KPBS/Arts

FULL EPISODE

Dances of the Philippines

Get to know Edgar Allen Poe by touring his last home, located in the heart of the Bronx, NYC; see a Filipino American dance troupe connecting with their cultural roots through dance; next meet a conservation organization protecting Nevada's open spaces, and listen to the post-industrial punk rock beats of a newcomer on the Detroit-Michigan music scene.

AIRED: September 01, 2018 | 0:26:46
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TRANSCRIPT

>> BJ Robinson: In this edition

of "KPBS Arts," the humble home

of Edgar Allan Poe, a

Filipino-American dance company

keeps traditions alive.

Artists help conserve Nevada's

wilderness, and an up-and-coming

musician turning heads.

It's all ahead on this edition

of "KPBS Arts."

[music]

>> BJ: Hello, I'm BJ Robinson,

and this is "KPBS Arts."

If you make your way through the

Bronx, you'll find a New York

historical gem, the Edgar Allan

Poe cottage.

This is where the 19th-century

poet created his most famed

literary works.

We go inside Poe's last home to

see what inspired his legacy.

[music]

[music]

>> Angel Hernandez: Edgar Allan

Poe's cottage is located in the

Bronx.

It sits inside Poe Park, which

is on the Grand Concourse of

East Kingsbridge Road.

Edgar Allan Poe moved here in

1846 with his young wife,

Virginia, and his mother-in-law,

Mrs. Clemm, and the main reason

was to save Virginia from dying

of tuberculosis.

Edgar Allan Poe moved to a small

village called Fordham, located

in Westchester County.

It wasn't the Bronx at the time,

this was the countryside of New

York City.

Doctors thought this was the

ideal environment where Virginia

could be cured because it was

the countryside.

The house was located on a farm

owned by the Valentine family.

It was built in 1812, it's the

last remaining structure of the

village of Fordham.

This was the typical style

residence for a working-class

family.

As we all know, Edgar Allan Poe

was one of the poorest writers

in American literature.

The house today sits in one of

the poorest districts in the

Bronx, and the Bronx is one of

the poorest districts in the

United States.

People don't realize it, they

assume that he was this rich

writer because of his popularity

today, but he was extremely

poor.

All of the items inside are

period pieces just to give you

an idea of what Edgar Allan Poe

might have had while he was

living here in the 1840s, but we

do have two original items here.

There is a mirror, there's a

gilded-edge mirror here hanging

on the wall, and there is a

rocking chair as well.

Now, the rocking chair dates

back to the 1840s, and it

actually belonged to Mrs. Clemm.

There's a coal-burning stove

that was built just two years

after he died, but it was very

typical to the type of

coal-burning stove that was

being used in his time.

It was a very useful tool or

appliance to have.

It not only cooked your food,

but it would warm up the house.

As you walk throughout the

cottage, you notice that it has

low-hanging ceilings.

Well, this just kept the house

warm, it kept that warm air

close to your body during the

wintertime.

Unfortunately, despite all these

efforts to keep Virginia

comfortable, she died in this

small bedroom on the first floor

in 1847.

The actual bedframe she died on

is still there, it's the third

original piece of the house.

Poe was very productive here.

He wrote one of the best short

stories, "The Cask of

Amontillado."

He wrote "Annabel Lee" here, he

wrote "The Bells."

He also wrote "Landor's

Cottage," and in it, he

describes the scenery.

He describes the cottage.

He gives us an idea of how the

Bronx looked to him in 1846.

This is where Edgar Allan Poe

last lived.

This is where he lost his wife,

and people feel that when they

walk into this house.

They walk into this small,

little cottage located in a sea

of tenements, and they get this

feeling, especially when we tell

them the story of "Annabel Lee,"

and how he was inspired to write

it.

When Virginia died, her funeral

was in this house.

And when I describe her coffin

being viewed in the parlor room,

people really feel that.

They really feel that emotion.

So, I would say this is where

you would get the crux of the

emotion and the inspiration he

felt when he wrote these

stories.

So, at the turn of the 20th

century, there was a push for

preservation of New York City

history.

You have proponents for

preservation of houses that

belonged to writers.

You had the Shakespeare Society

of New York City campaigning to

save places like the Edgar Allan

Poe cottage.

Teddy Roosevelt, as police

commissioner, he was also

involved in preservation of Poe

Cottage.

In the Bronx, we have the Bronx

Society of the Arts and

Sciences, and they were the

major push to have the house not

only moved from across the

street, but have it restored and

open as a museum in 1917.

We have the Edgar Allan Poe

cottage on the northern end, we

have a bandshell which was

completed in the 1920s at the

southern end of the park.

