2012 Meet Me @ Metro III will be on the Metro Gold Line two weekends — August 25 and 26, and September 1, and 2, 2012
Discover LA by Metro:
A Traveling Circus where the Audience and Performers Travel – on the Metro Blue Line!
This weekend (July 9-10, 2011) is your chance to run off and join the circus, thanks to Meet Me @Metro II, a delightful group of guerrilla-theater-like performances presented at Metro stations along the Blue Line. The Metro becomes a circus train, bringing excitement to stations from 103rd Street in Los Angeles to 1st Street in Long Beach.
The box office opens at 10:30 a.m. at the Watts Towers Art Center, a few blocks from the Blue Line 103rd Street Station. The fun-filled show starts at 11 a.m. at the Towers and continues at venues at or near the Del Amo, 5th Street, and 1st Street Stations, ending back at Watts Towers about 2 ½ hours later.
Now in its second year, with plans already starting for next year, this Metro/Theater event was organized by the Watts Village Theater Company in collaboration with several other local arts organizations and was inspired by transit-centered performances in New York and San Diego. One of its goals is to introduce people to the Metro Rail and new neighborhoods. As one of the performers asks during the finale, “Was the journey the show, or the show the journey?”
To start the show, a circus parade of dancers, musicians, clowns, and a huge puppet reminiscent of the Bread and Puppet Theater bring you to the amphitheater adjacent to the Towers. Here you are welcomed to the “Wonderland of Watts” by Simon Rodia (Maria Pasquarelli). After this performance segment, Rodia and other performers escort you to the 103rd Street Station for the trip/show.
Aboard a southbound Blue Line train along with Rodia, accordionist and Obie award winner Rick Burkhardt, and other performers, clowns, musicians, and dancers, the show entertains unsuspecting Metro riders along with the paying audience. We found ourselves in the middle of a flash performance by dancers from Opera del Espacio during the ride.
At the Del Amo Station, a whistle-blowing clown from the 24th Street Theatre/Teatro Apolo (Tony Duran) ushers you to the parking lot. While Blue Line trains pass on the platform overhead, he performs an intense dance tribute to the tsunami victims that reminded us of the modern Japanese butoh theater/dance form.
In Long Beach, near the 5th Street Station, you enter the Found Theater where this imaginative group has created “Cirque de Stupide!”
This funhouse environment, inspired by the long-gone Long Beach Pike amusement area, is an elaborately staged circus sideshow. Unfortunately, the visit here is too quick to take it all in.
The circus continues south to the 1st Street Station, where The Long Beach Theatre Arts Collaborative meets you. Musicians and clowns lead you to Promenade Park. After a welcome to Long Beach performance, all are invited to help decorate a temporary mural.
Back at the Del Amo Station, a “homeless veterinarian” hands out pennies as you go to the parking lot again, this time to see the Gangbusters Theatre give a brief history of Compton while solving a Rubik’s Cube puzzle in less than 75 seconds.
Arriving back at the 103rd Street Station, you’re greeted on the platform by the Killsonic Band, a 25-piece punk-jazz ensemble that parades you across the pedestrian bridge back to Watts Towers, where the performance ends with a group celebration.
We enjoyed ourselves immensely and recommend Meet Me @Metro II to all.
Be aware that audience members need to walk several blocks to get from and to the venues at Watts Towers and the Long Beach Promenade Park. People with disabilities and/or pushing strollers may be unable to use the pedestrian bridge near the 103rd Street Station. They can take the same stair-free route to the Watts Towers as they did from the Towers to the station. The event has no other access barriers.
Restrooms are available only at the Watts Towers Arts Center and the Found Theater (5th Street Station), and there are no meal breaks. We brought sandwiches and bought water at the Arts Center, but we were cautioned that eating and drinking are not permitted on Metro platforms and trains.
After the show, we suggest a tour of Watts Towers and the adjacent Watts Towers Arts Center, both of which we’ve previously featured.
Admission, which includes an all-day Metro pass, is $11 on Saturday, July 9; pay what you can on Sunday, July 10. A visual interpreter will be present at the Saturday performance to aid the visually impaired. The box office opens at 10:30 a.m.; advance tickets are available through EventBrite.
Take the Metro Blue Line to the 103rd Street station. Exit on the north end of the platform and turn right on 103rd Street; go one block to Graham, turn right to Santa Ana Blvd. and walk through the park to the towers at 107th Street.