Category Archives: About me

Kingdom Day Parade- Los Angeles

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr I attended the Kingdom Day Parade pretty close to where i live off of Crenshaw and MLK in LA. Below are pictures from the exiting event!

 

There was a LOT of police officers
There was a LOT of police officers

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high school Marching band
high school Marching band
Love this
Love this

 

beautiful
beautiful

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Rare insight! – Center Theatre Group, Student Ambassador program

Just recently i got into center theatre groups student ambassador program.

Binder full of info!
Binder full of info!

CTG student ambassador program is  a free program for Los Angeles County high school students who are curious about the arts and want to build leadership and teamwork skills.  – CTG

CTG LOGO
CTG LOGO

Being in the program you get access to many opportunities such as seeing plays, attending workshops all for free and much more! Did i mention you get paid 500$ stipend in the end or community service hours for completion of the program!  But that is not what this program is about- Its about building a trust and friendship with people who may be very different from you or very similar  and working on helping the arts and our community such as fighting for arts in public schools, making the arts more accessible and much more.  One reason i applied is because i want to use theater as a form to connect and inform people with their community.

Crash course workshop at CTG.Always have a great time here! Thanks CTG!  not taken by me
Crash course workshop at CTG.Always have a great time here! Thanks CTG!
not taken by me
Binder full of info!
Binder full of info!

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In order to get in you first submit an application then if you get accepted into semi finals it is a group audition where you sort of get assessed on your teamwork and leadership skills and more but in a fun way through games and food!

swag !
swag !

 

Then once you get in there is an orientation with breakfast where parents and guests were invited to hear more about the program and have a nice brunch with a scavenger hunt we went around downtown and grand park in teams to find clues to solve puzzles resulting with awards ! It was super nice because it was like i was in another decade not having my phone on me was super nice for a change!  I also wasn’t  about anything except if solve the clues and riddles right!

The program requires a lot of commitment missing more than one meeting could result in removal from the program if you know that you are going to be busy any of those days or just not show up at all  it might not be the best fit !

Every meeting starts with some nice food (as always) and some warm ups to get everybody confident and ready to work.  Some exercises include Augusto Boal   and also some that involve speaking out and becoming comfortable with yourself and who YOU are or what you identify your self as.

New CTG Ambassadors!!
New CTG Ambassadors!! and our awesome Mentors/leaders Felipe and Camille!!

This is just a start i have SO much more to say and am going to be posting more about each meeting !!!

If you want to learn more about the education programs CTG offers click HERE! 

My Article on Center Theatre Group! – Crashing Into a Career in Theatre

Just recently i got the chance to write about one of the many student oriented events Center Theatre Group has had called Crash Course diving into the play Father Comes Home from the wars parts 1,2, and 3 by the great Suzan-Lori Parks! . CTGs environment is always welcoming and warm and i am now on there Student Ambassador program which im super grateful for! 

Here is my Article! 

During the best of/worst of times called “adolescence,” finding a passion for something—and getting support for others as you pursue that passion—can save your sanity, and maybe even your life! Center Theatre Group’s Theatre Crash Course opened its arms and its doors to a group of adolescents trying to find that passion in theatre—and inside those doors is a world of possibilities.

Getting into the three-day Theatre Crash Course, which is free and open to teens all over the city, is based on your own initiative, not on competition. The fact that no prior experience is needed is really great for some teens who haven’t found their niche yet. Beforehand, everyone signed up for the discipline of their choice: lighting and scenic design, costume design, acting, or directing. I chose costume design, which sounded super interesting and was totally new to me.

Being welcomed into Center Theatre Group’s creative family may be one of the most enjoyable and exciting experiences I’ve had as a young theatre artist. From the moment my fellow Theatre Crash Course participants and I stepped into CTG’s Downtown L.A. headquarters, we were put at ease by a warm and open vibe, nice music, and a CTG swag bag! Did I mention that they fed us? I arrived on two buses straight from a long day at the L.A. County High School for the Arts and was starving before every session, so the fact that they anticipated teenage hunger made me feel “got.”

