CALA Alliance Presents


Moderated by Josh Kun

Fri, October 27, 2017

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

$15 GA

Sold Out

This event is 21 and over

PLEASE NOTE: This event is not a concert

The fifth edition of Crossfade Lab will stage an intimate conversation between
acclaimed Arizona Mojave poet Natalie Diaz and two time Latin Grammy award-winning Mexican songwriter and musician (and former Phoenix local) Carla Morrison. 

Moderated by CALA Crossfade Lab co-curator and 2016 MacArthur Fellow Josh Kun, our evening will be an experimental mix of words and music, exploring the connections between themes central to both Diaz and Morrison: desire and love, land and family, and traditions that bend, bear witness, and sometimes break.

Crossfade LAB is organized by CALA Alliance with generous support from the Diane Bruce Halle Foundation and in collaboration with Crescent Ballroom and ASU Art Museum.

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Mexican singer and composer, born 19 July 1986 in Tecate, Baja California, Mexico.
Natalie Diaz was born in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California. She is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian community. She earned a BA from Old Dominion University, where she received a full athletic scholarship. Diaz played professional basketball in Europe and Asia before returning to Old Dominion to earn an MFA. She is the author of the poetry collection When My Brother Was an Aztec (2012), which New York Times reviewer Eric McHenry described as an “ambitious … beautiful book.” Her honors and awards include the Nimrod/Hardman Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, the Louis Untermeyer Scholarship in Poetry from Bread Loaf, the Narrative Poetry Prize, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship.

Diaz lives in Mohave Valley, Arizona, where she has worked with the last speakers of Mojave and directed a language revitalization program. In a PBS interview, she spoke of the connection between writing and experience: "for me writing is kind of a way for me to explore why I want things and why I'm afraid of things and why I worry about things. And for me, all of those things represent a kind of hunger that comes with being raised in a place like this.”
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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