ImagineSJ Showcase #1 “San Jose Music”

A collaboration between Future Arts Now!, Kooltura Marketing and the Knight Foundation, the ImagineSJ Showcase is a monthly event series that provides a platform for San Jose’s newest most innovative thinking, whether it be in the arts, technology, non-profit or small business. Through performances, presentations, and interactive audience engagement activities, the ImagineSJ Showcase will create a public platform for the introduction of new ideas and great thinking that San Jose needs to know about.

The first installment of the ImagineSJ Showcase focuses in on San Jose’s music culture. How do you see the scene? Join us on Wednesday, July 8th from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at SoFA Market as we discuss this topic with some of the many local artists and producers representing both the traditional and cross-experimental genres that uniquely define the musical sounds of our city.

Have a question that you think should be asked during the panel? We want to hear it! Submit your questions in the link below.






ImagineSJ Showcase #1 “San Jose Music”

Wednesday, July 8th @ 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
SoFA Market

Turbo Sonidero, Sonido Clash
Tommy Aguilar, Universal Grammar
Freya Seeburger aka Cellista
Jackie Gage, F.A.M.E. Fatale
Ernesto Sibaja, Ave Norteña

“Art of the Remix” DEMO
DJ Cutso, Bangerz

Win some SWAG!

Lorenz Dumuk, Poet


This is an #iPledgeSJ event.

Inaugural J-Town Film Fest – Recalling the Opening Night

It’s hard to believe that we are already in the month of June in 2015. Time seems to fly by and if we blink too long, we might miss some great events in San Jose. Hopefully you didn’t miss the inaugural San Jose J-Town Film Fest. The opening night was Friday, May 29th at 7PM at the  Jacinto “Tony” Siquig Northside Community Center.

We’re lovers of film festivals here at Kooltura. It wasn’t too long ago that we were in and out of theaters catching Cinequest films. So, when we heard Japantown was holding it’s inaugural film festival as part of the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and their anniversary celebration of 125 years as Japantown, we knew we had to be there.

When we arrived for the opening night film at JTS Northside Community Center, we heard that the last “at-the-door” ticket was sold. It was great to hear. The energy was high with anticipation and everywhere we turned there was a friendly volunteer face guiding us.

The scheduled film was “Delano Manongs: Forgotten Heroes of the United Farm Workers Movement” (2014) by filmmaker Marissa Aroy. If we could give a film a higher rating than two thumbs or more stars than five, then we would. Why? Well, besides the film being well made, it holds an important significance because of its relevance to San Jose, its people, and its surrounding communities.

San Jose is diverse, that’s no secret. And, chances are we are familiar with the story of Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers. Many of us actually have relatives or know older generations who were directly involved with the American farm labor movement in one way or another. The film “Delano Manongs” tells the often overlooked story of Larry Itliong and the Filipino farm workers whose actions played a key role in the Delano Grape Strike of 1965 and ultimately brought about the creation of the United Farm Workers Union (UFW). The film shines a spotlight on the Filipino farm workers and you’ll be sure to fall in love with Mr. Larry Itliong and his cigars.


Q&A/Discussion after the screening of Delano Manongs with Marissa Aroy, Luis Valdez, and Johnny Itliong.

As if the film wasn’t enough, the opening night also included a Q&A panel which included filmaker Marissa Aroy, noted playwright Luis Valdez, and Larry Itliong’s son Johnny Itliong. Being in that room with people who are or were connected to such a huge part of history felt like witnessing history itself. After the once in a lifetime panel discussion, we were blessed with live performances by (folklorico group name), (Q’s drumming group name), and music by Sonido Clash.

The film festival continued on Saturday and Sunday with great films like; Hibakusha” (2012), “Kumu Hina”(2014), “Skin Stories: The Art and Culture of Polynesian Tattoo” (2003)East Side Sushi” (2014)The People I’ve Slept With” (2009)Issei: The First Generation” (1984).

So, what did we take away from this inaugural J-Town Film Fest? We fell in love with it! We want this back every year. Ultimately it’s up to us to support and allow great events like this to flourish and succeed. If you were there, you know exactly what we’re talking about when we say this event is the definition of community. If you weren’t there, you won’t want to miss the next one.

