Tuesday, August 9, 2022

How The West Got Funked Up! New Exhibit at William Grant Still Arts Center (Photos)

Charles Wright: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

*Los Angeles – the William Grant Still Arts Center presented the 10th Annual African American Composer series Exhibition and Educational Program “How The West Got Funked Up.” The exhibit will be on display March 10-June 9, 2018.

William Grant Still Arts Center Entrance: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

How the West Got Funked Up, is an exhibition of original artwork, magazine articles, concert posters, archival photographs, an a significant discography related to a movement that changed the sound of music on the West coast of the United States called FUNK.

How The West Got Funked Up! Signage: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Despite the inclement weather, an over flow crowd assembled into the “Community Treasure”- William Grant Still Arts Center on Saturday, March 10th for the opening reception and concert, 3:00-6:00pm. The crowd wasn’t going to allow the weather to dampened the spirit of the FUNK.

The Universe X and the FunkStarrs paid tribute to West Coast funk. The group consisted of Marcus L. Miller-drums, Eric Endo-guitar, David Leach-congas, Rodney V-drums, and Cori Jacobs on keyboards, plus the amazing vocal styling of Maiya Sykes. Sheila Lewis an original Soul Train Dancer demonstrated some funky dance moves from back in the day.


Marcus L. Miller: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Cori Jacobs: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Eric Endo and David Leach: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Rodney Kimball and Ronnie V: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Maiya Sykes: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Sheila Lewis and Mello Bluez: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

The funky grooves were immediately felt throughout their two engaging sets. Their opening tunes appropriately enough was “Express Yourself” by Charles Wright who was in the house. They continued their set with a James Brown medley, “Get Off that Thang,” “Papa Don’t Take No Mess,” and “Funky Good Time” which served as the unofficial theme for the reception.

The music continued with “Use Me” by Bill Withers. Guest vocalist Maiya Sykes did justice on Chaka Khan’s Tell Me Something Good” followed by “Slippin’ into Darkness” by War, Skin Tight” by the Ohio Players, “Cutie Pie” by One Way and concluded their exciting funky first set with “Funkin’ for Jamaica” by Tom Browne.

They stayed in the pocket of the funk grooves during their second set with the tunes “Bustin’ Loose” by Chuck Brown, “Give it to me Baby” by Rick James, “Knee Deep” by Parliament, One Nation Under a Groove”- Funkadelic, “California Love” by Zapp and Roger, “Outstanding”-Gap Band and “Xplosive” by Dr. Dre.

The materials exhibited chronicles the influence of FUNK not only in music and art of Los Angeles, but also as a cultural shift. The curatorial perspective of the exhibition begins with Charles Wright and The Watts 103rd Street Band and N.W.A’s Straight Outta Compton as bookends using seminal song “Express Yourself”, both original, then later sampled as anchors. The exhibit features examples of FUNK, from all over the globe, that led to the P-Funk movement, to California’s own sound of G-Funk to explore the odyssey this music took us through.

The artwork of Overton Loyd, Adah Glenn, George Clinton, Houston Conwill, Ulysses Jenkins, Uhuru Moore, Norman Maxwell, Gustavo Alberto Garcia Vaca, Snake Doctor, AISE Bourne, CRE8, are among a few that will sit along albums, ephemera from collections on loan from our community, including those of, Charles Wright, Tommy Jackson, “Arabian Prince” Nazal, Farid “Fredwreck” Nassar, Robert “Televandalist” Lockerby, Alden Kimbrough, Alonzo “Lonzo” Williams, Marco De Santiago, Lonnie Marshall, Rickie Vincent, Scot Brown, Medusa, Carmelita Ramirez Sanchez, Omar Ramirez, staff personal albums and photos and more. Exhibition designed and curated by Amitis Motevalli, with the help of staff and Funky neighborhood.

Snake Doctor: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

The focus on FUNK is being presented in conjunction with William Grant Still’s annual African American Composer’s series. Now in its 10th year, the exhibition series celebrates the life and work of African-American composers each spring. Combining community archives and original artwork with free arts education. The William Grant Still Arts Center focuses on teaching music and cultural history to beginning and intermediate students of all ages through practice and playing experience via the works of groundbreaking musical innovators in the tradition of the Arts Center’s namesake, Dr. William Grant Still.

The William Grant Still Arts Center gallery hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 12-5PM. Address-2520 S. West View Street, Los Angeles, CA. 90016 (323)734-1165 www.wgsac.wordpress.com


Ricky Richardson is a Southern California based writer, music reviewer and photographer.




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