For the past four years, The Boca De Oro Literary & Arts festival has been a gathering place for local artists, poets, writers, and other creatives in the city of Santa Ana who feature their work through a series of sessions.
Now celebrating its 5th year, Boca De Oro is going to be bigger than ever, boasting 109 sessions with 156 speakers over the course of three days. Every session will be held virtually over zoom with a jam-packed schedule featuring workshops, readings, panel discussions, poetry slams, and visual performances.
Keynote Speaker, Pete Souza, will be embodying this year’s theme of historic memory, visions, and dreams by speaking about his experience as a White House photographer during the Obama & Reagan Administration.
Marc Bamuthi Joseph, arts activist & spoken word artist, will close the festival with a compelling speech sharing his passion for the immigrant youth.
Boca De Oro will also feature Santa Ana natives like Mayor Vincente Sarmiento, Councilmember Johnathan Hernandez, local artist Jouvon Kingsby, and dozens of teachers & students from the Santa Ana School District.
The purpose of highlighting these diverse creatives is to encourage the youth to be more involved. “We want to create a pathway for young creatives to network with professionals, college graduates, artists, and authors so they can be inspired to pursue the same fields,” says Madeline, co-founder of The Boca De Oro Festival.
For many years, artists have served as the true historians, documenting the sentiments of society in a way traditional historians have struggled to articulate.
For our stories to be told, we must encourage our young people to create and show us their perspective on how they see the world today.
Extraordinary events like the pandemic are important to document through one’s art because each community was affected differently. It is especially crucial for those who identify as BIPOC to share their experiences through their work, which is why the festival has made a great effort to highlight their stories.
But before we create, we must observe. Literature can be a great way to gain perspective of other narratives and fuel purpose through our art. “I think that those become like the universal language of true literature. We have the ability to be further than where we are. And we have the ability to express ourselves in more raw and realistic ways than we normally can,” Spencer said.
To forward this message, event founders Robyn MacNair and Madeline Spencer have created a free lending library campaign to increase literacy within the neighborhoods of Santa Ana.
Each participating neighborhood will have a built-in cabinet filled with books donated by the community. Every reader is welcome to take, borrow or return any book with no strings attached.
These collaborative efforts will hopefully bring forth the next generation of artists by connecting them with those who have paved the path before them.
Join us March 5th-7th during Youth Arts Month for an inspiring, reflective, and cathartic event created for all ages. To register for the Boca De Oro Literary & Arts Festival, simply click this link to view our catalog of guest speakers and performers to sign up for their sessions. Listen to the stories of our modern historians and be apart of history in the making.
Article By Sara Marshall
Although 2020 put most of our lives at a standstill, 2021 is the year to put things into motion. We’ve had time to learn, plan, and create during quarantine and we are now given the opportunity to show what life will be like in this new normal. Vic Carmona is just one of many individuals who has learned to adapt and forge new ideas that have been brewing since the pandemic.
Vic comes from a place called California city; a forgotten city filled with missed opportunities and roads that lead to nowhere. So naturally, he yearned for more. When Vic turned 20 years old, he decided to enlist in the Navy for a second chance at life. He wanted to be stationed the furthest he could from home and ended up in the beautiful country of Japan. During his 5-year stay, Vic was launched into a world he never envisioned possible; a world full of opportunities that inspired him and led him closer to his journey of self-discovery.
Fast forward to a few adventures later, Vic was hosting a fundraiser against the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy the Navy enforced. Being the first event he’s ever hosted, Vic was scrambling to get talent for his show. Unfortunately, his efforts were fruitless since not a single person showed up to volunteer their talent. But that didn’t stop him. He knew the show must go on! In a hurry, Vic slapped on some make-up, threw on a dress, and stumbled onto the stage to entertain the masses with an impromptu drag show. Although his performance was a bit shy from perfect, it sparked an interest in him that would later turn into a lifelong passion.
He began searching for drag queen costumes near and far, but every costume was priced beyond his means. So, he took matters into his own hands and decided to teach himself how to sew. Over the years, his hobby turned into a career as his designs began getting attention from the Fashion community. His work has been featured on America’s next top model, he designed costumes for performers like Luciana Caporasos and Lady Gaga in collaboration with Jeffrey Work, and has also shared designs with a myriad of local, charitable events.
Besides being a fashion designer by day and a vivacious drag queen by night, Vic is also a proactive member in his community. With a history of doing fundraisers, working with local non-profits, and hosting his own Fashion Show in 2019, Vic decided this year was the year to do something big for the community. So, he went to a fabric store and bought enough Muslin canvas to create an entire collection of unique pieces; designed with only the trendiest of trendsetters in mind. What makes it so unique you ask? Every piece will feature hand-painted, works of art from local artists. Vic aims to create at least 12 pieces for this collection and plans to launch this May for his 2021 Big Top Couture Fashion Show.
Although it will be virtual this year, rest assured it will be nothing short of spectacular! This 45-minute feature will showcase Vic Carmona’s wearable art collection with his signature, avant-garde style. But that’s not all! Vic is searching for jaw-dropping talent to make this show truly one-of-a-kind. We’re talking underwater acrobatics, ballerinas, fire breathers, and drag queens galore! He wants the City of Santa Ana to showcase all it has to offer. But more importantly, he wants to introduce the younger generation to a part of our community many didn’t even know existed in Orange County. A collection of unique, talented, and creative individuals who prove it is exceptional to be different.
If you would like to participate in The Big Top Couture Fashion Show, please email Vic at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow him on Instagram at @officialcostumes for updates and previews to his upcoming show!
Article by Sara Marshall
New, dispatches and updates from Downtown Santa Ana