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September ’17: the Month of Music, Music and More Music

I could probably go on and on about most of the artists I saw live last month, or I can’t because I’m no ~ music critic ~ but I’ll describe each show in 3 words:

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Future Islands @ The Greek Theatre (09.19.17)

The first time I saw Future Islands live was at FYF fest in 2014 I believe, and I had never heard of them before that moment. But I instantly really enjoyed watching them live! Since then I’ve seen them once more time before September at The Greek.

The Future Islands show was: fun, exuberant, happy.

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Harry Styles @ The Greek Theatre (09.20.17)

I could write a novel about how beautiful I find Harry Styles but you probably don’t want to hear all that. Anyway, Harry’s debut album was ~ actually ~ pretty great, and I enjoyed it more so live.

The Harry Styles show was: beautiful, loud, crying. 

(Special s/o to the best gal ever, Lauren, for inviting me to this!) 

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Beach House @ The Santa Ana Observatory (09.22.17)

There are few voices I’ll never get tired of hearing, and Victoria Legrand’s from Beach House is one of them. I saw them live for the first time at Vicar Street in Dublin, Ireland. It was a magical experience.

The Beach House show was: celestial, heavy, sweet.

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Kali Uchis @ The Fonda Theatre (09.28.17)

So, I wasn’t new to who Kali Uchis was but I was new to her music! I had never listened to any of her songs before, except for the Daniel Cesar song “Get You.” Again, my friend Lauren invited me out to see her at The Fonda theatre and I’m so glad I went!

The Kali Uchis show was: badass, lit (yes, lit), powerful.

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Lauren and myself before the Future Islands show ~

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The xx @ The Forum (09.29.17)

This was probably the one show I had been looking forward to the most! I love The xx and their sound is so amazing and unique.

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Romy and Oliver Sim from The xx, Jamie xx in the background.

My boyfriend got us these tickets, so s/o to C!

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The xx (Photo by C, hehe)

Romy, Jamie, and Oliver of the xx were so humble, kind, and charming. It made me love the whole show even more.

The xx show was: emotional, colorful (just look at the lights!), warm. 

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Interpol @ Los Angeles Historic Park (9.30.2017) (Photo by my friend Jen, who was closer to the lovely Paul Banks)

This was my 3rd time watching Interpol live, and I swear I can never get enough.

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Interpol @ Los Angeles Historic Park (9.30.2017)

They were performing Turn on the Bright Lights in its entirety for the 15th anniversary of the album. It was the last show of September, and the perfect way to close a fun month.

Staring at Paul Banks for over an hour is also the perfect way to end anything, really. He is such a babe.

The Interpol show was: dreamy, packed, kickass. 

Thx for reading!

– P

We Woke Up To Hate

I woke up this morning to sexism, racism, bigotry, and hate.

I woke up to fear.

As I got out of bed this morning, I felt peace for a split second. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks.

I remembered the headlines from the night before: “Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States.” I remembered walking to the living room, to the television turned off, and my mother sitting in the dark. Maybe she was playing bingo on her phone, or maybe she grew tired of watching a map change to the color of hate.

As I got ready for work this morning, I just couldn’t believe it. I felt my heavy heart, and I felt my eyes almost swell with tears.

I walked over to my mom’s room, and I just couldn’t bring myself to say anything. What can I say to bring her reassurance? Or a gleam of hope?

I just don’t want her to feel fear, but I can’t ask her not to be afraid.

On November 9, 2016, we woke up to a country that will show relentless disdain toward Latin@s, Muslims, Black people, women, the LGBTQ community, and any other minority.

I woke up to a country that doesn’t care about our families, or ripping away our mothers and fathers from us. Instead, I woke up to a country that is determined to do just that. We woke up to a country who will thrive off of that. We woke up to a country that doesn’t give a fuck about our ancestors, our siblings, our undocumented friends or relatives.

Today felt surreal. When will this start feeling real? Today I felt a strange type of fear, and a strange type of sadness. I felt fear not for myself, but for my mother, for my friends, for their families, and for people I haven’t met who are seriously afraid of the threats and promises this man made. I felt fear for the future of our children – how can we help them understand? Today felt like something in many of us died.

