ACE IMG_2868

Published on August 13th, 2013 | by RLn Staff

0

The World Stage Fights for Survival

By Melina Paris, Music Columnist

Two days after a peaceful community rally against George Zimmerman’s acquittal turned violent by a dozen youth, organizers for the World Stage Rent Festival worried that continual heavy police presence may deter fans from attending the fundraiser.

By evening time, only two squad cars remained on Degnan Boulevard.

Writer, poet, and festival emcee Michael Datcher set the tone for the evening by explaining the purpose of the evening’s performance.

“The rent, meaning our bills and festival, meaning joy and the celebration of art and culture,” Datcher said. “We call the World Stage a church because there is a spiritual vibe here.”

Rent Fest brought two nights of live music and spoken word performances. Some of the best musicians and artists in Los Angeles came out to perform on the World Stage. They did so at no cost, speaking to the importance of this venue in the Southern California jazz scene and to its continuing legacy.

Jazz vocalist, Dwight Trible performed with a quartet of musicians who are at the vanguard of Los Angeles jazz scene. The members included John Beasley on piano, Miguel Atwood Ferguson on viola, Trevor Ware on upright bass, and Paul Legaspi on drums.

The Charles Owens Quartet opened the show and The Mayungo Jackson All Star Lineup closed it. It was a thrill to see that four of the young players in this sextet were University of Southern California jazz students.

It was Trible’s idea to host the festival. As a protege of jazz greats, Billy Higgins, Horace Tapscott, and poet Kamau Daaood, Trible has inherited the flame to carry on the legacy of the World Stage. Trible says the World Stage is why we have a Leimert Park.

“These people have given so much to me,”  Trible said. “I’m blessed that I was worthy of their time and wisdom. Instinctively they knew one day it may come down to me.”

The late jazz drummer Billy Higgins and Kamau Daaood co-founded the World Stage in 1989 for the purpose of creating a place for artists and musicians to meet, rehearse and share work in the community. It is now a Leimert Park-based arts institution that offers seven days of programs in both jazz and writing workshops. There is no paid staff. Everything is done on a volunteer basis. Trible was recently asked to take the helm of the World Stage by its board of directors and deal with the crisis.

After the 1992 Los Angeles Rebellion, Leimert Park’s growth as a center for African-American arts and culture mirrored the growth of other arts districts around Los Angeles, from Old Town Pasadena to Venice, and from Downtown Los Angeles to San Pedro. It was venues such as the World Stage and the Kaos Network (which fostered a thriving underground hip hop scene) that gave Leimert park the cultural cache that it enjoys today.

“We are in financial crisis for various reasons,”explained Datcher about the dilemma the venue is in. “In part because of the economy, in part, because of the downturn of this neighborhood, there is less foot traffic here. As a result, our clientele is shrinking. Our clientele have their particular financial difficulties as well. So as a result, that spinning effect, like the spider web, has been catching us. And now we’re caught.”

For more than 10 years, Leimert Park has been fighting to remain as a center of black cultural arts against the forces of shrinking foot traffic due to the economy and gentrification and the steady pricing out of local shop owners renting space in the area. Unlike other arts districts, even fewer artist-business owners own their building, making them all the more susceptible to gentrification.

For the past 10 years, developers have been buying up the buildings on Degnan Avenue. Few of the new property owners could care less whether the Leimert Park area maintains its credibility as cultural arts district. As tenants, the merchants only interaction with the owners is through a property management company that has been deploying aggressive management practices since the takeover.

The World Stage board of directors has tried to meet with their councilman, Herb Wesson. Leimert was annexed to the 10th District from Councilman Bernard Park’s 8th district in 2010. Trible and other Leimert Park residents say that Wesson’s office has paid little attention to them. It took Wesson’s office more than two months to meet with the group. They were scheduled to meet with Wesson on Aug. 7. Random Lengths called Wesson’s office for comment but  did not receive a response before the publication date.

As Dwight Trible said, “If there is no World Stage, there is no Leimert Park.”

That seems to be the rub. Merchants speculate that the buying frenzy in the area is due to the city’s commitment to extend the Crenshaw to LAX line station in the area, that will connect Leimert Park  to USC and the Los Angeles International Airport. There was a hard won fight to get a rail stop in Leimert Park on the Expo Line. Now it looks like this buy up is the unintended collateral damage of that battle.

