Viva La Revolution

10 12 2010

I was so extremely excited to be able to go to this street art event. I have always been a fan of alternative expression and graffiti art and was so excited that I was able to attend this event for a class. When I first arrived I was shocked at how tiny the venue was. Once I paid my ticket fee and rounded the corner though I saw I was not correct in my thinking. I was greeted by a massive display of cardboard art and trash that almost touched the ceiling. It was overwhelming to say the least. I was startled when to my right I heard a funny almost drum like noise coming from what I thought was a trash can. I really loved this piece. It was a can full of everyday trash items but when u walked by it would start making noises and drum beats. It was so cool because some of the trash would even shake. It completely took me by surprise. I wandered around the event and was just more pleased with every turn. I really loved the pieces by obey artist. I have many obey shirts and have always respected his point of view and artistic voice and it was an honor to be able to see his work in real life. I also enjoyed a lot of the Banksy work. Being a fan of graffiti Banksy as well as Obey have been some of the most influential graffiti artists around. I have calendars of just obey’s artwork that hang in my bedroom. It was also really interesting to go into the interactive room and watch all the documentaries on each of the artists. Me and my friend sat in there for over an hour just looking at all the videos and even drawing our own graffiti that encouraged and was displayed in the room. I loved the artist that made the insane bike (pictured above) because it was just so cool and different. We left the exhibit feeling really lucky to have seen the art and headed to Hillcrest to see the beautiful obey graffiti piece. The pictures above do not even do that piece justice.  I loved it so much it has now become a background on my phone. I loved this exhibit it was my absolute favorite part of the class. I even went a second  time since my tickets were good for a week!!


The Year of Living Dangerously

2 12 2010

The Year of Living Dangerously was a film about the political turmoil that in Jakarta during the Indonesian civil war of 1965. The story is centered around an australian journalist Guy Hamiliton who is trying to get the biggest story while he is staying in Jakarta. There he is introduced to photographer Billy Kwan who is a half chinese dwarf who believes that we should all “add our light to the sum of light.” By using Billy’s connections Guy is able to meet some of the major political players within the civil war. Through Billy he meets a diplomat by the name of Jill who he ends up falling madly in love with. She uncovers a bit of information while she is working at the embassy that there may be an uprising soon within the city. She explains this to Guy in secret but he feels it his moral obligation to report it because although it may have just been a small threat it is still news. This causes a riff between not only Jill but also Billy who is a native of the country. Billy becomes enraged by the presidents lack of support to the people who are living in poverty within most of the country. He decides to hang a sign outside of the hotel where there is many media outlets filming. He is thrown from the window by security and dies in Guy’s arms. Once the information is leaked about the activists having a weapons shipment coming in and they may use it for their uprising, Guy heads to the presidents to get the scoop. When he arrives there he is beaten by guards so badly that he ends up losing his eye. Although he wants to stay in order to report the chaos that is going on and the massive human suffering guy ends up fleeing the city with Jill and heading home. This movie was interesting because it gave the viewer a glimpse of how hard things can be living in an unreliable political environment. When there is massive poverty, it seems only fitting that people will start to  become fed up with the current system and rise up above their oppressors. This movie showed exactly that and it portrayed the “rebels” in a positive light. It is always important to stand up for injustice and although it was a sad to see, its message was clear and important.

Event 5: Poetic Justice

29 11 2010

For my 5th event I chose to see the poetry reading and spoken word event at CSUSM. Poetic justice is a yearly event that incorporates spoken word, rapping, freestyle, poetry and song. All of these types of expression encompass different social causes and problems that are happening within our society. When I first arrived to this function I was surprised by just how crowded the room was, and especially, how so many people from different backgrounds, ethnicities and ages were present for the show. The show started with my favorite CSUSM poet, Ant Black. His poems are so extremely emotional and moving that I am almost always left in tears once he exits the stage. He chose to perform a poem “Diary of a substitute teacher” which i had never heard before. It was a very simple message about gender inequalities between men and women, but was told from the view-point of s substitute teacher trying to explain to a girl in his classroom why she couldn’t or wouldn’t be able to achieve her goal of becoming a world-famous tether ball champion. The poem was so driven with emotional and deep that it brought the entire room, once bustling with energy to completely silence. I cried as I knew I always would when hearing the immense amount of passion that comes from an Ant Black poem. This just set the tone for me of what an amazing and socially conscious night I was going to be able to be a part of. Many others performed poems but the two that stuck out to me the most was the Jerrica Esposito piece about teenage pregnancy. It was delivered with such rawness and with such pain that it not only could bring one to tears, but it made one want to get involved in the struggle to change how these mothers are viewed by society. The other poet that grabbed my attention was a professor from Palomar Professor Leiman. As he approached the stage he seemed flustered, almost too nervous to really make any sort of impact with his words. I underestimated him by his short stature and his meek voice. Once he launched into a poem about his own personal story and struggle with racism, it literally brought chills to my bones. He was so enraged and so hurt by his own battles against societies view-point of him as an asian man, that it was impossible to not directly feel his pain. When he started to cry and forget his lines, it was the audience that supported him in continuing and finishing his message. It was so moving to watch this man go through so many different emotions and to witness the fire inside him growing passionately with each word he delivered. He was my definite favorite and I felt extremely lucky to have been able to share the experience with him and everyone else in the room. This event was really the most important event I attended this semester, because it was the one that really struck me deep to my core and made me appreciate alternative forms of expression so much. It was with these spoken word poems and stories that I was inspired to become a more socially active and conscious person and I think that is what alternative expression is for.

