THE FORD LAUNCHES
ONLINE VIRTUAL SEASON
Multidisciplinary programs explore the intersection of music, art, dance and social justice in Native, Black, Latinx and Diasporic communities
Includes four new digital series hosted on
theford.com, Facebook Premiere, YouTube, Instagram and Zoom
All events are free
LOS ANGELES, August 24, 2020 — Director of The Ford Cynthia Fuentes today announced the launch of a new season of digital programs celebrating the diverse community of artists served by The Ford. The online programs were created in response to the venue’s closure due to COVID-19 and will be posted on a variety of platforms, including Facebook Premiere, YouTube, Instagram and Zoom, as well as on the venue’s newly designed website (www.theford.com). All events will be free.
This is the first year of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s operation and programming of The Ford on behalf of Los Angeles County. The Ford, situated in a Los Angeles County park, is one of the oldest performing arts venues in Los Angeles. Following the guidance of public health officials, this summer’s season, which would have marked the venue’s centenary, was canceled in an effort to protect artists, audiences and staff from the spread of COVID-19. Centennial celebrations will be rescheduled for summer 2021.
Fuentes said, “While it was heartbreaking to see the venue go dark this summer, we knew that there was a way to fulfill The Ford’s mission in the digital space. Moving online enables us to continue to support the region’s artistic communities, make their work widely accessible, honor the expansive cultural work past and present, and foster the intercultural dialogue that gets at the heart of issues impacting Los Angeles.”
“Even as all of us face unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19, we still need to thrill and be comforted by the power of the arts. That’s why I’m happy to see the LA Phil and The Ford finding ways to bring regional artists and innovative programming to expanded audiences,” said LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, whose district includes The Ford. “The 2020 Ford programming will bring L.A.'s vibrant music and dance artists, including perennial favorites, into our homes – and it’s free! I look forward to watching these great performances online until we can all gather again in the welcoming amphitheater at The Ford."
Music and Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel said, "California is built on a dream of opportunity, a chance for people from all backgrounds to come and make something for themselves in this golden land of ours. Our digital programming at the Ford this season is a direct representation of that dream and the diversity of art that springs from it, a beautiful blend of cultures, creeds, and creative ideals that fuels the activism and engagement that makes Los Angeles so singularly vibrant. We want the Ford to be a truly safe space for all of the artists in our community, and to reinforce - as well as challenge - the notions and values that make us uniquely Californian."
Established in 1920 and recently enhanced through an $80 million renovation project funded by the County of Los Angeles, The Ford celebrates the traditions and contemporary expressions of Los Angeles’ creative communities. While the venue is unable to host in-person events, the online offerings are presented via four series: Ford Digital Festivals, curator-led explorations ranging from wellness in communities of color to contemporary Native artistry; LA Soundscapes, a combined online lecture/demonstration, performance, and morning crafting workshop for families; State of LA!, in-depth conversations and performances spotlighting the culture makers shaping the future of the arts in L.A.; and From The Ford, archival performance footage combined with new insights from featured artists. These series will welcome audiences into The Ford’s comprehensive performance archives and invite people to experience the music, dance, poetry and foodways of the region.
Ford Digital Festivals
Ford Digital Festivals are curator-led virtual programs offering an in-depth exploration of a single theme through multi-disciplinary performances, workshops and conversations combined into a multi-hour video production. Video programs will be accompanied by other online offerings, including films, DJ sets and virtual marketplaces where you can support local craftspeople and makers. Festivals will be hosted on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Zoom.
Sept 26 Solidarity for Sanctuary
Co-curated by grassroots organizers Solidarity for Sanctuary, the festival brings together prominent Latinx artists, including a world-premiere collaboration between Omar Apollo and members of the LA Phil, Las Cafeteras, Lido Pimienta, San Cha, La Doña and poet Yosimar Reyes among others, to celebrate Selena, the Queen of Tejano music, and draw attention to the importance of voting, immigrant rights, and Black and Brown solidarity.
Oct 17 Living Resistance
Co-curated by Todo Verde founder Jocelyn Ramirez, Living Resistance explores holistic health in Los Angeles inviting audiences to learn from the contemporary practitioners and activists who are making strides in the wellness of their communities. A dive into the history of community farming and food justice, sharing in activities around physical and mental space, nurturing bodies with nutritious fuel, and finding movement in music, dance, and yoga, every body is invited to participate in creating a sense of home and belonging in a world where self-love, acceptance, and freedom can feel like radical acts of resistance.
Nov 1 Tovaangar Today
Tovaangar, now known as Los Angeles, has been a gathering place that has sustained Native artists and culture bearers for generations. Native artists continue to thrive in Tovaangar, using their creativity to assert tribal sovereignty and protect ancestral homelands. Co-curated by Kenny Ramos, Kelly Caballero and Jessa Calderon, Tovaangar Today explores the modern manifestations of Native artistry in the region. While centering the Tongva and other California Nations, the festival also features artists from the local intertribal urban Native diaspora and highlights the connections between art, activism, identity and tribal sovereignty.
