Remake Learning Days: Youth Invasion at The Warhol Museum

By Matthew Miramontes – 11th Grade, Cornell High School

 

On Friday May 13th, The Andy Warhol Museum hosted their annual Youth Invasion that allows teens to “Take over the Warhol!” The Youth Invasion is all about self-expression and letting the youth of Pittsburgh interact with other performers their age to expand upon their horizons as emerging artists. It is a great opportunity for any musician, painter, writer, or performance artist to set up, perform, and interact with the audience after the show in a laid back environment. I could not recommend going to the Youth Invasion enough; it gave me new music to hear, and new friends on a night to remember.
The Youth Invasion started back in May of 2002 as a way to let young fashion designers, musicians, and painters to get exposure on their pieces. It is amazing to see an event like this going strong for over ten years, and to see the turn outs get bigger and bigger every year. This was the first time I had ever heard of the Youth Invasion at the Andy Warhol and I was stunned to see how friendly and well connected everyone was at the show. Older generations, and younger generations both came together to see live jazz, theatrical performance, poems, and even hip-hop performed from all local Pittsburgh Artists. The Youth Invasions are a great idea, and I really love to see all of Pittsburgh’s Youth come together to create great works of art for all the people of Pittsburgh to enjoy.
The First Act that was set to perform was The Funky Five Project. They delivered a stellar performance and I was lucky enough to talk to their keyboard player Henry and their saxophone player to ask them a few questions about their influences and any upcoming musical releases for the public to officially hear.

Q: What were some of the inspirations or influences you used to get started into creating music?

Henry: Well I was really into David Bowie, Gorillaz, and all of the different genres, I try to listen to nearly everything and to expose myself to new music every day.

Q: Was this your first live performance with The Funky Five Project?

Henry: No, actually we have played a ton of different shows all around Pittsburgh and even some as far as West Virginia. Just recently we played the children’s festival and the Pittsburgh Jazz Festival to name a few.

Q: Well it sounds like you guys are keeping busy, do you have plans for any album or record releases for the public?

Henry: We wanted to start an album, but we are still writing and trying to get a feel of all the music. The Funky Five Project is still full of young talent and I can’t wait to see what we do in the future.

It was a real pleasure talking to Henry and to see his band perform, they put on a rock steady show and I look forward to what they can do in the future.

The next band to perform was By The Process of Elimination which took the crowd into a more pop sounding almost Green Day throwback that included covers of Twist n’ Shout and even some original pieces. The Trio of members Eli, Jack, and Ethan all led an energy filled alternative rock set list with blaring guitars and some serious energy. By The Process of Elimination has played several different shows including, the Roboto project, several Battle of the Bands, and even the Pittsburgh marathon. It was a real treat to see such young performers play original music and it gives light into the future of music and songwriting as these pioneers take on the challenging task of creating art and displaying it for the world to see.

The following act was Dreams of Hope and this was definitely a real change from the straight forward music scene. Dreams of Hope was one of the most unique acts I had ever seen live and it seemed to be more of a theatrical piece than as a stand-alone music composition. I thought it was an interesting way to get the idea of self-expression out to people and I really liked their ideas about how society shouldn’t define us and we could find our own meanings of ourselves. The crowd also seemed intent to listen to their message and while the message may not appeal to everyone, it was still outstanding to see people doing what they wanted and saying exactly what was on their minds. Dreams of Hope was definitely the most interesting group of artists at the Youth Invasion and their message is clear, it is okay to be who you are and you should love yourself for it.

Pacific Jazz was the next band to set up, and while they were getting ready to perform I decided to take a look at the other floors around the Warhol. I entered the downstairs which, led to a silk screen printing room where artists could make designs and print them on paper, t-shirts, or pretty much any other material. It was really interesting to see all the different unique designs people had come up with and I enjoyed how the Warhol workers were teaching step by step guides on how to make your own prints. Also downstairs, buttons were being made using different types of images from newspapers, magazines, or through your own personal design. The other floors of the Warhol were all set up by different artist but my personal favorite was the DJ in the world famous silver balloon room. Pocket Concept was the DJ and he was playing some interesting atmospheric samples inside of the room and it was like being inside a whole other world. The music mixed with the balloons, the pop art, and the chatter of other youth artists set an environment that I could never forget.

Once Pacific Jazz had finished their set and given their interview with SLB Radio, the next and near final act was set to perform, Hope Academy. Hope Academy brought back some artist from other bands like the Funky Five Project, but it mostly brought brand new instrumentalists and vocal performers onto the stage to continue with the ongoing original music written strictly by the Youth. Hope Academy also did some interesting renditions of Beatles songs, and even Bruno Mar’s famous song “Uptown Funk.” This was honestly one of my favorite performances through the night because of the sheer energy they brought to the stage. Every single band and performer did a great job, but Hope Academy really raised the bar. They rocked the house, and had a great time doing it.

Lastly, 1Hood came to the stage supporting an entourage of performers from singers, to rappers, to even poets. I thought that Nairobi had a great song called “Drownin’.” I really like the hook, and the featured verses from Chris Butler was also interesting, as Nairobi begins with soft singing and then Butler comes in with some harder sounding vocals. I can see the direction 1Hood was going for and with the next performance from Tyhir Frost really got the crowd moving. 1Hood gave something different to the crowd and I really liked their efforts to get everyone involved. I am actually hopeful to see when all the artists from Youth Invasion go in their careers not just musically, but as artists in general. Every single person has so much potential and the Youth Invasion gives these artists a voice.

 

Matthew Miramontes 1Matthew Ryan Miramontes is an 11th grader in Cornell High School.  He resides in Neville Island.  Matthew writes for his school newspaper and wants to write as a journalist for a major magazine one day.  He is interested in music and movies.

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