With What Ass Does the Cockroach Sit? / Con Que Culo Se Sienta la Cucaracha?

With What Ass Does the Cockroach Sit? / Con Que Culo Se Sienta la Cucaracha?


[APPLAUSE]
>>Woo, [FOREIGN] okay, you have horses, you have dogs, you have cats, you have everything, right? So what’s missing? La cucaracha, that’s right. I know for those of you,
how many Latinos in the house?>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Okay, some. How many of you know the story of
La Cucarachita Martina, la cucaracha?>>[FOREIGN]
>>Okay, a couple of you, not a lot, okay?>>[LAUGH]
>>So for those of you who don’t know, I’m gonna tell you very, very quickly. This is a story about a love that dared
not speak its name between a cockroach and a mouse. And it was a cockroach that lives
in Spain, a very pretty cucaracha, who’s always cleaning, this cucaracha
is always cleaning with a broom. And one day, she finds a coin. And then she thinks,
what can I buy with that coin, what? Well, what would she buy
if she’s a cockroach? Face powder, of course.>>[LAUGH]
>>So she puts a little makeup on. She looks so good and so hot that
all the animals want to marry her. So they all come courting,
there is the duck, quack, quack, quack. But she goes, okay, she has to ask
them how they will talk to her. And if they talk nice,
she’s gonna marry one of them. But she has the frog, the frog goes okay,
Mr Senor Frog, how would you talk to me? And the frog goes,
barum barum barum barum, or in English, it would be ribbit, ribbit, ribbit. He goes, I know that sound’ll drive
me crazy morning, noon, and night. You guys do not shut up, forget about it. And then the rooster comes in, and she goes okay, rooster,
how would you talk to me? And the rooster goes [SOUND],
cuz it’s a Spanish rooster. The American rooster
will cock-a-doodle-doo, cock-a-doodle-doo, okay?>>[LAUGH]
>>So then she says my God, no, that’s a lot of noise, okay? That’s a lot of noise. And then comes a little [FOREIGN],
Perez, the mouse who everybody believes is a full blooded royal
mouse, who knows how to curtsy very well. So she goes, okay, [FOREIGN] Perez,
how would you talk to me? And the [FOREIGN] Perez goes choo,
choo, choo, choo. My God, she falls in love,
they get married. She dances flamenco at the wedding,
then one day, look, there she.>>[LAUGH]
>>She’s singing flamenco at the wedding. Let me see if I see the,
here’s Perez, you know Perez? Okay, she’s in the balcony. Perez is courting,
then she dances flamenco. Then one day for the holiday,
she is cooking a nice sweet dessert. So she’s cooking a nice sweet dessert,
but she’s also very clean. There she is cooking the dessert. But she’s very clean, so she keeps
on with the broom cleaning outside. She leaves the pot burning, and the mouse Perez goes,
it smells delicious, I wonder what it is. So he gets up on a little stool,
like we have our chair like this. He gets up on the stool or a chair. And he sees a little almond. He thinks, I’m gonna get that almond. And when he goes to get that almond,
he flips over and goes into the pot and boils to death.>>[LAUGH]
>>Look, I know, this is what they tell children
before they go to bed. Look, these are the little feet, okay. The little feet of the poor mouse,
look at this. Thank you very much. Look at the little feet, okay? This is horrible, horrible, but so what happened with the cucaracha,
well, she sings, she becomes a widow. And she sings and
she sings to her little mouse, Perez. She never forgets him, but
she ends up being a widow. So, it’s a beautiful story that we
tell the children of Latin America, it’s very well known.>>[LAUGH]
>>And besides Kafka’s Metamorphosis,
Joan Didion’s Miami, and George Orwell’s Animal Farm,
Perez Martina was one of my inspirations. So this dramatic story I’m going to do for you today is based on
the Elián González story. I don’t know how many of you know,
but Elián González was a little boy, five years old, who went on a trip,
and he was shipwrecked, found at sea. And then his custody battle
created an international crisis. So, the title of my piece
is called [FOREIGN]. With what ass does a cockroach sit,
and I will try, like Translafsky, to become a cockroach. Can you tell I’m a Cuban cockroach? Okay.>>[LAUGH]
>>Okay, but I’m not feeling so cucaracha today.>>[LAUGH]
>>I think this is a little off. I’ll just put it here. Yes, it’s good to change things. Okay, I’m not feeling cucaracha. I don’t know why, but
you know what I think? [FOREIGN] The shoes,
now that’s more cucaracha, right? That’s more cucaracha, okay. Quick, hide. Quick, hide. That should be my name, not Martina. That’s what they should put on my
