August is usually an activity-filled month spent outdoors in Los Angeles (aka Land of Tongva). Backyard boogies and block parties are regular occurrences in many neighborhoods around the city. Warm weather play host to summer barbecues and beacon long days at our beaches. There’s the option to attend games at Dodger stadium to catch our boys in Blue, complete with a Dodger Dog or two, naturally.
Then there are the tourists. Ah, the lovely tourists. They plague, er, grace our city in herds, walking around our sunshine wondering how much their home value back in Arctic Town, USA compares to the charming Cape Cod just saw in Burbank yesterday; the one they happen to see after taking a wrong turn leaving Universal Studios to go back to their hotel in Downtown.
“I mean, really, Larry, I told you to just ask Siri for directions…”.
But I digress.
And of course we can’t forget about the abundant free outdoor concerts and festivals around town. Some of the best music of all genres played outside in our beautiful beaches, museums, and magnificent parks every summer.
One of those magnificent venues is none other than our very own Grand Park; and one of those events that was supposed to be celebrating its 8th Summer Season this year is SUNDAY SESSIONS.
Grand Park is not one to cancel a dance party and this year we knew it was even more important to bring some sort of respite from what has become the heaviness off ALL of our every day. Thankfully the City decided to continue SUNDAY SESSIONS: HOME EDITION 2020.
And it’s been ahhh-mazing.
Last month’s Sunday Sessions curated by Map Pointz, for example, took us back to the culture-defining Latin party crews and DJ’s from the 1990s in Southern California. I heard from a number of friends who tuned in say that it was the most dancing they did in a long time, and their kids were loving the music. Many danced the day (into the early evening) away enjoying some of the city’s best DJs. The coolest part is that families were able to do it at home (all over the world, online) with kids hopping and celebrating along safely.
This upcoming Sunday Sessions won’t be any different but our ears will be reminiscing about and hearing a different era in House Music. THE WELL, one of L.A.’s most well-know culture tastemakers, will be presenting a showcase that illuminates the electro house/blog house era of the 2000-2010s; a pivotal moment that shaped sound, fashion and culture for Los Angeles.
Let’s get to know your resident DJs for this Sunday.
UFFIE literally killed it in 2006 when her debut single, “Pop The Glock” came out. It was eventually released in the 2010 EP Sex, Dreams and Denim Jean’ with Ed Banger Records. The song has remnants of “Two of Hearts”, a classic 1980s dance song by the queen of Synth Pop herself, Stacey Q. Makes sense. Uffie’s voice is just as sultry and playful as Ms. Q’s, and perfect for the sassy harmony that comes with the song. And it’s just as danceable. From the same 2010 album, the disarmingly charming tune “MCs Can Kiss” was also a hip-shaker. Fast forward a few years and Uffie is now a mother of two dividing her time between Los Angeles and Miami. Her most recent release Tokyo Love Hotel is a bit more haunting for the ear, but still sticky sweet in synth-sound.
“The drugs don’t love you like I do. Don’t walk away from me tonight,” she croons and coos. “The clubs won’t treat you like I do, don’t’ way away tonight.”
You will not want to away from Uffie’s Sunday set!
MIJA is next folx and her sound reminded me of mid-90s trip-hop with a mix of drum and bass. Yes, I’m totally ageing myself, but I also feel like those twins on YouTube who just heard and reacted to Phil Collins and Dolly Parton’s music for the first time. My mind was beautifully musically blown when I heard her mix of DJ Snake/Bipolar Sunshine’s “Middle”.
When asked how these tough times have changed her music, she responded with a lot of hope:
“I believe we are in the middle of a transition period that will restructure the entire music industry; from the way in which we engage with fans, to the royalties paid – the need for changes change has been long overdue.”
She then continued, “my role as a DJ has reverted back to the good old days where I am throwing my own weekly parties (but online instead of real life). It’s dope being able to engage with fans in real time via chat.”
Mija knows that personal connection, especially through dance and music, is powerful even while social distancing, and even virtually. She will be gaining new fans after they hear her upcoming set this Sunday Sessions.
Italy-born and Los Angeles-based BOT knows and respects the musicians who came before him but knows he stands on his own lane. He plays the music he wants from the deepest of his instincts; music that takes open inspiration from nature. The sounds that are then birthed from him are, literally (and not cheekily), trance-like. But when I say trance-like, I also mean it in the most danceable way, with his mixes “Party People” and “Baggage” ready to help us burn calories on our living room dance floor this Sunday.
As far as the current state in music, Bot admits that “there’s still a lot of output but people are paying less attention to new music.” He also acknowledged that a lot of his peers are not earning the income they were earning before due to less live shows, which were many musicians/DJs’ bread and butter.
He, meanwhile, admitted: “I am lucky to have developed some engineering skills during all the years I have been living off music so I make most of my money teaching production remotely or mixing down songs and mastering them for others. That leaves me with less time to work on my own music but I still feel extremely blessed that I can work on music all day.”
JANUARY BLACK is up next on the mix. This LA native spent much of his teenage years collecting records and trying to sneak into warehouse parties. He eventually started throwing his own parties in college and graduated to promoting large scale events in Los Angeles thereafter. He has DJ’d at some of LA’s biggest clubs, including Vanguard. There he supported the likes of legend Frankie Knuckles. He has also supported Felix Da Housecat, Jimpster and Busy P.
January Black is like the LA Clippers’ Lou Williams of the House music scene. Williams is the current NBA 6th Man Champion because he’s always ready to be the support slot, complementing the team in order to win. January Black is similar in that, he wants to make sure you have a good time at the party, and he will make sure the support slots are there to help you dance like a happy fool all night.
Finally, superstar big ups to THEE MIKE B who literally hit the decks running once The Well asked if he can DJ this upcoming Sunday Sessions due to a last-minute change. The LA native and founding member of the legendary Banana Split Party (alongside DJ AM and Dim Mak) jumped at the chance. Okay, I’m not really sure if he jumped at the chance but I know he’s a damn good DJ. Let’s say he’s that type of DJ who will play at an after-party and just when you and your people think you are all done dancing for the night; in fact you start gathering your things and are about to just say bye to everyone when…! Wait. What the heck is that thump?
And back on the dance floor for two more hours of non-stop you go.
If you’re somehow not dancing along on Sunday, Thee Mike B will help get you up and disco-dancing by the end of the night.
Please get your hydration station ready to go and enjoy every moment of our August (and final) Sunday Sessions: Home Edition 2020! (Sunday, August 23rd)
Welcome to Grand Park’s Sunday Sessions: Home Edition 2020! We’re so happy you’re joining us this year for the first of a select group of Sundays, which you need to mark on your calendars right now (June 14, July 19 & August 23).
Calendar all marked? Perfect!
This year Angelenos, you will be welcoming folks from around the globe who will join our dance and music community online. From Berlin and Brooklyn to the Bay area, and everywhere in between, we will introduce numerous visitors to our eclectic city. They’ll get to know us through our most talented and original musicians, and we are ready to represent.
“Ladies first, there’s no time to rehearse. I’m divine and my mind expands throughout the universe.”
– Ladies First (Queen Latifah)
LADIES FIRST, the all-female lineup of LA’S top open-format DJs, are curating the first installation of this year’s summer series. DJs Rashida, Kim Lee, Storm the DJ, Kronika, Lani Love, Novena, Bella Fiasco & Suga Shay will be the first group of creative talents we get the honor to share with the world. These women, with their diverse experiences and offerings, are just the prescription the musical doctor ordered when deciding who should premier at Grand Park’s Sunday Sessions: Home Edition 2020. The eight DJs – all women of color – know the importance and advantage that their voice and platform could add to fighting injustice, and decided to dedicate Sunday Sessions to the Black Lives Matter Movement.
“House music is black music, so it’s really fitting for house music to be part of the soundtrack for the BLM (Black Lives Matter) movement. House music is just one example of how black culture has given us so much,” said DJ Lani Love, giving props to where house music originated. The importance of her giving credit where credit is due in regards to House music speaks volumes of DJ Lani Love’s true respect for the art form.
DJ Kim Lee talks about the how the community can heal and connect through music and action. “House music and music overall unites people. People of all different races and color are coming together (right now) in protest of what happened to George Floyd and music has the same effect. We can have social distancing awareness shows, Spotify live DJ playlists or a “We are the World” dance track with the top artists that would raise money for BLM and social injustice movements. Now is the time for action and love!”
And Storm the DJ adds, “Fortunately, music has been one of the few platforms for the Black community to have a voice. From James Brown’s “Say it Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud” to the house music track “Follow Me” by Aly-Us, to Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright”. Music lifts spirts and unites, while empowering and strengthening both. Music is a sounding board for change.”
No truer words were said. Music is a sounding board for change – specially the house music scene that Sunday Sessions is deeply-rooted in. Let’s think back to any house music party, night, event, festival I/you have attended. For many of you, maybe it was at one or all of last year’s Sunday Session events. For me, I’ll think back to eons ago when I used to bartend at a venue in East Hollywood that housed a Friday night jam called “More.” Every week behind the bar, I witnessed the most diverse group of people dancing to the deepest cuts of house, soul and dance music in pure bliss; one nation under a groove, indivisible, with vodka & cranberry for all. The loving energy, the accepting people, the light vibe, everything about those Friday nights – was a microcosm of what life and society should be like – unity.
For our first Grand Park Sunday Sessions Home Edition, we expect an energetic and electric gigs from each DJ. Many, including the aforementioned artists Storm the DJ, Lani Love, Kim Lee, as well as Bella Fiasco, are doing their first sets at Grand Park ever and are humbled by the experience.
DJ Bella Fiasco on experiencing her first Sound Sessions on Sunday: “I’ve always loved Sunday Sessions at Grand Park, I’ve attended but never got to play as a DJ. Really excited to add this to the repertoire, but most excited to bring people from all over the world together through music virtually- specially those who are not in LA and will probably never get a chance to physically attend Sunday Sessions.”
Storm the DJ echoes Bella Fiasco’s sentiments. “I’ve been to Sunday sessions in the past and I remember saying how much I wanted to play at one… Now, I finally get that opportunity! Even while quarantining. This will always be a Sunday session to remember.”
Long-time LA-nightlife stalwart Rashida, KCRW’s Novena Carmel, Filipina-American Kronika from Soulection Crew, and Suga Shay from Philly round out the incredible line-up for what is sure to be a Sunday Sessions to remember.
Dear Los Angeles, I guarantee that all the DJs in Sunday’s lineup are going to rock their sets June 14th to give you the best shows from their repertoire. Music is a salve for the soul especially during tumultuous times. These amazing DJs’ collective energy and genius will be a welcome Sunday vitamin for all of us. The power of music is immeasurable. It can inspire people beyond what they think they are capable of.
Music can inspire people to dance. It can motivate people to gather around and move. It can encourage someone to cast a vote, to cook a fabulous meal, to ask someone on a date, to run for office, or make a new friend. As we foray into our first Sunday Sessions, we now need the power of music, dance and the arts more than ever, to connect with each other. We need music to connect with nature. We need music to get lost in so we can connect with ourselves. We need music for our children to lose themselves into, and maybe find a new way too.
And now, more than ever, we need music, dance and our Sunday Sessions as a respite during the Black Lives Matter fight and other movements.
Stay strong and keep dancing, L.A.
Haydee Vicedo is a Manila-born, Los Angeles-bred, and Torrance-based freelance writer (fittingforty.com) and budding social entrepreneur (pinayclothing.com / IG: @pinay_clothing) – just trying to live her best life. For the fantastic health insurance that helps her live said best life, she works from home for a huge corporation. Ask anyone who knows her, Haydee LOVES L.A. – pure and simple.
