reboot the past, change the future: rehearsals for Shooting Columbus

January 18, 2017

Happy 2017!  Our Fifth World Collective is in intensive rehearsal mode for “Shooting Columbus”, which premieres March 29-April 8, Borderlands Theater, Tucson.  Info here.

T Loving (left) plays Bruna the time traveler, and Sarah Haro (right) as Native American Boarding school student.

T Loving (left) plays Bruna the time traveler, and Sarah Haro (right) as Native American Boarding school student.

Matthew Saraficio and Jules Gantham in movement exploration.

Matthew Saraficio and Jules Gantham in movement exploration.



Director Rachel Bowditch leads us in a "rock through" mapping out our site-specific show w/dancer Ryan Pinto, and set designer Greg Houston.

Director Rachel Bowditch leads us in a “rock through” mapping out our site-specific show w/dancer Ryan Pinto, and set designer Greg Houston.

Matthew Saraficio plays the Tohono O'Odham leader in the year 3401.

Matthew Saraficio plays the Tohono O’Odham leader in the year 3401.












Jam Sessions Begin

July 16, 2015

Ryan Pinto in recent Jam Session, photo by Adam Cooper-Terán.

Ryan Pinto in recent Jam Session, photo by Adam Cooper-Terán.

Our Shooting Columbus collective begins regular jam sessions (research, mixology, movement, observation, discussion).  Thank you to our friends at Pan Left Productions and the Global Justice Center providing a space for these laboratory-like ideas to percolate.  More photos.

Shooting Columbus/Indigenous Cycles receives MAP Fund and NET Exchange Grant

April 29, 2015

Shooting ColumbusWe are pleased to announce that Shooting Columbus has received major support from the MAP Fund.  An Exchange Grant from the Network of Ensemble Theaters will also help fund the research and community phase of this project, The Indigenous Cycles, which convenes at the Herberger Institute at Arizona State University.

This is a multi-year project involving Indigenous artists from the Southwest region.  Rolling premiere begins at Borderlands Theater in Tucson in the fall of 2017.  More.

New work: Jomon/Jamón at “Border’s Edge” benefit

February 16, 2015


BordersEdgeIMAGEBorders Edge:On the Edges of Performance

Featuring Enrique Garcia, Natalie Brewster Nguyen, Milta Ortiz, Logan ‘Dirtyverbs’ Phillips, Serena Tang, Denise Uyehara & Karen Falkenstrom

Thursday, March 5, 7pm
Borderlands Theater – 40 W. Broadway, Tucson
$10 – $20 Sliding scale, at the door only
(520) 882-8607

Borderlands Theatre showcases Tucson’s avant-garde performance community in its latest venture, Borders Edge: On the Edges of Performance. The evening features a stellar line-up of performers and writers, who will inhabit the courtyard of Borderlands Theater at 40 W. Broadway in downtown Tucson.

Interdisciplinary artist Denise Uyehara, with musical accompaniment by Karen Falkenstrom of Odaiko Sonora, explores Okinawan identity and “authenticity” while wearing a paper kimono with 20 foot arms in a performance titled, Jomon/Jamón. Milta Ortiz examines marriage and feminine identity in her experimental performance piece. Natalie Nguyen and Selena Tang of Flight School Acrobatics perform a duet called Double Crossers that plays with twins, acrobatics, and the Asian female action heroine archetype. Interwoven throughout the night, spoken word poets Enrique Garcia and Logan Philips read from their recently published books, Tortoise Boy Says and Sonoran Strange, respectively.

The Hello Kitty Panel and Time Magazine

February 16, 2015

Hello Kitty, Time Magazine

Photo: Jae C. Hong—AP

Hello Kitty: Sexist throwback or empowering Icon? Hey, it’s fun to be quoted in Time Magazine, and even more fun to participate with artists and scholars who have something to say about the infamous Kitty.  Join the fun!

