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Eagle Rock Music Festival: A night of firsts for these local artists

Leslie Garcia, Eagle Rock High School Latin Jazz Band | Photo by Dennis Lara-Mejia

By DENNIS LARA-MEJIA

EAGLE ROCK — A portion of Colorado Boulevard echoed with the sounds of local musicians, singers, bands and their cheering fans on Saturday night. The 18th Annual Eagle Rock Music Festival featured some headliners, like Las Cafeteras, that are well known on the local music scene. But, the festival also included many lesser known and unknown newbies who were showcasing their music and art.

The students of Eagle Rock High School’s Latin Jazz Band played on the lot of Rantz Auto Center. Leslie Garcia, tenor saxophone player and sophomore at Eagle Rock High, beamed as she listed the instruments that comprise the school’s band: saxophones, trumpets, trombones, basses, congas, bongos and timbas.

Garcia has been playing the tenor sax for a year and a half. Saturday was the first time she performed for a music festival audience.

“I didn’t expect a crowd since we went on so early, but the crowd eventually came,” Garcia said. “I usually don’t think about the crowd—I think about the music—that way I don’t get really nervous.”

Eagle Rock Music Festival

Photo by Dennis Lara-Mejia

One of the booths that lined Colorado Boulevard last night belonged to a visual artist’s brand named Perpetual Fungus. It was the first time that Adriana Blancarte, a local artist who was selected to showcase her surreal photographs, had a booth all to herself.

“I take photos of miniature toys and put them in different scenes,” Blancarte said. Those scenes include holiday panoramas, animals ingesting other animals and scenes with “lots of glitter.”

The first time her eye and camera lens made contact with these miniature tigers, lions and bears was at a thrift store in Santa Barbara. Blancarte, originally from San Jose, California, started taking photos in 2009.

But what’s behind the peculiar name Perpetual Fungus?

“Fungus was the name of my bunny who died,” she said. Blancarte purchased the gray doe at Santee Alley—a bargain hunting corridor located in Los Angeles’ fashion district. Soon after Fungus died, Blancarte turned to photography.

Recently, she has started working on original mixed media illustrations. She pointed at an illustration hanging on the wall of her booth. The picture is full of clouds behind a flurry of rainbows and bubbles. At first glance, the clouds look like a repeated pattern of everyday cumulonimbus, but in reality they were smoke clouds from the recent La Tuna fire that burned nearby.

“I took that photo in Glendale on top of Adams Hill,” Blancarte said.

Artist Adriana Blancarte | Photo by Dennis Lara-Mejia

Garcia and Blancarte served as proof that the Eagle Rock Music Festival is true to its mission of nurturing up-and-coming local talent in Northeast L.A.

Dennis Lara-Mejia is a journalist based in Southeast Los Angeles who is interested in research, stamp collecting, postcard exchanging and comic books . 
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