I've been a terrible blogger on this site as of recent, but I hope to redeem myself with this entry.
This year has brought about a lot of learning, thankfully.
I learned that no matter what, people will lay their lives on their homes. Outside of family, and our health, it's often all we have. With support and love from family, friends, and community members, a home will ALWAYS be a home, no matter the critique -- shortsighted, unfounded, and conflated as it is.
Unfortunately, I've missed out on a lot of events since October, ranging from the Planning Commission Hearings on the final steps of the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan, to the United Playaz Thanksgiving Celebrations. I've a backlog of footage that still needs to be edited, interviews that need to be wrapped up, photos to still take... tick tock tick tock!
No matter, the SOMA is still there, residents still dance in the streets, stay warm behind their homes, smile with each other, laugh before they go to bed, persevere and dream in slumber.
On December 19th, SOMCAN ran their annual Pasko event at the Bayanihan community center on 6th and Mission. Festivities were full with Lechon (Roast Pig), festive performers young and old alike. The space bustled, and while I'm glad I was able to get some footage at this gathering, it still wasn't nearly enough to feel the crowd's presence.
Featured on this short video is Marti Dulalas--I confess, I should have done more interviews, but Marti has been the impromptu guide during these events, and she holds it down! Jazzie Collins, a longtime community advocate and resident provides her jovial input. Also on this video is Jack De Jesus, aka Kiwi Illafonte, staff member of SOMCAN. The youth from Galing Bata and Bessie Carmichael filled out the night with a postmodern mix of bilingual carols, hip hop choreography, and redux versions of other classic tunes.
As I managed to be a fly-on-the-wall, I scanned the crowd often from behind the camera. I always attempt to follow a mental checklist of shots to get. Sometimes I get through the checklist properly, often times I get caught up in balancing out the anonymity and participation. On one of these b-roll items on my list I caught sight of this fellow:
After continuing with filming, I realized I needed a quick break outside. I greeted several folks I recognized, but mostly kept to myself, assessing what else I needed from the event. Standing in thought amidst all that is 6th street, I could not resist the charm that the night had... and I think I zoned out for a minute. Unsure of how to reset my thoughts, I started devising more opportunities to appease my need for technical and narrative precision (which I will perpetually work at doing), but these were moot to complete presence without camera, and active emotional involvement, interaction...
Next thing I knew I was smiling... at what? I can't articulate. Oddly.
Shaking myself from the breather, I noticed the same lolo walking towards me, or rather, the exit. I immediately turned my camera on, attempting to get a more dynamic angle to integrate with the previous footage, as seen above. As he continued to move towards me, I began to watch his face, and began to remove my face from the camera screen, a technique I employ to assure that I'm seeing the right things.
Making eye contact, we smiled at each other again.
The doors slid open and we were within inches of each other.
We said nothing.
He placed his hand on my wrist, and not to prevent me from recording.
I placed my other hand on his.
I made sure to take pause, if only for a second. If there's anything that I've learned working solo is that I always gotta check-in with myself. Reflect. Reassure. Repeat.
What we did for each other that night,
that singular moment, is what I've been trying to do everyday,
with or without camera...
...and I'm sure it's the same for him.
Thanks for reading, see y'all next year.