tombstone, here lies quick, hide. The life of a cucaracha is really tough. People think we’re dirty. But what do they expect when
we gotta hide all the time? Inside a greasy stove, under a dresser
with a dust bunny the size of a bull frog. And only if you’re really lucky, behind a can of Planters peanuts that have
been opened, and you can lick the salt. We suffer so much anxiety. You gotta have eyes in the back of
your head cuz you never know where the danger’s coming from. But I shouldn’t complain,
this is a good family situation for me. The old man is 80 years old and
slow as molasses, and Catalina, my best friend,
is a very generous parrot, but bossy. I gotta do all her leg work
cuz I got six legs and she’s got two, and
she’s got to be inside her cage. Everyday at 9 AM,
I gotta go into her old man’s bedroom to see if he’s packing
a suitcase to leave on a trip. And she’s so strict with me, we gotta have
vocabulary lessons at 12 before lunch. And then at 3, [FOREIGN], [FOREIGN],
not just regular [FOREIGN] but [FOREIGN] with a discussion. And she gets upset with me if I say
something she don’t wanna hear. [FOREIGN] Like my grandfather used to say, [FOREIGN] you don’t tell the king
what he don’t wanna hear. No?>>[LAUGH]>>[SOUND] Practice makes perfect.>>[LAUGH]
>>[FOREIGN] Where is Martina? I’ve never met a cucaracha more resistant. Any type of intellectual
stimulation is like a punishment. How many times have I told her we must
feed our brains as well as our souls? And to think I was once like her. La salvaje, a wild savage. I was not born in Havana, but
some called me, [FOREIGN]. No, this grande dame of Havana
was born in the jungle, and taken by a man who took even parrots
to sell in the black market. And that’s how my brother, Francisco,
now Harry, ended up in Chicago.>>[LAUGH]
>>And I ended up with my old man, the Grammy winning singer of
the Nueva Vista Social Club. My Grammy winner, so handsome. [FOREIGN]
Big bags under his eyes, magic fingers that can pluck the guitar. And massage my [SOUND] cranium [LAUGH]. My old man and I, we’re going to
be doing a duet together of a CD. And that’s why I work hard
to elevate myself and learn a new vocabulary word every day. Yesterday’s word was succinct.>>[LAUGH]
>>Martina should be happy. How many roaches are there that learn
vocabulary and live in such splendor? A cage that’s the exact replica
of the Palace of Versailles. My mirrors! My Louis Quatorze chair! And my divan. Most people are hungry in Cuba,
I am like Marie Antoinette. I say, let them eat cake [FOREIGN]
>>[LAUGH]>>Martina, Martina! [FOREIGN]
Where were you? I assume there’s nothing to report. No suitcase, no packing going on. He’s not going away on a singing trip, no.>>No, no packing, no suitcase,
no, not like that, no.>>Okay,
let us begin with our vocabulary lesson. The word for today is, petits pois,
that’s French for peas. Repeat after me. Petits pois. Again?>>[LAUGH]
>>Again? Now a sentence. I love my petits pois.>>[LAUGH]
>>Is that it?>>[LAUGH]
>>Very well. What, you’re not staying
to hear Bertha the Bee, the animal internet’s new reporter? Keep on buzzing Bertha? You think she’s dry? Don’t you mean succinct?>>[LAUGH]
>>Yes, I know you like Lumumba the Lizard’s
reporting but he’s old. Yes, very well, go, meet Lumumba, but
remember café con leche is at 3:00. And our discussion is
going to be a good one, all about Spain becoming the biggest
investor in the Cuban economy. [FOREIGN]
Lumumba.>>[LAUGH]
>>Lumumba.>>Poor guy,
his legs don’t have good suction no more. To think that I used to
live in this apartment! This was a very bad family situation for
me. A lot of danger, and no food! One week I was on a strict diet of hair. Hair is so bad for the digestion!>>[LAUGH]
>>[LAUGH]>>A shadow around me, ow, ow, ow. Hey, kid your finger on
my antenna is killing me. What, you’re a good boy and you gotta kill me cuz nobody likes
roaches in the house, they’re dirty. No, no that’s a lie, a lie. You’re a good boy and you don’t lie, and you like to play with the tourist children
at the hotel where your father works. But the tourist children got bigger,
better toys than you, a power ranger and an SUV. But you got toys that are magic,
a rock and a stick, and they can fly. You’re a smart boy! And you like to wash your daddy’s car? So bye bye dirty roach, I kill you. No, no, kid, I’m very clean! I’m so clean, I’m friends with the Queen! What Queen you ask, what’s your name? Elian Gonzalez, the Queen of Spain. You saw her on TV? You love TV? Me too. Take your finger off my antenna and
I’ll tell you all about it.>>[LAUGH]
>>No, no won’t run, I promise. See Elian, I was in a flamenco dancing contest, that’s right. I was the best dance of
