Dancers from Brazeros Coletivo Escéncio and the Watts Village Theater Company open Meet Me @ Metro III in the East Portal of Union Station with “The Traveling Towers.” The production — in two parts, opening and finale — depicts the history of the Watts Towers and the community, from immigration to artistic invigoration. Since this is the first year that Meet Me @ Metro hasn’t gone to the Watts Towers, the Towers come to the audience through clever construction using PVC pipe and hula hoops. The dancers provide a strong opening for this Metro journey and the piece sets the travel theme.
Discover LA by Metro:
Meet Me @ Metro III a Gold Line Treasure Worth Discovering
You still can be be part of one of the hottest Metro experiences in LA — the unique artistic collaboration Meet Me @ Metro III, a flash-mob event combined with original drama written specifically for community sites. Final performances run Saturday and Sunday, September 1-2. The shows start at 11 a.m. and 12 noon both days. Admission, which includes an all-day Metro pass, is $20; pay what you can for the noon performance on Saturday, September 1.
After seeing a dress rehearsal of Meet Me @ Metro III and attending the opening performance on August 25, we are extremely impressed with the show. We loved Meet Me @ Metro II last year and are even more excited by this year’s show, Uncovering Los Angeles’ Hidden Treasures, which has some real gems — particularly the on-train performances of Opera del Espacio; playwright Joe Luis Cedillo’s Ascencion performed by Company of Strangers; and the musical accompaniment of Ollin and Rick Burkhardt, who bring the show to the Metro.
At the first station stop — Mariachi Plaza — members of Moving Arts depict the souls who made Boyle Heights famous and still haunt the Plaza. The piece gives an interesting slice of LA history, highlighting gangster Mickey Cohen. Clever costuming brings the spirits to life, but the Paranormal Communications Specialist seems contrived. We felt it would be stronger for the spirits to interact directly with the audience.
You will be treated to an eclectic group of performances presented at Metro stations along the Metro Gold Line. The six station-site performances of Meet Me @ Metro III begin at Union Station and travel east along the Metro Gold Line, stopping at Mariachi Plaza, Soto, and East Los Angeles Civic Center Stations, and end back at Union Station about 3½ hours later.
Our favorite work is the site-specific original drama Ascención, by Joe Luis Cedillo, performed at Soto Station by Company of Strangers. A fine piece of theater which has tremendous emotional impact, it brings life and history to its urban venue. When a spirit comments about the gathered crowd of the living, “They got no connection, ain’t no vibe to them. Life’s wasted by the living,” we hear echoes of one of our favorite contemporary classics, Wilder’s Our Town.
An unexpected treat is the installation art by Ramiro Gomez Jr. on display at the East LA Civic Center. East LA Civic Center is a hub of activity with performances by Rogue Artists Ensemble (joined by Opera del Espacio), giant puppets, the Salesian High School Mustangs Mariachi Band, and other roving performers.
Although a bag lunch – provided by Coffee and Crepes by Vicky – is served at the East Los Angeles Civic Center, about halfway through the show, you may want to bring along extra snacks and water. We found the lunch to be an uninspired contrast to the performances. Be aware that eating and drinking is not allowed on Metro trains and platforms, but there are opportunities to refresh at the station stops.
All along the route, audience participants are accompanied and entertained by musicians and dancers traveling with them on the Metro. The eclectic repertoire of Ollin has something for everyone. Again this year we were mesmerized by flash performances by dancers from Opera del Espacio. Their rehearsed movements look spontaneous while making it look easy to glide through moving trains. Additionally, these performers also augment the casts during some performances at stations.
On your second visit to Mariachi Plaza, you witness a musical duel. East LA Rep portrays a Los Angeles of the 1850s when outlaws want to silence the Mariachi rhythm and the man with the guitar saves the music. The costumes and staging in this delightful piece quite effectively carry you back in time.
The box office at Union Station East Portal opens at 10:00 a.m. You can buy tickets (which include a Metro Day Pass and bag lunch) there or in advance on-line. It is advisable to arrive at least 30 minutes before showtime to check in at the box office and get a color wristband, your Metro Day Pass, and be assigned your Meet Me @ Metro tour guide and a group to travel with along the route.
We enjoyed ourselves immensely and recommend Meet Me @ Metro III to all. After attending the dress rehearsal, we have some suggestions to help you enjoy the experience.
So hop on Metro for Meet Me @ Metro III!