Voices from the Hill

Synchromy presents Voices From The Hill—A Celebration of Elephant Hill.

This Sunday is the second event of a two-day environmental justice festival featuring music, interactive installations, and poetry with artwork and performances from composer Guillermo Brown, LA Poet Laureate Luis Rodriguez, visual artists Raul Baltazar & Maria Maea, and more.

Voices from the Hill is a free event, and reservations are available here.

Voices From The Hill

May 18, 2024, 12PM-4:00PM

Arlington Garden Pasadena, 275 Arlington Dr, Pasadena, CA 91105

From the press release:

Synchromy presents Voices from the Hill, an environmental justice festival taking place on May 11 and 18. This project harnesses the power of art and performance to raise awareness about an unprotected greenspace in East Los Angeles called Elephant Hill, and highlights a vision for the future in which protected open spaces become welcoming places for humans, birds, and other wildlife to coexist. This collaborative event is the culmination of a multi-year conversation between Synchromy, artist Talia Greene, and the grassroots activist group Save Elephant Hill, which then expanded to include composer Guillermo Brown (former drummer of The Late Late Show With James Corden), LA Poet Laureate Luis Rodriguez, artists Raul Baltazar and Maria Maea, and a group of local musicians, performers, and community members.

Voices from the Hill is a free event, and reservations are available here.

On May 11, Voices from the Hill welcomed visitors through wild, distressed and regenerated sections of Elephant Hill. Stopping points along the path showcased song, percussion, and visual art, tying together the narrative themes of the performance. Performers moving along the path shared music written by Brown, with a libretto written by Rodriguez. Interactive installations by Baltazar and Maea incorporating natural materials from the hill served as points of contemplation along the way. A percussion ensemble using instruments created from detritus, also collected from the site and surroundings, beckoned visitors to the culminating space of regeneration.

The second event, this coming Sunday, will take place at Arlington Gardens in Pasadena on May 18, 2024, and celebrates the themes of Voices from the Hill in a family-friendly and accessible environment. Visitors will have an opportunity to hear and see variations on the music, artwork, and ideas represented on Elephant Hill, as well as a chance to participate in activities for all ages. Participants and vendors include the Theodore Payne Foundation, Heroes of Elephant Hill, Meztli Projects, and Hawk on Hand. Performances by Guillermo Brown, dancer Shalandrea Houchen, and Raul Baltazar, among others, will include interactive and participatory elements. From interactive installations to captivating performances, this festival promises inspiration and engagement for all ages.

This project is made possible by The Eric Stokes Fund, Earth’s Best in Tune, a grant from the City of Pasadena Department of Cultural Aairs, a grant from the California Arts Council, and a grant from the Pasadena Community Foundation.

Synchromy; Guillermo Brown, composer and sound creator; Elva Yañez, community partner, Save Elephant Hill; Maria Maea, visual artist; Raul Baltazar, visual artist; Shalandrea Howchen, dancer; Luis Rodriguez, poet
When: May 18, 2024 – 12PM-4:00PM
Where: Arlington Garden Pasadena, 275 Arlington Dr, Pasadena, CA 91105

About Synchromy:

Synchromy is a composer service organization working with artists in Los Angeles. Synchromy’s mission is to elevate underrepresented Los Angeles-based composers and expand the scope of new music through commissions, collaborations, and community engagement. By reimagining what concerts look like, we reach out to adventurous new artists and audiences.

About The Artists:

Talia Greene is a project-based artist, curator, and Adjunct Professor. She transforms artifacts, detritus, and natural materials, asking viewers to consider both the consequences and opportunities which arise from our actions. A third generation Californian, Greene was born in Oakland, CA and currently lives in Philadelphia. She received her BA from Wesleyan University in Connecticut and her MFA from Mills College in Oakland.

Greene has received grants from the Independence Foundation, Center for Emerging Visual Artists, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts to create site specic installations at three historic homes. In 2018, Greene received a Percent for Art Commission to create an interactive mural at the Philadelphia City Archives. In 2021, Greene was an artist in residence at the biotech company Integral Molecular, in partnership with the Esther Klein Gallery and Science Center in Philadelphia. She has shown her work in group shows across the country, including at the Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech, the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore, MD; the Halsey Institute for Contemporary Art in Charleston, SC; Wave Hill, Bronx, NY; Flashpoint Gallery, Washington DC; and 516 Arts in Albuquerque, NM.

Guillermo E. Brown pushes music performance to new heights through one-man theater pieces, sound installations, and musical collaborations. Brown splits his time as a solo performer, under the moniker Pegasus Warning, and as a drummer for bands like Reggie Watts’ KAREN, previously heard on The Late Late Show with James Corden, and other free jazz ensembles. Works like his Creative Capital project, the evening-length performance Bee Boy, demonstrate his expertise in various disciplines, combining experimental musical performance together with a sense of political urgency.

