This past Saturday I ventured down Valencia street to the Elbo Room to see Pacha Massive and Banda de Turistas perform as part of Nacional Records’ roadtrip concert series. I’m a big Pacha Massive fan so I jumped at the opportunity to see them live and in the Mission District no less. I loved their performance and they featured a mysterious new singer who was great (and had awesome style).
The show was my first time seeing (or hearing) Banda de Turistas and I enjoyed them as well. The highlight of the show was when the lead singer and guitarist both jumped into the crowd and finished the last few songs of their set on the floor.
Wooohooo! It’s been a crazy last 72 hours leading up until tonight. I’ve felt a lot of love and support these last few days as I’ve worked my tail off to get the show up. Tonight was a dream come true. As I type these words it’s almost midnight and I’m still at SOMArts, facing the monumental task of turning off all the multimedia components of the exhibit. To stall for a moment I thought I’d share these animated gifs that I shot tonight.
If you’ve been following my twitter or twitpic streams you’ve noticed that I’ve taken them to using them as a platform to publish animated gifs that I’ve shot with my iphone. The images below have been taken using Gemini for the iphone, my earlier gifs were taken using an app named 3D camera but Gemini has allowed me to do a lot of great street reporting on the spot.
In these early days of May there’s a lot pushed on us that will supposedly make me proud to be Mexican (er, Chicano). I can appreciate the politics of May 1st but when it comes to Cinco de Mayo I usually associate it with simplifying history, beer ads, and drunk college kids. I’m all for gettin’ sauced up now and then but please don’t do that shit in the name of my people.
That said, what’s made me proud to be Mexican American recently is the work of Mexican artist Jaime Martinez. With all the writing I’ve done about animated gifs so far I was excited to discover that these works of art were done by a Mexicano. I’m not sure what technique he uses for capturing his images, if he’s quick on the draw with the shutter or he uses multiple cameras. His methods give them the visual depth of old fashioned stereograms.
According to his site, Jaime Martínez was born in Monterrey México (1978) and he is currently living in Mexico City. His art sheds light on the potential of animated gifs. These mind-blowing images are truly state of the art. Enjoy.
I’m officially declaring my love of Holly Valentine from Hyper Crush. I’m bummed that I missed their show last night in San Francisco. This video illustrates the difficulty of being a Latina hipster. No matter how much of an ironic hipster you are, being bilingual and code-switching is still a novelty that will get you mocked. You can see the look of inner-turmoil on Holly’s face as Preston and Donny clown her, it’s burning with angst and conflict.
Seriously though, I love Hyper Crush. I can’t front either, I mess with Mariela all the time when she speaks Spanish on the phone (especially with her mom). She and Holly both can code-switch like seasoned pros; I am merely a humble pocho.
Hyper Crush are also leading the charge in reclaiming the animated gif. Someone on their team has amazing gif making skills, the second one will give you a seizure:
Much has been written about the differences between myspace and facebook and the implications of class, race, and education that fill the divide. Nothing has signified this paradigm better than facebook not displaying animated gifs on their site. People fleeing bling graphics and the gaudy pimped-out layouts of myspace have found peace and tranquility within the rigid boundaries of facebook.
I can understand the issues that people have with animated gifs. Aside from their mostly vulgar aesthetics that can make your eyes bleed they can also present technical problems as well. Back in the day when I only had a dial-up connection at home (about 3 months ago) I had to avoid the myspace profiles of certain friends because, quite frankly, they filled their pages up with so many gaudy ghetto graphics that the shit would cause my computer to crash. Even now with a solid wi-fi connection too many “100% Sexy Mami”, “Just dropping by to say hi”, and “(insert name of Latin American country) pride” animated gifs will still fuck up my mac.
As a Chicano, I do have strong interest in these graphics that I so frequently condescend to. Animated gifs are the Paño art for the current generation of young people. They are art created with the available tools and resources at their disposal. In this transition they have lost their technical hand made quality in exchange for color, motion, and easy deliverance. Art in magazines like Lowrider, Teen Angel, and Mi Vida Loca have also become outmoded in the rise of the animated gif.
The cultural and social dynamics and ghetto notoriety of the gif has made me interested in artists who work in the medium with this stigma in mind. My favorite is Colombian graphic artist Mariana Rojas (also known as La Furia). Her artwork embraces the gaudy aesthetics of animated gifs and turns them into something bombastic. My favorites are below.