Bombay Bluesman Aki Kumar: Sights & Sounds | KALW

Bombay Bluesman Aki Kumar: Sights & Sounds

Mar 22, 2018

Sights & Sounds is your weekly guide to the Bay Area arts scene. Blues musician Aki Kumar told KALW’s Jen Chien about three fantastic arts events happening around the Bay this week.


 Albany FilmFest is a juried film festival that takes place each year in Albany, California that showcases original, creative, fresh, and compelling independent short films from emerging and established Bay Area, national, and global filmmakers. The festival nurtures a warm, friendly atmosphere this encourages filmmakers and audience members to connect and engage. Filmmakers consistently praise Albany FilmFest as friendly, warm, and well-organized, calling our event "one of the best festival experiences I have had. This is the closing weekend of the festival, and there are still a few screenings happening including a panel about virtual reality movies, an all-day screening of shorts, and a showing of Turn It Around: The Story of East Bay Punk.


"I was going through the listings of various movies and they have one called Christopher Walken's Coffee Shop, and I'm just excited about this movie. I don't know why, this idea just to walk into a shop and Walken's there, and he goes, 'Welcome!' This thing just blows my mind."


Founded in 2013, Tiny Dance Film Festival celebrates short dance films (10 minutes or under) from across the globe to showcase compelling film work from choreographers and filmmakers who don’t just embody the term “dance for the camera,” but more so, “dance with the camera.” TDFF focuses on the delicate, complicated relationship between body and lens — and the choreographers who traverse both forms. TDFF prioritizes films made by queers and folks of color, films that challenge dominant narratives, and most importantly — embrace brevity. TDFF promises to be an exciting entree of dance films for the connoisseur and curious alike.  

"I love dance. I love short films. I kind of wanted to be Michael Jackson when I was a teenager. I tried very hard and failed, so I  just appreciate great dancers."


Bring Us Together," 1970, Berkeley.
Credit From the collection of Lincoln Cushing.

In many faith traditions, the promotion of social justice values is paramount.  Activists who are inspired by the teachings of their faith often include religious references on protest signs and posters, as well as in performances. The exhibit, Religion and Resistance, considers this theme in several ways. Archival protest posters, most from Berkeley’s Inkworks Press, demonstrate the power of religious imagery in graphic design. Ken Light’s photographs are in themselves acts of protest, as he captures moments of transcendence and resistance centering on the 1969 Moratorium to end the Vietnam War march on Washington, D.C. The representational nature of an enormous Archbishop Oscar Romero, created in papier-mâché and cloth by Bread & Puppet, triggers memory, while its monumental nature transfixes. To show that the use of religious references in protest movements is ongoing, Religion and Resistance presents recently used protest signs that include religious references or inspiration.  

"For me I've never felt, because I'm not a very religious person, I've never felt my sense of protest comes from a particular religious background. Maybe indirectly it's been influecned by it. So I'd like to explore that."

 Aki Kumar will be playing in Alameda on 3/24 at Rhythmix Cultural Works, and you can find his music at