Make art, not traffic: Artmageddon offers a Carmageddon diversion

Written by
Why drive when you can Butoh in the meadow at Silver Lake?

A few weeks ago I was hanging out with friends at the glorious Silver Lake Meadow (kind of a grassy equivalent to the beach for those of us who live on the east side) and we noticed a group of people nearby, moving very slowly. They weren’t in sync, and it wasn’t Tai Chi.

Eventually, one of the gliding group approached us and told us about Butoh in the Meadow, and how it was a practice run for Artmageddon, an alternative-to-Carmageddon movement, if you will, that’s taking place this weekend. Now, every weekend there’s an abundance of art and performance all over the LA area. But this is a concentrated effort–designed to get you to stay in your neighborhood and walk or use mass transit to various cultural experiences you would ordinarily miss because you’re  too busy zipping around in your car.

You don’t have to wear a white flowing gown to participate (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

Butoh, it turns out, is a modern dance form that dates back to 1959.  Poet and dancer Khadija Anderson is leading the meadow frolic.  She says that often people who perform Butoh paint their bodies and faces white to make a blank canvas. To achieve this effect, body flour will be provided to all who come out to the meadow dance.  Anderson says Butoh is really more about the dancer “working from the inside, the expression and movement comes from what’s inside,” she says. “It’s an incarnation happening in front of your eyes.”  And anyone can do it–and that means you.  (I’d join in myself, but I’ll be part of the traffic problem on my way to moderate a panel at the West Hollywood Book Fair.  Which, if you live in that part of town, can be your own version of  a cultural diversion to the 405 shutdown.)

9am Sunday at the Silver Lake Meadow

Here’s my chat with Khadija and Brenda Varda, who has wanted to gather people at the meadow for a slow dance since it first opened: