Music for you

A taste of four artists you should know.  With these artists this is just a tiny sample of their work and their ranges are wide so go find some of their old and new stuff and enjoy discovering them for yourself.
A video from each:

Jarina De Marco

At the age of five got kicked out of D.R.
Revolution from the start
Baby girl pack your dolls
Next stop Montreal
Parlez vous Français
Oui monsieur I do….mix race, pretty face, we embody all the nations

 

Maya Jupiter
It will take about 5 seconds before you realize she is brilliant

Aloe Blacc (video created by Alex Rivera)

Stromae
I was torn which video clip to put here.  His song Formidable is one of my favorites and I love the sound he produces with his “R”s  (yes the letter R).  However in the video I chose,
he  has a beautiful way of playing with identity including within gender roles, and breaking cultural standards of normativity and so that is what I am going to roll with.

Third Culture Children and their soundtrack

Third Culture Kids is one of my favorite topics.  A friend was sharing with me (a TCK herself) about a conference she recently went to where a woman was researching on the differences in identity within third culture siblings.  Same parents but depending on age, stage of development, geography and experiences, had skewed their own third culture identity and views although they had grown-up in the same “household” as their siblings.

I’ve most definitely felt this with my own siblings.  The three of us are, in age sequence, one year apart, and we fall under many of the stereotypes of third culture children.  We take longer to finish university, tend to have more formal education than the general public—in our case the 3 of us were in our mid-late twenties when we finished our bachelors, we marry later — in our case none of us are married, multilingual — check, travel more—yup, tend to be leaders within roles we do take — yup.  However, our own views as third culture children and our identities within that are extremely different.

If you were to ask my siblings who was the “most Mexican” of the three of us, they would agree it was me.  As the oldest, I got to travel back to Mexico more with my mother.  I got to go on my own and develop friendships during adolescence that I maintain to this day.  The two of them may visit Mexico but their experience is different from mine as I return to stay with friends, go to my friends weddings, baptisms, graduations.  They return and only stay with family, who culturally they have little in common with–they feel even more out-of-place than me.  However, there are other places they “fit in” better than I do.  Even the views on the economics of the household we grew-up in is quite varied.   Oddly, enough if we were to ask who was the most “American” of the three of us, I am not sure we would agree…in my case I would argue that it is my brother.

My brother was effected by gender and economics (as we all are) and I felt bad for him when he told me his Mandarin was better than his Spanish, and that it was possible that so was his Japanese.  My mother spoke of talking to him on the phone, he exhausted and barely awake with a 12 hour time difference from my mother, she said he kept slipping into this hybrid English-Mandarin-Spanish and that it made no sense and that he fell asleep mid sentence.   My mother it seems with age has slipped back into Spanish, and my brother the longer he lives in Asia the rustier his Spanish becomes.  I worry that one day they will not be able to communicate as effectively as the both desire.

Our experiences are different, our opportunities are different. I remember when I first started to learn Mandarin (which I don’t actually know) I kept dreaming in German, a language I have never been conversational in, but my brain was scattered and nothing seemed to fit right.  Sometimes thoughts fit easily within language without pensiveness other times expressing these thoughts or feelings are a struggle.  There is a struggle to know a concept exists in one language or culture and not another.  That struggle is frustrating when I am dating a monolingual non-TKC, how to explain an emotion or a sentiment when they have no concept of it?  Which may explain the smile across my face when I think of the relationships some of these TKC musicians have.

As of late I’ve been really into the music, art, activism of  the following third culture children, Jarina de Marco, Stromae, and power couple Maya Jupiter and her partner Aloe Blacc.  Jarina de Marco was born to parents from the Dominican Republic and exiled to Brasil then later to Canada. Stromae was born to a Belgium mother, a Rawandan father, in Beligum and from what I’ve gathered in reading, raised in a French community in Brussels but attended a Dutch speaking university.  Maya Jupiter born to a Mexican father, a Turkish mother and spent much of her childhood and adolescence in Australia. Aloe Blaac*** born in the white suburbs of Orange County California to Black Panamanian parents (I say this because I think skin color play a deep role in third culture identity in this country).

***(I’m not actually sure I would identify Aloe Blacc as a TKC rather than more of a child of immigrants but I’ve personally found that black men raised in white communities have much in common with TKC.  To grow-up in America as not white, but within a white community allows you to have an ability to identify with TKCs.  Although, now that I think of it, I had a black-American boyfriend who grew up in a Mexican-American community and he had the ability to identify with TKC identity issues in a way I think most men, within the accepted standard of norm do not have—perhaps just growing-up outside the “norm” allows empathy—this is to say, more simply, what the hell do I know?)