The interviews have been edited for length and clarity
Grand Park’s Sunday Sessions: Home Edition lets the beat drop at home this summer as the annual dance and music party goes online. Some of L.A.’s finest House music curators will host multiple-hour sets on select Sundays (June 14, July 19 and August 23, 2020) from 2:00–8:00 p.m.
SUN JUN 14 from 2PM-8PM
Grand Park presents Sunday Sessions: Home Edition 2020, and we are excited to partner with Ladies First as curators for the first one of the season.
Ladies First (@ladiesfirst.co) brings us a diverse, all-female DJ lineup of LA’s top open-format DJs, who will have special sets featuring House music. These ladies are carving out their own lane in the music + nightlife industry not just as women, but women of color. Each known to rock the dance floors, and each with their own unique style & flavor.
Lineup includes Bella Fiasco, Kim Lee, Kronika, Lani Love, Novena Carmel, Rashida, Storm the DJ and Suga Shay 🎧🌴 Subscribe to our YouTube HERE for all the live DJ sets.
About the curators:
LADIES FIRST features a diverse, all-female line-up of L.A.’s top open-format DJs. Through their curated content and experiences, Ladies First aims to be the catalyst for the next generation of female creatives and entrepreneurs who break boundaries. A mix of Asian American and Black voices will rock the Sunday Sessions virtual dance floor and shine a light on the community’s strength and endurance during this pandemic.
Media partner: FUSICOLOGY
About the DJ’s:
Bella Fiasco is a Los Angeles and Las Vegas based DJ most reputable for her dynamic taste and technique in open format style DJing, earning her a notable repertoire of career highlights and growing popular demand in the world of music. Bella Fiasco has opened for artists such as Cardi B, Travis Scott, Lil Wayne, Skrillex, Snoh Aalegra, Nipsey Hussle, G Eazy, and most significantly- rock legends U2. You may have also heard Bella Fiasco mixing on the airwaves all over the country- she has played on air for stations such as LA’s #1 old school radio station 93.5 KDAY, LA’s #1 hiphop station Power 106, Hawaii’s hit music station 102.7, Radio Bassment, and more. Bella Fiasco is also no stranger to the Serato family, she has been a consistent feature in their Seratocast and In The Mix series. Currently, Bella Fiasco is proud to represent The World Famous Beat Junkies brand as their dot com ambassador. Respectably dubbed as one of the most in-demand DJs in the game today, Bella Fiasco is proud to break barriers in a male dominated field and continue to thrive in different markets of the music world.
Kim Lee first made a name for herself as a fashion model. She walked runway shows in Paris, Los Angeles, and at New York Fashion Week for top designers including Emanuel Ungaro, Marc Jacobs and Cynthia Steffe. Kim Lee has appeared in editorials for Maxim, Elle, Hip-Hop Weekly, Vanity Fair, Show Magazine, Low-rider, Sports Illustrated, and Chinese, Japanese, French, American, Spanish, Indonesian, Vietnamese, and Russian versions of FHM. She was chosen as FHM’s Sexiest Woman in the World! You will also recognize Kim Lee from her role in the film “Hangover 2,” and from her appearances in music videos including Neyo’s “Beautiful”, Kid Cudi ft Kanye West’s “Erase Me”, Flo Rida ft David Guetta’s “Club Can’t Handle Me” and “Hot n Cold ” Katy Perry. Kim continues to model and act professionally, all while managing her busy DJ tour schedule! Kim Lee travels across the world djing as one half of renowned duo KIMKAT, and for her solo DJ shows as KIM LEE. Recent shows include: MAD DECENT BOAT PARTY, ULTRA KOREA, ULTRA JAPAN, LIFE IN COLOR KOREA, BUDWEISER TOUR VIETNAM, EDC NEW YORK (mainstage set). As a dj, KIM LEE’s performances pack the house in top venues including Drais BeachClub Las Vegas, DJAIS Jersey Shore, Borgata Atlantic City, The City Cancun, Tao Beach Las Vegas, Marquee Las Vegas, Skygarden Bali, and so many more. Kim has appeared on MTV Vietnam, and she currently has her own television series in Vietnam as well.
“SouL Sista. Headnodika. Fire Starter & Bomba Sound Selekta. “Fierce and unforgettable, yet tender and giving.“
Angel Mercado aka Kronika is a core member and a familiar presence in the Los Angeles music scene. Through her soundcloud mixes (or as she playfully calls them “Mixtures”) and her DJ and A&R positions for Los Angeles based record label/Movement “Soulection”, Kronika has become a trusted source for global audience interested in learning about new artists and over all discovering quality music. Kronika is known for her vast musical knowledge, truthfully nurtured from her early years growing up in the Philippines. Exquisite and Eccentric in taste, Kronika understands and lives artistry. She commands and engages her listeners in a musical journey that “flows like water.” Her transitions are so swift and smooth you forget they are even “transitions.” Kronika’s mixes and live sets are unpredictable. Her energy is contagious, which makes the experience of seeing her live all the more powerful and memorable. Kronika is a powerhouse of musical knowledge, constantly sharing her divine energy with the world.”
An ear for beats and eye for style,Lani Love is known for her eclectic and curated collection of music.
After a gig as an internet radio music director in Southern California, she started her adventures as a club DJ in New York City in 2007. In late 2011, Lani Love relocated to Chicago and quickly landed residencies at city hotspots: Soho House, Virgin Hotel, and East Room. Her sets were well received, as she was featured in the Chicago Tribune (2015) and voted Chicago’s Best DJ by Chicago Magazine readers three years in a row (2014, 2015, 2016). In 2018, Lani Love was an official SXSW artist playing showcases for Tidal, Mercedes-Benz, Showtime, and Maltesers. Lani Love currently has DJ residencies in Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
If you find yourself in a room with Novena Carmel, you’re in the right place. With music royalty in her blood, Novena is an eclectic and energetic Bay Area raised, LA-based DJ, singer, host, and curator known to lure a crowd and turn the party out. As a DJ, her love for and knowledge of music emanates through her vast, open-genre music selection, signature smile and dance moves. You can catch Novena live on-air Sunday nights on KCRW, locally in Los Angeles and beyond.
After getting her first pair of turntables in 1998,DJ Rashida has gone on to play her signature fusion of hip-hop, funk, soul, dancehall, and house around the globe at music festivals, concerts, private events & on television. In 2004 after playing what would be the first of many parties for The Artist, Prince approached her about collaborating. Soon after, (and for the next 10 years) she would tour the world with the superstar, spinning as an opener for his shows, as well as at his private parties, special events and performing live with him on shows such as The Tonight Show, George Lopez, and The BET Awards. In addition to her work with Prince, she is a familiar sight at the world’s most important music festivals, playing for thousands at Super Sonic in Tokyo, Good Vibrations in Sydney & the Lollapalooza Festival in Chicago to name a few. She was the house DJ on MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew as well as on The Arsenio Hall Show revival. She is frequently called upon to spin for a bevy of corporate and celebrity clients worldwide. Rashida has also crossed the globe touring with Grammy-winning & nominated artists Kelis, Cee-Lo Green, and Pharrell Williams. Today she continues to tour and play for artists & clients around the world, most recently as the opener for Bruno Mars 24k Magic World Tour (the US, Europe & Africa.) Acclaimed not only for her deejay skills, but also as a cultural influencer, and fashionista, Rashida has been featured in Vogue Italia, Essence, Vibe, The Source, Flaunt, Remix, Dazed & Confused & Refinery 29 to name a few. She is currently the campaign model for avant-garde sunglass makers GreyAnt. Rashida has also made cameos as herself in music videos like Prince’s Black Sweat and most recently Finesse by Bruno Mars.
Dominating both beauty and bass, Storm captivates audiences worldwide as an international DJ and producer. Based in Hollywood, California, her global appeal transcends boundaries and has earned her repeated tours and performances around the world including Hong Kong, Taipei, Vietnam, Shanghai, and Bali. She has also opened up for Kaskade at LA’s Staple Center and performed alongside Kendrick Lamar, DJ’ing his shutdown of Sunset Blvd. Storm has also been featured in Vogue, Glamour, W, and Cosmopolitan Magazines. In a setting dominated by bright lights and massive drops, it’s hard to ignore how entranced fans are with her infectious energy and sexy vibes – she is Music’s Perfect Storm.
Widely known across the US for her bold DJ sets, Philly native Suga Shay is a force to be reckoned with. Her versatile underground style spans countless genres and has been showcased at many of Los Angeles’ favorite parties. As comfortable on large stages as she is in basement afterparties, she’s been seen DJing alongside chart-topping mainstays such as Diplo, Mark Ronson, Miguel, and Solange Knowles, and has toured internationally with rising star Bhad Bhabie.
Have a safe New Year’s, and enjoy the show from home. Thank you!
December 15, 2020
Grand Park is open during regular operating hours. The current status of amenities:
Dog run: closed
Picnic tables: closed
Restrooms: open by Starbucks (off Grand Ave.)
Starbucks: open. For more information on hours, click here.
Event Lawn (between Spring and Broadway): closed
Lunch a la Park food trucks are onsite for lunch takeout only, in Olive Court, near Starbucks. For the weekly list of trucks please clickhere
Thank you for continuing to practice safety measures: wearing a mask, washing your hands, and staying home if you’re not feeling well.
Please note that Grand Park’s NYELA is a television event this year. There is no in-person gathering at the park for New Year’s Eve. Please celebrate safely at home and tune in to Fuse TV, Fuse’s YouTube, or the Grand Park YouTube channel for the livestream.
October 24, 2020
Grand Park is open during regular operating hours for Grand Park’s Downtown Dïa de los Muertos in partnership with Self Help Graphics. From October 24 – November 4, eleven public art installations are featured, including the Community Altar created by master altarista Ofelia Esparza, Rosanna Esparza Ahrens and family.
There are no live, in-person performances or gatherings for Downtown Día this year. Given COVID-19 public safety requirements, the public is asked to not gather or linger in large groups, leave their own ofrendas, or touch the Community Altar this year. The altars will feature a 360-degree viewing opportunity to maximize social distancing among guests.
September 16. 2020
Grand Park is open during regular operating hours (5:30 AM – 10:00 PM). The Event Lawn (between Broadway and Spring) and its amenities are closed temporarily for maintenance.
Here is the current status of amenities:
Dog run: closed
Picnic tables: closed
Restrooms: open by Starbucks (off Grand Ave.)
Starbucks: open. For more information on hours, click here.
Lunch a la Park food trucks are onsite for lunch takeout only, in Olive Court, near Starbucks. For the weekly list of trucks please clickhere
Programs and events have shifted to online until further notice, based on guidelines from LA County Dept. of Public Health.
August 3, 2020
Grand Park is resuming the Lunch a la Park Food Trucks program, to serve local employees and park guests. Grand Park, along with our vendor partners, are practicing the following safety protocols:
All staff must wear appropriate PPE at all times in the park – masks and gloves
Any staff exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19 must stay home
No physical hand-out menus are allowed
All utensils must be in pre-wrapped packages to minimize contact
Condiments must be in individual, single-serving packages
Cash-free payment is strongly recommended and encouraged. Vendor partners are strongly encouraged to make best efforts to minimize contact in ordering and payment, shifting to mobile or pre-ordering if possible.
If a card is used, it must be disinfected after handling
Mobile, contactless, or pre-orders is the preferred method
Sneeze barrier between customers and staff
Disinfectant wipes/sanitize must be provided at touchpoints (drink counter, utensil dispenser, etc)
All food truck patrons and guests, please practice safety protocols as well:
Wear a mask
Wash your hands
Practice social distancing of at least 6 feet apart
Let’s be kind and take care of each other!
Love, Grand Park
July 22, 2020
Grand Park is open during regular operating hours (5:30 AM – 10:00 PM). Here is the current status of amenities:
Dog run: open
Picnic tables: closed
Starbucks: open. For more information on hours, click here.
