The Listening Room // 01

It's already August and we're halfway through our summer season. All of the remaining concerts will be happening on our Marina Pavilion stage, the smaller ampitheater.

The Listening Room is ment to give you an intimate look at new (and sometimes more well known) music coming out of L.A. and internationally. We have a total of six concerts in the Listening Room series, and we hope you'll join us for all of them - starting with this weekend!

Friday, August 8 @ 8:00pm

Who: Los Dos Marks (aka DJ Nu-Mark and Mark de Clive-Lowe)
Song Sample: Youtube / Youtube
Street cred: DJ Nu-Mark is a member of Jurassic 5 and Mark de Clive-Lowe has been called,
"an underground phenom" by Okayplayer.
Why you won't want to miss out: Both Marks are going to kill it on the turn tables: Nu-Mark is bringing his toy set and we don't call Mark de Clive-Lowe Mashibeats for nothing. Mark de Clive-Lowe is up first, followed by DJ Nu-Mark.


Saturday, August 9 @ 8:00pm

Song Sample: Listen here
Street cred: This project comes to us from Raul Pacheco of Ozomatli and Reyes Rodriguez of Tropical de Nopal
Why you won't want to miss out: To be honest, we're not exactly sure what Raul and Reyes are doing (they might not either, see video below), but we do know that it's going to be a sonic and visual adventure. And how can you not be intrigued by this headpiece?!




No one likes them, but we have to have them. Here's the quick version of what you can and cannot bring to the plaza. For a more detailed version of our policies, vist our website


People Get Ready inspiration from the Dexter Story 

Pieces of inspiration from Dexter Story, the Musical Director of People Get Ready: A Soundtrack of the Civil Rights Movement.

Music directing and co-producing People Get Ready: A Live Soundtrack of the Civil Rights Movement at Grand Performances is without question the most humbling experience of my life. Until now, I avoided dealing with 'freedom songs' because I didn't really want to relive the pain of inequality and oppression in America. I didn't even have the wherewithal until now to acknowledge the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964. I had taken for granted and outright ignored how brave, resilient and triumphant my parents were, and how singing was their and others' saving grace through uncanny adversity. People Get Ready has been much more than simply arranging a song or learning a lyric. Being of African American descent, this show has required me to confront my extraordinary heritage and discover the same light and inspiration in music that carried us through the struggle for equality in this country and in the world. It is my intention to have People Get Ready honor the courageous and vital spirit of all who fight for human rights worldwide.



Ejyptian Queen 

Meet the group Ejyptian Queen, made up of sisters Zekuumba, Zeimani and Zekkujchagula. They'll be part of Saturday, August 2's Pepole Get Ready: A Soundtrack of the Civil Rights Movement. They might be young, but they have strong ties to some important figures in music history. 

Their parents are Grammy winning songwriters, producers, and recording artists Cecil and Linda Womack of Womack & Womack. Their uncle is no other than the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Bobby Womack AND their grandfather is legend, Sam Cooke. Talk about a good set of genes! 

People Get Ready: A Soundtrack of the Civil Rights Movement is a vital musical celebration of the Civil Rights Movement and 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with exciting renditions of the freedom songs that heralded historic change in the USA.

Featuring material written or originally performed by Sam Cooke, Curtis Mayfield, Billie Holiday, Sly Stone, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, John Coltrane, Nina Simone, The Staple Singers, Harry Belafonte, Pete Seeger, Ray Charles and more.




Tomas Benitez on Quetzal

This year we're asking our musically and culturally inclined friends to write our evening programs. Here's Tomas Benitez on Quetzal. 

The Chicano Movement enjoyed a revival in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s due in large part to the resistance to the immigrant bashing Prop. 187 in California and the Zapatista Revolution in Chiapas, Mexico. For a 1970’s Chicano dinosaur like myself, it was an inspiration to see a new generation of young Latino students and activists take to the streets and mobilize to advocate for their community and people.

At the vortex of all the ‘reborn’ self-empowerment and assertion of ethnic identity was a wave of cultural artists and performers. Painters, dancers, poets and writers, comedy troupes and teatristas all convened to reflect the spirit of the times. But it was the bevy of new musical groups who seemed to best define the new wave of creativity, and none more so than Quetzal.

Fresh from their sojourn to Chiapas, they returned to East L.A. with a sound that was forged from folkloric traditional styles and their own genius. The second floor hall at Self Help Graphics & Art was a beat up, very under-lit, acoustic nightmare of a venue, but they took that stage and brought the light with them, filling the room with their infectious music and songs of love and liberation. It was a magical time and place to witness and remember, as they invented a musical thread that wove together several generations of people across nations, cultures and borders.

Like the ancient Mexican god Quezalcoatl, they went away for a period, promising to return one day. And indeed they did, coming back with a fury. As they matured their music got even better, like a fine wine, with their success culminating in earning a Grammy in 2013. Yet even today the still have the vitality, soul and spirit of their roots and culture in each song in their repertoire, having now become the masters, as well as mentors to the numerous other bands who build upon what they started. And in the true artistic spirit to never stop creating the new, their path has led them on a long, wonderful journey, still with the promise that the best is yet to come.

Tomas Benitez is the former Executive Director of Self Help Graphics and nowadays writes and lives in East Los Angeles.

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