Lainey’s Latest: GCAC Visits Tijuana!

Mexican Flag along the border and the view of a hillside in Tijuana

Well not quite the whole crew, but our former preparator, Christopher Wormald, performed at Moustache Bar while I traveled through for the Tijuana Zine Fest where we ran into some familiar faces. Here is a detailed report of what happened and why Tijuana should be your next stop for local art.

First off, may I add that my first visit across our southern border into Mexico could not have been any better.  Every person I formally encountered accepted me graciously and Tijuana felt like home, but in another country. So you should definitely throw away any antiquated preconceptions you have of Tijuana and visit, even if it’s just for 24 hours like my little romp.

My first day there I completed the tourist Tijuana to-do list and walked up and down Avenida Revolucion.  I could not help but think I was thrown back on Fourth Street here in Santa Ana.  With family businesses, an upscale food court, murals scattered on storefronts, and street side vendors.  There was even an art house movie theater with a rooftop restaurant and bar, of which I indulged in.  It seemed most American’s flocked to this trendy spot as I was seated across from a sunburnt, cigar smoking bachelor party.  The views from this point give you an ample sense of downtown with mismatched buildings, some recovering from fire or other trauma, all providing to the melting pot aesthetic of Tijuana.  From here I decided to try the nightlife.

My first night’s festivities featured a Los Angles based psych showcase with an opener from Ecatepec, Mexico.  Young God started the night with his experimental noise set using only percussive elements and manipulated keyboard tones.  The grinds of the keyboard and crashes from his symbols transported me to a musical slaughterhouse with the occasional screech and halt.  Holy Cuts followed with a sound that changed based on the singer.  When female vocalist and guitarist, Leila Perry, took the lead, Holy Cuts had a Jefferson Starship meets contemporary Feeding People sound. But when led by Will Bire, guitarist and vocalist, the band’s sound took a bluesier edge with his raw and occasionally raspy vocals.  Their constant change of sound refreshed the crowd and kept them engaged until the bitter end of their set with calls for encores.  Moon Grass Mountain took the stage next with their shoegaze psychedelic cross over.  I had a chance to talk with front man Matt before their set and he informed me that they often have a new line up every show that creates an improvisation with their sets.  They took the stage and enlisted the help of the first performer as percussion.  This created an uncanny flow as if the drummer had always been playing with them.  Their set was familiar and gave a sense of ease to the show.  They even ended their set with a cover of Neil Young’s “Hey Hey, My My,” that included a mind blowing guitar solo that left the crowd speechless.  Then it was time for Intimatchine, a dark and dreamy electronic duo consisting of none other than Christopher Wormald and his partner Chelsey Holland.  Chelsey opened the set antagonizing the crowd asking “Do you wanna, Tijuana? Then get up here!”  After drawing the crowd in, she enchanted them with her vocals, and some community rosé, while Chris got everyone moving with trance-like beats and guitar overlays.  HOTT MT ended the night and began with transforming the patio into another universe with a screen of smoke and minimal lighting.  The singer’s voice had a sense of childlike wonder that made the set feel so exploratory and new to the viewer as if discovering a different land with them.