We woke up to a country where HATE TRUMPED LOVE. But it didn’t. It hasn’t yet, and it will not. I hope to dear life that it does not.

The jokes, the memes, the unthinkable – it all became our reality this morning. We ignored it for so long, and now we have to face the truth.

I said on Twitter as soon as the results came in on Wednesday night that we should not look away from our news feeds, “don’t look away from your television screens – let’s face this head on, more united than ever.”

We have to be more resilient than ever. We can’t turn the other cheek, not now. We’ve seen worse. We will see worse than November 9.

This country has gone through uglier days, yes. But we can’t let that make us complacent. Our parents, their grandparents, and their ancestors have lived through tougher times. They’re still standing, and for those who are not – we must fight even harder to make them proud.

The least we owe everyone who has come before us and everyone who will come after us, is to never give up. Keep fighting. Keep working. Keep educating. Keep inspiring. Keep motivating. And above all, keep looking out for one another.

Let’s not become cynical. Let’s not become even more disconnected and divided. We must stay grounded, focused, and wholly unapologetic of our existence.

Let’s remember the feeling in our chests, and the knots in our throats when Donald Trump became the 45th president of the United States.

Let’s remember that feeling, that fear – let’s remember it today, tomorrow, and for the hard years to come. For if we forget, we will have given in to the hate this man will continue to breed.

I can only hold on to the fact that resilience is in the blood of our immigrant families who came to this country, to give us the little they had, which has been more than enough.

La lucha sigue, and to everyone out there tonight, or tomorrow, protesting this indecency in U.S. history, be safe.

https://twitter.com/steph_marasca/status/796197625930383360

Make America Scared Again

It’s November 7, 2016. It’s also the Monday before Election Day.

I didn’t think the day would come so fast, and I was definitely not expecting to have to choose between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

As any Monday goes, it’s been a tough day. But it’s been even harder as I reflect on what tomorrow will bring us. I think of what tomorrow will mean to my mother who can’t vote, my family, my younger siblings who have been exposed to this vile man, the African-American/Black community, the Latin@ community, the Muslim community, women of color and women in general, and all the communities that Trump has spoken so ignorantly about. What will tomorrow bring them?

Will it bring them peace, or will it continue to bring them hurt?

I don’t want to wake up on Wednesday and find out that a man incapable of respect, humility, empathy, and overall humanity is going to be our president for the next four years. This whole election has felt like our biggest nightmare, like the biggest joke. But he’s come this far, and what will tomorrow bring us?

I think about how hard it is already to walk outside my house and into White America, existing within spaces and around people who feel my presence is a nuisance or a discomfort – and I think about how harder it could be if we let Trump win.

I want to wake up on Wednesday knowing that as a country we came together and made the right choice. I want to wake up on Wednesday knowing we stood together and stopped this man from breeding more hate, from continuing to pin us against one another, from taking away from our humanity.

This election has been far from perfect, and Clinton isn’t the greatest choice. But we simply cannot let Donald Trump win. He will ruin everything this country stands for. So, what will tomorrow bring us?

In Photos: At Home With Monsters

Last Saturday, I finally checked out At Home With Monsters – a Guillermo Del Toro exhibit at LACMA. Mind you, I’m not a YUGE movie/film junkie, but Del Toro’s monsters caught my eye.

Walking into At Home With Monsters immediately transports you back to your most frightening nightmares, fears, and into a world you didn’t know could exist. You’re walked through not only the monsters that made Del Toro’s films unforgettable and flawless, but you’re also introduced to the trinkets, literature, and images that inspired him.

Guadalajara native, Del Toro is a man of many talents. He’s a film director, screenwriter, producer, and novelist. His innovative filmmaking has transformed his work into instant classics. His filmography consists of Cronos (1993), The Devil’s Backbone (2001), Hellboy (2004), Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), Pacific Rim (2013), and Crimson Peak (2015). Del Toro has also worked on many other film, television, and book projects as he reconfigures and reinvents his favorite genres: horror, fantasy, and the inexplicable.

