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Cruisin’ J-Town with Remnants of the Watts Festival

Cruisin’ J-Town
Much more than a short profile of jazz fusion band Hiroshima, Duane Kubo’s documentary dives into the group’s influences and roots in Asian American culture, at the time a newly coined identification gaining prominence throughout the Asian and Pacific Island diaspora across the United States. Kubo had by 1970 founded the non-profit Visual Communications, a media arts organization with deep roots in Los Angeles’s Little Tokyo neighborhood, for which Cruisin’ J-Town was an early production.

Remnants of the Watts Festival
Los Angeles native Ulysses Jenkins, a Black video and performance artist who for over fifty years has used home video equipment as his primary conduit for artmaking, brought his Portapak camera to the Watts Summer Festivals in 1972 and 1973. Left unfinished until 1980 due to his inability to access editing equipment, the immediacy of this black-and-white video not only commemorates anniversaries of the Watts Rebellion of 1965 but also actively critiques the dominant image-production industry—it’s notable that white filmmaker Mel Stuart also shot his own glossy, highly produced film documenting the Wattstax benefit concert in 1972, financed by Columbia Pictures.

Cruisin’ J-Town
DIRECTED BY: Duane Kubo. WITH: Dan Kuramoto, June Kuramoto, Johnny Mori. 1975. 24 min. USA. Color. English. HD file. This print was preserved thanks to the support from funders of the Visual Communications Archives (Aratani Foundation, California Civil Liberties Public Education Program, California Humanities, Haynes Foundation, and Mellon Foundation).

Remnants of the Watts Festival
DIRECTED BY: Ulysses Jenkins. 1980. 60 min. USA. Color. English. DCP.

Location

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
6067 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036
Los Angeles, CA 90036 United States
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