While on any given night Los Angeles is home to nearly 4 million stories, it takes just one of those stories to humble one’s sense of place in the community. Last night at Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural and Bookstore was one such occasion for me; surrounded by poets, storytellers, musicians, and other activists from around the city for Open Mic night, I could only manage to get a few shots of the show before I just sat down and listened to the performers for the evening.
Tia Chucha’s is located in Sylmar, but don’t let the drive from L.A. stop you from checking out its beautiful offerings. In addition to featuring open mics every Friday, the folks there also provide a diverse selection of literature by writers in and around the L.A. area including that of one of the bookstore’s principal founders, L.A.’s newest Poet Laureate Luis J. Rodriguez, as well as books by Montserrat Fontes, Laura Esquivel, and much more.
The store also provides classes for the L.A. community on everything from arts and crafts for the kids, to indigenous danza classes for adults, to reading groups, and a wide array of other programs for self-expression and learning.
Like most non-profits, Tia Chucha’s operates all year-round and can always use a donation for its services.
To learn more, get involved, or check out the organization’s schedule of events, visit their website or check out their Facebook page. Of course, I would more than recommend just seeing their stuff online; just go and see the place for yourself! Its people are great listeners, avid culturalists, and always welcoming new friends, as they heartily showed me and the other first-timers there last night!