Grand Park’s popular spring arts experience, Grand Park’s Our L.A. Voices: A Pop-up Arts+Culture Fest, goes virtual as Grand Park celebrates the richness and resilience of Los Angeles’ arts community with a free performing and visual arts exhibition featuring more than 20 L.A. based artists. The public can enjoy the vibrant and joyful two-day event online at grandparkla.org, Facebook Live and Instagram Live with continuous programming on Saturday, April 25, 2020, from 9:00 a.m.–8:30 p.m., and on Sunday, April 26, 2020, from 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
Representing the distinctive cultural and artistic voices across Los Angeles County and brought together by The Music Center’s Grand Park team in the virtual space, the family-friendly festival features live music, film screenings, poetry readings, a cooking demonstration, children’s activities, and photography and visual arts exhibits that all can enjoy while staying “safer at home.” Each hour features a different creative genre with a 15-minute virtual set change between each act. The event also includes fun hands-on activities and arts workshops empowering at-home participation.
“With the use of digital technology, ‘the park for everyone’ is also the ‘park everywhere’ for this year’s iteration of Grand Park’s Our L.A. Voices,” said Rachel S. Moore, president, and CEO of The Music Center. “We’re so pleased the artists are able to join us in a new format for this event that responds to the current times and provides an innovative platform to showcase the arts and cultural landscape of Los Angeles. Our L.A. Voices continues to represent community pride as we learn, discover, and discuss what it means to be a part of the dynamism and creativity that define Los Angeles. While we may be distant, we’re still socially connected through this year’s virtual programming.”
“After more than a year of planning for our third annual Our L.A. Voices, Grand Park quickly worked with our artist partners to adapt the in-person presentations for the digital sphere. We also planned new programs designed to meet this specific moment we’re all experiencing in our community. Through these artists’ narrative and voices, people will find inspiration and strength in tough times,” said Julia Diamond, director, Grand Park. “Grand Park creates a home for artists and audiences where cultural equity and inclusion are core values in our endeavors to welcome, entertain, and engage all Angelenos. We’re committed to celebrating what’s unique about our county from screen-to-screen until we’re able to meet face-to-face once again.”
Grand Park’s Our L.A. Voices Highlights:
Hailing from Puerto Rico, Balún creates a sound of cultural intersection fusing the island’s Dembow music with the band’s pop music while creating “Dreambow”—a modern mix of Caribbean dancehall, Dembow, pop music, and experimental noise. Featuring singer Angelica Negrón, one of NPR’s “100 composers under 40,” Balún’s artistry is a crossroads between tradition and identity honoring Afro- Caribbean sounds and the diaspora journey of millennials to America. The group’s live performance features selections from their recent album, Prisma Tropical. (Sunday, 4/26 at 2:15 p.m.; live performance)
Los Angeles Beatmakers: New Beat Generation represents the connection of sound and space and explores the crossroads of technology, tradition and identity. Live DJ sets will be hosted by Samurai Guru (Saturday, 4/25 at 10:30 a.m.), Linafornia (Saturday, 4/25 at 2:15 p.m.) and Jansport J (Saturday, 4/25 at 4:45 p.m.)
• A live interview with Gloria Lucas and Monica Virgen Zamora from Mujeres Market, a Southern California-based market that features the work of local women of color entrepreneurs, artists, writers and collectives, will discuss the origins and journey of its work. The conversation will explore how the organization is working with its vendors impacted by the current public health crisis. Information on how the public can support these independent vendors will be provided. (Saturday, 4/25 at 3:30 p.m.; live Q&A)
• Visual Communications, which develops and supports the voices of Asian American and Pacific Islander filmmakers and media artists, will exhibit community-driven screenings that highlight the sociopolitical intersections of identity and place in Asian-American discourse. Numerous short films will be shown:o Our Voices: The Unseen El Lay is a collection of works culled from Visual Communications’ vanguard Armed With a Camera (AWC) Fellowship for Emerging Media Artists. “Los Angeles” is more than a city; it is a construct that shifts and quakes with each vision and each oppositional perspective by Asian Pacific Americans. Spanning the breadth of AWC’s portfolio of nearly 150 micro-movies produced since 2002, Our Voices: The Unseen El Lay reveals a glimpse into viewpoints of native Angelenos and how each of them view their lives in the City of Angels. (Saturday, 4/25 at 7:30 p.m.; film screening)
o Our Voices: Little Tokyo and Beyond discusses what constitutes a “place.” Produced by Visual Communications’ innovative Digital Histories media arts initiative that provides older Asian Americans a platform to use their unique voices and perspectives in sharing stories with the more generations to come. Each selected film explores the different meanings of “space,” “location,” “venue” and “meeting ground,” among other concepts. (Sunday, 4/26 at 4:45 p.m.; film screening)