Nov 21 Movement/Matters
From the Soul Train line to the Banjee Ball to Krumping in silent protest, Black Street and Club Dance in Los Angeles has allowed dancers to occupy space, create community and flip the scripts ascribed to Black bodies in motion. With special focuses on the role of dance in protest movements and the revolutionary depiction of Black identity on Soul Train, Movement/Matters is a day-long celebration of how L.A. dancers have found connection, care, power and potential on the dance floor and in the streets. Co-curated by Tyree Boyd-Pates.
Four of The Ford’s most beloved companies will bring the history of their art forms to the at-home audience with LA Soundscapes, a combined online performance, lecture and dance lesson. Each LA Soundscapes partnership also includes a family crafting activity, which will be shared online earlier in the day. Families will be able to register at www.theford.com for a kit containing all of the crafting materials needed to participate while supplies last. Registration opens August 24.
LA Soundscapes programs begin at 11am with family workshops taking place at 10:30am.
Sept 12 Versa-Style Dance Company
Ford favorite Versa-Style takes families through time and around the world for “Origins of Hip Hop: An Educational Journey Through the Cultural History of American Streetdance.” The company follows the evolution of Hip Hop dance from its roots in African and Latinx Diasporic communities through Locking, Whacking, Popping, and Freestyle. Pre-concert craft workshop: Social Justice Stencils with Jay Davis.
Sept 26 Viver Brasil
Viver Brasil offers selections from its Afro-Brazilian repertoire, including a performance of the Orixá Oxum and a Bloco Afro (parade) spectacle, along with a percussion and interactive dance workshop for the whole family. Pre-concert craft workshop: Analogue Collage with Steve Haney.
Oct 10 Syncopated Ladies
Female tap band Syncopated Ladies’ viral videos have racked up more than 50 million views worldwide and caught the attention of Beyoncé, who featured the group on her website. The tap sensations led by Debbie Allen protégé Chloe Arnold bring their modern-day tap style to families for an afternoon of percussive rhythm and dance. Pre-concert craft workshop: Zine Making with Lorenzo Diggins Jr.
Nov 21 Blue13
For more than 20 years, the Blue13 Dance Company has been combining the art forms of the Indian subcontinent with its own contemporary American dance style. Their LA Soundscapes appearance will introduce families to Indian classical and folk dance, as well as Bollywood with a performance set to A. R. Rahman’s Bollywood classic “Kehna Hi Kya.” Pre-concert craft workshop: Draw Your Feelings with Nasimeh B.E.
State of LA!
State of LA! gives audiences a chance to listen in on some of the County’s most forward-looking creative collectives. Combining in-depth conversations and live performances, State of LA! offers a unique look at the culture makers, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders who are shaping the future of the arts in Los Angeles.
Sept 22 Sonic Solidarity
Moderated by ILY Magazine Editor-in-Chief Erika Ramirez, Sonic Solidarity brings Mija Management and Solidarity for Sanctuary founder Doris Muñoz and industry insider Geraldine Leibot together to discuss the contemporary state of Latinx sound in Los Angeles and discuss the need for solidarity across identities and genres. The conversation is accompanied by performances from genre-bending artist UMI.
Oct 6 Poetry, Now
Curated by the co-founders of the Spoken Literature Art Movement (S.L.A.M.), Matthew “Cuban” Hernandez and Alyesha Wise, Poetry, Now combines a panel discussion and dynamic performances to give audiences a snapshot of poetry in Los Angeles today. Participating artists include slam champion and Write Bloody author Buddy Wakefield, Da Poetry Lounge curator Jasmine Williams and youth justice advocate Justus Jones.
Oct 20 Midnight in the Diaspora
Curated by influential DJ and culture worker Sasha Ali (a.k.a. Miss Modular), Midnight in the Diaspora explores how L.A.-based artists either born outside the United States or working between more than one country are bringing a combination of global influences to bear on L.A.’s music and nightlife. This combination panel discussion and DJ set features Discostan’s Arisha Fatima Haq, NTS DJ and Junkyard Jouvert producer Adam Cooper (a.k.a. foreigner) and creative producer Anita Herrera.
Nov 10 Tuesday Night Project presents “This is Not Just the Asian Night”
Join Tuesday Night Project (TNP) for a day of Asian American creative expression and discussion about their multigenerational, intersectional approach to art and community. The festival includes a look back at the history of TNP’s flagship program, Tuesday Night Cafe. For more than 20 years, Tuesday Night Cafe has provided a space for artists of Asian and Pacific Islander descent to express themselves through hip-hop dance, improv comedy, spoken word, music, the visual arts and more.
