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Quetzal Performs "Estoy Aqui" at the 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Smithsonian Institution
Purchase this recording from Smithsonian Folkways and support our mission as the non-profit record label of the national museum of the United States: http://www.folkways.si.edu/albumdetails.aspx?itemid=3365 Also available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Rdio and everywhere else... Quetzal, called "provocative, heartfelt and strikingly original" by the LA Times and founded by guitarist Quetzal Flores, rose from the ashes of uprisings in LA in 1992 as a vehicle for social commentary and activism. Quetzal's music has its roots in traditional son jarocho music from Veracruz, Mexico, but is reinterpreted through alternative rock. Incorporating other Mexican, Afro-Caribbean, and R&B rhythms, as well as writing bilingual lyrics, reflects the multicultural environment of Quetzal's native East LA. "Estoy aquí" ("I am Here") is a backbeat cumbia inviting people to both dance and also to think. Quetzal uses this song to validate claims of space and presence made by Mexican and Mexican-American communities despite oppression by local governments.

Indigenous Motivations

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Art show that reveals how Native artists continue to be influenced by tradition, innovation, and art - translating traditional themes into modern terms through many artistic mediums. Focuses on recent acquisitions to the collection. Includes quotes by artists and an extensive image collection.

Mende masquerader performing the satirical mask gongoli, Monrovia, Liberia. [slide]

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
Title is provided by EEPA staff based on photographer's notes.

The photograph depicts Mende masquerader from the Dance troupe of William Lewis. mr. Lewis was at the time director of Folklore and Culture Affairs in the Liberian government. "the most satirical of all the masks in this tradition is the Gongoli, which is widely distributed among the Mende, Gola, Vai, Temne, and Sherbro. One of the Gongoli's principal functions is to serve as a vehicle for the ritualized reduction of social tensions through social commentary and criticism. The Gongoli is also known as Kokpo among the Gola and Vai." [Siegmann W. and Perani J., 1976: Men's Masquerades of Sierra Leone and Liberia. African Arts. Regents of the University of California. Published by UCLA James S. Coleman African Studies Center]. This photograph was taken when Eliot Elisofon was on assignment for Life magazine and traveled to Africa from August 18, 1959 to December 20, 1959.

Mende masqueraders from the Liberian National Dance Troupe, [slide]

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
Title is provided by EEPA staff based on photographer's notes.

The photograph depicts Mende masqueraders from the Dance troupe of William Lewis. Mr. Lewis was at the time director of Folklore and Culture Affairs in the Liberian government. "the most satirical of all the masks in this tradition is the Gongoli, which is widely distributed among the Mende, Gola, Vai, Temne, and Sherbro. One of the Gongoli's principal functions is to serve as a vehicle for the ritualized reduction of social tensions through social commentary and criticism. The Gongoli is also known as Kokpo among the Gola and Vai." [Siegmann W. and Perani J., 1976: Men's Masquerades of Sierra Leone and Liberia. African Arts. Regents of the University of California. Published by UCLA James S. Coleman African Studies Center]. This photograph was taken by Eliot Elisofon in November 1971.

Mende masqueraders from the Liberian National Dance Troupe, [slide]

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
Title is provided by EEPA staff based on photographer's notes.

The photograph depicts Mende masqueraders from the Dance troupe of William Lewis. Mr. Lewis was at the time director of Folklore and Culture Affairs in the Liberian government. "the most satirical of all the masks in this tradition is the Gongoli, which is widely distributed among the Mende, Gola, Vai, Temne, and Sherbro. One of the Gongoli's principal functions is to serve as a vehicle for the ritualized reduction of social tensions through social commentary and criticism. The Gongoli is also known as Kokpo among the Gola and Vai." [Siegmann W. and Perani J., 1976: Men's Masquerades of Sierra Leone and Liberia. African Arts. Regents of the University of California. Published by UCLA James S. Coleman African Studies Center]. This photograph was taken by Eliot Elisofon in November 1971.

Mende masqueraders from the Liberian National Dance Troupe, [slide]

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
Title is provided by EEPA staff based on photographer's notes.

