Voices from the Hill
Urban Birds 2024
Join us for Voices from the Hill, a performance lifting up the stories and sounds of an unprotected greenspace in El Sereno called Elephant Hill.


Saturday, May 11th, 2024
Saturday, May 18th, 2024
12:00pm – 4:00pm


Pullman St & N Harriman Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90032
Arlington Garden Pasadena
275 Arlington Dr
Pasadena, CA 91105


Free, but registration is required


Voices from the Hill
Talia Greene, director
Guillermo Brown, composer and sound creator
Elva Yañez, community partner, Save Elephant Hill
Maria Maea, visual artist
Raul Baltazar, visual artist
Luis Rodriguez, poet
David Saldaña, composition consultant


Saturday, May 11th

Voices from the Hill leads visitors through wild and distressed sections of the hillside, and culminates in a regenerated area, highlighting a vision for the future in which a protected Elephant Hill becomes a welcoming place for humans, birds and other wildlife to coexist.

Following a meandering path across the hillside, visitors will be invited to consider their connections to place, nature, and each other. Six stopping points will showcase song, percussion, and visual art, tying together the narrative themes of the performance: Heed the Call, Struggle, Devastation, Crossroads, Contemplation, and Regeneration. Performers stationed along the path will share music written by Guillermo Brown, with libretto written by LA Poet Laureate Luis Rodriguez. Interactive installations by Raul Baltazar and Maria Maea which incorporate natural materials from the hill will serve as resting points along the way. Cresting the hill, a percussion ensemble will use instruments created from detritus collected from the site and surroundings to beckon visitors to the final regenerated space.

The event celebrates the importance of collaboration, whether between humans and nature or among ourselves, in safeguarding a healthy world for all.

Note: This event has uneven walking paths and, at times, steep climbs that may be difficult for some participants. Our May 18th event is designed for those with mobility limitations, and we hope you will be able to join us then.

Saturday, May 18th

This final event of Urban Birds 2024 takes place at Arlington Gardens, and celebrates the role of collective action in transforming neglected urban spaces like Elephant Hill. Once a desolate lot and former staging ground for the 710 freeway, Pasadena community members worked to transform the future site of Arlington Gardens into the community gathering space and host for native flora and fauna that it is today.

Visitors on May 18 will have an opportunity to hear and see variations on the music, artwork, and ideas represented on Elephant Hill, view a film of the May 11 event, as well as to participate in related activities for all ages.

Guillermo Brown will be performing an improvisational soundtrack of live loop-based music inspired by his Voices from the Hill composition, incorporating percussion from the instruments he created sourced from found objects, and recordings from the site over time.

Families will be invited to make their own musical instruments from found objects and natural materials, incorporating seeds and other items gathered from Elephant Hill. Other workshops include palm frond weaving with Maria Maea, planting milkweed with the California Native Plant Society, Indigenous based arts and culture with Meztli Projects, and more.

Visitors interested in how they can make positive contributions to their urban environments through guerilla gardening can join a tour of the garden with members of TestPlot – Elephant Hill who are working to re-establish native plants on the hillside.

Hawk on Hand will be bringing their raptors, a great opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the wonderful birds living on Elephant Hill.

Stay tuned for more activities as they develop!


Talia Greene, Director

Talia Greene is a project-based artist, curator, and Adjunct Professor. She transforms artifacts, detritus, and natural materials, asking viewers to consider both the consequences and opportunities which arise from our actions. A third generation Californian, Greene was born in Oakland, CA and currently lives in Philadelphia. She received her BA from Wesleyan University in Connecticut, and her MFA from Mills College in Oakland.

Greene has received grants from the Independence Foundation, Center for Emerging Visual Artists, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts to create site specific installations at three historic homes. In 2018, Greene received a Percent for Art Commission to create an interactive mural at the Philadelphia City Archives. In 2021, Greene was an artist in residence at the biotech company Integral Molecular, in partnership with the Esther Klein Gallery and Science Center in Philadelphia. She has shown her work in group shows across the country, including at the Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech, the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore, MD, The Halsey Institute for Contemporary Art in Charleston, SC, Wave Hill, Bronx, NY, Flashpoint Gallery, Washington DC, 516 Arts, in Albuquerque, NM.

Guillermo E. Brown, Composer and Sound Creator

Guillermo E. Brown pushes music performance to new heights through one-man theater pieces, sound installations, and musical collaborations. Brown splits his time as a solo performer, under the moniker Pegasus Warning, and as a drummer for bands like Reggie Watts’ KAREN, previously heard on The Late Late Show with James Corden, and other free jazz ensembles. Works like his Creative Capital project, an evening-length performance Bee Boy, demonstrate his expertise in various disciplines, combining experimental musical performance together with a sense of political urgency.

