Archive | April, 2009

LA REINA … makes the news

23 Apr

Street Inc.’s LA Reina, a take from L.A.’s Spanish founding name, El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles, made the news by both IndyMedia Los Angeles and Santa Monica College’s, The Corsair. Indy Media’s coverage featured LA Reina as a production that included artists, dj’s, photographers, graff writers, vendors, and multi-media artists coming together to celebrate our Los Angeles, the people’s L.A. The Corsair however, drew on classic stereotypes that people of color in the media so often become; gang-bangers, with the potential to shoot and  cause bloodshed while “invading the art world“.

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4/11/09 - Guests at LA Reina (photo by IndyMedia)

Street Inc. producers were very excited about including artists not just from South Central, but throughout the neighrborhood of Los Angeles. Street Inc. wanted to make sure that this was a true celebration of who we are as a people in the movement and in this city. A creative way this was accomplished was by hitting up

Photograph by Hyobin Hwang

Photograph by Hyobin Hwang

The Southern California Library (not the Los Angeles public library) to use their archives of L.A. history, art, culture, fashion, music, and social movement for promotional purposes. Leading up to LA Reina, we also asked guests to share their photographs of the Los Angeles they love. On the day of the event we filled digital screens with over 200 photographs submitted by the public.

But according to Scott O’Malley of SMC’s student newspaper, “Street Biz Inc.” (wrongly cited) threw an “art fair” (it was an event production) that was filled with reefer smelling, highly tensioned, illegal immigrant raging, potentially violent party goers. Sadly, it shows once again the ways in which media and their “journalists” become stuck on reproducing racists notions of who we are as people of color, even when coming together to create a space that is safe and celebratory.

Hmmm…. hmmm….

Well let me finish by noting who did attend the party. Street Inc. chooses to work with hot artists and hot DJ’s. Mixing and playing music for LA Reina was DJ Rani D., Lady Diplomat, Papalotl, and Dahi; out on the scenes through out L.A. from Highland Park to South Central and everywhere in between. Also featured were live performances by the Inner City Dwellers, March 4th, and Wose Kofi.

ICD members RHIPS and VDAH being gangsta!

ICD members RHIPS and VDAH being gangsta!

Art was curated by Stephanie Calderon of “The Collective” and by Sonji Mariposa, curator for the Eagle Rock/Highland Park Monthly Art Walk at Juanitas Lounge. The artists partaking in the exhibition included Maximillion Espinoza, Brian Carroll, Malie Huffman, Natalie Bixon, Linda Roberts, Michael Hubbard, Nori Sepina, Sandra Luna, Eddie Baldono, Hazel Shakti, Raquel Chavez, and Issac Ramirez aka Dazer 169 .

And just to add, Street Inc. also has hot guests, we don’t gang bang, but we are gangsta, gangsta! We are teachers, social workers, lawyers, students, poets, musicians, photographers, and community organizers amongst a wealth of other party-goers. We are Cumbia dancing, funk jiving, hip-hop nodding, “One Love” gangsta’s celebrating our city and each other. I will agree though, we are raw, we are genuine,  and we make it happen.

So Mr. O’Malley, for your next homework assignment,  interview some guests to get their perspective, put some context to your quotes, research your sources and citations, and enjoy the atmosphere.

Btw, please check out the audio and news clip by IndyMedia. Thanks IndyMedia, for proving the benefits of independent news to community 🙂

Peace!

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4/11/09 - Lovely Guests on Dancefloor... nope, no tension here, just smiles and laughs 🙂 (photo by IndyMedia)

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4/11/09 - Senor Fish: No cheap vodka or flying bottles here either... (photo by IndyMedia)

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Walking and Art at the Brewery

20 Apr

I was home on a beautiful Sunday wanting to get out and find some live music. I tried going to a Cuban festival but it was not free to join in the fun. So what is just as good as music? ART !

Me and the homegirl went to the Art Walk at the Brewery. Every spring and fall the Art Colony at the Brewery (a real live, breathing, creative colony of artists) live and work together in studios and warehouses, openning their doors to invite the muses in. Here’s a little bit of what I saw…

Dueling Shrouds: a life portrait by Ann Erpino

Dueling Shrouds: a life portrait by Ann Erpino

I stopped at Ann Erpino’s studio and found beautifully detailed oil on canvas paintings of nature over taking scenes of urban decay, aka ruins. A very serene and surreal feeling comes about as you stare at her creations. Deliberate lines, buildings, structures, and shapes are constructed within her canvas but trees, flowers, and butterflies take over the landscape the only way nature knows to do best. She really captures a moment in time that we might know as “the end of time” or the fall of civilization. But it is in this moment of abandonment of our way of life that nature continues to grow and flourish.  Erpino’s essence as a womyn really shows thru her paintings. My favorite piece was of a girl sitting on a rock formed couch reading a book at the edge of a cliff. After the edge you see what could be the Grand Canyon except green and grassy with layers of shelves holding an infinity of books.