The photograph depicts Mende masqueraders from the Dance troupe of William Lewis. Mr. Lewis was at the time director of Folklore and Culture Affairs in the Liberian government. "the most satirical of all the masks in this tradition is the Gongoli, which is widely distributed among the Mende, Gola, Vai, Temne, and Sherbro. One of the Gongoli's principal functions is to serve as a vehicle for the ritualized reduction of social tensions through social commentary and criticism. The Gongoli is also known as Kokpo among the Gola and Vai." [Siegmann W. and Perani J., 1976: Men's Masquerades of Sierra Leone and Liberia. African Arts. Regents of the University of California. Published by UCLA James S. Coleman African Studies Center]. This photograph was taken by Eliot Elisofon in November 1971.

Mende masquerader performing the satirical mask gongoli, Monrovia, Liberia. [slide]

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
Title is provided by EEPA staff based on photographer's notes.

The photograph depicts Mende masquerader from the Dance troupe of William Lewis. mr. Lewis was at the time director of Folklore and Culture Affairs in the Liberian government. "the most satirical of all the masks in this tradition is the Gongoli, which is widely distributed among the Mende, Gola, Vai, Temne, and Sherbro. One of the Gongoli's principal functions is to serve as a vehicle for the ritualized reduction of social tensions through social commentary and criticism. The Gongoli is also known as Kokpo among the Gola and Vai." [Siegmann W. and Perani J., 1976: Men's Masquerades of Sierra Leone and Liberia. African Arts. Regents of the University of California. Published by UCLA James S. Coleman African Studies Center]. This photograph was taken when Eliot Elisofon was on assignment for Life magazine and traveled to Africa from August 18, 1959 to December 20, 1959.

Mende masquerader performing the satirical mask gongoli, Monrovia, Liberia. [slide]

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
Title is provided by EEPA staff based on photographer's notes.

The photograph depicts Mende masquerader from the Liberian National Dance Troupe of William Lewis. Mr. Lewis was at the time director of Folklore and Culture Affairs in the Liberian government. "the most satirical of all the masks in this tradition is the Gongoli, which is widely distributed among the Mende, Gola, Vai, Temne, and Sherbro. One of the Gongoli's principal functions is to serve as a vehicle for the ritualized reduction of social tensions through social commentary and criticism. The Gongoli is also known as Kokpo among the Gola and Vai." [Siegmann W. and Perani J., 1976: Men's Masquerades of Sierra Leone and Liberia. African Arts. Regents of the University of California. Published by UCLA James S. Coleman African Studies Center]. This photograph was taken when Eliot Elisofon was on assignment for Life magazine and traveled to Africa from August 18, 1959 to December 20, 1959.

Mende masquerader performing the satirical mask gongoli, Monrovia, Liberia. [slide]

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
Title is provided by EEPA staff based on photographer's notes.

The photograph depicts Mende masquerader from the Dance troupe of William Lewis. mr. Lewis was at the time director of Folklore and Culture Affairs in the Liberian government. "the most satirical of all the masks in this tradition is the Gongoli, which is widely distributed among the Mende, Gola, Vai, Temne, and Sherbro. One of the Gongoli's principal functions is to serve as a vehicle for the ritualized reduction of social tensions through social commentary and criticism. The Gongoli is also known as Kokpo among the Gola and Vai." [Siegmann W. and Perani J., 1976: Men's Masquerades of Sierra Leone and Liberia. African Arts. Regents of the University of California. Published by UCLA James S. Coleman African Studies Center]. This photograph was taken when Eliot Elisofon was on assignment for Life magazine and traveled to Africa from August 18, 1959 to December 20, 1959.

Mende masqueraders from the Liberian National Dance Troupe, [slide]

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
Title is provided by EEPA staff based on photographer's notes.

The photograph depicts Mende masqueraders from the Dance troupe of William Lewis. Mr. Lewis was at the time director of Folklore and Culture Affairs in the Liberian government. "the most satirical of all the masks in this tradition is the Gongoli, which is widely distributed among the Mende, Gola, Vai, Temne, and Sherbro. One of the Gongoli's principal functions is to serve as a vehicle for the ritualized reduction of social tensions through social commentary and criticism. The Gongoli is also known as Kokpo among the Gola and Vai." [Siegmann W. and Perani J., 1976: Men's Masquerades of Sierra Leone and Liberia. African Arts. Regents of the University of California. Published by UCLA James S. Coleman African Studies Center]. This photograph was taken by Eliot Elisofon in November 1971.

