(a little late since the Spring Festival now has passed ... but, the New Year is definitely here!)
2017 is the the Year of the Rooster, a special sign for me for it is the lunar year in which I was born and while I do not follow the Chinese calendar, it serves as a wonderful peek into the consciousness of those of us raised with the Gregorian calendar that there are a variety of major civilizations, histories and traditions out there to recognize and learn from as well as our own.  And even the Gregorian or western calendar has its history and variances within it!

So, several items to think about for those, like me, whose birthdays fall in odd places (January in this instance) under the Lunar Calendar:
1. Since this Lunar Year actually starts on 28 January 2017 and continues until 5 February 2018, my earlier January birthday that actually qualifies it for the year of the Rooster that most sites say is 2017 is actually, for me, my January birthday in 2018.
2. There is also significance about WHAT TYPE OF ROOSTER was clucking around the year one was born.  Here’s the guide (I’m not telling what type of year is mine)..
This year is the year of the fire rooster
"The fire rooster is known for being trustworthy, punctual and responsible (especially at work).”  Needless to say, this is not my type of rooster, especially the punctual.
3. The year of one’s zodiac sign (The Rooster is the 10th of the 12 zodiac signs) is an UNLUCKY year for those whose sign it is!   oh oh .. some explanation:

It has been a busy year for me and our planned annual exploration of even newer temples and associations with our friends fell apart at the last minute so, since this part of my long-term FINDING CHINATOWN: AN AMERICAN STORY photographic project continues, I simply wandered to downtown Los Angeles on the Lunar New Year's Eve to my favorite temple, Chua Ba Thien Hau, to visit with the friends I have made there this past dozen or so years.  It is always worth it for attendees - from regular worshippers to tourists taking in the fireworks - are full of cheer, hope and community as we all celebrate this strong tradition.

Lion dancers, drummers and fireworks make for a festive night of understanding and participation that underscores the strong multi-cultural fabric of our country.
I especially love the lion dancers, teams of two usually young men - although women have been joining recently - from associations that join together, from time to time even in someone's back yard, to learn the arduous physical coordination of the lion dance and its celebratory, "good luck' role in the New Year and other ceremonial occasions.  There is long history to China's fascination with lions, actually not native to most of China and the artistry of the lion costume and the traditions they perform: the dancers allowing themselves in large crowds to be petted for good luck; "eating" the traditional offering of lettuce, then spitting it out to be caught, again for good luck; and just plain entertaining the crowd.  Between the drums that accompany them and the ritual, one is definitely in the moment.
A bit more plus a fun YouTube 1981 film snippet:   

As always, I am thankful to the participants in this holiday, those I know and those I meet in the crowds who permit me to photograph and join them in this holiday.  In these strange times in the United  States especially, we have to learn about and treasure all of our engaging histories and cultures that have created and continue to strengthen our great democratic experiment.  A new year is about hope - whether Chinese, Gregorian or whatever - and with hope comes understanding and community.  Let's go on.


ONE: It is with great sadness that I announce that my friend and photographic subject, TYRUS WONG, passed away on 30 December 2016. He was 106 years old but his age was not the characteristic most celebrated.  Rather it was his artistry for, starting with a modest fine art career Tyrus attained great artistic heights in his artwork: the inspiration for Disney's Bambi, his paintings, his ceramics and for me, his handmade kites. that he flew even this past summer.  Tyrus demonstrated what it truly means to be an artist.  That, along with great humility, a sense of humor and a welcoming to all whom he encountered, will make him truly missed.

The New York Times front page, CBS Morning News and worldwide media celebrated his passing .  Pamela Tom's beautiful film, TYRUS, will have an airing on American Masters (PBS ) this summer.  I was so honored that many of these resources pubilshed my photographs of Tyrus.

TWO: In April (opening Sunday, 2 April through 28 July), my prints of Tyrus & His Kites out at the beach will accompany several of his wonderful handmade kites in an exhibition by the Malibu Cultural Arts Commission at Malibu Civic Center.

ONE: THE ARCHITECTURAL IMAGINATION, the US Pavillion’s entry at the 2016 Venice Biennale/Architecture that includes my photographic view of Detroit, has just opened at MOCAD (The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit) as part of WINTER EXHIBITIONS 2017. 
February 11, 2017- April 16, 2017

TWO: The Fall exhibition in Paris of my in-progress DETROIT:DEFINITION project was wonderful and beautifullly installed by Olivier Spillebout, my gallerist both here and of last year's exhibition at Maison de la Photographie, Lille.  I was delighted to welcome so many visitors to the show, including friends in for Paris Photo Week.  My thanks as well to my co-exhibitor, Guillaume Rivière whose Detroit work was a great counterpoint to my own.

ONE: I am delighted to announce that my first book, the multiple award-winning LIFE DOESN'T FRIGHTEN ME (STEWART, TABORI & CHANG/Abrams 1993) is being readied by Abrams Books for a 25th Anniversary Edition!  Still in print all these years, LIFE will be released in this new edition next January 2018!

I have been busily updating the biographies of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Dr. Maya Angelou whose expressive and poetic work I paired to make this book and so look forward to its continued vibrancy for future readers.  More to come!!!
The very first feature documentary on Dr. Angelou, the award-winning   American Masters – Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise premieres nationally on PBS's AMERICAN MASTERS.  It will also be released digitally that same day. Kudos to the filmmakers, Rita Colburn Whack & Bob Hercules for creating such a beautiful story!!!

Recently several of my photographs were licensed for publication to Vassar Magazine, The Taubman School of Architecture at the University of Michigan, CBS Sunday Morning, New York Times, Voice of America, The Mockingbird Magazine and INTERVIEW Magazine/Germany.

My thanks as always to those who have allowed me in to photograph and learn more about them. Without their gracious invitations, I could not accomplish what I hope to do.
I am now also found on Instagram where I am having a great time posting more "casual" photographs, never knowing however when one of those might lead to a new project.  Always searching!

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Sara Jane Boyers Photo · PO Box 221 · Pacific Palisades, California 90272 · USA

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