Trible, however, is  hopeful. He says the World Stage needs to own  the property it is in to ensure its survival and protection from being bought out of the community.

Leimert Park resident and community activist, Damien Goodmon, concurs.

“There are two areas [in which] the community needs help. One is advocating for Leimert Park and the other is to focus on buying properties.The bottom line is until we own these structures we are susceptible to market pressures and demand.”

Goodmon, as executive director of the Crenshaw Subway Coalition, was instrumental in getting an Expo Line rail stop in Leimert Park. Goodmon noted that the plan saw local merchants and cultural institutions as being instrumental in keeping Leimert Park’s cultural fabric intact and thriving after the train is built. He noted that the City of Los Angeles owns two lots in the area.

“That is under the ownership of the public and we have a say in that,” Goodmon said.

Goodmon  noted that large corporations have long seen adjacent, affluent Baldwin Hills and View Park communities as reason enough to invest in Leimert Park. Goodmon noted that the challenge in such a scenario is getting those communities to buy into the uniqueness of African-American culture and businesses. It’s critical because we’re talking about preservation of a culture. The effort to share the arts and continue the legacy of the World Stage will go on.

“If it has to be that we have to leave Leimert Park to do that, so be it,” Trible noted. “I would hate for that to happen but we will carry on at a new location. The World Stage is a concept and an idea. I and many others plan to continue on with it one way or another.”

In the meantime, Trible and other World Stage alumni are going to host a major benefit concert on Aug. 18 and execute other initiatives until a long term survival of the venue is secured.

Details: (323) 293-2451
Venue: The World Stage
Location: 4344 Degnan Blvd., Los Angeles

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


About the Author



Leave a Reply

Back to Top ↑
  • Toberman Gala: April 4th

    Toberman Gala: April 4th
  • The Guide to Fine Dining

    The Guide to Fine Dining
  • Calendar

    March 2015
    S M T W T F S
    22 23 24 25 26

    Category: EntertainmentToledo Show

    27

    Category: EntertainmentToledo Show

    Category: CommunityJewelry Making Class

    Category: TheaterBeyond the Valley of the Flight Attendants

    Category: EntertainmentSoul Sacrifices

    Category: EntertainmentHell Ride

    28

    Category: EntertainmentKomedy Slam

    Category: TheaterBeyond the Valley of the Flight Attendants

    Category: EntertainmentDave Widow and the Line Up

    Category: TheaterStop Kiss

    Category: EntertainmentCircus of Sin

    1

    Category: Art35th Annual Quilt Show

    Category: TheaterStop Kiss

    2

    Category: ArtArts, Media Capstone Exhibitions

    3

    Category: ArtArts, Media Capstone Exhibitions

    4

    Category: ArtArts, Media Capstone Exhibitions

    Category: CommunityLittle Squirts

    Category: CommunitySea Club

    5

    Category: ArtArts, Media Capstone Exhibitions

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtFirst Thursday Artwalk

    Category: CommunityKlaus Center for the Arts Opening

    6

    Category: ArtArts, Media Capstone Exhibitions

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtFirst Thursday Artwalk

    Category: EntertainmentTrio Celeste

    Category: EntertainmentBatala Los Angeles

    Category: TheaterBeyond the Valley of the Flight Attendants

    Category: EntertainmentLauren Koval, Michael Ragonese Trio

    Category: TheaterStop Kiss

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: TheaterThe Real Thing

    7

    Category: ArtArts, Media Capstone Exhibitions

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: TheaterThe Penis and Vagina Talk Shows

    Category: TheaterBeyond the Valley of the Flight Attendants

    Category: TheaterCirque Mechanics

    Category: TheaterStop Kiss

    Category: TheaterThe Real Thing

    Category: EntertainmentTrio Eclectic

    Category: TheaterThe Penis and Vagina Talk Shows

    8

    Category: ArtArts, Media Capstone Exhibitions

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: EntertainmentInna Faliks

    Category: TheaterStop Kiss

    Category: TheaterThe Real Thing

    Category: EntertainmentJohn York

    9

    Category: ArtArts, Media Capstone Exhibitions

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    10

    Category: ArtArts, Media Capstone Exhibitions

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtLuminous, Transparent, Realistic Watercolor Workshop