If you loved this event and wish more people would know about it or wish you would’ve heard about it sooner, then make sure to head over to #iPledgeSJ to find out how you can take the pledge and support San Jose and the Arts.

Photo Credit: Miguel Martinez | Event: J-Town Film Fest

#iPledgeSJ: June Events

Welcome back to #iPledgeSJ! If you missed the original post about what #iPledgeSJ is all about then I recommend clicking here first. We have selected an exciting line-up of events that we think represent and pay tribute to San Jose’s diversity.

The #iPledgeSJ events for June are…


June #iPledgeSJ Events

6/1 – 6/7 – Negroni Week @ Paper Planes 
Enjoy Negroni cocktails for a good cause. $1 of each drink sold goes to the 3rd Street Community Center.

6/2 –  As You Like It with ShakesBEERience San Jose
A pub, a pint and play with Rosalind and Celia. Directed by Karen Altree Piemme. Admission is free; seating is first come first served; doors open at 5:30pm.

6/4 – Making Movies with Cado @ Stritch
Performances from Los Hot Boxers, Cado, and Making Movies. Free event.

6/5 – Sonido Clash VS Return Of The Boom Zap (First Friday)
Sonido Clash VS Return Of The Boom Zap: bringing kumbia, reggeatone, future bass and more.

6/5 – Queerceañera Presents
Celebrate accomplishments in the LGBT Latin@ Community in the Bay Area. A community celebration with food, music, entertainment and more. All ages; All backgrounds.

6/5 – Breaking Point: Opening Night @ MACLA
Glass art works by Jaime Guerrero and Viviana Paredes

6/5 – 6/6 – 8th Annual SubZERO Festival
South FIRST FRIDAYS presents the 8th Annual SubZERO Festival! Focused on emerging and present subcultures thriving in our region, SubZERO is a DIY, artistically bent, hi/lo-techno mashup where street meets geek.

6/6 – Versus #3 (High School Vs High School)
A dance off anyone? Open style and breaking. Will be judged. All ages. Free admission.

6/6 – Silicon Valley Roller Girls vs. Foothill Foxy Flyers
Silicon Valley Roller Girls vs. Foothill Foxy Flyers. An action packed, hard hitting evening of flat track roller derby!

6/7 – Naglee Park Open Studios
During Naglee Park Open Studios, our local artists are opening their studios and sharing their work. Most artists’ work will be displayed in the studio in which it was created. While touring the studios, you may find a new treasure; many of the pieces will be available for sale.

6/10 – Well-RED at Works/San José, art and performance center with Arlene Biala and David Sullivan
Featured reading followed by open reading. $2 suggested donation to Works/San Jose, no one turned away. Free food and affordable beer, wine, and soda.

6/13 – Dia de Portugal
Enjoy a day of entertainment, savor a variety of Portuguese foods and watch a traditional Portuguese parade – there’s enjoyment for the entire family. It all takes place at History Park, location of the Portuguese Historical Museum.

6/13 – Summer Breeze
Your chance to attend an underground lowrider car show. Bring your own ride or enjoy the ones there.

6/13 – Bubble RUN San Jose!
Clad in white t-shirts, Participants run, walk, dance and play across 3 miles of absolute fun! Waves start every 3-5 minutes. Then, at each kilometer, participants will run through the Foam Bogs where there is enough colored foam to cover you from head to toe! Come be a kid again.

6/18 – Music in the Park – presented by METRO featuring FRESHLYGROUND (Afro-pop) and SISTER CAROL (Reggae)
The most popular after-work concert series in San Jose kicks off the summer with an International double-bill: Afro-pop sensations Freshlyground (Cape Town, South Africa), best known for their hit “Waka Waka – This Time For Africa”, from the 2010 FIFA World Cup and grammy-award winning Reggae legend Sister Carol from Kingston, Jamaica headlines. Also, DJ ROBERT RANKIN of Massive Sound International will be spinning reggae/world music before/between sets. Plaza de Cesar Chavez at 5:15PM 

6/19 – San Jose Bike Party presents the Reggae on Two Wheels Ride
It’s a bike party, y’all! Save the date. Route to be released soon.