Event 4: Concert at Pier View Pub

22 11 2010

For my 4th event I went to see my friends band play at a bar in Oceanside. It was really interesting because this was his new band and I was not sure what to expect from him, plus I had no idea how the other bands would perform. I arrived early at Bub’s Whisky Dive in Oceanside, and sat down with a few friends. The bar which is pretty small was covered with peanut shells and peanut baskets all around (it really gave it that downhome rustic feel). I watched the first band perform and was not that impressed. I did not catch the name of this particular group but it was just a middle aged man playing drums, another middle aged man playing a bluesy-type guitar and then a projector behind them that was playing really old like 60’s and 70’s porn movies. There was also no vocals at all, it was actually an intersting concept but I just thought it was a bit distasteful to be playing porn at a bar. After this band finished their set, my friends band Dead on the Wire, performed. I was made a b-line to the front of the stage so I could get the best view of the performance. I really enjoyed watching this band they infused punk melodies with a more rock touch. It was like an upbeat grungy rock and roll and I just loved it! I danced around to most of the songs for a good half an hour, and was even more impressed when they covered a great Dead Boys song as they closed their set which was really awesome because I love them. After they played another band called The Embalmers played they were also really amazing, they called their sound zombie surf punk. It was really cool because not only was there a stand up bass, which I had never seen anyone play before but there was also a stand up drumset that was really cool. I was mesmerized by watching the drummer play standing up and only having the 3 parts of the drumset up. It was a really great show with all different types of music and I was lucky to be able to attend it. I had a blast and really enjoyed experiencing the music.

Manufactured Landscapes

17 11 2010

Manufactured Landscapes was a documentary film about the photography of Edward Burtynsky and how it evolves over time. When the photographer first started taking pictures he was interested in landscapes and in taking photographs of nature. One day while walking in the woods he stumbled upon an old mine and was taken with how much the industrialization of these types of enterprises affects the view and shape of the natural landscape. He was inspired after this to take many pictures of industrialized areas such as rock and mineral quarries and different types of coal mines. He used his photography as a way to provide a visual representation of the way these human processes were effecting the earth and the environment around it. On his photography journey he eventually went to China and to the city of Shanghai. Here he was interested in capturing the industrialization and factory lives of the people who were making all of these goods from the minerals, irons and metals that he had photographed earlier. He was not only able to get some amazing footage of just how massive these industries are (his footage in the factory where they make the iron’s is what is pictured above). But he was also making a huge political and environmental statement with his art. I really enjoyed this movie not only because of its message about the exploitation of the environment for financial gain, but also because of its realistic approach to photography. The images he was capturing were very natural but they came across so deeply rooted in a message, even without their being any words to really imply it. My favorite part about the film was when they would zoom in on a particular person or small image within the photo but then they would zoom out and you would realize the actual scale of what you were seeing. It sometimes took my breath away at how massive some of the scenes were. This was a great film!

Whale Rider

17 11 2010

I really loved this movie Whale Rider. The story was about a tribe of people in New Zealand who were clinging on to their ancient culture and needed to find a leader. The natives of this land had such a rich cultural sphere and were very invested in learning about the ancient customs and using the stick fighting and the language, still in the present day. It seemed most of the people here treasured their ancient heritage and found solace in keeping their traditions very much alive.  The story centered around a young girl named Pai and her relationship with her grandfather who has a difficult time accepting her because she was born a twin and her male twin brother died at birth. The story goes on to  contemplate the strained relationship between Pai and her grandfather and that really all she wants from him is respect and love. In the end, all the things Pai has been fighting to prove to her father come true after some whales are beached (this culture believes that whales are gods of their ancestors.) and Pai is the only one to be able to get the largest whale free by just riding it.  She almost drowns doing this and finally her father realizes exactly how important and special this little girl is. This story was full of heart and redemption and I think that is what made it so special.

War Photographer

10 11 2010

The documentary War Photographer follows James Nachtwey, a very famous photographer through his journey taking pictures of the less fortunate. The way this film was made was that they attached a video camera onto the actual camera that James used to photograph his scenes. This made for a very interesting and realistic portrayal of the events he was taking pictures of. The film was extremely moving but at some points hard to watch because it focused on the devastation of war and poverty on many different countries in the world. The part that struck me the most was when James found a family who was living in between two railways on a cardboard box in the gravel. this is what they had called home because they were so poor that they could not afford to pay rent. The photos focused mostly on the father who had lost both his arm and leg when he was hit by a train seven years earlier. Instead of showing the gruesome and deformed parts of this man, the photos tended to capture the man’s spirit and heart. He was a family man who cared deeply about his children and was doing anything he could to support them. It was evident in the photos that the family had trusted James, and that was what gave him such great photos of this very sad situation. The documentary showed a man who wanted to expose the horrendous parts of war and the devastation that many of the political outlets did not want captured on film. He stated at the end of the movie that it was very difficult for him to wrestle with the reality that he was making a living off of the suffering of others. The only thing that made helped him to get through this was knowing that he was exposing the suffering of so many in order to hopefully change public and world policies that would help these people who were so desperately in need. I really think this is a documentary that everyone should see because it really puts things in perspective.