Excerpt from the Hopscotch album, Track 5. Composer, Marc Lowenstein
“This chapter shows Lucha and Jameson starting to fall in love. They take a winding path through Hollenbeck Park and look over the lake.
In the 1950s when authorities plotted the Golden State Freeway, they planned for it to jut right over the lake in this historic park. Locals saw it as an arrogant attack on their neighborhood, and many still claim that the neighborhood has never been the same since.
“As they’re walking, musicians all over the park suddenly seem to be playing in harmony.
“Lucha and Jameson’s internal monologues open up into irresistible love songs before they share their first kiss.
“Even a roller skater starts to sing along.
“The major inspiration for this scene – which dictated the direction of Marc’s dance-like music and Ann’s colorful, fantastical costumes – came from the movie adaptation of Pajama Game, which was shot in that park 60 years ago. The characters in the movie fall in love, proclaiming it a ‘Once a Year Day,’ and suddenly everyone in the park seems to be dancing and singing. In Los Angeles, real history and the fictional history of cinema constantly overlap with each other; part of the psychogeographic mission of Hopscotch was offering audiences another performative fiction that interacted with both histories in an indeterminate way.
“We chose the colors specifically for each character. Lucha would be yellow as the sun, joy…it’s a color that holds is self present all day… Orlando is brown, of the earth. Jameson is black and white as if it is a distant, noir character… We have our musicians in blue, which are of the sky, and of the things that are very California,” says Hopscotch costume designer Ann Closs-Farley, as she displays her inspiration board at the first rehearsal of Hopscotch.
“One of the sad ironies of Hopscotch was that it was this chapter of blossoming young love that raised the ire of a small but aggressive anti-gentrification faction in the neighborhood. Although we were warmly welcomed in all the communities that Hopscotch visited, including many of the residents, businesses, and arts groups of Boyle Heights, this antagonistic group was vocal in their hostility towards the singers and musicians and disrupted the final performance.
Stephanie Williams speaks about the impact of her surroundings on her performance
“Most of us who created or performed in Hopscotch devoted ourselves to art because of our faith in its constructive social power and its ability to celebrate and inspire togetherness – so it saddened all of us to be confronted with a perception of our work as alienating and threatening. That our communal vision of a diverse, multitudinous, and open city could still be misconstrued, even after a year-long process of dialogue and outreach, reminded all of us what it meant to be doing work in unrestricted public places, where everyday life and art intermingle. Every if other chapter may have offered audiences and passersby a powerful example of art’s ability to transform our view of the streets, this experience in Hollenbeck Park showed us all how much work there is yet to do in our very own city.”