Welcome to Metal Kingdom Documentary

With all the ongoing research I’ve been doing for my thesis, I came upon this gem. It’s a documentary produced back in 2006-2009 by Denise Gaberman called Welcome to Metal Kingdom (see video below). Gaberman chronicled the lifespan of a small metal venue that opened in Queens, NY, back in 2006 called Metal Kingdom. The film is about 35 minutes long and offers a nice snippet of what the metal community, especially the Pan-Latino metal community looked like in the early 2000’s. It documents the year-long journey of the owner, Salvador Gil, and his partner Edwin Mazariegas, towards maintaining the venue’s life amid financial, political, and renovation complications.

Having seen Sam Dunn’s series, Metal Evolution, I found this documentary, in contrast, even more fascinating and quite different due to its exploration of the ethnic groups participating in NY’s local metal scene. Metal has so often been stereotyped as “white male adolescent” music and this documentary contradicts this notion and in fact shows the director’s perceptiveness to include interviews with women and people of color within the scene. Of particular interest to me were the interviews with two sisters (Denise and Wanda Ramirez) who were in two different extreme metal bands in which they employed male vocal stylings-something that is still rare in the more commercial extreme metal bands that are fronted by women. Add to this, that we still see very few extreme metal bands with women period.

Since my research is ongoing, I hope to reach out and get further insight on both the men and women from the Pan-Latino community as it definitely looks like a gap in local NY Metal scholarship.

Visual Anthropology

This is just a really quick post but I couldn’t help writing something down!
I’m about to start the Spring semester in another 2 weeks and I’m pretty excited to be taking a course called Visual Anthropology. It’s my second semester in Hunter’s graduate Anthropology program and I’m looking forward to continuing the great time I’ve had thus far.

My professor for the class sent out the syllabus this week. As I did a quick preview of what’s in store for me, I’m glad to say it’s not as intimidating as I thought it would be. For one, all the classes are centered on watching documentary films and reporting on styles and cinematic elements, something I’m quite excited to learn about. Second, the class doesn’t seem to be “a book and several articles due a week” type of class. To which, at least this time around, I’m grateful. I’m also excited that one of the final projects is to write-up a proposal as if I am going to do a film for my future Masters thesis. I’m not quite sure how this will turn out but it’s got my mind immersed  with a variety of ideas…i.e.–Evolution of Women in Death Metal??? A topic that’s been on my mind for a thesis for quite some time now.