Rain, rain stay away. Come again some other Sunday.
This Sunday, December 7, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., South L.A. will host its first CicLAvia and there is simply too much awesome stuff planned for the rain to make an appearance.
As you hopefully know by now, the route for this year’s event is anchored in two of South L.A.’s more historically significant and vibrant neighborhoods.
And while they are vastly different — Leimert Park is in the throes of an African-American-centric artistic and cultural renaissance while Central Ave., situated on the edge of Historic South Central proper, is now a majority-Latino community and is diligently moving forward on creating a Business Improvement District to spur economic growth along the corridor — both communities are taking the mission of helping residents and visitors alike see their neighborhoods with new eyes very seriously.
Both are also connected by Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd. — which hosts the annual King Day parade every January and is flanked (on the Leimert end) by 40′ high pine trees, which were planted in honor of Dr. King.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s overview, because South L.A’s greatest assets are its people — their unique identities, heritage, experiences, cultures, artistry, and aspirations, the day is going to be about much more than riding bicycles. Consider the following list (and CicLAvia’s downloadable pocket version) your formal invitation to get off your bike at a hub and stay a while.
Despite South L.A. being the one route denied funding from Metro’s open streets program this year, the artists, advocates, organizers, and stakeholders have managed (with the help of some funding from the Department of Cultural Affairs) to pull together an outrageously impressive line-up of entertainment.
Senorah Sam, Ade Neff, and other volunteers chased after performing artists, business owners, and vendors to ensure the stages, plaza, park, and surrounding businesses, galleries, and performance spaces were popping with entertainment. Sika, master jeweler, shop-owner, and co-founder of the African Arts & Music Festival, worked to fill Degnan Blvd. (perpendicular to the hub at 43rd Pl., see map above) with music and vendors reflective of the African-American community and African diaspora. And members of the Black Kids on Bikes, who do monthly rides out of Leimert Park, will be volunteering to help the nascent Ride On! bike co-op Neff is working on tune up bikes that may need a tweak or two to be ready to ride the route.
Perhaps most exciting of all will be the epic trek made by Marie Kellier’s Caricabela L.A. Carnival. The group celebrates the many people of Caribbean heritage in the community and often conducts educational workshops aimed at keeping their traditions alive. They’ve chosen to do that on Sunday by leading a colorful Caribbean-style procession up King Blvd. from Vermont Ave. at 11 a.m. and performing onstage once they arrive in Leimert Park (around 1:30 p.m.). Because if you’re going to walk the route, you might as well do it in style, right? (Your move, Los Angeles Walks!)
Visitors to the hub (conveniently located a few blocks south of the Crenshaw stop on the Expo Line) are invited to visit the stages, do yoga, learn about the healing arts on the plaza, sample food from the local vendors and food trucks, sing karaoke at the Regency West, or pick up a community map and explore on their own.
- People St. Stage (in front of KAOS and Vision Theater)
9:30 – 11 a.m. — At the Playground (family fun); Block Party with DJ ADE and Al Jackson
11:15 a.m. – 1 p.m. – Procession featuring SHINE Mawusi (Women’s African Drum Circle) and N.O. Steppers and Stompers; Martial Arts Demonstration by Youth in Motion
1 – 3 p.m. — Victor “Pro Remy” Pulido, Harmony Project Choir, arrival of Caricabela L.A. Carnival; and Storytelling (Sheree Brown)
- KAOS Network (Corner of 43rd Pl.)
10 a.m. – 3 p.m. — Music from VerBS, Substance, The Crockpot, and Conscious Group Global Network
- Vision Theater (3341 W. 43rd Place)
10 – 11 a.m. – SHINE Mawusi Drums
12 – 4:30+ p.m. — Gospel; Harmony Project Advance Funk Orchestra; Radha Botofasina; Renaissance; and Jazzabration with the Living Legend Foundation
- The World Stage (4344 Degnan Blvd.)
12 – 5+ p.m.– World Stage Big Band; “Twilight in America,” readings from the Anansi Writers; The Best of the Vocal Workshop
- Sika (4330 Degnan Blvd.): 12:00 p.m. and 2 p.m. — Derf Reklaw Quartet
- Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center (4305 Degnan Blvd.)