The following day I trekked to Pasaje Rodriguez and Pasaje Gomez for the 2017 Tijuana Zine Fest.  These literal passageways house small boutiques, cafes, and art galleries.  For this day, they were transformed into an outdoor market for independent artists and zine makers.  I started at Pasaje Rodriguez, and the first booth I ran into was Elizabeth Hega’s zine booth whose mission appropriately matched my “Girl Power” tattoo.  Hega offered zines, buttons, and stickers that promote self-love and female empowerment.  In the spirit of zine fest, I purchased Hega’s “GRL PWR V.2” with illustrations of women of all shapes and sizes and a cat.  Next stop was Los Angeles based publisher Tiny Splendor with a myriad of zines from various LA and Berkeley artists.  Still feeling the aura of girl power, I purchased Tuesday Bassen’s third volume of “Ugly Girl Gang” with yet even more illustrations of women of all different shapes, styles, and temperaments making you want to become one of these “boss ladies”, as seen on the jacket of the first illustration.  Still on cloud nine and feeling like a strong powerful woman supporting artists I stopped at the punk rock older sister of the zine fest, Razorcake.  Razorcake writes their mission as promoting “positive, progressive, community-friendly DIY punk”.  Razorcake offered their most current issue for free as well as different versions of “One Punk’s Guide to”.  As a child of southern rock loving parents I absolutely had to purchase their “One Punks Guide to Outlaw Country” by MP Johnson with illustrations by Art Fuentes and layout by Madeline Bridenbaugh where they give the history of Outlaw Country and even state how similar Outlaw Country is to the roots of Punk.  They also vehemently dispute that Johnny Cash cannot, and should not, be included in anyone’s history of Outlaw Country.  Then it was time to cross over to Pasaje Gomez, but not before the representative for Madwoman offered me a chance to hang out at her booth and converse because I fit their ideals of existing without permission and outside of “whack archetypes” and stereotypes.  So obviously, by the time I reached the second half of the fest, my feminist ego was through the roof.  Though that’s a bit of an oxymoron.  In Pasaje Gomez I was greeted by sounds from the night before.  Young God had been invited to play the zine fest and his beats from the night before set a nice pace for exploring this next half.  Protein Press first caught my attention with their graphic novel “Shitty Watchmen”.  The graphic novel follows the exact format of “Watchmen” but with “super shitty drawings”.  They also offered Mallory Ballard and Dakotah Wens’ zine “Free Period, Go With the Flow” which removes the stigma behind the natural monthly visitor with information, humor, and proceeds from the zine sales go towards benefiting the hygiene of homeless women in Houston, TX.  They also asked me to pose for a picture and, still beaming from my previous encounters on Pasaje Rodriguez, I gave them the most radiant, goofy smile possible.  As I turned the corner I ran into the both of no other than Teresita de la Torre, a former resident while completing her MFA at Cal State Fullerton and current collaborator with Grand Central Art Center.  Teresita offered her zine “365 Days In An Immigrant’s Shirt”, which can also be bought in our Gallery Store, about a flannel she found along a border and wore for a whole year while contemplating her upbringing along the border and the life and journey of the person who wore it before her, while her partner B sold handmade necklaces.  Their items drew quite a crowd by connecting to the diversity within the border town.  Before leaving the fest and heading back over the border home, I stopped by Xicx Zine’s booth with a mission of creating an intersectional and inclusive community with no limits and no borders.  The members of this collective were very accepting and generous to all who visited and I bought their “Self Care, Self Love” zine full of affirmations and recommendations for daily self care.

Zine show and tell

As I headed back across the border, in the 3 hours long “general public” line, I contemplated on my 24 hour, first, visit across the border.  Though Tijuana is so close to the border and very similar to Southern California, I was a great destination to see the art and lives of those “on the other side”.  I came back with amazing connections and even galleries and museums to visit on the next trip I take down.  As an added bonus, I had a show and tell of the zines I purchased with the Border Patrol Customs Agent and got him excited for the art scene in Tijuana!

Michael Nannery: The Fountain

Michael Nannery: The Fountain
July 1, 2017 – May 5th, 2018
OPENING RECEPTION: July 1st from 7-10pm

 

 

The Fountain seeks to provide a contemplative and refreshing space inside Grand Central Art Center, while offering an invitation to those outside.  The aquatic garden fills the space with green life, fresh air, and a continual offering of herbs.  This fixture serves as a platform for diverse art forms, education, and communication; including performance, demonstrations, workshops, and as a space for meeting and meditation.

In addition to harboring plants, fish, and other life forms, the garden serves as an incubator for the ideas of artists and makers, who will contribute to the growth and utility of this regenerative space.
The installation will develop over the course of the exhibition.

 

ABOUT THE ARTIST

 

Michael Nannery received his BFA in Printmaking in 2011 from Herron School of Art & Design in Indianapolis, Indiana, where he was acknowledged with the Menz Award.  In 2014 he received his MFA in Printmaking from California State University – Long Beach.  Michael seeks to share his ideas in a range of media, and is interested in expanding perspectives on art and how we may benefit from understanding such viewpoints.  In addition to art making, Michael is active in organizing events, exhibitions, and other curatorial pursuits.  His spare time is devoted to caring for living systems, including plant cultivation, composting, fish keeping, and in learning organic production methods.  Michael lives and works in Long Beach, California.

