Named one of American Planning Association’s 10 “Great Public Spaces” in the U.S. for 2013, the Grand Park measures 12-acres and extends from west side of The Music Center to Los Angeles’ City. Grand Park is a wonderful place everyone to gather to simply enjoy its expansive green space or to experience the many community events, cultural experiences, holiday celebrations, and other activities provided by The Music Center and the County of Los Angeles. To avoid driving and finding parking space, the park is accessible by Metro via the B/D (formerly Red/Purple) line to the Civic Center/Grand Park station.
In a continuing effort to bring the Arts to the Los Angeles community during the pandemic, The Music Center – Los Angeles will present Grand Park’s Our L.A. Voices 2021: A Pop-up Arts+Culture Fest taking a look at the “impact of the arts through diverse disciplines and artistic perspectives on Thursdays, April 15, 22, and 29, 2021, at 6:00 p.m. (PDT) here. There will be three digital episodes on consecutive Thursdays to put a spotlight on L.A.’s cultural ecosystem and giving viewers an opportunity to engage with the arts by participating in talks and workshops. This on-demand experience, which features more than 12 L.A. based artists offering a mix of live performances and presentations along with recorded programming during a 2.5 hour block each Thursday evening, is free.
For LA Dance Chronicle readers, there will be two dance performances on Thursday, April 29, 2021. Primera Generación Dance Collective will perform its work Rasquachencias which was created by four first-generation artists, and Love for the Prairie《苍穹之恋》performed by Chinese Dance Company of Southern California (CDCSC).
“The three programs aim to reduce the distance between artist and audience by offering at-home engagement opportunities such as talks, conversations and arts-based workshops where people can learn more about the critical issues impacting communities in L.A. County, as seen through an artist’s point-of-view.” The Music Center press release – 4/6/21
Below is the schedule for Grand Park’s Our L.A. Voices 2021: A Pop-up Arts+Culture Fest
April 15, 2021 at 6:00 p.m.
Live at 6:00 p.m. (PDT) – Well-known for her vast and eclectic collection of music that spans genres and decades, DJ Lani Love will begin the festivities with VIET TRAP, a Live Hip-Hop Set Spinning Tunes from the Vietnamese diaspora.
TALK: Vietnamese New Wave: Then and Now presented by DJ Lani Love & Elizabeth Ai
DJ Lani Love and filmmaker Elizabeth Ai will discuss the director’s current project, New Wave Documentary, a film documenting and preserving the sociocultural influence and impact of the popular 80s music genre, New Wave, on the Vietnamese Diaspora. Their conversation will explore the origins of Vietnamese New Wave and its cultural significance, then and now.
WORKSHOP: Creation Stories of the Los Angeles Basin presented by the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and the NEA BIG Read, featuring Meztli Projects through a land acknowledgement exercise, viewers will learn some of the original names of the cities and communities in Los Angeles. The creation stories of the Los Angeles Basin will be led by Meztli Projects guest Elder Alan Salazar (Tataviam/Chumash) who will share from his new book Tata, the Tataviam Towhee, a nature story illustrated by Mona Lewis using pigments made from rocks and soil collected in Tataviam territory. Viewers can enter a special drawing to receive a gift basket with a copy of Salazar’s book as well as Tonga Elder Cindi Alvitre’s book Waa’aka’: The Bird Who Fell in Love with the Sun and also Louise Erdrich’s The Round House, which is this year’s L.A. title selection for the NEA Big Read Program. To enter the free drawing, send an email to: email@example.com by April 23, 2021, with subject matter “Native Voices.” Winner will be announced at the end of Our L.A. Voices on April 29, 2021.
FILM PREMIERE: Changing Landscapes presented by AKP Recordings
The experimental documentary short Changing Landscapes (Isle of Eigg) by multidisciplinary art studio Arthur King was filmed in the Scottish Hebrides. The process, or artistic methodology, of the Changing Landscapes series is focused primarily on field recordings and is the unchanging framework that allows the location to serve as the focus of the art. Watch the trailer. The film will be available for viewing on-demand April 15–30, 2021, HERE.
April 22, 2021 at 6:00 p.m.
LIVE WORKSHOP: Milagros presented by the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and the NEA BIG Read, featuring Ofelia Esparza and Rosanna Esparza Arhens featuring master altar builder and National Endowment fellow Ofelia Esparza, this session will explore the question, “What is the miracle needed right now?” Alongside her daughter, Esparza will invite viewers to tap into their artistic abilities to create a Milagro, which is a religious folk charm. A list of suggested craft materials will be posted on the website.
