Tag Archives: chicano

After Reading Jimmy Baca’s Black Mesa

Now this is poetry, people. I should have this on regular rotation on my nightstand. And more Heine, too, I suppose. Few poets’ language really speaks to me, and Baca’s has always gone straight to the heart.

As part of the Progressive Asshole Tax, there ought to be a Form JB1: whether you’ve read some Jimmy Baca this year. Would read approximately as follows:

If YES, thanks for filing this form. Please itemize the poems from this year in the space below and return; notice will be filed that no further action is required.

If NO, one percent up on your taxes, jueputa!

If WHO’S JIMMY BACA?, two percent up on your taxes, asshole!

Thanks to computers, failure to show progress could be set to automatically interfere with car registration, smog certification, credit rating, passport, probation status, whatever it god damn takes to get people to spend some time with this stuff.

 

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Star-Crossed II by Julia Barbosa Landois

Here’s some people gazing at Julia Barbosa Landois‘ 2013 piece Star-Crossed II at MACLA on Fisting Friday. It’s a video featuring a ranchera tune about breaking up with Jesus. Landois came all the way from San Antonio to come talk about it.

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Landois spoke briefly to the crowd assembled at MACLA about how she started in painting and progressed over time to working in other media such as video in order to better suit her stories. Her speech and her website lead me to believe that she’s been in bands and stuff in the past.

Myself I thought the karaoke bit that marks Star-Crossed II was really captivating and that it motivates the viewer to get into the piece. I asked Landois privately what her warmup tune is for a good night of karaoke but she said she doesn’t do it. Then I asked if she ever interviews herself while washing dishes etc., in order to practice figuring and explaining what her stuff is all about, and she said she sometimes does. Interesting!

The piece is part of MACLA’s Chicano/a Biennial. I love how MACLA always finds artists who keep the medium, the look, very simple for their very complex stories. Bravo and good eye, MACLA! Also present is a prison toilet glazed with a large array of information about the prison experience. Really, everything in the Biennial is excellent.

Lucky for all you ignoramuses who may go see the piece, it has English subtitles so you may not feel threatened by the strangeness of the Spanish language, a language spoken by almost half a billion people on a huge percentage of the planet’s dry surface, even though you went into a space that promotes Latino-ness in order to see it, since apparently there are ZERO bilingual people on the entire internet to read this article, but only segregated Spanish and English speakers, as segregated as you all drool to be in your safe suburban or hip urban coffins. Consider yourself stroked, primped, preened, prepared.

Las Cafeteras at MACLA 3 October 2015

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I got to see Las Cafeteras, a high-energy band from East LA, last night at MACLA, which is probably the hippest art space in San Jose.

What I like most about MACLA is that they start off defining and carefully cultivating the political climate of everything they offer. They don’t stand back and make an empty space for the art like many galleries do (that’s great for some, but I prefer the political honesty and clarity). The second-best thing is that they sell good Gordon Biersch San Jose beer for cheap. They attract stuff you’re not going to see anywhere else, like the play Placas and an exhibition on the 1992 Crayola skin tone crayons that let kids draw with the crayons and write what they thought multiculturalism means. Wait, when the fuck did those crayons happen? I don’t remember this! Did my school turn a blind eye???
Las Cafeteras are all about audience participation, and I really appreciate how they talk about real stuff like student debt and the difficulty of being an artist in this economy. I’m not interested in talking about some spokesperson for some generation, but rather I’ll say simply that I feel like Cafeteras are doing a great job talking to people like me through their music, and there are a lot of people in the situation they describe who’re both ten years younger than me and ten years older.
They did the zapatazo thing, played in son and other rhythms, and ended their set with a call-and-response about gratitude. They sang in both English and Spanish. Their members definitely had an educated folk-revival type vibe. It was an awesome show. The opening act Diana Gameros was pretty great too. Viva MACLA!