    11

    Category: ArtArts, Media Capstone Exhibitions

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: EntertainmentBettman and Halpin

    12

    Category: ArtArts, Media Capstone Exhibitions

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: EntertainmentBettman and Halpin

    13

    Category: ArtArts, Media Capstone Exhibitions

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: EntertainmentPiano Nights with Rob Klopfenstein

    Category: TheaterBeyond the Valley of the Flight Attendants

    Category: EntertainmentPaddy Keenan

    Category: TheaterStop Kiss

    Category: TheaterThe Real Thing

    14

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: EntertainmentMusic Under the Guns

    Category: TheaterBeyond the Valley of the Flight Attendants

    Category: EntertainmentCash’d Out

    Category: EntertainmentDoug MacLeod CD Release Party

    Category: TheaterNa Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu

    Category: TheaterStop Kiss

    Category: TheaterThe Real Thing

    15

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: EntertainmentDavid Sanborn

    Category: TheaterStop Kiss

    Category: TheaterThe Real Thing

    Category: EntertainmentA Spoonful of Sherman: A Symphonic Concert

    Category: EntertainmentSherman Brothers

    Category: EntertainmentBlues Alive

    Category: EntertainmentSunday Jams

    16

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    17

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtLuminous, Transparent, Realistic Watercolor Workshop

    18

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    19

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    20

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: ArtBest of Show and Small Treasures

    Category: EntertainmentPiano Nights with Rob Klopfenstein

    Category: TheaterBeyond the Valley of the Flight Attendants

    Category: TheaterThe Real Thing

    Category: EntertainmentDoug C and the Blacklisted Hillbilly Stomp

    21

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: CommunityCivil War Lecture Series

    Category: CommunityWestern Museum of Flight Lecture Series

    Category: EntertainmentMarkus Carlton

    Category: TheaterBeyond the Valley of the Flight Attendants

    Category: EntertainmentDale Fielder

    Category: TheaterMarilyn Forever - A Full-Length Opera

    Category: TheaterThe Real Thing

    Category: EntertainmentSeduction

    22

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: TheaterThe Real Thing

    Category: EntertainmentL. Young

    23

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: ArtHyung Mo Lee - Lessons Learned

    24

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: ArtLuminous, Transparent, Realistic Watercolor Workshop

    25

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: CommunityBirding at George F. Canyon

    Category: EntertainmentWicklow Atwater, James Hanicutt, & Hangdog Hearts

    26

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: CommunityCelebrate the Eighth

    27

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: EntertainmentPiano Nights with Rob Klopfenstein

    Category: TheaterBeyond the Valley of the Flight Attendants

    Category: EntertainmentCarl Verheyen

    Category: TheaterThe Real Thing

    Category: EntertainmentThe Naughty Show

    28

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: CommunityNature Walk with L.A. City Rangers at White Point Nature Preserve

    Category: CommunityAttracting Birds and Bees to Your Garden

    Category: CommunityGathering for the Grand

    Category: CommunityWisteria Regale

    Category: EntertainmentMarkus Carlton

    Category: TheaterBeyond the Valley of the Flight Attendants

    Category: EntertainmentBruce Baker & The Altered Presence Jazz Band

    Category: EntertainmentNoise Fest XVIII

    Category: TheaterThe Real Thing

    Category: EntertainmentCircus of Sin

    29

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: CommunityComplete Whale Watch with Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

    Category: EntertainmentJanis Mann & Bill Cunliffe Duo

    Category: ArtSecond Sight: New Representations in Photography

    Category: TheaterMarilyn Forever - A Full-Length Opera

    30

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    31

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: ArtLuminous, Transparent, Realistic Watercolor Workshop

    1

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    2

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: ArtFirst Thursday Artwalk

    3

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: ArtFirst Thursday Artwalk

    Category: EntertainmentPiano Nights with Rob Klopfenstein

    Category: EntertainmentSister Spit National Tour

    4

    Category: ArtCan the Artists of the World be Censored?

    Category: ArtTies to Modernism

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: TheaterTaking Sides

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

  • Like Us On Facebook!

  • Take a Trip to Havana

    Take a Trip to Havana
  • Join the RLn Network

    Subscribe Today:


    Options


  • Get Home Delivery!

    Get Home Delivery!
  • Reset The Net: Protect Your Privacy

    Reset The Net: Protect Your Privacy