Sean David Christensen: THE DUEL

Sean David Christensen: THE DUEL
July 1 – September 17, 2017
OPENING RECEPTION: July 1st from 7-10pm

 

 

Based on a true story by actress Lili Taylor, The Duel is an experimental visualization of her father’s private struggle with manic depression. Originally told on the award-winning RISK! podcast, Taylor recalls a harrowing afternoon in which she saved her younger brother from the dangerous reality of their father’s sudden mental breakdown.

 

ABOUT THE ARTIST

 

Sean David Christensen is an artist who works in graphic design, music and experimental documentary. His work has been featured at the San Francisco International Film Festival, New Hampshire Film Festival, Nevada City Film Festival, Phoenix Film Festival & Little Big Shots: Australian International Animation Festival. Online, his artwork & animation has been featured on Buzzfeed, The A.V. Club, Gawker, Fandor, Boing Boing and his animated documentary The Sandwich Movie was named a Vimeo Staff Pick in 2010. On television, his experimental documentaries have been shown on PBS. Christensen lives and works in Phoenix, AZ.

Cog*nate Collective: Now & Always Santa Ana (NASA)

Cog*nate Collective: Now & Always Santa Ana (NASA)
July 1st from 7-10pm

 

Cog*nate Collective, Now & Always Santa Ana (NASA). Courtesy of the artists.

Cog*nate Collective, Now & Always Santa Ana (NASA). Courtesy of the artists.

 

This summer, GCAC artists-in-residence Cog*nate Collective will be facilitating a series of recording sessions + listening stations as part of Now & Always Santa Ana (NASA), a pirate-radio station dedicated to space exploration on a local, regional, and cosmic scale.
Their first recording session, taking place during Artwalk, will depart from the scale of the body to re-imagine and re-articulate borders from this vantage point.
Content produced as part of this session will be featured alongside other programming in the first pirate broadcasts in August.

 

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

 

Cog*nate Collective develops research projects + public interventions + experimental pedagogical programs in collaboration with communities across the US/Mexico border region. Since being founded in 2010, their work has interrogated the evolution of the border as it is simultaneously erased by neoliberal economic policies and bolstered through increased militarization — tracing the fallout of this incongruence for migrant communities on either side of the border. As a result, their site-specific projects often address issues of migration, informal economies, and the construction of collective identities through popular cultural, proposing an understanding of the border not as a bifurcating line, but as a region that expands and contracts with the movement of people and objects. They currently work between Tijuana, MX, Mexicali, MX, Santa Ana, CA and
Los Angeles, CA.

Lucio Muniain: Are You Skeptical?

Lucio Muniain: Are You Skeptical?
June 3 – August 13, 2017
OPENING RECEPTION: June 3rd from 7-10pm

 

Through television, the Internet, printed press and phones, we are being constantly bombarded with images. Many of the images we encounter are of the violence that seems to be rampant within societies around the globe. The pictures we often encounter are those that result from the violence of war; police brutality; the hatred and abuse against immigrants, refugees, LQBTQ communities and people of color; domestic violence; gang and narcotrafficking warfare; and other horrifying incidents that occur each day.

 

Mexico City based artist Lucio Muniain’s work depicts gruesome realities ripped from everyday press, redelivered by the artist in a loose style of hand drawn figures and objects, accompanied by text phrases – street language, slang, cynical observations the artists creates. He draws from these images, violent and tragic events he too witnesses in the world around him, the events that appear beyond our ability to affect. The drawings begin the reveal of our own growingly desensitized response to such imagery, the unspeakable violence and atrocities that surrounds our everyday, leaving us nearly powerless. This is the reality of life in the artist’s hometown, and cities around the world.

Art is a medium that can describe, or allow us to escape, actual violence that surrounds us. We can use it to distinguish between fact and fiction, attempting to lessen the blows of reality. But when those realities are playing out daily around us, we must work to face them head on and begin to better examine their root cause, look for possible solutions, and begin a civil discourse to promote positive change.