Mende masqueraders from the Liberian National Dance Troupe, [slide]

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
Title is provided by EEPA staff based on photographer's notes.

The photograph depicts Mende masqueraders from the Dance troupe of William Lewis. Mr. Lewis was at the time director of Folklore and Culture Affairs in the Liberian government. "the most satirical of all the masks in this tradition is the Gongoli, which is widely distributed among the Mende, Gola, Vai, Temne, and Sherbro. One of the Gongoli's principal functions is to serve as a vehicle for the ritualized reduction of social tensions through social commentary and criticism. The Gongoli is also known as Kokpo among the Gola and Vai." [Siegmann W. and Perani J., 1976: Men's Masquerades of Sierra Leone and Liberia. African Arts. Regents of the University of California. Published by UCLA James S. Coleman African Studies Center]. This photograph was taken by Eliot Elisofon in November 1971.

Mende masqueraders from the Liberian National Dance Troupe, [slide]

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
Title is provided by EEPA staff based on photographer's notes.

The photograph depicts Mende masqueraders from the Dance troupe of William Lewis. Mr. Lewis was at the time director of Folklore and Culture Affairs in the Liberian government. "the most satirical of all the masks in this tradition is the Gongoli, which is widely distributed among the Mende, Gola, Vai, Temne, and Sherbro. One of the Gongoli's principal functions is to serve as a vehicle for the ritualized reduction of social tensions through social commentary and criticism. The Gongoli is also known as Kokpo among the Gola and Vai." [Siegmann W. and Perani J., 1976: Men's Masquerades of Sierra Leone and Liberia. African Arts. Regents of the University of California. Published by UCLA James S. Coleman African Studies Center]. This photograph was taken by Eliot Elisofon in November 1971.

Mende masquerader performing the satirical mask gongoli, Monrovia, Liberia. [slide]

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
Title is provided by EEPA staff based on photographer's notes.

The photograph depicts Mende masquerader from the Dance troupe of William Lewis. mr. Lewis was at the time director of Folklore and Culture Affairs in the Liberian government. "The most satirical of all the masks in this tradition is the Gongoli, which is widely distributed among the Mende, Gola, Vai, Temne, and Sherbro. One of the Gongoli's principal functions is to serve as a vehicle for the ritualized reduction of social tensions through social commentary and criticism. The Gongoli is also known as Kokpo among the Gola and Vai." [Siegmann W. and Perani J., 1976: Men's Masquerades of Sierra Leone and Liberia. African Arts. Regents of the University of California. Published by UCLA James S. Coleman African Studies Center]. This photograph was taken when Eliot Elisofon was on assignment for Life magazine and traveled to Africa from August 18, 1959 to December 20, 1959.

Mende masqueraders from the Liberian National Dance Troupe, [slide]

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
Title is provided by EEPA staff based on photographer's notes.

The photograph depicts Mende masqueraders from the Liberian National Dance Troupe of William Lewis. Mr. Lewis was at the time director of Folklore and Culture Affairs in the Liberian government. "the most satirical of all the masks in this tradition is the Gongoli, which is widely distributed among the Mende, Gola, Vai, Temne, and Sherbro. One of the Gongoli's principal functions is to serve as a vehicle for the ritualized reduction of social tensions through social commentary and criticism. The Gongoli is also known as Kokpo among the Gola and Vai." [Siegmann W. and Perani J., 1976: Men's Masquerades of Sierra Leone and Liberia. African Arts. Regents of the University of California. Published by UCLA James S. Coleman African Studies Center]. This photograph was taken by Eliot Elisofon in November 1971.

Mende masqueraders from the Liberian National Dance Troupe, [slide]

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
Title is provided by EEPA staff based on photographer's notes.

