Echo Park's much-loved autonomous zone the Machine Project has hosted not just fascinating art but fascinating music, too, for much of its lifespan. Now the space has been commandeered by a combination of both for eternity–or at least the next 24 hours, starting Saturday at noon–with an Internet-broadcast telethon designed to fund a retirement home for artists at the Salton Sea.
This ninth in the series includes fifty participants and is the first to run 24 hours and the first to take over Machine Project as well–a sign of strength and power that bodes well for all those creative types hoping to spend their twilight years amid the fish skeletons at the beach. Burtle and Telethon co-founder Niko Solorio speak now about what every second of those 24 hours will hold.
How did you choose Machine Project for the 24-hour Eternal Telethon Event?
John Burtle: Some of the past telethons have been in spaces (like our shared living rooms) in which it would have been too imposing to have a 24-hour event with over a hundred people coming through. Also, Machine has provided support in the past for many of the telethon artist and is a valuable part of our community. We are glad to be working with them. Along with their Echo Park storefront, Machine is donating a weekend stay at their new reading residency to be given away to one lucky telethon viewer.
Are there any veteran Telethon performers for this event? Any new blood?
John Burtle: We try to to work with a mix of artists in our communities as well as artists affiliated with the various spaces who host the event. With Machine there is definitely a lot of overlap. We are always excited to have BYOFF, who have performed in five telethons with anywhere between four and eight members. Miggie Wong who has performed in six telethons, will be collecting balloons throughout the entire broadcast and at end of the 24 hours create a moment of silence to explosion. Adam Overton, who did this performance at the Eternal Telethon under a blanket, will be doing thirty experimental meditations in thirty minutes. Emily Lacy will be performing the spectrum of her musical styles, from acoustic American folk standards to her ambient electronic songs, and everything in between. I'm also really looking forward to the debut of Yettie Spaghetti and the Halloweeners, an anonymous collaboration of two performers whose work I've loved for years. It will be the first telethon founding member Ina Viola Blasuis has been able to attend in person since the world premier, so that is very exciting for us. There are also a hundred other things that will be happening during this episode on November 20th and 21st that will make it glorious… cactus puppetry, lo-tech light shows, Pangea, lullabies, midnight with Who Are We?, wearing other peoples shoes, self defense demonstrations, air guitar, dance breaks, drinking date shakes, surprise guests, playing Simon Says, spontaneity, crowd surfing with Robby Herbst, talking with people from different countries in the chat room, Butterescher Pencil-Pusher, getting untangled with Body City, big hats, breakfast, comedy, a live news broadcast with artist reporting from around the globe, hanging out with over a hundred amazing artists doing what we love…
Do you hope for the Telethon to truly be eternal?
John Burtle: As long as artists need support to produce their projects, there will be a need for the Eternal Telethon. The retirement home could always use another wing, personal chef, swimming pool, air conditioner, observatory or jungle room, so I hope that there will always be artists to run and/or participate in the telethon. Some people have asked, “Won't the Eternal Telethon be over once you have the land for the retirement home?” That's the point when I think the project could get really exciting.
Niko Solorio: I believe that the title of our last telethon answers this question quite well … which is “Eternal Telethon: The Future is Eternal!”
The Eternal Telethon can be viewed online at www.eternaltelethon.com starting at noon on Saturday, Nov. 20, or visited in person at Machine Project, 1200 N. Alvarado St., Echo Park. machineproject.com.