Monday, September 21, 2009

Street Art San Francisco: Mission Muralismo

The paradox of public art is that it's pervasiveness often renders it invisible. Even as it buffers us against dystopian streets and marks our common landscape with the signs of culture and humanity that keep us whole, sheer volume contributes to its opacity...especially in the Mission District where the abundance of murals shoulders also the misfortune of a movement sometimes taken for granted. Street Art San Francisco: Mission Muralismo attempts to refocus our gaze pointing in poetic and glossy color pages back some three decades and forward as the poetic narrative leads us through more than 600 illustrations documenting the progressive reclamation of the city's walls. More tour guides than docents many prominent Mission voices offer their site specific meditations on the populist gestures and overt political commentary to be found in the work we walk by sometimes daily, and the inclusive character of the list of contributors reveals a tribute to the efficacy of dialogue, collaboration and community involvement that ground the Mission Mural Movement. In other words cop this book, and don't just sit it on the coffee table. This one was meant to be shared.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Audacity of Post Ethnic Pozole

On 16 de septiembre, Mexican Independence Day, our pozole-to-go from our favorite sustainable, organic Mexican kitchen came with a set of instructions. For those of us who spend time thinking about if not watch-dogging the social implications of the mundane (in particular the crazy s**t white folks do) an immediate tension develops. Should I be offended or at the very least be feeling overtly patronized seeing as how my Mexican self knows how to eat some pozole even if it comes in a recycled plastic or maybe even biodegradable take out container? Or do I give them a pass on this one because I want to believe the instructions come directly from the chef and are aimed exclusively at the spice-fearing, crushed ice margarita drinking uninitiated? In the end, practicality trumped inquiry as I considered a scenario in which the planet friendly packaging would begin to melt on my front seat meaning time was of the essence, and we went home where I began to wonder exactly what kind of idiot doesn't know how to eat a bowl of soup. So I decided to do some research...okay, I Googled it..."how to eat pozole" and found this instructional video:

While informative (I guess) this didn't do anything for my growing sense of unease with the whole notion of foodies co-opting one of Mexican cuisine’s most perfect offerings for reified notions of the cultural product set to a hegemonic down beat. Even worse, am I complicit in the bourgeois pretense that fetishizes a presumed authenticity as it consumes? Maybe I’m sensitive that way given my history of politicizing taco shops across the country, but the scientific aspect of the “how-to” belies the assignation of a truth value that’s anchored in a repeatable process. The prescription then does double-duty as a gateway to the authentic while isolating that experience as an alleged essence. In other words, as soon as you tell me how to eat pozole, you’re simultaneously telling me that you know what it means to be Mexican. What matters most in this arrangement is pretty obvious. Who’s doing the telling? And it’s not that I’m fired up and ready to regress into early an 90’s discussion of Chican@ identity politics; it’s just that it’s still so disappointingly relevant…even in these post-racial times.

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Taco Shop Poets on Visiones

Flashback to 2004 when Visiones hit the festival circuit with a segment directed by Paul Espinosa (of ...and the earth did not swallow him fame). This snippet of a longer short is a great introduction to what he Taco Shop Poets were all about. The group has recently reconvened to discuss the possibility of a collectively authored memoir documenting the 10-year history. That possibility got me looking for this clip:

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cal Poly and Litquake in October

October 7
Another Type of Groove
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
Chumash Auditorium (University Union Building)
7:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.

October 17
Litquake's 10th Annual Lit Crawl
Que Tal Cafe
1005 Guerrero St, San Francisco
8:30 - 9:30 p.m.

I'll be holding it down solo at Another Type of Groove at Cal Poly on the 7th for the U's MultiCultural Center in honor of Latino Heritage Month.

The 10th Annual Litcrawl features Leticia Hernández, Bruce Smith, Karen Carissimo, Rebecca Foust, Jules Gibbs, and myself. It's a little off the main drag so start heading over early if you're making the rounds that night.

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Mexican American astronaut isn't changing course on immigration stand --

NASA went ballistic when Jose Hernandez advocated legalization of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. shortly after his return to Earth. The California-born son of migrants isn't backing down. --

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