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Kumail Nanjiani’s Podcast for ‘X-Files’-philes

If the names Mulder and Scully mean nothing to you, then your whole life has been a lie . . . But don’t worry, “the truth is out there,” and The X-Files are still open for anyone who wants to believe.

In 1993, Fox was a fledgling network and actors, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson got their start playing FBI agents, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully investigating paranormal activity for The X-Files every week. In a post Cold War, pre-NSA world, fans of this television show imagined that the United States government was more concerned with home-planet security than homeland security.

One such fan was a young boy in Karachi, Pakistan, who “started to see the world as a much bigger and weirder place,” thanks to Mulder and Scully. He would later move to the United States and share his unique perspectives on media as a comedian.

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Kumail Nanjiani’s Podcast for ‘X-Files’-philes

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Celebrate Your Gal Pals on ‘Galentine’s Day,’ Leslie Knope-Style

As NBC’s Parks and Recreation enters its final season, we must prepare ourselves to say goodbye to Amy Poehler’s lovable character, Leslie Knope: an overachieving government ingénue-slash-powerhouse known for her optimism and attention to detail. And what better way to honor councilwoman Knope than to celebrate Galentine’s Day this year?

Galentine's Day Toast, 2014; courtesy NBC
Galentine’s Day Toast, 2014; courtesy NBC

“What’s Galentine’s Day?” Knope asks in Season 2, Episode 16, “It’s only the best time of the year! Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style: ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair minus the angst . . . plus frittatas.”

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Celebrate Your Gal Pals on ‘Galentine’s Day,’ Leslie Knope-Style

 

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Remember Frontier Village? A Show for the Grown-Up South Bay Kid

On Nov. 7, the New Museum Los Gatos (NUMU) hosted over 500 people for the opening of It Takes a Village: A trip back in time to Frontier Village, Santa’s Village, and Lost World. Presenting three lost-but-not-forgotten local theme parks, NUMU’s exhibition was not unlike a theme park on opening day.

Miss Wild West, Chyrle Bacon, shows off some of the trick roping skills she shared as an entertainer at Frontier Village in San Jose between 1978 and 1980.
Miss Wild West, Chyrle Bacon, shows off some of the trick roping skills she shared as an entertainer at Frontier Village in San Jose between 1978 and 1980. (Photo: Adrienne Blaine)

Whether it was learning to lasso with “the one and only” Miss Wild West of Frontier Village, mailing a letter to a perennial Santa’s Village or posing with exotic animal statues from Lost World, children and adults — but mostly the adults — were giddy with excitement at NUMU.

If you were a South Bay kid in the 1960s and ’70s, you were probably begging your parents to take you to Frontier Village in San Jose, or trying to convince them to stop at Santa’s Village and Lost World on your way to and from the beach.

Today, the most prominent remnant of these parks is probably the sign for Santa’s Village Road on Highway 17, which tends to confuse more than excite. Santa’s Village was more than just a quirky pit stop though; it was a part of the first franchised theme park in history.

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Remember Frontier Village? A Show for the Grown-Up South Bay Kid

 

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Eco-Conscious and Good Looking to Boot, the Art of Furoshiki

In Japan, before mass-produced plastic bags took over, a square of cloth served to wrap purchases of varying shapes and sizes. What the Western world may have derided as a “hobo bundle,” was elevated to a visual art, using traditional Japanese cloths called furoshiki.

Pronounced fu-ro-shkee, this cloth and its historical uses can be traced through the word’s etymology: “furo” means bath and “shiki” means mat. In communal Japanese bath houses, many people brought a cloth with them to wrap up their items while bathing and to use as a mat while getting dressed again.

Throughout the years, folding and tying furoshiki has become an art form in itself that demonstrates the utility and elegance of Japanese design. A traditional furoshiki represents thousands of different ways to wrap almost any object, with different colors and designs conveying unique meanings.

 

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Eco-Conscious and Good Looking to Boot, the Art of Furoshiki

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San Jose’s Egyptian Museum Vibes off its Secret Society Roots

In sixth grade, students in the California public school system study ancient Egypt. And every year, thousands of these students visit the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts in western North America.

Where? In San Jose at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, of course.

If you didn’t grow up in the South Bay or spend your preteen years searching for meaning in the Metaphysical section of a bookstore like I did, then this particular Egyptian museum and the Rosicrucian Order may be uncharted territory.

