St. Elmo Village Reached Another Milestone
By Ricky Richardson
Los Angeles-St. Elmo Village celebrated it’s 50th Anniversary with an awesome two-day family friendly festival, Memorial Day Weekend, Saturday, May 25 and Sunday, May 26, 2019.
St. Elmo Village is a Cultural Landmark in Mid-City Los Angeles. St. Elmo Village is a place of creativity, where artists live, teach and work.
The festival featured cultural dance, spoken word performances, music, artisan vendors, food trucks serving delicious food, all of this in an environment of lush gardens, on a beautiful, bright, sunny day in Southern California.
Charles Reese returned once again to serve as Master of Ceremony. The program got under way with a spiritually, uplifting Opening Blessing led by Tepeyolloti Danzantes Aztecas (Aztan/Mayan).
Up next was Kabasa. This group consisted of a trio of talented drummers, Derf Reklaw, Kabasa and Harold Lott. They thrilled the crowd and I with some West African drumming. One of the highlights of their set was their arrangement of the jazz standard “Afro Blue.”
“Poetic Moments” featured local poets reciting some powerful, original socially conscious spoken words. Mario Ramirez performed “I Insist/We Co-Exist,” followed by Cultural Architect Damon Turner performing “If I Ruled the World.” Kaelyn Wilson a recent graduate of Loyola Marymount University with a double major recited three poems “I Am,” “Black/Black,” and “Queen.”
Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas presented a Proclamation to St. Elmo Village commending them for all that they do for the community as a cultural institution.
Lula Washington Dance Theatre showcased another expect of creative expressions, outlets for dancers. The dancers performed a segment of Fragments: Section 2 from an upcoming program. The dancers highlighted their energetic, artistic, graceful dance movements. Zen Durusseau is an amazing, talented dancer. The crowd and I were in awe of her flawless performance of the “Dying Swan.”
The stage shifted over into the relaxing, colorful courtyard for an intimate performance by The Rev. Shawn Amos. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, the blues is alright. The late great Willie Dixon stated, “the blues is a fact of life.” This point was sermonized superbly by The Rev. Shawn Amos distinct vocal stylings on the tunes “Hollywood Blues,” “Boogie,” “2017,” “Dear Lord,” “Brother’s Keeper,” “We’ve Got to Come Together,” and concluded his crowd pleasing set with “Got My Mojo Work” by legendary blues musicians Muddy Waters.
Congresswomen Maxine Waters presented St. Elmo Village a Certificate of Special Recognition as well a generous donation so that they owners of St. Elmo Village can continue to thrive for another 50 years.
La Verdad brought on the heat, musically speaking. They closed out the day with a great set of Salsa and Latin Jazz, day one of the St. Elmo Village 50th Anniversary Celebration.
St. Elmo Village is in the Mid-City of Los Angeles-4830 St. Elmo Drive, Los Angeles, CA. 90019-5517 Please call (323)931-3409 or visit www.stelmovillage.org to learn more about this cultural jewel in Los Angeles and to find out more about all of the wonderful things that they do in the creative space of St. Elmo Village.