flamenco in all of Cuba. And that’s how I got to be the roach
in waiting to the Queen of Spain. Yes sit down, I’ll tell you all about it,
no I won’t run. There I was, dancing, dancing, dancing,
with a mantilla on my head, ole. What? Yeah, they cut two little
holes on my mantilla so my antennacles stick out, yeah.>>[LAUGH]
>>Elian, and when queens eat,
what do queens usually have? A crown, yeah but she doesn’t wanna wear a
crown cuz she wants to be more democratic. No, more communist, no more capital,
the pallet is got me mixed up, okay. Look, queens have banquets, the only problem is that
the banquet Is in a restaurant. And there’s nothing that restaurant
owners hate more than us roaches. But I, [LAUGH] [FOREIGN], I jump on the back of the queen’s
dress and hold on to the back. My god, it was so pretty, I had to
read the label, Carolina Herrera and when I look up, the restaurant
owner staring at me with such hate. But I stare right back,
he can’t do a thing. He wacks me, he wacks the Queen. [LAUGH]
>>[LAUGH]>>I went down on the back of the Queen’s dress, holding on and
waving just like the Queen. Elian, you try the royal wave. That’s right, that’s right, and I made
the headlines in the animal internet. That’s the AI, where we get the news.>>[LAUGH]
>>[FOREIGN] Dines with the Queen of Spain. What? You wanna kiss me? So, I turn into a princess. No chico, that happens in fairy tales. If you kiss me, I’ll be a roach, but
a roach in waiting to the Queen of Spain. Quick, hide. Quick, hide. Thanks, kid. Look at that. He’s waving at me. Martina, [FOREIGN]. Where were you? My old man’s coming any moment now. There he is. Quick, hide,
hide under the sun flower seeds. [FOREIGN]
>>[LAUGH]>>I’m hiding under the sunflower seeds and I see the old man shuffling and
singing. And he’s calling Catalina
the flower of his existence. And then, he tells her that he’s
going on a singing trip to Miami. My God, she loses it. No Miami, no Miami, no, no Miami, no! Well, the guy, he’s a smooth operator,
because then he says, they’re gonna do a CD together and
that he’s gonna give her a massage. When he says massage, that’s the key word. I see, Papi.>>[LAUGH]
>>Give it to me, Papi. Give it to me, give it to me,
give it to me. [LAUGH]
>>[INAUDIBLE] An old man and a parrot,
that relationship is not healthy okay.>>[LAUGH]
>>But life is good for me here. All I gotta do is shut up,
I’m getting good at climbing the dresser where the old
man keeps his postcards. I could use a little contemplating. There is nothing more relaxing than
contemplating on top of a postcard. My favorite is Rio de Janeiro,
where Yemaya has there feast day. I love Yemaya because
she respects roaches. Thank you, Yemaya for not letting believing I was a dirty,
dumb, disgusting roach. [SOUND] Contemplating is good.>>[LAUGH]
>>We roaches, we are bumpy bugs. The bees, and the ants,
they’re the workaholics.>>[LAUGH]
>>We love to contemplate, yeah. [SOUND] Sometimes I don’t understand
why people hate us so much? We’ve been in this planet since the day of
the dinosaur and we are not extinct, why? Cuz we outsmart people and
we’re easygoing. How many times they hit us with a broom? And then they go find a pan or a newspaper
to pick the cadaver up and surprise!>>[LAUGH]
>>And then they yell [FOREIGN]
where did that [FOREIGN] go?>>[LAUGH]
>>We outsmart people, yeah! We live, we are survivors. We live even if our lives
are full of insult. Martina, Martina Martina, you miss pertha. But I will tell you the news. In that old French tradition,
that of the tour and the lead story today is such a tragedy. A tragedy, a tragedy, I love a tragedy. Please, can I rip a little piece of
paper from your cage to use as a hanky? If you must. It all started at 4 AM in the morning, 14
people hurdled together by some trees and shrubs to the shore boarded
a boat to leave Cuba. Last passengers were young mother and
her boy El Nino, five years old, isn’t it something? [FOREIGN] The queen,
the pope, Leonardo DiCaprio, they all come to Cuba by plane,
and then others, they go by boat. Are you finished?>>[LAUGH]
>>Before they boarded the boat, the boy turned to look back, but
what he, the mother bent down and said [FOREIGN] don’t look back. There’s a future [FOREIGN].>>[LAUGH]
>>The captain of the boat took the boy from her,
he was her boyfriend. And when the mother saw the boat packed
like a can of sardines, she hesitated. But the boyfriend said [FOREIGN] and
she did. It was so crowded in the boat,
the mother held the boy in her arms and when the boy turned to look back and didn’t see any lights on shore
