Acentos Bienvenidos at The Citadel

A few weeks ago I got to photograph Acentos Bienvenidos, a celebration of Latin/Hispanic Heritage Month at the Citadel Shopping Mall in Commerce, CA. The celebration was outdoor with COVID safety precautions in place, and featured performances by Yamila Cuban Latin Band, Heart of Samba Brazilian dancers, and Mariachi Arcoiris de Los Angeles. The event hosts were Valentina and Alexander Rodriguez. Enjoy this selection of photos…

I was particularly moved by Mariachi Arcoiris as they are the worlds first all LGBTQ+ mariachi, also featuring the first transgender woman in mariachi.

This beautiful event was presented by Hulu and constructed by the talented folks at AKJOHNSTON Group.

Social down

Yesterday, I couldn’t help but think of images from Ray Bradbury stories–of wall-sized TV panels blaring reality TV, ear seashells, and machines that breath and function like organisms–as a global social media platform went down for about five hours. Of course, it felt like a sense of relief that I didn’t have to check them as much as I typically do.

During fall I take up candle making.

I’m aware these major social platforms monetize our attention, siphoning off our focus little by little while hopping us up on dopamine all along the way. I want to tread lightly by saying that there are some good aspects to social media. I know that posting my photography work has helped me improve over the years. Promoting my various projects has been a plus, even if it simply keeps people in touch with all the things I do with my life.

Where that balance is between sharing my entire life on social media and whatever else doesn’t happen online, I don’t really know. I try to devote at least half my day to non-screen activities. I have a personal trainer; my ongoing garden projects; making gourd-shaped candles.

During the non-social media freedom I stopped by the only local bookstore left nearby, a large chain store. I went in to pick up a new copy of The Illustrated Man. Even in the middle of a weekday, the place was fairly bustling. I found my book quickly and went to check out. In front of me was a woman purchasing at least two large stacks which the store employee was scanning and piling into large canvas tote bags. I must not have been the only one taking advantage of digital downtime.