No, this is not going to be a blast at our nation’s literacy or lack thereof. Just wanted to consider Twenty-first century cultural literacy from the perspective of a once avid comic book reader, television cartoon watcher, and film goer, and club kid.
If one was into Funk music in the early 1970s, a childhood background of early morning cartoon watching (Here he comes to save the day . . . Mighty Mouse is on his way!), reading DC and Marvel comic book heroes,(Superman, Sgt. Fury and His Howling commandos) and watching sci-fi fantasy (The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and who can forget those frantic robotic words,”Danger Will Robinson?”) was common place. As a child, I read Jules Verne, Edgar Allen Poe, August Derleth, Isaac Asimov, Andre Norton, H. P. Lovecraft. Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek provided me with expanded visions of African Americans living and accomplishing in a near future, visiting outer space and alien worlds.
As a teen in the early 70s, musically, I was aware of Sun Ra, Yosef Latif, Taj Mahal, of course Miles, and avant -garde classical, pop and jazz. music. Then in the mid-seventies, I heard George Clinton. I joined Mr. Star Child and his band.
So, it just made sense to me in the seventies after joining George Clinton and his Funkstateers to take my futuristic persona on stage and to also party at clubs in attire that was . . . well . . . different. (Ah for the days of Purple hair and butterfly cowboy boots).
Dressing up allowed me to exist as an artistic Black woman, capable of feats of incredible being there. Of course, one had to know the trends, the icons favored by club and performance party culture, what was right on and what wasn’t.
A not too dissimilar cultural literacy frequently abounds in 21st century Comic Con goers. From the Star trek franchise to apocalyptical characters to just plain fun personas, interacting with folks in a communal multi-cultural ambiance as they interpret our current pop culture sheroes. heroes, and icons into “beingness” is an interesting experience.
A working definition of cultural literacy? According to Encyclopedia. Com http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3401801107.html
CULTURAL LITERACY refers to the concept that citizens in a democracy should possess a common body of knowledge that allows them to communicate effectively, govern themselves, and share in their society’s rewards. E. D. Hirsch Jr., a literary scholar, popularized the term in the best-selling book Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know in 1987. . . Hirsch maintained that early education should focus on content and that all students, not just a bright few, could achieve cultural literacy. Hirsch offered in his book 5,000 terms that he thought culturally literate Americans should recognize. The list included dates (“1776”), historical persons (“Brown, John”), titles of historic documents (“Letter from a Birmingham Jail”), figures of speech (“nose to the grindstone”), and terms from science (“DNA”). . . . Critics were afraid that Hirsch’s cultural literacy list was simplistic, presumed a uniform Eurocentric culture, failed to reflect the nation’s diversity of race and ethnicity. Hirsch answered his critics by greatly expanded his list in The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, published in 1988 and revised it in 1993 written with Joseph F. Kett and James Trefil. 1
Young people have a tendency become fans of folks, to look up to real life mentors and fictional characters. They constantly “read” pop culture as a way to make sense of their world. Our mulit-cultural society’s popular cultural narratives provide the worst (villains) and thankfully best (sheroes, heroes) examples of humanity. San Diego Comic-Con offered an opportunity to inhabit today’s visual and written narrative tableaus of potential, even for a post 1970s Funkstateers Afronaut like me.
On Friday, feeling more into comicdom festiveness, I went looking for Cosplayers. It had been a week of clouds, drizzle, and BRIGHT, HOT, SUNSHINE!!! At last. My search began in earnest—- day, evening . . .even into the night!
In the morning on Friday– the entire week seemed outside of chronological order for me so I am embracing unfolding flow stream of of of ooooooffffffff consciousness to get this post out.
Found several African American cosplayers, many of whom expressed the importance of comicsfor them as children and teenagers: story lines about good, evil, apathy, responsibility to community, family, and self, innocence. (See the new Marvel 21st Century perspective on characters and story lines–including a Hip Hop “flavah” for this present multi-intersectionality global generation. http://marvel.com/news/comics/24903/marvel_becomes_inspired_by_the_music_industry
Comics were often a road to enjoying reading and early literacy, (More in the next post) Now, here are a few more of my fab cosplayers.
So many exciting costumes. Aqua whirlpool water wonder gallantry gave way to Mad Hatter vortex rabbit hole.
Sheroes day out at Con 2015 in full attire and ah, hmmmmm, incognito.
