tv [untitled] July 22, 2010 8:30pm-9:00pm PST
>> the asia-pacific island cultural center receives help from the census but our commission. john mean today to talk about in off festival is the executive director. welcome. i understand this is the 13th annual festival. can you tell me the name? >> the name is a celebratory name. we also celebrate what we call
the asian-pacific islanders as well, in terms of culture, experience, and multidisciplinary arts. >> the festival is actually very wide-ranging. you have 16 venues, and how many different performing arts centers? >> we have over 85 artists participating, 16 venues, 21 events. there are over 15 groups that are performing. >> there recently kicked off at the beginning of may and will continue through june 13? correct? >> that is correct. unlike in the past years, we have had to expand the festival because there has been so much activity and so many people want to be part of the celebration. we're very honored and pleased to have the festival going all the way into june.
>> we're kind of coming in on one of the groups. >> francis is one of the pioneers of the asian american jazz movement and is also one of san francisco's very own. we're very honored at the cultural center that we can be part of the program. >> an addition to him, what are some of the other highlights of the festival? >> we have three gallery openings in the festival. one is called reclaim, which is a film art. the others are receptions that are happening at four different the supervisors' offices. the other is called mining the creative source. >> think you for sharing the content with us on "culture wire." >> thank you very much. >> it is in celebration of the
40th anniversary of the strikes at uc-berkeley of the study of ethnic studies. it is a celebration of that history, as well as some of the other items. >> what led to this multidisciplinary collaboration? >> i am from san francisco, and from the 1960's on, that is the aesthetics. the poets, working with the musicians, dancers, the waitresses, the jazz club, actors, whatever. the idea is we are all a community and we share this common story. >> did you reach out to the dancers? how did it come together? did they come to you? >> the choreographer and dancer actually was a student of mine and residency in cameron house
and chinatown. i developed a friendship with her over many years, and also with the spoken word artists. i met him at a benefit at one of the benefits in chinatown. it is part of that ongoing really rich relationship building that happens in our arts community. >> i got a chance to hear a little bit of your performance, and i am a big fan of john coltrane, and you play a phenomenal sax. can you tell me a little about your musical influences. >> a particular piece about john coltrane was he reached out to asia and his global vision. as an asian american growing up and coming up in this country seeking some recognition, that was a very meaningful, making that kind of contribution. i really owe a debt to john coltrane for recognizing my culture and uplifting it as part
of the music as well. >> i know that your family history is really rich and complex in terms of illustrating how the chinese has occurred over the last two centuries. it could talk about that? >> it began in the 1870's, when my great grandfather, instead of coming with everybody else to the united states to build a railroad, he went off the coast of madagascar are. -- madagascar are. he met a woman there who is creel, african-american, french, and chinese. they married, and they had family, and i am the product of that. growing up here in the bay area, we have some influences because it is the gateway for emigration. from many countries. you walk down the street, you
are participating in that mix. in my music, i really want to express and represent that kind of topic that goes on in the streets. it is the most exciting part of being here. >> francis, thank you very much for being part of "culture wire" and thank you for being one of the great artists of san francisco. >> thank you so much. >> welcome to "culture wire." today we are visiting southern exposure in san francisco alison prepares to launch a fantastic
new project called beautiful possibilities. we will send them on a two-year adventure crisscrossing the united states to investigate american history and contemporary culture. it is using a traveling road show as inspiration. she will sit down and talk with residents in search of stories and experiences that reveals exactly what makes us americans. >> beautiful possibility is a traveling research project that i will take on a five-month journey across the united states and lower canada. i document this tore on a map that i painted for the project and also from previous projects called the road map to lost america. on the map i have taken all of the contemporary borders off the map and replaced them with native territories, and then
overlaid it with contemporary highways. i have scheduled venue stops at different areas along the tour, from california to south dakota, that will serve as headquarters for my local research. when i was researching the traveling medicine show, i came across this. they had put out an elixir, and it referred to the elements that came out because of the high stress, high-pressure life, mostly because of the industrial revolution. anyway, i was fascinated by the term american-itis, and i thought it did a lot about the stress-related illnesses, and i was impressed that they picked up on that and the 1800's. i did a survey to see if it was irrelevant element today. i have a series of eight painted
banners that are retellings of american history. i am particularly interested in transition history between native and european histories and retelling them as if they were a popular myth. there is a mix of eras and characters and times drat these banners. -- and times throughout these banners. i use the olympics and the melting pot, or things reduced down, and come out of this reduction. and something else transforms out of it. they had this strict code of who we should be as americans, and then i had andrew jackson fanning the flames. this first contact, down to george bush in 2008. all of the characters that appear are real characters that are taken from my research. we are an interesting mix and i
want to provoke wonder about who we are. every one of the characters are taken from actual photographs or documents that i found in my research on american history. in a lot of my banners, you conceal -- uc the melting pot, the imagery and myth that we use in our culture. talking about these reductions of all these different mixes of people, how you distill the experience. that is something i want to think about, collecting the ideas and ingredients, and i wanted to do the san francisco de lexie. -- elixir. we found a spring water underneath a church in cow hollow. we put rosebuds in the water to attract peace, and it made a meade. it was sitting in the gallery.
