July 3, 2022

PST (12:00 AM - 12:00 am)

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Versa-Style Next Generation 0:006:33

Versa-Style Next Generation is a group of highly dedicated young professional dancers from the Los Angeles area. VSNG engages with the LA community and Streetdance community through community performances, travel performances, and events such as competitions, festivals, productions, dance intensives, and classes. Currently, VSNG is led and managed by Versa-Style Dance Company members Ernesto Galarza and Anthony Berry.

Take It Back pays tribute to the “golden era” of Hip Hop, highlighting music and social party dances from the late 80s throughout the early 2000s. The dancers will navigate over 3 decades of Hip Hop dance and culture in this high-energy, dynamic piece!


Leo Flores
Aubrey Mamaid
Elizabeth Altamirano
Milagritos Godina
Katherine Quezada

Aryeal Lands
Nick Barrios
Tyrese Starling
Natalie Bernal

Paul Nelson’s Big Ol’ Band Ft. UNSPOKENVIEWS – Justice 6:3414:19

Paul Nelson’s Big Ol’ Band

Justice (feat. UNSPOKENVIEWS)

Composed, arranged and conducted by Paul Nelson


Alto Saxophone – Phillip Whack

Tenor Sax – Garrett Becker 

Baritone Sax – Caesar Martinez

Trumpet – Scott Bell 

Trumpet – Joel Schnaper

Trombone – Garrett Smith 

Trombone – Nick Crane

Bass Trombone – Khristian Foreman

Guitar – David Ellis 

Keyboard – Marco Apicella 

Bass – Logan Kane

Drums – Lauren Ellis

My original music features wonderful musicians from LA and music for big band, electronics and various singers and rappers.

The music that I write is really a reflection of my experiences. I have recently collaborated with lyricists and rappers to assemble new music that draw on my observations of lopsided injustice of the US incarceration system, finding our place in the world and learning to overcome what is thrown at us in life that we cannot control.

While not the most beautiful story, I spent ten days in jail in the state of Georgia while I was in college and learned a lot about myself and the US justice system in that time. This piece, titled ‘Justice,’ is my reflection on this experience and one I would like to share to increase awareness of the failures of our systems in place as well as the importance of mental health for each of us as individuals.

John Robert – Love Wont You Stay 14:2017:40

John-Robert’s quietly thrilling, intimately earnest songs reflect the young artist’s most salient qualities: He’s reverent, humble and—at the same time—ambitious. His heart-on-sleeve lyrics reflect his journey from small-town boy to big-city singer, songwriter, and producer. And his music, effortlessly flowing from sparse bedroom folk to sweeping modern pop, captures all the vivid emotions that popped up on that road from his tiny Shenandoah Valley, Virginia hometown to his current homebase of Los Angeles. Honesty and vulnerability have kept John-Robert grounded even as his star has risen out west, where he was signed at the age of 19 by the taste-making Ricky Reed, the Grammy-nominated producer and songwriter known for aiding Lizzo’s rise.

“I admire people who are way above my level,” says John-Robert in a characteristic mix of deference and drive. “I’m just trying to hop onto that tier and be one of their contemporaries.”

Jessica Childress – Questions 17:4121:35

Jessica Childress is a singer, songwriter, pianist and composer based out of Los Angeles. As an artist, her powerful voice, intimate lyrics and charismatic personality have kept her as a mainstay in the LA music scene since 2013.

Since her national debut on Season 4 of NBC’s The Voice, she’s opened for Charles Bradley, The Family Stone, Patti LaBelle, Allen Stone and performed at SXSW, Sunset Strip Music Festival, Long Beach NYE, and Bottlerock Napa. Jessica’s credits as a session singer include Disney’s Mulan, Trolls World Tour and Bob’s Burgers. Her original music has been featured on Hulu’s “Good Trouble” and “Shrill” and Netflix’s “Selling Sunset” as well as several Hallmark movies. She is a composer for Apple TV+ “Central Park” and is a frequent character singer on the show.

Laprete – Ina 21:3629:35

Aidan Laprete is a singer-songwriter, music producer and actor, originally from Honolulu, Hawaii. Aidan’s music career spans back to his pre-teen years where he has performed around the US, Tahiti, and Asia. He has previously opened for Matisyahu and toured with Grammy award-winning band, Train. Aidan began releasing and producing music under the artist project Laprete and released his first EP under the new name in 2019. The new artist project blends alternative pop music with electronic, ambient, and garage influences.

