Poet Naomi Quinonez took a deep breath, raised her book and read a lyrical passage aloud:
"Aires Suaves , flautas , ritmos antiguos . Has venido . "
"Soft breezes, flutes, ancient rhythms. You have arrived."
A lilting Bolivian folk lament filled the air, musicians Mario Torrico and Fernando Popayan tuning in to Quinonez's words and tone to improvise their breathy pan-pipe serenade. Iconographic artworks by Mexican and Chicano artists surrounded the trio, standing in a corner of USC's Fisher Gallery.
The performers had come together recently to rehearse this multimedia collaboration, one of many similar programs featuring local Latino writers, musicians and performance artists to be presented at the gallery on Tuesday, Sept. 22 and 29 at noon as part of the Fringe Festival, which officially begins today. The festival, which runs concurrently with the international Los Angeles Festival, officially ends Oct. 4, although some events will run longer.
"The idea of us coming together is built around the theme of corazon (heart) in the Fisher exhibit, "Lo del Corazon: Heartbeat of a Culture," Quinonez said. "So the poetry, music and performance art will be responding to the theme of heart."
FOR THE RECORD
Los Angeles Times Friday September 11, 1987 Home Edition Calendar Part 6 Page 16 Column 6 Entertainment Desk 1 inches; 23 words Type of Material: Correction
Naomi Quinonez is the executive director of United Latinos for the Arts Los Angeles. She was misidentified in an article in Friday's Calendar on the Fringe Festival.
This multidisciplinary collaboration exemplifies what organizers say is the spirit of the Fringe Festival. It has united local art groups, arts administrators, individual artists and ethnic communities--artistically and administratively--on a broader scale than ever before.
"Because the Fringe exists and because people are working on a common goal, people have been talking that wouldn't normally be talking to each other," said Aaron Paley, executive director of the Festival, running concurrently to and serving as a celebration of home-grown talent to complement the international Los Angeles Festival. "There has previously been a general development of collaboration in the city and this is really bringing it to fruition."
To put together their gallery event, "Fisher Gallery invited United Latinos for the Arts Los Angeles to become involved," said Quinonez, head of the advocacy group. "They wanted to do something during the exhibition that would bring the other forms of Latino art to the fore, and since we've been producing literary readings and performances and networked extensively with Latino artists, we were a likely match.
"There's a lot going on with the Latino artists in L.A.," she added, "and in the past we have not had support from mainstream organizations that have theater and art spaces we can use. This is working toward bridging that gap."
Like the 52-piece Fisher exhibit (through Oct. 17) of paintings, prints, and sculptures by Colonial Mexican and contemporary Chicano artists organized by San Francisco's Mexican Museum, several Fringe Festival participants are collaborating on projects created specifically for the Fringe.
Hollywood, live theater and the video world will come together at the EZTV video center in West Hollywood, whose curator Michael Masucci is producing "Exile in Paradise," written and directed by Karl Gnass, for the festival.
The 90-minute video (to be shown at the 90-seat EZTV theater Sept. 25-27 at 8 p.m.) is about a film maker, in search of the American Dream, "who is loosing his grip on reality and keeps falling back and forth between reality and fantasy," Masucci said.
Two of "Exile's" lead actors, Darrell Larson and Tony Abetemarco, "represent acting communities that have never interfaced with us before," Masucci said. "Darrell was a principal actor for the Padua Hills Playwrights Festival for about 10 years and co-starred in the movie "Mike's Murder." Tony has been with the (downtown Los Angeles) Wallenboyd Theatre and acted in Hollywood, too.
"Working with actors of this caliber is unusual for video makers who can't usually pay people," Masucci said. "We're used to working with first-time actors. The opportunity expands my own creative freedom because I can ask more of them and they can deliver it and thus I can ask more of myself and expect to get it."
Cultural cross-pollination has "always been the dream in L.A. and what EZTV has tried to do." Masucci said. "But we've never had access to these people that we've been able to get because the Fringe was basically networking all these people.
'The fact that the Fringe is coming together has broken down barriers," he added. "We're also getting locations for free (including a welding shop, a shampoo factory, a cafe, and a multimillion dollar home) and free access to (video production) systems and technology."
EZTV will collaborate with other organizations on at least 10 other Fringe Festival projects, Masucci said, including a performance piece incorporating three street murals, dance, original music, video and sophisticated Hollywood special effects.