It's an amazing thing to see generation after generation of UCI alum come out and community organize in Los Angeles. Props to Eddy and Stephanie for doing their thing and for organizing Sunday Jump every month in Historic-Filipinotown. I hope you all enjoy this Oblivious Interview!
Oblivious meets Eddy M. Gana Jr.
Eddy M. Gana Jr., Eddy G., Flip Image
Affiliations (arts org, fun things you do, etc) :
Going into our third year, I am a co-founder and the resident host of Sunday Jump, a Filipino-founded open mic series based in Historic Filipinotown, Los Angeles. Currently, I am the chairperson of Kabataang maka-Bayan or KmB, Pro-People Youth fighting for Pilipin@ Studies and justice and equity for Filipino-American veterans, widows, and their families. As a UCI Anteater alumnus, I joined the USC Trojan family in the Master of Social Work program. I have coined the term, Ante-Jan. Fun things I do? I like words. I like writing words and speaking words. I am a spoken word artist and emcee. Word.
What's the one word you are guilty of using too much?
Word. Just kidding! It's a tie between "stories" and "community.”
How did you end up doing what you are doing now?
It started with Pilipino Youth Coalition (PYC) of South Alameda County. I remember folks my age speaking about it in my Tagalog class. I was a sophomore in high school then, and I wanted to try meeting folks in a club that is not related to school. PYC was it. I didn't only get to make new friends, but also learned about my culture, history, and about myself. Eventually, the friends I made found out that I rapped and invited me to sign up for the open mic at Paddy's, a local coffee chop around the corner. I was nervous. I remember shaking, but with their encouragement, I went on the mic.
Method Man. I love laughing. I love cracking jokes with the homies. I think about his friendship with Redman (although not a member of the Wu-Tang Clan), and how they are always clowning. That's life. There are issues that we have to address seriously, but self-care is important too. Laugh and live to rhyme another day.
Dogs or Cats, who wins? Why?
Dogs because they do not break fragile ornaments and I don’t have to take a picture of the cat next to the mess to prove that I didn’t break it, but then look like I did it because I took that picture. My family’s cat, Mellow, is cool though.
What is the best part of any given day for you?
When I get that sudden feeling to write in the middle of the night. Even if I get less sleep, it’s worth it and I actually wake up the next day with more energy because poetry is my therapy.
In a zombie apocalypse who would you want on your survival team?
No matter where we are, Janice will direct us by going straight then making a right to get to safety. Stephanie will prepare our routes and ration our food and supplies as necessary. Xuan will know where to find and how to acquire resources. Vatche will mediate any conflict within the group. In the event of an outbreak, Gwen-Florelei will have the greatest ideas for how to kill the zombies. Gian will document our journey along the way. If we are ever cornered in an alley, JP and Emily will always be down to help. PAF will be everyone’s go-to nap pillow. I’m pretty confident that an open mic will happen during the zombie apocalypse.
“Hunger strikes” because of this: http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/The-Black-Student-Union-at-SFSU-started-it-all-3274175.php?cmpid=fb-desktop. We cannot talk about the Third World Liberation Front without the Black Student Union. We cannot talk about the importance of Pilipin@ Studies without Ethnic Studies. We cannot talk about the Civil Rights Movement without anti-blackness. The histories of our communities are different, but not isolated. Our beliefs align more than you may think.
If you could talk to your high school self, what would you say?
I love time travel films, like Back to the Future and Looper. I believe that it is possible for the future to change so I won’t say anything too specific. What I can say is appreciate the free time you have now.
What is the best thing or meal you ever ate?
Strip House in Las Vegas for Stephanie’s and my 5th anniversary in 2012. Mmmmm, steak.
What is a memorable project that you are working on or have worked on?
During Spring 2012, I requested PTO for one week and used the entire time to write and record songs for my first ever mixtape. I was experimenting with a new name, Double-I (which later I reverted back to Flip Image). The mixtape is called, “Break Time’s Over.” My personal favorite is “Best Day Ever (Best Trip Ever Remix)” because it always brings back memories of the Philippines. In this song, I reflected about my experiences with my Martin and Gana family and used footage from the trip to create this music video: