October 24, 2019

Footsteps, Drum Beats, and Silence: Speaking the Language of 3PALF

by Alice Chang

I learned about the cultural work led by APANO’s Arts and Media Project (AMP) this summer. Not long after, I began participating, I was able to witness some of the inspiring effort and imagination that goes into the process of organizing 3PALF. If there is anything I have taken away from the experience of participating in the festival, it is this: the way that we carry and connect ourselves in everyday arenas can be revolutionary, and the creation of, and movement in, space can be truly transformative. I remember sitting quietly in one of the summer AMP meetings and hearing Daniel Granias -- an 3PALF curator and ceramics artist -- excitedly pitch the idea of an elaborate drum parade in which Alex Addy’s West African drumming ensemble and Unit Souzou’s Japanese Taiko ensemble would march and perform from the Orchards of 82nd to Fubonn. It’s exciting to reflect on the palpable enthusiasm at the meeting table, and to have heard and watched the footsteps and drum beats of its realization at the festival. In forging a passage between two meaningful community centers in the Jade District, the parade manifested a passage between communities by generating cross-cultural dialogue.

Ruby Ibarra on-stage at 3PALF

In contrast to the tired presentation of “diversity” as the inclusion of people of color in spaces that still remain predominantly white, the events and unfolding of 3PALF supported the development of a unique multicultural language that involved the constant centering of the distinct and shared struggles of different communities of color. The first night of 3PALF, I arrived an hour before the evening’s performances began, ready for volunteer duty. Obliviously walking into the Orchards of 82nd, APANO’s new headquarters and versatile community space in the making, I nearly walked into a photo that Swiggle Mandela and Ruby Ibarra, both featured hip-hop artists of the night, were taking together in front of the intricate and iconic mural. Artists that night paid a passionate homage to Filipino American History Month, highlighting both the injustice and violence in the legacy of colonialism and migration, as well as stories of creative resistance, survival, and growth. “You’re all honorary Filipinos tonight,” Ibarra said as she moved the crowd to abandon their chairs and crowd together on the stage. Perhaps one of my favorite parts of the night, however, was witnessing the crowd shift throughout all the performances, watching them sit and listen, stand at attention, and move with the rhythm. In much the same way as the drumbeats of the parade, the silence of the audience during Marilou Carrera’s spoken word performance, and the voices of the crowd during Ibarra’s, both carried a certain weight and collective emotion. In such a way, each artist and audience member at 3PALF taught me that there is more than one way, more than one language, for us to speak to one another -- and I am excited to become more fluent.

This programming message brought to you by APANO CUF, a 501(c3) nonprofit organization.

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