As Pegasus Warning, Brown has released albums such as Try So Hard and Soul at the Hands of the Machine. As a one-man theater piece and sound installation artist, his works have been performed at The Kitchen, Harlem Stage, and Luna Stage. He is part of the supergroup BiLLLL$, the collaborative trio Thiefs, and Vijay Iyer and Mike Ladd’s Holding It Down. He was Adjunct Professor at NYU’s Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music and Gallatin School for Individualized Studies, and an Artist-In-Residence at Pacic Northwest College of Art.

Raul Baltazar is an artist who works through aesthetic notions given in Mesoamerican and Western culture. Baltazar often mixes performance, video, photography, drawing, painting, murals, and community-based projects, to create new relations for the decolonial art object. His work is often driven by the struggle of Mestizo, Xicanx, POC and Mesoamerican Indigenous communities and their revolutionary vision for change in the context of Los Angeles. In addition, his work postulates responses to trauma and the body, examining the experience and rational abuse of power and authority by means of sanctioned or unsanctioned reiterations of violence in contemporary life. Baltazar challenges this by participating in the creation of contemporary cultural production rooted in an artistic research of ancient cultures. Where his work opens up a space for healing, communication and reection; in order to engage publics and communicate the value of a self-reexive identication with indigeneity.

Raul Baltazar received his MFA in Public Practice from Otis College of Art and Design in 2013, and his BFA in Sculpture and New Genres from Otis College of Art and Design in 2008. He has exhibited extensively in Los Angeles, and internationally in Mexico, Australia, Vienna, Egypt, and Taiwan, and was the 2015 recipient of the California Community Foundation, Fellowship for Visual Arts, LA County Arts Commission Short List, 2015 and recipient of The Armory Teaching Fellowship, 2016.

Maria Maea is a multidisciplinary artist working in sculpture, installation, performance, lm, and sound. Through her art practice, she deepens her connection to land, somatic memory, and ancestry. Her works act as a residue of her lived experience as a rst generation Los Angeles native of mixed Samoan-Mexican heritage. Using plants and repurposed found material gathered throughout LA, Maea builds lm set-like sculptures that relate to storytelling and myth-making. Maea’s greatest inspiration and collaborator is nature itself. She has an ability to see plant matter’s potential to create new worlds as well as awaken us to our deeper human histories. With experience in lm production, she understands the invisible labor and processes that happen behind the scenes and creates gurative works that invite viewers into a cinematic universe of her own imagination. Maea most recently exhibited in the Hammer Museum’s Biennial Made In LA exhibition, Acts of Living 2023. She has also recently exhibited a public sculpture at Historic State Park, the Orange County Museum of Art’s California Biennial, Palm Springs Art Museum, La Pau Gallery and Oxy Arts. Maea’s work has been featured in publications such as The New York Times, ArtForum, LA Times, and Cultured Magazine.

Elva Yañez is the founder and Board President of Save Elephant Hill, an El Sereno-based community organization that led a grassroots campaign to stop a residential development and permanently protect the

20-acres hillside land once slated for 24 luxury homes. Today, Save Elephant Hill is working with like minded groups to preserve and protect remaining open spaces in Northeast Los Angeles, ensuring that residents have an active voice and role in policy and other decision-making processes regarding land use, conservation, and parks and green space. Our long-term vision is to expand open space protections to the remaining 85-acres of open space on Elephant Hill and in the process advance public health and safety, equitable environmental protections, and fair and just public investments. Previously, Elva worked in the eld of public health on local policy and systems change initiatives focused on health equity, land use, and parks and open space.

Luis J. Rodriguez is a writer with 17 published books in poetry, children’s literature, the novel, short stories, essays, and nonction, including the bestselling memoir, Always Running, La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A. and its sequel, It Calls You Back: An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction, Revolutions, & Healing. He has eight poetry collections, such as Borrowed Bones and the recent Todos los caminos llevan a casa (All Roads Lead Home), published in Mexico. He has also written staged plays and has been a script consultant for three TV shows, including FX’s Snowfall. He is founding editor of Tia Chucha Press and co-founder, with his wife Trini, of Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore, based in the northeast San Fernando Valley. From 2014 to 2016, he served as Los Angeles Poet Laureate.

Pauline Adamek

Pauline Adamek is a Los Angeles-based arts enthusiast with twenty-five years' experience covering International Film Festivals and reviewing new Theatre, Film and Restaurants.


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