Onsite programs and events have shifted to online until further notice, based on guidelines from LA County Dept. of Public Health.
Please continue to practice safety measures when in the Park:
Wear a mask
Maintain a minimum of 6 feet physical distance from others
Stay home if you feel sick or exhibit any symptoms of Covid-19
Thank you for your continued patience and understanding. Let’s continue to take care of each other, L.A.
July 3, 2020
Regarding 4th of July:
Grand Park is open during regular operating hours (5:30 AM – 10:00 PM). However, there is no July 4th event and no fireworks for the holiday. We encourage you to stay home and enjoy our virtual program:
Grand Park + The Music Center’s 4th of July Block Party: Home Edition will be on TV and online this year. Tune in:
7:00 PM – 8:00 PM on KABC Channel 7, abc7.com, or the ABC app and then the show continues online!
If you decide to visit Grand Park, please practice physical distancing of at least 6 feet, wear a mask, and please stay home if you feel sick or exhibit any symptoms related to COVID-19.
April 10, 2020
Hi L.A., in alignment with LA County Parks, Grand Park will be closed on Easter Sunday, April 12th. While parks are a favorite location to celebrate Spring holidays, the closure is part of ongoing efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. Let’s continue to take care of each other and keep each other safe.
¡Hola Los Angeles! En alineación con los Parques del Condado de Los Ángeles, Grand Park estará cerrado el Domingo de Pascua, 12 de Abril. El parque estara cerrado para proteger nuestras comunidades de la propagación de COVID-19
Love always, siempre con ustedes ❤️ Grand Park
March 20, 2020
As you may already know, on March 19, the County and City of Los Angeles issued the “Safer at Home” public order, “ordering all residents of the City of Los Angeles to stay inside their residences, and immediately limit all movement outside of their homes beyond what is absolutely essential … in an effort to stem or slow the spread of COVID-19 within the greater Los Angeles community.” This order includes curtailing non-essential business. Since our staff is now prohibited to gather for work, we are canceling the following programs:
Lunch à la Park programs:
Yoga reTREAT (online included)
Spring Concerts (originally scheduled to start April 2)
Earth Day LA (originally scheduled for April 22)
The order does allow outdoor activity and recreation, provided that social distancing measures are followed – at least 6 feet distance from another individual. Grand Park grounds are still open to walk, breathe and take a break. Please practice social distancing, and please do not gather in a group of more than 10, as required in the order. Also note, that our playground and restrooms will be closed out of an abundance of caution.
Thank you to everyone who has already been practicing social distancing. Your care for your wellness and the wellness and safety of our community, especially for the most vulnerable, is so appreciated.
We will continue to keep you updated. Stay tuned to our Instagram, Facebook and website for the latest news pertaining to Grand Park.
Take care of yourself, each other, and our beloved Los Angeles.
There’s a lot going on right now and we wanted to check in. We love you and appreciate you and want to affirm that our commitment to you stays the same: we are here with you and for you. Just like all LA parks, Grand Park is open and our hours remain the same. Our commitment to your safety and wellness remains our top priority and always will. We are taking things one step at a time, day-by-day, attentive to the directives from the LA County Department of Public Health.
Our Lunch a la Park Food Trucks (TUE-THUR) will still continue service, and we are adding hand sanitizing stations near each truck. We are also implementing enhanced daily cleaning and disinfecting practices across the park. Pending weather conditions since it’s been raining, we will have more info about Lunch a la Park Yoga next week.
We know you’re doing your best to stay well, and to keep our community well. We’re here for you.
Since its incorporation in 1973, Self Help Graphics & Art has produced more than 2,000 serigraph editions, including 62 atelier projects and exhibitions all over the world. The organization remains dedicated to the production, interpretation, and distribution of prints and other art media by Chicana/o and Latinx artists; and its multidisciplinary, intergenerational programs promote artistic excellence and empower community by providing access to working space, tools, training and beyond. Now, nearly a half-century later, SHG continues to foster emerging Chicana/o and Latinx artists through its world-class printmaking practice and supports the role of artists as leaders, both within its organization and the community. For more information, visit selfhelpgraphics.com. Follow SHG on Facebook @selfhelpgraphics and Instagram and Twitter @SHG1970.
COMMUNITY ALTAR by Ofelia Esparza and Rosanna Esparza Ahrens Noche de Ofrenda has become, for me, the highlight of the observances of Dias de Los Muertos because it draws upon the significance of the altar itself; on the ofrendas- the offerings that we place on it with intention to honor, to remember, to contemplate, to reflect, and to celebrate the lives of our loved ones who have passed on. This beautiful observance was initiated at Self Help Graphics many years ago as part of the Day of the Dead celebration, and in tandem with Noche de Palabra. I was asked by Tomas Benitez to make a presentation about the Ofrendas my children and I had been building at SHG. This became a welcomed annual event that called for a more personal, a more quiet- a more spiritual participation in our annual community altar presentation in the upstairs Salon which was always apart from the large annual Day of the Dead celebrations at SHG.
Today, when so many lives have been lost by Covid-19, and so many forms of loss and upheaval have affected our lives, a Noche de Ofrenda gains even more significance to our community. We all need a time for reflection, a time for gratitude and healing, and yes, a time for social awareness as a community. As we honor our loved ones, we remember our ancestors who are always with us, that we are never alone. We are grateful for their legacy of struggle, survival, and resilience, for their stories, their love of family and culture, and their determination to provide a better life the next generations. This Ofrenda is dedicated to all our loved ones we wish to remember- to our ancestors-and symbolically, to those who died through violence and racism, and to those who have lost their lives through wars and political oppression. Spiritually, we honor the lives and all other living beings lost through the forces of Nature.
– Ofelia Esparza October, 2020
Noche de Ofrenda se ha convertido, para mí, lo más destacado de las observancias del Día de los Muertos porque se basa en el significado del altar en sí; en las ofrendas que ponemos en él con la intención de honrar, de recordar, de contemplar, de reflexionar, y de celebrar las vidas de nuestros seres queridos que han partido. Esta hermosa observancia fue iniciada en Self Help Graphics muchos años atrás como parte de la celebración del Día de los Muertos, y a la par con Noche de Palabra. Tomás Benitez me invitó a hacer una presentación acerca de las Ofrenda que mis hijos y yo habíamos construído en SHG. Esto se convirtió en un bienvenido evento anual que hacía un llamado a una participación más personal, más silenciosa- más espiritual en nuestra presentación anual del Altar Comunitario en el salón del segundo piso, la cual siempre era parte de las celebraciones anuales del Día de los Muertos en SHG.
Hoy en día, cuando tantas vidas se han perdido por el Covid-19, y tantas formas de pérdida y agitación han afectado nuestras vidas, una Noche de Ofrenda gana aún más importancia en nuestra comunidad. Todos necesitamos un momento para reflexión, un momento para gratitud y sanación, y sí, un momento para un despertar social como comunidad. Mientras honramos a nuestro seres amados, recordamos a nuestros ancestros que siempre están con nosotros, que nunca estamos solos. Estamos agradecidas por su legado de lucha, supervivencia, y resiliencia, por sus historias, su amor por la familia y cultura, y por su determinación para proveer una mejor vida para las próximas generaciones.
Esta Ofrenda está dedicada a todos nuestros seres amados que queremos recordar – a nuestros ancestros – y simbólicamente, a aquellos que murieron por violencia y racismo, y para aquellos que han perdido sus vidas en guerras y opresión política. Espiritualmente, honramos las vidas y todos los seres vivientes perdidos por las fuerzas de la Naturaleza.
– Ofelia Esparza, 2020 octubre
ABOUT Ofelia Esparza is an artist and educator from East Los Angeles where she was born in 1932. Esparza, a retired elementary school teacher from LAUSD, has been an artist since childhood. Esparza started making public altars at Self Help Graphics & Art in 1979, where she is best known as an “altarista” for Day of the Dead. It is at SHG where she learned and developed a body of work in printmaking. Her work reflects her spirituality and her Mexican indigenous heritage. Ofelia credits her mother’s influence in observing the mysticism and dignity of the natural world. A great portion of Esparza’s work honors womanhood. This is what inspires not only her ofrendas, but all facets of her art endeavors. Along with her daughter, Rosanna Esparza Ahrens (b. 1961) – also an altarista and graphic designer, they consider themselves cultural facilitators, conducting workshops and lectures at schools, colleges, community venues and presently, in the women’s corrections facility, California Institute for Women (CIW). In 2017, Ofelia and Rosanna were cultural advisors to the Pixar Movie “COCO”. In 2018, because of her cultural work as an altarista. Ofelia was named a 2018 National Heritage Fellow by the National Endowment of the Arts in Washington DC. In 2019, the Esparza’s were featured in the PBS’ ARTBOUND Series: Season 10, Episode 3, “Dia De Los Muertos”. Also in 2019, she and her daughter were invited to create an altar for Day of the Dead at the Smithsonian National Museum of the America Indian in Washington, D.C.
Black Lives Matter – Los Angeles This altar honors the victims listed on prosecutkillercops.org. The site is inspired by Ida B Wells’s Red Record, and is aimed to expose those who murder our people. The data on the site spans from 2013 to the present.
Este altar honra a las víctimas enlistadas en prosecutkillercops.org. El mestá inspirado por el Récord Rojo de Ida B Wells, y está destinado para exponer a aquellos que asesinan a nuestra gente. Los datos del sitio abarcan desde el 2013 al presente.
ABOUT We are unapologetically Black in our positioning. In affirming that Black Lives Matter, we need not qualify our position. To love and desire freedom and justice for ourselves is a prerequisite for wanting the same for others. We are guided by the fact that all Black lives matter, regardless of actual or perceived sexual identity, gender identity, gender expression, economic status, ability, disability, religious beliefs or disbeliefs, immigration status, or location. We see ourselves as part of the global Black family, and we are aware of the different ways we are impacted or privileged as Black people who live in different parts of the world. We acknowledge, respect, and celebrate differences and commonalities.
We work vigorously for freedom and justice for Black people and, by extension, all people. We intentionally build and nurture a beloved community that is bonded together through a beautiful struggle that is restorative, not depleting. We make space for transgender siblings to participate and lead. We are self-reflexive and do the work required to dismantle cisgender privilege and uplift Black trans folk, especially Black trans women who continue to be disproportionately impacted by trans-antagonistic violence.
Building Healthy Communities Boyle Heights: Health Happens with Prevention Group We are honoring the community members we have lost due to the pandemic, and the folks still living that need mental health support. We will be directing people to learn more about mental health issues and services.
Estamos honrando a los miembros de la comunidad que hemos perdido a causa de la pandemia, y a las personas que aún viven y necesitan apoyo de salud mental. Estaremos dirigiendo a la gente a aprender más acerca de servicios y problemáticas de salud mental.
ABOUT Health Happens with Prevention is a coalition of organizations and community members dedicated to advocating for preventative health services in Boyle Heights, with a focus on mental health.
Community Power Collective We honor Workers and Tenants from our base: Street Vendors, Farmers, Mariachis, Members of the Fideicomiso Comunitario Tierra Libre
Honramos a Trabajadores e Inquilines de nuestra base: Vendedores Ambulantes, Agricultores, Mariachis, y Miembros del Fideicomiso Comunitario Tierra Libre
ABOUT We exist to building power with low-income tenants and workers through transformative organizing to win economic justice, community control of land and housing, and to propagate systems of cooperation in Boyle Heights and greater Los Angeles region.
Consuelo G. Flores This altar honors the students of Ayotzinapa, who were murdered in Mexico and victims of murder in Los Angeles. What connects these two groups is that their murders have never been solved. I’ll also be remembering my parents and brother Ben, who all taught me the importance of social justice and the value of life.