Aidan’s band is Matthew Sukert on drums and Will Easley on bass.

Aidan can be seen in the role of Henry Tanaka on the second season of The Wilds, premiering on Amazon Prime Video on May 6th.

George Sarah Ensemble – Min and Elsa 29:3634:51

George Sarah is an electronic composer and multi-instrumentalist. He is a former member of electronic/industrial band Stereotaxic Device (1988-1992) and T.H.C. (Buffy The Vampire Slayer). Born in Seoul, South Korea, he moved to the US at the age of five. He has garnered critical acclaim for his unique brand of electronic/acoustic/industrial and classical music as well as for his TV and film scores and 11 album releases. Recent tours include a live score for the 1928 classic film ‘The Passion of Joan of Arc’. His latest film titled Her Name Was Jo is out now on AmazonPrime and soundtrack called Vicissitudes is released on all formats.

Morgan Lee Gerstmar is a Los Angeles based violist/violinist, and educator from Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. She holds an MFA in the Performer/Composer program from the California Institute of the Arts; a BA in Neuroscience, Musical Studies and East Asian Languages and Cultures from the University of Southern California and precollege training from the New England Conservatory in Boston, MA. Morgan’s diverse career in Neuroscience and Music has provided her with unique tools for teaching her violin and viola students.

Peter Jacobson is a cellist, chamber musician, teacher, and father.  In 2013 he won a Grammy for Best Latin Rock Alternative or Urban Album as a member of the group Quetzal. Mr. Jacobson frequently plays in the San Diego Symphony. He has been a soloist with Kamasi Washington and the West Coast Get Down, and has toured the world with Rhye and as a freelance cellist.

Andrew Dalziell is an Australian virtuosic, multi-instrumentalist who specializes in cello, percussion, Taiko drums, guitar, vocals and piano. A graduate of Melbourne Conservatory of Music, he is a skilled orchestrator and an accomplished instrumentalist who has performed in multiple orchestras and ensembles and is a member of the band Night Tongue.

Jazmen Safina – Coolin 34:5237:57

With her sweet & smoky voice, catchy hooks, and booming stage presence, Jazmen Safina will keep you on the edge of your seat, begging for more. The songbird left her home, Durham, NC to pursue her dreams in Los Angeles. Since spreading her wings, she’s performed at shows and festivals throughout the country, and won the Carolina Music Award for Best Female R&B Artist in 2016. She is recording her next project, a live album featuring Aubrey Harris on bass, Dee Simone on drums and Olivia Jyemo on the keyboard. Find Jazmen’s music on all streaming platforms.

Frank Anthony – For You 37:5841:53

Straight out of South Side, Jamaica Queens, Frank Anthony is starting to take the world by storm! His first single, Insecure put him on the R& B radar and his album QUESTIONS is definitely making an impression on the indie R&B scene. In addition to his album, he has produced a short film available for viewing on YouTube titled, QUESTIONS SHORT FILM.

MashUp Contemporary Dance Company – Embody/in body 41:5451:34

Mash-Up Contemporary Dance Company

EMBODY | in•body

Music: SD001 by Machine Woman

Choreographer:  Stephanie Heckert

Dancers:  Shelby Davis, Joanna Pfeiffer, Abigail Ruz, Sandy Strangis

EMBODY | in•body seeks to concretize the true nature of inspiration by analyzing the qualities of who and what we are inspired by. It explores how we exhibit and express these elements, developing an awareness of what inspires us about others, and encourages the discovery of what is inherently present in ourselves. It is a reminder to ourselves of who we are and of what already exists inside of us.

MashUp Contemporary Dance Company is dedicated to the movement of female bodies and feminist ideas. Prioritizing innovation, collaboration, and inclusion, MashUp uplifts female-identifying artists and builds community through contemporary dance.

LAUNCH LA, with tremendous support from its sponsors and the local arts and business community, is proud to present the 19th annual TARFEST music and art festival. TARFEST traditionally takes place in the fall but fluctuating COVID conditions and prohibition of public gatherings at city and county sites convinced LAUNCH LA to pivot to a virtual festival.  On Wednesday March 30th, 2022 at 7pm, TARFEST will premier a 55-minute video consisting of two non-profit contemporary dance companies along with seven musical acts comprised of over 40 musicians and vocalists representing the diversity and quality of performers today in Los Angeles.

