Here & Now, Art, Dimitris Xygalatas, Ernesto Neto, Amalia Mesa-Bains & Judy Baca, Ele-ele, and Lo-fi for witches (Homework Radio).
HERE & NOW
Thanks to a copyediting job, I was up late last night/morning, which explains the Sunday newsletter. Here in Monterey, it has begun to rain—lightly. I’m looking forward to the sound of raindrops (no floods, please) and the smell of damp earth—and hoping that it gives some relief to the firefighters and residents in areas of California that are burning.
You may have noticed, especially on the email banner, that the newsletter has a new look. I’m trying out a different logo/banner. Don’t be surprised if I make a few tweaks to the image in the weeks to come.
I’m giving the Six Questions a little break, since the nonprofit I work for, Asian Cultural Experience, has been going into high gear with Fall events that I’ve been helping to promote. This includes a recent local screening of the moving documentary 80 Years Later, by Filipino American director and UCSC Dean of Arts Celine Parreñas Shimizu. The film focuses on the generational effects of Japanese incarceration of families in the U.S. during WWII. We sold out the tickets! Thanks to the director and her crew, as well as to the audience, for their support. Check out the 80 Years Later website to learn about the film and its upcoming screening schedule.
Speaking of the Six Questions, I’m excited to report that next year I will be presenting a local version of the Q&A, on a regular basis, for my favorite progressive source of news and commentary, VOMB (Voices of Monterey Bay). I’m looking forward to meeting more local artists and writers and presenting their work and perspectives on creativity. The Six Questions will continue on Eulipion Outpost, but with a geographically wider range of creatives. You may also see some changes to the questions themselves.
Finally, following polymaths like Salman Ansari (Quick Brown Fox), Eileen Tabios, and Craig Mod, who allow their various interests to flourish online (and off), I’m thinking of moving my pre-WII ethnic print culture/newspaper website, Commonwealth Cafe, to Substack. It’s one of those niche topics (even for Filipino Americans), and I don’t expect a lot of eyes on it; but I once had a mission to promote this area of research from grad school days and feel that I let that ball drop. I want to set it bouncing again, mainly to share from my stack of articles and pamphlets (“staring” at me from a box near my table).
The state of the press in the Philippines has been depressing (and not so great elsewhere in the world, either), and while the Commonwealth Cafe has been mostly concerned with archival research, I do think that the daring of Filipino American and other ethnic news writers from the early 20th century (continuing to this day—consider Nobel Prize winner Maria Ressa and her Rappler staff)—provide us with hope and multiple ways to think about communicating our reality in these unsettling times.
In the last issue, I posted an image of a work in progress (part of the Reading Paper series), and here is the finished piece, as yet untitled:
And here’s a little ink sketch I did, no doubt influenced by my reading of Daniel Abraham’s fantasy series, Dagger & Coin, which was damn good. I have “rediscovered” the pleasures of fantasy novels. Abraham’s Dagger & Coin series somehow provided an escape while giving me insight into our current social and cultural polarizations.
This little fellow started out with two eyes, and ended up with only one:
Lighting is a bit uneven on both images because I used my phone camera under the living room lamp at sunset. But, given my current work schedule, I’m cutting myself a little slack.
Blame it on Brian Eno and his discussions of non-utilitarian art. It started me thinking about art and ritual, which then led me to Dimitris Xygalatas’ book The Power of Ritual: How Seemingly Senseless Acts Make Life Worth Living. Suddenly I’m seeing ritual in everything—including some of the processes I’ve been using to generate art.
Xygalatas’ article on the benefits of ritual in Nautilus:
Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto’s Ultimatum:
A few years ago, I met Amalia Mesa Bains through my nonprofit work, and was able to visit her beautiful home (full of art!) in the oak-covered hills near San Juan Bautista. Here is an artist who knows her way around ritual. In this video she talks about geography and identity:
In the following video, Judy Baca and Amalia Mesa-Bains talk about the era we are living through and “The Art of Transforming Loss”:
Do you consciously incorporate ritual into your creative practice, or into other aspects of your daily life? How does it function for you? I’d love to hear about it in comments.
Circassian folk ritual music, calling for rain (and—hey, looks like it’s working)!
Here’s some calm lo-fi music for all you witches who are studying up on your spell casting:
Have a beautiful Sunday . . .
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