Darren Walker, vice president of the Rockefeller Foundation and vice chair of the Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies , as quoted by HOLA’s Executive Director, Tony Brown. For more, check out Tony’s article on “We Are Talking Pyramids” featured on KCET’s website.
Drum roll please…let the performance begin!
First, a few words to preface the afternoon’s collaborative event from HOLA’s executive director Tony Brown and guest artists Anna Sew Hoy and Pearl C. Hsiung. A big “Thank you” and “Congratulations” go out to everyone involved with the success of We Are Talking Pyramids!
As the students walk onto the Levitt Pavilion stage, the audience gets a view of the masked performers and the finished collaborative mural. The WATP group performs the “Clapping Game”, where a sound and movement travels from one end of the ‘horseshoe’ to the other until the group is moving and sounding in unison. This sound and movement is then changed and moves back through the group until it reaches the other end of the horseshoe. For more information about these exercises, please scroll to older posts where we recap the WATP movement workshops, where the students were first introduced to these ideas.
The group then performs the “Columbian Hypnosis” game, where performer ‘A’ must closely follow the moving palm of performer ‘B’. When Jade announces “SWITCH”, the performers must then change roles, leading their partner in dynamic movements across and all around the stage.
Next, Jade leads the group to play “People, Cabana, Storm”. In this exercise, students pose as a ‘people’ or a ‘cabana’, then react and rearrange depending on the call by the person who is ‘it’.
Here, performers hustle to rearrange their positions as the ‘it’ person calls for a ‘storm’.
The final phase of the performance begins as students perform “Utopian Pose with Bridges”, a movement exercise that is adapted from a Paolo Freire teaching exercise. Here we see the performers assume an image created with their body that describes what they think of MacArthur Park ‘now’, which they then activate with sound and movement. Next, they will move into an image that describes a utopic image of MacArthur Park, which ranges from poses of swimming in MacArthur Park lake, the presence of large Sequoia trees to playing basketball with friends. After that, the performers then create a ‘bridge’ image which describes what one thing they could do to make that utopic image happen. This is when we see body images depicting signature gathering for petitions, door to door activism and making friends with new people.
Stay tuned to this blog for the video documentation of the We Are Talking Pyramids afternoon and this performance.
We want to thank all our amazing youth, families, and artists who came out to join us for We Are Talking Pyramids! We had a great turnout, and we had an absolute blast sharing the day and our art projects with the community. Check out some of the snapshots we captured during the festivities!
HOLA community-members watching the performance.
Jose Gonzalez cools down after his awesome performance.
Family fun for all ages!
HOLA students, staff, and volunteers after a day of hard work and good fun!
Lauren White’s elementary-level Mixed Media class contributed to the public art project by diving deep into their imaginations and creating their own monster inhabitants of MacArthur Park.
After studying shadow puppets and other forms of puppetry, the students created their own monster forms and masks out of cardboard. As you can see, they came up with some pretty awesome creatures!
The students also spent a lot of time thinking about what it’s like to move somewhere new and to build a home, so they created origin stories that explained who their monsters are, and how they got to MacArthur Park.
The students’ portraits, along with their monsters and origin stories, were posted around the park.
Don’t these creatures look at home in their natural habitats?
HOLA was very excited to have the Sumi Ink Club join us in making art in the park on August 12. They lead the folks in MacArthur Park in creating a large-scale group painting along the front of the Levitt stage. With just paper, Sumi ink and brushes, everyone created a group masterpiece!
Participants paint while the Funky Punks rehearse on stage.
Sara and Luke of Sumi Ink Club and HOLA youth painting up a storm (well, we wish..it was so hot!).
Some of our Public Art Superheroes take a painting break!
Just a section of the cool participatory painting that the kids and adults of MacArthur Park created on August 12.
On August 12, the students participated in a rehearsal on the Levitt stage before the actual performance at 3:40 pm.
Jade Gordon of My Barbarian goes over the performance piece with HOLA visiting artists and WATP teachers Pearl C. Hsiung and Anna Sew Hoy.
Jade warms up the group on the Levitt stage with a clapping exercise. This exercise helps the students focus and warms them up for the movement and group interaction to take place during the performance.
Everyone plays a game where a sound and movement slowly passes back and forth through the group until everyone is working in unison.
The HOLA students run through an exercise called “Utopian Image” with their masks on. For the students and participants who did not partake in the WATP Summer Session classes, this rehearsal is their first time working with this material and possibly on a stage.
Here, Matt Morgan from the Funky Punks, the acrobatic clown troupe that will perform right after We Are Talking Pyramids, works with the HOLA students on a transitional element that will allow for a seamless segue from their performance to his. Performers with masks to performers in costume and make-up, how will that look?
Another aspect of our public art project entailed installing a semi-permanent public art piece in MacArthur Park. For that project, we proposed painting 7 of the plank benches in the park near the Levitt Pavilion with texts that the HOLA students created in a previous workshop with visiting artist Eve Fowler. Since we are still awaiting approval from the City of LA to paint the benches, we thought it would be great to install three of those texts on the benches for the August 12 event. The title for this piece is We Are Talking Benches.
Her we see how the benches near the Levitt Pavilion currently look. To the right of this bench we see a text poster created by an HOLA student that we hope to transfer to a semi-permanent painted bench for the park.
Here we see a colorful glimpse of how the semi-permanent painted benches would look in the park. For the August 12 event we installed painted canvases with the students’ words as beautiful stand-ins.
For our proposal, we want to paint both the back and seat of each bench with a version of the HOLA youth’s text in English as well as its translation in Spanish or Korean. Above, the bench on the left reads “The Kings of the World are Green” in Korean.
Wouldn’t it be fantastic to see the people in MacArthur Park sitting on such colorful and compelling benches?
A family rests from the heat. The bench to the right reads the Spanish translation of “Burst the Loud Urban Bubble”.
HOLA public art class guest artist Eamon Ore-Giron returned to MacArthur Park with an interactive sound station so that August 12 guests could create experimental sound with his instruments and equipment. His set-up was not unlike what he brought to our We Are Talking Pyramids class in the first two weeks of the Summer Session. During those classes, Eamon lead HOLA students through MacArthur Park collecting sounds for sampling and experimental compositions. Some of those samples were here with us at the park, with which visitors could also listen to. Also, from his sound tent, Eamon conducted the sample soundtrack to the afternoon performance.
HOLA senior and musician Kenny watches Eamon work his sound magic.
Young HOLA students play with instruments and vocals.
One, two, three, four…
We are the talking pyramids of MacArthur Park!
August 12th’s event finally arrives! The park around the Levitt Pavilion is decorated with art posters, banners, sculpture and video created by HOLA youth! The park is filled with HOLA students, staff, their families, friends and people of the MacArthur Park community.
A string of HOLA youth’s masks blows in the wind.
A wall of ceramic friezes by HOLA’s public art classes. The ceramic tiles were inspired by Dagoberto Reyes’ public art sculpture “Why We Immigrate” (1993) which stands in the park only yards away.
“We Are Talking Pyramids, Part I”, a video piece created by HOLA youth, was on exhibit.
HOLA seniors and students of the We Are Talking Pyramids public art class sporting the WATP official t-shirt!
HOLA’s sound shakers and mask-making table is very popular!
Mask-making action in full effect!
And of course, the pyramid of bananas to nourish the afternoon’s guests!