• Swap meets have historically been a gathering space for black and brown communities in Los Angeles, but they are being gentrified and displaced. Exhibiting photographs by Samanta Helou Hernandez, Grand Park’s Program Manager Marty Preciado will interview the multimedia artist and discuss the cultural perspective of this issue with The End of an Era: Union Swap Meets Last Days. The online installation brings the Union Swap Meet in East Hollywood to Grand Park virtually through portraits of shop owners and bilingual text that enable viewers to engage with the spaces of their childhood or learn about the importance of swap meets to Los Angeles communities. Portions of Hernandez’s project originally appeared in the article, “A Swap Meet’s Final Barter,” on CURBED Los Angeles. (Saturday, 4/25 at 1:00 p.m.; live interview and photography exhibition)
Celebrating immigrant communities and raising awareness about the issues they face, Solidarity for Sanctuary will discuss the history, diversity, and importance of zines and lead participants in a virtual zine-making workshop. The step-by-step instructional tutorial will be led by Matthew Donovan. (Saturday, 4/25 at 11:45 a.m.; live discussion and interactive workshop)
The National Endowment for the Arts’ Big Read program celebrates National Poetry Month (April) with live readings by some of L.A.’s most distinguished poets. Mike Sonksen aka Mike the PoeT, Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo and Luis J.Rodriguez, who served as the Los Angeles Poet Laureate from 2014-2016 will recite their works about and for the City of Angels. The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment of the Arts in association with Arts Midwest and presented by the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. (Saturday, 4/25 at 6:00 p.m.; live performance)
La Librería, Los Angeles’ premier bookshop offering children’s literature in Spanish imported from Latin America and Spain, will host bilingual children’s music with Nathalia. This Colombian-born music therapist and mother creates music for children that celebrates the beauty of bilingual education. Her songs share stories from her native country and engage children in singing and learning in both English and Spanish. (Sunday, 4/26 at 10:30 a.m.; live performance and interactive activity)
Los Angeles-based Salvadoran poet Yesika Salgado writes about her family, culture, city, and her body. The Amazon best-selling author will host a poetry reading and writing workshop for virtual participants to engage and challenge their skills in writing and performance presented by Solidarity for Sanctuary. (Sunday, 4/26 at 1:00 p.m.; live performance and interactive workshop)
Art and Cultural Sharing
- Head Wraps in the Park and Runway Boutique will present “The Crown”—a virtual African culture capsule that illuminates the origins and majesty of the head wrap. Transcending traditional customs, the art of head wrapping has forged its way into popular mainstream fashion and culture. A head wrap tutorial will be followed by a live Afro-Fusion dance performance sponsored by Afro-Caribbean Groove Fitness. (Saturday, 4/25 at 9:15 a.m.; live performance and demonstration)
- GURL Museum Day will instruct virtual participants how to draw or color the iconic landmarks of Grand Park. Photos of the park as well as pre-made coloring sheets will be available at grandparkla.org to download and/or print at home. Participants are encouraged to share their work and tag @grandpark_la and @gurlmuseumday on social media. (Sunday, 4/26 at 9:15 a.m.; live demonstration and interactive activity)
• Founded by food writer Karla T. Vasquez, SalviSoul preserves the culinary contributions and traditions of Los Angeles’ Salvadoran immigrant community, the largest enclave located outside El Salvador. SalviSoul will present a cooking class and recipe to make a delicious and nutritious bean soup at home that can be used in many ways. (Sunday, 4/26 at 3:30 p.m.; live discussion and demonstration)
• Crossing fantasy and reality while mixing live-action with animation, filmmaker and artist Ambar Navarro will allow viewers to stroll through her interpretation of Grand Park. Featuring miniatures, faux grass and the sounds of Grand Park’s iconicArthur J. Will fountain, Navarro will discuss and demonstrate the construction and puppetry involved in creating one’s own experience of the outdoors. (Sunday, 4/26 at 11:45 a.m.; live discussion and interactive workshop)
- Calendar Listings
Facebook Live (GrandParkLosAngeles)
- Instagram Live (@GrandPark_LA)
When:Saturday, April 25, 2020, 9:00 a.m.–8:30 p.m. Sunday, April 26, 2020, 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
Schedule of Events: *Artists and performances are subject to change. Saturday, April 25, 2020
|9:15 a.m.–10:15 a.m. Demonstration/History Lesson/Dance Performance||Headwraps in the Park and Afro-Caribbean Grooves Fitness|
|10:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m. Music Performance||Samurai Guru (Los Angeles Beatmakers: New Beat Generation)|
|11:45 a.m.–12:45 p.m. Zine Making Workshop||Matthew Donovan (Presented by Solidarity for Sanctuary)|
|1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m. Interview and Photograph Exhibition||Samanta Helou Hernandez|
|2:15 p.m.–3:15 p.m. Music Performance||Linafornia (Los Angeles Beatmakers: New Beat Generation)|
|3:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m. Interview||Gloria Lucas and Monica Virgen Zamora (Mujeres Market)|
|4:45 p.m.–5:45 p.m. Music Performance||Jansport J (Los Angeles Beatmakers: New Beat Generation)|
|6:00 p.m.–7:20 p.m. Big Read|
|7:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m. Film Screening||Visual Communications: |
The Unseen El Lay
EVERYTHING WAS GOOD WHEN WE WERE YOUNG (U.S.A., 2005) Dir.: Sasha Hsuczyk Digital, 5 mins.
