In 2014, WE Labs Founder Markus Manley and members Menchie Caliboso and Sarah Bennett conceptualized and co-founded the Society for Long Beach Music (SLBM), a collective that fosters the appreciation of music and culture in Long Beach. SLBM documents, investigates, and celebrates the music and culture of Long Beach, the most diverse city in the nation. Anyone who lives, loves and wants to learn more about Long Beach through its multi-genre aural output is a welcomed member.
The Society for Long Beach Music's mission is to provide a space in which artists, fans and community members can discover, re-learn, discuss and revel in the stories and unique culture of Long Beach through its diverse music scene. Devoted to creating a more innovative Long Beach, SLMB members are interested in sharing this city's music past and present while sparking conversations about its future.
Read more below from our own WE Labs member Menchie Caliboso in her piece on highlights from the scene in 2014 and visit their website at www.societyforlongbeachmusic.org to support and join the SLMB movement:
2014 Society for Long Beach Music Highlights
Written by: Menchie Caliboso
2014 was a year of both proud accomplishments and heart-wrenching tragedy. Markus, Sarah, and I (Menchie) met regularly from Spring 2013 to March 2014 to conceptualize Society for Long Beach Music. It was clear that we were on the same wavelength. We wanted people to see our local music not just as entertainment, but through a cultural perspective that has strengthened the dynamic spirit of Long Beach and its diversity. We wanted to strengthen our community, not by curating live shows and booking local talent, but by talking about how our local music scene, from its inception after World War II, has impacted people and music worldwide, as well as how our local music reflects the stories of our community members.
In March 2014, Long Beach lost Markus Manley — suddenly and without warning, our friend, innovator, collaborator and fellow local music lover was gone. We decided to launch Society for Long Beach into the public as soon as possible in his honor. If you lived in Long Beach during that time, you felt the weight of his passing, whether you knew Markus or not. From the arts and music to technology and from non-profits organizations to creative start-ups, Markus was a renaissance man who strived for a stronger, better, and more connected Long Beach. Naturally, he knew so many people and contributed his efforts to countless projects in Long Beach and beyond. We will always miss him and part of his legacy lives through Society for Long Beach Music.
We also dedicated our first zine to Markus Manley. You can still view the entire zine HERE where you find snippets from Sarah Bennett’s comprehensive thesis on Long Beach music (with particular regard to the diversity of Long Beach and the globalization of music), Top 5 Long Beach Songs chosen by Rudy De Anda (Wild Pack of Canaries) and Jesse Carzello (Bobby Blunders), and lyrics by local hip-hop duo Shining Sons, who often rap about their experience as community organizers in Long Beach.
We also successfully launched an Indie Week Campaign with Localism, Porch Party Records, Long Beach Independent, and Falling Mirrors Collective. Our goal was to connect local residents to local businesses using music, so we booked four different bands in four different stores on four different days during the week of Independence Day. Altogether, 16+ small businesses and 16 local acts participated.
You can still DOWNLOAD a compilation of the participating Indie Week LB artists. Although we worked under a time budget, we were happy with the diverse lineup of artists we were able to book, as a diverse lineup would truly represent the rich cultural mosaic of Long Beach. Among many in this compilation, you will find hip hop and electronica producer NiceGuyxVinny, who has recently been signed onto Los Angeles record-label Soulection. You’ll also find Gnocchi, a low-key jazz outfit who spend most of their time touring for national acts, such as Nas and Kanye West, and playing local gigs during their time off.
In 2015, our main goal is to simply keep growing by spreading cultural education and appreciation of Long Beach music through more articles, a music anthology project, and maybe even a video series! Given our limited capacity, we are always on the look out for people who are interested in writing, producing video content, or contributing digital or physical copies of Long Beach music for Society for Long Beach Music.
Most importantly, we thank you all so much for your support and we look forward to a good year!