The i3 Arts Fest and Art Car Ball Aims to Bring Burning Man Art and Culture to the General Public

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Charlie the Unicorn art car making an appearance at the recent Boogaloo Art Car & Music Festival

Tony Edwards

Imagine walking through downtown Los Angeles toward Pershing Square as the distant pulse of house music drifts between skyscrapers. Upon entering the park, fire spurts out of a unicorn horn that’s attached to a two-story stage equipped with candy-cane stripper poles, rainbow lights and a disco ball. Situated atop this pink mutant vehicle is a DJ who is bringing Pershing Square to life with funky dance beats.

Meet Charlie the Unicorn, a community-built art car that will be the centerpiece of the inaugural i3 Arts Fest and Art Car Ball happening in downtown L.A. June 2 and 3. Pershing Square, Grand Park and Grand Performances at California Plaza will be transformed into three mini-festivals featuring experiences that promise to be “interactive, immersive and innovative” — hence the name “i3.”

“Our motto with Charlie is, ‘Everyone’s invited,’” says Danielle White, better known by her DJ moniker divaDanielle. “If you’ve seen the car, the whole thing is open, so about 100 people can get on. Having people on the car is as essential to us as having a crowd out in front.”

Created in 2011 by Ken Feldman, White and their so-called team of “unicorn wranglers,” Charlie the Unicorn has become one of the most popular and widely recognized art cars of Nevada’s annual Burning Man gathering. Its playful brand of infectious house music and bubble-gum aesthetics has garnered Charlie and his crew a massive cult following.

divaDanielle on the decks

Curious Josh

Charlie was inspired by Jason Steele’s 2005 viral video series of the same name about a disgruntled unicorn. In March 2016, Steele successfully crowdfunded a final, 30-minute episode of his “Charlie the Unicorn,” which is currently in production and rumored to include cameos from both the art car and divaDanielle, the unicorn queen herself.

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