Hello Kitty Panel Discussion

Sunday, February 22, 2015, 2:00 PM
Japanese American National Museum
Little Tokyo, downtown Los Angeles
100 N. Central Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90012
events/JANM-HelloKitty-kokeshi-red_3.jpgThis panel discussion will take a critical look at the phenomenon of Hello Kitty, examining some of the arguments made by her detractors. Moderated by Hello! curator Christine Yano, with Laura Miller, Jaime Scholnick, and Denise Uyehara.Yano will be signing books following the program.Free for members; free with Hello! admission; $5 general.Moderator: Christine Yano, PhD

Archipelago (2012)

February 8, 2015

ARCHIPELAGO is a new multidisciplinary work by critically-acclaimed performance artist Denise Uyehara and award-winning visualist Adam Cooper-Terán. Through video, image and movement they remix ancient myths of Okinawa with the story of Batuc, a village in the Yaqui River Valley which was flooded by the Mexican government. They weave together loss, cultural survival, wrath of the deities, spirits of past, present and the future.  Premiered at Highways Performance Space, with support from the National Performance Network Creation Fund.   Click here for video and details.


Transitions w/James Luna, LACE (2012)

January 7, 2015

James Luna and Denise Uyehara surfing

Denise Uyehara and James Luna, photo/design: Adam Cooper-Teran




Transitions by Denise Uyehara and James Luna
Everybody has a past.  For James Luna and myself, that past began in Orange County — land of malls, surfers and the 405 Freeway.  How did we evolve from being ethnic minorities in suburbia to the artists we are today? And in the sea of consumerism and cultural amnesia, what makes an Indian or Asian American truly “authentic?”

In this project we revisit one of James Luna’s performances from the 70’s, also entitled Transitions, in which he unpacked a bag full of “Indian” objects and created a new rituals with them.  We’ll spring board off the earlier work and unpack the metaphorical bag to revisit what’s inside.  Together we’ll conduct a series of rituals that recount surviving life behind the “Orange Curtain.” We’ll be remixing surfing music, disco, narrative and home movies and surfing footage projected onto a psychedelic kimono with 30 foot long arms that can wrap around Denise like a cocoon or straight jacket.

Transitions is commissioned by Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE) for Los Angeles Goes Live as part of Pacific Standard Time, an initiative of the Getty. Pacific Standard Time is a collaboration of more than 60 cultural institutions across Southern California coming together for the first time to celebrate the birth of the L.A. art scene, beginning in the fall of 2011.

Premiered at LACE Thursday, November 10, 2012
LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions)
6522 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028

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Big Head published in Anthology of Testimonial Plays (Bloomsbury/Methuen)

August 26, 2014

Big HeadTestimonial Plays, which examines the treatment of Japanese Americans during WWII and those now perceived as “the enemy” a post 9/11 world, is included in a new anthology from Methuen/Bloomsbury Press.  Edited by Alison Forsyth.  I’m honored that my work will sit along side writings by Anna Deavere Smith, Paula Cizmar, Tim Etchells of Forced Entertainment and many others.  Big Head was originally published by the beloved Kaya Press.


Dreams & Silhouettes/Suenos y Siluetas (2014)

July 22, 2014


Dreams Website

Click here for Video of show and here for Local PBS (AZPM) feature. Dreams and Silhouettes/ Sueños y Siluetas is a multidisciplinary installation that offers a performative response to the detentions and deportations affecting local residents.  Premiered January 2014 at the Center for Global Justice in Tucson, AZ.  Made possible with generous support from the Tucson Pima Arts Council P.L.A.C.E. grant and the MAPFund.  More on the project and community voices.

Press coverage


Gracias from the Dreams/Sueños Team

January 27, 2014


SOUTH TUCSON – We want to thank the community for coming out to see Dreams and Silhouettes/Sueños y Siluetas at the Center for Global Justice.  It was so exciting to perform to a packed house — and what a diverse crowd! We were so moved by your energy, support and feedback.  Special thanks to our community partners: Las Promotoras, Coalición de Derechos Humanos, Pan Left Productions and the Center for Global Justice.  Check out the media coverage on the project and artist notebook.