At Home With Monsters was unforgettable and brilliant. It inspired me to not only watch more of his films, but to revisit Shelley’s Frankenstein, more Victorian period literature, and heck, even read Bleak House by Dickens (Del Toro calls his home in Los Angeles by that name).

The exhibit is running through November 27.

Check out some of the photos I took on my iPhone 6s:

Pale Man from Pan’s Labyrinth (El Laberinto del Fauno)

“You’re getting older, and you’ll see that life isn’t like your fairy tales. The world is a cruel place. And you’ll learn that, even if it hurts.”

– (Pan’s Labyrinth, 2006)

Schlitzie and Johnny Eck, Thomas Kuebler

“I’m really a freak in every place I go. I don’t quite fit in the independent scene, I don’t quite fit in the art scene, and I don’t fit in the Hollywood scene, so I’m a weird strange fat motherfucker. I’ll tell you this: I plan to stay that way, because there is something to be said… I think when you get comfortable, you start growing old. You are doing something wrong.”

Guillermo del Toro

“There is love in me the likes of which you’ve never seen. There is rage in me the likes of which should never escape. If I am not satisfied int he one, I will indulge the other.”
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

Fauno from Pan’s Labyrinth

“What makes a man a man? A friend of mine once wondered. Is it his origins? The way he comes to life? I don’t think so. It’s the choices he makes. Not how he starts things, but how he decides to end them.”
Guillermo del Toro

“But the horror… The horror was for love. The things we do for love like this are ugly, mad, full of sweat and regret. This love burns you and maims you and twists you inside out. It is a monstrous love and it makes monsters of us all.”

– Crimson Peak

“Perfection has no place in love, Edith. I advise you to return to your ghosts and fancies – the sooner, the better. You know precious little of the human heart, or love, or the pain that comes with it.”

– Crimson Peak

“You’ll meet her. She’s very pretty, even though sometimes she’s sad for many days at a time. You’ll see, when she smiles, you’ll love her.”
Guillermo del Toro

“Well, the first thing is that I love monsters, I identify with monsters.”
Guillermo del Toro

365 Days Later

A year ago today, I left to study abroad in Ireland. I was excited then to make new memories in a different country and to really explore a different culture. I remember looking out my airplane window and seeing the coast of the Emerald Isle before arriving at the Dublin airport feeling insane for traveling across the world by myself.

I remember looking out the cab window and thinking of all the memories I would soon be making in this country. I remembered thinking of all the new people I would meet. I wondered if locals would be friendly and welcoming, I wondered how school, professors, and classmates would be. It was 8am, my body was already jet lagged but my mind was racing out of control.

I remember getting off that cab, tipping the driver for helping with my heavy luggage, and arriving at the house where I would stay for the first couple of nights before moving into my apartment. I walked into a house filled with people who had moved from Brazil, and who didn’t speak much English. They welcomed someone who didn’t speak a pinch of Portuguese, so you can imagine how that went. If being across the world wasn’t enough of a culture shock, imagine being in a space where I couldn’t communicate clearly with others. If it hadn’t been on the first day of my 3-month stay in Ireland, I would have otherwise not felt so isolated. But on that day, I instantly started to feel sad, homesick, and lonely. The excitement washed away. As soon as my head hit the pillow, I cried. I instantly missed my family, and everything back home. I wanted to get on the next plane back to LAX.

I had only been in Dublin for a couple hours, and I was already feeling homesick. In other words, I was being dramatic. “Is this how it would be for the next three months or does it get easier?” I thought. So I decided to take a nap because well, naps fix everything. My roommate and soon to be great friend who had also recently moved to Ireland from Brazil woke me up so he could show me around the city. We went out into the cold crisp air, and that excitement came back. I felt I would be okay (I mean, of course I would, I was just being a drama queen). The streets of Dublin sparkled. The buildings were nothing like I had seen back home, and everything was bustling with life. I WAS READY TO TAKE ON IRELAND AGAIN!

But before I could do that, I needed Wi-Fi.