6/20 – 20th Annual “Dancing On The Avenue”
The well known Willow Glen party. Come and dance on the avenue with us! 

6/20 – West Wind  Drive-In Pajama Party
Catch a movie at the drive-in. Dress code: Pajamas!

6/20 – El “Dia de San Juan” Puerto Rican Festival 2015
The Western Region Puerto Rican Council presents the 37th Annual ‘El “Dia de San Juan” Puerto Rican Festival 2015’. Live music, food, dancing, and so much more!

6/21 – San Jose Kidz Bike Party presents the Independence Ride
San Jose Bike Party folks have put one on for the kids. Details to come on their event page soon.

6/25 – San Jose Parks Summer Soiree
To be held at The Tea House in the Japanese Friendship Garden at Kelley Park. San Jose Parks Foundation invites you to join other like-minded supporters for an evening of celebration and recognition of some of the true heroes of our parks and trails. Hors D’oeuvres, wine, and dessert will be served.

6/27 – Laureles Company presents “TRADICIONES”
Folklorico Company Los Laureles present: “Tradiciones”. An event that will showcase 8 states of Mexico along with live music. The show will explore into the current vibrant Mexican community living in the US, but still holding Mexico and its traditions in their hearts. You’re invited to enter Mexico’s beautiful history through dance!

6/27 – Bless Me Ultima – A Workshop presentation
Based on Rudolfo Anaya’s Mexican American novel, Opera Cultura will be presenting excerpts of Hector Armienta’s new opera, Bless Me Ultima. Join the journey of telling Mr. Anaya’s great story through the magic of opera.

6/28 – LA GUELAGUETZA 2015
Come and join the family event that explores and shares Oaxacan history, music, and roots.

 6/30 – Creative Collisions: Space + Art + You
The second Creative Collisions event will bring together artists and space explorers. Meet Ariel Waldman, art school grad, adviser to the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Program, and creator of, a directory of ways you — you! — can participate in space exploration. Pick up a brush and help paint our cosmic-communal mural, or grab a pen and craft your own interstellar space message.



The Changing Same Thursdays

Motown on MondaysMondays

Nomikai DJ Nights – Various Days
Assortment of nights featuring great DJ’s.

Future Arts Now Classes – M/W/TH

Pop Up Market – Whole Foods, The Alameda – 1st Saturdays

South First Fridays – 1st Friday of the month in the SOFA district


Know of an event that should be on the list? We are open to suggestions. Send us an email to with the subject line “iPledgeSJ”, a description of the event, any social media accounts associated with the event, and a website link if possible.

Join us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram where we will be sharing photos of those taking the pledge.


Photo Credit: Jonathan Garcia | Event: FAME SS2014


#iPledgeSJ: May Events

Welcome back to #iPledgeSJ! If you missed the original post about what #iPledgeSJ is all about then I recommend clicking here first. We have selected an exciting line-up of events that we think represent and pay tribute to San Jose’s diversity.

The #iPledgeSJ events for May are…


May #iPledgeSJ Events

5/1 May Day 2015-International Workers Day-Dia Internacional de Trabajadores
Workers and migrants rising for dignity against state violence, and standing for international solidarity

5/1 – May 1st South FIRST FRIDAYS Art Walk
A free, self-guided nighttime tour through galleries, museums, and independent creative businesses featuring eclectic art exhibitions and special performances.

5/1 – Sonido Clash: Día De La Chamba
Digital cumbia, low rider oldies, funk, y mas. Exploring the Traditional, Modern, and Emerging Latin Sound diaspora.

5/1 – 6/13 – SPECTRUM Group Glass Exhibition
SPECTRUM an exploration of the never ending possibilities of an amazing material.

5/2 – Free Comic Book Day APE-POP at Art Boutiki
APE-POP will be a little mini-convention featuring artists who will be participating in this October’s Alternative Press Expo in San Jose.

5/2 – VSA/SJSU Presents – “Giấc Mơ Của Cha ông” (Dreams of Our Fathers)
The SJSU VSA Annual Culture Show explore the themes of love, family, war consequences, family struggles, self-identity, pursuing happiness, immigrant struggles as well as non-conventional career choices.

