Literary Fair and Jazz & Gospel Festival Brightened the Day
Los Angeles-Many people woke up on Saturday, June 6 and thought that it would turn out to be a gloomy day after a down pour of rain in the early morning hours.
I had the pleasure of attending two events that shined brightly on what some thought would be a gloomy day.
My first stop was Leimert Park Village for the 3rd Annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair with the theme “Celebrating Our Legacy: Families Reading Together.” Many families were in attendance to enjoy the plethora of inter-active, audience participation events that continued from 10:00 AM to 5:00PM. This popular event produced by Cynthia E. Exum and Associates returned to Leimert Park Village with hundreds of authors, artists, publishers, illustrators, storytellers, literary vendors, workshops, panel discussions and musical entertainment.
The fair was held in various venues in Leimert Park. Earl Ofari Hutchinson interviewed acclaimed photographer, author Howard Bingham to discuss the recently published “The Black Panther Movement 1968” in Lucy Florence. Lucy Florence and Community Build hosted additional panels and workshops all day. Eso Won hosted book signings, and film screenings were held in KAOS Network. Poetry Salon was held in Vision Theatre and The Community Build Garden Patio was the site for a Tribute to Artists & Illustrators with works by Rene, Varnette P. Honeywood, Synthia Saint James, and Kamal Al Mansour. “Artist Alley” presented by SIKA. Certified Farmer’s Market featured cooking demonstrations and a discussion on healthy living lifestyles.
The Children’s Village featured face paintings, book makings and youth dancers, storytelling by Ellaraino-The Griot(see photo), Yvette Brandy-The Caribbean Storyteller and book reading by May May Ali, Karyn Parson and Kim Wayans. The Dance Connection Dance Academy directed by Michelle Bell-Blossom showcased some African, Modern and Jazz dances. Playback 80’s Dance Grooves & Songs-Special Dance Performance by Mary Williams’s Kandid Company: Barbara Williams, Artistic Director performed a classic of Michael Jackson- “Thriller”.
The Main Stage featured a Special Dedication to Jesse Mae Beavers-Journalist and Editor –Los Angeles Sentinel and Spotlight on 2009 Legacy Honorees- Howard Bingham, California Poet Laureate Al Young and Varnette P. Honeywood.
I made it over to Ladera Park for the 2nd Annual Jazz and Gospel Festival-a Benefit Concert for The Celeste Prescott Scholarship Fund. This event was Co-sponsored by The County of Los Angeles and hosted by Community Harvest Foundation and Dance For Life Fitness. The festival was held in the beautiful renovated Ladera Park Amphitheater.
The crowd and I was in for an afternoon of captivating jazz and invigorating gospel music, food, art, clothing, jewelry and more in an extraordinary festive and relaxing setting.
The sun was just starting to break thru the clouds when Shades of Gray Praise Dancers lifted everyone’s spirits with some toe tapping, hand clapping Praise dances to the tune “Shout Now.” This energetic group is members of Faithful Central Baptist Church-Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer, Ph.D-Pastor.
PBD & Associates were fabulous on their presentation of jazz standards “On Broadway,” “Masquerade,” “Straight No Chaser,” “Sidewinder,” “Song For My Father,” “There Will Never Be Another You,” “Moonlight in Vermont,” and “Autumn Leaves” with several guest vocalists.
As I mentioned earlier, the day turn out to be a glorious day to get our praise on with Ruth Davis and The Mountain Climbers. The crowd were shaking their heads in agreement as the group sang and offered testimonials on “Our Gods Is A Wonderful God,” “You Are My Hiding Place,” “You Are Holy,” “God’s Mercy Kept Me,” “Jesus Lifted Me,” “I Walking With The King,” and “Be Blessed” by Yolanda Adams.
The Blue Morning Quintet led by Dr. Randall Moss continued in a straight-ahead jazz mode. The group allowed the music to do the talking as they played one jazz standard after another for a thoroughly entertaining hour and a half.
The crowd and I were in for a treat as 6th & 7th graders from View Park Preparatory School Jazz Band performed superbly. Proud parents were beaming with delight and the audience rewarded the students with thunderous applause for each featured soloist and after each tune. Credits also should be extended to the musical director of this talented group of young musicians who plays multiple instruments.
Carmen & C.R.E.W (Chosen, Restored & Empowered Workers) lifted up the name of The Lord throughout their time in the spotlight.
The crowd was in for yet another treat. Instrumental Women “Lady Jazz Ensemble” ended the festival on a high note. This ensemble consist of an all-star line-up of women musicians who are leaders in their own right and are highly in demand for other local and internationally touring bands.
A great time was had by all at both of these marvelous events.