The photograph depicts Mende masqueraders from the Dance troupe of William Lewis. Mr. Lewis was at the time director of Folklore and Culture Affairs in the Liberian government. "the most satirical of all the masks in this tradition is the Gongoli, which is widely distributed among the Mende, Gola, Vai, Temne, and Sherbro. One of the Gongoli's principal functions is to serve as a vehicle for the ritualized reduction of social tensions through social commentary and criticism. The Gongoli is also known as Kokpo among the Gola and Vai." [Siegmann W. and Perani J., 1976: Men's Masquerades of Sierra Leone and Liberia. African Arts. Regents of the University of California. Published by UCLA James S. Coleman African Studies Center]. This photograph was taken by Eliot Elisofon in November 1971.

Mende masqueraders from the Liberian National Dance Troupe, [slide]

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
Title is provided by EEPA staff based on photographer's notes.

The photograph depicts Mende masqueraders from the Dance troupe of William Lewis. Mr. Lewis was at the time director of Folklore and Culture Affairs in the Liberian government. "the most satirical of all the masks in this tradition is the Gongoli, which is widely distributed among the Mende, Gola, Vai, Temne, and Sherbro. One of the Gongoli's principal functions is to serve as a vehicle for the ritualized reduction of social tensions through social commentary and criticism. The Gongoli is also known as Kokpo among the Gola and Vai." [Siegmann W. and Perani J., 1976: Men's Masquerades of Sierra Leone and Liberia. African Arts. Regents of the University of California. Published by UCLA James S. Coleman African Studies Center]. This photograph was taken by Eliot Elisofon in November 1971.

Mende masqueraders from the Liberian National Dance Troupe, [slide]

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
Title is provided by EEPA staff based on photographer's notes.

The photograph depicts Mende masqueraders from the Dance troupe of William Lewis. Mr. Lewis was at the time director of Folklore and Culture Affairs in the Liberian government. "the most satirical of all the masks in this tradition is the Gongoli, which is widely distributed among the Mende, Gola, Vai, Temne, and Sherbro. One of the Gongoli's principal functions is to serve as a vehicle for the ritualized reduction of social tensions through social commentary and criticism. The Gongoli is also known as Kokpo among the Gola and Vai." [Siegmann W. and Perani J., 1976: Men's Masquerades of Sierra Leone and Liberia. African Arts. Regents of the University of California. Published by UCLA James S. Coleman African Studies Center]. This photograph was taken by Eliot Elisofon in November 1971.

Mende masquerader performing the satirical mask gongoli, Monrovia, Liberia. [slide]

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
Title is provided by EEPA staff based on photographer's notes.

The photograph depicts Mende masquerader from the Dance troupe of William Lewis. mr. Lewis was at the time director of Folklore and Culture Affairs in the Liberian government. "the most satirical of all the masks in this tradition is the Gongoli, which is widely distributed among the Mende, Gola, Vai, Temne, and Sherbro. One of the Gongoli's principal functions is to serve as a vehicle for the ritualized reduction of social tensions through social commentary and criticism. The Gongoli is also known as Kokpo among the Gola and Vai." [Siegmann W. and Perani J., 1976: Men's Masquerades of Sierra Leone and Liberia. African Arts. Regents of the University of California. Published by UCLA James S. Coleman African Studies Center]. This photograph was taken when Eliot Elisofon was on assignment for Life magazine and traveled to Africa from August 18, 1959 to December 20, 1959.

Mende masqueraders from the Liberian National Dance Troupe, [slide]

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
Title is provided by EEPA staff based on photographer's notes.

The photograph depicts Mende masqueraders from the Dance troupe of William Lewis. Mr. Lewis was at the time director of Folklore and Culture Affairs in the Liberian government. "the most satirical of all the masks in this tradition is the Gongoli, which is widely distributed among the Mende, Gola, Vai, Temne, and Sherbro. One of the Gongoli's principal functions is to serve as a vehicle for the ritualized reduction of social tensions through social commentary and criticism. The Gongoli is also known as Kokpo among the Gola and Vai." [Siegmann W. and Perani J., 1976: Men's Masquerades of Sierra Leone and Liberia. African Arts. Regents of the University of California. Published by UCLA James S. Coleman African Studies Center]. This photograph was taken by Eliot Elisofon in November 1971.

Mende masqueraders from the Liberian National Dance Troupe, [slide]

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
Title is provided by EEPA staff based on photographer's notes.

