As I get older, it has become harder and harder to keep myself to the promises of fun things I’m going to do during the summer. From dialoguing with my community, I realized that I’m not alone. To relax and do the things that make us happy amidst all of life’s stresses and worries has to become a practice. How many of us living in Los Angeles actually go to the beach regularly? How many of us who love art ACTUALLY go to an art gallery? Remember that one time you went to the park and played frisbee or when you went to that one dinner where you met a bunch of awesome people and drank maybe a little too much? Yeah, let’s do it again. We want people to realize the importance of taking OFF to just enjoy themselves, and to come out and play.
cARTel: Collaborative Arts LA is a multimedia arts organization dedicated to creating unique opportunities for emerging artists through both large-scale events and intimate performances. We put on music festivals, film festivals, theater, and just about anything you can think of that has anything to do with art. Every year, we put together an interactive, ensemble-created show that centers around a specific question like: “What are the stories that have been passed down in your family?,” “What does a relationship look like at two in the morning?,” and “What does a birthday mean to you?”
For this year’s ensemble-show in Los Angeles, I chose to create The Happy Summer Project, a traveling, interactive, word-driven collaboration between brilliant poets, rappers, comedians, bloggers and more reflecting on the question: “What, in your everyday life, makes you happy?" I wanted to create a celebration not of what we WANT out of life, but of what we already HAVE. The show will not take place in a traditional theater—we will perform in everyday places that inspire happiness from people, such as a beach, park, bar, restaurant, art gallery, and more.
Because we’re changing the locale each time, the show will change based on where we are. In one hour, you will see poetry, rap, comedy and more, blended together with movement, visual art, and music. You’ll watch a lyricist rap about the joys of fast food, which will intersect with a songstress mashing up love songs and a comedian musing about growing up in the Middle East. During the piece, audience members will be asked questions and sometimes even share with the crowd.
Each performance will be followed by one big group activity with the audience that correlates with the location. For example, when we’re at the park, we’ll do yoga together led by a yogi master. When we’re at the bar, an epic beer pong challenge will ensue. Through these activities, we’ll get a chance to hear your stories, and what makes YOU happy. The goal is to help people to focus on the good, to realize that the little things that make us happy are actually very big things and we’re lucky to have them.
So, in honor of the Happy Summer Project, I took my own advice, and did something I haven’t done in years—I went to a water park yesterday. And then I got a season pass. What are you doing this summer?
Answer these five questions about what makes you happy and your responses will be included in our Happy Summer Project live show in Los Angeles. Click here to DO it.
If you're in Los Angeles between July 27 and August 11, get your tickets for The Happy Summer Project in Los Angeles here.