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Outside Event #3: Outside Lands Music Festival

9 Dec

For my third outside event I decided to write about an event I went to earlier in the semester, Outside Lands Music Festival in San Francisco.  Held every year in the gorgeous backdrop of Golden Gate Park, Outside Lands Music Festival is a music, art, food, and wine festival that features talent from all around the world.  Over the course of three days people embark into Golden Gate Park for three days of jam packed performances.

What I enjoyed about the event was that not only was it located in San Francisco, but there was a very interesting sense of community while you were there.  Over 50,000 people gather from all over the world into the park and you could definitely sense this feeling of excitement and energy everywhere.  The festival was also set up like an adventure as well featuring installation art from local California artists, the park featured different lands which the attendees would travel throughout.  It was amazing to see people gather together to see acts such as Arcade Fire, Little Dragon, The Roots, and many more acts from around the world.  I particularly enjoyed seeing Foster the People and British singer Ellie Goulding live.

Outside Lands was definitely an experience as it became really crowded at times trying to navigate your way around the festival grounds. Also, the dust storms caused by thousands of people walking were wrecking havoc on my allergies.  With that aside I had a great time and was very thankful to be able to see all the performances I did and meet so many great people.  The photos above are taken by me and capture some of my favorite moments from the festival, such as walking in the entrance with anticipation, the beautiful lights, Foster the People, and blurred lights from the main stage.

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Outside Event #2: Weekend by Andrew Haigh

9 Dec

For my second outside event I decided to venture out to Landmark Cinemas a see a film I typically wouldn’t normally see, and this was Weekend by British director Andrew Haigh.  I read an interview with the main character in the film before, which peaked my interest in the film and I was pleased to see that the film has had much acclaim from various film festivals.  Weekend is a story about two men who have a chance meeting and end up spending the weekend together, filling a big void in each other lives, but cannot be together because one of them is leaving for the United States.  While the two men in Weekend had a lot of chemistry, their relationship and story sort of  reminded me of Lost In Translation, another example of two people who have this attraction that cannot be together because of physicality.

In the article I read with one of the main characters, Tom Cullen, he said that he was straight but I found both actors very convincing.  We often do not see many gay couples represented in film with the exception of Brokeback Mountain, but I found this film Weekend to be a much more realistic and life-like portrayal of a gay couple, mediating between their family and friends and society.  Maybe it was because they were British, but the film had a really good witty vibe to it and authenticity in the story and events that made it likable.  Overall, Weekend was a great movie and I would recommend it to my friends.

Infinite Balance: Artists and the Environment

26 Oct

This past weekend I ventured out to Balboa Park to the Museum of Photographic Arts for the Infinite Balance exhibit.   This was my first time being at the Museum of Photographic Arts so it was an exciting experience for me.  The Infinite Balance: Artists and the Environment exhibit was a collection works from renowned artists like Edward Burtynsky, pertaining to the environment.  Most importantly these works show the influence of man’s consumption on the environment.  Since we had already watched Manufactured Landscapes for class this was a great way to further our discussion in class and widen our scope of artists working sensitive subjects like this.

One of the first pieces I looked at was one by Edward Burtynsky, of the recent oil spill in the Mexican Gulf.  It was this huge aerial photo of islands in the gulf affected by this spill.  We all have watched the coverage of the oil spill on the news but to see Burtynsky’s photograph of the spill was somewhat surreal.  While these are severe incidents of environmental destruction there is a contradictory aspect to it all.  Because the photograph is so beautiful to look at, with the acid green patches of land with perfectly carved channels of water navigating through them, you sometimes forget what is actually going on there. I felt like this for all of the works there, you almost are remorseful because it is difficult to not say that they are incredibly interesting and beautiful but in reality these are instances of destruction and death.

The most poignant and favorite series was from Seattle based artist, Chris Jordan, who photographed decaying carcasses of albatrosses.  These serious of photographs did not even seem real at all.  Here you see this naturally living thing internally littered with unnatural man-made items like cigarette lighters, bottle caps, plastics and debris.  It was so heartbreaking to see the exposed stomachs of the dead birds literally filled with various forms of plastics.  It shows how our wasteful and careless consumption directly affects other beings.

The exhibit ended with series of works done by artist Yao Lu.  Growing up in a Vietnamese/Chinese household I am quite familiar with Chinese art like woodblock printing and brush painting, so at first glance I perceived Yao Lu’s prints as brush paintings not actual photographs.  However, at closer inspection you could see the ethereal green mountains were not fictional brush strokes but actual photographs of piles of rubbish.  Lu was amazing at portraying the environmental issues in a way that was clever and evocative of Chinese culture.  I was amazed of how smart the pieces were, you have a juxtaposition of a modern consumerist culture inside this ancient painting.

After attending the exhibit and watching Wasteland and Manufactured Landscapes, it was nice to see that artists are using their skills to for the good of society.  I feel like art is usually considered a luxury for the wealthy so it is refreshing to see that this art helps the environment.