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Finding Aid for the The Fire of Life: The Robert Legorreta - Cyclona Collection 1962 - 2002
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
This collection of papers, photos, LP records and three dimensional objects represents the personal collection of the performance artist Robert Legorreta also known as Cyclona.

Items of special interest include Cyclona's scrapbook and LP record and artifact collection depicting representations of Latinos.



Researchers who would like to indicate errors of fact or omissions in this finding aid can contact the research center at www.chicano.ucla.edu
Background
As a child Robert Legorreta, also known as Cyclona, recalls seeing Elvis's television debut. This whetted his youthful appetite for provocative entertainment. He also remembers the hit novelty song, "The Monster Mash" and how that song transformed Halloween from an innocent candy and costume holiday for children into a subversive teenage rite of passage. Since that time, he has been a performance artist and provocateur. In the guise of a Pagliacci-like clown, inspired by the subversion of The Monster Mash and the sexuality of rock music, he laces his performances with subliminal and overt messages about race, gender and identity. Born September 15, 1952 in El Paso, Texas, his family soon moved to East Los Angles in hopes of finding a better life. He attended Belvedere Elementary, Griffith Junior High and Garfield High School, the last which was also attended by the founding member of the rock group Los Lobos as well as by artists Gronk and Mundo. By the late 1960s Legorreta had become interested in what he felt was an aesthetic of hippie androgyny. He and his friend, the artist Mundo began to provoke some of the residents of East Los Angeles by parading down Whittier Boulevard in daring drag costumes. These provocations came to the attention of the playwright Gronk (later artist) who had written a play, "Cockroaches Have No Friends," which featured a part calling for a transvestite named "Cyclona." Robert Legorreta became Cyclona, improvising the part, imbuing it with life, and, conversely, imbuing Legorreta with the persona he would identify with since that time. Cyclona describes himself as a live art artist, bringing art to life. Although his performances can be interpreted as a cross dresser's show, Cyclona does not identify as a transvestite and does not dress as a woman. He notes that he drapes himself in fabrics and paints himself with exaggerated makeup. He challenges the audience to question their perceptions of gender representation and stereotypes, as Cyclona says: "I am perception, perceive me as you will."
Extent
50 linear feet
Restrictions
Copyright has not been assigned to the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center. All requests for permission to publish must be submitted in writing to the Chicano Studies Research Center Library. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center as the owner of the physical item and is not intended to include or imply permission from the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.
Availability
COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Library and Archive for paging information.