On Thursday, March 17, I traveled to Calexico for a weekend of events related to this exhibit. It started with my lecture entitled “Separate Reality: A Journey through Chicana/o Art” followed by an artist reception in the gallery for Cinema Directo. Many students attended. I received some very engaging questions on filmmaking and my artistic vision/methods when creating films.
On Friday, March 18, Luis Hernandez arranged an interview about Cinema Directo at Radio Formula 1150 Mexicali, Baja California. Each Friday afternoon in the 3pm to 4pm spot News Anchor Ruben Gomez (twitter.com/ruhgr) features art from the Imperial Valley. I struggled through my 15 minutes of fame spot in Spanish–but it was fun!
LA Woman, was selected for “Out of the Window” the first and highly revered Transit TV Film Festival on the Los Angeles Metro. LA Woman is a moment of solitude while driving across Los Angeles, where there is a spirituality of visual offerings, some spontaneous and others purposeful. Influenced by Film Director Jean-Luc Godard of the French New Wave movement (i.e., no script or storyboard, and letting the narrative evolve on set), I wanted to communicate the experience of a heavy car culture ride in Los Angeles. In LA Woman, the film subjects are women on billboards invoked to tell their own interconnected stories.
Ms 40oz, a documentation of a larger exhibition on the gentrification of businesses in downtown Los Angeles, was a performance that I scripted and directed. Drawing from archetypes of gang violence in the media and feelings of agitation by the sudden media approval of singer Gwen Stefani dressed as a Chola, Ms 40oz was a self-determined humorous street intervention. In the style of an premiere ribbon-cutting, which was comprised of mariachis and mural unveilings when my family opened a new business, Ms. 40oz celebrates the festivity of a street blessing for prosperity without forgetting those who came before. Ms 40oz is portrayed by Jennifer Salinas, a former Miss Illinois and also a Miss America contestant.
Bɔrdər a joy ride in Tijuana to the beach with swept-away-by-a-wave music of Baja Californian musician Ceci Bastida. Bɔrdər, the phonetic pronunciation of the word border, features separated families, lovers and children sitting on both sides of the US/Mexico border sharing food, documents and letters through a chain-linked fence. On the Tijuana side, there are restaurants with beachside panoramic views that are disturbed by the sudden lunge of a speeding immigration van pushing someone back for getting too close to US land. When this happens, diners in the restaurants jump up from their meals and everyone gasps. In Calexico I learned that the footage I filmed is no longer how that section of the border looks.
LA Dream, a film about The 6th Street Bridge Viaduct in East Los Angeles, a city monument that has appeared in numerous films, television shows, music videos and video games since 1932. LA Dream was shot in Super 8 film and contains the elements of timelessness that I aspire to obtain in most of my work. Timelessness is achieved through a studied selection of clothing, props, sets, make-up, color choices, lighting and though the refusal to use the latest popular film embellishments (i.e., stickers, filters, re-coloring, the latest digital technology and fixes).
Santa Perversa in Cub, was filmed on location in 2008. This film is a poetry video of Los Angeles performance artist Reina Alejandra Ibarra aka Reina Prado aka Healing Queen as she is offering her message of ardent love. A bootleg cd of Juan Formell y los Van Van that I purchased in a covert transaction on a Havana Vieja street, flavors the video with an authenticity of the moment. Shot during a time when Americans traveling to Cuba could be prosecuted severely by the US government, Santa Perversa in Cuba is an entertaining time stamp of a moment in history.
Cinema Directo featured what if code switching movie posters that I created such as What if La India Maria starred in a Bollywood film? These movie posters were inspired by my favorite film genres and themes, my artistic collaborators and by the following movie titles by Mexican Director Icaro Cisneros (1925 – 1984): Las Sobrinas del Diablo (1982), El Triangulo del Crimen (1983), Gente Violenta (1977), Las Cabareteras (1980),Vividores de Mujeres (1981), Las Fabulosas del Reventon (1982), Disputas en la Calle (1979), La Golfa del Barrio (1981),and Esos Viejos Raboverdes (1982).