We have the new Poe Park

Visitor's Center which was just

constructed three years ago.

It was designed by Japanese

architect, Toshiko Mori, and

it's supposed to look like the

raven in mid-flight.

When I have a young group of

students here and they ask me,

"You know, why should we care

about Poe?"

And I say, "Well, you like

hip-hop music?"

"Absolutely, we love it."

"Well, what is hip-hop?

Hip-hop is poetry, right?"

Poe was a hip-hop artist, too.

He was a rapper, he wrote pieces

that rhymed, and he was inspired

by what was bothering him at the

time.

>> Angel: We've read some Poe?

Well, what have we read?

>> Angel: So, there is a

connection there.

I want people to learn about the

man himself, and I also want

young writers to know that a lot

of their inspiration, a lot of

their best works comes out of

their emotion, just like Edgar

Allan Poe demonstrated in his

works.

Today, we're able to not only

preserve these houses, but to

show them to the Bronx community

and brag how rich the historic

heritage here in the Bronx is.

[music]

>> BJ: To find out more, visit

BronxHistoricalSociety.org

/Poe-cottage.

And now, here's a look at some

of the arts events happening

this week near you.

>> BJ: Dances of the Philippines

gives Filipino-Americans in

Tampa Bay, Florida a chance to

connect with their heritage

through music and dancing.

Take a look as the Philippine

Performing Arts Company

rehearses movements that help to

keep their ancestry alive.

[music]

>> Joey Omila: Philippine dance

is considered by the

international origins as the

most entertaining Asian dances

because it's so full of variety.

[music]

From Islam to tribal dances, to

Spanish flamenco and to the

bamboo dance.

With all those combined

occupiers, we call them, in the

Philippines, we got all the

different variety of dances.

>> RJ Huntsinger: There's almost

too much I've learned from not

only being in the dance group

and talking to some of the older

members who've also lived in the

Philippines, but also the

dances.

[music]

[music]

>> Bing Curioso: I am not into

history or culture, but I am now

deep into the culture and

tradition of the Philippines.

[music]

>> Christine McClain: I got

involved in the dance company

because I really wanted to learn

more about the Filipino culture.

>> Joey: They get to find out

who their parents are, their

roots, and when they go to their

friends, they have an identity.

>> Christine: When I'm

performing the dances, it makes

me feel more myself, because I

know that not a lot of my

friends are really involved in

their culture and their

background, so being in this

company really helps me explore

that.

[music]

>> Joey: And most of them are

born here in the U.S., and it's

such a great pleasure to be

approached and say, "I'd like to

know about our Philippine

dances, because in college, I

don't know my identity."

When I formed the Philippine

Performing Arts Dance Company,

there were already a group of

people here who were dancing,

and what we did is, we announced

to everyone that we were

auditioning.

So, that created a lot of

interest, because they said,

"Ooh, we have somebody teaching

for free, a professional former

Philippine folkloric dancer."

>> Bing: I'm the oldest now,

yep, the oldest.

I was surprised he would still

cast me, usually he would get

the young ones, you know.

Just like the old ones help in

the costumes or props, no, he

would cast me in the dances, and

I would say, "Thank you, Joey,

but then you tell me now if I

don't belong anymore, you know,"

the age is showing already, kick

me out of there.

[laughing]

>> RJ: Joey's a mentor, I

consider him like family because

of how long I've known him.

>> Christine: Joey has been

quite an inspiration.

It's great getting to know him

and knowing that he put so much

work and effort into having us

be successful.

[music]

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>> RJ: He can do any part in any

dance, and he just knows 'em.

He can do my dance, he can do

the female part better than

pretty much all the girls in the

group, but he can really not

only teaches us the moves to the

dance, the history of the dance,

but also how we're supposed to

feel during the dance.

So, I think we're very lucky to

have him as our teacher.

>> Christine: I've learned from

him to always do everything full

out, because you can only do it

once, and if you practice it

wrong, that's how you're going

to perform it.

[music]

[music]

>> Joey: The self-confidence

between the girls and the guys,

when they go back to their

classmates, totally different.

The parents notice it, too.

[music]

[music]

>> RJ: I've helped kind of make

myself more well-rounded in

being a Filipino.

>> Joey: And, of course, the

most important thing that I

always tell them is to be

responsible in what you're doing

and enjoy what you're having

right now, because out there,

there's so many

Filipino-Americans or teenagers

who are not in your position

having this luxury of being a

member of the dance company.

So, I say when you look back 30,

40 years from now when you have

children, and you will think

what have you learned when you

were with the dance company?

