Cinco de Mayo and Latin Culture (Nudes)

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Hope you're had a lovely weekend! I figure we could close it out with this absurd, absurdist-pop set that I took with Omarte Grandioso in Seattle. I remember this day so well, walking down to his basement with no expectations, greeted by a riot of eye-melting color, dismembered dolls, candy-colored skulls, and cartoonish little bits of clothing and accessories that tied them all together. I really loved it! He's Mexican and very proud of his heritage, so he had a lot of fun dolling me up in luchador masks topless and such.

To tell the truth, I wasn't always enamored with Latin culture. I'm from Houston and found mariachi and bachata music cloying and unrelatable. I wasn't in love with the omnipresent food in Texas the same way I don't like eating burgers or chips. I hate soap operas, dramatic gestures and overstatement, loud colors. But after being semi-adopted by a Colombian family, dating a Mexican man, and being gently but firmly spurred by them to learn Spanish, I gradually fell in love with the culture. 

Where East Asian families tend to be stern and understated, Latin ones are often vociferous and unconditionally bursting with love. Asians tend to be rational and distrust wild emotion, but gosh, once you taste pasión, there's no going back. I'd rather be loca than lose this feeling of being truly alive

There's nothing sweeter when you're feeling sappy than classical Spanish guitar and flamenco. I borrowed a nylon string guitar for a year and tried to learn how to play it, but holy shit I suck at it. I've played in Carnegie Hall in school but that unbridled, gleeful mariachi or fluent flamenco, that stuff is really hard. I don't have the soul for it yet or decades of dedication. 

And finally, when I hear Spanish, I feel wrapped up in this warmth and fuzziness that I don't get with any other language. It reminds me of so many good times and great people, of many celebrations big and small. Okay, now I'm all nostalgic. I need to book a trip to Texas or Mexico soon! 

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Fan-Pei Koung

Life Science Purpose, 2431 Shakespeare St, Houston, TX, 77030, United States