Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Gregangelo’s ‘Grandma Herrera and Auntie Burt”

Both were an extraordinary life influence.
To this day, I always have a jar of the New Mexico hot chile sauce in my fridge that my grandma taught me to make - the same she always had in her ‘Frigidaire’ .
She’d always yell at me and my cousins to ‘cut the comedy’ , but the comedy and laughter still continues! 
She made us all blankets and cooked for us until she died. I’ll never have another tamale or potato enchilada like hers. 
Her attire until the end was super feminine dresses, shoes, costume jewelry and would even ask for lipstick when occasional hospitalized in her last years. 

Aunt Burt was born ‘Beatrice’ , was proudly out and queer , and transitioned to openly living the life of a male by the 1930’s - way ahead of their time!

In the 70’s we call him 'Aunt Burt ‘. Burt embraced the masculine and feminine I suppose and never scolded us for getting the pronouns mixed up- actually embraced it! Aunt Burt called me and my brother ‘hotrod’ and would take us crab fishing down at various San Francisco Piers. 
Aunt Burt’s look while I was growing up was men's Ben Davis work pants, a white t-shirt with a pack of cigarettes rolled into the sleeve and always sported black work boots. 

These two sisters were life long friends and even lived together in Burt’s final years. 
This image really shows the yin and yang of them even as youth in New Mexico.

Saturday, July 21, 2018


An Artist’s Take on Magic

Last week, the Gregangelo Museum hosted an evening of food and magic event, featuring performances by the renowned magician, Jade, and culinary creations from the Magic Chef. With this fresh in our minds, it feels like a great opportunity to ask some interesting questions: What is magic? Where can it be found? What is there to take away from it?
At first glance, the way I see it, magic is anything that occurs outside the scope of our constantly expanding understanding. The mind of an artist dwells in a realm that is hard to describe and our calling is to utilize mediums to synthesize that into accessible form. Magic is no different, though it also has an even more exaggerated element to it, which is to perplex the senses and stimulate the imagination in ways that most people aren’t accustomed to throughout a typical day.
Magic is a medium that bends our concept of the “laws of reality,” if only momentarily, making the seemingly impossible happen before your eyes. wonder and amazement and it is a healthy, refreshing change-up from what we see in everyday life. The gap between what we we experience and what we notice throughout the course of everyday life is subtle. In taking a closer look, it is no stretch of the imagination to say that there is magic all around us and our interpretation of what that looks like depends on what we focus on and how we do it.
In reality, magic exists on the chemical level. Between our human neighbors, these can be found in the nuances of attraction, intuition, and all those other fuzzy or grizzly feelings that are difficult to describe concretely, but actually exist on a subatomic, biological level. Think about that feeling of connection when in we spend time in nature, away from the sounds of the industrial bustle. This is nature tapping into physical and emotional responses that can be obscured by the sounds. And they are ripe for realization.
Scientists spend their lives diving deep into the inner workings of the micro- and macro-universe, grappling with the wondrous set of circumstances that have allowed for humans, animals and ecosystems to exist and evolve. what is holding all of this together? Gravity? What is gravity?  Sounds like magic to me. And it’s a beautiful thing that the more we discover, about our psychology, our environment, the more questions and conversation topics emerge. Each new tidbit adds an extra nuance that furthers and enriches the discussion. Our constant curiosity stimulates us to continuously question and rethink the mystery within our own minds and the mystery of our place in the cosmos. Contemplating this mystery is what makes us human.
And magic is how we fill the in gaps. Between what we know to be true and what we have trouble explaining. Some people input that with spirituality, religion, data, etc. Whatever that is for you, there’s no denying that there’s something magical about the gift to inspire and feel connected. The proof is in those precious moments of clarity and serendipitous coincidences that reinforce the idea that “this is happening for a reason.” These are the magical exchanges that keep us learning and growing and falling in love all the time. 
These are the kinds of magic that inspire me throughout my life and it was exciting to see and learn how Jade tapped into these elements in an intimate setting with quality people, food, and fun.
-Roman JohnDoza 
Photos: Hiromi Yoshida