Dedicated to Women Guitarists and Bassists

Alone At Last | San Cha x Shiny Kid

Alone At Last: a performance series capturing intimacy through isolation. Featuring San Cha x Shiny Kid.


May 5, 2020
Written by
Diana Diaz
Creative Direction, Color, Editorial:
Shiny Kid
Director of Photography:
Prisk Rios
Styled by:
OLIMA


The importance of creating community during these times of isolation

Community, within the context of Latinx identity, has been a powerful tool. It offers dialogue, social change, and most importantly, visibility. It’s a beautiful space where marginalized bodies can come together and create the most powerful connection. Community has been the reason why I personally have felt empowered to move forward in many of my endeavors—it is at the forefront of all the work I do. From creating Diana Diaz, an ethical clothing line that uses its platform to create space for POC, queer, and immigrant folks to running Solidarity For Sanctuary, an organization that uses music and the arts to stand in solidarity with the immigrant community; it has always been vital to understand that without community, change in any form is nearly impossible to obtain.  

For all marginalized communities, the idea of coming together in safe spaces has been an important part of unifying and feeling empowered when we live in a society that often erases us from their narrative. This visibility has been most evident within the music scene, which has seen an uprise of emerging POC and queer artists. Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen an insurgence of these artists taking over media outlets and music festivals that previously had been predominantly white men. To occupy spaces that were not meant for us was a beautiful feeling felt within all of us, and it was mostly felt when we would go to shows and celebrate together. 

Music has historically been an important tool used within many social movements, creating voice, empowerment, and resistance for many oppressed communities. With our worlds being turned upside down overnight it has become apparent that music, now more than ever, is imperative in reinforcing community. 

We’ve been taking our time thinking about this turn, and contemplating what would be the best way to move forward for us—the musicians and fans. We wanted to create something that would not only offer longevity, but entails a complete package of live concert elements. We wanted to ensure that the feeling and importance of community is not lost solely because we do not have a physical space to gather at currently. 

The Alone At Last series aims to work with as many musicians and artists as possible to provide safe spaces where we as POC, queer, and marginalized folk can continue to work and create beautiful and important experiences. It’s a platform that has the intent to connect us, and allow all of us to grow together.


What Does This Look Like?

Alone At Last: a performance series capturing intimacy through isolation.

To ensure we continue with our mission to create community, our new series takes the essential voice brought forth by musicians and pairs them with creatives, such as directors and photographers, to create a visionary performance that captures the essence of a live show. The purpose of this series is not only to provide fans with an intimate experience, but to create a high quality experience that promotes a digital economy for music industry workers across varying mediums and fields.



San Cha x Shiny Kid

How have you been building, nurturing, and caring for yourself and/or your community despite the restrictions and barriers of everyday life since quarantine? 

San Cha: Even with the lockdowns, I allow so much space for my ideas and dreams as well as allowing a lot of space for rest. Sometimes the restrictions and barriers are like riddles and challenges to me that I need to solve and they actually serve as a source of new inspiration. I’m no stranger to making things happen with very little, I’ve definitely created with so much less. Eating more of my own and my partners cooking, makes me feel so much more in tune with myself and makes my house feel more like a home. I’ve been talking to my mother and aunts in Mexico a lot more, and calling my friends as soon as I think of them.

Shiny Kid: I’ve been more gentle with myself and working towards releasing the need to feel busy, productive, and in control. I’ve been able to develop small rituals to perform throughout my day that allow me to feel fully present and integrated with my inner/outer worlds. I’ve been cooking and sharing recipes with friends, doing a daily tarot pull and meditation, learning to revive my pre-quarantine perm with oils and curl pins, and having weekly virtual hang sessions with my family. I’ve found this time very inspiring and have been prioritizing my art practice over everything, and that’s actually made me feel more grounded. I’ve been more open to collaborations and impromptu creating with others; it’s been really revitalizing to create without a fixed idea of what the project will evolve into.

