kanediep


Bye to Luminance
July 6, 2011, 10:11 PM
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’ve been wanting to write a last post about Luminance because it’s been a huge part of my life for the past three years, but I’ve been swamped with graduating and working on films. But now that our documentary reel is launching, opening a new chapter of my life. I think it’s an appropriate time to close a very special one.

In 2008, I was hired to be part of the first group to work at a newly built modern music/wine bar/performance venue, called The Loft, on the UC San Diego campus. The next year, I was promoted to Club Manager, curating shows, booking artists, managing both private and public events. I was able to learn and grow in an environment where I could be free to be creative and immerse myself in the arts.

At the same time, I was given the opportunity to build my own series. I wanted to create a show that would offer Asian American musicians a consistent stage in San Diego to call their own. I wanted to show other venues that it was okay to book Asian Americans into their line ups and that we do have a draw, Back in 2009, it was rare to see Asian Americans play live on stage, even at UCSD where the majority of the campus is Asian.

Packed house at a Luminance show. One of my favorite parts of Luminance was the ability to help talented Asian Americans such as Isa magazine launch their first issue of their all encompassing AA entertainment/pop culture magazine. 

In the next two years, I produced 8 Luminance shows featuring more than 28 popular Asian American musicians. Through Luminance, also came album release parties at The Loft for Clara C, Melissa Polinar, and AJ Rafael. Both Clara and AJ’s 3rd time performing at The Loft was the night of their Album Release parties. The night of AJ’s “Red Roses” release party/show he hit number 7 on iTunes Pop Charts beating out many mainstream artists. This was big because he independently produced the album while he beat out famous singers that had thousands and millions in producing and marketing efforts.

I was very proud to have his ground breaking show coinciding with my very last show at The Loft. I was proud to watch the career of these artists, their performance quality, and personality grow and develop through the past few years. I’m happy that I was able to support these artists the best I could. They inspire me because they have decided to go for their dreams and make things happen for themselves while inspiring the rest of us.

This is a photo of my first time meeting AJ in the summer of 2008 at a show in an SD yogurt shop. Crazy how far his career has gone in the past few years. Can’t wait to see where it’ll go in the near future. Super talented.

This was my favorite Luminance poster design. Created by Florence Tsai.

 I know people won’t miss it, but I’ll actually miss my awkward welcomes at each Luminance show. Haha.

 Cathy Nguyen! Performed at Luminance and came back to host AJ’s album release party. Hope she makes more time to do music on the side, she is a sweet person on stage and off.

 One of my favorite voices…ever… great personality and stage presence. :] <3 Jane Lui.

 Marie Digby!

Clara C! My favorite performance from her first encore song… ever (which was a song she never plays live) called “Wait on Me” at her album release party. I got chills throughout the entire song. What a performer. :]

 Love all the Luminance artists!

I am also proud that we got to showcase young Asian American fashion entrepreneurs at our show such as Steppie from Steppie Clothing (pictured above),RadisRad, and Innerspoken.

Dedicated fans waiting outside The Loft.

This scene became one of my favorite sights. Especially when the line started 3 hours before the show.

 Jenny and her poster. Jenny’s performance has matured into a very classy vibe during her second time at The Loft. My favorite memory was my cousins putting together a surprise video of each performer sending me a Happy Birthday wish. How many times in your life do you get Legaci to sing you Happy Birthday. Blessed. Btw, congrats to Legaci on performing with Justin Beiber two weeks after the Luminance show. They’ve been performing all over the world since. Amazing.

 Victor Kim changed things up by not only singing but threw in some break dancing in the middle of his set. He is seriously one of the friendliest and humble artist I’ve met while working on concert production.

Random but cool moment working at The Loft was getting my DNA created into a art piece for our gallery.

 Jennifer Chung. One of the OG’s of YouTube and the OG of Luminance as well. Photo of Jen playing at the very first Luminance show.

A keepsake I have is a signed poster from each Luminance by all the artists who performed.

Here is a list of the artists who have been part of Luminance.

– AJ Rafael
– Casey Nishizu
– Cathy Nguyen
– Clara C
– Connie Lim
– Dawen
– Gabe Bondoc
– Jane Lui
– JawKneeYeah
– Jennifer Chung
– Jenny Suk
– Jesse Barrera
– Joseph Vincent
– JR Aquino
– Kat Badar
– Leejay
– Legaci
– Lindsey Yung
– Lydia Paek
– Marie Digby
– Megan Lee
– Michael Carreon
– Michelle Martinez
– Olivia Thai
– Sam Hart
– Sam Kang aka Geunjin
– Seriously The Band
– Victor Kim

At the end of the school year in 2011, after more than two years, we decided it was time to let Luminance go. Along with graduating, I also believed that we had achieved what we set out to do, which was to share talents to people who may not have heard these artists before and highlight talent that had always been suppressed. Now, there is more of a push for shows featuring Asian Americans being put on by community partners, student orgs, and music venues.

I am so honored to have worked with many of these artists personally. They are truly some of my favorite people I’ve met at The Loft. I hope all them the best of success in their careers and that they stay as humble as they were when they first started.

I appreciate my bosses Elizabeth Bradshaw (far left, Loft Curator) and Nicole Matteson (Loft Manager) for believing in my vision for Luminance and my ideas for The Loft and giving me full support. I’ve learned so much under them. I want to give a big big thanks to Melissa Sayviseth (pictured to my right, a fellow Club Manager) for supporting my with Luminance the entire way through. Even helping to run Luminance while I was in Hong Kong for 4 months. You are so smart and talented. Thanks to the other managers and staff that I’ve met and learned from, I’m glad we got to share stories of the craziness we run into while managing a venue. I want to thank all my friends who have come to my shows and shared links and info for my events.

Another series I created during my time at The Loft, was a night club series called Eclipse. It was cool to see UCSD students have fun in a different way than we’re used to.

It’s been such a crazy ride. But, now that my time at The Loft is done. I can focus on my ultimate passion of filmmaking. Through college I was torn between school, concert production, dance, and film. Now is the time where I can finally put all my energy into telling stories through moving pictures.

An update to those who were wondering. I am in the process of writing about 5 scripts for shorts that I want to do. My film Le Retour that I shot in Hong Kong as part of the 48hr Film Project in Hong Kong was recently accepted into the San Diego Asian Film Festival 2011! I also have an imdb page now too! Check it out: HERE Haha. This is the 2nd short in a row I’ve directed that has been officially been selected into the San Diego Asian Film Festival! My 4th one overall to be screened at SDAFF.

I am also currently working on a feature length documentary that launched today. It actually relates a lot to Luminance, because it deals with the lack of exposure of Asian Americans in mainstream entertainment and the drastic shift that happened after new media forms such as YouTube exploded. It’s called “Uploaded: The Asian American Movement” Check out our official website here www.uploadedtaam.com our video HERE. Please support us by donating to our Kickstarter and spreading the word about our documentary.

Check us out! Until next time, keep the spreading inspiration and sharing your creativity. Peace.

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1 Comment so far
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Great job… Hopefully your shows won’t be the best gigs I’ve heard… but for now they are. Looking forward to seeing your films and I hope you make your goal on Kickstarter.

Comment by Kenneth Aguasa




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