TALK: Conversation with L.A.-based artist Jonah Elijah
Jonah Elijah’s work encapsulates Black life in America and addresses controversial issues that impact the African American community. Using materials to explore economic inequality, displacement, and human rights, Jonah Elijah’s artist practice embraces discomforting realities.
ARTS-BASED FAMILY WORKSHOP: Welcome to My Neighborhood! presented by Jocelyn Ayala of the dA Center for the Arts.
Arts educator Jocelyn Ayala will take Angelenos on a walk around Downtown Pomona to point out the city’s most eye-catching features. She will then use that narrative to teach participants how to create a vision board for what we would like our neighborhood to look like post-COVID. Suggested supplies for at-home participation include paper, pencil, pen, watercolors and any art supplies on hand.
INTERVIEW: Conversation with Changing Landscapes artist Peter Walker presented by AKP Recordings
In this interview, dublab’s Alejandro Cohen and Arthur King’s Peter Walker will discuss the multi-layered project that began on a remote Scottish island and turned into a record, the Changing Landscapes film and pop-up gallery exhibition in Los Angeles. Changing Landscapes is available for on-demand viewing April 15–30, 2021, HERE.
April 29, 2021 at 6:00 p.m.
LIVE TALK: Making Our Neighborhood: How Two Community Journalists Came Together to Redefine Storytelling in East Hollywood, presented by Samanta Helou Hernandez of This Side of Hoover, and Jimmy Recinos of J.T. the L.A. Storyteller Podcast.
This two-part informational livestream on how to “Make a Neighborhood” will discuss the gentrification occurring in historically ethnic and working-class Los Angeles communities. Part one will describe how Helou Hernandez and Recinos conceptualized the discussion series and public art project focusing on three themes of historic redlining, current gentrification and present and future housing affordability issues in the Virgil Village and East Hollywood areas. Part two will describe the final installment for the series, “Making Our Neighborhood: The Magazine,” and the importance of memorializing the artists’ exploration in a tangible form for communities to access, while also imparting the need to uplift art and literature in times of hardship.
In an intimate setting from his living room, Hip-Hop artist Thurz will perform songs inspired by the experiences in his community from his recent work, MORE THURZ ON THURZDAY, a playlist that featured a new song debuting each week from January through December 2020. The Inglewood native will be accompanied by Wali Ali Jr. on talk box and others.
LIVE WORKSHOP: Musicians as Workers: A Conversation with Josephine Shetty
Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, there are many examples of music workers building worker power. However, exclusionary union models, individualism, increasing inequality and technological changes in the music industry have also hindered music workers from massively collectivizing or uniting in solidarity with the rest of the working class. Shetty, whose stage name is Kohinoorgasm, dives into the meaning of positioning musicians as workers, building broader movements of music workers and how the public can learn from an existing lineage of musicians organizing to build stronger movements of workers today.
DANCE WORK/INTERVIEW: Rasquachencias performed by Primera Generación Dance Collective created by four first-generation artists, Rasquachencias showcases the collective’s past, present and future works to consolidate a vibrant picture of their Mexican American sociality. This dance work explores the power of rasquache play, engaging the possibilities in loud colors, Latinx iconography and recycled juxtapositions to highlight the creative survival strategies produced by the Brown, working-class communities of their heritage.
PERFORMANCE: Love for the Prairie《苍穹之恋》performed by Chinese Dance Company of Southern California (CDCSC)
CDCSC was co-founded by South Coast Chinese Cultural Center and Pan America Chinese Dance Alliance in late 2019 to provide learning, communication, performance opportunities and platforms for dance lovers in Southern California. The company aims to tell classic Chinese stories with well-known traditional dances, as well as encouraging and inspiring original choreographies to tell stories about American Chinese immigrants. Performed by members of CDCSC, Love for the Prairie demonstrates the Mongols’ love and reverence for their homeland and nature. The Mongols have always regarded the world as a component of nature; they believe that man and the earth coexist and prosper and all the phenomena of nature are the products of the earth.
WHAT: Grand Park’s Our L.A. Voices 2021: A Pop-up Arts+Culture Fest
WHEN: Thursdays, April 15, 22, and 29, 2021, at 6:00 p.m.
WHERE: olav.grandparkla.org (Live streaming and on-demand viewing)
HOW MUCH: Free
For more information on the Grand Park and parking, click HERE. You can also follow Grand Park on Instagram, Twitter, Twitch, TikTok, Spotify and Mixcloud (@grandpark_la) as well as YouTube and Facebook(@grandparkLosAngeles).
To visit The Music Center – Los Angeles website, click HERE.
Written and compiled by Jeff Slayton for LA Dance Chronicle.
Featured image: Primera Generación Dance Collective – Photo by Gabriel Gutierrez, courtesy of TMC