Keith Hennessy: Social Justice Warrior

keithPhoto from Keith’s personal collection

Q#1: Are you a Bay Area Native? and if not, how long have you lived in the Bay? Keith: I was born in northern Ontario and have lived in the Bay since 1982.

Q#2: When did you start on the creative path you are currently on? Keith: It would be wrong to say anything other than since birth, but my first dance performances were in highschool to the song Car Wash when it was released in 1976.

Q#3: Where do you find your inspiration? Keith: My muse is the struggle for social justice. My inspiration comes from improvisation and experimentation with the amazing and mysterious human body, connecting to the world.

Q#4: What was the first piece of vinyl you ever purchased? Keith: Bootsie Collins, Ahh the name is Bootsy Baby, 1977.

Q#5: Anything else you’d like to share? a joke/quote? Keith: I’m not going to hate myself just because I don’t love myself. (Ronja Ver, 2010).

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Leslie Lopez: Muralist, Educator, Mami

Leslie DImeEstria Graff Battle by Tuffgyal808

Q#1: Are you a Bay Area Native? and if not, how long have you lived in the Bay? Dime: Yes, I was born and raised in East Oakland. My dad came out here in the late 70s from La Piedad, Michoacan.

Q#2: When did you start on the creative path you are currently on? Dime: As a child I was always passionate about art, from melting crayons to making paint, to now spray painting on any surface I call my canvas. But, at the age of 10 I feel in love with Letters, tagging, graffiti.. attempting to write my name with arrows on loose sheets of lined paper from my school notebook.

Q#3: Where do you find your inspiration? Dime: I find inspiration in my neighborhood and community.. The pain and struggle to live and stay alive, the beauty of my traditions and culture, the resistance and power of the people.

Q#4: What was the first piece of vinyl you ever purchased? Dime: my generation was after the vinyl.. but besides tape recording music from the radio and listening to my families rancheras and bandas, as a kid I remember having the Selena CD and then as a early teen 3x Krazy Stacking Chips.

Q#5: Anything else you’d like to share? a joke/quote? Dime: “Culture is an indispensable weapon in the freedom struggle” -Malcolm X

Robert Ma: Writer, Co-owner of Woody’s Cafe

RobertNeighborhood Cafe by Tuffgyal808

Q#1: Are you a Bay Area Native? and if not, how long have you lived in the Bay? Rob: No, I was born in China but have lived in the Bay for 42 years.

Q#2: When did you start on the creative path you are currently on? Rob: Six years ago, when we opened up the cafe, I started writing quotes. I was inspired by my conversations with customers,our employees as well as my own personal struggles. My coffee table book is now available for purchase 🙂

Q#3: Where do you find your inspiration? Rob: Through struggles in life, from reading different books and also people I come across.


Q#4: What was the first piece of vinyl you ever purchased?
Rob: Ohio Players: from the album “HONEY”.. the 45 was “Love Rollercoaster”

Q#5: Anything else you’d like to share? a joke/quote? Rob: If wisdom comes with age, then I want to be dumb as f@#k.

https://www.facebook.com/woodyscafe

Sydney Cain: Visual Artist

                            SAGE   This is Sage by Tuffgyal808

Q#1: Are you a Bay Area Native? and if not, how long have you lived in the Bay? Sage: Yes, San Francisco born and raised.

Q#2: When did you start on the creative path you are currently on? Sage: I’ve always enjoyed drawing & painting. I knew for sure in high school anything I do in life art would be involved.

Q#3: Where do you find your inspiration? Sage: Unseen realities. Myths. Bass. Silence. Copperpeople. Things that are someway familiar and help us remember our origins.

Q#4: What was the first piece of vinyl you ever purchased? Sage: First vinyl was Bobbi Humphrey and more like free stuff on the corner.

Q#5: Anything else you’d like to share? a joke/quote?

Sage: There are no secrets.

Rocky Seker: Owner of Black Cinema At Large

Rocky1st Fridays by Tuffgyal808

Q#1: Are you a Bay Area Native? and if not, how long have you lived in the Bay? Rocky: This is yes and no. I’ve lived in the Bay off and on since I was six, (born in D.C. while my father went to Howard) and grew up in Oakland. But I was shipped off back East every summer to relatives from June to September in NJ/NY, and lived in New York for 5 years, so I identify with both coasts.

