From the outside, it looks merely like a house. But inside, it's a home for the arts, said Leonore Brown-Llubien of Purple Cat Productions, a cultural establishment that she founded several years ago on a residential street in North Hollywood.
Tonight, the arts center will present "Parchment," its first multicultural program. It is a spoken-word event that will feature poetry, storytelling, drama and comedy in English, Spanish and, she hopes, other languages.
The evening's lineup will include Rose Monroe, who addresses current world events in her poetry; Art Garcia, whose monologues center on personal motivation and positive thinking; Steven Frequez, whose prose focuses on healing the human psyche; Bruce Heinsius, a stand-up comedian, and Mark Tanks, whose poetry and storytelling deal with human consciousness and African issues.
Brown-Llubien said she organized the event to foster "more of an awareness and understanding of people and their various cultures, more respect for the different cultures." Ultimately, she said, she hopes that such programs can contribute to the elimination of racism and prejudice.
In an effort to attract people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, Brown-Llubien distributed hundreds of promotional flyers to cultural centers, libraries, schools and various multicultural organizations, and also contacted potential participants through a direct-mail campaign.
Brown-Llubien and her mother, Esther T. Brown, started out nine years ago with a child-care center. Eventually they added music instruction and performing arts events. Over time, the mother-daughter team decided to change direction and pursue strictly arts-related activities.
They plan to continue expanding their program, under the umbrella of Purple Cat Productions. In 1988, the Premiere Academy Orchestra was founded under Brown-Llubien's direction. Besides its regularly scheduled concerts, the orchestra will present a chamber music series this spring. In the months ahead, Purple Cat Productions also expects to present a variety of spoken-word events, as well as several fine-art exhibits.
"It may be hard to find us because we're not on a main street," Brown-Llubien said. "But we're here--and we have so much to offer."
"Parchment" begins at 7:30 tonight at Purple Cat Productions, 6716 Simpson Ave., North Hollywood. Sign-ups start at 7 p.m. Admission is $3. Information: (818) 890-5662 or (818) 982-9116.