Dec 8 Young Queer LA
Young Queer LA will highlight queer folks of color who are coming together to reimagine the club scene through drag. Led by Alison M. De La Cruz, a multi-disciplinary theatre artist, arts educator and community organizer, panelists will reflect on how race, culture and place inform their artistic expression, while also discussing the intimate relationship between collectivity and freedom in queer communities.
From The Ford
From The Ford revisits past performances captured live on The Ford’s stage by Los Angeles television station LA36. Each installation includes archival footage and newly created artist introductions providing additional insight into the work. From The Ford will be released weekly on Facebook Premiere beginning Thursday, August 27. Highlights include:
Aug 27 TAIKOPROJECT presents “Rhythmic Relations”
Founded in 2000, TAIKOPROJECT is the go-to group for a modern American style of taiko, blending traditional forms with an innovative and fresh aesthetic. The group’s annual “Rhythmic Relations” concert features 50 drummers of all ages performing classic and contemporary taiko songs accompanied by dynamic choreography and vocals.
Sept 3 Viver Brasil presents “Agô Ayó – Spirits Rising”
In 2017, Viver Brasil celebrated twenty years of bringing Bahia to Los Angeles with “Agô Ayó – Spirits Rising.” The program combined samba, folkloric dancers inspired by the Orixás, the choreography of Afro-Brazilian parading organizations and an original piece exploring the African Diaspora and mixed-race ancestry.
Sept 10 Grandeza Mexicana
In celebration of its 15th anniversary in 2018, Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet Company restaged their hit show La Ruta Del Norte. From Baja, California, to the Rio Grande, this dance journey explores and celebrates the sister cultures of the Southwest.
Sept 17 Boleros de Noche
The Boleros de Noche concert series seeks to preserve and celebrate the history of Latin American bolero music in Los Angeles. On the evening of Mexican Independence Day in 2019, The Ford was filled with the sound of Mexican boleros performed by the iconic Los Panchos and Mexican American Latin Grammy nominees Trio Ellas.
Sept 24 Lula Washington Dance Theatre
For 40 years, the iconic Lula Washington Dance Theatre has been reflecting on the Black experience through a contemporary dance lens, combining modern, hip-hop, jazz and African movement vocabularies. A Los Angeles institution, the company brought the house down during the 2018 season with a joyous evening of dance, featuring choreography by Lula Washington, Tamica Washington-Miller, Kyle Abraham, David Roussève and Rennie Harris.
Oct 1 Flypoet Summer Classic
Every summer, the Flypoet Summer Classic brings spoken word’s heavy hitters together with a backing band for an evening of lyrical fire. The annual tradition has been called the “dopest spoken word + live music + art experience in the world.”
Oct 8 Louie Vega and EOL Soulfrito
Bandleader Louie Vega is renowned the world over for helping to create and establish the soulful Latin jazz and deep house-influenced music style. Based in New York City, Vega is a dance music legend both as a DJ and producer. Louie and his band, E.O.L. Soulfrito, performed live at The Ford in a 2018 celebratory concert commemorating global soul music marketing platform Fusicology’s 15th anniversary.
Oct 15 Colibrí Entertainment presents “¡Viva La Tradición! – Viva LA Mujer”
In 2019, Colibrí Entertainment brought together Mariachi Reyna de Los Ángeles and Las Colibrí, two of Southern California's most iconic female mariachi groups, for an epic celebration of women.
Oct 22 Pacifico Dance Company
California’s premier baile folklórico company takes you on a colorful journey to Mexico through exhilarating music and dance. This vibrant ensemble of dancers and musicians celebrated its 25th anniversary on The Ford’s stage in 2017 with an evening exploring early Mexican history, myth and folktales through a signature blend of traditional and contemporary dance movements.
Oct 29 Angel City Jazz Festival
From its founding in 2008, the Angel City Jazz Festival has grown into an essential multi-day celebration of cutting-edge jazz, featuring established and emerging music innovators committed to the evolution of jazz and improvised music.
All four series will be available at www.theford.com.
About The Ford
The Ford is one of the oldest performing arts venues in Los Angeles, with a 1,200-seat outdoor amphitheater and a rich history dating back to 1920. Situated in a 32-acre Los Angeles County park and under the stewardship of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Ford presents an eclectic summer season of music, dance, film, and family events that are reflective of the communities that comprise Los Angeles.
Sign up for The Ford mailing list here, and follow The Ford on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
About LA Phil Media
Created at the outset of the COVID-19 crisis, LA Phil Media encompasses the organization’s media projects and digital initiatives, including audio recordings, radio and television broadcasts, online streaming series, digital festivals, and podcasts.
Play Your Part
Due to COVID-19, we are unable to bring music to our stages for the first time ever. We ask you to Play Your Part in helping the LA Phil reach that longed-for moment when we will return to Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, and The Ford. Follow this link to see how you can support the LA Phil. Your generosity will directly support our musicians, teachers, students, and staff, ensuring that our community is alive with music, today and always.
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