Self-confidence, responsibility,

respect, I mean, what more can I

ask?

>> BJ: To find out more, visit

pcfitampa.org.

[music]

>> BJ: A group of artists in

Reno, Nevada teamed up with the

Nevada Land Trust to help

conserve the state's wilderness.

The artists sell their works and

donate proceeds to help the Land

Trust preserve their lands,

here's the story.

>> Tracy Fisher: Our mission as

an organization is to protect

the open spaces and special

places in Nevada for future

generations.

Art as a vehicle for Nevada Land

Trust is very important in the

way that it allows us to tell

the story of Nevada's open

spaces.

"The Art of Conservation" is an

art show that we have been

privileged to participate in for

the last four years.

My manager, the executive

director, Alicia Reban came in

contact with Eric Holland and a

local artist over the Winnemucca

Ranch Project some years ago

when they were looking at

developing out there and kind of

annexing that into Reno, and

found that they had a common

interest in protecting the land

out there, and through that

conversation and collaboration,

they hatched the idea of having

a joint art show.

We were invited to participate

and become beneficiaries of a

portion of the proceeds.

>> Judy Hilbish: We have over

100 artists on our list, and

usually about a quarter of 'em

will participate any given year.

We have photographers, we have

painters, fine-art painters, we

have collage work, we have glass

work, sculpture, but the

majority of it is going to be

landscape painting.

What we do is, we try to bring

together public awareness as

well as efforts through the

Nevada Land Trust to keep out

big developments and

subdivisions.

>> Tracy: If you look up at the

top of Mount Rose where the

sledding meadow is, that little

bit of property was slated for

development, it was supposed to

have a hotel and a helipad on

it, and when we found out about

it, we were able to dive in,

raise some money, and actually

purchase the property and keep

it in its natural state,

ultimately give it to the forest

service so that that land

actually remains pristine, but

it's also a place of recreation

for the community.

It's a tremendous vehicle for us

to tell the story of Nevada.

I've been so blessed in being

able to be related with these

artists and understanding the

passion that they have for the

landscape, and being able to

tell the story of Nevada's open

spaces to people that maybe

don't get out there or don't

really understand or appreciate

it, and are quite stunned to

find out that this, you know,

rendition in a painting is

actually in their backyard.

>> Judy: Well, we had a

paint-out a couple weeks ago,

out by Washoe Lake.

A paint-out is where we all go

out in our own directions and

find a scene that we like and

paint it, and a lot of times

they will end up in the show.

Not only do we like to go out

and paint, a lot of times we'll

camp where we are, we'll hike

where we are, picnic where we

are, and it means something

special to not see buildings and

roads.

Every artist has a different

vision, a different palate, they

have favorite colors, and then,

yeah, you can do a 360 degrees

around one spot and have an

entirely different view.

And with Nevada, you can turn

and look in one direction and

have pines, turn the other

direction you have a playa,

you've got all sorts of views

from one spot.

>> Tracy: We use art throughout

the year, I think, not only in

the tangible fashion that we use

it here in the art show, but we

keep a lot of the images up on

our website, and so, somebody

who's just cruising through, you

know, passing through our

website who otherwise may just

see a lot of words, you know,

for someone, that catches their

eye and they're able to resonate

with the work that we do, you

know, in that way, through art.

It gives us another voice

throughout the year.

>> Judy: I see art as a lens,

and it helps the focus around

the world, it helps the focus

beneath our feet, it helps the

focus within a person, so that

we can see, in a very

constricted way, without outside

influences, one particular

facet, whether it be political,

environmental, sociological, or

just the emotional and personal.

So, art is our lens to see the

world, and you see that world

through an artist's eyes and

what their lens looks like.

>> Tracy: Non-profits like

ourselves are always striving

for ways to get a message out.

We don't always have the fiscal

infrastructure to do heavy ad

campaigns, so finding those

unique ways to speak to the

public that can resonate with

them and inspire them to join

our cause or to be interested in

what we're doing.

>> Judy: Nevada lands are very

important, and we need to

protect them, because we're

getting a lot of growth to this

area, and growth is vital to our

economy, but we have open lands

and they don't need to be

sprawled onto.

I do feel protective of these

lands.

If these lands aren't protected,

we don't have any place to go

out and pain anymore, we'd be

doing cityscapes, so what's the

point?

Well, I think we are, as

artists, able to get out into

places that other people aren't

able to see as that need

conservation.

So, we're able to bring people

an awareness to what is out

there.

>> BJ: To find out more, visit

NevadaLandTrust.org.

And now, here's some more arts

events coming up around San

Diego.

