Friday, November 6, 2009

First Person POV: Slanguage presents Brutalism at MoCA

Last night, there was an excellent outdoor performance at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA) in downtown Los Angeles. Only a short walk away from the Walt Disney Concert Hall; MoCA hosted an all-night performance and party jam with spoken word poets, DJs, performance artists, and street dancers. It was a lively night marked by people from strikingly different walks of life meeting together in one place. They were experiencing a beautiful collision of art and soulful expression amidst the concrete jungle of downtown LA. Slanguage, an artist collective based in Wilmington, presented the event called Brutalism: A Dance Performance. (Photo above is from the website for Slanguage.)

You can see the website for Slanguage here:

And you can see the MoCA website for the event here:

The evening was made possible by a grant from the James Irvine Foundation. It's wonderful to see these kind of events where performers of all ages can gather and share their passions. Hosted by MC Mario, there were performances by bboy crew Dub City Tribe from Wilmington, dances by the Black Squirrel Girls, a shoe-decorating workshop, performance sets by Mario "Dred Lopez" and Mario "Autoe" Cuen, freestyle sets by Homeland dancers like OG Iceman and Coco, and a broken word (bboying and spoken word combined together) piece performed by BBoy Don Sevilla.

Anyone who went can tell you that the night was filled with incredible energy. BBoys and Bgirls got down in the cypher. Poppers represented hard. And the DJs were getting everyone grooving all around the open air plaza at MoCA. It almost felt like a revival of the early days when Rocksteady Crew performed for art gallery crowds in Manhattan in the early 1980s. The night concluded with a dance-a-thon with many attendees hitting the floor in a fun-spirited jam session.

Props go out to the Slanguage collective as well as the MoCA affiliates for bringing street dance and art culture to a fantastic venue in the heart of downtown LA. It was a memorable experience. Perhaps we'll see more and more elements of street dance culture filtering into other venues of Los Angeles. There seem to be more organized events promoting love for our culture into areas outside of our usual borders. Is this a new era of change for us?

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