01 10 / 2012
The 2011 SF Latino film festival featured a variety of interesting documentaries and short films that were connected to Latino heritage. One of the films was a bit different in that it expressed the role of education in heritage. Precious Knowledge primarily covered the debate on the ban of ethnic studies courses in Arizona. Each side had a very different view- white political figures found ethnic studies to be a dangerous, radical program that was designed for colored people to “think they’re oppressed” and overthrow the American government while the students and teachers of ethnic studies saw it as a crucial part to knowing the background of all racial groups. The basic argument is that ethnic studies should be taught in schools in order to give studies accurate history and a safe space to discuss pressing issues, such as stereotypes.
My take on this argument was originally a sense of understanding of both sides. In the beginning, a white politician stated concern about separation between different racial groups and the importance of individuality. I thought this was an interesting way to look at it, until the opinions on that side became increasingly paranoid and unreasonable. At some point, their opinion sounded similar to what we’ve learned in class about submission to “American” identity, which makes people have to abandon their multi-cultural identity. Their concerns about ethnic studies also reminded me of the Baldwin reading, where they discuss a fear of losing the “American” identity from diversity (although the whole concept of what is “American” is a total croc). Personally, I wish there was a world that could not have race divide us while still being able to embrace what makes us different from one another. Further into the documentary, I realized that that’s what these students and teachers of ethnic studies courses also wanted- and they really fought for it to happen by going on long marches of protest through the brutal desert heat. Unfortunately, these two groups never see eye to eye- even after the politicians went to their classroom and found no evidence of a single threat (but regardless, they claimed that it’s ‘Us v. Them’ and accused them of communism among other false claims). Eventually, SB 1069 was granted and the ethnic studies ban was implemented into Arizona government. However, the teachers and students of ethnic studies are still doing their best to fight for what they believe in- which is the precious knowledge that this class provides everyone.
13 9 / 2012
The Black Power Mixtape was an independent movie that featured primarily Swedish footage about the black power movement from 1967 - 1975. This very informative documentary was not only inspiring (and at times more depressing) but also showed an interesting perspective of the black power movement. The events covered in the documentary included the issues of discrimination against African Americans, America’s corruption, and the historic figures who fought for the rights of black people.
A main theme in this movie was the problems in the black community- particularly their mistreatment in America. The escape to Africa is spoken about in a romantic sense, but many black people chose to stay in America despite their mistreatment. For example, one scene features an interview with a black Vietnam veteran who speaks about being discriminated against even after fighting for his country- the U.S. This shows the major inequalities blacks face in America even after making major contributions to the country.
Corruption of America is covered in this movie, first by showing the problem of the United States denial and the refusal to fix their problems and secondly showing how this affected the black community. The corrupting forces placed upon blacks, some of which are often denied by white politicians, include segregation, police brutality, war, cutbacks on welfare and distribution of drugs. The violence and hatred that blacks were constantly exposed to played a role in their drug abuse, prostitution and, in many cases, death. Swedish T.V. was criticized for being anti-American after showing these images of truth – and the ties with them were virtually cut out of ignorance.
Lastly, this documentary covered the legendary people who spoke out for the rights of African Americans, including Stokley Carmichael, Martin Luther King Jr., the Black Panthers, and Angela Davis. The first prominent speaker for African American rights was Stokley Carmichael, a radical young black man who was a great admirer of Martin Luther King Jr. but notoriously disagreed with the idea of nonviolence because ‘America has no conscience’. Some brief excerpts from Martin Luther King Jr. speeches appeared after the footages of Carmichael, one of which you learn his selfless phrase that he wasn’t afraid of death- that welfare of human life was more important. King Jr. was assassinated in 1968 and many other assassinations (e.g. JFK) took place later that year, causing many Americans (especially African Americans) to lose hope. After the MLK scene, Malcolm X was shortly mentioned in this documentary as a bridge to the topic of the Black Panthers. The Black Panthers of Oakland was a socialist group of African Americans who believed in defending themselves from police brutality with arms. Angela Davis was an associate of this group and herself and Hewey Newton, a Black Panther, were incarcerated because they were seen as threats to society. In addition to Davis’ association with the black panthers, she was an intellectual black woman who was a communist- so the authorities accused her of accessory to a crime she did not comitt (owning a gun) and desired to punish her by death. Luckily, after 18 months of incarceration she was released. These people who fought so hard for the rights of African Americans did not only benefit and inspire people of their own community, but also influenced other movements, such as the 1975 gay and feminist movements.
