A vibrant quartet were rolling out Santana covers at the Mexican Consulate on Tuesday as a crowd of journalists gathered to hear about upcoming Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles concert series. But that was just the beginning.
Since the early 2000s, free summer concerts at the stadium north of MacArthur Park have drawn thousands of people to Celtic-Bhangra-reggae combinations, go on adventures Save audio through Belize and sub-Saharan Africa, and discover the thrill. a pop-up block party scored with Colombian dance music or a Fela Kuti-Beatles tribute (yes, you read that right).
So after the funk quartet wrapped up on Tuesday, Levitt Pavilion LA executive Allegra Padilla and her colleagues revealed the summer 2023 lineup that will open on June 10 with the pioneer of Tijuana techno-ranchera Nortec Bostich + Fussible; Farewell to the hometown heroes who were awarded the Grammy Award La Santa Cecilia July 23; and signed on September 3rd with Beatriz Solis joining the Eisner Intergenerational Big Band from HOLA, just down the block at The heart of Los Angeles.
Then it came back with more live music inside the Mexican Consulate. Tuxedo’d Julian Torres, looking like a 1940s gig idol, performed a perfectly musical notation version of Agustín Lara’s swooning classic, “Granada” (Torres will perform at Levitt on June 23, with Marco Antonio Godoy and Trio Casablanca). Following him is Gingee, a native Angeleno who pays homage to her Filipino roots with a set of percussion sounds made up of kulintang gongs, shakers, and electronic beats (preview). her September 2 performance with Para Sa Lahat).
Like practically every art institution in the world, the Levitt series is trying to recover from the pandemic and upheavals of the Post-Trump era, while programming for an increasingly diverse (ethnic) audience. , language, finance). In an interview, Padilla said she considers this a “critical moment” for LA arts groups, with Snehal Desai taking on the position of artistic director of the Center Theater Group and other members of a A new, diverse cultural leadership group has blown up the status quo.
Because of its location and the multilingual audience it attracts, Pavilion can continue to play a major role in this kind of artistic “bridge-building,” she said.
“It’s the people who see MacArthur Park as their backyard, and it’s the music lovers from far and wide, and sometimes they overlap and sometimes they don’t,” she said of Levitt’s audience. “So Levitt LA has been very intentional in allocating our budget and structuring our organization in a way that remains rooted in the neighborhood, but we made sure we deliver the sound. world-class music to build cross-cultural understanding and bring venues to life. communication. Because it is important that whether people have a lot of money or not, they still have access to quality.”
Funded by personal donors, government grants, business sponsors and the philanthropic philanthropy of New York custom-dressed baron Mortimer Levitt and his wife, Mimi, the venue MacArthur Park is one of several Levitt locations around the country. Its location, in one of LA’s most multilingual corners, is a mixed blessing. Gentrification is encroaching on Westlake-MacArthur Park areas with average income below 30,000 USD. Crime remains a concern and, for some, a deterrent.
But that hasn’t stopped cultural entities like HOLA from growing and expanding, or the Goethe-Institut from opening a hyper-local centre. Neighborhood Interpretation Center between exchange meetups, salons and basketball courts.
“MacArthur Park often has a negative perception and is very challenging,” says Padilla. “However, there is also a lot of cultural vibrancy here. It’s our job to enhance that. That’s why we work with traditional heritage groups, such as Guatemalans and people from El Salvador and the Central American diaspora.”
Indeed, as in previous years, this summer’s Levitt lineup draws from local as well as international artists. Sometimes it’s the same people. Like the Mexican Consulate, which is not coincidentally located directly across from 6th Street from the Gallery, neighboring artists have a personal stake in MacArthur Park, even if they also tour internationally.
Amandititita, a 4-foot-9 Mexican cumbian singer-songwriter and daughter of musician Rodrigo González (“El profeta del nopal”), who has lived in Los Angeles for 13 years, says she has “had opportunity to live on love and inclusion poured into this community thanks to the consulate.”
“And so it’s important to get these stories out to the youth and obviously to the community at large,” she said.
Chain organizers still have a few weeks to get ready. Bandshell is being repaired, along with the park’s irrigation system. Trees will be pruned, bathrooms skyrocketed.
Beatriz Solis, a pop-ranchera singer who also comes from the Mexican music royalty (Marco Antonio Solis and Beatriz Adriana), praised the Levitt series as free, family-friendly, and genre-free. .
“Having this background and being able to be open to other musical and cultural diversity is really amazing,” she said.