FutureArtsNow! director Demone Carter started the night with one key question: “What needs to happen to make this city take off?” It’s a question that the ImagineSJ Showcase, a monthly event created by FutureArtsNow! and Kooltura Marketing, hopes to answer.
Six of the most prominent players in San Jose’s music scene made up the panel at ImagineSJ’s first installment: bassist Ernesto Sibaja of Ave Norteña, promoter Thomas Aguilar of Universal Grammar, cellist Freya Seeburger (aka Cellista), soul and jazz singer Jackie Gage, Turbo Sonidero of Sonido Clash, and hip-hop producer TraxAmillion.
The panelists made it clear that the San Jose music scene had plenty of room to improve, with suggestions ranging from better music venues to nightclubs that stayed open until 3am, as well as more economic support for musicians. Still, they also praised certain aspects of San Jose, such as the opportunities for tech/music collaborations and the incredible diversity of its residents.
After the panel wrapped up, Carter led a quick San Jose music trivia session, with winners being given a free drink ticket for the Fountainhead Bar. DJ Cutso of The Bangerz talked about his remix process, performed live for the audience in his “Art of the Remix” demo, and shared a couple stories (including the one behind his remix of the Reading Rainbow theme song).
“We were thinking: what would be a catalyst for activating new spaces to showcase talent?” Carter said, explaining the origins of the ImagineSJ Showcase. “Another part of it was, we felt it was time to have a conversation about San Jose’s direction, because I think the seed-planting for San Jose’s next fifteen to twenty years is happening right now. And we want to be a part of that.”
Two more ImagineSJ discussions about cuisine and visual arts are scheduled for August 5 and September 2, respectively. Follow the Twitter hashtag #iPledgeSJ to keep up-to-date on these events.
Words and images by Stephanie Lu and Justin San Diego