After theatre games (which break all social barriers in seconds), we dove into deconstructing the play: exploring and unpacking the tone, themes, and overall world of Father Comes Home From The Wars Parts 1, 2 & 3) by Suzan-Lori Parks, an upcoming production at the Mark Taper Forum. This epic drama follows the fortunes of a slave, Hero, who heads off to fight in the Civil War—on the Confederate side! That alone was enough to pique my interest. The questions the play posed about slavery and freedom provoked discussion and debate in our group: a necessary practice—and a playwright’s job. The play’s world taught us so much about the era as we connected to it in an emotional way—which is very different from when we studied this period in school.

Then we got into action. Our teaching artist shared what it’s like to be a professional costume designer, which made me put it on my list as a possible vocation (there are a lot of actors, not so many costume designers). CTG supplied us with crafts and materials—everything from big sparkly gems to rough burlap—to start designing outfits for maquette dolls, as well as magazines so we could cut out or draw our ideas for what we think would fit each character best. We searched for ideas online and tried to figure out what people wore in the 1800s in the South, which meant comparing fabrics for house-working slaves to field-working slaves and looking up what breeds of dogs accompanied soldiers in the Civil War. (There’s a dog in the production, played by a human.)

The second workshop challenged us, but we rose to it! We cut all the fabrics to create the costumes we wanted, and sewed or hot glued them together. We also peeked in on the other groups: the lighting and scenic designers were creating dioramas of the set and experimenting with different gels (which change the color of the lights), while the actors were rehearsing the scenes that the student directors had chosen. It was super exciting to learn about all the different opportunities in the theatre world.

I also learned that being in an ensemble involves a lot of cooperation. I hadn’t known that in order for a production to go on smoothly, each department needs approval from the director or actors. For example, if you’re making a costume, you have to make sure that the set designer’s work is compatible with that costume and won’t be too fussy on stage.

Our third and final workshop was a presentation for the public (aka family, friends, and some observing teachers). We shared our vision of the play and demonstrated our work in front of a live audience.

Viewing all the ideas our fellow groups had come up with was inspiring and impressive. We covered a six-week professional production process in just six hours total!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lily Larsen is an ambitious activist and artist ready to help anyone in need yet also inform and inspire her peers to take action and speak up on important issues. You can find her at AdolescentActivist.com.

Photo credit:

Students celebrate after the fall 2015 Theatre Crash Course workshops come to an end. Author Lily Larsen is in the back row, far right.

– See more HERE -the grid.com

Always have a great time here! Thanks CTG!
Always have a great time here! Thanks CTG!

Marching in the Same Parade: 10 years later

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This summer i got to march in the Mexican Independence day parade in east LA right on Cesar Chavez ave.   Thanks to mayors youth council we got to march with  the mayor spreading awareness on the #savethedrop campaign.

Had some awesome sopes after!
Had some awesome sopes after!

 

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The celebration showed culture and tradition yet also reflects on parts in Mexico’s past, present and what they hope to be the future in the community.    Schools from all around the East area marched and many dancers doing traditional dances from the past, there were also soccer heroes and people from TV shows too. IMG_5086IMG_5056

 

I had a blast and cant wait to march next year! have fun looking at all the pictures.!

 

 

MAYORS YOUTH COUNCIL – ITS MY HONOR !

Just yesterday marked a orientation for new students joining the Mayors youth Council of Los Angeles.

It included a really nice fancy lunch from a range of sandwiches and high end treats.  Then we got to experience Firefighter chief Ralph M. Terrazas speak. He gave a really inspiring and motivational talk on

when we got a picture with the Mayor
when we got a picture with the Mayor

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perseverance and information on the LAFD  and California.  The helicopter used in the movie San Andreas flew over city hall twice!

MYC shirts
MYC shirts
Mayor!
Mayor!

Youth council is split into locations  East Valley, West Valley, East area, southwest, southeast, Central and the west side.  I represent East area which serves around 16 communities which includes Boyle Heights, East La, El Sereno, Eagle Rock, Chinatown, Highland, Cypress and  Glassel park, Alhambra  and more. I’ve been on it since the beginning of the year.

 

After we dispersed into our groups and met people in the same group we would be in then our area representative taught us about all the different kinds of government rules there are and also about Los Angeles specifically and the branches of government too.

 

Later, the Mayor Eric Garcetti came and talked to us! Telling us about the history of youth council and the amazing opportunity it is and how lucky and grateful he is to have us on his council and teens and how age doesn’t matter we should be treated as important people even through were teenagers we have opinions which what Garcetti addressed!! Awesome!!

