Author: adampockross

Finding musical common ground

What’s in a name? In the case of Planet Siqueiros Pe“a — an evening of socially conscious traditional world music, contemporary musical styles and spoken word at the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) in Venice — a name tells a whole lot. Planet Siqueiros Pe“a is itself the derivative of two other names: the revolutionary Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros combined with traditional South American musical venues called “Pe“as.” “The Pe“a phenomena emerged during the 1950s in South America, especially Chile and Argentina,” says Marta Ramirez, one of the founders of the evening and a former student of Siqueiros. “These popular gatherings of rural folk musicians would come together in mountain villages playing their traditional rhythms and singing about their everyday life. “Later, in times of repressive governments, poets and artists were not allowed to assemble. The Pe“as moved into private homes where musicians discreetly shared with family and friends, their food and wine, interweaving their songs of despair and hope for change.” It is in that spirit, and the spirit of Siqueiros himself, that Planet Siqueiros Pe“a began. “David Alfaro Siqueiros’s commitment to change through monumental art inspired many young Chicanas and Chicanos of the 1970s,” continues Ramirez. “In the traditional downtown Placita Olvera, one of Siqueiros’s murals, America Tropical re-appeared under the whitewash that censored the mural, painted in 1930. It was like an apparition...

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Kaback comes back to the stage

The Immigrant, starring Doug Kaback in his return to the stage, might just be a case of kismet. “It certainly has felt like kismet,” says Kaback, who stars in the current production at The Promenade Playhouse on the Third Street Promenade. “Many times during the process of bringing this play to production, challenges would occur and improbable, wonderful solutions would emerge.” Kismet, as defined by one very large Random House Dictionary, means fate or destiny. It might just be kismet that this is Kaback’s first role since losing his wife more than five years ago. At that time he was in a production of the play Shim Ch’ong performing at The Getty Center and going on tour to the National Theatre in Seoul. But with two children to take care of, Kaback had a more important role to pursue. “With the new role of being a widower and father, I had to scale back all my professional pursuits,” says Kaback. “It’s been a bit of a journey into the underworld, mourning a beloved wife, it really changed my whole perspective on what I was pursuing in my life, this is my way to kind of revive that.” It also might be kismet that after being away from acting for so long, it would be a fellow congregant at the Santa Monica Synagogue who would bring Kaback back to theater....

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Santa Monica celebrates Dr. King

While many people take Martin Luther King, Jr. Day off, The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Westside Coalition considers it a day on. “People should use the MLK holiday as a day of service, not just a day off work,” says Darlene Evans, chair of the Coalition. “We encourage people to get out and do something in their community.” The Coalition is a nonprofit organization comprised of a diverse group of Westside individuals, churches, institutions, community organizations and businesses. “Our goal is to go forth and work towards continuing to reach those goals that [Dr. King] had,” says Evans, “to get people to try to live up to his goals, to continue to perpetuate them and to not let his goals and his role fade.” Nat Trives, one of the founders of the Coalition 24 years ago, the same year the holiday was first observed, offers this explanation. “The chartered mission of The MLK Coalition is for the sole purpose of honoring the mission and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on his birthday.” This year, the honoring will be done through three separate events, all occurring in Santa Monica. The celebrations are presented in cooperation with the Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra and the Westside Interfaith Coalition. Breakfast will be served from 7:30 to 9 a.m. Thursday, January 15th, at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Interfaith...

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MoZaic has the audacity to dream

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream. President-elect Barack Obama had the audacity to hope. MoZaic celebrates them both with “The Audacity to Dream.” MoZaic is Venice’s monthly celebration of art, music and poetry put together by Nickie Black, aka “The Impressario” (spelled with double “ss” as in “to impress”). On Friday, January 16th, the revelry includes the birthday of King and the impending inauguration of Obama. Footage from speeches of Obama and King will be screened throughout the course of the evening’s art, music and poetry. This is MoZaic’s Seventh annual birthday party for King. “The very first MoZaic was the Dr. King birthday celebration, which was six years ago,” says Black. “This year is even more special with the Barack Obama inauguration just four days later. It’s a demonstration that Dr. King’s dream has come true, where the content of a man’s color means more than the color of his skin. In 1964 Dr. King said that in 40 years there would be a ‘Negro’ president. He was only 4 years off.” MoZaic has permanently taken up residence at The Talking Stick Coffee Lounge, which recently moved to Venice after five years in Santa Monica. “Nickie isn’t limited to one genre or one kind of music or one kind of poetry,” says Talking Stick owner Rich Braaksma. “He wants to see the mix that is the...

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Photography is in the airport

Photography is in the air this week. It’s also in the Santa Monica Airport’s Barker Hangar. It’s also across the street. And down the road. Photo LA, considered one of the largest photography exhibitions in the nation, returns to Santa Monica for its 18th year. Along with the exhibition comes a slew of other photography shows in the area. Photo LA 2009 is presented in conjunction with Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) which is the beneficiary of the opening night reception, Thursday, January 8th. LACMA is also sponsoring the Artist Conversation Series & Book Signings with Charlotte Cotton, the museum’s Head and Curator of the Wallis Annenberg Photography Department. On Saturday, January 10th, beginning at noon, Cotton will conduct conversations with some leading professional photographers, including David Maisel, Susan Meiselas, Bruce Davidson, and Diane Keaton and Marvin Heiferman (yes, that Diane Keaton.) Book signings with the photographers follow each conversation. There is also a lecture series beginning at 1 p.m. Sunday, January 11th, at the Ruskin Group Theater adjacent to the fair. Lecturers include California College of Arts and Crafts professor Jim Goldberg, photographer Joel-Peter Witkin and UCLA professor Catherine Opie, who currently has a retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. Educational opportunities aside, Photo LA 2009 will be chock full of premium photography. This year’s show is the biggest in the exhibition’s history,...

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