Tag Archives: free events

COMMON ROOTS: A CONVERSATION WITH DIANE RODRIGUEZ

Puppets Grandmother and Grandfather. Photo by Javier Guillen

Travel back to the beginning of time with El Teatro Campesino and Center Theatre Group, at Grand Park October 10th and 11th.

On October 10th and 11th, El Teatro Campesino, the renowned Chicano theatre company, will be at Grand Park to perform their latest work “Popol Vuh: Heart of Heaven”.  Brought to Los Angeles by Center Theatre Group, they are set to share a stunning visual rendering of the Mayan creation myth.

Generated by a yearlong process between company members and Boyle Heights’ residents, “Popol Vuh” brings the heartland of California within the heart of Los Angeles.

Diane Rodriguez, Associate Artistic Director at Center Theatre Group, shares personal experiences with with El Teatro Campesino.  In her formative years as a theatre artist, she traveled the world as a member of ETC.  She stopped by Grand Park to offer a unique perspective on this upcoming collaboration.

“It’s an authentic California company that grew out of the land practically”, says Rodriguez.  In 1965, founder Luis Valdez approached Cesar Chavez in Delano.

“He went to Cesar and said ‘I want to start this theatre company that would organize farmworkers and educate them on the issues of the day, within the strike’, and Cesar said ‘You can do that, but you have to be an organizer, and you have to do that at night.’ And so that’s what he did.”

The activist spirit rang loud amongst the company.  They drew from the land, they worked with their surroundings.  Performing in the backs of pick-up trucks, Valdez summoned artists from the midst of the farm community, to share their message throughout the Central Valley.

A performance of El Teatro Campesino featuring Don Sacato, location unknown. John A. Kouns. 1966

By the mid 1970’s, ETC had become a force in the global theatre scene, touring the world and worked with artists such as Peter Brook.  Their collaboration with Center Theatre Group came in 1978 with Valdez’s landmark “Zoot Suit”, forging a relationship with the Los Angeles community that still runs deep.

Birthed directly from the community, the concept of a collaborative ensemble has always been important.  “Within El Teatro, it was an ensemble”, reflects Rodriguez “we would improvise the work, and Luis Valdez would then script it.”  That same collective spirit is alive in the “Heart of Heaven.”

In this case, locals are thrown right into the ring and are letting their creativity thrive, allowing the collective ensemble consciousness to steer the play.  “On top of that”, adds Rodriguez, who has sat in on rehearsals “they’re larger than life!  You have these community members being treated as professionals.”

The puppet Kukumatz. Photo by Javier Guillen

Diane was blown away by how quickly these 40 performers adapted to the work.  “They’re moving, they’re tumbling balls, and they’re carrying puppets, and its like, ‘Oh My God, it’s so complicated!’”

Staging the piece in Grand Park seemed ideal to those involved.  “El Teatro’s project was perfect because it worked with a community that is very close to us, the Boyle Heights community and East Los Angeles.  They were able to do a whole yearlong process with these community members, and culminate in the presentation right in the middle of Downtown Los Angeles,” beams Rodriguez, “It’s a very symbolic claiming of the land.”

“How Popol Vuh: Heart of Heaven, in terms of being a creation myth it told, is visual, which makes it very universal.”  The universality, as it seeks to break down cultural preconceptions, make the Grand Park a fantastic backdrop.   “Sharing a creation myth from another culture is always universal.  And the physicalization, people will relate to it.”

“It’ll be a great gift for Los Angeles, even if you pass by and happen to catch it”, Rodriguez added.   Get ready to turn back the clock to the beginning of time, in the Park for Everyone.

 

Fall and Winter in Grand Park

Falltime in Grand Park is just magical. The blooms change, the weather shifts, but the love and joy that comes out of this park pink paradise remains a constant beat emanating from the core of Los Angeles.  Let’s continue to share space together this season as we transition from 2015 to 2016:

SAT OCT 3 – PROUD STORIES

Hear stories of love, acceptance, and joy through the powerful voices of LA’s LGBTQ and ally community.

SAT & SUN / OCT 10 & 11 – POPOL VUH: HEART OF HEAVEN


Under the direction of Music Center resident company Center Theatre Group, the famed Chicano theatre company El Teatro Campesino will create an epic visual feast, Popol Vuh: Heart of Heaven. This performance tells the story of the Mayan creation myth with an L.A. twist through towering puppetry, music, and dance.

SUN OCT 18 – THE BIG DRAW along CICLAVIA

Take a break along the Ciclavia route and get creative on the park’s Event Lawn.  Experiment with colored tape to create giant geometric patterns along the sidewalks, or collaborate on comics, masks and banners. All art materials are provided free of charge.

SAT OCT 24 – NOCHE DE OFRENDA

Grand Park partners with Self-Help Graphics & Art to present a traditional Noche de Ofrenda ceremony honoring the dead and featuring prayer led by the local indigenous community. 40 altars and large sculptures will be revealed this night and will be on display throughout the park.

SAT – MON OCT 24 THRU NOV 2 – ALTARS: DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS

See 40 altars focusing on both traditional and contemporary topics and explore the connections between the holiday’s origins and the daily lives of Angelenos as well large scale sculptures by L.A. artists throughout the park.

¡LUNCHTIME! YOGA, CONCERTS, CRAFTING …Y MÁS

Something to do during the lunch hour of power, including yoga sessions, lunch trucks, crafting, concerts, and more!

NOV 29 – DEC 25 GRAND PARK LIGHTS UP THE HOLIDAYS

Grand Park gets dressed up for the holidays. Take a stroll after sunset to enjoy the lights of the season.

DEC 31 – N.Y.E. L.A.

Welcome 2016 with family and friends in one remarkable countdown, featuring 3-D digital video mapping on two sides of City Hall.

FEB 13 – PROUD Love

PROUD Love is a Valentine’s Day celebration and dance party for the LGBTQ and ally community in the Park for Everyone.

DON’T FORGET TO ENJOY GRAND PARK’S FOUNTAIN, PLAYGROUND, WALKING PATHS, GARDENS, DOG RUN, and LITTLE LIBRARIES ALL YEAR ROUND. SEE YOU IN THE PARK!