The three months I spent living and studying in Dublin were a learning experience. Like a normal human being, I felt homesick on occasions but I didn’t let it get the best of me or ruin my days because my family was just a phone call or FaceTime call away. Being out of my comfort zone in a different country with a different culture and way of life was necessary. I learned a lot about myself and others around me by living on my own and with roommates from different backgrounds. As I reflect on my time in Ireland, there’s nothing much I would have done differently except maybe drink more pints of Guinness. I can’t wait until I get the opportunity to visit many times more, and re-experience those months with a different perspective.

And as I reminisce on the time I spent in Ireland, I can’t help but feel so incredibly lucky to have been able to live in a different country, if only temporarily. It was a humbling experience that I’ll never take for granted.

In the words of Charles Dickens, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…

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Visited the Wicklow mountains on my second day in Dublin.

 

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More from the Wicklow mountains.

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Fish and chips, and potatoes plus more potatoes.

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Oscar Wilde in Merrion Square.

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Wicklow Mountains with Heidi.

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Visiting the Cliffs of Moher.

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Giant’s Causeway, featuring C.

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Selfie with Oscar Wilde ❤

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The most Irish thing I did, watch U2 live in Dublin!

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A view of the Liffey River on a rare sunny day.

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C and I taking photos at Giant’s Causeway, one of our stops through Northern Ireland.

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Mumford and Sons in concert during my last weeks in Dublin.

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Graduate Memorial Building at Trinity College.

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The Campanile during the first week of class at Trinity College.

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Temple Bar.

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On one of my walks home, a rainbow after the rain.

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Selfie at the Giant’s Causeway.

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Sunny days in Dublin were the best.

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Gui and I doing what we did best: selfies.

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The Long Room at Trinity College. I wish I lived here.

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Dublin Castle Grounds, featuring a beautiful Gui expression.

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A day at the cemetery.

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Somewhere in the West Coast of Ireland.

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Beach House at Vicar Street in Dublin.

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Wicklow Mountains during my second trip there.

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Coffee down the street from my flat.

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A panorama of Trinity College.

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Cliffs of Moher, truly a sight to see.

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O’Connell Street.

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At the Jameson Distillery.

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A walk at the park.

El Divo De Juarez, descansa en paz

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Source: gagadaily

El Divo De Juarez, also known as Juan Gabriel left many heartbroken this past weekend. Just days after he began touring, he died at the age of 66. Jaunga broke through barriers, stereotypes, and challenged heteronormativity until his last breath. He was a flamboyant soul, and a legend in the eyes of communities of people of color.

I didn’t actively or avidly listen to Juan Gabriel growing up or at this age, nevertheless I grew up with his voice. His music brings back so much nostalgia. I remember some of the best novelas featured one of his songs in the opening credits. I remember my aunt in particular always sang along to vamos al noa, noa, noa/ noa vamos a bailar –swaying her hips side to side.

I remember sitting passenger side in the car with my mom, with her Juan Gabriel CD’s playing. I remember sitting there at a very young age, simultaneously listening to her sing along and begging her to change the station because god forbid I actually enjoyed the music she liked! But I also remember thinking about the lyrics –tu ponte en my lugar, a ver que harias, la diferencia, entre tu y yo, seria corazon, que yo en tu lugar, si te amaria– and what it all meant. I remember feeling curious about how my mom felt listening to his music, and why she loved it so much.

Growing up with my mom listening to Juanga, I felt that was the only way I knew how she felt about life, love, and loss. So today, as I listen to El Divo de Juarez writing this, I think of the heartache, the joy, and the life lessons that his music must have helped my mom overcome.

Tu estas siempre en mi mente. RIP, Jaun Gabriel.

A Day in LA: The Broad

In February, I visited what seems to be the most Instagram and Snapchat worthy museum in Los Angeles (besides Chris Burden’s “Urban Lights” at LACMA). Showcasing about 2,000 works of art in their collection, The Broad museum is a new contemporary art museum founded by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad. And, the best part is…it’s free!

But, free admission always comes with a price.

The price to pay to visit The Broad in Downtown Los Angeles is a long waiting line on weekdays and even longer line on weekends. I personally didn’t have to wait in line at all because I was able reserve tickets online sometime in November of last year shortly after its grand opening. So there’s two ways to visit The Broad –through their online ticketing system or braving the long lines.The museum was vibrant. The art was vibrant, fun, beautiful, and thought-provoking.