Although this documentary was heavy with melancholy imagery that embodied the African American struggle, the movie had a good message overall. After showing the many obstacles blacks had to overcome, the progress that we’ve made slowly over the years becomes apparent because of the people who’ve fought for our rights. It’s final message left audiences with a glimmer of hope, reminding us importance of loving ourselves, documenting your stories, and continuing to fight.
12 9 / 2012
I’ve been to many shows since the age of 13… Off the very top of my head I’ve seen acts such as Simple Plan, My Chemical Romance, Underoath, and Taking Back Sunday (yes, during my emo teen years) and attended a handful of music festivals including The Rockstar Mayhem Festival, Project Revolution, and Outside Lands. I’ve seen a ton of local bands and big bands at small venues and bigger venues.
I’ve always loved to attend concerts to see the bands I love or dance along to a familiar or catchy song… and recently I came up with the idea (influenced by some others) to write reflections of these concerts as an amateur music journalist.
With no further adieu, I will write some reviews for the last 3 shows I’ve attended.
Vans Warped Tour at AT&T Park
This show was a bit nostalgic of my aforementioned emo teen years, which brought some excitement when it came to seeing acts like The Used and TBS. However, the many other, more recent bands, with the exception of New Found Glory and Yellowcard, were fairly underwhelming as their “new” sound didn’t strike a chord with me as much as the good stuff from “back in the day”. Also, although it was a bit fun to experience a “blast from the past”, it was also unusual. I suppose in a way this concert allowed me to become reattached with bands I listened to in high school- but I kind of felt like I was too old to enjoy the other parts of the music festival, as emo somewhat of a phase I’ve outgrown.
The Hives at The Fox Theater
This was the second time I’ve worked to gain admission into a concert, this time as an usher. This experience made the concert more unique to me, especially working with older and more experienced people who are involved with the music scene. While on duty, I caught some of the sounds of Fidlar, which sounded to me like American garage rock. Afterwards, The Hives came onto the stage with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. According to word of mouth, the concert was very far from being sold out, but to me it seemed to be pretty full- especially on the dance floor. Speaking for myself and some others, I was pumped up only when I heard their big hit singles such as “Tick Tick Boom”. Other than that, I really just feel the show was OK.
Chairlift at The Depot SFSU
The Depot at SF State is a small stage normally used to host movie days and local acts during open mic performances; however, on Sept 11 2012, the electro- synth pop band Chairlift came to dazzle an impressive amount of students with their mainstream sounds right after Dempsey and Black Cobra Vipers. The show was great, despite a great amount of technical difficulties. The crowd was very responsive to the bands music and charming wit. I would definitely see this group again and give them a listen on Spotify, etc.
08 9 / 2012
I’ve been vegetarian-pescetarian for the past FOUR MONTHS now. It’s kind of a big deal to me because, although I’ve always had an interest in becoming one, I never thought I can do it. But with willpower and more persuasion from some media, especially documentaries like Food Inc., I have been able to stick to a strictly vegentarian diet (with the exception of seafood, hence “pescetarian”). In this blog, I’m just going to post a bunch of the interesting vegetarian propaganda and veg celebrities I’ve had exposure to so far (this is, by no means, a “conversion” blog- I just want to share what I’ve discovered through the internet in regards to this subject).