Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Come out and play

Chad Deal parties with an insane lumbering monster.

Figment invites you to become part of the art.
Figment invites you to become part of the art.

Were it not for the photographic evidence, Figment could have been a hallucination. The annual Chicano Park festival is how American families everywhere would be spending their Sunday afternoons if Jello Biafra had been elected president. It had everything: hula hoops, karate demos, noise jams, art installations, cardboard-box forts, indigenous dances, graffiti, a tattoo van — all set up by local volunteers aiming to create an atmosphere of interaction.

“Figment calls out to everyone to participate in making art — people of all ages and community backgrounds,” says Nicole Hickman, who coproduced the premiere installment of the event with Brady Mahaney.

“By encouraging inclusive participation on the part of everyone, Figment helps people step outside the boundaries of sometimes insular communities and come out and play and build a larger community through art.”

Party HQ is all around you.
Stay Strange’s noise tent garnered awe from just about everybody.
Patrick Yurick of Little Fish Comic Book Studio

It may sound like idealist whimsy, but the moment I got to the park at around 11 on an early-April morning, I knew it wasn’t just wishful thinking. An impromptu parade marched around tooting on clown balloons attached to paper-towel rolls and banging on homemade drums. The parade snaked through the park, honking and blurping like a patch of wild mushrooms that had been brought to life by a cartoon wizard with a penchant for deconstructed polka.

Meanwhile, local sound pioneer M.J. Stevens (of 100-string guitar notoriety) beat on a crash cymbal affixed with a few springs, some beads, and a guitar pickup. The noise issuing from his amp alternated between haunting, metallic tintinnabulations and guitar-like wails, providing a villainous counterpoint to the colorful superheroes being painted at a nearby Little Fish Comic Book Studio installation.

Not far away, real-life superheroes gave passersby free flying yoga lessons as kids across the path sorted through a near-endless spread of cardboard-box forts. Between the pretty princess decoration station, theological musings strung across a clothesline, interpretive poetry videos with the Media Arts Center, and a giant box containing 75 feet of spelunking, there was no lack of creative diversion, but I kept coming back to the noise tent, where local “outsider art and music” collective Stay Strange had set up an array of circuit-bent toys, sound generators, and exotic instruments for an open, all-day jam.

“My original proposal was for Stay Strange to bring noise music for children to experiment with,” said founder Sam Lopez (Zsa Zsa Gabor, San Diego Experimental Guitar Show), who arrived before sunrise and manned the booth alongside his wife Misty and peers such as Scott Nielsen, Meyer Hirsch, Sean Conway, and Stevens.

“My thought was that by offering unusual instruments, it would open their minds to the unlimited possibilities of sound,” continued Lopez. “However, it turned out that not only did the children find these instruments interesting, but that their parents did, too. In some cases, the adults looked like they were having more fun than their children. I met so many people who wanted to be part of the experimental music movement, who either were afraid to step out or who had been out of the scene. But this event made them want to come out and be a participator. That is the power Figment.”

It certainly was something to see. Park regulars woke from afternoon naps to wail on Lopez’s brutally overdriven guitar and twist noise knobs while kids explored melodies on a pipe xylophone belonging to free-jazz composer Nathan Hubbard. Yet, beneath the chaos lurked a fundamental harmony, which Lopez describes thusly:

“The Figment Project brought together all of these great artists who knew absolutely zero about each other and created this insane lumbering monster bent on creation and construction.”■

Crash your party? Call 619-235-3000 x421 and leave an invitation. (@chaddeal)

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Dex Romweber Livestream from the Cave, Author Livestream: Clare Mackintosh

Events August 16-August 18, 2020
Figment invites you to become part of the art.
Figment invites you to become part of the art.

Were it not for the photographic evidence, Figment could have been a hallucination. The annual Chicano Park festival is how American families everywhere would be spending their Sunday afternoons if Jello Biafra had been elected president. It had everything: hula hoops, karate demos, noise jams, art installations, cardboard-box forts, indigenous dances, graffiti, a tattoo van — all set up by local volunteers aiming to create an atmosphere of interaction.

“Figment calls out to everyone to participate in making art — people of all ages and community backgrounds,” says Nicole Hickman, who coproduced the premiere installment of the event with Brady Mahaney.

“By encouraging inclusive participation on the part of everyone, Figment helps people step outside the boundaries of sometimes insular communities and come out and play and build a larger community through art.”

Party HQ is all around you.
Stay Strange’s noise tent garnered awe from just about everybody.
Patrick Yurick of Little Fish Comic Book Studio

It may sound like idealist whimsy, but the moment I got to the park at around 11 on an early-April morning, I knew it wasn’t just wishful thinking. An impromptu parade marched around tooting on clown balloons attached to paper-towel rolls and banging on homemade drums. The parade snaked through the park, honking and blurping like a patch of wild mushrooms that had been brought to life by a cartoon wizard with a penchant for deconstructed polka.

Meanwhile, local sound pioneer M.J. Stevens (of 100-string guitar notoriety) beat on a crash cymbal affixed with a few springs, some beads, and a guitar pickup. The noise issuing from his amp alternated between haunting, metallic tintinnabulations and guitar-like wails, providing a villainous counterpoint to the colorful superheroes being painted at a nearby Little Fish Comic Book Studio installation.

Not far away, real-life superheroes gave passersby free flying yoga lessons as kids across the path sorted through a near-endless spread of cardboard-box forts. Between the pretty princess decoration station, theological musings strung across a clothesline, interpretive poetry videos with the Media Arts Center, and a giant box containing 75 feet of spelunking, there was no lack of creative diversion, but I kept coming back to the noise tent, where local “outsider art and music” collective Stay Strange had set up an array of circuit-bent toys, sound generators, and exotic instruments for an open, all-day jam.

“My original proposal was for Stay Strange to bring noise music for children to experiment with,” said founder Sam Lopez (Zsa Zsa Gabor, San Diego Experimental Guitar Show), who arrived before sunrise and manned the booth alongside his wife Misty and peers such as Scott Nielsen, Meyer Hirsch, Sean Conway, and Stevens.

“My thought was that by offering unusual instruments, it would open their minds to the unlimited possibilities of sound,” continued Lopez. “However, it turned out that not only did the children find these instruments interesting, but that their parents did, too. In some cases, the adults looked like they were having more fun than their children. I met so many people who wanted to be part of the experimental music movement, who either were afraid to step out or who had been out of the scene. But this event made them want to come out and be a participator. That is the power Figment.”

It certainly was something to see. Park regulars woke from afternoon naps to wail on Lopez’s brutally overdriven guitar and twist noise knobs while kids explored melodies on a pipe xylophone belonging to free-jazz composer Nathan Hubbard. Yet, beneath the chaos lurked a fundamental harmony, which Lopez describes thusly:

“The Figment Project brought together all of these great artists who knew absolutely zero about each other and created this insane lumbering monster bent on creation and construction.”■

Crash your party? Call 619-235-3000 x421 and leave an invitation. (@chaddeal)

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Discovery of priest’s letters reveals tension between church, locals

Culture Clash
Next Article

Ocean Beach trash altruist

Cameron Reid covers Niagara and Narragansett, Sunset Cliffs to Abbott.
Comments
1

Thanks for this great writeup of the event, Chad! :) - Nicole

April 25, 2013

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close