In an era where the nation seems hopelessly divided, it’s refreshing to find an event that brings all types of people together in a positive way. The Lummis Days Festival has been doing just that for the past 13 years and will spotlight the variety and diversity of the Northeast L.A. arts community with free events at five locations presenting music, dance, poetry, film and puppets Friday through Sunday.
Lummis Day takes its name from Charles Fletcher Lummis, who joined the LA Times as the newspaper’s first city editor in 1884. A prolific writer and photographer, Lummis was also one of the city’s first librarians, founded the Southwest Museum and helped introduce the concept of multi-culturalism to Southern California.
The community-organized event will build on the festival’s multi-cultural tradition with musical performances ranging from the Cuban dance band Orquesta Charangoa to the Louisiana-rooted High Life Cajun Band, the Latino rock of Alarma and the klezmer music of Mostly Kosher. Diversity and eclecticism are guiding principles, with the festival’s four music stages including power punk from Superbean, son jarocho from Los Jarochicos, country music from Ted Russell Kamp, mariachi from Mariachi Lindas Mexicanas and a kaleidoscopic assortment of other musical styles and idioms.
This year’s festival will also feature an array of diverse dance performances, poetry readings, puppet shows, activities for kids, the Arroyo Arts Collective’s “Critters Gotta Crawl” puppet parade and a free screening of the award-winning film “Dolores” at Occidental College. Events are scheduled at Occidental College in Eagle Rock, on Avenue 50 at York Boulevard in Highland Park, Lummis Home in Montecito Heights, Sycamore Grove Park and Mount Washington’s Southwest Museum.
The fest kicks off Friday with a 7 p.m. screening and discussion of the acclaimed documentary “Dolores,” about the life of legendary activist Dolores Huerta, at Occidental College’s Thorne Hall.
Saturday night will feature an evening of the best indie music and circus-style performers to be found in Northeast LA on the Boulevard Stage, located at Avenue 50 and York Boulevard in Highland Park.
Another special event will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the rarely used Southwest Museum, located at 234 Museum Drive, when it presents “Making a Big Noise: The Explorations of Charles Lummis” and artist Miller Robinson’s multimedia installation, “Of This Body, Of This Earth.” Meanwhile, the Lummis Home itself, located at 200 E. Avenue 43, will feature a poetry reading from 10:30 a.m. to noon Sunday that is curated by Suzanne Lummis and features poets Olga García Echeverría, Jessica Ceballos y Campbell, Steve Abee and Jamie Asaye Fitzgerald. The reading will be followed by a poetry workshop led by Lory Bedikian.
But the main events will take place from noon to 7 p.m. Sunday at Sycamore Grove Park, 4702 N. Figueroa St., in Highland Park. Music, dance, theater, puppets and many family activities, including robot demonstrations, crafts tables and soccer games organized by the Anahuak Youth Soccer Association will all be found there.
A shuttle bus will ferry guests between festival locations and parking sites on Sunday. A complete schedule of events for all sites, parking information and the location of shuttle bus stops can be found at LummisDay.org.