BEING raised in the hip-hop generation, Kilusan Bautista made sure that he would be more than just a simple artist. He wanted to be an emerging voice for the fast-evolving diaspora, using his talent to raise awareness of how to be a conscious, responsible and caring global citizen.
Given the name “Kilusan,” which means movement in Filipino, he was born in Long Beach, California and was raised in the Mission District of San Francisco. “My family is from Pangasinan and Davao (in the Philippines),” Kilusan shared and added, “Both of my great grandfathers were veterans of the Philippine Scouts during World War II, which eventually enabled my family to immigrate to America in the 50’s/60’s”
He received his degree in American Studies and Performance Art from UC Santa Cruz in 2008. He then moved to New York City five years ago to pursue his artistic endeavors.
His talent is undeniable, as he combines different performance elements of theater, spoken word poetry, martial arts, interpretive movement and multimedia into his repertoire. He has performed in various stage plays and festivals, including the Adventures of Hoodie & Spy at the SF Theater Festival, Toy Soldiers at the Gallo Center for the Arts, at the Capital Fringe Festival in Washington, DC; and the Sahabhaga: Festival of Participatory Performance in Bangalore, India. He was also the opening act for Top Rank Boxing Lightweight champion Nonito Donaire in 2008.
Kilusan has also received the Outstanding Artist Award by the Filipino American National Historical Society of Metro NY in 2012, and the Congressional Community Service Award by California Senator Tom Lantos in 2006.
But for Kilusan, his biggest performance is his solo multimedia production, Universal Self; which he also wrote. To date, he has performed in at least 60 venues throughout North America and Bangalore, India; reaching over 20,000 people with the purpose of crossing cultural bridges and personal healing through performance arts.
Universal Self tells the story of Kilusan, who in his youth, is haunted by the Spirit of Hate who wishes to destroy his self-esteem by influencing him into a helpless, violent and psychologically troubled state. Guiding him is Malakas, an ancestral guardian spirit—helping Kilusan to remember his true self-worth and connection to his people.
There’s more to his solo theater production than just being a show as Kilusan also has founded the Universal Self Educational Program. A combination of theater, poetry and personal development workshops geared towards youth and young adults. He facilitates highly interactive workshops designed to bring out one’s creative potential, with its diverse themes from Universal Self such as identity, race relations and personal development.
This year, Kilusan looks forward to putting his solo production in a Broadway theater. “… I will be making dramatic changes to the Universal Self script by adding in new scenes and embracing the overall editing process. I am looking forward to working with a professional theater director as well as a lighting designer,” he said. “And lastly, the multimedia designs will be enhanced & modified in order to present a more tighter evolution of Universal Self.” At present, his production team is looking forward to building with Las Mamas Experimental Theatre Club, The Public Theater, Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), with India, the Philippines and other potential collaborations.
For more information about Kilusan Bautista and Universal Self, visit kilusanbautista.com or e-mail email@example.com.
(San Francisco January 31, 2014 SF Magazine pg.2)