Episode 9: It’s My Birthday! Meet My Mom, Enid Kent Sperber!

I turn 40 tomorrow, May 20th.

My mom asked me what I wanted to do.

I decided that I wanted to record a podcast with her.

So I did.

I have some shouts out to some folks in here that inspired me to become who I am. Check it out.

But to be honest, every guest that is on here inspires the hell out of me.

My mom, Enid Kent Sperber, is amazing & I love her. I hope you enjoy this episode.

Archivist’s Alley will be back in June with Pride Month!

Episode 6: Erica Lopez- Mexican American Home Movies, Being “Seen,” and Gauging Class in Amateur Films

The best thing to come out of the last election was that I met Erica Lopez.

As you’ll learn about in the first few minutes of this week’s episode, we met at the AMIA conference in Pittsburgh, PA. It was November of 2016.


 

 

The sad thing was that the actual conference was amazing. Some of the best panels I’ve ever experienced at AMIA. But we were all so goddamn numb because of the election results that we were somewhere between zombie, “Is this real life?” and wanting to go to sleep forever or the next 4 years (whichever came first).

But I met Erica Lopez and her badass partner-in-archivey-action Caroline Oliveira and I was so thrilled. These women were my kinda ladies!!!!! These women were still students and considerably younger than me but I was so excited to find women who were just as passionate about the field as I was in a positive and pro-active way!

Obviously I kept in touch with both women.

Erica got in touch with me earlier this year and told me what her thesis was going to be about and I was floored. Her title, as presented at the end of March, is Mi Voz: Latin@ Self-Representation in Home Moviesand this was the description that was posted in the schedule for NYU MIAP thesis presentations. “The portrayal of Latin@s in the media has been constructed by stereotypes that attempt to suppress their voice. This thesis will focus on home movies of Latin@s, primarily on Mexican-American/ Xican@ communities. These movies challenge, threaten and question stereotypes of  Latin@s because these are images of self-representation. This thesis will look at different collections of home movies, specifically looking at the content, film format, the year they were shot and the year they were acquired in a cultural institution. The thesis will also consider how this community is represented in metadata since Mexican-American, Latin@, Hispan@, and Xican@ are labels that connote problematic issues. The thesis will end with a case study on The Fuentes Collection of home movies, which has been added to the National Film Registry’s list. After giving an historical background of the Fuentes family, I will discuss how they represent life in a border-town-space.”

I genuinely love home movies but let’s get real: the ones that most people see and the stereotype of the “Home Movie” is pretty damn white.

Home Movies are not white. Looking at those in the US, they are African American. They are Japanese American. They are Mexican American. They are Italian American. They are Pilipino American. So why do we just imagine blond babies toddling by the Christmas tree while Dad drinks a beer when we consider the “home movie”?

Erica Lopez is subverting the dominant paradigm by saying: I’m looking at Mexican Home Movies, movies that people have been ignoring. Films that have been sitting there because they are of people of color, cultures who have systematically disparaged and considered “less than” by a structure that still requires fixing. Erica Lopez is a critical scholar in this area. She did exactly what archival professionals are supposed to do: she saw a void in our field and said, “Oh hell no. I’m gonna fix that!”

Full disclosure: Erica is one of my best friends. So of course I’m going to say amazing things about her. But I wouldn’t go out of my way to praise her scholarship or social justice passion if it wasn’t present. That would not fit my ethical guidelines for myself and how I live my life.

I invite you to listen to this podcast that I did with a woman who continues to impress me the longer I know her. I think you’ll enjoy it.

I know we enjoyed doing it.

Erica’s Bio:

My name is Erica Gloria López. I am a graduate student at NYU Moving Image and Archiving Preservation program. I’ll be graduating this May, hopefully, so the pressure is on to join the ‘professional’ world is scary, for many reasons, and obvious ones. Growing up in a Mexican family, living in America, was an experience that with time and experiences, has influenced my life. I never thought I would be an archivist, let alone, ever imagined finishing school at my age, 35, since I did not go to college after High School. I was too busy going to punk shows and dancing to 80s music in Downtown LA. But, for some odd reason, I stumbled across this program. It’s been one of my biggest life challenges, and the most rewarding.

Check out The Fuentes Collection:  http://www.texasarchive.org/library/index.php/Category:The_Fuentes_Collection

 

The Children ARE The Future

Hey fam.

Today I looked at pictures of people marching all across the country supporting kids. With posters, talking about gun violence, discussing (essentially) children/youth rights. The right to exist. And I saw (and have seen a lot of people so amazed that young people can be “so eloquent” and “so together” and “so activist.”

It’s awfully condescending. I hate to bring David Bowie into this but I don’t hate to bring David Bowie into this. He wrote the lyrics to “Changes,” the song quoted at the beginning of John Hughes’ 1985 film, The Breakfast Club, in 1972.  Read again what Bowie wrote:

And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They’re quite aware of what they’re goin’ through,

I was a child activist. I did HIV/AIDS education throughout my teen years. Everyone thought I was SO AMAZING. I didn’t feel amazing. I felt like people I knew were dying. I felt like when I got to high school, and my friends (or myself) were going to become sexually active, death was going to be part of the equation if I didn’t do something about it before I got there. There wasn’t an option for me.

Children aren’t stupid. These marches are great, please don’t stop them, the kids are the CENTER OF THEM! But the way that everyone is treating these highly smart, HIGHLY NORMAL, teenagers is fucking infuriating. I was doing marching and activism in the 1990s and my mom was getting lauded for having such a “bright and socially aware” daughter. And I’m not saying that I’m not an awesome smartypants. I am an awesome smartypants. But there were plenty of other teens who were doing it by my side. I was part of a group of teens who went and spoke in schools to other teens about how to prevent each other from getting infected.

Through the years, I’ve ALWAYS known children and young adults like this. Getting shot should not be a catalyst for change anymore than getting raped or harassed should be the force to make large organizations stand up and say, “Oh shit-we need to do something!”

Children and young adults should ALWAYS be listened to and they very rarely are. Because they have hormones or they are emotional or they are going through the really sucky fucked up issues of growing up. But fam- listen to your kids. Listen to your friends’ kids. At all ages. And don’t be shocked or surprised or OMGWTFBBQ when they spout Real Knowledge and Truth. They see everything much clearer than “Adults” do. The passions are real with them.

Now all of you: go listen to Whitney Houston sing “Greatest Love of All” UNIRONICALLY. This is your homework for today.