All are political engaged, and globally aware, as tends to happen with third culture children.   It made me smile when I saw that Aloe was active in the Day Laborers Movement (if you recall my sister Cristina Tzintzún is Executive Director of The Workers Defense Project — an organization for Day Laborers in Texas)  I couldn’t help but think, yes, of course he would be supportive.

Anyway, go listen to their music, they are brilliant and we are lucky they share their minds via their music with us.  With these artists this is just a taste of their work and their ranges are wide so go find some of their old and new stuff and enjoy discovering them for yourself.
Here is a video from each

Jarina De Marco

At the age of five got kicked out of D.R.
Revolution from the start
Baby girl pack your dolls
Next stop Montreal
Parlez vous Français
Oui monsieur I do….mix race, pretty face, we embody all the nations

 

Maya Jupiter
It will take about 5 seconds before you realize she is brilliant

Aloe Blacc (this video was made by Alex Rivera — I’ve blogged about Alex Rivera before..but can’t seem to find the link, he has also been a big supporter of Cristina’s Workers Defense Project and is the artist who made the very moving documentary The Sixth Section AND he was just here in Ohio too to present his work to students in a new project I’ve taken on —I’ll blog about that later)

Stromae
I was torn which video clip to put here.  His song Formidable is one of my favorites and I love the sound he produces with his “R”s  (yes the letter R).  However in the video I chose,
he  has a beautiful way of playing with identity including within gender roles, and breaking cultural standards of normativity and so that is what I am going to roll with.

10 years

Blogging is good for me.  I need to remember that.  The writing is almost as essential as the reading and I need to do more of both.

On a bike ride today with my lovely friend Jill, I explained to her that the me in her early-twenties would be a bit disappointed in current me.   You see in my early twenties, I was reading all the xicano literature I could get my hands on. I was blogging, as foolishly as this may seem now, not realizing there are other people on the internet who might read my babbling shit.

I came home one day to find Julio Sueco, a man teaching and researching Xicano studies in Sweden, writing about me on his blog and linking to me in his static blog roll.  Right next to the hyperlink to Elenamary was a hyperlink to Ana Castillo.  Ana Castillo! I couldn’t believe it! A big time Xicana writer and activist!  I was amazed! Dr. Julio Sueco viewed me as a xicana writer and was linking me right next to THE amazing Ana FUCKING Castillo!

I now have a job at a university in a program that empowers young Latinos and is bringing Ana Castillo to campus for a book signing and as the keynote speaker for our Latino students dinner.  I was asked if I would like to join for an intimate lunch with Ana before the days events and of course I have said yes.  The reason I know younger me would be disappointed is because I haven’t read a Ana Castillo or even a Xicano lit book in too long (with the exception of finishing La Perdida today on a recommendation from Ross who I met through the blogosphere years ago). Way too long.  I am not blogging like I used to.  I am not saving my memories.  And more so as my friend Robbie, recently noted “If a writer falls in love with you, then you never die.”   I may never have children. I may never have that one moment that has great impact on the world (although I like to think I have created change via my students and other parts of my life) but my blog is my memoir.  It is where I can reflect on my travels, my adventures, my lovers, my schooling, my politics, me.   Okay, I am drifting into no topic land, so we shall cut it here.  Not sure when my first blog entry was but the oldest ones I do have archived are from January of 2004.  Happy 10 years of blogging to me.

I am scared of mice

There was a murder attempt on my life last night and I was saved by loud playing digital sampling.  However, before we got to that let me start by saying, I am scared of mice. Seriously, very, frightened by them.

Do not read the rest of this post if you haven’t read The Jungle by Upton Sinclair because I am going to give a huge spoiler alert.  The book ends with a poor immigrant boy in Chicago drinking the left over beer at a stadium to keep himself warm because he knows he will spend the night sleeping in the frigid air.   He is cold, numb, and drunk and doesn’t feel it as the rats eat him alive.   Mice scare me and I think they are going to eat me alive. I logically know this most likely will not happen, that doesn’t mean I don’t fear it regularly.  I have nightmares about it.  However, I am not scared of rats. I used to train rats to play basketball at a local children’s science museum.

