The Music Center Kicks Off FLASHFEST, 11/4

The Music Center Kicks Off FLASHFEST, 11/4

The Music Center inaugurates FLASHFEST with an event free to the public at Grand Park on Sunday, November 4 from 1 pm to 5 pm. FLASHFEST is a new pop-up arts happening that explores all art forms in myriad ways with appeal to all ages and interests. Each event will turn on a particular theme, which will be up for a short time and then disappear until the next FLASHFEST. The first event at Grand Park, "High Roads + Railroads," features roots music from Irish and African American traditions.

A musical mash-up from two continents, "High Roads + Rail Roads" merges the forces of two bands, The Ebony Hillbillies and Téada. The fiddle and banjo share the stage with two dueling dance traditions -- Irish dancer Brian Cunningham and Los Angles tapper Channing Cook Holmes. Holmes will also offer a Tap Dance Workshop – one of five workshops during "High Roads + Railroads." Angela Lloyd will offer "Quilts of Words, Patches of Music," a story self-accompanied on washboard; Lloyd also offers a Washboard workshop. Other workshops include Irish Folk Dance with Maire Clerkin, and visual arts workshops with Alvaro Asturias and Eiko Amano.

Thor Steingraber, Vice President of Programming at The Music Center said, "FLASHFEST is a patchwork of performances and events, threaded together by a common theme and presented over a few hours in Grand Park. Entertainment of every stripe and color blend together with opportunities for audiences to join the dancing and art-making. Eating, drinking, and enjoying an afternoon on Grand Park's performance lawn are also an essential part of the FLASHFEST experience."
Grand Park is located in Downtown Los Angeles. Grand Park stretches from The Music Center on the west to City Hall on the east. For more information, please call (213) 972-8080. Parking is available in Lot 10 for all Park events, between Temple and First Streets, accessible from both Hill and Broadway Streets. Please visit for more information.

"High Roads+ Railroads" includes visual arts workshops – "The Quilts of Gees Bend" by artist Alvaro Asturias and "The Celtic Alphabet" by Eiko Amano. Asturias emigrated from Antigua Guatemala, and Amano was born in Japan. Asturias was an artist-in-residence at the Los AngeLes Children's Museum for eleven years and is now a Master Teaching Artist for The Music Center. Amano was born in Japan and came to the United States when she was eleven years old. Eiko has studied with various ceramic artists throughout Southern California, including the renowned Paul Soldner at Scripps College and Phil Cornelius at Pasadena City College. Eiko, also a Master Teaching Artist for The Music Center, has taught at various schools in Southern California, working with students ranging from kindergarten to adults. She has lectured at Occidental College, Scripps College and Glendale Community College.

FLASHFEST follows a month of opening activities in the fully completed Grand Park, which commenced with vertical dance troupe Bandaloop performing on the side of City Hall. Grand Park programming is overseen by The Music Center, under the direction of Park Director Lucas Rivera. FLASHFEST builds on the month's diverse offerings, bringing together an innovative combination of The Music Center programs in dance, world cultures, and participatory activities. Future plans for Park events and performances will be announced soon, and central to Rivera's vision is a Breadth and variety of programming that attracts all County residents.

Barbara Leonard, Artistic Director for Education, said, "Traditional Irish folk music and African American musical tradition have heavily influenced each other musically and share a common history in early America. The fiddle and the jigs played during the slavery often came from Irish immigrants. The banjo, having its origin in West Africa, was brought to the plantations, then taken to Ireland to become a "traditional" Irish instrument. These common roots and their historical common experiences will be explored musically as these two great traditions come together for an afternoon of music and dance from Africa, America and Ireland. These are kinds of artistic intersections that FLASHFEST will explore these kinds of artistic intersections in in a fun, visceral, and intriguing way--each one will be unique and the performers, spaces, and mix will reflect the theme of the happening. "

The Ebony Hillbillies -- As one of the last black string bands in the U.S., and the only one currently based in NYC-the Hillbillies keep an important legacy alive with a rootsy, homegrown style that was a key element in the genesis of all American music-Jazz, Blues, Bluegrass, Rockabilly, Rock and Roll and Country. The band, led by Henrique Prince {Violin, Vocals} and Norris Bennett -- Banjo, Mountain Dulcimer, Guitar, Vocals} and including William"Salty Bill" Salter 'on acoustic Bass and Vocals and Newman Taylor Baker on Washboard, Percussion and Vocals with Gloria Thomas Gassaway on Bones and Vocals - creates an untamed and joyful vibe.

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