 

Overall i had a great time and will post more about what its like to be on Mayor Eric Garcettis youth council representing Los Angeles!

Going to Arts HIgh School – LACHSA

What its like going to an Arts school which happens to be one of the top Art schools in the Country is very weird and hard but also crazy and fun all at the same time.

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Typical crazy fun LACHSA halloween.
Typical crazy fun LACHSA halloween.

 

The school i go to is called lachsa which mean Los Angeles county high school for the arts. Literally people move there from all around the country because its known for its arts program unlike majority schools from 8-12:30 is academic classes when from 1:30-4 is all arts classes in what department we auditioned for and got into.

What i’m here to talk about is the environment of the school compared to other schools. There is a very social justice type vibe in the school which is good i think maybe because the school is very right brained and open.

 

One thing i do appreciate about the school is how aware many people are of the issues going on. For example last year the students held a protest and rally where we marched holding signs and people expressed there feelings  towards the Black Lives Matter movement and we listened to poetry too.

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Also our school is very big on LGBT rights id you were to use the term “Oh that’s so gay” or ” whata f*g”  you are definitely looked down upon and people will probably educate you on the topic and how that’s not okay.

 

It’s a fun school because we have so many events compared to other schools like on Halloween and other festivals food trucks are usually hired and we have a big costume competition which includes music and crazy costumes.

We also have a taco Tuesday every month where Tacos are sold and the students DJ some Rap or trap music.

Josh Groban !! Alum. And apparently it was rumored that Fergie went there too !
Josh Groban !! Alum. And apparently it was rumored that Fergie went there too !

Overall its pretty cool but so stressful- waking up at 5:30 and not getting home till 6 (thanks to  public transpo.) is super tiring especially if you also have to worry about your grades too.   Trying to keep good grades is super hard but i manage to do it even if the teachers aren’t really keeping us updated on anything i just check the website and see what i have to do usually getting it over with so i can work on more Activism based stuff.images

But it’s also not a typical high school experience there are no football games,  Homecomings or sports for that Matter

One you could either put as a pro or con about the school is that it is on a College Campus so you have a Food Court and a library but also an extremely long walk to the bus and have deal with sometimes rude college kids and admin.

I definitely know that probably no matter what department you’re in at the school you’ll be well informed on that subject by the time you get out of high school that you won’t even have to study it in College. We learn a lot despite a lot of hard work.    Overall it’s a cool school  its better then majority schools out there  !!

Also in class we sometimes do a lot of activism based work !

 

 

Why this teen got off of social media

 

WHY I WENT OFF SOCIAL MEDIA. (coming from a teenager) 

One thing i did this summer besides go vegan was deleted ALL my personal social media accounts. (e. instagram snapchat facebook)   Now most would think “oh  big deal anyone can do that”. Well,  Lets find out if that’s true here. 060310_1904_Areyouaddic3

I use to constantly obsess over  “how i wish i was in any decade but this one” i really prefer the aesthetic of other decades (70s clothes, 50s architecture etc)  and how everything wasnt so dependent on phones and computers.    But i realized just recently it’s not about the decade or time,  you have to appreciate the time you’re in and be in the present.    Alot of people these days have some sort of social media account and way to access it.6th-Oct-2014-30-of-Snapchats-users-are-in-the-US

Instagram Facebook & Snapchat  are essentials to having asocial  life now a days,  just sitting in your room or at a restaurant liking other people instagram posts or watching other people’s snapchat stories.  Basically if you don’t have a social media account and your in highschool and everyone you know does..your technically considered weird and live under a rock.

Not experiencing the beauty of the park.  Dont look so happy do they..???
Not experiencing the beauty of the park. Don’t look so happy do they..???

One thing i noticed before getting of social media was how much time people would spend on their phones!! And i mean it’s like 24/7.    When  you’re hanging out with a friend or group of friends it’s always fun to go places and do stuff!!! But what i noticed when i hang out with peers nowadays  and a lot of kids these days who hang out with there friends too is that there just on there phone the whole time!! snapchatting everything and sending it to there friends !!!  Or on vine looking at videos for hours on end.

he is not enjoying himself so he resorted to a la phone
he is not enjoying himself so he resorted to a la phone. It seems that s.m can be an escape for some people.

