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The ticket also includes two drinks. Water, of course!

Rhythms of the City is an experience not to be missed. But why is this happening so cool, powerful, challenging, and moving? This is my take on it.

The Rendon Gallery is an old hotel surrounded by construction of modern buildings reminding you of times passed. I wonder how many people stayed, slept, lived and made love in those rooms. The 40-room-3-story structure from 1914 is now falling apart, and will definitely be gone very soon. With it, the stories (and electro magnetic fields of human bodies) will forever disappear and be forgotten. Maybe that’s why the setting is so evocative. This ephemeral moment can stay with you forever or pass over your head completely. What do I mean? Ok, first things first.

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Yes, they were filming the whole adventure!

This was my first time visiting the place and experiencing a very well organized collaboration among composers, Art lovers, musicians, singers, dancers and tech crew. You can say that the owners of the Rendon Gallery are moved by concepts not all people can grasp, but to me what they did can be call Poetry. It reminded me of an electronic dance party I went to inside of an old ship in San Francisco many years ago.

At the Rendon the audience moved from room to room listening to the same piece of music being played and sung with different worldly accents. Trios, solos or quartets of musicians, and also dancers from Spain, Senegal, China, Brasil, Peru, Armenia, India, among many others, were supported by a wonderful tech crew and performed in synch guided by the counting of composer Heitor Pereira’s voice on their earphones.

There were speakers hanging on the ceiling of the hallways so the audience could follow the tune while moving from place to place. The rooms were also named Jazz, Rock, Blues, Nature Percussion, etc. I tried to stay in one room as quick as I could, so everybody could get to experience each ensemble. After awhile I started to relax and enjoy each artist without thinking about taking a picture (almost everybody had a smart phone on hand.) The journalist in me took sometime to enjoy the musical waves bouncing on each other and on the walls. But little by little the gracious movement of a Chinese musician, the contortions of a Flamenco dancer, the face expression of a Native Indian singer, and the incredible tap dancer improvising with Senegal players got a hold of me and took me to another realm. When I woke up from my trance I was watching the opera singers dancing with the rapper at the finale. My heart was smiling and the show was over. How come? That fast?

The song is played 3 times during the 45minute session and you can learn how to manage your stroll from room to room. I tried my best but at the end I missed some spots and had to stay for the next show. I’m glad that the organizers sensed the challenge of the audience and allowed us to stay for the next performance.

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Finding friends everywhere!

In the beginning of the show the presenters welcomed the audience and the composer said: “I wrote a simple melody so everybody could contribute a lot. (…) Each room represents only a cell of what happens every day in this city. Before the audience entered the building, Heitor Pereira added: “I’m grateful for Los Angeles because this city has embraced my family. Here my kids grew up.”

Afterwards’ ruminations…

And here we are, living in a polarized world and interacting with different cultures every day. What an enchanting and great opportunity to challenge our lives and to become better human beings. I hear and talk about immigrant issues all the time, and I believe I interact with them well. But how many Americans do? When the show ended I thought I had solutions for all the ailments of the world. I felt surrounded by goodness. I walked back to my car while doubts and questions returned to my mind again. Can we observe, absorb and resolve our issues with each other? Can we sing the same song with different accents and construct a better and kind world?

Yes, that’s why this is a cool, powerful, challenging, and moving experience to me.

P.S.: Did I mention 100% of the proceeds will benefit a Los Angeles non profit that brings music and technology education to underserved youth?

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