The photograph depicts Mende masqueraders from the Dance troupe of William Lewis. Mr. Lewis was at the time director of Folklore and Culture Affairs in the Liberian government. "the most satirical of all the masks in this tradition is the Gongoli, which is widely distributed among the Mende, Gola, Vai, Temne, and Sherbro. One of the Gongoli's principal functions is to serve as a vehicle for the ritualized reduction of social tensions through social commentary and criticism. The Gongoli is also known as Kokpo among the Gola and Vai." [Siegmann W. and Perani J., 1976: Men's Masquerades of Sierra Leone and Liberia. African Arts. Regents of the University of California. Published by UCLA James S. Coleman African Studies Center]. This photograph was taken by Eliot Elisofon in November 1971.

Lenny Bruce

National Portrait Gallery
The most controversial comedian of his day, Lenny Bruce used humor as a form of confrontation, shocking audiences with his caustic social commentary. He was known as the "hipster comic" and the "sickest of the sick," frequently hounded by the police for obscene language and for his satires of religion and the justice system. Bruce studied acting under the GI Bill, and he got his start performing in burlesque clubs in New York City, developing a loyal following among younger audiences. His free-form, often rambling act set the standard for a new outlaw style of comedy. Yet his irreverence toward authority had real-life consequences. At times nightclubs refused to book him, and in 1963 he was banned from entering Great Britain. Bruce died in 1966 at the age of forty from a heroin overdose. Fellow comedian Dick Gregory once said of his influence: "he’s to show business what Einstein was to science."

Quentin Tarantino

National Portrait Gallery
Quentin Tarantino is a filmmaker, screenwriter, and producer whose films exemplify pastiche—a key element of postmodern style—and anticipate remix culture. An outspoken and irreverent director, Tarantino grew up immersed in the film, music, and television of the 1970s, from Bruce Lee to Soul Train. Many of his films are stylish revenge narratives that combine elements of martial arts and blaxploitation films, biker films, and B movies. In an innovative move, Tarantino often writes scripts featuring cool, violent female protagonists on a quest for security, revenge, or redemption (Pam Grier in Jackie Brown [1997], Uma Thurman in Kill Bill [2003–4], the women in Death Proof [2007]). These films rarely indulge in social commentary. His style is his substance: Tarantino speaks the grammar of violence ingrained in American cinema, but by transgressing genre boundaries, he creates jarring, nonlinear narratives, as in Pulp Fiction (1994). His pulp thrillers suggest that the American collective unconscious is shot through with pop-cultural imagery awaiting interpretation.

About the Artist

Smithsonian Magazine

Frantz Zéphirin was born on December 17, 1968, in Cap-Haitien, Haiti. He is, by his reckoning, the 24th of his father’s 48 children (born to 19 different women). Zéphirin was raised by his grandmother near her voodoo compound in Cap-Haitien before moving to Port-au-Prince at the age of 16.

As a child, Zéphirin started painting images of colonial houses in 1973 with his uncle, the Haitian master Antoine Obin, but he quickly pulled away from the stylized school of the Cap artists. Since 1987, Zéphirin has shown his work at Haiti’s Galerie Monnin.

His work is instantly recognizable by the human figures with animal heads, which represent his deep cynicism for the country’s ruling class. Zéphirin’s paintings are characterized by their bright colors, patterns and tightly packed compositions. Extremely prolific, Zéphirin is known for his powerful imagination and devastating social commentary. His inspiration comes from the country’s political history, events in the Bible and voodoo mythology.

Zéphirin has shared his vision wherever he has gone, including France, Germany, Holland, Denmark, the United States and Panama.

Tom Wolfe

National Portrait Gallery
Born Richmond, Virginia

Armed with a Ph.D. from Yale University in American studies, Tom Wolfe became a journalist, working for several prominent newspapers and magazines. His articles on such varied topics as stock-car racing, pop culture, and sports figures such as Muhammad Ali soon brought him wide attention-as well as strong criticism-for their writing style, known as "New Journalism." Collections of Wolfe's controversial articles from this era include The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby (1965). Subsequent books include The Right Stuff (1979), his study of the early years of the American space program, and From Bauhaus to Our House (1981), his criticism of modern architecture. His satires, such as The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987), continued his social commentary in fictional form. In this portrait, his friend Ray Kinstler depicted him in a white three-piece suit, a style that he first adopted in the 1960s.
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