I looked at my watch and groaned inwardly.
It was now 8:20 p.m.
Although my spirit felt educated, nourished, and warmly embraced, my stomach was starting to shout unflattering obscenities and I could no longer ignore the loud complaints of my brain about the pile of work awaiting me at home.
I hugged artist, filmmaker, historian, and KAOS Network founder Ben Caldwell good-bye, bid adieu to another writer, got on my bike, and started the long pedal up Leimert Park Blvd. towards home.
How does this always happen to me here?
I had gotten to The World Stage, a non-profit arts, education, and performance gallery on Degnan Blvd. in Leimert Park, at a little after four in the afternoon for their press conference and somehow ended up staying, chatting with, learning from, and trading stories with young poets, powerful female writers, veteran artists, and elder musicians for the next four hours.
That’s Leimert Park in a nutshell.
And, that’s what makes it special: there are few places in L.A. that are so welcoming, so rich in history and culture, and so inspiring all at once.
Which is exactly what the supporters of The World Stage had gathered to say earlier that afternoon. For so many aspiring or accomplished poets, writers, artists, and musicians from within the community and around the city, it represents “not a space, but a spirit,” and one they desperately want to see preserved.
At the moment, however, those who manage the space are concerned that it could be lost.
Within weeks of the May announcement that there would be a station at Leimert Park, Our Weekly reported that the buildings housing the World Stage and several other businesses along Degnan had been bought. Folks began receiving three-day “pay or quit” notices or hearing that their leases would not be renewed shortly thereafter, but were unable to figure out who the new owners were. While the property that houses The World Stage is managed by Clint Lukens Realty, the owners have yet to respond to requests for a meeting from the Board of Directors, and the realtors have apparently offered little information about who the new owners are. Read more…