Creative Collaboration club throws "Good for the Community" event

Holding the stick above his head, whirling it slowly, then progressively faster, all the while the fire at both ends of the stick raged and whipped with the night's wind, the fire dancer approached the edge of the crowd surrounding him, manipulating the stick around his arms and body ever so calmly. A woman shouted from the nearest part of the circle, "My hair is highly flammable!" The dancer lightly smiled and slowly stepped back from Aisha Conde, Ambassador of the Alumni Association. All the while, the over-sized flaming baton gracefully flew up above his head and back down again.

Despite fears of getting a touch too close, Santa Monica College student, Armand Kizirian's fire dance performance was definitely a crowd favorite at the Creative Collaboration Club this Sunday evening.

Featured at the African Firefighters In Benevolent Association Center (AFIBA) in Crenshaw, the CC Club invited artists of the Santa Monica community to showcase their work. The event's coordinator, Osiris Booque, explained that the purpose of the event was to "create a space wherein the student artists of SMC and other artists...[to] showcase their work." Booque also mentioned that goal in inviting all artists is aimed towards liberating and bettering of all society.

In order to help serve the event's theme "good for the community," Booque decide the event would be open to all ages as well as free admission. He explained that the students who volunteered to showcased their work were not paid, wanting to simply express their art. "If you express what you express, and if you believe in what you believe in, you are not worried about being paid for it, because you want to represent it,” said Booque.

Performances at the event ranged from poetry readings that alternated in English and Armenian, to the showcasing of student films, to singers.

“It was awesome, definitely representative of SMC and its students. Seeing a student on campus and then seeing them onstage is different, you get to see more than one person in a single body,” said Brittani Blackwell, CC club vice president.

As president of the Bike Club, Kizirian also created a short film that covered two hours worth of a vivid bike riding experience through Santa Monica’s city roads and bike trails. It is something new he expects to continue to “escape routine” and immerse more frequently with nature.

Other short films produced and acted by SMC students for the event, were symbolic of the struggles of the underserved poor and the American dream.Through the characters of a homeless young man and another who portrayed prejudice towards homelessness, the reality of the consequences that come with thievery and crime to achieve the American dream were revealed.

One after another, SMC students shared various stories performing spoken word acts and poetry, with some comically connecting through social awkwardness, and others expressing personal stories about the death of a loved one. One spoken word performer acted as a sound healer who translated the audience's vibes into symphonic sounds with the use of technology. Another performed a rap freestyle piece expressing social issues and personal conflicts. SMC student Andres Zapata, described his interest in poetry as taking root in his home country, Costa Rica, with poets in mind such as Pablo Neruda.

As one of the last artists of the night to perform, Pablo Lenero, part of the applied music program at SMC, performed a stunning piano piece he called "Lagrimas de un Torero" (Tears of a Bullfighter). He explained that it was the "machismo" or masculine pride that often oppress men in Mexico, that inspired his song. Playing for ten years, he described dedicating six hours a day this year to practicing, more than previous years.

As the event closed, Osiris Booque's Ubiquitous love Tribe took the stage.

"The best part is that artists can come together and share their talent with the students in camaraderie, as a student planned event," said SMC professor Wilfred Doucet.

Booque mentioned that this year was only made possible through the community, particularly thanking local farmers markets who spared some produce as well as Sweet Lady Jane Bakery who donated bread. He said there will be another Creative Collaborative Club artist showcase in the next two months.