Photo courtesy of Lisa Beth Anderson.
Though the loss of Long Beach innovator and music lover Markus Manley is still being felt, the many who discussed ideas with him are moving forward in the spirit of Manley’s own dedication—including the Society for Long Beach Music, one of the many projects Markus had his hands in, an advocacy group that will be hosting its inaugural show in his honor tonight.
Founded by Manley, music therapist and local musician Menchie Caliboso, and current Post Executive Editor Sarah Bennett, the Society for Long Beach Music came to fruition after the three discovered they were on the same wavelengths in regard to Long Beach music: it needed to be documented, investigated and thought about more critically than it has been. And even more, a conversation needed to happen--it needed to include the city's diversity, the mixture of people and sounds, and it needed the dialogue to be heard as much as the musical notes.
"It's not just music that sparked the creation of Society for Long Beach Music, but it's the people and their stories that breathe life and cultural depth into Long Beach music," Caliboso says. "Ethnically and economically, we are living in one of the most diverse cities in the nation--and because Long Beach is a relatively small metropolitan city, its size has made the city a rich mosaic only unique to Long Beach, giving way for a lot of great cross-genre musical collaborations in the community."
Manley, who passed away March 18 at the age of 39, sat with Bennett and Caliboso for nearly a year of weekly meetings trying to conceptualize what the Society would do and how it would function. The main question was simple: “How do we get people thinking and talking about Long Beach music—not just listening to it?” Through its Facebook page and Twitter--where stories and thoughts on Long Beach music past and present are shared--it has already started that conversation. The spotlight on Long Beach music will continue through summer shows, mixtapes and even zines, the first of which will be available at Thursday's show.
Bennett and Caliboso feel the inaugural event, dubbed The Markus Manley Mixtape, was thus essential for two reasons: to honor Markus’s memory and love for music while also keeping alive what they had originally set out to do.
The event will be held at 4th Street Vine in the heart of Retro Row, with free live acoustic sets from an array of Long Beach performers. The performers confirmed include hip-hop artist and Sandbox Social Club owner Rajh, blues singer Dennis Robicheau, and other special guests.
"'How has living in Long Beach given shape to the creative process to musicians here?' 'And how has Long Beach music reflected our culture here?' Those are questions that we hope to explore in creative and interactive ways with Long Beach musicians and residents," says Caliboso. "Music scholar Josh Kun's Sonic Overdrive: Songs in the Key of LA event sort of serves as a model to Society for Long Beach Music."
The Markus Manley Mixtape will be held at 4th Street Vine, located at 2142 E 4th Street, at 8PM tonight.
You can keep up to date on all the conversations by liking Society for Long Beach Music's Facebook page.