I noticed this a lot with so many people my age,  younger and older!!  It made me think of what teens  would do before cell phones and instagram all that stuff. What about the 70s or the 20s??  Well when i asked my dad what they used to back in the 1970s he said ” We were outdoors a lot, fixing our skateboards, riding bikes we were all in a pack and would bike around the area go to different peoples houses”     There’s always stuff to do,  start a band or make crafts or just lie on the floor and listen to music! (one of my favorites).

How your profile/ account can define you and people will judge you off of your account and only your account
How your profile/ account can define you and people will judge you off of your account and only your account

Now i’m not saying social media is a bad horrible thing. It CAN go BOTH ways. Its a good way to spread things around or get people to know about things or maybe feeling good when someone comments on your selfie. But also how fast information can get twisted, cyber bullying etc. one of  the main reasons i got off was because it was just straight up waste of time i mean seriously.. That selfie  would take an hour to snap then edit and post and think of caption.  I realized no one is going to remember that selfie or post of coffee  its not worth the time.   And the constant need to be on it 24/7 to see if anyone has posted anything or liked your photo.

 always on his mind during everything
always on his mind during everything

Also on instagram and other apps that include picture taking i felt my self esteem and confidence in my face go down because it was all fake, The edited selfie all that stuff  .  It  lowers your self esteem in how you appeal to others because the feel that you have to edit or photoshop yourself.  Its not your true self and then i would feel that if there was someone i knew from instagram or snapchat but never met and saw them in person i would feel that i don’t look like what i do in the picture i had posted.

Eight teenage girls distracted with their phones at carnival are they really  appreciating the moment?
Eight teenage girls distracted with their phones at carnival
are they really appreciating the moment?

I also felt that everybody has such a great life only thinking this based on a post of there friends or updating their status about a event they went to.  It would turn me against people without them even knowing  it because of how fake and “perfect”  everything  would seem when maybe they actually got in a fight with someone that day or is actually very sad and depressed.  You dont know things like that. I also noticed how people would risk something just for that video to post on vine or picture for instagram.  Or  post certain things that can be very dark and depressing  for personal attention.  Many of these programs are very addicting  and   triggers a part of your brain that is also triggered by dopamine eek!

he is not enjoying himself so he resorted to a la phone
he is not enjoying himself so he resorted to a la phone

When i did have an instagram i would sometimes log off and give myself a break for a day but then  you start to worry “i bet a bunch of people snapchatted me i really should check it” or “what if someone is hacking my instagram right now” i better check it” I couldn’t live like that. The best thing was to just cold turkey get off of everything.. PERMANENTLY!!

stats. very surprising yet the year this was made is uknown
stats. very surprising yet the year this was made is unknown

At first didn’t want to delete my instagram  this  was because of my feed. (i know… really?)  It was because of all my photos and how cool everything looked on it. That’s why a couple of my friends haven’t deleted there instagram “its to precious, like  a baby” same with snapchat “but so many people watch my story i would lose all that”

constantly bombarded.
constantly bombarded.

The thing is once you deleted your facebook or instagram whatever you use, You just forget about it a week later.

ha
ha

After i got off i was also SO much happier. And started to really appreciate things more and appreciate my life more. And it’s very easy for me to talk to people i also read books and do crafts knowing that a lot of my friends go straight on the phone after school.  Also being off has helped myself become more organized. Its so weird but in a great way.  Many could think “oh they don’t have instagram or vine they are so not cool…” the thing is being off of that stuff is cool!!! It shows how much of a life you have and is not just behind a screen all day and night.

Teenagers lying on floor with Ipad and mobile. There are literally NO diversity of race in these pictures.
Teenagers lying on floor with Ipad and mobile. There are literally NO diversity of race in these pictures.

My friends were actually proud that i did knowing none of them have gotten off yet, but i think if they do they’ll have the epiphany i did. For some reason getting off has also made me super comfortable in my own skin wherever i go yet super nice to people and appreciative at the same time. I’m not constantly thinking ” oh i should totally instagram that or snapchat this or tweet that” wherever i go. I no longer have that need to take a selfie anywhere.  I’m more focused on my life and the life of others through real eyes not a screen!  And  how adventurous life is.

:/
:/how annoyed they seem above in comparison to below!

the comparison

 

I suggest you try it for a while and see how it goes. !!!!!!!!!!!

 

-Lily L.

 

NONE of these pictures are mine. I got them off of google images.