MEET FRIENDS, SWAP CHILDHOODS (U.S.A., 2008) Dir.: Tony Hoang Digital, 5 mins.
PORRIDGE (U.S.A., 2019) Dir.: Leatrice Cheng Digital, 5 mins.
POST NATYAM (U.S.A., 2005) Dir.: Tina Bhaga Digital, 5 mins.
Q & X (U.S.A., 2013) Dir.: Zumi Mizokami Digital, 5 mins.
SEARCHING FOR DON “HALF-PINT” SANTOS (U.S.A., 2011) Dir.: Julius Sambajon, Jr. Digital, 5 mins.
SLIP AND SLIDE (U.S.A., 2010) Dir.: Emily Lu Digital, 5 mins.
TO LIGHT (U.S.A., 2011) Dir.: Sheldon Chau Digital, 5 mins.
YAH YAH (U.S.A., 2002) Dir.: Yiuwing Lam Digital, 5 mins.
Sunday, April 26, 2020
|9:15 a.m.–10:15 a.m. Youth Coloring Hour||GURL Day Museum|
|10:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m. Children’s Music Hour||La Librería with Nathalia|
|11:45 a.m.–12:45 p.m. Live Visual Art||Ambar Navarro|
|1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m. Poetry Workshop and Reading||Yesika Salgado (Presented by Solidarity for Sanctuary)|
|2:15 p.m.–3:15 p.m. Music Performance and Q&A||Balún|
|3:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m. Cooking Class||Karla Vasquez (Salvi Soul)|
|4:45 p.m.–5:45 p.m. Film Screening||Visual Communications: |
Little Tokyo and Beyond
BINGO! (U.S.A., 2014) Dir.: Chicky Otani Digital, 3 mins.
BO PEEP IN THE CITY (U.S.A., 2014) Dir.: Cathy Uchida Digital, 7 mins.
FOUNDING A FILIPINO CLUB (U.S.A., 2011) Dir.: Arlene Maala Digital, 7 mins.
MY FIRST L.A. MARATHON (U.S.A., 2009) Dir.: Jim Anzai Digital,7 mins.
THE RED TENT AND ME (U.S.A., 2007) Dir.: Michi Tanioka Digital, 8 mins.
A TALE OF TWO CHOWS (U.S.A., 2014) Dir.: Gerry Chow Digital, 7 mins.
TORRANCE KENDO CLUB (U.S.A., 2016) Dir.: George Takaki Digital, 5 mins.
A VISIT TO ARVIN, CALIFORNIA (U.S.A., 2005) Dir.: Jun Aoki Digital, 5 mins.
For updated information, visit grandparkla.org and grandparkla.org/event/our-la-voices-2020/. Follow Grand Park on Facebook (GrandParkLosAngeles), as well as Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat (@GrandPark_LA).
About Grand Park
A vibrant outdoor gathering place, Grand Park is a beautiful public park for the entire community in Los Angeles County. With expansive green space for gatherings large and small, Grand Park celebrates the county’s cultural vitality and is host to community events, cultural experiences, holiday celebrations, and many other activities that engage and attract visitors from all communities. The 12-acre Grand Park stretches from The Music Center on the west to City Hall on the east and is easily accessible by Metro via the Red/Purple line to the Civic Center/Grand Park station. The park was named one of American Planning Association’s 10 “Great Public Spaces” in the U.S. for 2013. Working closely with the county, The Music Center is responsible for all operations and programming for the park. For more information, visit grandparkla.org. Follow Grand Park on Facebook (@GrandParkLosAngeles), as well as Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat (@GrandPark_LA).
About The Music Center
The Music Center convenes artists, communities, and ideas with the goal of deepening the cultural lives of every resident in Los Angeles County. The non-profit performing arts organization has two divisions: The Music Center Arts (TMC Arts) and The Music Center Operations (TMC Ops). TMC Arts, The Music Center’s programming engine, provides year-round programming inside The Music Center’s four theatres, on The Music Center Plaza, outside at Grand Park—a 12-acre adjacent green space—and in schools and other locations all over Los Angeles County. TMC Arts presents world-class dance with Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center, free and low-cost public concerts and events, as well as K–12 arts education programs. TMC Ops manages the theatres, the Plaza, and Grand Park on behalf of the County of Los Angeles. The Music Center is also home to four renowned resident companies—Center Theatre Group, Los Angeles Master Chorale, LA Opera, and LA Phil. For more information, visit musiccenter.org. Follow The Music Center on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @MusicCenterLA.