Q#2: When did you start on the creative path you are currently on? Rocky: I’ve been a film lover ever since I can remember…also an activist. Both can be directly attributed to my father, who took me to a zillion movies since maybe 3 years old, and had to deal with massive amounts of racism in the 70’s (even getting his life threatened several times), because he was the boss of many that didn’t want to work for a Black man. Most of the films that I like to screen deal with social justice issues.

Q#3: Where do you find your inspiration? Rocky: Everything that has to do with the senses, I think. Film, of course; just one film can change the course of your whole life if it resonates with you. Fashion, architecture, photography, fine art, music, even food. Love. The art component is a little surprising–I have gotten deeply into the art aspect since coming back to Oakland…we have such amazing artists here it is unreal; it’s time for it to be recognized on a national and global level. I am also deeply inspired by people who fight injustice, but transcend anger and do it from a loving, objective, intelligent, and spiritual understanding; that is a very, very hard thing to do. Even the people who do this with just everyday living and regular life issues are so inspiring to me.

I also get inspired by reading the I-Ching every day and my children, but definitely in a more indirect way–I get ideas out of heart and spirit from that. Being grounded from there is helping me to evolve into making films of my own.

Q#4: What was the first piece of vinyl you ever purchased? Rocky: Ummmm…purchased for someone else, Earth, Wind, and Fire. Given to me was The Police’s “Roxanne” (my born name). Purchased for myself, whatever that Luther Vandross album was that had “Never Too Much” on it. Oddly, I never liked anything he made after that! Lol After that it was Prince all day every day; I would buy without even listening to it first.
When I was a kid my parents were very social and had lots of parties. I just thought about this…I’d really forgotten. Every time they would have a party they would just buy whatever was on Jet magazine’s top 20 list–old, old school! After the party they would give all the 45’s to me and my sister. And we would play them to death.

Q#5: Anything else you’d like to share? a joke/quote? Rocky: Please supportive of everyone in Oakland in the arts and culture if they are genuinely passionate about what they do. There is a renaissance here of sorts, and it can be parallel to the Harlem Renaissance, if we let it. In my opinion, it’s imperative we let it/support it…I don’t want the Oakland that I know/love/grew up in get watered down through changes that we are not a part of. We must make the big picture bigger than small agendas and small thoughts.

Mini Interview with DJ Santero


SANTERO “Luka Lounge” by Tuffgyal808

Q#1: Are you a Bay Area Native? and if not, how long have you lived in the Bay? Erick: No. I traveled a lot before I settled here. I’ve lived in Bay Area for 17+ years now.

Q#2: When did you start on the creative path you are currently on? Erick: My father was a musician. I’ve been surrounded by music all my life. I don’t remember a time where music wasn’t a central part of my existence.

Q#3: Where do you find your inspiration? Erick: I find inspiration everywhere. Sometimes the smallest, simplest things affect me profoundly. I feel like my music is more channelled than created. There are larger forces at work. I’m just playing my part as best I can.

Q#4: What was the first piece of vinyl you ever purchased? Erick: Bad Brains. Rock for Light. I still have it.

Q#5: Anything else you’d like to share? a joke/quote? Erick: “All spiritualists who have really sounded the depths of spiritualism have realized that there is no better means of attracting the spirits from their plane of freedom to the outer plane than by music.” -Hazrat Inayat Khan

http://www.soundcloud.com/santeromusic

Stephanie Powell: Ballerina, Professor


Stephanie

Q#1: Are you a Bay Area Native? and if not, how long have you lived in the Bay? Stephanie: I am a native of Bakersfield, California. I grew up there and moved to Berkeley, Emeryville and Oakland when I attended UC Berkeley and danced professionally with Oakland Ballet.

Q#2: When did you start on the creative path you are currently on? Stephanie: I began my creative path at the age of 3 with my dance instructor of over 3 decades, Cindy Trueblood at Civic Dance Center.

Q#3: Where do you find your inspiration? Stephanie: I found my inspiration when my parents took me to the then Shubert Theater to see musicals, learning variations from Cindy and simply the feeling of being on stage. I knew it was what I was destined to do.

Q#4: What was the first piece of vinyl you ever purchased? Stephanie: My first piece of vinyl I ever purchased and still own, was Planet Rock!

Q#5: Anything else you’d like to share? a joke/quote? Stephanie: Dance is why I wake up in the morning. Outside of a remarkable career with Oakland Ballet, SF Opera, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Donald Byrd the Group, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theater and the Disney musical Lion King, I have transitioned into loving to coach and teach on the university level. While I still perform and reconstruct the choreography of legendary Donald McKayle, I have found a new passion in passing the wealth of information that I have gained to the students of the next generation.