by Andrea Dulanto
In December 2012, Brooklyn-based artist and writer Cristy C. Road came back home to Miami to read at Sweat Records from her latest graphic novel, Spit and Passion. The autobiographical narrative centers on Road’s early adolescence – growing up working-class, Cuban-American, and queer in the early 1990s.
As she read, artwork from the book flashed behind her on a screen – a surrealistic vision of a young Road flying into the universe with one of her earliest influences, Freddie Mercury of Queen, or the more muted image of her sitting in her bedroom closet, which is decorated with Christmas lights and the Cuban flag.
At intervals during the reading, Road sang and danced to Green Day’s music – a punk-pop band that has been a major influence in her adolescence and throughout her artistic life. Her performance mirrored the exuberance of Spit and Passion, and underscored the complexity of this story of early adolescence.
In many ways, it is a story about surviving alienation and self-doubt. Throughout the book, Road expresses being conflicted about coming out as gay to her family and friends, and particularly about the kind of effect it would have on her sense of Cuban-American identity.