Sekhmet figurine: the first ancient artifact in the AMORC collection. (Photo by Adrienne Blaine)
Sekhmet figurine: the first ancient artifact in the AMORC collection. (Photo by Adrienne Blaine)

It all began with an ancient figurine of the lion goddess Sekhmet, which stood on the desk of H. Spencer Lewis one hundred years ago. Lewis, an American occultist, founded the Rosicrucian Order, Ancient and Mystical Order Rosae Crucis (AMORC) in 1915.

AMORC is a secret organization, and as such can only be described by outsiders as “elusive.” AMORC defines itself on the Egyptian museum website as, “a philosophical and educational public benefit (501c3) organization.” Others call it a mystical fraternity.

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San Jose’s Egyptian Museum Vibes off its Secret Society Roots

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Is George Harrison at a Concert Near You?

George Harrison died nearly 15 years ago, but you may have spotted him at a show in recent months. From the ethereal glow of illuminated smartphones raised overhead, Harrison’s visage has recently graced concerts from Oakland to Santa Cruz.

I first saw Harrison’s beaming face in April at the Cocoanut Grove in Santa Cruz. While I waited for electronic musician Panda Bear to take the stage, two young men held up the same close-up candid of Harrison flashing a toothy smile. Before I could process this poor man’s Tupac hologram, four other phones joined with the same image, a legion of Harrisons aloft.

The album cover for Let it Be by The Beatles, courtesy thebeatles.com
The Beatles, Let It Be.

Normally, illuminated screens at a concert invoke nothing but contempt from me, but Harrison’s guileless face seemed to be teleported from a simpler, analog time. And while attempts to replace the lighter of yesteryear with a lit-up phone are largely unsuccessful, this Harrison synchronicity brought the crowd closer to a shared experience.

I soon learned from 23-year-old San Francisco resident Ernie Houk that he had witnessed the same phenomenon at a Tame Impala concert at Oakland’s Fox Theater in November of 2014. “People do a lot of dumb things at concerts to get attention,” explained Houk, but he, too, felt this was different.

Not sure whether it was a meme dug up from “the bowels of Reddit,” Houk was initially confused, and then amused, by the 20 Harrisons popping up around him at the Fox Theater. At the Cocoanut Grove, I was similarly curious, so after the show I made a beeline for the stage to track down the initiator: 19-year-old Russell Cowick.

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Is George Harrison at a Concert Near You?

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San Jose Musicians Advocate for Safer LGBTQ Spaces

Over the last six months, a movement has been underway in the South Bay to generate acceptance and provide safe spaces for LGBTQ musicians and fans.

San Jose’s Think and Die Thinking Collective, which was founded in 2012, has organized to help marginalized musicians advocate for themselves. Bean Kaloni Tupou, a founding member of Think and Die Thinking, explains that the typical bar show in San Jose can be a hostile environment for LGBTQ communities.

Screen shot of Back Bar's facebook post, 2015. (Courtesy: Richard Gutierrez)
Screen shot of Back Bar’s Facebook post, 2015. (Courtesy: Richard Gutierrez)

In February of this year, members of the Collective met with the owner of the all-ages club at San Jose Rock Shop and neighboring Back Bar to discuss a controversial sign posted outside of the bar. In a picture posted on the bar’s Facebook page, a handwritten message on a Back Bar sign reads, “Ladies… If you want a man to leave you alone at a bar, don’t tell him you have a boyfriend. They don’t care. Tell him you have a penis. Your [sic] welcome.”

This prompted San Jose musician Richard Gutierrez to write an open letter to San Jose Rock Shop and Back Bar on Facebook. Acknowledging the “trans / non gender-conforming folks who contribute to the San Jose music scene and have supported the Rock Shop since its inception,” Gutierrez stated, “what you are implying with that ‘joke’ is something very transphobic, hurtful and creating a dangerous space.”

Gutierrez continued, “I realize not everyone is well-versed in these issues and a lot of information about these topics have been suppressed throughout the years and allowed for stigmas to grow. I myself was never taught about these issues until much later.”

Gutierrez ended the letter with a call to action: “I hope you take this opportunity to learn and maybe step up as a great example to the community of making a mistake and truly owning it and attempting to better yourself and bring some light to this […] subject.”

Owner David Nevin quickly apologized, and wrote on Back Bar’s Facebook page

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San Jose Musicians Advocate for Safer LGBTQ Spaces

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