Daniel Pak’s Mission to Share Music

2017-0220-pak-family-music-sc0003-34e42287

Photo: Joshua Huston

“Growing up on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, Daniel Pak knew that music was in his blood. His father was a jazz pianist and taught him to play scales around age 6. In a few years, he had advanced to performing pieces by Mozart and Beethoven. But it wasn’t until he taught himself acoustic guitar at 13 that his passion was truly ignited. “That’s when I really found that music was more than just lessons. Music was something that would be with me every day,” says Pak.

Pak has fond memories of kanikapila, impromptu music jam sessions with friends. “We’d all go to the beach. Someone would bring ukuleles and guitars, someone would bring bongos. We’d play music and listen to the waves coming in and the palm trees rustling,” says Pak.  Today — minus the beach, palm trees and crashing waves — Pak tries to “perpetuate that tradition here in Seattle.” 

READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN SEATTLE’S CHILD

Feminist Art Historian Olesya Turkina on Russia’s Fleet of Canine Cosmonauts

soviet-space-dogs-1455897629

Image Courtesy of FUEL Publishing

“In the aftermath of World War II, the USSR and the USA became locked in an ideological conflict between socialism and capitalism. Determined to demonstrate the superiority of the socialist way, the USSR launched a secret space program. Eventually a human cosmonaut would fly into outer space, but first came Laika—a dog.

Laika’s launch was kept a secret until a few days before take-off. As Russian feminist art historian Olesya Turkina explains in her book, Soviet Space Dogs, “the secrecy of the space program was justified by the notion that socialism could not be seen to fail in any of its endeavors. In this sense, space travel was the most imperative achievement of such a society.” According to the official Soviet story, the valiant little mutt launched into orbit, died a heroic death, and became the first icon of space exploration.”

Thank you to Olesya and Damon for taking the time to answer my questions and for creating such a special book. Check out FUEL Publishing’s “Soviet Space Dogs” by Olesya Turkina, published by Damon Murray and Stephen Sorrell.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE

Mother Nature

 

Photo: Sydney Parker

Photo: Sydney Parker

“…to speak of them out loud, to speak of their hunger and pain and loneliness and humor, to make them visible so that can not be ravaged in the dark without great consequence.”― Eve Ensler, The Vagina Monologues

IMG_20160529_175455

Photo: Sydney Parker

“Now, should we treat women as independent agents, responsible for themselves? Of course. But being responsible has nothing to do with being raped. Women don’t get raped because they were drinking or took drugs. Women do not get raped because they weren’t careful enough. Women get raped because someone raped them.” – Jessica Valenti, The Purity Myth

IMG_20160620_205020

Photo: Sydney Parker

“Volumes upon volumes on exploration, war, violence, the life-threatening transformative journeys of man. But you can’t talk about this. The fucking, the sadness, the dark, the blood, the light. They will burn you at the fucking stake for this shit.”― Elisa Albert, After Birth

How To Breed Fancy Pigeons: A Love Story

German Beauty Homer

I took my love for pigeons to the next level and wrote a personal essay on How to Breed Fancy Pigeons for The Hairpin!

“My pigeon nostalgia took on many whimsical and disturbing forms. I began painting pigeons and writing pigeon poetry. It was what I like to call my “Pigeon Renaissance.” This was a time of great creative flourishing where I painted pigeon masterpieces such as “Pigeon by Day” and “Starry Night Pigeon.” The pigeons were all-consuming. I’d try to drawJacobin Pigeon something else like a bowl of fruit or a self-portrait, but somehow it would still end up looking like a pigeon. Our apartment took on the aesthetic of John Nash’s office at the end of A Beautiful Mind—he too, was fascinated by pigeons. Sam was supportive of (and amused by) these creative endeavors, but also wanted to know what the fuck was going on and encouraged me to meet some new people, maybe join a club?”

Read the full piece on The Hairpin here!

Pouter Pigeon

Space Womb

space womb

Original reporting done in 2009 by Sydney Parker. 

Art is gestating in Long Island City’s Space Womb. The new gallery conceived by artist Jongwang Lee features installation art, interpretive dance and music inspired by the spirituality of the female uterus. Mr. Lee envisions his exhibition as a home for embryonic life, “where one can leave material reality behind and return to the Utopian world of the mother’s womb.” He hopes to promote his vision while fostering the growth of developing artists in the community.space womb gallery

“It’s a little weird, but it’s nice to look at,” said Patricia Toranovich, manager of Court Square Diner located across the street.

Diners enjoy cheese Danish and a full view of the gallery’s galactic “Space Womb” sign imposed on a jet-pack black exterior and swathed in tongue-pink swirls extending all the way onto the sidewalk.

“The name is so strange, nobody knows what it is,” said Tina O’Brien, a bartender at The Shannon Pot, an Irish pub a few doors down from the gallery, “everyone is afraid to go in.”

Mr. Lee credits much of the inspiration for his art to his grandmother who was a famous Shaman in Korea.“During my childhood I was deeply impacted by her performance and felt a strong contact with the spiritual world,” says Lee swooping back a mass of long, dark hair.

Upon completion of his studies at prestigious art Universities in Seoul, Korea and Tokyo, Japan, Mr. Lee moved to New York, New York. He missed the familiarity of his birth country, but wanted to be reborn in the culturally and politically free American climate. His womb-themed art has been featured in group and solo shows throughout museums in California, Washington D.C. and New York. In June 2009 he opened his own gallery at 22-48 Jackson Avenue, LIC.

Space Womb’s address has a reputation in the working-class neighborhood as a haunt for eccentric proprietors. The storefront church, Iglesia De Dios that previously occupied the space held raucous Wednesday night prayer meetings much to the displeasure of neighboring businesses.

“They were singing and screaming late at night. I couldn’t stand the noise,” says Kenny Kang a sign constructor at nearby Eden Signs & More. The owner of the church was later committed to an insane asylum and the church sold to current landlord, Gregory Wolkoff.

The businesses bounding 22-48 Jackson Avenue are relieved by the quietness of their new neighbor. Mr. Lee’s unusual gallery provokes more than a few eyebrow raises, but doesn’t disturb the ebb and flow of the hard working Long Island City citizens arriving off the 7 train zooming overhead.

“I hope that my work encourages people to look within themselves and realize the unbelievable power of life and the dormant potential within each of us,” says Lee.

Mr. Lee is pleased with his gallery’s relatively soothing presence and hopes to continue infiltrating the neighborhood with his artistic and spiritual revelations.

“I like the name Space Womb, it’s funny,” says Michael Stein, a dreadlocked, 6’ 5” elevator mechanic taking a cigarette break in front of Colonial Elevator Corporation. “What the hell do they do in there?”

Pigeon by Day

Pigeon by Day

by Sydney Parker

“The Passenger Pigeon, therefore, should not be remembered only as a tragic victim of human thoughtlessness and greed. In fact, it should be admired as a species that over millennia had evolved, to an exceptional degree, an anatomy conducive to a life on the wing; indeed, it was a magnificent flying machine.”

– “The Passenger Pigeon” by Errol Fuller