Back in September I walked into a big white room on Melrose Ave and watched a woman holding an infant to her chest grab a microphone and lead a room in call and response.
“I’m not going down!” she ad-libbed, the audience repeating after her and clapping along in affirmation. The room was packed.
Behind the woman and her cooing baby, bassist Evan Flory-Barnes and singer Hollis Wong-Wear (of Macklemore “White Walls” fame) improvised incredible jazz tunes, a humbling display of talent from some of the city’s best musicians. Then all of the sudden, Nathan Quiroga from Iska Dhaaf grabbed the mic and let loose a blazing freestyle rap, a sly nod to his past in Mad Rad.
This sort of surreal, inspiring mixing of disparate talents from across the city is what Lovecitylove is all about. Created by skateboarding artist/photographer Lucien Pellegrin, Lovecitylove exists as an artist community space “run by artists, for artists” as Pellegrin puts it.
“We’re about leaving the ego at the door and being with each other,” Pellegrin says. “The space is all about ‘collaborate’ rather than ‘compete.’”
The September performance described above was ostensibly going to be the last for Lovecitylove as the lease ran up on the room, leaving the arts community that had sprung up around the project without a home.
Pellegrin managed to find a new home for Lovecitylove above Ed Murray’s campaign office on 1430 Summit Ave, an enormous room lined with windows. The only catch was that the space came with 22 tons of debris inside of it: piles of wood, metal shelving, paint cans, tables, and a giant cubicle. After hauling out the junk, Pellegrin and some friends slapped a coat of white paint on everything and hauled in a free Craigslist piano, and all of the sudden Lovecitylove came to life again, bigger and better than before.
In addition to continuing the regular Wednesday night music improv nights with Flory-Barnes and Wong-Wear, the new space is open to any artists who need a place to do their thing.
“If you’re a budding photographer and want to set up a shoot, you can do it there. If you’re a writer and want to have a poetry reading, you can do it there. If you build tables by hand using found objects and you want to display your line of tables, you can do it there. Anything really,” Pellegrin says, “the sky is the limit. It’s an all inclusive place and we won’t push anyone away because you haven’t ‘built a name for yourself.’ We just designed it to empower artists who can then empower each other. All are welcome.”
If you’re interested in booking the room for a project or show, contact firstname.lastname@example.org