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The Spitboy Rule


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When Michelle Cruz Gonzales read excerpts from The Spitboy Rule: Tales of a Xicana in a Female Punk Band this summer, she took me back to the early ’90s when I was in school at UC Santa Cruz, first heard seminal Bay Area band Jawbreaker, and discovered my church being sandwiched between the stage and the edge of the mosh pit. I learned about veganism and institutional racism, anarchy and “No Means No!”, how to skank and how to bleach my hair before using Manic Panic hair dye.

All I knew about Spitboy was their rad logo on my classmate’s t-shirt so when I found the split record with Los Crudos, I devoured the liner notes studying the lyrics and absorbing each bandmates’ thank yous. Todd Spitboy merged her punk name with her legal name: Todd Michelle Christine Gonzales, and with Los Crudos’ lyrics in Spanish, coupled with the portrait of the Indian on the cover, I had no idea that this was Michelle’s “coming out” as a woman of color.

In this candid memoir, Michelle explores the Spitboy days with a professor’s maturity and critical lens of race and class. Have a listen as I talk with her about confronting hecklers at their live shows, how her Chicana heritage could be lost to a punk name, and the Bay Area punk scene in the mid-90s.

Broadcast History:
La Raza Chronicles
Women’s Magazine

 

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Central Market was once the hub of big-screen entertainment celebrating seven theaters within two-blocks during the pre-television era. Today, these historic theaters, may be found in three states: abandoned, in the sex biz, or still going.

The Warfield on Market Streets is STILL going and regularly welcomes sold-out audiences. Built in 1922, the Warfield is one of the neighborhood’s few historic theaters still functioning as an entertainment venue and boasts performers such as Louis Armstrong, the Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, and the Pixies.

Tune into this podcast to learn about the building and its underground speakeasy run by Al Capone. Read the rest of this entry »

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Image by Melanie Cervantes


I’ve been eager to do something with Smith & Mighty‘s song “No Justice,” ever since I first heard it while Janaka Selekta lived with me in 2002. Freedom Archives’ 10th anniversary seemed like a perfect time to work it in to a project.

Freedom Archives has over 8,000 hours of audio and video tape of some of the progressive movement’s most important voices and actions. More importantly, they keep these voices alive for people to access today through an accessible archive, revealing documentaries, and innovative projects like the Vinyl Project, an album of progressive soundbites to be used by DJs, musicians, MCs, and activists.

To celebrate their tenth anniversary, they threw a party at 330 Ritch in San Francisco. One of the giveaways was a CD made up of the many songs musicians have created using the archives along with mixes interns have created as they developed their ProTools chops and their consciousness.

I remixed this song with clips on police brutality from the Vinyl Project along with Oscar Grant footage I found on YouTube.

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Description: Latino USA did a call to their producers for sound snapshots of Latino laborers for their Labor Day show. In light of the immigration debate, they wanted to show the range of work that Latinos do. They attracted stories representing a graffiti artist/gallery owner, a housing lawyer, a business man, a teacher, a domestic worker, a filmmaker, and mine, on composer Guillermo Galindo.

I saw the crazy contraption he built with his Meet the Composer grant and I thought it would make for a fun, sound-rich
story. It just so happens that he was going to work to perform live at KFJC during their record swap. I wanted to show that although artists look like they’re having a lot of fun, they are also very hard workers and Guillermo helped bring that point home.

Broadcast History: Latino
USA
on September 1, 2006

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Description: La Plebe is one of my favorite local bands. They’re one of my favorite bands, period! Their love for people and music is infectious and their fans actually DANCE at shows!

A little Myspace promo on their part led to me learning about several similarities between Eastern Europe and Mexico, surprisingly, including a relationship between Yugoslavia and Mexico back in the 1950s!

I created one version for Dailysonic while the band was still on tour; another for Latino USA after the band returned; and since Latino USA cut the Yu-Mex connection, I produced a “director’s cut” linked above, which will be licensed by KTUH through PRX.

I loved getting to know the band, learning more about Eastern Europe, and becoming intimate with their song lyrics!

Broadcast History :
NPR’s Latino USA
DailySonic: Music Spotlight
KTUH
Marfa Public Radio

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Memorial near Ground Zero

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Description: I didn’t know how to respond after 9/11, but the community around me built on existing infrastructure to quickly support the soon to be scapegoated Muslim American community and demand a peaceful response to the 9/11 destruction.

I captured these responses including the dance community raising funds for South Asian victims of hate crimes, a peace vigil in Japantown’s Peace Plaza, and a Walk of Shame to the consulate of several Asian countries for buying into Bush’s war on terror.

Collaboration: Because of the controversial issues this piece raises about forms of patriotism, I really wanted to be able to share the work in a gathered community rather than in isolation through radio. Dhamaal‘s Janaka Atugoda helped me hook up with their video crew and Kyle Burrows/Skip Intro helped me create figurative moving images to accompany my audio.

We made a master track with color and movement, which Skip Intro then would use to mix in other video sources in a live “jam” for an improvised element to the screening.

Broadcast History :
KUSF’s Radio Segue
KPFA’s Morning Show
KPFA’s Apex Express
Post-Day of Remembrance screening
Visual Communication’s Los Angeles Asian Pacific American Film and Video Festival 2002
Locus Arts’ Color of Patriotism 2002
Foundation of Independent Asian American Media’s Chicago Asian American Showcase 2003

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The Rambler

 

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Description: Tina Gordon embodies rock’n'roll. In light of all the music venues being shut down in 2001, she wanted to build a mobile rock unit, the Rambler. And several people backed her idea, performing for fundraisers and volunteering to build out the van.

Broadcast History: KUSF’s Radio Seugue

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Description: In preparation for a reading by zine writers put on by Kearny Street Workshop and Locus Arts, I created a personal audio piece based on my journal writing. Bob Hsiang helped me pull together images I could show in a timed slide show to accompany the piece, which was mixed with music. What resulted was a powerful piece exploring my identity and the similarities between the Asian American movement and punk rock.

After the reading, someone encouraged me to drop it all into some video editing and with Paul Jaffe‘s help, the video premiered at KSW’s APAture. It also links to my existing body of work online.

Broadcast History : Zine-licious (KSW and Locus)
Kearny Street Workshop’s APAture, 2001
UC Berkeley’s Women of Color Film Festival 2002
Bindlestiff’s PinoisePop 8, 2003

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Description: This is a feature about a gallery show put together by a bunch of photographers on the sf_indie list. The show had six photographers with their photos of live music shows.

Broadcast History: KUSF’s Radio Segue

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Description: The dotcom boom affected everyone and when neighbor complaints threatened to shut down music venue Kimo’s, Radio Segue asked me to cover it.

Broadcast History: KUSF’s Radio Segue

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