Riddle me a thought of arch rivals revolving narcissism.
I even went out later that evening. Playing with camera’s special affects . . .hopefully caught the essence of this couple.
Waiting for the Fashion Valley Trolly Saturday AM I met a most interesting very intense less than gregarious troll in daylight radiance: Mookoo
And, you just won’t believe who I saw sitting at a bus stop outside the House of Blues Saturday AM…
It was a fun romp with a lot of families cosplaying together and having fun.
I have a lot more photos,look for them in my slide show section soon (traveling for a few days!!!) but I’ll leave you with a few more of my personal favorites:
Delores Fisher Bayside
Of course I was still funkily not in a festive mood on Thursday morning before the big Comic Con evening opening. I walked around the Embarcadero area for some reason thinking about my trip to the dentist’s office and his somewhat not pleasant prescriptive news. A possible additional visit to an internal specialist before seeing an oral surgeon was not what I wanted to hear. But he was honest and looking out for my best interests.
Strolling past Seaport village through cool morning air, I met a few cosplayers during my walk as they too were enjoying Embarcadero sights.
Later that day, I returned to the street side of the Convention Center to visit Comic Con for a blog post. Ah well, honest … I needed cheering up. I remembered my encounter with the Sharknado III “Oh Hell No!” publicity girls the night before; it was a blast. They were so uproarishly funny. They had me and others laughing and posing for photos for several minutes.
Thinking about their playfulness the evening before, I began to relax and join in Comic Con’s fun of people watching.
Quite a few outside exhibits were completely built and open bayside and along Harbor Drive across from the Convention Center. Assassin’s Creed obstacle course was a favorite again this year. Athletic men and women compete in this grueling challenge similar to Ninja Warriors obstacle courses. And, like most locals and non locals who are the audio/visual/interactive peripheral pop culture participants of Comic Con, we could not resist the almost block long event.
We supportively cheered and whistled as aspiring assassins sweated their way through.
Thursday was such a hazy day. Friday and Saturday would hopefully be sunnier with more cosplay encounters.
Like many in San Diego this year, I was a bit apprehensive about Comic Con 2015’s arrival. Our city celebrated a huge July 4th blow out party with one of the biggest fire works celebration in the nation. We were recovering from socializing, remembering, and yes, partying when it became a San Diego reality that Comic Con was only a few days away and San Diego Fringe Festival is soon after we clean up from Comic Con.
A few signs had already began to appear
Many of us were in a kinda funky mood despite the holiday. National racial and socio-political trauma burden many hearts and minds. We continue to be surrounded by talk of losing sports teams. Another education budget crisis shadow looms over area colleges. Our homeless population is growing faster than alternative housing. Concerned thoughts hover like thick early morning fog; June gloom came in May and is still here!
Even I was in a funk!
Still in a dark mood, I finally wrote about the incident in Charleston http://carpenoctum2.blogspot.com/2015/07/tragedy-in-south-carolina-9-souls-taken.html
My soul began to feel a little better. Although I cover my grief and anguish, it will remain. It’s going to take a while.
Wednesday evening, pre Comic Con, I shook off a little of the malaise and got a few pictures as the city began creating its Comic Con 2015 production.
Comic Con brings together humanity in its diversity with an overarching goal . . . to celebrate our narrative parables and cautionary tales about the mundane, the good, and the evil embodied, the heroes, sheroes, and villians, the pawns and innocent bystanders imprinted on characters who reflect in many ways our complex humanity: who we are, who we were, and who we could possible become.
Looking at workers assembling emerging installations and the huge production process, I anticipate mingling with tomorrow’s Comic Con goers local and non local, famous and not so famous, and of course . . . the coming of cosplayers.
. . . .Thinking these thoughts, I walk on into the evening’s awakening.
Pre Comic on funky . . .
San Diego’s All Peoples Celebration is an annual event. Our humanity, our diversity is its focus, bringing races, religions, life styles, levels of health and well being, able bodied and disabled, people from media, politics, sciences, education, the arts and more into one large auditorium sized room to embrace and applaud all of humanity in positive unity.
It was good to be in the company of colleagues and friends. Award winning international choreographer, dance workshop facilitator, and friend Sandra Foster King was a few tables away and we had a chance to catch up on our artistic projects.
Intending to post sooner– at the end of February– I did get a chance to “do” a few tweets: which happens a lot when I have a busy schedule https://twitter.com/deloresfisher
Music from various artists emphasized the breakfast celebration’s theme.