we distill that through local herbs. it was really surprising how delicious it was, because we were mixing a lot of seemingly in congruent ingredients, and it was delicious and different from anything you have ever tasted. i would have been happy if it was medicinal. the idea was more important to me. but it was very good. it is something i think a lot about, especially transition history, native americans, how they have this combination of dress, from the clothing from trade companies, mixed with traditional dress. i love how reflective it is of who they are, and also the merging history's coming together. what would we look like if we carry our history with us? all of the merging of cultures, reflected in our address? i am thinking of my own history with early europeans coming in
and intermixing with native cultures. the one thing i would like people to take away from after seeing my work is a sense of wonder and who we are as americans. that we are really these beautiful mixes of people and we should really be looking backwards at who we are. i think we are all kind of historians in our own life, and there are great presidents behind us -- president behind us that could give us insight into who we are. >> oliver road trip on her website. check at often. new experiences will be added after every stop. >> the san francisco ethnic dance festival is one of the jewels on san francisco sculptural crowns. this is in its 32nd year of showcasing the celebrated dance
troupes. this year will be one of the past with four new works representing kondo, afghanistan, china, mexico. -- congo, afghanistan, china, mexico. more than a hundred 30 ensembles and soloists auditioned in january for a slot in the ethnic dance festival. in the end, 37 companies were selected to perform. 26 of those performances are world premieres. >> each year, we assembled a panel of dance experts that is made up of academics, scholars, researchers.
people have been working for decades in the field. many of them came to this country in the seventies and have trained the next generation of dancers. they are proud to see many of these students at the these masterful levels. this was one of the best panel'' we have ever had, extraordinary people. at the end of the process, they rank their top groups which are then merged into a master list. >> performers are judged on stage presence, costumes, and innovation. >> the four programs are created around an exciting and dynamic range so the soloists and groups selected each weekend will have enough dynamic range to be a
society overall to are experience. >> hundreds of dancers from different countries need each other, compare stuff, and make new friends. this has resulted in new cross- cultural collaborations'. >> one of the extraordinary things is that it really only happens here in the san francisco bay area. all of the dancers that we are presented -- presenting are from the area. they have full-time jobs and they spend their weekends nurturing their passion to sustain these extraordinary dance forms from around the world. the audience cannot help but be inspired. >> this year, the festival will
feature a special collaboration that celebrates the mexican bicentennial and commemorates the 100th anniversary of the mexican revolution. >> one of the great area biographers has stepped out of that role and we asked them to create a special work working with 6 x ordinary dance companies that we have assembled dancers from all of these companies to present a united work in celebration of the bicentennial. >> dancers from over 20 countries are staunch cultures are participating. >> one of the things that is inspiring is how many are being invited back to their home countries as cultural ambassadors from the u.s.. we are teaching them in committees so that the next
generation here in america and back to india or bali or whatever will be able to get enriched by these very beautiful art forms. >> thank you for watching "culture wire." and you can find more information >> the san francisco arts commission's public arts program made a big splash in the civic center with the world premiere of three heads, six arms. the artist came from shanghai to help us celebrate the unavailing. we had a chance to speak with him about his work.
>> the san francisco arts commission is pleased to be celebrating their relationship between san high and san francisco. the shanghai and san francisco. this is a 30 relationship that stretches back to win dianne feinstein was the mayor of san francisco. we premiered a new work of art here in san francisco called the three heads, six arms. welcome to san francisco. thank you for bringing your extraordinary sculpture. can you tell me about what inspired you to create this sculpture?
