CHÓCALA is the sonic amalgamation of latin rhythms, rock, and jazz with a touch of tropical psychedelia, resulting in an experimental, yet approachable, sound with an infectious groove. While layering spacey, ethereal tones on her synthesizers, Liza Ortiz sings about the complexities of the spectrums of mental health and the importance of radical self-acceptance and compassion as Michael Anderson weaves his harmonizing saxophone notes into her melodies with, at times, playful yet precise, delivery. Davey Blackburn on percussion and Claudio Ortiz on bass guitar ground each song, with bombastic rhythms and riffs. After gaining regional attention with a 3 song demo recorded in their practice space, Chócala went to work to put together their first album set to release September 1st 2019.
Karen Tongson is associate professor of English, gender & sexuality studies, and American studies & ethnicity. She is the 2019 recipient of the Lambda Literary Jeanne Córdova Award for Lesbian/Queer Nonfiction. She is the author of Relocations: Queer Suburban Imaginaries (2011), and Why Karen Carpenter Matters (2019). Her writing and cultural commentary have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, L.A. Weekly, BuzzFeed Reader, NPR, The Washington Post, and Public Books, as well as in other scholarly and public forums. She has two books in progress: Empty Orchestra: Karaoke, Queer Performance, Queer Theory (Duke University Press), and NORMPORN: Television and the Spectacle of Normalcy (NYU Press). Postmillennial Pop, the award-winning book series she co-edits with Henry Jenkins at NYU Press, has published over twenty titles. Previously a panelist on MaximumFun.org’s Pop Rocket Podcast, she now cohosts the GenX-themed podcast, Waiting to X-hale, with Wynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh. For more information, visit www.karentongson.org. Twitter: @inlandemperor | Instagram: @tongsonator
Before coming to USC, Tongson held a University of California President's Postdoctoral Fellowship in Literature at UC San Diego, and a UC Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI) Residential Research Fellowship at UC Irvine.
I've been a freelance artist for years but began making these miniature historical scenes on a whim several years ago for the week of Halloween for friends and family to see. Every year they became more and more detailed and friends urged me to share them, so Halloween 2017, History Bones was officially (publicly) born. You can find my work at historybones.com or follow me @historybones on Instagram for pieces, behind the scenes stuff, progress photos, and the occasional dog or chicken pic.
Megan is a freelance photographer and writer who returned to Mississippi after eleven years in San Francisco. With a past life in professional fine art work, she finds her favorite stories highlight the pursuit of mastery through craft, concept, and challenging audience perception. As a photographer, her publication CV includes: The Collierville Herald, Eat Drink Mississippi, Invitation Oxford, and the published book, The Artist’s Sketch: A Biography of the Painter Kate Freeman Clark. See more of her work at: www.meganwolfephoto.com
Dr. Samantha Allen is the author of Real Queer America: LGBT Stories from Red States (Little, Brown, 2019), a travelogue that the Los Angeles Times called “a book necessary for anyone in or allied with the queer community” and that the New York Times Book Review called “a powerful book of memoir and reportage.” Her debut Love & Estrogen (Amazon Original Stories, 2018) tells the unforgettable story of Samantha meeting her wife in a Kinsey Institute elevator—a real-life queer rom-com. Samantha has appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and C-SPAN’s “Book TV,” as well as several radio programs and podcasts. She is currently touring nationwide, reading and signing Real Queer America.
Samantha is also a GLAAD-Award winning journalist, previously covering LGBTQ stories as a senior reporter for The Daily Beast and working as a Sex + Life staff writer for Fusion. Her full list of bylines includes The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Out, CNN, and more. In 2018, she received the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism Article for her article on the cultural erasure of bisexual men—and in 2019, she was nominated in the same category for her piece on non-binary inclusion in the workplace. Samantha has discussed her reporting on MSNBC, CNN, and NPR’s On the Media.
Samantha holds a Ph.D. in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies with a certificate in Psychoanalytic Studies from Emory University, where she was the recipient of a George W. Woodruff Fellowship. Her scholarly writing has been published in Feminist Theory and Loading: The Journal of the Canadian Game Studies Association. In 2013, she received the John Money Fellowship for Scholars of Sexology from the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction at Indiana University in Bloomington. In 2014, she was honored with an Unsung Heroine Award from the Center for Women at Emory and with the Transgender Advocate of the Year Award from Emory’s Office of LGBT Life.
Samantha is the Internet’s premier alpaca enthusiast and her love of The Bachelorknows no bounds. When not writing, she can be found traveling the country with her wife, collecting patches from national parks to sew onto a denim jacket.
Wynter Mitchell is a digital strategist, writer and podcaster with two decades of experience working in the entertainment industry. She has spent much of her professional life interacting productively with various tiers of the entertainment community.
Since striking out on her own, she has contributed her experience and foresight to campaigns and strategies for everyone from Marsai Martin, Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler, Lena Dunham, Margaret Cho, Aerosmith, Universal, Netflix, HBO, STX as well as Joss Whedon’s Hillary Clinton SuperPAC, Save The Day.
She started her career at the ambitious age of 16, working for IGN as a reporter covering politics and culture before landing a coveted role as a production coordinator, producing digital trends and news segments for TechTV in 2000.
She has climbed every rung in the entertainment business working for the William Morris Agency, DIRECTV, Fox, Us Weekly, OK!, and Spinmedia. Starting Pablo Jobs (named in honor of the two innovators that inspires her most, Pablo Picasso and Steve Jobs) she aims to work with talent and influencers to create their ideal digital branding and vision to be executed on their most valued social platforms.
She has been featured in Cosmopolitan, The Independent, San Francisco Chronicle, and Variety among other publications for her expertise and commentary on the shifts of pop culture in the digital age.