2023 and Me
And What's in Store for 2024
In all the ways you choose to celebrate this season, I hope your time is filled with laughter, joy, hugs, and delicious food!
2023 has been a good year for me. There was only one downside to it all.
I did not enjoy being assaulted by angry white men on horses.
I learned a lot from that experience, but at this point, it does not haunt me as it once did.
Will I be wandering alone deep in the woods where I live?
Probably not. But I am okay with this.
The rest of this past calendar year has been quite eventful. I decided to take a break from any new filmmaking projects. I felt burnt out by it all and have taken this year off. (Of course, there was one exception—more on that later.)
Instead, I delved head-first back into my life as a performing musician. Music and piano have always been at the core of my creative practice, and I was happy to return. I am most vulnerable, exposed, improvisational, and alive when I am on a stage. This is diametrically opposed to the extremely low-key, contained, and introverted life I live most days. This was the year of finding my rhythm and growing my voice.
Here are some highlights from 2023:
3 Multimedia Performances of Ancestral Tongue
I made a splash this year with three ambitious performances of a multimedia show that incorporated live Filipino folk dance, traditional Filipino costumes, visual vignettes that were projected on a large backdrop, and full-bodied rocking out with my bandmates Andrew on guitar, Joe on drums, and MaxZine on mandolin. Each show was an improvement over the last. (Other more traditional shows happened at BoroPride, the French House, and the SHROC conference in Nashville. It’s been a fantastic year of performing.)
The Pavilion at Chinkapin Craftstead
I mentioned previously that I work part-time as the Director of Programs at Chinkapin Craftstead. This is a queer-led, nonprofit arts organization based out of Woodbury, TN. Among the numerous wonderful events we mounted, a highlight for the year was the raising of the timber frame for our new multi-use pavilion. Over twenty people spent two weeks preparing long stretches of timber and joinery by hand. On the last day of this fortnight, all of the pieces of the frame were connected, and it was glorious to behold.
On the evening of July 1, my dear husband (DH) and I were on our way home from seeing our friends’ band perform. Less than a mile from our driveway, we both noticed something small and black moving on the road. I went back to that spot that night and scooped up three lost and malnourished kittens. I found two of them loving homes and kept one for myself. I was very happy to carry out this kitten rescue.
Website Design and Launch
I spent quite a bit of time in the last year envisioning, formatting, and designing my website, www.roquemarcelo.com. As the online home for all my creative work, I wanted it to have its own unique character while still being functional. I launched it last summer, and it is primed for more growth in the new year.
I finally became a US citizen in May of this year. This was the culmination of too many years spent slogging through so much red tape (and paying lots of money) just to get to this point. It was the most celebratory moment of 2023 with an EPIC party that my friend Xyla threw for me at her lovely home. I have since updated my social security information, bank accounts, and driver’s license. I am now registered to vote, and I have a shiny new US passport. There is also a mental shift I have undergone in my brain these past few months. I was used to many years of hiding and surviving. I am trying to embrace a different way of being now.
Clearly, I have had a full year. What’s in store for 2024?
New Music Release
Very soon, I will be spending quite a bit of time promoting a new song and music video into the new year. It’s gonna be quite splashy in its own special way. The video is the one film project I pursued in 2023, and it was so worth it. Soon enough, you will see and hear it on every major streaming and video platform.
New Multimedia Show
In addition to performing Ancestral Tongue, I want to develop another show this winter. 2024 marks the end of my sabbatical from filmmaking, and I want to film some fun visuals for this next undertaking. It’s gonna be a riot. (There will also be more shows in general. I love performing.)
More Visual Art
I will be expanding my abstract flower practice by creating much larger pieces in the same vein as the Turka Melea drawing I made earlier in this year. I want to make an entire series of them that I am calling The Hidden Flora. New digital illustrations will also be unveiled.
New Additions to WPR
I will be slowly expanding the offerings here at WPR. Substack, where this newsletter is hosted, has evolved into an incredibly versatile platform with audio, podcasting, and video publishing capabilities. There will be audio and video components coming to WPR in 2024.
That is the bulk of what is coming, along with an occasional surprise or two for the new year. As life goes, it is difficult to predict anything in the future, but all I can say is that I want to play more music and film lots of fun stuff.
According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2024 will be the Year of the Dragon. As a Fire Dragon myself, I am going to make the most out of the next 12 months.
Joyously, I carry on.
I spent an evening at a place called Yellowbird Artscape this past week celebrating a friend’s birthday and the winter solstice. DH and I took a walk around a gorgeous pond as the sunset grew in its splendor. We visited a little pagoda and sat by a fire to stay warm into the night. I have been here a few times before, and this place clearly holds its own magic. Nature truly has so much to give, and I am always thankful when I can get an evening to take it all in.
To listen to my music, watch my films, or see my visual art, please visit:
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