Last week was a really special one for me. Photographs I took during a 3 year period at the US/Mexico border (spanning from California through Texas) with AMBOS Project and Tanya Aguiñiga opened in a new exhibit W|ALLS: Defend, Divide and the Divine at the Annenberg Space for Photography.
Photos I shot of Ruth Reichl in conversation with 🎙KCRW’s Evan Kleiman🎙at Annenberg Performance Studio at KCRW HQ. It was a lovely evening with celebrated author, chef, and restaurant critic Ruth Reichl, who spoke candidly about her time as the Editor of Gourmet magazine (the subject of her new book Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir). It’s always a treat to get to document and sit in as people have a conversation about their experiences and work, and what they love. ❤️
Some photos I shot last February of Women’s Øpposition Movement (@wom_la) second annual Valentine’s Day BINGO extravaganza at Zebulon! They raised $4,200 for Alexandria House (@alexandriahousela) who provides safe and supportive housing for women and children in Los Angeles. Hosted by Neil Hamburger, Bobcat Goldthwait, Megan Koester & Anna Seregina, and amazing prizes donated by so many awesome folks.
Women’s Øpposition Movement (@wom_la) has another fundraising event on September 1st at Zebulon! Check it out!
Allie & Naoki planned a small ceremony with only family in attendance at the Los Angeles County Arboretum (@laarboretum) in Arcadia. I remember keenly how they both wandered for a few minutes in the 🌿Prehistoric Forest🌿 before deciding on the spot that felt right for their ceremony. They rounded out the day by inviting a small group of friends to celebrate with them at the Side Bar at Covell (@barcovell). Follow your instincts, and all will be how it should. ✨🌑✨
Looking back on photos I took of Jails and Justice for USC Arts in Action (@usc_artsinaction). This project brought together USC students, Black Lives Matter (@blmlosangeles), and the Institute of Theatre and Social Change (@uscsda) — all who are committed to reimagining policing, incarceration and public safety. The two new performances took place at California African American Museum (@caaminla) and were in support of Reform L.A. Jails (@reformlajails).
It makes total sense to me that you’d get married and celebrate in a place that feels like home. In this case, Alison & John married in the home of Alison’s contemporary dance mentor, and ate dinner with all their family and friends at tables that were planted amongst her backyard fruit trees. 🍋 It’s that kind of abundance that makes you feel full and thankful for a long time afterwards.
Above image: Ana Mendieta, Film stills, Sweating Blood, 1973
Starting in July, my birth month, I will be doing a bi-monthly research exercise on “Cuban Heroes” for my blog. I believe that seeing yourself reflected in the world around you (in pop culture and beyond) is powerful, and I was starved of that privilege as a young girl navigating the white-centric suburbs of Orange County.
A bit of an introduction before beginning — My mother immigrated from Cuba in the 1970s and married my father, a red headed Irish-American from Southern California. Growing up, my contact with my father’s side of the family was rare if ever, so I made sense of “family” through the connection I had to my mother’s side: my Cuban Grandmother and her sisters (my Great Aunts). I truly believe that I understand what Love is today through the love I received from the gaggle of Cuban women who raised me as a child. Looking back, when I think of “home”, I think of them, and feel them deeply in my core still. So with all that said — why is it that when I was sorting through the building blocks of my identity and searching for role models, that I looked past them and only found value and importance in white-stories by straight-white-men within the framework of white-society? In short, it is because I was a child of an immigrant, and cultural assimilation was key to my social survival. When I looked around me, those were the narratives that society held up and gave the most worth and I followed that way of thinking without ever examining why (that would come decades later). As a child and young adult, I took these adopted narratives and hid in plain sight. My fair-skin and culturally-ambiguous looks afforded me that. I thought by doing this, I was pushing myself out of the ethnic minority and giving myself a “fair chance”, a belief that is complex, problematic, and reinforced time and time again in my life.
After my mother’s passing 2 years ago, I spiraled into grief. Grieving her, and the loss of “the last” of my Cuban identity slipping through my fingers and into the ether. Never again would I feel and hear the energy and sounds of her hard Cuban-Spanish accenting my life. The audible sounds of love through language, calling for me as, “Ginita”. I think after the death of any parent, it is quite normal to question existence and ask questions of “why”, and that definitely came for me in full force and is something I still reconcile today. So — this is to honor my Mother, this is for my Grandmother and Great Aunts, but mostly this is for the little girl who needed an extra push in understanding her roots, her place and their natural value, and in turn, her natural value.