So short or long of a wait, it’s worth your patience!

Also: Biggest sad face because I wasn’t able to visit Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room. An even bigger sad face because the Infinity Room was used in Adele’s music vide, “When We Were Young.” I have until September, however, to try to get in there for a whopping 45 seconds.

Enjoy my pictures and I hope you all get a chance to visit The Broad! xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back at it again with the ‘casual’ racism: Snapchat uses Bob Marley filter on 4/20

Was Bob Marley born on April 20? Is there an upcoming Bob Marley tribute or a biopic releasing soon? Hm, none of the above.

“Right,” I thought to myself when I logged on Snapchat at midnight, “it’s 4/20.”

It’s National Weed Day across the country, where marijuana remains mostly illegal. It’s the day where people bond over weed, man. And on 4/20, Snapchat decided to create a filter where, when used, Bob Marley’s face is pasted over yours with animated dreadlocks and a cap.

There’s something quite off here, right?

I then proceeded to close Snapchat, open Twitter, and sought out what people had to say about the filter. A couple of tweets were already trickling in –some criticizing Snapchat’s move while other users found the filter fun and “hilarious.”

The following morning, more articles, opinion pieces, Facebook statues, and Twitter updates flooded my timeline in response to the Bob Marley filter. It wasn’t all good. In fact, and rightfully so, none of it was.

In an article by The Guardian, Alex Hern wrote, “The social media company is being accused not only of introducing the digital equivalent of blackface, but also for the timing of the filter: it appears to have been introduced to mark 20 April (or 4/20), an important day in weed culture – but nothing to do with Bob Marley himself, outside of the musician’s own involvement with marijuana.”

Snapchat’s filter of reggae singer, songwriter, musician, and guitarist attempted to honor him on 4/20, but achieved the complete opposite. The filter Snapchat released brutally reduced Bob Marley and his legacy to smoking weed. Bob Marley’s use of cannabis held a deeper meaning, very much tied to his conversion from Catholicism to Rastafari faith. Yes, he supported the legalization of the drug, but that’s not all he stood for. He’s not to be considered some sort of spokesperson for 4/20, and Snapchat shouldn’t have decided to capitalize on that.

Although Snapchat was granted permission to use Bob Marley’s image for the filter, “That permission doesn’t make the feature less racist. Marley was the voice of poor people and black liberation in a space where very few artists ever have access to, a distinction that deserves due respect.” (Michael Arceneaux for The Guardian)

Michael Arceneaux also writes, “If there’s any constant with respect to social media and the internet, it is that somebody is going to do something incredibly stupid and racially insensitive.”

Snapchat, in no way or form honored what he contributed to the world and the music industry, but rather reinforced the notion that blackface is an acceptable form of entertainment. It ridiculed not only Bob Marley’s memory, but also people of color who are told time and time again that the color of their skin isn’t beautiful or accepted.

Kurt Wagner for re/code wrote in an article that “…Snapchat is not the only company to run with a product like this — it’s just the only one to get lampooned for it. As my colleague Johana Bhuiyan was quick to point out, Masquerade, an app with a similar facial distortion feature that was gobbled up by Facebook last month, has also used a Marley filter like this. FaceYou, a Baidu app to show off its artificial intelligence technology, had a filter for President Barack Obama.”

Here’s what Twitter had to say about Snapchat’s 4/20 Bob Marley filter:

Snapchat didn’t take the filter at any point throughout 4/20, despite crticism from users and the media.

And here’s what Snapchat had to say to The Guardian about the filter:

“The lens we launched today was created in partnership with the Bob Marley Estate, and gives people a new way to share their appreciation for Bob Marley and his music. Millions of Snapchatters have enjoyed Bob Marley’s music, and we respect his life and achievements.”

If the Snapchat lens was created to give people a “new way to share their appreciation for Bob Marley and his music,” why not publish the lens on any other given day? As one of the Tweets above mentioned, Snapchat didn’t make a Bob Marley filter on his birthday or Black History Month in February. Two months earlier, rather than later on April 20 would have been a more respectful and appropriate time to honor Bob Marley, his music, and his legacy.