5/3 – Silicon Valley Bikes! Festival & Bike Show
Come celebrate the Santa Clara Valley’s rich bicycling history and culture with our racing, road, recreational, mountain, custom, cruiser, fixie, vintage and lowrider bicycling communities and kick off National Bike Month!

5/7 – 2015 HELLA famous Hip Hop Prom
Did you go to prom? Did you miss your prom? 2nd Annual Hip Hop Prom features emcees, poets, and vocalists at Iguanas Burritozilla – Free, all ages.

5/8 – Cukui Presents: “Grit” by Jordan Pierre Gabriel
Artwork by Jordan Pierre Gabriel

5/11 – MOTOWN ON MONDAYS SJ: 1 Year Anniversary
Celebrate the 1 Year Anniversary and new home of Motown on Mondays at The Continental Featuring special guests + more spinning originals, remixes, & close relatives of your favorite Motown songs.

5/13 – SJCC “SPARKS” Art Reception & Exhibition
“SPARKS” highlights the important contributions of more than 24 California higher education art programs and California Glass Organizations, including SJSU, CSU Chico, CSU San Bernardino, Palomar College, ACGA, Bay Area Glass Institute, Public Glass, Glass Alliance of Northern California, The Crucible, and historical programs who have contributed to the art glass movement from the 1960s to the present.

5/13 – SoFA Design Crawl
FREE tour of the top architecture and design companies in the SoFA District, complete with free appetizers and happy hour priced drinks.

5/17 – Blues Sunday w/ The Champagne City Band feat. Carolyn Jones and Keith Hames
Champagne City Band in conjunction with the African American Journey Museum sponsor Old School RnB Sunday!

5/19 – Sangam Spotlight: Oceanic Traditions
A free lecture demonstration on Hula and Ori Tahiti by Māhealani Uchiyama and students of the Mahea Uchiyama Center for International Dance.

5/21 – 5/25 – FanimeCon 2015
By fans, for fans – an anime convention featuring swap meets, art, music, dance and more for the love of cosplay!

5/23 – Stories Of Regeneration Art show/Celebration
Come out and celebrate the lives of youth from East Side San Jose, who will be showcasing their life stories accompanied by artists from the community.

5/23 – 5/24 – 4th Annual SJ Taco Festival of Innovation
Just what it sounds like. A Festival of Tacos!

5/29 – 5/31 – San Jose Japantown Film Festival (J-Town FilmFest)
A committee of community organizations announces plans for the first San Jose J-TOWN FILMFEST featuring a selection of Asian American and Pacific Islander films in Japantown.



The Changing Same Thursdays

Motown on MondaysMondays

Nomikai DJ Nights – Various Days
Assortment of nights featuring great DJ’s.

Future Arts Now Classes – M/W/TH

Pop Up Market – Whole Foods, The Alameda – 1st Saturdays

South First Fridays – 1st Friday of the month in the SOFA district

AYA Open Mic – Fridays


Know of an event that should be on the list? We are open to suggestions. Send us an email to with the subject line “iPledgeSJ”, a description of the event, any social media accounts associated with the event, and a website link if possible.

Join us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram where we will be sharing photos of those taking the pledge.


Photo Credit: Jonathan Garcia | Event: FAME SS2014


Sonido Clash – Clashing Sounds.

Growing up as a Mexican-American in California, I was exposed to a multitude of sounds and music. I remember my older sister doing her chores while listening to the radio. She pushed our old beat-up stereo to its limits by blasting music like; cumbias, musica norteña, musica de banda, and even the occasional romantica. My dad was the drummer and leader of a Mexican conjunto-norteño that called themselves “Los Chiveros” and held rehearsals with his band in our living room.

Latino music was a big part of my life but as I got older and met new friends through school and my neighborhood, my taste in music started expanding. Suddenly, I was listening to Rap, Hip Hop, RnB, Rock, and anything else my friends and I could download via LimeWire.