Estoy honrando a los estudiantes de Ayotzinapa que fueron asesinados en México, así como a víctimas de asesinato en Los Ángeles. Lo que conecta a estos dos grupos es que sus asesinatos nunca han sido resueltos. También estaré recordando a mis padres y a mi hermano Ben, quienes me enseñaron la importancia de la justicia social y el valor de la vida.
ABOUT A multidisciplinary artist from ELA, Consuelo G. Flores creates beautiful altars, extraordinary paper fashions, intimate poetry, dynamic spoken word and impactful one-act plays. She received Self Help Graphics’ 2017 Legacy Artist Award & a 2018 Honorable Mention from the Irvine Fine Arts Center. She has an MFA in CNF from Antioch University and is included in the upcoming anthology Fieldnotes in Allyship. She has written & directed seven one-act plays which were produced in Los Angeles and Dubai and gives lectures on the celebration of Dia de los Muertos to students and public audiences. She was recently featured in an Los Angeles Times article on her experience during the Chicano Moratorium of August 29, 1970. She’s currently a Director in the Equity & Inclusion Department of SAG-AFTRA and lives with her husband in West Adams area of Los Angeles.
Corazón del Pueblo – Xochitl Palomera
Huei Micailhuitl: Ceremony of Death
Honoring All Womxn (BIWOC, Children, Trans Womxn, Femmes & LGBTQ+) whose lives have been taken as a result of femicide & gender-based violence. Honoring Tonantzin, Nuestra Madre Tierra, Mother Earth which over 4 million acres burned this year in California, and continues to burn. Violence against Womxn is violence against Mother Earth. Patriarchy perpetuates the killing of Womxn and Mother Earth, and bear the weight of femicide and exploitation. This altar is an ancestral guide, a Camino de Fuego, representing the burning mountains. A road made of fire that leads Macehualli (La Gente / The People) to the altar. The altar is filled with offerings honoring all Womxn and Children and is surrounded by Cempuaxochitl representing the fire that calls and guides us to the altar. The Cempuaxochitl is also the Camino Florido, guiding our ancestors to the altar where we will meet in ceremony to listen to the Femmecestors speak. The Tonanas, Abuelas, Grandmothers are saying: “To Kill our Mother is to Kill her Children is to Kill the Source of Life.” Patriarchy and Capitalism must be abolished. Our Mother is on fire. Her children will inherit ashes and will learn to use those ashes to make Spirulina, the source of life and begin a new cycle. That new cycle is where all Macehualli are free! Where we can be Black. Where we can be Indigenous. Where we can be Trans. Where we can be Womxn. Where we can be children. Where we can be safe. Respected. Honored. Empowered. Where we can ALL be AUTONOMOUS & FREE. We call on our ancestors to help us do this heart-work and DECOLONIZE. We invite you to join us in this ceremony of abolishing oppressive systems and co-creating our Decolonial Liberation.”
Huei Micailhuitl: Ceremonia de la Muerte Honrando a todes les mujeres (Negras, Indígenas, Niñes, Mujeres Trans, Femmes y LGBTQ+) cuyas vidas han sido arrebatadas como resultado de Feminicidio y Violencia de Género. Honrando a Tonantzin, Nuestra Madre Tierra, quien ha sufrido la quemazón de más de 4 millones de hectáreas este año en California, y continúa ardiendo. La violencia contra las Mujeres es violencia contra la Madre Tierra. Es aparente que el Patriarcado perpetúa la matanza de Mujeres y de la Madre Tierra. Las Mujeres y Tonantzin cargan el peso del Feminicidio y la explotación. Este Altar es una guía ancestral, un Camino de Fuego (Representado a las Montañas en llamas). Un camino hecho de fuego que nos guía a nosotros, Macehualli (La Gente), al altar. El altar está lleno de ofrendas para honrar a todes les mujeres y niñes y está rodeado de Cempuaxochitl, representando el fuego que está llamándonos y guiándonos hacia el altar. Los Cempuaxochitl son también el Camino Florido que guía a nuestros ancestros al altar, en dónde nos reuniremos en ceremonia para escuchar a las Ancestros Femeninas hablar. Las Tonanas, Abuelas, están diciendo: “Matar a nuestra Madre es matar a sus Niñes, es matar la fuente de la Vida”. El Patriarcado y Capitalismo debe ser abolido. Nuestra Madre está en llamas. Sus hijes heredarán cenizas y aprenderán a usar esas cenizas para hacer Espirulina, la Fuente de la Vida, e iniciar un nuevo ciclo. Ese Nuevo Ciclo es ¡Dónde todos los Macehualli son Libres! Donde podemos ser Negros. Donde podemos ser Indígenas. Donde podemos ser Trans. Donde podemos ser Mujeres. Donde podemos ser Niños. donde podemos estar seguros. Respetados. Honrados. Empoderados. Donde TODOS podemos ser AUTÓNOMOS Y LIBRES. Llamamos a nuestros ancestros cuando necesitamos ayuda para hacer este trabajo del corazón y DECOLONIZAR. Les invitamos a unirse a esta ceremonia de abolición de sistemas opresivos y a co-crear nuestra liberación Decolonial.
ABOUT Xochitl Palomera is an Educator who focuses on Intergenerational- Healing, Trauma-Informed Care & Decolonizing. She grew up in South Central L.A. Her passion for Social Justice, Cultural Arts, Ancestral knowledge and Wellness inspires her to create cultural connections with community members through reclaiming Ancestral ways, creating spaces to build community & connecting people to valuable resources for community empowerment.
East Los Angeles Women’s Center Youth We are honoring those who we have lost to domestic and sexual violence in our community and beyond. We hope to remind folks that there is help and support available for those who are experiencing or have experienced these forms of violence and that they are never alone. We want survivors to know that their silence is heard.
Estamos honrando a aquellos que hemos perdido por violencia doméstica y sexual en nuestra comunidad y más allá. Esperamos poder recordarle a la gente que hay ayuda y apoyo disponible para quienes están experimentando o han experimentado esos tipos de violencia y que nunca están solas. Queremos que los sobrevivientes sepan que su silencio es escuchado.
ABOUT The mission of the East Los Angeles Women’s Center is to ensure that all women, girls and their families live in a place of safety, health, and personal well-being, free from violence and abuse, with equal access to necessary health services and social support, with an emphasis on Latino communities.
Eastside LEADS This altar is dedicated to Eastside communities who despite the adverse history of segregation, inequitable planning, and disinvestment from the public and private sectors that have plagued their communities; they have grown strong roots of resilience and community activism which continues to this day. This Altar is in honor of all who have transitioned due to COVID-19 and our ancestors whose healing practices continue to bring comfort to us today.
Este altar está dedicado a las comunidades del Este, quienes a pesar de la historia de segregación, planeación injusta, y desinversión por los sectores públicos y privados que han plagado a sus comunidades; han crecido raíces fuertes de resiliencia y activismo comunitario que continúa hasta hoy. El Altar es en honor a todos los que han transicionado a causa de COVID-19 y para nuestros ancestros, cuyas prácticas de sanación continúan brindándonos confort hoy en día.
ABOUT Eastside LEADS is a coalition of tenants, youth,and community based organizations who are fighting displacement in the Eastside of Los Angeles through policy and organizing. We are fighting for development and investment that benefits existing residents, not development that displaces us. Our roots are deep and proud and we will preserve our communities through our collective work.
Jackie Amezquita & Julio César Toruño
On November 1st of every year, the people of both Santiago Sacatepéquez and Sumpango, Guatemala, put together giant kites to fly or show during the Day of the Dead. This cultural tradition in Guatemala is not only an art exhibition through the creation of kites, but it is also an ancient way of connecting with our ancestors. It’s believed that the kites fly to communicate with the spirits of their loved ones.
The six kites installed honor the children who lost their lives in ICE detention centers.
Jakelin Cal Maquin 7 years old from Guatemala. Felipe Gomez Alonzo 8 Years old from Guatemala. Carlos Gregorio Hernandez 16 years old from Guatemala. Wilmer Josue Ramirez 2 1/2 yerl old from Guatemala. Juan de Leon Gutierrez 16 years old from Guatemala. Darlen Cristobel Cordova Valle from El Salvador.
El 1ro de Noviembre cada año la gente de Santiago Sacatepéquez y Sumpango, Guatemala, construyen cometas gigantes para volar o mostrar el Día de Muertos. Esta tradición cultural de Guatemala no solo es una exhibición de arte a través de la creación de cometas, sino también una manera ancestral de mantener la conexión con nuestros ancestros. Es creído que los papalotes volarán para comunicarse con los espíritus de nuestros seres amados.
Los seis cometas que construímos honran a los niños que perdieron sus vidas en centros de detención de ICE.
Jakelin Cal Maquin 7 años de Guatemala. Felipe Gomez Alonzo 8 años de Guatemala. Carlos Gregorio Hernandez 16 años de Guatemala. Wilmer Josue Ramirez 2 1/2 años de Guatemala. Juan de Leon Gutierrez 16 años de Guatemala. Darlen Cristobel Cordova Valle de El Salvador.
ABOUT Jackie Amézquita (b. 1985) is a bi-national artist/activist. Amézquita was born in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, and migrated to the United States in 2003. Amézquita’s work explores the psycho-socio-geographical and political interactivity. As a result of her experiences as an immigrant woman, her practice has been influenced by her relationship to borders and the interaction with different cultures around the world. The artist has incorporated the use domestics and construction making techniques to explore a visual language that rebalances the power of socio-political relationships. This practice has allowed her to intertwine historical and contemporary references.
Julio cesar Toruño, (b.1993) in Matagalpa Nicaragua, is a biracial and binational artist working and living in Los Angeles. Toruño’s multidisciplinary practice works to unpack colonialization on the self, and social fabric of society. His work utilizes materials of labor, and historically recognized forms of cultural production, to hold a conversation about navigation and healing of the colonized psyche.
Mi Estori: Artist Collective
It is reported that nearly 1 in 5 hate crimes stem from homophobic and transphobic sentiments. The hatred felt for the LGBTQ+ community can be deadly and often leads to the highest murder rates in the country. However, hate crimes are not the only thing that LGBTQ+ people are dying from. LGBTQ+ people of color are twice as likely to avoid going to the doctor, 20-40% folks experiencing homelessness are LGBTQ+, 27% of LGBTQ+ people experience food insecurity, and it is reported that transgender individuals have twice the unemployment rate. The intersections of undocumented LGBTQ+ people further complicates these statistics as they may not have the same access to resources and experience a higher rate of sexual assault and murder. The intersections of gender also contribute to discrimination as 21.2% of LGBTQ+ individuals also experience higher negative treatment when accessing reproductive health services. The statistics presented show that the communities’ suffering is rooted in hatred for the LGBTQ+ community. In 2020, we lost many people to the deadly COVID-19 and we have many LGBTQ+ people who were not counted because their sexual orientation and gender identity was not accepted and respected. We ask that heterosexual and cisgender allies use their privilege to help LGBTQ+ people in all issues that impact us and stand with us when trying to better our community.
