Listen: Over the past year and change since I was hired to do this job, I've had the fortune of being exposed to a massive cross-section of culture in Milwaukee. Having grown up here, a lot of that exposure involved me catching up with the grown-up world — seeing, experiencing, hearing things I've known about my entire life for the first time. But then, there are those moments where a stone is turned over before my eyes and an unfamiliar world unfolds. The United Community Center is one of those places. They do far more than I could stuff into a brief blog post, but I often like to describe them as "the organization in Walker's Point with services like elderly care, employment resources, and a boxing gym." They do so much, point A and point B need to be as far apart as possible. (Not familiar? Dig a little deeper.) One of the United Community Center's crown jewels is Latino Arts Inc., a group providing hispanic programming in the arts ranging from visual and performing arts to folkloric dance classes, music classes, and more. A pillar of their operation is their art gallery, whose exhibits from all over the latin art world are oftentimes paired with thematically relevant performing arts. Currently, and not for much longer, they're showing a collection of experimental Cuban book makers. Listen, as Zulay gives me an animated tour of this first-rate show: If the sounds of those books caught your ear, imagine how much you'd love the visual experience. More audio from Zulay's tour, unedited and wonderful, below.
I love being able to post out takes online. Zulay's tour of the gallery was so dynamic and personable, listening to her will bring you right into the gallery, even if you've never been there before. The first stop was a book-person-doll (see below, as I try to interview it.) Take it away, Zulay: Next she showed me a leather-covered bullet proof vest that was, as the exhibit would imply, an experimental book. The word "Love" was written on the vest, with a hole through the "O." What a metaphor: A clothes line, with pieces of paper hanging from it (see the picture at the top of the post). What could it mean? Dirty laundry. The revealing story of an affair, presented in the context of a gallery. What do you have to expose? The final stop of the tour, which was unfortunately not included in the piece, gets into themes of perception and stereotype and race:
For more information on Latino Arts Inc, follow this link. And get to the Latino Arts Inc. gallery RIGHT NOW! As I type, the are conducting a talk at UWM and they're clsoing TOMORROW. GO THERE WHILE YOU STILL CAN BECAUSE THIS ONE SHOULD NOT BE MISSED. (And keep them on your radar — I'm sure their upcoming shows will be equally phenomenal.)