Phil Jaurigui and his team at The Den Studios provide video and sound production, as well as editing of the TARFEST video. Phil is a longtime professional sound provider and producer with field expertise and knowledge of contemporary cultural trends.  Versa-Style Next Generation (VSNG) is a non-profit dance ensemble of highly dedicated professional dancers from the LA area. VSNG represents the diversity and beautiful complexity of Los Angeles and is led by professional dancers Ernesto Galarza and Anthony Berry.  Nine male and female dancers will perform ‘Take It Back’, a tribute to the ‘Golden Era’ of Hip Hop from the 80’s to early 2000’s.  Mash Up Dance Company, a non-profit company dedicated to the movement of female bodies and feminist ideas, will present EMBODY I in body.  This new piece seeks to concretize the true nature of inspiration by analyzing the qualities of who and what we are inspired by.  Six women dancers explore how we exhibit and explore these elements through movement.

In addition to the two dance companies, featured musical performers include trombonist and conductor Paul Nelson and his Big Ol’ Band featuring 14 musicians and vocalist UNSPOKENVIEWS delivering their moving piece, Justice. Electronic composer, multi-instrumentalist and Korean-born composer George Sarah presents his ensemble that includes viola/violinist Morgan Lee Gerstmar, cellist Peter Jacobson, and Australian multi-instrumentalist Andrew Dalzeill. Japanese-American actor and singer-songwriter Aidan Laprete and his band, featuring bassist Will Easley and drummer Matthew Sukert, present electronic-pop music as Laprete.  Sweet and smoky voiced Jazmen Safina performs with her recently formed all-female band of Aubrey Harris on bass, Dee Simone on drums and Olivia Jyemo on keys with inspiring effect. Warner Records guitar-playing, singer-songwriter John Robert delivers intimate stories of life culled from his Appalachian upbringing and observations from his new home, Los Angeles. NYC transplant Frank Anthony delivers insightful R&B that serves as the perfect soundtrack to twenty-something life in LA. Finally, TARFEST alumnus Jessica Childress shares her recent songwriting prowess as she presents an exciting brand of soulful stories from life with her skillful piano accompaniment.

The mission of LAUNCH LA and TARFEST is to provide paid performance opportunities to artists while presenting free, quality arts programming to the public.  Our goal is always to bring people together to witness and celebrate diverse and free quality programming.  With the guidance of the Department of Cultural Affairs and City Councilmembers Nithya Raman and Paul Koretz, a virtual presentation was imagined and executed with great benefits to the artists and the public. The artists received a performance stipend, a valuable performance opportunity, and a video and recording of their performance to advance their careers. In turn, the public can access and enjoy the discovery of these inspirational performances in the comfort and safety of their homes any time they wish.

“In the final stages of this long pandemic TARFEST hopes to provide meaningful opportunities to artists along with inspiration and enjoyment to our viewing public,” says LAUNCH LA and TARFEST Co-Founder and Director James Panozzo. “Years of experience and established relationships allowed for this special collaborative effort to occur for the benefit of all who miss music and dance.”

TARFEST 2022 is possible through grants from the City of Los Angeles, Department of Cultural Affairs, LA County Department of Arts and Culture, California Arts Council, The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles, Mid City West Neighborhood Council and Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council. TARFEST sponsors include Television City, The Grove, Beverly Connection, Los Angeles City Councilmembers Nithya Raman and Paul Koretz, Union Bank, Walter N. Marks, Inc., Park La Brea, and other businesses and individuals who believe in advancing creativity and free, innovative arts programming in Los Angeles. A special thanks for the support and participation of cultural partners LACMA and the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County for their long history of support. Please visit www.launchla.org and www.tarfest.com for more information about TARFEST & LAUNCH LA.

TARFEST and LAUNCH LA, provides important performance and exhibition opportunities to some of the region’s finest emerging artists, performers, and cultural innovators in the historic Miracle Mile District of Los Angeles and beyond. LAUNCH LA is a 501(3)(c) not-for-profit social enterprise that believes exposure to the arts enhances quality of life and strengthens community. Passionate about promoting all contemporary art forms and their hybrids, LAUNCH LA recognizes the need for exemplary productions that create important cultural happenings with the assistance of commercial partners, cultural institutions and like-minded individuals and organizations.