This type of exposure to music isn’t unique to myself. I know many people who could sing the lyrics to a Nappy Roots song just as well as the lyrics to something by Ramon Ayala. And, even though it was common to go to a party or family gathering and hear the playlist jump from one type of music to the other, there seemed to be a disconnect between the two. Almost like living in two different worlds.

Then, a movement started happening where a generation of people like me who were exposed to those different sounds started putting them together. A mixture of sounds, a clash of music. A Sonido Clash, which happens to be the name of a group of people who are great at doing just that. Clashing sounds.


Sonido Clash

It was in 2009 when a group of guys established themselves as a collective of talent as part of the National Association of Latino Arts & Culture (NALAC). They called themselves, “Sonido Clash”. It was a more than appropriate name for a group of people who took it upon themselves to weave traditional, modern and futuristic Latin music together and share it with San Jose and the entire Silicon Valley.

The founding members of Sonido Clash include; Roman “Turbo Sonidero Futuristico” Zepeda, Angel “Mex Tape”Luna, and Thomas Ramon “Chatos1013” Aguilar. Together they took on the responsibility of gathering music many of us grew up with and combining it to create a unique sound that describes a generation. For a few years Sonido Clash had a monthly show at The Pagoda located inside The Fairmont Hotel in downtown San Jose.  Not only did they perform themselves, but had a steady rotation of featured emerging talent from different locations across the globe. Some of those guests included artists like Mexican Institute of Sound, Los Rakas, Ana Tijoux, Kubia Queers, and many more.

Anyone lucky enough to catch one of their shows knows just how memorable they are. If you’re not familiar with what a Sonido Clash sounds like, below is a taste directly from Sonido Clash Co-founder TurboSonideroFuturistico’s Youtube page. (May contain Explicit Lyrics)


So, who the heck are these people who make up the Sonido Clash collective? Allow us to formally introduce you.

sonidoclashcollectiveToday the Sonido Clash collective is composed of Roman “Turbo Sonidero Futuristico” Zepeda, a music producer known for blending rap and hip-hop with cumbia-sonidera from Mexico. He calls it “Tumbia”. There’s Elvis “EazyUno” Mendoza from Inglewood, California. He became a part of Sonido Clash in 2012. He is also known for founding Bombilla Party in Southern California where he is also a resident DJ. Another member is Angel “Mex Tape” Luna who connects hip-hop, electronic and cumbia music and adds a dash of his Oaxacan roots. Fernando J. “Tlacoyo” Pérez was involved early on as a community event organizer. If his name is familiar it’s probably because he wasthe Latin alternative music DJ and director at 90.5 FM KSJS. Thomas Ramon “Chatos1013” Aguilar better known for his brand, Universal Grammar, is an event producer. His sound as a DJ is described as having a global groove pallet of soul, funk, hip-hop, and electronic music. Last, but not least is Melinda Chacón. A San jose native who is the newest member of the group. Her specialty being event planning, she has put on numerous large events across the South Bay.


Want to see them in Action?

As you have now seen, this is an extraordinary group of people. I can relate to their work and appreciate that they understand a large portion of San Jose’s culture. Here at Kooltura Marketing, we are happy to help Sonido Clash with branding and design services. Our latest request from them was a poster and flyer for their upcoming and much anticipated event: The INAUGURAL SELENA TRIBUTE PARTY which will take place Saturday, April 18th at the Back Bar SoFA in Downtown San Jose. If you haven’t been to a Sonido Clash event, this is the perfect one.

The event will celebrate the life and legacy of “La Reina De Tejano”, Selena Quintanilla-Perez. There will be two rooms of music featuring guest DJ’s Yo Yolie, Too Tall, DJ Abraham, ThatGirl, Jenicyde, and of course the Sonido Clash Residents. If you’re interested in purchasing presale tickets you can do so here

If it wasn’t yet clear, we are fans of Sonido Clash here at Kooltura and we like working with them and look forward to continue assisting them in their future projects. If you’d like to learn more about Sonido Clash and/or the work we do for them, don’t hesitate to reach out.

In the mean time, dust off those dancing shoes, practice that washing machine dance, and we’ll see you at the Back Bar in Downtown San Jose this Saturday. After all, it’s an #iPledgeSJ selected event.