– Casey Goldstein
Today could be summed up with one single word; art. To begin an amazing day, we satisfied our stomachs with an authentic brunch at a 50’s style diner called Peggy Sue’s. Don’t believe me? Even the waiters wore 1950-based outfits to allow us to flash back to this unique time in history. As our stomachs digested, we boarded the bus and watched “Crash”. This movie exposed racial stereotypes and events that occurred due to assumptions based on the ethnic origins of people who came in contact with the authorities. After the completion of this movie that nearly brought people to tears, Etgar tested out meeting with workers at the Skid Row Corporate Responsibility Organization. This eye-opening event provided us with information about the economically unstable and homeless people living in this Skid Row area of LA. Due to cleanup for the olympics and gentrification, these streets of LA are being joined by new homeless faces daily. This area is known to be composed of drug addicts and criminals. However, as we learned today, there is a greater sense of community that fills the air of this town. This organization enlightens the government and surrounding towns with this knowledge through parades and festivals.
During both events, personal expression occurs through the art work and music of local town members. After this interesting meeting, we walked the streets of The Grove. This outdoor mall and farmers market allowed us to experience the diversity and sense of community that radiates throughout LA. Lastly, to perfectly conclude an informational day, we attended a poetry slam. As the poems filled the theater with emotions that were too numerous to count, we heard the deepest of stories from people who were merely strangers. Most of the poems regarded love, economics, and peace. All of the poems involved anger, passion, sadness and hope. As one of the poets clearly stated, “‘I’m not here for any of you, I’m here to get this off my chest for me.'” Therefore, just as we enjoyed hearing personal and relatable stories, the performers enjoyed relieving their emotions in a poetic manor. Etgar 36 has a core purpose of allowing people to find themselves. For this reason, watching influential people find themselves in artistic manors greatly assists us in proceeding on our journey of doing so ourselves.