Korean Drum Ensemble
The Korean Drum Ensemble’s sound filled the room. Their rhythymic precision blended with masterful musical energy rocked the house as we entered and checked in.
Grace Covenant Church Choir
Grace Covenant Church’s Gospel choir’s melodious voices and rousing praise-filled Gospel music arrangements raised the roof as the audience smiled and clapped along. They even received several “amens.”
They also led the audience in harmonious rendition of “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” often referred to as the cultural “Black National Anthem”.
Shivon and Ant Black
Whitney Shay & Beston Barnett
So much talent given from the heart. Award winning vocalist Whitney Shay, accompanied by the skillful guitar stylings of Beston Barnett, shared her time and artistry with us.
Assemblymember Dr. Shirley Weber
Assemblymember for the 79th district, Dr. Shirley Weber, gave an on point, powerfully delivered opening message that seemed prophetic considering our current social/political climate in retrospect.
Keynote speaker Ryan Haygood, followed with an inspirational and almost prophetic charge to remember that indeed we are all on this planet Earth together to help and share our best intentions to further humanities’ expanding consciousness.
Kendrick Dial and Lyrical Groove
Award winning recording artist Kendrick Dial and lyrical Groove took a pause from working on their newly released album Spoken Soul: Music For Life( watch for the review-I went to the CD release party at San Diego’s House of Blues–it was a party and a half!!).
It was an event that renewed friendships and solidified commitments to be in process, striving in becoming collaborative partners, co-builders actively pursuing Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream of all people living in peace equality and harmony.
Hello Sonic tapestry readers,
It’s been a busy semester with guest lectures, performances, and event appearances. More posts are in the preliminary stage, including an exclusive with pianist/composer Richard Thompson around early-June. Until then, here is a slide show from snaps over the years. For others photo op moments, including 2014 San Diego Comic fest photos from behind the scenes, click onto this link. https://sonictapestry.wordpress.com/about/
Every year for the last five years, the San Diego State University BSSO (Black Student Science Organization) http://www.bsso.org/BSSO/About_Us.html has held a fund raiser to increase awareness about Haiti’s recovery and ongoing needs after the devastating earthquake of January 2010. It has been five years of hands on applied philanthropy to help Haitians help themselves. I enjoy interacting with the BSSO and am honored to be invited to perform.
Delores Fisher with bassist Chris Swann
The students of the Black Student Science Organization participate in internships and research projects year round. They also work with support other SDSU campus organizations with their time and energy. “Campus in community” minded Dr. Estralita Martin is their advisor/mentor.
One of the BSSO’s focus events is their support for the island of Haiti. Many performers, staff members, and professors, donate their talents and take the stage to express their continuing concern and solidarity with the BSSO’s efforts to give back not only to the local, but to the global community. DR. Estralita Martin always attends and supports the events with biographical readings about African American scientists and their accomplishments.Here are a few photo highlights of those who graced the stage:
Officers of the Black Student Science Organization greeted performers and audience members.
Afrofuturist specialist and much sought after national conference speaker professor Ajani Brown presented a biographical reading. Known for his philanthropy and support of many campus and nationwide events, his presence was inspiring.
Rock bassist Chris Swann stopped by between tours.(For a few more Hope for Haiti photos click Chris’s link) http://www.chrisswannmusic.com/chrisswann/2015/2/17/m4kd3qog0b0x47tmomlo8324i9lux2
Bassist Chris Swann
Young Rapper and SDSU student Deon gave special tribute with one of his originals
Vocalist April has performed since her pre-years with dynamic vocals.
Philanthropist and ongoing aid worker Rick Pickett presented a hope filled report of thriving projects that are helping the people of Haiti to experience sustainable recovery and restoration.
One especially exciting project that Rick Pickett shared is a newly built school which is not only teaching students with an onsite traditional class room-teacher delivery system, but also, through cyber access and interaction with our global cyber community. Mr. Pickett’s contributions to Haiti’s recovery has been an ongoing dedicated labor of love for years.https://sdsublog.wordpress.com/tag/haiti/page/3/
Thank you to the BSSO for the opportunity to share my gifts as a poet/spoken word artist in support of the people of Haiti’s recovery.This year, international bassist/rock musician Chris Swann accompanied me for my original poem presentation “Priceless.”
If you are able, click onto the BSSO website to contribute.
We indeed are the world.