Every year the Hare Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork, Utah puts on the biggest Holi (festival of colors) celebration in the Western Hemisphere. In 2011 the Spanish Fork Police department estimated that over 40,000 people attended in the first day alone of the two-day festival. Organizers carefully rationed their stash of approximately 120,000 bags of colored powder.
Participants come from all over the country (and some from abroad), but the majority of attendees for the Festival of Colors are students from Brigham Young, Utah Valley, and Utah universities.
The Holi Festival of Colors celebrates the triumph of good over evil and ushers in the spring season. The festival commemorates a Hindu myth about a witch, Holika, who burned children in a fire. One child repeated the Hare Krishna mantra as he was carried into the flames and the witch was burned instead. At the Spanish Fork festival, rock and roll, R&B, and other modern interpretations of the mantra are played by musicians throughout the day and chanted in a call and response game between performers and attendees. The main event of each festival is the coordinated throwing of colored powder, when the sky above the crowd is filled with rainbow puffs of dye.
This video is a tribute to the Utah version of Holi, which the director, Evan Carpenter, has attended faithfully for the last six years.
This video was produced by Plaid Social Labs, a video and social media marketing company based in Provo, Utah. http://www.plaidsocial.com
The performers featured in the video are Namrock and C.C. White’s Soul Kirtan. Learn more about Namrock at http://www.namrock.com and find C.C. White at http://www.facebook.com/pages/CC-White-A-Musical-Journey/138152006201010
Technical notes: This video was shot on Canon t2is at either 24 fps for normal speed or 60 fps for slow-motion. Some clips were slowed down even more using timewarp in Adobe AfterEffects. The color was achieved through careful color correction of images that were shot fairly flat (meaning the blacks weren’t that black, the white weren’t that white, and the color wasn’t overly saturated, which gives you a lot of information to work with in post-production) and with the help of a plugin called Mojo. The composer Aaron Hatch (aka Fresh Big Mouf) created magical beats from his home in Los Angeles.
For more from director Evan Carpenter, subscribe to his channel Evan Meets World or follow him on Facebook or Twitter.
Looking at the photos of today’s march in Mumbai taken by my friend Sukhdeep I can’t help but be impressed by the scale of the event. The creativity of the marchers is pretty awesome too. Posting a few teaser shots by him until Gaylaxy Magazine comes out with their spread ( didn’t officially get his permission but as usual I assume he will tell me to go ahead).
See the rest on Gaylaxy’s Facebook page.
The official video of the QAM flash mob leading up to Queer Azaadi Mumbai. So excited for my friends like Sukhdeep of Gaylaxy Magazine who are there for the march today. I know Sukhdeep endured a long journey in an un-airconditioned train to get there but I also know he already has his sign painted. What a great day for India.
Love the chant “I am Gay, that’s okay.”
According to Gaylaxy Magazine this moderate sized event was the first gay flash mob in Asia.
As part of the pride week celebrations currently going on in Mumbai preceding the actual gay pride march in the city on 28th Jan, Mumbai today witnessed India’s first gay flash mob, which also happens to be Asia’s first gay flash mob. It was a pleasant surprise for many present at Marine Drive when a little after 6pm, more than 50 people started dancing to a medley of carefully selected Bollywood songs ‘Character Dheela’, ‘Sadda Haq’ and ‘Maa Da Ladla’.
Read the rest on Gaylaxy here.
Apologies for the shaky mobile phone video but it is the most complete one I could find thus far.
What an incredible bit of video editing and also a reminder of how much my knowledge has expanded because of my wonderful friends on G+ these past few months. This is not my New Year’s message but this video is a great opportunity to pause and reflect on what a remarkable year of triumph, tragedy and a celebration of the human spirit 2011 was.
Today is apparently National Coming Out Day (in the US at least) so it is sort of interesting that I just discovered Project Bolo on Vimeo. In their own words:
PROJECT BOLO, meaning ‘Project Speak Up’, offers role models by documenting Indian LGBT persons – their growing up, struggles, love, career, achievements and life.
Project Bolo’s objective is to record Indian LGBT history, as well as inspire and empower the LGBT community in India, by presenting video interviews of LGBT persons and role models, who ‘speak up’ about their life and work.
I found this older gentleman Hoshang Merchant to be especially brilliant and funny.
Hoshang has always been a rebel, he says, right from his
childhood in Mumbai in a Parsi household. He studied at
Purdue and then traveled extensively teaching and… looking
for life experiences – from US to Iran to Palestine. He returned
back to India but could not get a job. He was rejected by
several colleges and universities because he was openly gay
and unapologetically so. Finally he found his home at the
University Of Hyderabad where he continues to teach English
literature. The anthology he published ‘Yaraana’ was one of
the first queer writings to come out of India and he has more
than 25 books to his credit – of poems, essays and stories.
He is a rebel with a cause!
And this one is an overview video of about twenty interviews.
Looks like I have some viewing ahead of me.
Videos courtesy : Project Bolo – Indian LGBT Oral History Project
Apropos to the previous post here is another column on the subject – this time from by Vinay Chandran the Executive Director of the Swabhava Trust in Bangalore.
“Homophobia, brought in wholesale from the religious texts of the British, took root and became Indian in the last two centuries. When people today say that they don’t think homosexuality is in Indian culture, I wonder — which Indian culture are they referring to? Is there only one? There are many Indias and there are many Indian traditions and many cultures. And if you know your history right, you’ll know that homosexuality and gender difference are part of each and every one of them.”