Es reportado que casi 1 de cada 5 crímenes de odio son a raíz de sentimientos homofóbicos y transfobicos. El odio que es sentido por la comunidad LGBTQ+ puede ser mortal y muchas veces conduce a los más altos índices de homicidio en el país. Sin embargo, los crímenes de odio no son la única cosa de la que están muriendo las personas LGBTQ+ porque es sabido que las Personas de Color de la comunidad son propensas a evitar ir al doctor, del 20-40% de la gente sin techo son LGBTQ+, 27% de las personas LGBTQ+ experimentan inseguridad alimenticio, y es reportado que los individuos transgénero tienen el doble de la tasa de desempleo. Las intersecciones de la gente LGBTQ+ que son indocumentados complica aún más estas estadísticas, ya que ellos no tienen el mismo acceso a recursos. Las personas LGBTQ+ indocumentadas experimentan índices más altos de abuso sexual y homicidio. Las intersecciones de género también contribuyen a la discriminación, ya que el 21.2% de individuos LGBTQ+ experimentan más tratamiento negativo al accesar servicios reproductivos. Las estadísticas presentadas muestran que el sufrimiento de la comunidad está enraizado en odio hacia la misma. En el 2020 perdimos a mucha gente por el COVID-19 y hay mucha gente LGBTQ+ que no fue contada porque su orientación sexual e identidad de género no fueron respetadas y aceptadas. Pedimos que los aliados heterosexuales y cisgénero usen su privilegio para ayudar a la gente LGBTQ+ en todos los problemas que nos impactan y alzarse con nosotros mientras mejoramos a nuestra comunidad.
ABOUT Mi Estori was founded in 2017 by Erick Villegas-Nuñez and Charlie Ruiz Vazquez. Mi Estori was created in order to take space in predominantly white, cisgender, heterosexual, and able-bodied creative spaces and create spaces for creatives that are queer, trans, people of color, and people with disabilities.
South Central Farm Honoring plant resilience, food justice and the role of land use in our food systems.
Honrando la resiliencia de las plantas, justicia alimentaria y el rol de la tierra en nuestros sistemas de alimentos.
ABOUT The South Central Farm aims to promote the establishment and preservation of green and open space in South Central Los Angeles, a community where green and open space is rare, as well as promote urban farming, public health, and effective participation in the planning of developments that intimately affect every one of the residents that reside nearby.
Grand Park’s Downtown Día de los Muertos Public Art Installations
Location: Jerry Moss Plaza at The Music Center
Soul Survivors curated by Kahlid Jefferson Featuring Naliah Howze, Damien Carter, Andrew Quesada
2020 has been a year of collective trauma for everyone. However, racial disparities related to the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with the continuous injustices against Black citizens have made it especially difficult for Black people. How does the Black community collectively heal in the face of systemic racism, and a virus that disproportionately affects people of color?
In this exhibition, Soul Survivors, Los Angeles native photographers Nailah Howze, Damien Carter, and Andrew Quesada explore the meaning of healing in the black community. Historically Black America has developed unique ways of overcoming hardships. The braiding of hair, the natural synchronicity of song and dance, the unity in protest, the creativity of cooking Soul Food, the powerful connection created through worship. Images that serve as literal and metaphoric testaments of resistance. The three photographers layout a cohesive visual essay that highlights the process of perseverance.
Organized by Khalid Jefferson, Soul Survivors brings together images that evoke empathy and collective healing. The printed photos will be treated with quotes and resources for seeking mental health advice.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
Nailah Howze Photographer Nailah Howze has a knack for making everyday people look like royalty. There’s a personal touch to her images that reflects the beauty and raw honesty of the Black experience in America. Through her lens, Nailah transforms flaws into strength and insecurities into confidence. She’s shown a particular affinity for shooting Black women, highlighting relatable characteristics that translate to extraordinary attributes when captured in a still image. Nailah’s photos serve as positive affirmations for a community always under-represented and often misunderstood. The power of her freelance portrait work is equally present in her commercial fashion photography as well. Nailah’s clients include Adidas, Puma, L’Oreal, Sony, Apple, Maxim, R&B star Kehlani, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, and the late great Nipsey Hussle. She was awarded Teen Vogue’s “Photographer of the Week,” and was the 2017 winner of the Nook and Kranny “Photographer of the Year” award. Nailah continues to distinguish herself as one of the most promising photographers in Los Angeles.
Damien “SlauCienega” Carter West Los Angeles street photographer Damien Carter has spent his years capturing candid images of local Black culture. A native Angeleno, Damien is affectionately known to many in the L.A. arts community as “SlauCienega” (a hybrid moniker adopted from the Slauson & La Cienega intersection, where he resides). Damien’s friends often joke about him rarely traveling north of Wilshire, but jokes aside SlauCienega is a guardian of the community. He approaches his work with a sense of protectionism. Although Los Angeles is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States, Damien considers his L.A. (west of the 110) to be “very tiny, and continuously shrinking in the face of gentrification.” He documents the city’s Black culture as a preservationist with unwavering authenticity. Whether shooting album covers for the city’s most relevant artists, framing lowriders set against a palm tree skyline, or capturing the raw emotion of protestors at community gatherings, Slauceienega’s images speak volumes. Black voices are loud and clear in his work.
Andrew Quesada Andrew Quesada fell in love with the art of photography as a curious kid growing up in Los Angeles. His father nurtured Andrew’s natural inclination towards film and photography. At age 6 Andrew was given his first professional camera, a 35mm Minolta SR2 film camera. At age 22 Andrew tattooed the Minolta SR2 on his left arm. Not only a symbol of commitment to his craft, the Minolta SR2 is the inspirational source behind Andrew’s cinematic aesthetic. As his generation began to establish itself in the Los Angeles arts community Andrew began to find his own voice as an artist. During “The Blog Era,” he captured some of L.A.’s most iconic music artists including Kendrick Lamar, Frank Ocean, Miguel, DOM KENNEDY, and Jansport J. Whether shooting models or musicians, Andrew’s work remains true to capturing authentic artists with unique identities. The city of Los Angeles is his ever-changing backdrop.
Healing Sanctuaries by Dancing Diaspora Collective Photographed by Bobby Gordon
Dancing Diaspora Collective (DDC) is dedicated to honoring the embodied practices of Black and Brown people from around the world through dance and healing practices. We will be drawing upon our own practices rooted in body-base and ancestral healing aiding us to gather,release, and shift from a body + mind lense. Healing Sanctuaries are powerful images of us and our personal sanctuaries: altars, movement, meditation, hierbas, and more that intertwine with the profound powers of nature. It is an invitation to our communities to investigate, play, and experiment with their own healing practices. What is your Sanctuary/ Qué es tu Santuario?
Photographed artists: Isis Avalos Jose Richard Aviles Patricia “Patty” Huerta Veline Mojarro Erica Rey Tatiana Zamir
Special Papel Picado by Maricela Sosa
Papel picado is the traditional art of cutting elaborate designs into pieces of delicate tissue paper. The tradition of papel picado originated in the 19th century in San Salvador Huixcolotla, Puebla when paper from China was imported to Mexico. By the 20th century, the craft had spread throughout Mexico. Artisans craft papel picado by stacking 50 to 100 sheets underneath a template and then use special chisels and hammers to carve the designs. Papel picado is used for a variety of celebrations, not just Dia de los Muertos. It all depends on the imagery used. Calaveras, skeletons, candles, marigolds, names of loved ones, and cultural and religious icons are typically present in papel picado made for Dia de los Muertos. On traditional altars or ofrendas, the four elements – earth, water, fire, wind – are represented and papel picado represents the element of air.
Maricela Sosa is a self-taught artist working in Northeast Los Angeles. She works mainly with children teaching drawing, painting and mixed media art classes. Maricela is also a paper cutter working in the Mexican style known as papel picado. She learned this traditional folk art by watching and working with her mother, master papel picado artist Margaret Sosa. Papel Picado is the Mexican style of paper cutting in which tissue paper is cut into intricate designs that are then glued on a string and used to decorate festive events and to adorn altars.
Bike Ofrenda Workshop by Sandra de la Loza
Watch Los Angeles based artist Sandra de la Loza convert her bike into a mobile ofrenda in the spirit of Día de los Muertos. This is a fun, easy, and family-friendly workshop that invites you to be creative with materials that you have at home. Make paper calacas, decorate your wheels with handmade spokes, and altars on handlebars or a cargo rack. Then go on a bike ride through the city and honor your ancestors.
ABOUT Sandra de la Loza is a Los Angeles artist and educator whose research-based practice investigates the underlayers of our present landscape as a means to decolonize, heal ancestral trauma, and to create circles that enable other social and environmental relations to happen. Her work has been exhibited in major museums, alternative art spaces, and community centers within the United States, Latin America, and Europe.
Self Help Graphics 47th Annual Día de los Muertos Virtual Celebration, Featuring Noche de Ofrenda segment with Grand Park
endy bernal endy trece is an intermedia community artist. Her performance and visual work is rooted in her indigenous cultural traditions, and branches out through her intercultural ceremonials, exchanges, study and travel. Butoh is a strong influence in her work, as she has studied with Semimaru of Sankai Juku, as well as Yoshito Ohno among other butoh masters in Japan.
Her art practice includes creating an installation about an ecological or social issue in public space and performing a dance sequence in it for 4-6 hours. The intention of her practice is to provide inspiration to look within, contemplate and discuss important issues.
She has performed throughout California, Texas and New York as well as in Mexico, France and Japan. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Social Science, and is a National Association of Latino Arts & Culture Advanced Leadership Institute Alumni.
As an arts and culture leader, she is one of the co-founders of TONALLI STUDIO in East Los Angeles and has been a part of the Board of Directors at Pacto Latino and the Centro Cultural de la Raza in San Diego. She is currently the president of the Board of Directors at Self Help Graphics and Art in Tongva Territory (aka Los Angeles).
Gloria Enedina Alvarez: Chicana poet/intermedia artist, playwright, librettist, literary translator and curator, presently teaches creative writing and works as a consultant in public schools, universities, libraries, museums, and art centers. Her literary/artistic efforts have been recognized by the CAC, National Endowment for the Arts, Cultural Affairs Department, City of L.A., COLA Award, Poets & Writers, Inc., National Latino Arts Network, MAESTRO Award, among others. She has published and read widely in the U.S., Latin America and Europe. Her plays and librettos for opera, Los Biombos, Cuento de un Soldado/Story of a Soldier, El Niño, have been produced locally and internationally. Her books of poetry in English and Spanish include La Excusa/The Excuse and Emerging en un Mar De Olanes and spoken word/music c.d.s , Centerground and Between Epiphanies. Her poetry has been published in various anthologies and numerous periodicals internationally.
Starting at a young age, and for the past 35 years, he has performed in various and diverse bands, ranging from North American Western influenced to Blues, Rock and Roll, Punk Rock, Jazz, and everything in between. His multi-genre musical fluidity has allowed for expansion and experimentation with diverse sounds and tones, leading him to exploratory projects, that merged the different cultural music genres of World music. Living in the 90’s During the late 90’s, along with Angel Garcia, Hernandez co-founded the much-heralded and pioneering music project Mezklah. Mezklah embodied and marked the evolution of the new burgeoning sound of L.A., with their unique hybrid electronica tunes, set to local cultural sounds and rich tribal overtones, resulting in a distinctive and completely new sound. They have been described as a very intelligent mixture of traditional Latin music, alternative rock, jungle, reggae, dub, and drum-andbass. With an innovative presence that included, among other things, performance art, Mezklah had a sound and stage presence that was truly unparalleled and artistic, gaining the reputation as “one of L.A.’s most powerful and promising alt-Latino bands.” (Los Angeles Times). Mezklah took their sound internationally, touring in Latin America, Europe and Japan. Most notably, Mezklah played to a crowd of 20,000 at Mexico City’s La Feria del Libro festival. They also went on to open for notable acts such as Ozomatli, Kinky, Maldita Vencidad , Antibalas and has worked with Ry Cooder during time of his conceptual album Chavez Ravine.