The drawings and paintings of Muniain allow for this reflection, a mirror held to the eyes to question our own role in society, as participant and/or observer. His works lures us like a visual siren song with desire, color and imagery, than challenge us with repulsion, humor and disgust.His work reminds us what it means to be human, with our abilities of empathy, expectation, desire, unpredictability, hope and knowledge of the fragility of life.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Lucio Muniain studied architecture and urbanism at the Universidad Iberoamericana and at Parsons School of Design in New York, and holds a Masters Degree from the Universidad Iberoamericana. Muniain has an independent architecture practice since 1998. Among his most important works and projects are the Corporativo Autofin (Corporate office building of 40,000 M2), Bahía Balandra Project in La Paz, South Baja California, Mexico (Master plan for a 20,000 inhabitant city on its first phase, with Rick Joy, Mathias Klotz, Rem Koolhaas and Nieto & Sobejano among others), Third place in the national competition for the Republic’s Senate Corporate Headquarters and the Andean Development Corporation (CAF) First Place, International Competition by invitation (in collaboration with PRODUCTORA). He is a self-taught painter and was represented by Nina Menocal Gallery in Mexico City and has had solo and collective exhibitions in national and international galleries and museums.

Davy Sumner: Tines

Davy Sumner: TINES

June 3 – August 13, 2017

 

Based on an 1859 experiment by German Scientist Franz Melde, TINES are tuning forks that are vibrated by precisely directed magnetic fields. Pulsing a strong electromagnet at the resonant frequency of a tuning fork causes it to start oscillating (and producing sound). The deer-like sculptures act as resonators to increase the audibility of the tuning forks, amplifying their otherwise faint tones into raw materials for a digitally constructed audio composition.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Davy Sumner is a sound artist, composer, and percussionist residing in Los Angeles, CA. His work favors the use of multichannel audio, feedback-based systems, algorithms, and custom electronics.

Special thanks to Chris Wormald for design, fabrication and installation assistance.

GCAC Residency Project “Vireo” Releases May 31st on KCET

Artist Residency Project of CSUF Grand Central Art Center (GCAC)
VIREO: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch’s Accuser” 
To Be Released by KCET

VIREO is a Made-for-TV Opera, Composed and Conceived by 
 GCAC Artist-in-Residence Lisa Bielawa on a Libretto by Erik Ehn and Directed by Charles Otte

Broadcast World Premiere June 13 On KCET and LinkTV

In a First for the Network, All Twelve Episodes Will Become 
Available for Binge-Watching May 31 at KCET.org/Vireo and LinkTV.org/Vireo


(Images top to bottom: Soprano Debora Voigt, Rowen Sabala as the title
character, mezzo-soprano Laurie Rubin, and composer Lisa Bielawa
conducts Kronos Quartet)

BURBANK, Calif. – May 10, 2017 – “VIREO: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch’s Accuser” is an Artist Residency Project of Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana, a unit of Cal State Fullerton’s College of the Arts shepherded by Director and Chief Curator John Spiak. The new, made-for-TV-and-online opera conceived and composed by Lisa Bielawa on a libretto by Erik Ehn and directed by Charles Otte, is unprecedented in that it is being created expressly for release online and on TV. The unique multimedia initiative includes online articles and videos showcasing various facets of the production. VIREO is the winner of the 2015 ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Multimedia Award and was recently awarded a prestigious MAP Fund Grant for 2016 through Grand Central Art Center.

Bielawa says of Spiak’s involvement, “John Spiak is a visionary collaborator, and his inspired custodianship of VIREO from a crazy idea between just the two of us to a full-blown, epic innovative endeavor at the highest production level would not have been possible without him and the whole team at CSUF Grand Central Art Center. GCAC is where artists can dream and create outside the box.”

KCETLink Media Group, a leading national independent non-profit public broadcast and digital network, announced that VIREO will make its world broadcast television premiere on Tues., June 13 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on both KCET in Southern California and Link TV (DirecTV375 and Dish Network 9410) nationwide. Produced in partnership with Cal State Fullerton’s Grand Central Art Center (GCAC), the two-and-a-half-hour broadcast will be a special edition of KCETLink’s Emmy® award-winning arts and culture series ARTBOUND. In a first for the network, KCETLink will release all 12 of the approximately 15-minute episodes of VIREO at once for free, on-demand streaming starting Weds., May 31 at kcet.org/vireo, linktv.org/vireo, and on Apple TV and Roku.

