Anthony Hudson/Carla Rossi Keeps Rising Higher

“Hudson is an advocate for queerness, drag, collaboration, survival, and celebration for the larger Portland and Oregon communities.”

Anthony Hudson and Carla Rossi (Matty Newton)

Age: “Carla’s somewhere between 12 and 10,000 years old, but I’m notoriously private about my age.”

Occupation: Multidisciplinary artist, writer and community programmer at the Hollywood Theatre

Why They Matter: Hudson (Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, Siletz) grew up in Keizer, or, as they dub it, “the meth-y tumor attached to Salem.” It was upon moving to Portland 15 years ago that Hudson’s artistry began to take shape.

Since 2015, Hudson has, as drag clown Carla Rossi, hosted Queer Horror, an LGBTQ+ horror film screening series at the Hollywood Theatre, but their artistry’s influence extends far beyond the theater. From a piece displaying six years of used makeup wipes to an internationally touring play about their experience with their Indigenous and queer identity, Hudson/Rossi explores creativity and performance with an unyielding pursuit of truth and absurdity.

Biggest Influence: “My dad. He was a Tribal social worker and gave presentations on the Indian Child Welfare Act…I would watch him give these PowerPoint presentations in white spaces with jokes built into them. I noticed that you can use humor to teach and to break resistance to get people to listen to you. So that was a huge influence for me.”

Greatest Personal Achievement: “It would be two things. My show, Looking for Tiger Lily, which was the first time I performed as myself. I’m very proud of and my favorite thing to do is Queer Horror…that show means the world to me.”

Favorite Guilty Pleasure: “I am so obsessed with Real Housewives.”

Best Quote About Them: “Anthony’s work as Carla Rossi is dazzling and important because together they fearlessly claw at white supremacy and gnaw at this city and country’s devotion to capitalism, gender roles, and racism.”

“Rossi is funny in a way that is both buoyant and dark—her evisceration of Land Acknowledgements in The Carlalogues and, with Pepper Pepper in GLOOP, has changed my views about this practice; Hudson’s revisiting of the childhood Peter Pan character Tiger Lily in Looking for Tiger Lily invites not just another look at that story, but at the foundations of our entire culture.”

“Rossi is scathing and simultaneously glamourous and ugly—all in service of drawing attention to our very broken society. This is what Hudson/Rossi’s project is: to illuminate and to filet cultural norms and desires. And, while often biting and dark in subject, Hudson/Rossi’s work consistently points to a better way forward, and revels in a deep love of performance and art.”

“Hudson’s work in Portland includes Rossi’s performances, but is also more than just Carla. Hudson is an arts champion, educator, and advocate, programming queer cinema at Hollywood Theater, producing Queer Horror, writing, presenting work through PICA’s Time-Based Art Festival, serving on the Board of the Risk/Reward Festival, and guest lecturing and teaching for area students and showing them their own ways forward in queer world-making through performance, among the many other things that Hudson does. In these ways, Hudson is an advocate for queerness, drag, collaboration, survival, and celebration for the larger Portland and Oregon communities.” —Kate Bredeson, theater historian, director, dramaturg and professor of theater at Reed College

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