>> BJ: Josie Pace is a newcomer

on the Detroit, Michigan music

scene.

Her captivating lyrics and

down-tempo, post-industrial

beats are sure to turn heads,

here's a listen.

♪ Have you ever figured out

♪ why I've been alone?

>> Josie Pace: Ultimate goal,

world domination.

I want everyone to like my

music.

♪ Have you ever figured out

♪ why I won't leave my home?

>> Josie: I don't want to be

known as an acoustic guitar

player.

Now, there are so many people

that do acoustic guitar, and

it's just not enough for me

right now, so I have to, like,

give it something more.

I want people to notice it.

I've grown a lot since last

year, from meeting Ken, because

he knows the ropes.

He introduced me to all this

different kind of music, and

this electronic rock bands and

stuff, and it really changed the

way I thought about how I could

write something.

So, I went from more of these

ballads to hard-core, in your

face, I'm gonna tell you what

I'm gonna say and you're gonna

listen to it, and you're gonna

like it.

♪ I am torn.

>> Ken: One day, she brought in

the song "Torn," which is our

first video, and all of a

sudden, it was like, boom,

here's our sound, here's our

thing, we found it.

And from there, it's been

non-stop, just, like,

collaborating and getting stuff

done.

>> Josie: Super hard-core music,

but the lyrics actually mean

something.

It's still got a story or a

meaning behind the words that

I'm singing.

♪ Feel free to care

♪ whenever you can.

♪ Feel free to hold,

♪ to hold my hand.

♪ I've been waiting here

♪ for far--

>> Josie: We're shooting a video

for my song "Battleground," and

it's pretty fun.

I love shooting videos.

This song is about someone that

I know that has really, kind of,

almost ruined something of mine,

and I'm just not very happy

about it, and it's about

breaking out of what someone

else wants you to do and just

being yourself and showing the

world who you are.

So, performing this is like I'm

putting my all into it, giving

you every emotion that I have in

my body.

♪ Or you'll be underground.

♪ It's not going to fit.

♪ You're a snake in the grass

♪ and I will burn it down.

>> Ken: We want it to be almost

punk rock in a sense, even

though it's synthesizers and

that stuff, and we wanted it to

have that feel, like it was kind

of in your face, but stylistic

at the same time.

>> Josie: I definitely love to

try to be something else while

I'm performing, try to be

someone that people can look at

and be like, "Wow, she's totally

crazy," or, "She is totally

cool."

I just want it to be authentic,

too.

>> Ken: She surprises me all the

time.

She's really good.

She's real sweet, and you just

wouldn't expect when we turn on

the music, or we're either the

studio, or if we're doing a

video, she can turn it on.

>> Josie: I wanna reach

everybody, you know, not just

one group, not just, "Oh, she

wears black, she's gonna get the

younger kids, the rock and roll

kids," or whatever.

I want people in their older

age, like, lots of stuff that I

pull from is classic rock, so

they would know the references,

too, so everyone is--I hope,

will like it.

Anything that I go through, I

like to write about because it's

personal and I know how to put

it into words, but lately I've

been getting into more of

writing about fictional things,

like my song "Red Lips Like

Tenth."

I had writer's block, so I had

slept in the spare room, I put a

sleeping bag on the floor and

slept there for a couple days,

just trying to write a song, and

I was going over these scenarios

in my head of, like, "Oh, I just

robbed a bank and I'm hiding out

from the police," or, "I just

assassinated someone and I'm

hiding," or something, and this

song came out.

♪ I've got my gun,

♪ I've got my gun.

>> Josie: I wrote the whole song

on the acoustic guitar, and then

I bring it to Ken, and we work

with it, we get the chords laid

out, and we call it mapping.

So, we map it out, and then we

do a rough sing-through, so he

can put it together, and then he

plays with it and puts all these

new sounds into it and takes the

guitar out of it.

My music really shows how

Detroit is hard working.

I think we have that underground

grungy sound to us, because

we're not getting anything

handed to us here.

We work so hard to get what we

want and what we need.

So, I feel like Detroit is just

making a comeback.

I'm trying to get it back on the

map.

♪ You laid the battleground

♪ for me now. ♪

>> BJ: To find out more about

Josie Pace and her music, visit

JosiePace.com.

And that wraps it up for this

edition of "KPBS Arts."

For more arts and culture, visit

KPBS.org/arts, where you'll find

feature videos, blogs, and

information on upcoming arts

events.

Until next time, I'm BJ

Robinson, thanks for watching.

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>> announcer: Support for this

program comes from the KPBS

Explore local content fund,

supporting new ideas and

programs for San Diego.

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