Greg “Goyo” Hernandez has worked with Johnny Avila of Oingo Boingo producing music for San Diego band Marujah for Latin Grammy Nomination and most recently of Dec of 2019 working a new indie Documentary politicized around the military complex waste of native lands of Tuscon Arizona. During this time Greg Hernandez Teamed up tv commercial with Danny Haro actor of the movie American Me and now producer and director. Music and the Theatre From 2010 to present, Hernandez has continued his musical trajectory as a hired musician and performer, who has also expanded his creative outlets to include writing and recording with various notable bands in Los Angeles, San Diego and New Mexico. As an enthusiast for Soundscape theatre and story-telling, Hernandez finally found the opportunity to merge all his collective musical experience with his passions, resulting in the film scoring and writing of original music composition for the Latinx (using Latinx is optional, some people like it others don’t, but Latino could also then be Latina/o) comedy film, Lola’s Love Shack. Produced by Migrant Film Works and distributed by Indican Pictures in 2013, Lola’s Love Shack won the Audience Award at the Reel Rasquache Film Festival and was screened at various film festivals internationally. That same year, Hernandez went on to compose another original film score for the comedy web series Monkeyfunkles. Music as a Mode of Empowerment Maleco Collective For Hernandez, music is not only a way to emotionally connect with his audience, he also understands it to be a universal language, whose frequency and sound can help stir thoughts, ideas and awaken positive vibrations as a way to convey imagination. Music as an evocation of the human spirit, a mode of empowerment, but also as a vehicle to support visual and spoken expressions, be it within a cinematographic sphere, spoken word, live theatre, or any other space and art production in which sound and music are elemental components of a collaborative venture. Since Current Pandemic Greg Hernandez has been working remotely from the home studio recording, writing,arranging original musical concepts along writing a travel blog called “Goyo on the Go” to inspire, escape and educate of recent past backpacking travels throughout South East Asia past three years between being active on the Los Angeles Music Scene. As of Oct 2020 Greg “Goyo” Hernandez has again recorded with San Diego’s hardest working border band Marujah which in 2018 is credited with guitar work on the album “UpRising” produced by Johnny Avila of Oingo Boingo that won best album by San Diego Music Award’s and won a nomination in Latin Grammys 2018. During the Pandemic Marujah has won the accolade of being 2020 SDMA winner again with great projections for the upcoming 2021 Latin Grammy’s and as always humble to lend helping hand.
Danza Divina de Los Ángeles is the work of Indigital Productions, an L.A. based multimedia production company. Our mission is to elevate Danza Azteca onto the world stage, while preserving tradition and elevating the design of Aztec dance. Danza Divina de Los Angeles is an intergenerational dance troupe under the direction of Jeniffer Sanchez. DDLA blends mesoamerican myth with contemporary urban stories using traditional dance, instruments and modern technologies.
Jeniffer Sanchez is a Los Angeles-based artist, danzante, choreographer, director, producer and founder of Indigital Productions. At age 9, she began studying and performing traditional Danza Azteca with renowned Aztec Dance Pioneer, General Lazaro Arvizu. Her artwork operates at the intersection of performance art, theatre, multimedia and Mesoamerican traditions. Her newest work, “Exploring the Gods,” is an all-woman, multimedia, Aztec Dance performance that introduces seven different Aztec deities. Exploring the Gods is the introduction to a work in progress called “La Ofrenda”, which is an adaptation of the Aztec creation story of the 5th Sun.
Opening– Blessing of the space- this is done with copal we turn to the four directions, the sky and earth. This is done to acknowledge and give thanks to all of the elements and to clear the space of any unwanted energy. This ensures a good dance and is done before all our dances.
Guajito– (small gourd)this dance is dedicated to water. It will be done by Doreen Sanchez, she will be in a traje (regalia) representing the water goddess Chalchiuhtlicue.
Guerrilleros– warrior dance, will be done by Valerie Estrada (8yrs old) and Emily Estrada (12yrs old). These young ladies are cousins. This will be followed by a short procession around one of the dancers that died in battle.
Muerte– this dance is dedicated to Mictlantecihuatl, the goddess of the underworld and is performed by Jeniffer Sanchez. This dance depicts Mictlantecihuatl convincing the recent dead to follow her to Mictlan.
Itzpapalotl– is a dance dedicated to the obsidian butterfly, who aids the woman who dies giving birth. This dance will be done by Brit Rios, Emily Estrada, Sara Graeff and Isabella Estrada (5 yrs old).
Welcome Back, fellow Angelenos and Citizens of our lovely Gaia. It’s time for July’s Sunday Sessions: Home Edition 2020! This one is going to be very special, folks. This event is something for which you’ll probably use the word “epic” when describing the weekend to your coworkers come Monday morning during your Zoom meeting (who the heck scheduled that 7am anyway?).
Before I let you in on the extraordinary DJ’s mastering the decks on Sunday, it would behoove me to give you a little history about the creative genius whose work inspired the musical lineup this weekend. Her name is GUADALUPE ROSALES and she’s a Northern-Cali-born, Los-Angeles-bred and New York-City-shaped artist who moved back to the city that raised her in 2016. While completing her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Rosales created Veteranas & Rucas and Map Pointz, two digital archives accessible through Instagram.
Rosales started the two accounts in 2015 to slowly reconnect to her hometown and their popularity quickly grew after she asked other people to send in their old pictures to share. The two archives suddenly became spaces to re/present honest and positive narratives about her culture, her neighborhood and the true version of the Los Angeles she, her friends and family lived in; spaces that were clearly lacking.
For someone like me who whose teen-into-twenties-partying years were lived in the wondrous era that was the 1990s, the coming-of-age nostalgia these photo archives brought were surprisingly emotional. I’m a first generation Filipina-American who went to a high school in Mid-City/Koreatown with a student population that was majority Latinx and African-American (big ups, L.A. High, Class of ’94). When I first discovered Map Pointz I felt like I went back to the 90s having a do-over and partying with my own (version of) party crews. When I checked out Veteranas & Rucas, I again saw something in Rosales’ archive that felt both familiar and familial.
I remember this guy in my high school Geometry class whose regular uniform comprised of physics-defying baggy denim pants that somehow always covered his shoes, but never touched the ground. It floated in this raver-pants-plane-perfection. He also came in the classroom, on more than one occasion, sucking on a lollipop like that round-a-way girl LL Cool J said he needed. You know, the one for him. The lollipop was usually a Ring Pop, the kid’s birthday goodie bag staple. He told me all the time about these ditch parties he attended and always, always extended an invite (because ravers are polite, people). I also recall that on his matching denim 3-ring binder he curated his own artwork that spelled out his party crew’s name in gorgeous graffiti.
What’s the point of the story about the guy in my high school Geometry class, you’re asking? We reconnected a few years back via Facebook (surprise) and I learned that he’s now a Dad and has been married to his beautiful wife for almost two decades. From his current photos, it looks like his pants aren’t three sizes too big anymore and he’s a cheerful family man. He’s one of the lucky ones. He came out of the dangerous environments that many of the kids who frequented these parties, a success. And I celebrate that for him.
I also celebrate the idea that like my high school classmate, many of the same folks who were part of the 90’s party crew scene and subculture are now parents and will be joining Sunday Session, with their families dancing along. For many, it will be the first time their kids will get to see Mom and Dad in their “natural” dancing element. It will be glorious.
Hosting this Sunday’s dance party with Map Pointz is the iconic electronic music radio show, POWER TOOLS. They curated a group of the most revered and influential 90’s Latino/a party crew scene DJs that will take everyone back to big baggy pants, colorful beads, burgundy lip-liners, and perfectly arched brows.
Here is the amazing line-up:
DJ Frankie Z is going to get the party started this Sunday. Frankie Z started DJ’ing with a party crew called Gypsy Kings out of East L.A. in 1990. That same year he DJ’d at the popular rave, Wonderland, playing house and techno to blissful dancing bodies at a downtown LA’s warehouse district. He joined the Madness Crew in the early 90s and while throwing house parties, he took a liking to designing his crew’s party flyers. Other crews eventually asked him to design their party flyers and this is how Frankie got interested in and started his career in graphic arts/design. You’ll enjoy a lot of techno rave, 80s flashback mix and more from DJ Frankie Z on Sunday.
Next up is DJ Hi-C, an Orange County native who grew up in Placentia. Born Carlos Chiang, DJ Hi-C started to DJ in 1993, mostly playing at house parties. He eventually graduated to playing all age clubs such as Sound Factory, Club Extra, Club Flavor, Old World; as well as big events like The Great American Dip in Orange County and the legendary NYE Countdown Parties. He is the Co Founder of West End Boyz Edits and is a sought after DJ in So Cal. We’re going to love dancing to his set, which will include anything from Classic and Hard House, to KROQ Flashbacks and Rock en Español.
DJ Modern Romance (aka Modern) was born and raised in El Monte and discovered his passion for music at a very young age. His brother was a big inspiration for him and he began DJ’ing in 1988. He studied with many industry veterans including DJ Vice, DJ Enrie, David Delano, Richard Vission, Swedish Egil, Reza, Tony B, Irene and more. He’s known to put together dope sets of 80s and 90s music.
As we head into the 6 o’clock hour, some folks may be tempted to take a long break and feed the kids. If you do may I suggest to do it while dancing to Jungle George. It’s his job to, and he definitely will, put your (literal) house party on another level. Jungle George’s DJ resume reads like he has a PhD in DJ’ing from the Harvard of DJ’ing schools. The Monterey Park native started his DJ career in. He was the 2nd place winner in the Power Tools DJ Contest in 1996 and came back in 1999 to win 1st place. He was recognized multiple times among the best DJs in the late 1990s by Industry Insider Magazine. His list of vinyl releases is impressive and he’s been featured on many radio stations in Southern California, including Powertools 105.9, Groove Radio 103.1 and KUSC. Expect a mixture of hard and classic house, some progressive imports, and much more from Jungle George’s set.
Our last DJ is a special treat because she’s joining us on her Birthday Weekend. Happy Birthday, DJ Irene! Citizens of the dance world, this set is going blow your mind. I was lucky to have experienced her magical skills at Arena and Circus in the 90s. DJ Irene is a Los Angeles icon. Period. Everyone should be excited and grateful that she will be providing soundtrack to our personal dance floors this Sunday Session! The passion she exudes emanate not just from her natural talent for and love of music (which are both immense); it’s also inspired by a tough background that includes past stints of homelessness and troubles with substance abuse. DJ Irene is a warrior, so she got up over and over again when she was knocked down. She has recently earned her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Music and when not touring or working with the likes of Lady Gaga, Madonna and Taryn Manning, she finds time to teach music at urban communities.
Like I said, folks, this is one will be epic.
Let’s get dancing.
Haydee Vicedo is a Manila-born, Los Angeles-bred, and Torrance-based freelance writer (fittingforty.com) and budding social entrepreneur (pinayclothing.com / IG: @pinay_clothing) – just trying to live her best life. For the fantastic health insurance that helps her live said best life, she works from home for a huge corporation. Ask anyone who knows her, Haydee LOVES L.A. – pure and simple.
The interviews have been edited for length and clarity
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The End of an Era: Union Swap Meet’s Last Days by Samanta Helou Hernandez
The swap meet is a mythic place in Los Angeles. In the ‘90s and early 2000s, it’s where kids in Black and brown neighborhoods bought fits for school: Pro Club white tees, Dickies, Nike Cortezs, and gold nameplates. These in-door markets were a hangout very much like the malls of white America.
Back then, South Central swap meets were often the only place that sold West Coast rap mixtapes. The Compton Fashion Center was featured in both Tupac and Kendrick Lamar videos. When it closed and became a Walmart, it was as if a piece of Compton had been erased.
Swap meets are much more than an affordable place to shop. They’re where neighborhoods create community, re-affirm identity, and build collective memories. They’re historical landmarks. But as the city changes, people are displaced, and younger generations shop online, the swap meet’s days are numbered.
This is the story of one such place: Union Swap Meet in East Hollywood.
