The last time Celso and I were in Peru we had the honor of meeting Fortunato Urcuhuaranga, the man behind the country’s colorful band posters known as afiches chicha — or chicha posters. Today, a friend forwarded us the above doc by Mario Chumpen Espinoza on Urcuhuaranga’s life and work. If you speak Spanish, definitely worth checking out.
2, a chicha poster collage by Celso. Part of the group show Text, Drugs & Rock ‘n Roll at Maxwell Collette Gallery in Chicago. Opens this Friday at 6pm. (Image courtesy of El Celso.)
- How to write about Africa.
- Information Doesn’t Necessarily Want to be Free. Or so argues Robert Levine in his new book Free Ride, a treatise on cultural parasitism — on how technology companies have used cultural content they don’t produce to make money. I’m not sure I agree with all the conclusions in the book review (not everything free is bad or evidence of a cultural wasteland), but I find some of the arguments quite compelling, especially since I’m one of those poor slobs who pays the bills by producing ever-more-poorly remunerated cultural “content.” Plus, the stuff on how Germany has preserved its independent booksellers (by outlawing aggressive discounting by chain bookstores) is pretty damn interesting.
- From the Department of Hollywood Accounting: Philip K. Dick’s family experiencing some crazy movie-industry sci-fi. (@gregorg.)
- Speaking of Hollywood: it desperately needs more ladies. And they need to be not-naked. Behind the camera.
- The East L.A. accent.
- Comparing Time Magazine’s covers in the U.S. and abroad. We are a culture with our head in the sand.
- Art.sy: Applying the Amazon if-you-like-this-you’ll-like-that model to visual art. This should be hilarious. (John Perrault.)
- Using image recognition software to decode graffiti. There seems to be an implication in this story that all graffiti is gang graffiti. C’mon dudes, don’t you know that graff has been co-opted by art school types?
- Owning a dog in Tehran.
- If you live in S.F., Carolee Schneeman is giving a talk at Eli Ridgway tonight at 8pm. Check it!
- Plus: Find my New York recommends over at Gallerina.
Opening night for Celso’s ¡No Habla Español! at Pandemic was all kinds of fun. Thanks so much to everyone who came out. We danced, we drank, we danced some more — in a teeny weeny discoteca — into the night. The show is up through April 2nd, so you have plenty of time to shake some ass in the mini-disco. Plus, there’s always the closing party (April 2nd at 7pm). See you there!
An addendum: Public Radio International’s show Afropop has an excellent show on the history of cumbias. They have a whole section devoted to Peruvian chicha cumbias, describing their origins and their use of those super duper psychedelic surf guitars. If you want to get a sense of what these Peruvian chicha posters are all about, give this program a listen. Also, here’s a photo essay devoted to Elliot Túpac Urcuhuaranga, of the family behind Publicidad Viusa — makers of chicha posters.
One of my ongoing fascinations with Lima (which I’ve touched on in the past) is the soup of fog that covers the city about six months out of the year. It’s a phenomenon that seems to soak up all brightness and makes the desert ecosystem (already harsh) look even more apocalyptically inhospitable. It’s alluded to in countless works of Peruvian fiction (from novels by Mario Vargas Llosa to Daniel Alarcón), and is even discussed in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick — in the chapter on whiteness. (It is “the strangest, saddest city, thou cans’t see,” he wrote. “For Lima has taken the white veil; and there is a higher horror in this whiteness of her woe.”)
Which brings to me to my ongoing interest in Peruvian chicha posters — the cheaply-printed band posters produced in an array of neon-colored inks. As Celso pointed out to me during our last trip around Peru, it’s almost as if they produce their own light. Perhaps a requirement in a place where sharp edges are often dulled by the perpetual mist.
This Friday, Celso is going to be showing a collection of these — along with collages and a mini chicha/cumbia disco installation that accommodates two people for dancing (I helped with the soundtrack!!) — at Pandemic Gallery in Williamsburg. But we wanted folks to see what the posters look like installed around the foggy Peruvian capital, so we made a short video about it (see below). It includes a bit of footage from our trip to meet Fortunato Urcuhuaranga at Publicidad Viusa, the family-run studio that originated this look in the ’80s. (It is now widely copied all over the country.) And features some spectacular audio of me mumbling. If you want to learn more, Creative Review also has a great video on these wonderful folks.
Anyhow, please come to the opening this Friday to check out the show! It should be a ton of fun.
¡No Habla Español!
37 Broadway (btw. Kent & Wythe)
Friday, March 11, 2011
For more info, click here.