Here are the upcoming Explorer Club outings:
Tuesday, April 24th - 8:40 PM: ULAM - Main Dish showing @ the Asian Film Festival ($ 9). Please let us know by April 16th (next Monday)
Synopsis: In this delicious new documentary, Filipino-American filmmaker Alexandra Cuerdo follows the rise of Filipino food via the award-winning chefs crossing over to the center of the American table. ULAM: Main Dish stages this new culinary movement as not only a remarkable achievement for American restaurateurs, but also as a validation of Filipino culture. The film confronts issues inherent in representing both Filipino and American identity, and challenges from both the Filipino community and the world at large. Ultimately, ULAM is a celebration - and confirmation - that Filipino food, and Filipinos, are here to stay.
Please only click on the RSVP buttons if you are planning to attend that particular event!
The Cultural Explorers Club Goes to the Movies!
March 26, 2018 - T. Johnston-O'Neill
Over the weekend the Worldview Project Cultural Explorers Club attended the San Diego Latino Film Festival screening on the Argentinean film Zama. The film is based on a book of the same name that is considered a classic in Spanish literatureSet in the late 1700's in what is today Paraguay, the plot is rather simple. Don Diego de Zama is a lower level official in the Spanish colonial enterprise that simply longs to transfer to a more pleasant situation in Lerma Spain. To say this wish is frustrated is an understatement as the manipulative outgoing governor and seemingly everyone and everything else conspires to thwart Zama. I'm not sure when was the last time I've seen a film in which the cinematography so closely reflects the inner states of the characters and the contours of the action as Zama does. The film starts out with the shot shown on the movie posters of Zama looking out over a vast river, the camera is static and the shot is long, without any words spoken we are clued into Zama's longing to be anywhere but where he is. The scene then shifts to a labyrinth of interior shots that are almost frantic as the camera moves in and out of catastrophic spaces where every encounter is a negotiation in which no one understands what the rules are. Playfully the wigs worn by the colonists show the ever present tension between a festishized civilization set against wildness. Between the ill-fitting and dingy wigs of the officials to the extravagantly overwrought ladies wigs, the hairpieces seem utterly absurd, anachronistic and wholly out of place. Vestiges of a dream of splendor unrealized. The movie is, in turns, shocking, sympathetic, cruel, compassionate, languid, lustful, tender, tragic, violent (but not explicitly), perplexing, challenging, and darkly humorous. The wigs (and later indigenous masks) also reflects the perils of identity that seemingly all the characters suffer. No one is quite the person they appear to be and some might not exist at all. In the end, after an incredible string of suffering and humiliation, Don Diego de Zama hangs in there, almost as if he is driven by a macabre desire to see what happens next. So do we.
I must say that I was concerned how the 14 members of the Explorer's Club (and the Book Club) would make of the movies. I was fully prepared for a negative reaction considering how strange the film was. The loved it. Most of us met afterwards in the food court to discuss the film. People were immensely moved by the complexity of cross-cultural relations depicted in the films. The horrors of colonialism are clearly evident in the film, but the film really brought everything down to interpersonal relations. Club members also commented on the fluidity of identities in the film. Everyone was impressed by the cinematography and more than one mentioned how well fitting it was to the situational and psychological drama.
Moisés Esparza, who leads the team that selects the films for the festival, introduced Zama. He gave a very eloquent shout out to the Worldview Project and their support. We are honored to do so, and really the longing starts today for next year's Latino Festival!
Indian Ragas Meet the Blues
March 8, 2018 - T. Johnston-O'Neill
Had a grand time at the Sheela Bringi concert at the Encinitas Library last weekend. Vocalist/Harp player Sheela was joined by Clinton Patterson on guitar and trumpet, San Diegan Mile Shrewsbery on tabla and cajon, and Brent Kuecker on bass and harmonium. Worldview Project board members, volunteers and a few from the new Explorer's club attended and helped out. The show was a sell out (way to go Monica!) and a musical delight. Fusion music can be less than stellar with groups that dabble, but Sheela and Miles have years of training in Indian classical music so they are far more adept at blending the old with the new in music. Clinton Pattern's guitar work was nothing short of fantastic melding Indian musical ideas with southern blues. It's hard to imagine how that could work but it really does. Sheela was born to Indian parents in Colorado but she has spent considerable time studying with Indian classical vocal and instrumental gurus and it shows. Interestingly enough her main instrument (she also played the harmonium and bansuri flute) is an Irish Harp, re-purposed to play lyrical and meditational ragas. Her voice was delightfully mellifluous but she also performed numbers that exhibited a goodly amount of vocal staccato calisthenics. The concert is part of the ongoing Center for their Passport to Worlds of Music series. As a board member of that organization I'm honored to help out (I do the sound work)and I hope Participant Observer readers can catch one of the remaining concerts in the series. The next one features music from Finland!
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