I am writing on the night before the last FYRE Circle session and I am sitting with more than a few emotions. With this work, I found myself very quickly dropping the pretense that this endeavor was entirely selfless: As much as I am one of the space’s facilitators, I knew that there was so much for me to glean from the small time we would share as a space.
I have no doubt that I owe much of the learning I’ve done in the past few weeks to my co-facilitator Vince Crisostomo. Alongside The Bakla Show III’s amazing liaison to and Interim Artistic Director of Bindlestiff Studios Alan Quismorio, Vince has facilitated the portions of our workshops that have challenged participants to get creative with the intention of fashioning a piece for our stage production in mind.
I could attempt to bat off a list of accomplishments for our esteemed guest, but honestly wouldn’t be able to do justice to Vince and his commitment to social justice, the arts and community. What I am more than happy to say is that in the short weeks that we have collaborated, Vince’s presence has been textured with years of experience, wisdom and grace. His work with my other co-facilitators and the youth participants regularly challenges our comfort with creative expression, willingness to be vulnerable and intentional presence with one another.
I and all those with whom I’ve shared space in the FYRE Circle are really blessed to have fostered an intergenerational space of learning and growth with such a veteran of the theatre and mentor as Vince.
The Bakla Show 3 Postcards
Thursday, May 1st was the opening reception for the United States Asian American Festival (USAAF) at the SOMArts Cultural Center in San Francisco. I arrived on my bike with 500 freshly printed postcards, eager to see what sort of art would be set up in the gallery, and all of the Asian American artists I would meet. The gallery was also the opening night of the Eating Cultures Visual Art Exhibit. I have only lived in the bay for two months at the time of this writing, and a large part of my decision was because of the queer and Asian American arts community here, so I had a little bit of eager anticipation on my way to the reception.
I was not disappointed! The Eating Cultures exhibit was fresh, unique art that explored perhaps one of the fundamental aspects of Asian American culture: food. No matter whether we are second or third generation Asian Americans, no matter whether we grew up fluently speaking the languages of our parents or grandparents, we all can connect through food—in my case, I did not grow up speaking Tagalog or Bisaya, as my family in the Philippines does, but I did grow up with lumpia, sinigang sa sampalok, and adobo. While some might say these are the most token of pin@y cuisine, I think the meaning we attach to these foods, especially as a younger generation, connects us in very important ways to our ancestors and their homelands.
I was ecstatic to meet some of the other queer Asian American performers and artists, and to hear about their upcoming shows as a part of USAAF. The most exciting and unique show, I might say, is Jaq Victor’s “Gender Assimilation: A Rebuttal,” a self-described ‘coming out tale about identity politics and butts.’ This was the community I’ve been searching for ever since I began studying the growing field of Queer Filipin@ Studies three years ago; a young, vibrant community that incorporates social justice with cutting edge art and performance. The coming month will be one to mark your calendar with all the events USAAF has to offer. The Bakla Show 3 will be the last event to close the Festival in early-June, so whet your appetite for Asian American performance by attending these other USAAF events!
ADVANCED TICKETS AT http://baklashow3.bpt.me/
Posted in LGBTQ/GNC & API Organizations
Tagged apicc, Asian America Festival, Asian American, Asian American artists, Asian American culture, asian pacific islander cultural center, riko fluchel, the spaces between, united states of asian america festival, USAAF, usaaf 2014
Kapwa: You, Me & Our Shared Struggles
This past Saturday marked the inaugural meeting of The FYRE Circle workshop series.
On the BART ride into the city, I carried my flipchart in hand, toted some snacks in my bag and carried a heavy sense of nervous hope. These workshops are my baby! But the stakes were greater than the personal fear of failure. This workshop was born from a fear that Pin@y youth would be silenced by our production, from heartache around the lack of space for queer Pin@y youth, from knowing that I could imagine and even build something better: What I felt on that train was the mélange of feelings that keep me up at night.