The eponymous heroine Vireo, played by soprano Rowen Sabala, is a fourteen-year-old girl genius entangled in the historic obsession with female visionaries, as witch-hunters, early psychiatrists, and modern artists have defined them.Based on Bielawa’s own research at Yale, then freely adapted and re-imagined by librettist Ehn, VIREO is a composite history of the way in which teenage-girl visionaries’ writings and rantings have been manipulated, incorporated and interpreted by the communities of men surrounding them throughout history. From the European Dark Ages, to Salem, Massachusetts, all the way to 19th century France and contemporary performance art, VIREO provides a thoughtful, sometimes-humorous look at the universal issues of gender identity, perception, and reality.

VIREO features the work of over 350 musicians including opera star Deborah Voigt, violinist Jennifer Koh, cellist Joshua Roman, mezzo-sopranos Laurie Rubin, Maria Lazarova and Kirsten Sollek, baritone Gregory Purnhagen, tenor Ryan Glover, drummer Matthias Bossi, soprano Emma MacKenzie and in the title role of Vireo, teenage soprano Rowen Sabala.

Additionally, the opera features the talents of notable groups and organizations from around the country including Kronos Quartet, the San Francisco Girls Chorus, Magik*Magik Orchestra, American Contemporary Music Ensemble, Alarm Will Sound, PARTCH, the Orange County School of the Arts Middle School Choir, and many, many more.

For a complete list of VIREO performers, see: http://www.kcet.org/shows/artbound/production-notes-featured-performers 

VIREO was shot from New York’s Hudson River Valley to California’s redwood forests. Production began in February of 2015 in the Los Angeles area at Santa Ana’s Yost Theatre and proceeded to shoot through January of 2017 in iconic locations around the country, including the 16th Street Oakland Train Station and San Francisco’s Alcatraz Island.

A comprehensive VIREO online content hub is available at kcet.org/vireo, providing viewers of VIREO an immersive second screen experience. Featuring interviews with cast and crew, behind-the-scenes content and exclusive insights into the themes of the production, the online hub and social media video content is also available on the @KCET28 and @LinkTV Facebook page.

Upcoming screening events will be held across the country over the summer months and are open to the public. The current list of screenings includes the following (*subject to change):

Weds., June 21 from 6-10 p.m. Day of Music at the Plummer Auditorium / 201 E Chapman Ave, Fullerton, CA 92832 (free to the public)

Sun., June 25 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Arts nonprofit Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture (FMCAC) Cowell Theater / 2 Marina Blvd., San Francisco, CA 94123 (ticketed event)

Fri., July 7 at 7 p.m. National Sawdust Screening of all 12 episodes / 80 N. 6th St., Brooklyn, NY 11249 (ticketed event)

To learn more, please visit kcet.org/vireo or linktv.org/vireo or on social media use #OperaVireo

ABOUT GRAND CENTRAL ART CENTER

Grand Central Art Center (GCAC), a unit of California State University at Fullerton College of the Arts, is dedicated to the investigation and promotion of contemporary art and visual culture: regionally, nationally, and internationally through unique collaborations among artists, students, and the community. GCAC is the result of a unique partnership between the California State University at Fullerton and the City of Santa Ana. Located ten miles south of the main campus in the heart of downtown Santa Ana, the art center is a mixed residential, commercial and educational complex. The art center is a 45,000 square-foot, full city-block long and half-city block deep, three-level structure that houses: live/studio spaces for visual arts graduate students, the Grand Central Main Gallery, Project Room, Education/Teaching Gallery, and artist-in-residence program. To learn more about the GCAc artist-in-residence program, please www.grandcentralartcenter.com/artist-in-residence-program/. 

ABOUT KCETLINK MEDIA GROUP 

KCETLink Media Group, formed by the merger between KCET and Link Media, is a national independent, nonprofit, digital and broadcast network that provides high-quality, culturally diverse programming designed to engage the public in innovative, entertaining and transformative ways. With a commitment to independent perspectives, smart global entertainment, local communities, and opportunities for engagement and social action, KCETLink depicts people and the world through a lens unavailable elsewhere in U.S. media. A viewer-supported 501(c)(3) organization, KCETLink content is distributed nationally via satellite on Link TV – DIRECTV channel 375 and DISH Network channel 9410 – and on KCET in Southern and Central California via broadcast and cable, as well as through various digital delivery systems. For additional information about KCET and Link TV productions, web-exclusive content, programming schedules and community events, please visit kcet.org or linktv.org. Select programming from KCET and Link TV is also available for streaming on Hulu, Apple TV, and Roku platforms.