a tear trickled down his cheek. He wiped it off with the back of his hand. He want to be brave, but
he had a lump in his throat. The mother, to distract him,
pointed to the planets. There’s Pluto, Venus, Mars, she got them
all wrong but it did distract the boy. Then she starts to sing,
when you wish up on a star. Aye, nobody sings that
better than Jimminy Cricket. [FOREIGN]
>>[LAUGH]>>[FOREIGN] cannot hold a candle to my old man. Not long after that,
not long after that, the boat stopped and the boyfriend, the boyfriend
went to see if he could fix the motor. To make matters worse, it started to rain. The drops were the size of quarters! People start to get antsy, they,
they said what is happening, we’re not moving, we paid $1000! The boyfriend tried to fix the motor but
he couldn’t. Then the waves kept rocking more
violently from side to side. The mother put the boy down and
he almost lost his balance. A big wave poured water over them,
a woman screamed as she fell. Suddenly there was thunder and
lightning and people panic. And panic is like wildfire,
once it starts it’s impossible to put out. People rocking more violently now. Another wave of water into the boat and
the boyfriend yelled for people to calm down. Suddenly a man went overboard,
people screamed he’s drowning. The boyfriend yelled the mother to get two
inner tubes to use as a life preserver. The mother grabbed one for
the child and put it on him and then the boyfriend yelled the mother
to grab the rope he was throwing and she quickly tied the boy to the tube. And said to him Nino hold on, hold on. She was about to tie herself to the tube
when a monstrous wave was forming and growing bigger than all the others. And the weight of the passengers along
with the fury of the wave capsize the boat until all of the passenger
are hurled into the ocean. El nino? The boy, the boy was under water. He opened his eyes, he couldn’t
see a thing, he swallowed water, he gagged in a few seconds. The tube lifted him up, with the rain,
thunder and darkness he was confused. Where was his mommy? Is there someone by the sinking ship? Was that her? He tried swimming like his
father had taught him but with his arms that were too short to reach
the water and all he could do was kick, as people kept screaming and crying and
the rain was coming down hard. He tried to scream but no sound would come
out of his mouth, and the screams and the crying stopped and the only sound
was the sound of the waves and the rain. And the boy just kept kicking. [FOREIGN] Hi! I love a good kite! That was great. Martina, it’s a tragedy that
turns into a [LAUGH] comedy. Because the boy has been called
the tilt of the dolphins was rescued by two Miami dolphins,
Dolores and Dominique. They were so good to the boy, first day all cried
together the boy cried about his mother. And Dominique cried about her own
mother who died in child birth. And Dolores cried about her baby calf
who got hit by a Carnival cruise ship. Then after they cried they and
echo-located [SOUND]>>[LAUGH]>>And when the boy was hungry, he asked got milk and Dolores was
still lactating, breast at the boy and her milk was as sweet as dulce
de leche the Hagen Daas. They got along so well with
the boy they wanted to adopt him. Imagine, a boy with two mommies. But the sharks vetoed the adoption. Well they and echo located and they pushed the boy, Elian Gonzalez, to
a fishing boat so he could be picked up. Elian, Elian Gonzalez, I know him. I know him. This is not news. This is a real tragedy. I know him. Thank you very much, thank you.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Thank you and you know what happened? You know what happened to Elian? He got sent back. In my story, this is just an excerpt in
the story, what happens is Catalina and Martina have a huge fight. In a jealous rage
the parrot hits the roach, he ends up in a luggage bound for
Miami with the old man. And she ends up next door
to Elian’s relatives. So she gets inducted in Miami into the AI,
the Animal Internet, by a transgender cat called Cassandra.>>[LAUGH]
>>And when she does get inducted into that she
actually does the interview with Elian, one to one with Elian the day that the US government sends the SWAT team to pick
up Elian and sends him back to Cuba. So the roach jumps in to Elian’s
sneaker and they fly off to Cuba, where they eventually reunite
at Martina and Catalina and they continue the vocabulary lessons and they continue their discussions
with Cafe con Leche. Thank you very much.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Thank you.

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