Angel is an artist, personality, and writer who loves to watch people dance. She drinks dirty martinis and roller skates in her free time.
Photography by Todd Diederich.
Sedate: Can you tell us a little bit about Dew Magazine? Where did the name come from?
Angel Harold: Dew Magazine is a collaboration project managed by Diamond Stingily and I. We chose the name dew because it was really important for us to feature individuals who we feel are contributing culturally and perhaps not acknowledged directly for all the refreshing things they make possible. Although still in its infancy, we are being meditative about how to continue this project and move forward in a diverse and stimulating way.
S: Has there been any telling moments working in a populated male industry that has led you to realize the struggle women, more specifically women of color face? How did you grow from this moment/experience?
AH: Yes, what a negative experience that I’ve learned so much from. I’ve been unknowingly published a couple of times this year, uncredited. Instead of giving those moments more power I’ve decided to encourage friends of mine with similar experiences to commission more diverse folk. To hire and work with people whose personal experience is not shown often. Maybe hire a photographer or videographer who isn’t usually doesn’t identify with the lead role in every movie. I don’t know. It makes for more diverse points of view and access points, and more importantly, better work, better collaborations. I’m really thankful for my friends hire me for portraiture, particularly Vic Mensa who brought me back into that light.
S: Being from Chicago you seem to be very involved in many communities, in particular the gentrification of Pilsen. Can you tell us why you are so passionate about Pilsen in particular? Any advice you can give someone looking to move to the neighborhood?
AH: It is true! I guess to clarify I’m not really in the position to be directly involved in the issues of gentrification because for one, I don’t live in Pilsen anymore. I was raised there and a lot of my Mexican identity is rooted in Pilsen. I think it’s important for people to consider where they live and why they choose to live there. It’s just a shame to see some of the best people I know be displaced by first wave gentrify-ers.
I don’t have time for those who are willfully ignorant of issues of displacement and lack of cultural conservation. Most of the newly available apartments there are built on the backs of Mexican immigrants and a lot of struggle, there’s no way that that can be denied. I feel like that lifespan of Pilsen was cut short, there were a lot of people who sold out and were taken advantage of for Pilsen to be where it is now (in terms of development) and the way it is being lived out by people who really can’t identify with living through a language barrier and growing up through the Chicago public school system (to say the least). It’s boring, the art is bad, the rent is bad, and the food just sucks because the culture is fleeting/gone. Pilsen is almost unrecognizable from when I lived there 20 years ago, but unless the people who have moved there recently, or businesses, hold the alderman or developers accountable nothing will change. It’s a tricky thing, especially when there are so many people gaining money/places to live. No one wants to feel guilty and admit that there is a problem, its ridiculous. I do however applaud those who live there and openly talk about these issues (because guilt doesn’t get anyone anywhere) its more about what you’re doing as a member of a community to support the larger picture and what you are contributing to accidently or not.
S: Do you ever find that your voice is silenced or called upon less frequently than other around you because you are a female and a minority?
It depends on the space, but also on my involvement in the space and whether I’m deliberately choosing to participate or not.
S: Why are you so passionate about the city of Chicago?
AH: I’m from here, (from from) here. Which means I was born and raised in Chicago and still am still here, luckily (and I say luckily because its real as fuck out here and some of my friends didn’t make it to their 18th birthday). So, in a lot of ways my opinions are layered and complex because of the experiences I’ve had in my home, Chicago. There’s a lot of history and meaning in where things come from and how they’ve been growing to be where they are now.
S: Do you have any past times or hobbies you participate in to level yourself out?
AH: I have a few things that keep me grounded, a few of them being nightlife, my boyfriend, my friends. I want to give a very special shout out to parties like queen! and TrQpiteca the spaces that those parties create for people who can feel really critical and stressed from the world is untouchable and amazing. They’re both really great places to be when your body needs some loving and to release some stress without any pressure. What great escapes those places are.
S: What is next for you? Any new projects / collaborations?
AH: Yes! I’m currently working for an event at the Sulzer Regional
Branch of the Chicago Public Library to take place early next year. The event is surrounding my thesis, which was published in May. My thesis is a cultural and social history of Rainbo Roller Rink, a roller skating facility un Uptown which lasted 23 years from the early 1980’s until March of 2003. I skated there as a kid and wrote about its parallel relationship to leisurely activities and music. The interviews in my thesis date back to the 1960’s where the son of the last owner grew up working the concession stands and skate shop up until the year 2000. I also interviewed a DJ named Aaron who played music and took control of the mic from the mid 90s to the year 2000. The building that the rink was built in dated back to prohibition so there were a lot of interesting phases that took place in-between those walls over time. Rainbo was really epic, even after the building closed and was demolished there were a couple dead bodies found in the basement, it never ended. It is also really fitting for my talk and panel discussion/archiving event to take place in March because it would be the same month that the roller rink closed its doors more than ten years ago. There’s got to be some kind of haunted energy present.
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