CALA Alliance Presents


Moderated by Josh Kun

Mon, May 15, 2017

Doors: 6:30 pm / Show: 7:00 pm


The fourth installment of Crossfade LAB will stage an experimental encounter between the internationally-known multi-disciplinary artist Nao Bustamente and the acclaimed musician and recording artist Helado Negro. Calling on immigrant geographies that run from Mexico to Ecuador-- and span California, South Florida, and Brooklyn in between-- both artists have used performance, masquerade, and wit to re-imagine Latinx aesthetics, history, and politics.

Moderated by Crossfade Lab co-curator and 2016 MacArthur Fellow Josh Kun, the evening will mix live performances and collaborations with intimate artist conversations. 

This event is presented by CALA Alliance in collaboration with ASU Art Museum and Crescent Ballroom. Support generously provided by the Diane & Bruce Halle Foundation.

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A South Florida native, born to Ecuadorian immigrants and based in Brooklyn, Roberto Carlos Lange's upbringing provides essential elements to his songwriting, including his consistently bilingual – English and Spanish – lyrics. While citing the influence of electro and Miami-bass he heard on the radio in his youth, his diverse work as Helado Negro points to shades of kraut rock bathed in his mesmerizing rhythms, loops and hair-raising melodies. Known for his craftsmanship, Lange has cultured his identity, ideology and musical dexterity with constant artistic and introspective development, pouring his heart and full sincerity into his music. His fourth LP Double Youth released in 2014 garnered acclaim with Pitchfork naming it "the boldest and most intricate Helado Negro work to date." With a degree in Computer Art and Animation, Lange, a multifaceted creator, has worked with mediums such as video, sculpture, sound and performance. While Helado Negro is in a sense a one man band for the digital age, a constant collaborator, Lange has worked on projects with numerous artists including Sufjan Stevens, Julianna Barwick (as Ombre), Devendra Barnhart Mikael Jorgensen (of Wilco), Guillermo Scott Herren (of Prefuse 73) and Mouse on Mars

Helado Negro tours extensively and has performed in diverse venues from clubs to cultural organizations including the Wexner Center, Columbus; Indianapolis Museum of Art; Mana Contemporary, Chicago; Museum of Natural History, L.A.; Mass MoCA, North Adams, Marguilies Warehouse, Miami, Festival Centro, Bogota and Vive Latino, Mexico City. In 2015 he was the recipient of a Joyce Award and premiered an orchestral commission as part of the Liquid Music series during the inaugural festivities of the Ordway Center for Performing Arts in Saint Paul.

"Among the musicians currently redefining Latino culture worldwide, Helado Negro creates a sonic landscape that reflects 21st-century Latin America." – NPR
Moderated by Josh Kun
Moderated by Josh Kun
Josh Kun is an author, academic, curator and music critic. His research focuses on the arts and politics of cultural connection, with an emphasis on popular music, the cultures of globalization, the US-Mexico border, Los Angeles and Jewish-American musical history.

Professor Kun is a cultural historian exploring the ways in which the arts and popular culture are conduits for cross-cultural exchange. In work that spans academic scholarship, exhibitions, and performances, Kun unearths and brings to life forgotten historical narratives through finely grained analyses of material and sonic manifestations of popular culture. He complicates our understanding of the evolution of racial and ethnic identity in America in works such as Audiotopia (2006), a comprehensive comparative study of African American, Jewish American, Mexican American, and Mexican popular music, and the co-authored And You Shall Know Us by the Trail of Our Vinyl (2008), a close reading of over 400 Jewish music album covers.

More recently, Kun has turned his attention to the diverse and vibrant culture of Los Angeles, with an emphasis on bringing present-day communities together around historical intersections of cultural expression. To Live and Dine in LA: Menus and the Making of the Modern City (2015) uses taste—and political, economic, and sociological undertones of eating—as points of entry into urban history. An accompanying exhibition and a series of public events in Los Angeles introduced local and national audiences to a fascinating yet easily overlooked aspect of the city’s past. Kun created a similar multiplatform presentation of the Los Angeles Public Library’s collection of Southern California sheet music from the 1840s to the 1950s. Including a book, Songs in the Key of Los Angeles (2013), new recordings, and an exhibition, the project culminated in a free public concert that brought together diverse communities to hear Stevie Wonder, Jackson Browne, and other performers share their music in a spirit of unity and inclusiveness.

In these and many other projects, including cultural studies of the U.S.-Mexico border, Kun is showing how communities that may have historically been seen as separate actually have much in common. At the same time, his dedication to identifying new ways to make the histories of cultural production tangible for the public is demonstrating the power of public humanities at its best.

Josh Kun received a B.A. (1993) from Duke University and a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley (1999). In addition to being a frequent contributor to newspapers, journals, and radio, he is the co-editor of Sound Clash: Listening to American Studies (2012) and Tijuana Dreaming: Life and Art at the Global Border (2012). Kun has curated exhibitions and installations at such venues as the Getty Foundation, the Museum of Latin American Art, the Skirball Center, and the Grammy Museum, among others, and in 2005, he co-founded the Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation, through which he has co-produced albums and organized several concerts of Jewish American music. He is currently a professor of communication in the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and director of the Popular Music Project in the Norman Lear Center at the University of Southern California.
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