I recently had the pleasure of performing in Elysian Park, a huge park near Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles. Luke Fishbeck, of Lucky Dragons, set it up and under the E. P. M. O. A. moniker has been organizing all kinds of events in the park for the past year, even working with the rangers and police to utilize this massive public space. As many DIY spaces for art and live music in LA have closed down during recent months, the idea of reclaiming public space is all the more imperative. Why not throw a show in a park? Or any number of abnormal spaces such as a laundromat or a donut shop? When I told Luke my band DUBKNOWDUB was rolling thru town on tour, he set up an afternoon event in the park.
It was a beautiful spring-like day in Mid-January when we rolled up to Elysian Park, immediately getting lost and then backtracking to find Luke waiting for us in a parking lot near a drainage ditch path that the ice cream carts take on their stroll. The police cruised by the scene and only said to not be too loud as we prepped our shopping cart with electronics, contact mics and battery-powered amps. Only a handful of folks came out specifically to see us but the most exciting part were the people that just happened to be in the park. As we rolled down the path making noises and stopping randomly to work out new sounds, kids gathered around and took pictures while people bbqing looked on. The mix of accidental sounds was awesome – cars whizzing by in the distance, birds singing, kids playing-all blended in with our noises and made for such a unique place to play, jamming with the environment so to speak.
I was really excited to find out about all of the other things they’ve been up to there, which have included building snowmen out of tumbleweeds and monuments out of concrete, a workshop on how to build a solar oven, a rainbow colored artist potluck, and a reverse archaeological dig! Its obvious to me that the time is nigh for us to take matters into our own hands and reclaim unused spaces like the E.P.M.O.A. has been doing in the park. Let’s take it back!