Kearny Street Workshop’s APAture 2015 festival continued this past weekend with more showcases in multiple fields. I was able to attends parts of two of them, and share these brief notes.
The Music Showcase took place last Friday at Bindlestiff Studio in the SOMA neighborhood of San Francisco (it’s our home neighborhood at CatSynth). There was a wide range of musical styles present.
The evening opened with reggie-infused sounds and rhythms from Iridium.
Next up was ebolabuddha, an intense metal band that featured reading of books in addition to the playing of instruments (quite loudly).
The band featured some familiar faces, including Eli Pontecorvo on bass/vocals and Mark Pino on drums with Steve Jong on guitar and vocals.
Combination of the forceful and physically driving music with the book readings (in addition to guest performers, everyone was invited to come up and read) was quite fun.
The tone and energy changed abruptly with MC a.K.aye (aka Ahmed Kap Animo), whose words with both playful and at times featured strong messages that resonated with many in the audience.
Next was The Vibrant Things featuring Amy Dabalos on vocals. Dabalos had a fantastic and inspiring voice that worked well the group’s mixture of jazz, R&B and cabaret sounds. I also always enjoy seeing other groups with Nord keyboards.
One of the more unique showcases of APAture is the Comics and Illustration showcase, which took place on Saturday at the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library.
At first glance, the event has a nerdy vibe and many familiar styles and tropes of popular Asian comics. But many of the artists also featured strong messages in their work. Artist Bo explores queer and transgender identities in his comics. Pixelated follows the experience of a biological female passing as a male and suddenly being assumed to have strong technical skills, poking fun at gender stereotypes around technology.
Featured artist Thi Bui presented meticulously drawn art including her graphic novel The Best We Could Do, an “immigration epic” about her family. She also made drawings of visitors to the event as a fundraiser for Kearny Street Workshop.
[© Kearny Street Workshop/ Shuntaro Ogata]
I particularly enjoyed Cecilia Wong’s colorful illustrations, many of which featured cats. I of course had to purchase a copy of one. I look forward to seeing more of her work in the future.
Wong also gave a presentation of color, with tips on both theory and practice. It gave me a few thoughts for color in future graphic designs to complement my usual black&white styles.
Also present at the event was the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, a “non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of the First Amendment rights of the comics art form and its community of retailers, creators, publishers, librarians, and readers.” I was not familiar with them, but on reflection I’m not surprised that many comics artist may need such defense, especially when the challenge traditional norms and authority (something that we at CatSynth wholeheartedly support).