Watts Towers Arts Center - 1727 East 107th St. - L.A. - 90002
-Lighting Ceremony: Friday Sept. 28, 2001, 7:30 pm -- 10:00 pm.;
-20th Annual Day of the Drum Festival: Saturday Sept. 29, 2001, 10:00 am -- 6:00 pm;
-25th Annual Simon Rodia Watts Towers Jazz Festival: Sunday Sept. 30, 2001, 10:00 am -- 6:00 pm
"Simon Rodia was a man of uncommon vision. Using only a tile-setter's tools, the Italian immigrant worked alone for 34 years to build one of the largest works of art ever created by a single individual. The structures he called Nuestro Pueblo (Our Town) are now famous globally as the Towers of Simon Rodia, in Watts. Simon Rodia left these magical towers as a testament to the power of a dream..." City of L.A. Cultural Affairs Dept.
"...I was standing in the middle of a fenced enclosure in a bungalow slum looking up at the spires of the great strange architectural cluster known as the Watts Towers, an idiosyncrasy out of someone's innocent anarchist visions...The towers and birdbaths and fountains and decorated posts and bright oddments and household colors, the green of 7-Up bottles and blue of Milk of Magnesia, all the vivid tile embedded in cement, the whole complex of structures and gates and panels that were built, hand-built, by one man, alone, an immigrant from somewhere near Naples, probably illiterate, who left his wife and family, or maybe they left him, I wasn't sure, a man whose narrative is mostly blank spaces, date of birth uncertain, until he ends up spending thirty-three years building this thing out of steel rods and broken crockery and pebbles and seashells and soda bottles and wire mesh, all hand-mortared, three thousand sacks of sand and cement, and who spends these years with glass specks crusting his hands and arms and glass dust in his eyes as he hangs from a window-washer's belt high on the towers, in torn overalls and a dusty fedora, face burnt brown, with lights strung on the radial spokes so he could work at night, maybe ninety feet up, and Caruso on the gramophone below...When he finished the towers Sabato Rodia gave away the land and all the art that was on it. He left Watts and went away, he said, to die. The work he did is a kind of swirling free-souled noise, a jazz cathedral..." ---Don DeLillo, "Underworld" (1997)