Sternberg Press, 2022. Softcover, 104 pp., 4.5 x 7 inches
Valerie Solanas’s legendary play, Up Your Ass—never published during her lifetime but full of her signature irreverence and wit, incisiveness, and camp—explodes social and sexual mores and the hypocritical, patriarchal culture that produces them. The play, the full title of which is Up Your Ass Or From the Cradle to the Boat Or The Big Suck Or Up from the Slime, marches out a cast of screwy stereotypes: the unknowing john, the frothy career girl, the boring male narcissist, two catty drag queens, the sex-depraved housewife, and a pair of racialized pickup artists, among others. At the center is protagonist Bongi Perez—a thinly veiled Solanas—a sardonic, gender-bending hustler who escorts us through the back alleys of her street life. The fictionalized predecessor to SCUM Manifesto, the play shares the same grand, subversive, implicative language, equally spitting and winking, embracing the margins, the scum, and selling a trick along the way.