Joo Lee opened Union Swapmeet on Vermont and Santa Monica Blvd. in 1986. He modeled the concept on ones from his home country of Korea that allowed multiple people to own businesses in one place.
For merchants, the rent was more accessible than a traditional brick-and-mortar, and it attracted new immigrants who wanted independence—but didn’t have the capital for a larger enterprise.
At the height of Union Swapmeet in the ’80s and ’90s, lines of people would wait to shop at 70 different stalls.
Families sent money to their home countries and bought clothes, toys, and pets. They could get acupuncture, a haircut, tailor clothes, eat, and buy alternative medicines from Mexico, all in a day.
Latino radio stations held events, mariachis played, and there were even car giveaways. Latinos and Koreans, hundreds and thousands of miles away from home, spoke their native languages. A trip to Union Swapmeet was an all day affair.
Naturally, friendships formed. Kids who grew up going to the swap meet with their families, later took their own children. Some patrons went on first dates here and others even met their spouses.
Joo retired four years ago, leaving Union Swap Meet in the care of his two daughters and son-in-law.
The Lees adapted to the changing demographics of the neighborhood by repainting the exterior with murals of long-time vendors and even added an Instagrammable set of wings. They threw pop-ups and a heavily attended Hong Kong-style night market and tried to fill some stalls with Etsy vendors.
It wasn’t enough.
The Lees struck a deal with Koreatown developer Jamison Services to demolish the market and turn the property into a seven-story residential and retail complex.
Throughout 2019, customers continued to trickle in to pay their cell phone bills, buy jewelry, and visit longtime friends.
Vendors at Union didn’t plan to move to another swap meet after the closure. To them, it’s a futile attempt. They understand they’re a dying breed.
What follows are the voices of the longtime merchants that remained that year.
Olga Avila originally from Michoacan, Mexico. Owner of Incense, Arts, and Crafts at Union Swap Meet since 1986:
“When I first opened, this was a music store. I sold all kinds of music like merengue, salsa, cumbia, punta, soca, ranchera, nortena, balada, everything. My customers were from Mexico and Central America. I had to have something for everyone.
When one first arrives in this country, it’s easier to go to a swap meet and be able to speak your own language than going to a mall and having to speak English.
It’s a place where Latinos can feel like they’re in their own country. They don’t feel so sad, because when you leave your country, it’s a sad thing. You feel alone.
It has changed a lot. Now there is almost no one. All the young people who are born here go to the malls.
I’m a little sad. I spent many years here. My children grew up here, my grandchildren grew up here. My daughter has a stall here. It is very painful to leave it.
All the time I spent here was very beautiful. I got to know many people. I got to know their stories from joys to sorrows, everything.”
“Cuando yo abrí esta era una tienda de música. Vendía de todo tipo de música merengue, salsa, cumbia, punta, soca, ranchera, norteña, balada, todo. Escogía de todo porque venía gente mexicana y Centroamericana. Entonces tenía que tener un poquito de todo para todos gustos.
Cuando uno llega a este pais es mas fácil ir al swap meet donde puedes hablar tu idioma en lugar de ir a un mall donde tienes que hablar inglés.
Es un lugar donde Latinos se sienten en su país. No se sienten tan mal, porque cuando uno deja su país, es algo triste. Te sientes triste.
A cambiado muchísimo. Antes había más gente ahora ya casi no hay.
Estoy un poquito triste. Tengo muchos años aquí. Mis hijos aquí crecieron, mis nietos aquí crecieron. Y mi hija tiene un local. Es muy doloroso dejarlo.
Todo el tiempo que pase aquí fue muy bonito. Conviví con mucha gente. Conocí muchos sentimientos de muchas personas, tristezas, alegrías, de todo.”
Francisco Gutierrez, originally from Guatemala. Owner of F&G Shoe Repair at Union Swapmeet since 2000:
“I’m from Guatemala. I repair all kinds of shoes, women’s bags, luggage, leather jackets. I learned this in my country, when I was 8 years old. My mother made me learn this work. I know how to manufacture the entire shoe, not just repair it. I am 65 years old now.
I wanted to become independent and be my own boss, that’s why I’m here. Thank God I’m doing very well.
This job cannot be done online, so I still have customers. If this were just retail, I would have left, because it is easier to buy online.
I have a lot of American customers now, before it was only Latinos that came here.
A lot of swap meets are disappearing. I think once this closes I’ll look for a place outside. I do not plan to close. The swap meet gave me a lot of life. It has given me everything—a way to survive, everything.”
“Yo soy de Guatemala. Reparo toda clase de zapatos, bolsas de mujer, las luggage, las chamarras de piel. Yo aprendí en mi país a los 8 años mi madre me puso a aprender el trabajo. Yo sé hacer el zapato completo no solo reparación. Tengo ahorita 65 años.
Me quise independizar y ser yo mi propio jefe por eso estoy acá. Gracias a dios me va muy bien.
Esto no lo pueden hacer por internet por eso sigo con clientela. Si fuera esto solo ventas, ya me hubiera ido.
Tengo mucha clientela americana y antes era puro Latino.
Ya se están acabando muchos swap meets. Yo creo que buscaré un local afuera. No pienso cerrar.
El swap meet me dio mucha vida. Me ha dado de todo. Como sobrevivir, de todo. ”
Lilia Ochoa, Michoacan, Mexico. Owner of Travel Latino Express at Union Swapmeet since 2004:
“The majority of my clients are from Mexico. Many are from Durango and Oaxaca, but I also have many from Guatemala. What I do most is send money.
When Trump first won, my clients sent and sent money. They took their money from the bank because of all the changes that were happening. They were afraid of being deported and so they sent the money.
My clients come with the illusion of helping out their families back home and building their houses. That is why they come and work so many jobs so they can send money and finish their houses back home. And then they return to their home countries. Those stories are very common in this type of business.
It’s very nice because sometimes they tell me their stories, they tell me their lives, about how they left children back home. They feel trust in me and maybe that keeps them coming back.
I like to take care of people. I like listening to them.
I do feel nostalgia about the swap meet closing, but these are the changes of life and you have to accept them. Everything has an end, right? What can we do?”
“La mayoría de mis clientes son de México. Hay muchos de Durango y Oaxaca, pero también tengo muchos de Guatemala. Lo que más hago es envió de dinero.
Al principio que ganó Trump mandaban y mandaban dinero. Sacaban su dinero del banco por todo el cambio que pasó. Tenían miedo que los deportaran y entonces mandaban el dinero.
Mis clientes vienen con la ilusión de ayudar a sus familias en sus países y construir sus casas. Por eso vienen, agarrar dos tres trabajos para mandar y mandar y terminar sus casas. Y después se regresan a su pais. Esas historias son muy comunes en este tipo de negocio.
Es muy bonito porque a veces me cuentan sus historias, me cuentan sus vidas, que dejaron hijos allá. Sienten yo creo confianza en mí. Y eso tal vez los hace que sigan viniendo.
Me gusta mucho atender a la gente. Me gusta mucho escucharlos.
De repente si siente uno nostalgia que se vaya a cerrar el swap meet, pero son cambios de la vida y hay que aceptarlos. Todo tiene un final verdad? ¿Qué podemos hacer?”
Casey Yoo, originally from Korea. Owner of Easy Alterations at Union Swap Meet since 2015:
“When I retired a doctor, I was bored so I thought this would be a good way to spend time. I’m also a background actor.
I’ve owned this business for four years now. I took over because the previous owner passed away. But this stall has been here since 1986.
The original owner of the swap meet is actually from my hometown in Korea. We graduated middle school together. When I started this 4 years ago, I realized I knew him.
The tailor is my friend. He has over 40 years of experience. I do the cutting and trimming, and he sews.
I heard when this swap meet first opened it was very busy but people from Mexico and El Salvador they don’t come here anymore so business is down.”
But alteration is still a busy business and so is shoe repair because it’s a good service at a cheap price.
This building will be torn down and rebuilt. I hope I can come back, because the first floor will be commercial.”
Sonia Gomez, originally from Mexico City, Mexico DF Mexico. Owner of Naomy’s Hair Salon at Union Swap Meet since 1997:
“The majority of my clients are Latinos and Filipinos. A lot of Americans are coming to this neighborhood, but they don’t enter the swap meet.
Until now, my business has not been affected. Thank God it hasn’t. It will affect me when they close this. I have many clients that have been coming here for many many years.
They are taking a lot of Latinos out of here. A lot of my clients lived around here but they kicked them out. That’s what’s going to happen to this whole area. They are going to Americanize this bit. In the building next door, they gave people money to move out of their apartments but they still come here. They come from places as far as Hesperia.
For me the hours go by when I’m working. I forget the clock. This is where I live my life. I love to see that people leave happy, that they feel different with a haircut. They leave with more self esteem. And I’m happy that they leave happy.
Since I was 7 years old, I used to say that I wanted to curl hair and look here I am curling hair.”
“La mayoría de mis clientes son latinos y filipinos. Está llegando mucho americano a esta vecindad, pero al swap meet no entran. Aquí no entran.
A mi hasta ahorita no afectado mi negocio. Gracias a dios no. Lo va afectar cuando ya me cierren. Tengo muchos clientes de muchos muchos años y siguen viniendo.
Pero están sacando mucho a los Latinos. Toda esta área es lo que va a pasar. Van a americanizar este pedacito. Aquí alrededor eran mis clientes y a todos los sacaron. Les dieron dinero para que se salieran de los apartamentos de aquí al lado y todavia vienen hasta acá. Hasta vienen desde Hesperia.
Para mí se me pasan las horas y sin comer. Y sin acordarme del reloj. Aquí se me va mi día y mi vida. Me encanta ver que la gente sale contenta, que se sienten diferente con un corte de pelo. Se sienten con más auto estima. Y me quedo contenta que se vayan contentos.
Yo desde que tenía 7 años decía que quería hacer chinitos y mira estoy haciendo los chinitos.”
Christian Lopez owner of City Pets at Union Swap Meet:
“I’m from Los Angeles, but my parents are from Guatemala. I opened this up when I was 18. I like animals, so it’s kind of like a passion and a business at the same time.
I’ve been coming to this swap meet since I was maybe three or four years old, because I grew up in the area. I actually have pictures of me as a kid when we would come and visit the swap meet and buy jewelry. When we would visit, I would buy animals without my mom noticing, and I would hide them until we got home.
I went from having one small 500 square feet locale to having four little spots. The next step I think for me would be to get an actual brick-and-mortar location.
I have customers that come in here, and I’m like a therapist to them. They’ll talk to me not just about their animals but about family. It’s a community based business. You’re serving the community.
The swap meet is a dying industry. The products that we have in here don’t cater to the people that are in the neighborhood now.
But swap meets are important, because they preserve culture and preserve history. They service the community. It holds for people an emotional part. They’re unique.”
In March of 2020, all remaining vendors left and the swap meet officially closed. A locked fence kept hopeful shoppers out as they walked by trying to visit one last time.
Signs from vendors hang on the market’s exterior announcing their new locations. Inside, the stalls are empty. The once bustling swap meet stands desolate awaiting the tractors that will tear down each wall, one by one.
All that will remain of the market are the cherished memories of the vendors who opened their first businesses here, of the second generation kids, now adults with their own children, who remember spending weekends shopping with their families, and of the immigrants who found a sense of comfort and familiarity speaking their native language, listening to cumbia, punta, and merengue, and building a community with fellow shoppers and vendors. They know the new development is not meant for them, and when construction ends, the neighborhood they’ve called home for decades will be even more unrecognizable.
