Coyolxauhqui, the Aztec goddess of the sky, embodies the balance of night and day, the complexity of light and dark within us all. Thus, this cosmic mother is the perfect deity to watch over queer Latinas -- and bless the artists -- in a multimedia show opening Saturday at Corazón del Pueblo. "Coyolxauhqui is a symbol of our collective memory and interconnectedness as mujeres," says Mica Valdez, curator of Hijas de Coyolxauhqui. "When necessary, she may help us to be a warrior. At other times she may help us to create, give birth, nurture, sacrifice, make peace, or balance dualities such as male and female."
Valdez conceived the show, which mixes emerging and established artists, as a way of not only building a sense of community among queer Latinas but also of increasing their visibility within the gay and Latino communities. She chose Corazón del Pueblo, a community center, to break new social ground. "It's probably the first gay lesbian-bisexual-transgendered programming there," she says. "Even the word 'queer' is not fully embraced by our community." Yet queerness itself is as ancient as Coyolxauhqui. When Valdez approached the center's director Josefina Lopez about the show, Lopez noted that traditional healers often were gay.
Valdez chose the works in the show, which include video and installation, for their expression of all aspects of the artists' backgrounds -- not only their sexual identities, but families, cultural heritage, spirituality, and communities. "In this exhibit," she says, "artists will individually recognize and express the past in relation to this present moment in time."
Hijas de Coyolxauhqui is part of the National Queer Arts Festival. The show opens on Saturday with a reception from 2 to 6 p.m. It continues through July 29; programming includes a panel discussion that will explore the show's themes. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Corazón del Pueblo, 4814 International Blvd., Oakland, 510-532-6733, CorazondelPueblo.com -- Susan Kuchinskas
In the Grass
In Howard Hawks' Bringing Up Baby (1938), Katherine Hepburn portrays a batty heiress who takes a shine to über-uptight zoologist Cary Grant, so she uses her pet leopard, Baby, to steal Grant's fossil and, therefore, catch his eye. That's why they call it a screwball comedy. Perhaps too screwball -- it earned so poorly that director Hawks was canned from his next RKO production! But the movie has improved with age, perhaps because it's such a classic product of Old Hollywood. Bringing Up Baby is the latest selection to show at the free Movie in the Grass series, happening the second Saturday of every month outside of Oakland's Church of St. Leo the Great. 510-654-6177 or ChurchofStLeotheGreat.org -- Stefanie Kalem
Alt-country-gone-cerebral-pop band Wilco has been all over the festival circuit this year, visiting Sasquatch! and Coachella, and destined to grace the Telluride Bluegrass and Wakarusa festivals before the summer is through. But you, blessed East Bay fans, are too cool to get heatstroke for the sake of a dozen bands you like less than Jeff Tweedy's critical juggernaut -- you can see Wilco (now featuring California's own Nels Cline on guitar) in the semicomfortable confines of UC Berkeley's Greek Theater. Getcher tix at Ticketmaster.com, and get there early: Our very own Court & Spark opens at 7 p.m. $37.50. -- Stefanie Kalem
On the Border Line
For those of us who didn't pay much attention in American History class, the Civil War is a fuzzy concept -- North vs. South, blue vs. gray, free vs. slave. But the African American Museum and Library at Oakland (AAMLO) aims to make that history real with a new exhibit called Liberty on the Border. At the 2,500-square-foot display of artifacts, photos, documents, and ephemera, visitors can try on a soldier's jacket and pick up his backpack, as well as learn about the fierce conflicts along the borderline. The show opens Saturday at the AAMLO (659 14th St., Oakland) and runs through September 11. OaklandLibrary.org -- Kelly Vance
Culture Spy - April 20, 9:52 AM
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