Critically acclaimed queer Chicana lesbian writer/performer Monica Palacios is widely recognized as working at the forefront of Chicana/Latina, queer, lesbian, feminist performance. For over 3 decades, her work has strongly embraced activism, community organizing and cultural work. Monica is the first out Chicana lesbian comic to hit the stage in San Francisco 1982. Monica celebrated her 30 years as a groundbreaking Chicana lesbian artist with a retrospective show, Queer Chicana Soul, at Highways Performance Space, Santa Monica that garnered a personal recognition by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and a resolution from Mayor Villaraigosa and the LA City Council members who declared Oct 12, 2012 Monica Palacios Day.
She has written several one-woman shows, plays and screenplays, including: Jota Love, I Kissed Chavela Vargas, Queer Latina Love & Revolution, Latin Lezbo Comic, Greetings From A Queer Señorita, Sweet Peace, Memory Is In Your Heart, Clock, Miercoles Loves Luna, Slow Dance With A Woman and Prom. Her plays, short stories, poems and essays, have been published in numerous pivotal anthologies: Fifteen Candles; Out of The Fringe; Chicana Lesbians: The Girls Our Mothers Warned Us About; and Puro Teatro: A Latina Anthology. Palacios is featured in two new publications: Jota Anthology Korima Press 2016 and Sinister Wisdom Journal #97 special Out Latina Lesbians Summer Issue 2015. Other notable publications that she has written or has been written about: Fall 2013 Chicana/Latina Studies, the journal of MALCS, (Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambios Social); VIVA Records, 1970-2000 Lesbian and Gay Latino Artists of Los Angeles, UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Press 2013; Here Come The Brides! Reflections On Lesbian Love and Marriage, Seal Press 2012; and Performing the U.S. Latina/o Borderlands, Indiana University Press 2012.
Her latest work in progress, Jota Love, was selected for the 2015 Latina/o New Works, Highways, Santa Monica. She's toured with her show Queer Latina Love & Revolution to enthusiastic audiences at University of Texas Pan-American, Pitzer College, Williams College, San Francisco State University and Arizona State University. Monica was nominated as a 2015 "100 Women We Love" for being an out prominent lesbian by GOMagazine.com. She was selected as one of the 41 LGBTQ Latina/o 2014 Role Models by Honor41.org. Monica was nominated as 2014 LGBT Pride Month Local Heroes, KCET. She recently completed her new short play: I Kissed Chavela Vargas. Her play Clock was selected by Teatro Bravo, Phoenix for a premiere production March 2014. Monica was selected as "Latinas of Influence 2013" by HispanicLifestyle.com. Her play Miercoles Loves Luna was presented at the 2013 10th International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival. During 2012 her work was featured at Highways Performance Space, Santa Monica; Brown & Out Festival 2, Los Angeles; UC Santa Barbara and New Play Reading Series, Teatro Bravo, Phoenix. In 2011, her screenplay Sweet Peace was selected as a semi-finalist for the Los Angeles Outfest Film Festival. Her performance, The OH! Show, was published in Spring 2009 Chicana/Latina Studies, the journal of MALCS. She has been featured as the subject of critical discussion by leading scholars in the fields of Chicano/Latino Studies, LGBT/Queer Studies and Feminist Studies. She is on the cover and featured in the book: Homecoming Queers: Desire & Difference in Chicana Latina Cultural Production (2009 Rutgers University Press) by Professor Marivel Danielson. Monica’s performances and publications continue to be studied in universities nationally and internationally. November 2010 Palacios was the featured performer at the International Association of Inter-American Studies Conference at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany. She was instrumental in the launch of and has a blog on the website Epochalips.com, a cyber community for lesbians and allies.
In 2009, Palacios was the first openly gay performer at the Los Angeles Catholic institution Loyola Marymount University. Monica was awarded a National Performance Network Residency to participate in the International Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz Festival 2009 in Houston. Palacios was chosen by Adelante Magazine as a Latino LGBT Community Leader for its 10th Year Anniversary 2008. Monica was awarded a prestigious Postdoctoral Rockefeller Fellowship from the Chicano Studies Institute, UC Santa Barbara, 2003- 2004. During this fellowship Palacios wrote, co-directed and produced her play Sweet Peace, and received an Indie Award for Excellence in Play Writing from the Santa Barbara Independent Newspaper. She has been honored by numerous national organizations and publications, deservedly recognized for her many positive contributions to the queer Latino/Latina population and the LGBT population at large.
Since 1995, Palacios has been a lecturer at UC Santa Barbara, UCLA, UC Riverside, Loyola Marymount University, Claremont College, Pomona College and The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She has also taught an American Studies Course at the University of Duisberg/Essen, Germany. In 2008, her course, Comedy y Cultura: Your Humorous Life, became a core course for the Department of Chicana/o Studies at UCLA. Monica also has taught elementary and high school students and has worked extensively with at-risk-youth. Palacios has been a director, writer & dramaturg for over 400 student theater projects.
As the director (1992-2000) of the groundbreaking queer art collective, VIVA Lesbian and Gay Latino Artists, activism and art co-existed as she and board members produced cultural events throughout Los Angeles. Discovering, empowering and promoting queer Latina/o artists in the community was a policy she believed in then and still carries in her heart today.
Dr. Jorge Huerta, Chancellor’s Associates Professor of Theatre Emeritus, UC San Diego: “Monica is a true pioneer, a queer performer who took the risk long before it was “safe” to speak out about the conditions of the queer communities within the larger communities of Latinas and Latinos in this country.”