Visual art segments of Grand Park’s Our L.A. Voices are made possible by Jardín deLArte
With the release of his major-label debut Lift YourSpirit, Aloe Blacc moved and inspired audiences across the globe through hispowerful fusion of soul, folk, R&B, and pop. Arriving in 2014, the Grammy Award-nominated album spanned from feel-good anthems like the platinum-selling single “The Man” to intensely charged tracks like Blacc’s acoustic version of “Wake Me Up”—the massive hit he sang and co-wrote for Swedish DJ Avicii, which topped the charts in more than 100 countries. Now at work on the follow-up to Lift Your Spirit, the L.A.-born rapper/singer/songwriter has expanded his emotional terrain to capture an even more personal element of the human experience. “My goal for this next album is to continue with the aspirational songs I’ve been writing for a while now, but add a dimension that’s more focused on love and relationships,” says Blacc. “My own relationship with my family and my wife is so important to me, and I want these songs to give people the opportunity to celebrate the love in their life.”
Raised on salsa, merengue, and cumbia, Blacc fell in love with hip-hop as a kid and started writing rap songs when he was nine. With his lyrics drawing influence from socially conscious artists like KRS-One, he put out his first hip-hop mixtape at age 17. Later developing a fierce admiration for such soul musicians as Donny Hathaway and Marvin Gaye, he also discovered an affinity for folk-rocksinger/songwriters during his college years. “One of the most important factors in my transition from hip-hop to being a singer was listening to people like Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Kris Kristofferson, and Cat Stevens,” Blacc says.“Their songs are full of emotion that’s expressed in strong lyrics, and that had a big impact on me.”
After inking a deal with indie label Stones Throw, Blacc released his solo debut Shine Through in 2006 and sophomore album Good Things in 2010. Boosted by the breakout success of “I Need a Dollar” (which was selected as the theme song to HBO’s How To Make it In America), Good Things reached gold status in countries around the world and paved the way for his signing to XIX Recordings/Interscope Records in 2012. Made in collaboration with groundbreaking producers like Pharrell Williams, Lift Your Spirit dropped on New Year’s Day in 2014, debuted at #4 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, and earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best R&B Album.
Looking back on his musical path so far, Blacc notes that landing a deal with XIX Recordings/Interscope prompted a major moment of reckoning, and led him to re-examine his artistic intentions. “When I signed a major-label contract, I recognized the power of having a larger audience, and Ipromised myself that I’d use my voice for social change,” he says. And increating his upcoming album, Blacc has kept focused on making music meant toinspire a positive shift in mindset. “When things happening in the world seemso terrible and dark, it’s so easy to get stuck in all the negative,” he says.“But I try to do whatever I can to help people out of that. I want my music tobe the light.”
Born in La Paz, Mexico to a Mexican Father and Turkish Mother, Maya grew up in Sydney, Australia. It was in Sydney’s Western Suburbs where she first fell in love with Hip Hop. Maya’s love of writing rhymes helped her express her fear, pain, joy and hope as a teenager and later on she realized the power music held in using it as a tool to make apositive difference in her community.
It is with this ideal that she co-founded Artivist Entertainment, an entertainment company committed to creating and supporting art and music that inspires positive social change alongside Quetzal Flores, Veronica Gonzales, Alberto Lopez and Aloe Blacc. Maya’s Artivism began in her early twenties when she facilitated Hip Hop workshops with underserved youth in Sydney’s south and west, teaching young people how to write record and perform songs. In 2012 shewas an official Ambassador for ‘The Line campaign,’ an Australian governmentanti-violence initiative.
In Los Angeles she volunteered as a mentor with Peace over Violence’s Youth Over Violence Summer Institute, facilitating a song writing and recording internship around songs that discussed healthy relationships. Since 2014, she has been a spokesperson for their Denim Day Campaign bringing awareness to Sexual Violence and was recognised with the Voice Over Violence Humanitarian Award. Maya is on the advisory board and volunteers with Tiyya as a writing instructor for the Storytellers writing course dedicated to refugees and first and second generation immigrants of Los Angeles and she has co-facilitated a Youth Radio Internship at Radio Sombra, teaching high school students from Boyle Height show to present and produce their own radio shows. Currently Maya is writing new music produced by Quetzal Flores for an album to be released August 26th 2018.
Irka Mateo is a Dominican singer who has managed to bring the sound of her country throughout the world, being one of the precursors of alternative music and the fusion of Afro Caribbean Dominican music. His work is an essential reference and inspiration forthe new generations of musicians. The artist writes contemporary music mixing popular and folkloric Dominican rhythms of Afro / Indigenous / European origin, such as mangulina, carabiné, sarandunga and congos with other Latin Americans and Africans such as cumbia, compa, tango and afrobeat.
Irka conducted aninvestigation of Dominican folk music for ten years, (1997-2007) in the rural areas of the Dominican Republic, documenting more than thirteen genres of folkloric musical traditions, unknown in the wider Dominican culture and beyond. The Grammy Foundation supported this initiative that culminated in the folk music archive of the Dominican southwest. During this time Irka, with her band, introduced the accordion in the Dominican alternative scene, brought to light the ‘Comarca’, a genre of accordion completely unknown outside the field, and was the first woman to play traditional percussion in urban environments. The artist has performed at venues such as the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center, NYC, where she released her most recent album “Vamo a Gozá” at the end of 2017, a production that quickly positioned itself in the ranking of music stations, blogs and music magazines of alternative Latin music and world music. At the beginning of 2018 the artist did a launching tour of “Vamo a Gozá” in her country supported by the Ministry of Culture. Irka Mateo has three (3) albums published “Vamo a Gozá” 2017,”Anacaona” 2009 and “Tres Américas”, Irka and Tadeu Silence Records, 1996, as well as a Dominican folk music archive of 33 hours (2013). She is a guest singer on Magín Díaz’s album “El Orisha de la Rosa”, nominated for the best folk album 2017 in the Latin Grammys.
Georgia Anne Muldrow has earned the respect and admiration of listeners and peers alike via her incredible talent not only as a vocalist and songwriter spanning jazz, soul and hip-hop, but her long standing role as a producer and musician during her 12 year career. “Music is my discipline. It’s my way of meditating, it’s my way of thanking God, it’s my way of communicating… It’s my way of life,” Georgia explains. Typically working alone, her new album flips that dynamic and takes Georgia out of her comfort zone forthe first time since “Seeds” (2003) which was entirely produced by Madlib.“Overload” bears the fruits of numerous collaborations, most notably with duo Mike & Keys (50 Cent, Nipsey Hussle, Snoop Dogg, G-Eazy) who contribute production to four tracks including the sleek, anthemic title track – Pitchfork ‘Best New Track’ on 25 June 2018 – alongside Khalil (Dr Dre).
Georgia was 17 when she began making beats in earnest, but first lit up the scene with her debut album“Olesi: Fragments Of An Earth” in 2006. It was at this time that Georgia met, befriended and collaborated with the likes of Madlib, Oh No, MED (fka Medaphoar), Wildchild, DJ Romes and her future partner Dudley Perkins akaDeclaime. She co-founded the SomeOthaShip Connect record label with Dudley in2008, the platform and springboard for many of her musical travels that have expanded and extended down myriad pathways. Georgia has collected many namesover the years: Ms. One, Pattie Blingh & The Akebulan 5, an electro fusioncollaboration with DJ Romes called Blackhouse and astral jazz outings as Jyoti- a Hindu name given to Georgia by her Aunt Radha’s friend Alice Coltrane (they attended the same ashram) and serendipitously Great Aunt to one Steven Ellisonaka Flying Lotus. “She showed me so much love as a child. She knew I was goingto work with synthesisers before I did,” laughs Georgia.
DJ Day (Damien Beebe) is a DJ, producer and musician hailing from Palm Springs, California. With an illustrious career spanning two decades, he was recently named “Palm Spring’s Finest” and for good reason: His contributions to the various avant-garde music scenes in Southern California run deep. From the historic Root Down parties of Los Angeles to the infamous Do-Over, Day has garnered respect from peers and fans alike for his eclectic, well-executed DJ sets and diverse taste in music. His debut album, The Day Before rose to the top of numerous notable playlistsincluding those of Gilles Peterson (BBC), Jeremy Sole (KCRW) and Philly’s CosmoBaker.
Not content being defined by one craft, he gracefully transitions between being a DJ/turntablist, musician and beat maker; a talent best exemplified by his ambitious release Land Of 1000 Chances. He has toured the world many times over as a solo artist and with fellow musicians Aloe Blacc, Exile and People Under the Stairs. Amongst numerous accolades, he was nominated for Song of the Year awards both by the BBC and The Village Voice and his music has been licensed for commercials by DC Shoes, Red Bull Music Academy, Rane/Serato, and numerous full length feature films. Day recently returned from The Playlist Retreat, an annual, invitation only event at the home of DJ Jazzy Jeff to start work on his next album. Currently, Day is working with Thes One on the management and expansion of the artist collective Piecelock 70 and holds a residency at the renowned Ace Hotel in Palm Springs.
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Spiñorita is a Los Angeles-based Xicanx DJ and a radio host on NTS Radio. She is a music lover at heart. Influenced by her family, music has been a part of her life since birth. In 2009, Spiñorita finally followed her passion for spreading good music & picked up some turn tables and a mixer. She holds DJ residencies around Los Angeles, has performed in New York, San Francisco, and Amsterdam and most recently interviewed Chef Roy Choi on her radio show, Casual Play. Spiñorita has roots in the entertainment industry working as a freelance music supervisor by helping choose and license music for short films and documentaries. She is determined to spread good music to anyone who is willing to listen. As long as it has soul, Spiñorita will play it.
Erica aka Ericlandia is a globetrotting dj, producer and music journalist nerd. She’s opened for Beyonce and BrunoMars, played Coachella and Lightning in a Bottle, London, Tokyo, Paris. She has a crush on intersectional remixes and setting vibes. She has set a personal goal of playing all the museums. Her favorite settings are beautiful and/or weird, preferably both and things like silent discos. An open format dj with her finger of the pulse of bubbling genres, you can catch her playing kawaii Future Bass in Japan, Future Soul at the Guggenheim or Afrobeats at Everyday People coast to coast. Erica gets called in to play for Tiffany and Co, Rihanna’s Fenty line, Converse, Nike, Adidas, Tastemade and Soul Pancake and has been featured in New York Magazine, Martha Stewart and Forbes Magazine as a tastemaker. She’s lived in SF, NYC and now calls LA home.
Angel Mercado aka Kronika is a core member and a familiar presence in the Los Angeles music scene. Through her soundcloud mixes (or as she playfully calls them “Mixtures”) and her DJ and A&R positions for Los Angeles based record label/Movement “Soulection”, Kronika has become a trusted source for global audience interested in learning about new artists and overall discovering quality music. Having commanded a wide range of dance floors from major cities in the U.S., to the legendary Low End Theory, SXSW and Jazz Reggae Fest, as well as joining the Swedish band Little Dragon on their 2017 Spring Tour. Kronika is known for her vast musical knowledge, truthfully nurtured from her early years growing up in the Philippines. Exquisite and Eccentric intaste, Kronika understands and lives artistry. She commands and engages her listeners in a musical journey that “flows like water.” Her transitions are so swift and smooth you forget they are even “transitions.” Kronika’s mixes and live sets are unpredictable. Her energy is contagious, which makes the experience of seeing her live all the more powerful and memorable.
Valia Basalious is 36 years old, of Egyptian and Greekdecent, bi-lingual, Culver City raised, music and business major turned psychology major, fashionista, who is in love with public speaking / hosting /singing and the arts in its entirety.
Valia has been singing her entire life and started to sing with church choirs at an early age. After gaining much-needed confidence, she perused a singing career at a young age that was not as picture perfect asassumed… And shortly after, a modeling career that ended after many years. After many corporate jobs, she decided to follow my true passion in hosting, which landed her the hosting of the 2nd and 3rdannual festival, “Head Wraps in the Park” held at Grand Park!