12:00 – 4 p.m. — Charles Small & Bu-Crew
- Maverick’s Flat Stage (emcee Comedian Stevie Mack; 43rd Pl. at Crenshaw)
9 – 11 a.m. – Music from DJ A-SKI; KJLH; WA DA DA (Reggae)
11 a.m. – 3 p.m..– Conscious Youth Los Angeles; Youth in Motion (Martial Arts Demonstration); House Music (DJ Derrick Wize); a theater performance, “Flashing Light,” by Brandon Rainey; Shea Welsh & Friends; and Caricabela L.A. Carnival
Exposition Park — home to the Coliseum, a gorgeously fragrant rose garden, wonderful museums, and the Space Shuttle, the EXPO Center, and easily accessible via the Expo Park/USC stop on the Expo Line — will be the site of an active hub. In honor of the 10th Anniversary of the EXPO Center, it is presenting its Winter Wonderland Festival in collaboration with the California African American Museum’s (CAAM) Target Sundays celebration.
From 9 a.m. onwards, the combined festivals will feature snow (snow!) on the soccer fields in front of the EXPO Center (along Bill Robertson Lane), pictures with Santa, performances celebrating Kwanzaa, music, and food vendors. As it is also the 73rd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the day’s events will include taking a moment to remember the fallen.
Community Services Unlimited, Inc., healthy food and food-justice advocates-extraordinaires, will be doing cooking demonstrations nearby, at the site of their urban farm and weekly produce stand (the corner of King and Bill Robertson Lane). Stop by and check out what’s in season, learn about upcoming workshops, and sign up to receive their weekly bags of organic produce.
Visitors are, of course, also invited to check out the museums. CAAM opens at 11 a.m. and is free to all. Current exhibitions, found here, include a series of courtyard installations by female artists of color, From Women’s Hands, and another entitled Visibly Invisible, which depicts the struggles of people of African heritage with albinism in Tanzania, Jamaica, and the U.S.
The beautiful Natural History Museum is full of amazing dioramas and other wonderful things that make learning lots of fun. It’s open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is $12 for adults (less for kids, students, seniors). And the California Science Center, home to the Space Shuttle Endeavour, is also open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The permanent exhibits are free. Special exhibitions are not, and if you missed the Shuttle when it inched its way through South L.A.‘s streets in 2012 and want to see it Sunday, you will need to make a reservation.
CENTRAL AVE. HEALTH EXPO, TECH HUB, JAZZ PARK, and More
Central Avenue will be closed between Washington and Vernon on Sunday. The closures will help folks get back and forth to the nearby Metro Blue Line stops (at San Pedro and Vernon/Long Beach Bl.), in the event people are coming from outside the neighborhood. And it provides an opportunity for people to get to know a historic stretch of the community, pick up something yummy at one of the local restaurants, Dancelavia with the Bodacious Bike Babes at Central and King, or wander slightly west to participate in a Free Lots! activation of a vacant lot.
The hub on the Washington end will feature a Kids’ Zone, Mobile Mural Lab, a bike safety skills course, and giveaways. On the Vernon end, you can listen to music from acts featured during the Central Ave. Jazz Festival, and tours of the historic Dunbar Hotel provided by the good folks at the Coalition for Responsible Community Development. The hotel recently reopened as senior housing after being beautifully restored with musical instruments and memorabilia from its heyday. Some of the seniors living there happen to be former musicians with both long memories and a gift for gab; they might be able to tell you a thing or two about what the Dunbar and the corridor mean to them, if you ask.
As mentioned in yesterday’s story, Community Health Councils (CHC) and Councilmember Curren Price are hosting the Health Expo at the CD 9 Constituent Center — the first municipal building to sport a rooftop garden. The Expo will feature free health screenings, information and resources on health care services, healthy cooking demonstrations, a food tent featuring produce from the Central Ave. and Baldwin Hills farmers’ markets, a bilingual bike rodeo held by Multicultural Communities for Mobility (MCM) (who will also be giving away helmets and lights), Zumba, and African Dance. (See full schedule here.)
And, because CicLAvia is about making sure there is something for everyone, you can also get your nerd on at the Mayor’s #techLA Hub. The Hub is meant to give future coders and inventors the chance to interact with what the Mayor’s Office bills as “the most exciting technologies being developed in Los Angeles today.” In addition to free sessions on web design, Photoshop, film editing, and coding, you are invited to participate in a CicLAvia Treasure Hunt — an interactive contest to digitally map the cultural assets found along the South L.A. route.
The days are short.
Which means the nights are long.
So, you might as well get your party on early.
When the festival shuts down at 3 p.m., all the cool kids will be packing up and heading for the Menlo Club (900 W Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd.)
Listen to music, dance, and rub elbows with some of the folks that have been so dedicated to making a South L.A. event a reality. More information can be found here.
See you Sunday!