Once we arrived at SOMArts and kindly directed to our classroom by staff, the workshop began. Almost instantaneously, I felt community emerging with the participants. As we talked about identity, difference and solidarity through the framework of kapwa, I felt something surge between us. I felt the shared and silent love for our roots. I felt us quietly sweep away the insecurities about where our Pin@y identities fit into a social justice context. I was reminded, in the most beautiful way, that my family, our stories, and my community are not discordant with my being a young queer person.
As the workshop wraps and each of us begin writing the stories we want to tell at Bindlestiff come June, I plug my phone in and play some music. I’m at once deeply humbled by the insights of this community and not at all surprised by the nuance, sincerity and enthusiasm this space conjures. I know that this space is something special and am so blessed to have four more sessions to anticipate.
Antmen’s Tree of Life
Peggy Peralta is a graduate of the University of the Philippines and obtained her MFA in Motion Pictures and Television with emphasis on Cinematography from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. An award-winning and multi-faceted cinematographer, Peggy has collaborated on film projects dealing with diverse themes and cross-cultural subjects. Her works are distinct for their heart, energy and perspective. Geared with a spontaneous spirit and an inquisitive mind, every project she dives into becomes an opportunity to discover, create and inspire.
Her works have screened in festivals such as Rotterdam International Film Festival, NY Independent Film & Video Festival, Loikka Dance Film Festival and other art events across the globe. Her cinematography on the feature documentary Harana earned her a Special Jury Award at the 2013 LA Asian Pacific Filmfest.
She lives in SF with her wife Lourdes Figueroa, a poet and photographer. They are happy when sunburnt.
In anticipation of the FYRE Circle workshop series, The Bakla Show III Production Team is proud to announce the themes for the social justice, leadership and empowerment workshops for each week:
Week 1 – Kapwa: You, Me & Our Shared Struggles
Week 2 – Silence & Silencing: Fil-Am Experience & Identity
Week 3 – Self-Care
Week 4 – Family & Immigration
Week 5 – Pag-asa at Pag-lakbay: Goal-Setting and the Big “Now What?”
Keep an eye on our blog as we continue to update in anticipation of the workshop series!
T-Shirt design. Coming SOON!
We are excited to announce
The Bakla Show 3 writers
Conrad A. Panganiban
Check back to get to know each writer. We will spotlight
each throughout the week.
Spread The FYRE Circle
When I first signed on to work on The Bakla Show III, Executive Producer Shannon Lee Pacaoan excitedly told me that our theme for this third production would be Filipin@ queer youth experiences. I knew at once that this would be important and necessary work: The air was thick with urgency as the intense spotlight that has recently landed on LGBTQ teen suicide, bullying in schools and youth homelessness crashed into the erasure of youth of color experiences.
As a young queer Pin@y, I knew that the task of creating this particular production, however important, necessitated a careful and accountable hand. With this in mind, the creation of a production that would actively feature the voices of young people rather than serve as a space only for adult allies to reflect upon their own youth experiences became a very important and immediate consideration of mine. To ensure The Bakla Show III would provide a safe space for queer Pin@y youth expression, Shannon and I took a couple of measures: First, as our production team continues to expand, I make an active effort to recruit fellow Pin@y youth. As recently announced, we’ve welcomed two transitional age youth to our production team!
Today, however, the production team rolls out a new aspect of The Bakla Show III:
I am proud to announce that the team has been hard at work to develop the first ever Filipin@ Youth Resiliency and Empowerment Circle or The FYRE Circle!
To begin on April 26, The five session series invites high school aged youth (14-18) to participate in a one-of-a-kind opportunity to build LGBTQ and ally Filipin@ community, develop leadership skills and competency in social justice issues, and workshop a unique piece to be developed for The Bakla Show III stage show!
Details of The FYRE Circle are outlined in our official press release and the application to attend can be found HERE. Please pass the application along to any potential participants and connect with us if you would like us to do outreach at your school site or organization.
With love and in solidarity,
Posted in Bakla Show Production Announcements, Events
Tagged antmen mendoza, filipin@ youth resiliency and empowerment circle, filipino, fyre, fyre circle, lgbtqq, shannon pacaoan, workshop, workshop series, youth