This project has been live for slightly over a year and was conceived a little over a year and half ago in separate but related conversations with Claudia Magaña, my sort of brother Jose Anguiano and my bro in law Jesus Estrada. At the time we concluded there really isn't a website devoted to the cultural and social aspects of the latino experience with a consistently progressive voice and lens of analysis. We noted the pathbreaking work of Latino Rebels and wanted to complement the voice they offer by focusing on music and longer form writing with a bias towards the pacific coast and of course a view from my unexpected home in Minneapolis.
I didn't really know what I was doing when I started this. I mostly just followed my intuition about what I thought was interesting and what was missing among conversations within the latino social media space. In reality the whole concept was based around a podcast series I was tinkering with while employed in my first gig in Minneapolis, (I have since moved on to my fourth job here and I expect this one will stick!). I had been running a speaker series that know one showed up to and I was getting frustrated expending so much energy getting folks to do something they clearly had no interest in. So it made sense to record the conversation with the guests and stream it over the internet. I interviewed folks with the intention of connecting their conversation to national narratives. Moving into podcasts energized me and once I left that job I wanted to continue the podcast realizing that I would no longer be limited by the restrictions of a politically tentative non-profit. I loved how the podcasts connected me to communities and individuals my social anxiety restrict me from and how I formed strong relationships with my guests. It was and is great!
I have been fascinated with how the site has developed, how people have responded to it and the community that has formed through it. I have met amazing people and have made a lot of good friends, not the least of which has been the fellas of Chicano Batman that embraced my project and have made themselves available over and over again culminating in an epic benefit show for Unaccompanied Minors in Oakland, California.The second event that really alerted me to the possibilities of what the website could be was the hoopla surrounding that dam Santa Barbara News-Press front page! When I got an email from one of my twitter buddies and advocates Jeronimo Saldana about my name and campaign mentioned in Cosmopolitan I was blown away, and mostly confused.
What lands and what people put energy around is never all that consistent. I tried doing a Buzzfeed style "12 Chihuahuas of Christmas" having found a bunch of Chihuahuas in Santa outfits. It fell flat and taught me a strong lesson abut my audience and how much I need to stick to my vision. The lesson? Clearly my audience had gotten used to the mostly dour and raw articles that I post with something to chuckle at every so often!
In the about section you can read about the inspiration for the website, how the vision and direction is inspired by the memory of my father, the consummate humble story teller. I crafted the site as a way to grieve his loss and commemorate his life. I do hope I have honored his memory and to you the reader I hope I have conveyed his rhythm and impact on me. I love my father very much and feel his presence in the words that I right and the chuckles in the podcast.
So a couple of admissions. I have never liked the term Chipsterlife. In the early stages of brainstorming my crew and I came up with a bunch of names that didn't make sense or where unavailable in domain name form. The term itself came on my radar when it was used to describe me at some point by my buddy Jeanalee Obergfell and I thought it was a funny term. Sometimes folks really get worked up about the term and I generally agree with them, however, its meant to be a joke NOT to be taken seriously. Tongue in cheek homies!
Ok on to the warm and fuzzy. So man many thanks! Certainly, one of the unexpected surprises is the mentorship and support Julio from Latino Rebels has offered. His constant retweets and enthusiasm for my project was very affirming in moments of uncertainty. At a time when I was doubting the whole project Daniella Ortiz-Padilla briskly stepped into my life and we penned what remains the most popular thing produced on the site, Gentrifications Storefront. My nameless buddy who alerted me to some f-ed up stuff and what became two posts that would be the basis for a hilarious lawsuit threat. Marco Hyman is diligently fixing up the store, in the process of replacing the crappy photos I took of the otherwise marvelous products. My photos did them a grave injustice. Speaking of products Rochelle, Ebelyn and Trama Textiles have been wonderful vendors. Patty Delgado has graciously allowed me to repost her awesome content. Chhoti Maa is awesome! Taylor Shevey inspired one of my most revealing posts. The twitter crew who taught me how that business works Victor Sanchez and Jeronimo Saldana. As I mentioned before Chicano Batman has given this project mad love and has anchored my foray into music and the arts. Franco Funktion has been my favorite and most popular podcast and also represents my first foray into music sales. Franco's all I want is to be invited to your thanksgiving dinners or any other family gathering! Lastly and most recently look out for new products with my emerging business partner and co-worker Liz Engels.
Of course mad love always goes to the fam bam for putting up with my unabated restlessness and humoring my incessant brainstorming. Look I actually did put this together!
Thank you readers, likers, retweeters and folks that share. Keep reading and enjoying and feel free to suggest and write up some stuff! I will always post things from collaborators.
Filiberto Nolasco Gomez
PS I am a now a Mexican Citizen!