lechon lectures at kultura festival

This year, Kultura Festival patrons can learn about the connections between Filipino cuisine and culture. Admission to the Lechon Lectures, hosted in adjacent Chicago Distillery Co., is included with a Kultura Festival ticket purchase. 

12 PM - 1 PM: "This is not my mother's adobo!" by Martin F. Manalansan IV

1 PM - 2 PM: Food & Worldbuilding in Science Fiction & Fantasy with panelists Maia Mrkvicka, Nicasio Reed, and Michi Trota

2 PM - 3 PM: Shane Bernardo

3 PM - 4 PM: Lane Wilcken

"This is not my mother's adobo!" 
Culinary Authenticity, Hipsters, Entrepreneurs and Cultural Heritage, 12 PM - 1 PM

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Martin F. Manalansan IV
Head, Department of Asian American Studies;
Associate Professor of Anthropology & Asian American Studies, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

In recent years, authenticity and appropriation have become buzz words and call to arms around many endeavors and debates including but not limited to art and cuisine.  The rise of the foodie or the self-absorbed vernacular expert on alimentary things have further added fuel to the fire by disseminating a touristic view of "exotic" cuisines and creating food “trends.” Such food trends have led big corporate restaurant chains to "ethnicize" their menus.  Good things?  What happens to the small immigrant food establishments, to second and third generation children of immigrants and to the over-all enterprise of foods amidst unfair labor practices, class inequality, and regional differences.  Utilizing ongoing ethnographic and historical research, this presentation takes Filipino and Filipino American cuisine as an example as it attains – at least for this time – the monicker “cuisine of the moment” or the trendy cuisine to eat and to exploit. 

This presentation challenges people to think about power and culture.  Who gets to set the food trends? Who benefits from these trends? Who gets left behind? Food is not just an issue of fashion, pleasure, nutrition, or mere identity but also about power and voice. It is a shifting cultural process that lends itself to creativity as well as nefarious cultural thievery. 

Food & Worldbuilding in Science Fiction & Fantasy, 1 PM - 2 PM

Panelists Maia Mrkvicka, Nicasio Reed, and Michi Trota

Food can often be an overlooked aspect in storytelling, but food is a grounding element of culture and identity. How characters relate to food can tell us where they come from, who they are, how their communities are built, and how societies function. This panel of Filipinx science fiction & fantasy creators will discuss how some of their favorite genre works use food as part of storytelling, as well as talk about how they integrate food and Filipinx identity into their own work.

Michi Trota is the Managing Editor of the Hugo Award-winning and World Fantasy Award finalist Uncanny: A Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy. She is a two-time Hugo Award winner, and was the first Filipina to win the award. She is an essayist, public speaker, fire performance artist, and serves as president of the Chicago Nerd Social Club board of organizers.

Nicasio Andres Reed is a Filipino-American science fiction writer and poet who lives in Wisconsin. His work has appeared in Uncanny Magazine, Lightspeed, and Strange Horizons. He dabbles in writing comics, and was a contributor to the Lambda-Award-winning Beyond: The Queer Sci-Fi & Fantasy Comic Anthology. He is currently working on his first novel. Find him online @nicasiosilang. 

Maia Mrkvicka is a filipino-american middle grade writer, blogger, podcaster and life long science-fiction and fantasy fan. She can be found online @semirose talking about pop-culture, SFF, AsAm representation and feelings.

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Photo credit  Brian Kelly .

Photo credit Brian Kelly.

Shane Bernardo, Filipinx Food Ways: Origins and Impacts

2 PM - 3 PM

The Philippines is an archipelago of over 7,000 plus islands. Our foods and food ways are just as many and diverse. This lecture will cover what has influenced our food ways including culture, climate, topography, trade, colonialism and conflict and what impact that's had on people within the Philippine diaspora. 

Shane Bernardo grew up working in his family's small ethnic grocery store on the west side of Detroit, Michigan. For over 13 years, Shane's family helped cultivate a nourishing environment for the South East Asian, West African and Afro-Caribbean cultures through culturally relevant foods, recipes, stories and traditions. In addition to food staples, Shane also developed a heightened awareness of shared social, economic, political and historical conditions that his family had in common with others within a geographically, racially, ethnically and culturally stratified community.

Shane is also a long-life Detroit resident active within the grassroots food justice movement in Detroit as a facilitator for Uprooting Racism Planting Justice, fellow with the Detroit Equity Action Lab, fellow with Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture and founding member of Swimming in the Detroit River, an environmental justice storytelling collective.


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Lane Wilcken, Traditions & Tattoos of Maui from the Philippines

3 PM - 4 PM

Although centuries of Spanish colonialism has nearlywiped out his memory, the demigod Maui, now popularized in the Disney film, "MOANA" was once a very important figure in the Philippines. Known by the Filipino variation of his name, "Lumauig," he is credited with bringing important foods to the Philippines. These and other feats of Maui/Lumauig were recorded as tattoos upon our ancestors.

Lane Wilcken has been researching the indigenous past of the Philippines and the Pacific Islands for nearly two decades, incorporating oral traditions, written history, linguistics, and personal experience. Lane has also been recognized as a "mambabatok" or traditional hand-tap tattoo practitioner by the Filipino community. His ancestral ties to this work continue to motivate his research. He lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.