Everyone said Los Angeles is a city for cars not pedestrians. So we got lucky because screening at the New Urbanism Film Festival we got to see another side of LA altogether.
A great bunch of people, all focused on how to make cities more about people and less about cars!
#HumanStreets in other words. Perfect for the street piano film.
There were films with communities deciding to control their neighbourhood traffic successfully using flower pots, sculptures and even picnic areas .
Also films about homelessness, – a massive problem in L A with 58.000 people currently homeless.
There were many many films about bicycles including two winners from Kampala and Hanoi – delightful!
FRIED DUMPLINGS & BICYCLES – Brenda Mattick
CYCOLOGIC – Emilia Stålhammar, Veronica Pålsson, Elsa Lövdin
There was some brilliant live comedy about random conversations on buses that totally inspired me to only use the buses to get around. I met a man originally form Stamford Hill who wanted to talk about why he thought Prince Charles should not become king. Random definately. He says he still missed London after 30 years.
On opening night Josh Paget the festival director and his team pushed an old piano down La Brea Boulevard and plonked it outside the theatre for the festival.
It created a lot of cosy street life in the sprawling urban landscape of West Hollywood. That is what pianos do best, spread the magic!
The brilliant films all with themes like bereavement, suicide and anxiety were much more inspiring and uplifting that might be imagined!
Hats off to Scotland for putting on such a worthwhile festival. Shining a beacon of light in the Age of Austerity. Public services can survive. We got to see some great films.
Hum Nathan Fagan Ireland was screened in our category Music Matters exploring how music can benefit mental health, a brilliant film.
Summer of 1993 Dir Carla Simon Spain and Waterfall Tom Lock Griffiths UK both wonderful films and worth looking out for!
And Tom Binns of Glasgow Piano City together with Richard Warren director of the festival arranged to locate a piano in the foyer of Glasgow Contemporary arts festival for the day.
We delivered a street piano on September 13th for public to play in the Grenfell Community art space Westway, London. The piano brings music to a neighbourhood in grief, after the tower block fire tragedy. Piano donated by John Reid Pianos and tuned by Roy Martin so it totally sings now. Beautiful community healing space created by amazing volunteers who have transformed the walkway under Westway over the past 3 months into a warm and welcoming community memorial space for all.
Letter from Marion who volunteers as her family live there:-
“The piano is being constantly played, by a hugely diverse array of people, all with that same look of absolute joy & happiness!
Tonight, after the silent vigil, the lovely young Moroccan & I played together, wow, so emotional & beautiful. My granddaughter got to play her duet with me and then all the kids wanted to learn it, somehow, we got it going really well, with loads of them! So much fun for those children who’ve been surrounded by sadness! One of the mum’s plucked up courage to play her funky couple of chords, someone started a chorus, others joined in, all moving, some dancing, singing, laughing, lost in that magic moment of spontaneous music, some of these people I’ve not seen even smile in the last three months.”
World premiere and our first festival selection we did not predict. It was South Korea! The amazing Film and Music Festival in Jecheon JIMFF. It was such a great experience taking the street piano documentary there. The film very well received – screened with Korean subtitles and great questions at the Q and A, a brilliant translator was there with us. The hospitality was supreme. They support the arts in an inspiring way. The festival was set in a beautiful lakeside location. We went to spend a few days in Seoul on way home, – it was filled with wonderful places and wonderful food! Would recommend a visit! It was all a wonderful reminder that music is without doubt a universal language.
Well it was homeless on October 1st. After the Piano Day Event it was wheeled past the shiny new one that had taken over its place and was locked away in storage at Herne Hill Station, safe but lonely.
It was then rescued for the third time in its history.
This time by Simon Nash who wheeled it (2 miles!) to his communal offices at Green Oil Ltd Brixton.
Our story in pictures.
Carrie in Clapham had a piano she no longer wanted – she answered our freecycle ad. We collected it took it to Clockwork Studios Loughborough Junction where Staffan Gnosspelius painted it beautifully. Then we brought it to its new home Clapham Junction Station.
Now travellers and station staff have more live music in their daily life – and get a chance to meet someone they may have not met before.
Henri Herbert boogie boogie maestro and street piano legend launched it for us Sat Oct 15th.
This is our documentary in a nutshell. The aim of the film is to inspire more stations, and neighourhoods to do the same. In the film we see the transformation these pianos make to city life and the lives of the people that play them.
We are raising funds to finish the film on an indiegogo crowdfunder.
Click here for indiegogo fund page
Take a peek at the perks – would you like your name/your friends name on the Clapham Piano £25 ?
Lets all have a great night at the Ritzy with DJ Wizard Jamie Renton £15
It would be exciting to have more pianos out there. Your support hugely appreciated!