Pan African Film Festival - Movie Review: "Leimert Park Voices"

It all started on Facebook, with an invitation, then at the box office, then in the lobby and at last in the warmth of the movie theater. It was like a family reunion. I walked into the theater and saw friends who I hadn’t seen in years.

         I made my way to my seat, and then, just before the movie started, the Directors/Producers were making their way down the isle when Paul Calderon (Co-Producer, Co-Director, Editor) spotted me and stopped to remind Alan Swyer (Co-Producer, Co-Director), “…hey it’s Stevie Mack, he’s one of the cinematographers who shot with us on this!”

        This took me by surprise, because I remember working with them on something way back when, but I didn’t realize it was THIS monumental documentary, “Leimert Park Voices”, which is now in talks for major distribution.

This documentary was well put together. It brought tears to many of our eyes for various reasons; joy, inspiration, sadness, happiness, and mixed emotions. We applauded when memorable faces lit up the screen and laughed when funny points were made. The music, poetry, interviews and images brought back memories of a vibrant village cherished in the hearts and minds of all who shared in the “golden era” of it’s incubation.

After the screening there was an emotional discussion on the documentary as well as the state of the Leimert Park Village today. Some felt Leimert Park’s best years have passed; while others felt the need to revive the village, pump in new life, money, arts and culture. I used this as an opportunity to let everyone know about and all the wonderful transformations and revitalization going on, including the last Sunday Art Walks.



Plot Summary:     “Leimert Park Voices” is a poignant look at the rise and fall of a black cultural Mecca in the heart of hard-core LA gang turf. Using what became known as “The Last Poetry Reading” as its spine, the film melds interviews and archival footage together with poets ranging from Watts Writers Workshop veterans to cutting-edge “freestylers” of today to examine a Southern California African-American tradition that dates all the way back to the halcyon days of LA’s celebrated Central Avenue scene of the 1940’s.

        Featuring luminaries ranging from legendary drummer Billy Higgins, trumpeter Roy Hargrove, Amde Hamilton of the Watts Prophets, and Grammy-winner Billy Childs, to the spoken word masters of tomorrow, the film traces the progression in music, dance, poetry, and culture from Be-Bop to Doo-Wop to Hip-Hop.

         Never shying away from social issues, the film addresses racism, police oppression, and above all the relentless co-opting of Black Culture. At times angry, at times sad, at times edgy, and often very funny, the film is an oral history, a feast of poetry and music, and a look at an artistic community that flourished during a very special moment in time.


❖ Paul Calderon: Co-Producer, Co-Director, Editor


Alan Swyer: Co-Producer, Co-Director

❖ Camera Operator: Stevie Mack




Views: 116


You need to be a member of Leimert Park Beat to add comments!

Join Leimert Park Beat

Leimert Park Beat is the news and social network for Leimert Park and the surrounding neighborhoods. Stay informed. Join now!


• Got news you think everyone should know? Blog it.

• Have a show or attending a benefit? Put it on the calendar.
• Video of the big game? Embed it.
• Photos of your business or the school play? Upload them.


With your help, raised money to hire reporters, graphic artists and community members to cover our area.
Read the stories - Urban Economy 411, Redevelopment Hell and One of these don't belong.

Latest Activity

Profile IconLatest Events - University Park Family

MUNYUNGO! Jackson "Music Heals...!!!" @ The "new 'n renovated" World STAGE *updatez* ~

Jan. '20 - EOM - Pre-Black History Month -No photo description available.

Wuz Hot! - January ends & February opens w/ a SoCal (J)azz week including... Munyungo(!)...…
See More
52 minutes ago
DojO- posted a blog post
2 hours ago
Profile IconLatest Events - Culver City Times

Rorschach Fest presented by Open Fist Theatre Company

Perception is everything. Open Fist Theatre Company opens its 30th anniversary season with three programs of short works, performed in rotating repertory, by playwrights renowned for pushing the boundaries of…

See More
8 hours ago
DojO- updated an event

CSUDH-TV "Straight-Ahead-Jazz +" w/ Jazz Prof. Chet Hanley - *updatez* [No Sho- 1/28th] ~ at California State University Dominguez Hills

January 28, 2020 at 7pm to May 5, 2020 at 10pm
To Whom It May Concern: "live" Jazz-Ed. on TV (w/ call-in)WEEKLY: Tuesday Nights - 7 to 10PM ~ (live)"Yes, we return…See More
12 hours ago
DojO- commented on DojO-'s event "BreakiN'ews" Andrew Yang 2020 "Fun-raisinz" - YanGang, YangO'crats
"Andrew Yang 2020 - final ad before the Iowa caucuses:We know our plan is working -- we saw it yesterday when we got 4 qualifying polls in less than 24 hours. So it’s more critical than ever before to get this ad on air & hit our goal so we…"
16 hours ago
DojO- commented on DojO-'s blog post MUNYUNGO JACKSON @ The 'newly-renovated' World STAGE "TGIFri." Jan. 31st 9PM ~
"|_ive On-/-\ir: RISE on KPFK 90.7FM "...regular announcement(s) regarding local community events & performances." by "Humble Facilitator" Mark Maxwell, reg. Host (23yrs+) "The best live radio sho- of…"
21 hours ago
DojO- posted a blog post
DojO- commented on DojO-'s event "BreakiN'ews" Andrew Yang 2020 "Fun-raisinz" - YanGang, YangO'crats
"From: Yang2020 HQ -- BREAKING: Two new qualifying polls: This is huge news..After ABC News/Washington Post released a qualifying poll last night putting us at 7% nationally, a CNN/UNH New Hampshire poll released this morning has us at 5%.…"

© 2020   Created by enhager.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service