Friday, January 29, 2010

Flowers on Fire, the New Floricanto

Just when you couldn't feel more thrilled about the modern day floricanto at Corazón del Pueblo, the space formerly known as Brooklyn & Boyle and now home to the first-ever Boyle Heights Art, Education & Action Collective, Flores de Fuego comes galloping at you with a third installment that riveted the 100 or so poets, musicians and aficionados gathered for the Wednesday night MICrófino Libre. Maestro raúlrsalinas and world renowned Peruvian poet Cecilia Bustamante must have been peering down in pride. What was especially touching was the presence of high school-aged students from ArtShare LA who delivered spoken word arsenals of consciousness and truth speak like true MVT Def Poetry Jam pros. The experimental piece created by Willy Herron and Sid Medina with additional vocals by Greg Esparza juxtaposed Beatles chord progressions and actual songs with poetry de tu servidor y amigo, yours truly and Brooklyn & Boyle assistant extraordinaire Christy Ramirez, who has grown considerably as a writer and arts maven/up-and-coming curator in the year or so that she came on board as a firme carnala and general all around support system. Audience members asked what we called the ensemble, and I had to shrug my shoulders. We'd only rehearsed once at Will's City Terrace hideaway and even then, inconclusively and incompletely. The Juanita's Restaurant crew, headed up by David and Julio Carrera, dropped in towards the end. From storytellers and blues singers to Kristopher Escajeda on the three-string guitar, from an emotionally taught original delivered with verve and attitude by Angela Flores, who accompanied herself on guitar, the evening unfolded like one of the best peña's or tertulia's you could have imagined. Doña Dora Magaña, a former Salvadorean guerrilla fighter literally stopped the show with her true-to-life story and several poems dedicated to the women in her brigade who gave up their lives fighting for a just world free of oppression and poverty. Really, all of the performances were stellar. Kudos once again to the Boyle Heights Bards, Bus Stop Prophet, Kristy Lovich and John Carlos de Luna, who are coming into their own as the honorary hosts and a major part of spiritual backbone that goes into this bi-monthly expression that has opened a doorway into the psychic healing ward built by poetry and song. Whew! This after a screening and plática to benefit Alex Sanchez and then the very first-ever public showcase for the Garfield High Poetry Club. Thanks to Lisa Cheby for making it happen. People say our young people are politically and socially apathetic but you wouldn't know it based on the kids who came to share. They know what's up and they know what time it is.

So that said, check out the latest issue of Brooklyn & Boyle for more art, community and poetry than usual, more on the reasons behind Corazón del Pueblo and a schedule of upcoming free classes for youth at 2003 East 1st in the heart of the Boyle Heights Arts District. If you can't make one of the many Haiti benefits this Saturday or if you find yourself itchin' to dance late night, stop by a "Corazón del Pueblo Dance Party." You won't be sorry and you'll be helping keep the lights on. Come by the Casa 0101 Annex on Sunday to recover over potluck (tamales y champurrado welcome as per the Candelaria tradition!) It'll be your last chance to see the second annual exhibition dedicated to nuestra señora reina de los angeles... la virgen morena, madre de las américas.

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