>> this started with some trips that i took years ago. i went to to bed and i saw a lot of statues and i started to really feel the spiritual life of people in tibet. it really inspires me and i went back to shanghai and i started the creation of this. >> we see that one of the heads of the bullet it is your face. can you talk about the significance of that? -- we see that one of the heads of the buddha is your face. >> i started doing public art almost 10 years ago.
what i want to express this as an extension of my our practice. this is an accumulation of my own experience as a performance artist. >> we see that the scale is very important. we have seen other works where a limb of this culture is on the floor but everything is very big and large scale. what are you trying to accomplish with expanding the scale of these images to such a great size.
>> i wanted to make large scale art and see how this plays a role in contemporary society. i think that is the mission of contemporary art, to serve as a social critique. >> when the mayor knew some -- when mayor newsom join you in dedicating this, they wanted to find a work that was big and bold. he was so pleased with your participation that he made you an honoraria citizens of san francisco for the next 18 months. the public reaction has been very positive. what is your reaction of how
people receive your sculpture? >> i think that san francisco has a long history. this gigantic sculpture is in front of the civic center. i know that that is not the kind of a go with whole environment. there is an exchange with the american culture and the asian culture which has created this very strong power. this power was created by east meets west may be is exactly what our mayor or the public wants. they will start to be curious and wonder how this is here and how we look at the asian culture.
>> you have lived internationally, you have lived in cities like new york and beijing, now shanghai. you made a very conscious decision to lend this culture to san francisco as opposed to having it premier as an exhibition at another museum. >> i am very satisfied with the turnout and i lived in new york for 8 years and all of my children were born in new york. i already have the american spirit. i am proud to be here and i really appreciate the spirit of committing to things and being honored and being collaborative.
when i flashed back to my career, i think about what an artist can do is a teeny tiny thing. i want to contribute to the hall human society. what art can do is just this tiny bit. >> your invitation has already proven to be a great success and we really look forward to spending time with your sculpture. thank you for being part of "culture wire." >> thank you for being part of this project. >> thank you for watching. join us for future episodes. you can>> many people are not af
this building was built in 1936. as a board to preserve the history and make the students aware of that history. the partnering between sfmoma and the arts commission means they will be more aware of the artwork that we have here, the artists that painted a, and the history behind this itself. >> students came from george washington, and it was wonderful to have them on a panel. people from the school board, those who have been painting for years, some conservative errors from the getty. to have them tell us about the works of their school was important. it represents african-american artists to during the 20's and
30's used an incredible body of work. it is one of the most incredible works of art in the city, bar none. it is a huge mural of incredible works. >> the san francisco civic arts collection has been in existence since the turn of the century. it consists of everything from monument to golden gate park to market street, other works in the collection, from the wpa era, the quite tower, the works from the george washington high school. we have the contemporary education, where they depict some of the vocational arts that were taught at george washington high school. what is interesting is the artist's and corp. of some of the -- incorporation of some of the architectural elements.
they used the speaker from the p a system as part of the design. on the opposite side of the library, we have a large fresco which depicts the academic subjects that were taught at the time. it serves as a foil to the other fresco in the library, we have academic subjects on one side, vocational subjects on the other, and result is the concept of a well-rounded education. additionally, what we plan to do is the academy of hospitality and tourism will be part of, so the students can share with other students, faculty, the neighborhood, and others to come by and what to look to the artwork we have. >> by working with the students, we hope to raise awareness of the collection and foster stewardship.
we brought diego rivera to the city. i think the wpa art work is characterized by stylized robustness and a pervasive occupation with a historical. in this panel, we have a depiction of george washington moving west. what is interesting about it is the image of lewis and clark here is in black and white, something that is occurring in the future, painted as though it was in the past. what is interesting about it is the very obvious conclusion of slavery. the number of students were expressing unease around some of the themes.
the additional mural would be placed in the school, one with more positive representation of the student body. in 1974, they completed three panels that were placed in the library -- in the lobby. they depict native, latino, asian american, and african- american heritage and culture. >> that artist was talking about the history coming alive. that is what we want for the students here. i also think they might share that with past alumni and the community, so they could no the treasure that we have here in the schools. many people have the same experience i did when i first walked into this building three years ago, being the new principal. the grandeur of these murals is fantastic. many