I think I remember what it was like to be a teenager. Those years fill my head with a multi-sensory mosaic of sounds, scents, and images. On weekends, open mic nights and turntables, packed coffee houses, warehouses, church basements, and the occasional living room. There may have been a few Grateful Dead show parking lots and elementary school roof tops in the mix of gathering places.
All this reminiscing has me wondering where Topanga’s not yet ready for prime time young adults hang out these days. In the absence of a dedicated place, Topanga Youth Services, a community-beloved organization run by Karen Cooke, known for youth talent shows and musical theatre productions in the canyon, has now facilitated an upcoming event at the Topanga Community Center helmed by 16-year-old Mateo Arrechedera.
“Splen” is Mateo’s brainchild, (and the name just came top of mind) a time tested combination of art and music that addresses a need in the local youth community. The aim of this event is “mainly to get people my age together, to find a space where they feel welcome,” says Mateo, a Topanga resident and Pali High student. The inspiration to take the reins as promoter came while sitting on the couch at countless house parties, wondering why there wasn’t a sober alternative. Though Splen is not billed as such, despite the absence of alcohol and presence of tacos, it is simply a space for like minded youth to congregate. Mateo continues, “I like when people meet each other (at my events) and say, “I finally got to talk to someone like me.’” The need for a welcoming space designed for creative, engaged, and purpose-driven kids is dire.
While this is only his second show, Mateo envisions a smooth running quarterly, if his schedule allows. It’s a lot of work to scout talent and make this all happen in and around homework.
Mateo‘s vision is realized on Saturday Feb 3, 6-10pm, when the TCC stage will host two bands and two solo acts, as well as 20 artists, showcasing sculpture, poetry, painting, and photography. For more information: https://tys.topangacommunitycenter.org/
Featuring all LA based teenage acts, the musical roster includes: Honey, Charlotte Door, Cherrypool, and songstress Addie Costain.
Tacos on offer from La Chingona.
The TCC was generously donated for this event.
Tickets are $10 online in advance, $15 at the door. Ages 15+ welcome.
Show some support, canyon teens, and go enjoy Mateo-palooza.