As Pegasus Warning, Brown has released albums such as Try So Hard, and Soul at the Hands of the Machine. As a one-man theater piece, and sound installation artist, his works have been performed at The Kitchen, Harlem Stage, and Luna Stage. He is part of supergroup BiLLLL$, collaborative trio Thiefs, and Vijay Iyer and Mike Ladd’s Holding It Down. He was Adjunct Professor at NYU’s Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music and Gallatin School, and Artist-In-Residence at Pacific Northwest College of Art.

Raul Baltazar, Visual Artist

Raul Baltazar is an artist who works through aesthetic notions given in Mesoamerican and Western culture. Baltazar often mixes performance, video, photography, drawing, painting, murals, and community-based projects, to create new relations for the decolonial art object. His work is often driven by the struggle of Mestizo, Xicanx, POC and Mesoamerican Indigenous communities and their revolutionary vision for change in the context of Los Angeles. In addition, his work postulates responses to trauma and the body, examining the experience and rational abuse of power and authority by means of sanctioned or unsanctioned reiterations of violence in contemporary life. Baltazar challenges this by participating in the creation of contemporary cultural production rooted in an artistic research of ancient cultures. Where his work opens up a space for healing, communication and reflection; in order to engage publics and communicate the value of a self-reflexive identification with indigeneity.

Raul Baltazar received his MFA in Public Practice from Otis College of Art and Design in 2013, and his BFA in Sculpture and New Genres from Otis College of Art and Design in 2008. He has exhibited extensively in Los Angeles, and internationally in Mexico, Australia, Vienna, Egypt, and Taiwan, and was the 2015 recipient of the California Community Foundation, Fellowship for Visual Arts, LA County Arts Commission Short List, 2015 and recipient of The Armory Teaching Fellowship, 2016.

Maria Maea, Visual Artist

Maria Maea is a multidisciplinary artist working in sculpture, installation, performance, film, and sound. Through her art practice, she deepens her connection to land, somatic memory, and ancestry. Her works act as a residue of her lived experience as a first generation Los Angeles native of mixed Samoan-Mexican heritage. Using plants and repurposed found material gathered throughout LA, Maea builds film set-like sculptures that relate to storytelling and myth-making. Maea’s greatest inspiration and collaborator is nature itself. She has an ability to see plant matter’s potential to create new worlds as well as awaken us to our deeper human histories.With experience in film production, she understands the invisible labor and processes that happen behind the scenes and creates figurative works that invite viewers into a cinematic universe of her own imagination. Maea most recently exhibited in the Hammer Museum’s Biennial Made In LA exhibition Acts of Living 2023. She has also recently exhibited a public sculpture at Historic State Park, the Orange County Museum of Art’s California Biennial, Palm Springs Art Museum, La Pau Gallery and Oxy Arts. Maea’s work has been featured in publications such as The New York Times, ArtForum, LA Times, and Cultured Magazine.

Elva Yañez, Community Partner, Save Elephant Hill

Elva Yañez is the founder and Board President of Save Elephant Hill, an El Sereno-based community organization that led a grassroots campaign to stop a residential development and permanently protect the 20-acres hillside land once slated for 24 luxury homes. Today, Save Elephant Hill is working with like minded groups to preserve and protect remaining open spaces in Northeast Los Angeles, ensuring that residents have an active voice and role in policy and other decision-making processes regarding land use, conservation, and parks and green space. Our long-term vision is to expand open space protections to the remaining 85-acres of open space on Elephant Hill and in the process advance public health and safety, equitable environmental protections, and fair and just public investments. Previously, Elva worked in the field of public health on local policy and systems change initiatives focused on health equity, land use, and parks and open space.

Luis Rodriguez, Poet

Luis J. Rodriguez is a writer with 17 published books in poetry, children’s literature, the novel, short stories, essays, and nonfiction, including the bestselling memoir, Always Running, La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A. and its sequel, It Calls You Back: An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction, Revolutions, & Healing. He has eight poetry collections, such as Borrowed Bones and the recent Todos los caminos llevan a casa (All Roads Lead Home), published in Mexico. He has also written staged plays and has been a script consultant for three TV shows, including FX’s Snowfall. He is founding editor of Tia Chucha Press and co-founder with his wife Trini of Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore, based in the northeast San Fernando Valley. From 2014 to 2016, he served as Los Angeles Poet Laureate.

This project is made possible by The Eric Stokes Fund, Earth’s Best in Tune, a grant from the City of Pasadena Department of Cultural Affairs, a grant from the California Arts Council, and a grant from the Pasadena Community Foundation.