I live in a duplex with two lovely roommates an Irish woman, Aisling, I meet in China and a friend, Zak, I meet here in University years ago when we both volunteered at the student radio station.  The people who were living in the other half of the duplex moved out a few weeks ago and within a week of their move we saw a mouse on our lower level. I screamed, jumped and felt dirty.  Like a good Republican, I wanted the problem to go away without actually having to deal with the problem.  I gave  Zak money and asked him to please buy mouse traps.  Zak purchased humane traps which turned out to be worthless as we never caught anything.

A week or two later, Aisling saw a mouse in her room.  She too freaked out and threw a blanket at the mouse…this was a successful approach in not doing a goddamn thing. Aisling, ran out and spent $45 dollars on at least 2 different traps, multiple mouse sound deterrents and poisoning.   Still we seemed unsuccessful at catching, trapping or killing any of my nemeses.

And then yesterday…I saw a mouse in my room.  I screamed,cried and flailed my way downstairs to get one of the sound deterrents.  I didn’t and don’t want a trap because even seeing my executioner (aka mouse) dead, scares me.  I placed the little electronic device  that is designed to produce a sound that will keep the mice away, into my surge protector and contemplated praying.  Within an hour a mouse would run over the device and over my barefoot and into my closet. WTF?  I am sure my screams could be heard down the street.  Zak came into my room to protect me and I was grateful.  He searched my room but we (he looked, I curled in the fetal position) could find nothing.  It was too late the fear was in me.  At the slightest sound and repeatedly I’d call Zak into my room.  For sure the mice were gathering and planning on eating me alive, these had to be the sounds I was hearing.

I think Zak grew tired of defending me from every creaking sound I heard (imagined) and so he suggested I play some loud music so I wouldn’t hear any movement in my room.  I slept with my laptop in my bed and played at maximum volume: Girl Talk, Rancid and a bit of Envelope.  The only reason I recall hearing any Envelope is that in one of the songs I heard, had what sounded in my mind like paper being rustled by mice scheming my homicide.  I did the only logical thing, I could do in such a circumstance;  I screamed bloody murder.  It was a terrible night. I did not sleep well last night but I am too scared to go to bed just yet.

 

I learned a lesson

I was walking in my neighborhood with Lorenzo and passed a dog barking behind a fence.  I was startled and walked faster.  Lorenzo stopped me and said “The worst thing you could do is ignore a dog barking at outside of his home.  All he wants is what we as humans desire, and that is to be acknowledged. The worst affront is to ignore his existence”.

Today, as I was cycling home from work, a dog ran along the fence and barked fiercely at me, the hair along his spine in high alert.  I looked over at the junk yard dog, smiled at him and said “Hi Baby!”.   The dog’s hair fell, his tail wagged, and he stopped barking but continued running along the fence with me although it now seemed happily.  I guess we do all want to be acknowledged.

Columbus World Naked Bike Ride

Four years ago I rode in Columbus’ first World Naked Bike Ride.  We started at the bike co-op.  Unlike later years Pedal Instead (which FYI are both super awesome organizations) wasn’t there to valet our bikes, we didn’t have a real planned path, or too much planned anything. Having not felt comfortable being nude on High Street, I wore a bathing suit bottom and sports bra, and had body paint around my abdomen and back that was supposed to look like animal print.   It rained while we rode and was invigorating. I came home high on adrenaline.

This year, I’ve struggled with whether to go or not.  I talked to my friend and journalist Aaron Cynic who covered the Chicago World Naked Bike Ride last weekend.   I sought advice from him as he enjoyed the ride and kept a journalistic arms length distance.  I love the World Naked Bike Rides but here in Columbus they have become associated with a group  that I fear has encouraged gentrification with all the negative connotations.  A group that participates in both institutionalized and overt class warfare.

Here in Columbus the ride is starting and ending at the same site that held the paint yourself as an Indian with small pox and drink whiskey at a “thanksgiving” party a few years ago.  My objections to the party never gained apologies I was only ostracized as the dick who takes things too seriously.  These same people throw up their arms in protest in “a hey can’t we just have fun” argument?  Hells yeah we can have fun, but can we not do it at the cost of ousting a community or at least maybe have a discussion about it?  Trust me I want to ride in the streets in my swimsuit and enjoy the carnival attitude of it all, but I can’t do it when it is hosted by a group of people who are racists.  By racists I mean people who have done racist things, been called out on it, and continue to do it.

After much deliberation, I’ll reluctantly be bowing out from this year’s ride.  Maybe you all need a talk with Andrew Ti.

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