 

What do some of those restrictions look like? What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced when trying to fulfill your job and/or share your art?

San Cha: I cannot have regular band rehearsals or record in groups, and that’s made me the most sad. I’ve had to rely on myself more for social media performances and dust off my guitar playing skills and find arrangements that are still interesting and fun to play by myself. I do find it more challenging to record and put out my own new music and organize myself enough to finish those projects.


Shiny Kid:
The biggest restriction working in the realm of filmmaking is that production requires multiple people to work together in a shared space, and right now we are unable to gather in large groups. A lot of magick happens on set or on location when shooting a project, no matter the genre. Now, we need to rethink this model of filmmaking and find new ways of creating. It’s both scary and exciting, but usually good things come from the mixture of those two feelings. Personally, I’ve been rethinking the essence of filmmaking and how there are so many ways to approach it. I’ve been experimenting with some of my own personal films, but as for larger projects I continue to develop my ideas by writing and creating mood boards.

 

 

What were some of the in-person elements from either a live show or working with a team that you’ve been missing and hoping to bring to this project?

San Cha: I miss touching people, I miss not being worried if I’m passing a virus on to someone or the other way around. I also miss the loud music and the loud reactions from the audience, and them singing with me. I miss dancing around on a stage and losing my breath. In this project I was happy to showcase the intimate internal passion, the details in the looks, and to display the magic with a very focused intention.


Shiny Kid:
Working with a crew to develop an idea and execute it in production is crucial to my practice. I approached this project as a way to experiment with ‘remote directing’ and providing my collaborators with the information and resources they needed to create the aesthetic we had in mind. I usually shoot a lot of my own work myself, but it was so wonderful collaborating with Prisk [Rios] as a DP [Director of Photography]. She really showed how thoughtful, creative, and capable she is in creating the images we sought to capture. By providing a framework for production and keeping our ‘set’ in line with how a normal set would run, we were able to get through our entire shot list and then some.

 

What did you expect from this process? How did it surprise you and how did it challenge you?

San Cha: I expected this to be a more intense and involved process. It was a little scary and challenging to trust the process, while not having Caitlin to physically direct and oversee, but we quickly overcame that challenge. Thankfully Caitlin communicated very clearly through email and FaceTime/Zoom calls. Having my partner (Prisk Rios) film me, and my drag mother (OLIMA) dress me, makes for a very intimate and uninhibited performance.

 

Shiny Kid: First of all, I was thrilled when asked to collaborate with San Cha on this project as we had all these plans to shoot a music video before quarantine. I was able to channel the creative energy I had while developing ideas for the music video into this performance piece. San Cha and I are both huge fans of telenovelas, and our goal was to bring that level of drama to this project. I wanted to create a concert experience for the viewer with dramatic lighting, costumes, engaging performances, and visuals. We tested our setups a few times before deciding on a lighting scheme and costume, which really helped us get in the right space for the performance. 

The challenging aspect for me was letting go of control over every facet of production. I had a few creative suggestions for the camera work, but overall I trusted Prisk’s creative eye. I am so used to doing a lot of these things myself, but I’ve been slowly working on relinquishing control and allowing others to support me in my projects (and in life). This was a great way of testing myself, and I ended up falling in love with every frame we shot.

We had a few hiccups with staying virtually connected the entire time (Zoom, FaceTime), but we made it work. I was behind my laptop screen and Prisk set her phone up so I could see San Cha performing as we recorded. We moved seamlessly through each set up, with mini breaks in between for battery charging and snacks. In total it was five hours to shoot, but it really flew by. I was amazed at how much we did with so little! 

The editing and color process came very natural to me—I love getting sucked into a performance and getting lost in the edit. I wanted it to feel dreamy and dramatic, supernatural and surreal, and I think with the combination of lighting, camera movement, and San Cha’s stage presence and voice, we created an at-home concert experience for all to enjoy during this time of isolation.

 

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