This weekend, on Saturday, September 26 and Sunday September 27, Angelinos will have the opportunity to come together in celebration of the Watts Tower’s Arts Center first 54 years.
Built by Italian-American artist, Sabato “Simon” Rodia, the Watts Towers are a complex, creative and fantastic set of 17 sculptural pieces built on a residential lot in Watts. An Italian immigrant, Rodia spent 34 years building this tribute to his adopted country. The artist worked single-handedly building his masterpiece without machinery, scaffolding, bolts or rivets. Using his own ingenuity and simple tools, Rodia adorned his towers with sea shells, broken glass, pieces of mosaic and ceramic. He called the towers “Nuestro Pueblo” meaning “our town” building not only a tribute to the USA, but to the spirit of individuals who have a dream and make it a reality.
The weekend of festivities, will include the 34th annual Watts Towers Day of the Drum Festival on Saturday, and the 39th Annual Simon Rodia Watts Towers Jazz Festival on Sunday at the Watts Towers Arts Center Campus
This fall’s line up will take you on a musical journey around the world, featuring an all star program of world class musicians, singers, and dancers. Saturday’s Day of the Drum Festival, led by Masters of Ceremonies, James Janisse and Ndugu Chancler will begin with a Yoruba ground blessing ceremony by Alaadun uniting all cultures based on common themes and principles.
Balinese music and dance will follow, as well as rhythms of the Caribbean coast with the Carifuna Cultural Group, and Afro Cuban Folkloric music from Nclave. The day will conclude with healing music from West African and dynamic drumming rhythms by Michael White.
Sunday will be a big day for jazz heads, featuring jazz funk drummer, Ndugu Chancler, all star trumpeter Dr. Bobby Rodriguez, percussionist, Munyungo Jackson, vocals with the wonderful Patrice Rushun, and jazz original, Carmen Lundy, the Jasmine Tommaso Quartet, Needra Wheeler, and Justo Almario.
Visitors are also invited to enjoy the current exhibition, Watts Towers Arts Center: Fifty Years and I Still Can’t Breathe, Remembering the Watts Rebellion and Now. The weekend will also feature supervised children’s activities, food, arts and crafts.
Both festivals take place at the Department of Cultural Affairs, Watts Towers Arts Center Campus at:
1727 East 107th Street, Los Angeles, CA, 90002. For more information, call 213.847.4646, or visit wattstowers.org.
The Campus is easily accessible from the 105-East Freeway at Wilmington Avenue by taking Exit #10; or via the 108th Street Bus Stop (the 305 and 612 Routes); or from the 103rd Street / Watts Towers Station via Metro’s Blue Line. Self-parking and valet parking are free.