The Vortex is more than a low-cost event venue committed to supporting worthy causes. It’s a hub of creativity and activism. Got something you want to do to help the world? Bring it to The Vortex!
Melvin Ishmael Johnson, Artistic Director of Dramastage-Qumran, leads the workshop every Monday evening from 7 to 9:30 PM at The Vortex. He trains veterans to work as stage managers in the Los Angeles theater community, and coordinates mentoring and hands-on training in various aspects of media and theater production in collaboration with HomeFront Rising and Robey Theatre Company. Melvin, a Marine veteran, is leading our development of a full-scale Veterans Community Theater Company based on the Community Theater Model and NESONA Model, which merges the arts with anti-violence strategies and conflict resolution. You can email him at email@example.com. Click here to see the Veterans Community Theater workshop schedule.
The Shortland Film Competition is hosting five events – four preliminary rounds, and a championship round – at The Vortex in 2016. Each round has its own unique set of filming criteria, so it’s not about submitting a film already in existence, it’s about creating something brand new under challenging circumstances; including a time frame in which the film is finished, a line of dialogue, props, and a topic. Each round ends with a wrap party, where the top 12 films from each round are screened for industry professionals, indie movie lovers, and the competing teams. Congratulations to Jazmin Harvey and Edmund Lozano and their team for grabbing first place in 2016’s Round One 48 hour film challenge! Their touching story of secrets, double lives, compassion, and finding unexpected trust screened on April 16. This film was a judge and audience favorite, and rightfully so. It had everything; story, cinematography, acting, sound, editing, and a great interpretation and use of the festival’s requirements.
The Strindberg Laboratory, an innovative nonprofit that presents professional theater workshops and plays for disadvantaged populations, holds weekly rehearsals and workshops at The Vortex. People Magazine recently published a long piece about the work co-founders Michael Bierman and Meri Pakarinen have been doing with California inmates. It includes a video report by People correspondent Tiare Dunlap:
PRISM is an interdisciplinary art event the producers describe as “an abundant harvest of entertainment and information…set adrift through the rhapsody of live music, dance, circus and visual art.” Come and go as you please. Enjoy adult beverages, tea or hookah while witnessing live performances and presentations from an eclectic mix of artists. A portion of the proceeds will benefit HomeFront Rising, a cultural revival fueled by veterans and their allies. Click here for tickets/info, and check out the video below for a taste of what you’ll see on October 24.
Individuals from nearby homeless shelters who came to The Vortex today were shocked when they were given the opportunity to engage in dialogue with Pope Francis who spoke with them via satellite from the Vatican. The exchange was part of a special edition of ABC’s 20/20 scheduled to air Friday night.
The Vortex proudly hosted Operation Help The Homeless on July 24. Hundreds of volunteers gathered to assemble essential life kits that were distributed on Skid Row the following day. In the coming weeks and months, The Vortex will serve as a hub for developing and rapidly deploying emergency housing solutions. A robust and diverse cross-section of the community is committed to ending homelessness in partnership with veterans whose military training will be applied in innovative ways to the civilian sector.
Award-winning filmmaker Varda Bar-Kar not only mentors veterans, but creates content with them. Varda was a volunteer at the VA in Los Angeles for many years, and we couldn’t be more excited to find out she’s now working with our friends at HomeFront Rising. Her video amplifying Rep. Alan Grayson’s critical analysis of free trade – shot here at The Vortex – was released on April 29, and so far it’s attracted about half a million views on Facebook and YouTube. The video itself – not just Rep. Grayson’s advocacy – has generated media coverage by Fox News and Thom Hartmann (“Absolutely brilliant!”).
HomeFront Arts is a nonpartisan social enterprise that produces all sorts of entertainment and public affairs content in various formats and genres for all media platforms. Whether or not it reflects their personal political views, veterans who frequent The Vortex have the opportunity to develop their craft and gain valuable experience when they participate in projects such as the Grayson video.