Anyone who has spent any time in the Arts District of Los Angeles knows that it is a constantly changing and evolving neighborhood, with artists, galleries, storefronts and restaurants coming and going due to gentrification and shifting demographics. One thankfully steadfast component is Art Share LA, which has been a community focal point since 1997. With 30 affordable live/work lofts for artists, a theater, large gallery space, art and ceramic studios and classrooms, it is a vital cornerstone of the District. As an available location for emerging artists to exhibit and perform, it is beloved by residents and visitors alike, with opportunities offered at no charge. One event they have sponsored for years is called The Anna Broome Room, which is celebrating a 5 year anniversary event this Thursday, April 26th. The Broome Room has been held the last Thursday of every month (except for two!) as a free community service created by Anna Broome as a kind-of neighborhood variety show of local talent. Featuring a carefully curated selection including spoken word, live music, performance art and live painting, this free and highly entertaining event is always open to the entire community to attend.
Originally conceived as a group-reading for her students following the free poetry classes she had been teaching at Art Share LA, the event soon blossomed into something much greater. A new neighboring business – Angel City Brewery – offered Broome a space to do more experimental shows, bringing in performance art and musical talent to their newly-opened bar (which also now features a gallery space managed by Art Share.) But after attending one of the first events there, the Executive Director of Art Share, Cheyanne Sauter, realized the bar noise was disruptive to the talent and offered up the Art Share stage and theater. Her support has allowed the event to grow, and the participants to prosper.
The Broome Room has been very special to me during my tenure at Art Share. Any time I feel hopeless about the state of art and culture in Los Angeles, I take a dose of The Broome Room and am restored. There is so much exploration of talent happening on the stage each month. The event – and Anna herself – bring out the hidden talent in our community, offering a venue to the creative barista, waiter or bartender, and giving them a safe space to actualize becoming a musician, writer, or performer. The audience is often filled with performers from past shows and they are always extremely supportive. I truly feel like it’s one of the safest places in Los Angeles.
Always trying to keep it fresh, Broome researches and reviews talent on a regular basis. The performers are all ages, ranging from the humorous to the tearful, silent to loud, whimsical to “woke.” There is always a musical component or two – sometimes solo acts, often full bands, but always spoken word, original poets, readers, and live painters. There is also always a theme…
Every show has a theme that is a guide for the performers, as they sometimes create works specifically for the show. I usually select influential poets as themes, including personal favorites and those who offer beautiful works of art that can translate into a thematic event. I choose not only a poet but a particular poem to set the mood for the evening. This month, our show is based on “ Boots Of Lead,” by Emily Dickinson.
Lee Boek of Storyphile
To celebrate the anniversary show, this month the invited guests include many who have been on the roster for years, including musician Princess Frank, and spoken word by Richard McDowell, Lee Boek, and Eddie Reed (a former poetry student.) These and others, including the Angel Wing Artist Colette Miller who will be reading that night, have been regular performers, working for free and with such enthusiasm throughout the years that Broome credits them for the success of the Broome Room.
Everyone brings something unique and magnificent to the show. Lee Boek is a show regular and I always count on him to prepare a very special performance that he researches to match the theme. Yvonne de la Vega is amazing. Her collection of poetry is profound and unsettling, playing the guitar while she reads. Richard McDowell, once named the Poet Laureate of Downtown Los Angeles, dramatizes spoken word and poetry in such a raw and compelling way. It’s going to be a really wonderful night of local talent!
The performers scheduled at this time include a wealth of talent!
Spoken word / Original works of prose and poetry / Selected readings of Emily Dickinson:
- Lee Boek
- Yvonne de le Vega
- Colleen Sandland
- Jim Marquez
- Lida Parent Harris
- Colette Miller
- Desi Grisham
- Sonji Kimmons, Jazz pianist/vocalist
- The High 70’s (Princess Frank on drums)
- Renaissance Marie Austin, Opera Singer
- Robbie McDonald, pianist/singer
- Aaron Alonso G
- Ricardo Garcia
- Jason Carr
- Lilli Muller
Having attended the event on a fairly regular basis over the years, I have seen the evolution of the Mistress of Ceremonies and her original writings, which are a key component of the monthly series. A deep-thinker, the serious and intellectual Broome is also quite funny, with commentary and wisecracks keeping the event upbeat and entertaining. She is a prolific writer, graduating from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, where she sought out a Pulitzer-prize nominated poet, Michael White, as her writing mentor. He was a contemporary of many great American poets who taught poetry seminars during her senior year at school. Her prose reflects her deep love and respect for the genre.
I started writing as a child. Hilarious little vignettes that didn’t offer anything complex in way of theme, but were designed more to entertain my mother, who is one of the best poets I have ever known. I appreciate her giving me poetry as a passion in my life. I write two poems a week minimum, and have been doing so since college. I earned my bachelor’s degree in British and American Romantic Poetry and Creative Writing, so I have been writing consistently for a long time. I’m not sure I always wanted to be a writer, but I have always known I was a writer and nothing else. I am currently working on a book of poems that I hope to complete this year.
We hope you will join us in celebrating The Anna Broome Room and supporting the creativity of our community!
The Broome Room 5 Year Anniversary
Thursday April 26th, 2018
Art Share LA
801 East 4thPlace (corner of Hewitt)
Arts District of DTLA
Free parking at the lot across the street for event attendees until 11:30 PM
Performance Art by Aaron Alonso G
Poet Richard McDowell