Arts group stages ‘love letter’ to LA’s Historic Filipinotown
LOS ANGELES – Three events unveiled community arts group FilAm ARTS’ new partnership venue at 2220 Arts & Archive in Historic Filipinotown (Hi-Fi) on Sept. 25.
Visual artist Jaana “Jaja” Barker welcomed temperature-screened and vaccine-verified attendees. Barker modeled photographs of a gown she made from PVC holographic materials. The fine arts graduate form Cal State Fullerton also paints, draws, sculpts and uses other media.
YouTube artist, AJ Rafael opened the program with highlights from “On This Side of the World,” a new musical created by Paulo K Tirol. The talented reading/singing ensemble included Chris Bona, Maya Valenciano, Jeffrey Laughrun, Joanne Javien, Reggie De Leon and Marie-France Arcilla, with keyboard accompaniment by Marc Macalintal. The work was developed with and directed by Noam Shapiro.
FilAm ARTs Artistic Director Giovanni Ortega and Broadway star Jennifer Paz joined performers in a Q&A session, where members of the audience remarked how much the songs related to their own family memories of immigration to the US.
The second session showed the feature-length documentary film “Historic Filipinotown – A Love Letter to Hi-Fi.” It was introduced by Giselle “G” Tongi, FilAm ARTS executive director. The film, which includes local stories and favorite Hi-Fi sites, is co-narrated by Johneric Concordia (owner of Park’s Finest BBQ) and Justin Foronda (founder of Hi-Fi Kitchen). They spoke from a genuine Philippine-built jeepney provided by local social service agency Pilipino Workers Center.
The final session was a fundraiser in a speakeasy setting for “A Burlesque Love Letter to Los Angeles” with Mizon Garde & Friends.
The Association for the Advancement of Filipino American Arts and Culture’s (also known as FilAm ARTS) aims to facilitate community transformation through Filipino arts services, presentation and education.