I also found Japanes artist that posed the following question in one of his paintings, “Alguien aqui habla Japones?” (Does someone here speak Japanese?). “Hai! Watashi wa Ana desu! Anata wa, donata desu ka?” He said CJ Kang. I really enjoyed his paintings with large pigeons replacing human heads. I found another piece that originally said, “Made in Sweden”, but he crossed out S-W-E-D and wrote W-O-M, “Made in Women”. OFCOUSE we are made in womyn! Me and Sandra looked at each other and started laughing. At this point i asked the artist more about his work as it was influenced by the feminine energy. Outside the artist also had rusty furniture that held plants. A beautiful little garden and Sandra became captivated by the peppers!

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After some more art perusal we bumped into BHIX. Yah, his paintings were crazy. There was no one single painting you could focus on. They were all colorful, sporadic, twisted, and animated, yet … simple. Very free-stylesk, this is the best kind of art anyways, the one were you just go!

Hundreds of paintings by Billy Hix

Hundreds of paintings by Billy Hix

So that was pretty much it. We wandered around a little bit and found jeans for $5. We were about to follow some people carrying 10 boxes of pizzas up some stairs to try and find the party but we were’nt invited. I found a 2 bd room for rent sign for $2,000 but someone wrote that in 1997, this same loft use to be $1,200. Yah, it’s expensive to live in gentrified Los Angeles. But you don’t have to live with high expenses to be an artist. Although I would not mind living in an art colony. I imagine it to be art all day everyday… Maybe there’s an art colony in South L.A….maybe I should start my own …

Film Screening of Killer’s Paradise

8 Apr

As promised, I wanted to bring this film screening to a larger audience than the one I had been a part of a couple months ago when I first saw Killer’s Paradise. Please come and support this film and add yourself to the awareness efforts of the tragic reality that is being lived by womyn in Guatemala. The first step in change is learning about the issue. This film speaks to many issues that are affecting womyn around the globe. 

There’s so much to say on the subject. So come and be a part of this event. There will be photography shared by a friend of mine, Sandra Luna. She is from Guatemala and has captured amazing stories through her lens. Timoi, an amazing L.A. based artist, Guatemalan native, will be sharing an art piece of Rogelia Cruz. Also, Claudia Serrato, will be leading an opening ceremony for the screening. All and all, we are coming together to send positive energy and thoughts to all womyn. Please add your presence. 

Finally, tonight I will be on Feminist Magazine airing on KPFK 90.7 FM at 7PM to talk about the film and the issue at hand. Listen in or find us on KPFK’s archives 🙂 

 

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My Great Uncle’s Passing at 105 Years Old

5 Apr

imgp4760It was friday around 8:30PM when i received a text ” vos , que el tio reginaldo fallecio a las 8″. My great uncle, my grandmother’s brother, past on. 

I stopped. Re-read the text. And a wealth of signs i had witnessed for the past month zoomed thru my head signaling what was now fact. Deep inside, my spirit was already aware of this. I faced the fact and could do nothing else but cry. I had to sit and get some air. The friends who were with me could do nothing at the time, except give me some space to go thru my emotions.

They drove me home and i felt in a complete daze. My mind wandered everywhere. I made it home and zoned out in my room. I found my journal where i drew a portrait of him when I last saw him in August 2008. I knew back then that i needed to see him, his wife had just past and I knew he would soon follow. I found him and took pictures and film while my mom interviewed him for me. “Ubico!”, is what he kept mentioning. Ubico was a Guatemalan President/dictator that funded many infrastructure projects through out Guatemala. My great Uncle Reginaldo built roads, tunnels, buildings, and bridges in Xela.

There is a bridge in Xela that took many of the men’s lives while being constructed. The Goddess that protected that area needed sacrifices made to her if this bridge was to hold up. So she took them. This bridge my great uncle helped to build remains strong, through the earthquakes and hurricanes that have past by.

My great uncle, he lived a full life. He past at 105  years old, the oldest person in Xela. No one could have asked for more. I only wish I would have sat next to him and heard more stories. Before I left, me despedi as he sat in his rocking chair, the place where he decided to leave this reality. I kissed him and told him that when I asked for his blessing and wisdom I would pronounce his name in prayer.

I know he’s fine. He has joined his wife and my grandmother amongst my ancestors. I dreamt my grandmother a couple times before I left to Mexico City. She was so happy, skipping around, becoming younger, even her hair was darker. I saw her on a gloomy day, much like what Thursday looked like. We sat down to talk at a bench in front of a lake. Last Sunday I found my grandmothers corte after it was lost for over 3 years. I also found VHS tapes of my trips to Guate when I was a kid. On Thursday a flock of white doves flew over me.

I know he’s ok.

Mi Tio Reginaldo and his wife