‘Desdemona’ Director Peter Sellars Says It’s OK to Fall Asleep

Well, maybe not exactly asleep, but while experiencing  his theater work Desdemona, if you find yourself slipping into a sort of meditative trance, or feel yourself straddling other unearthly worlds and universes…you’re doing it right.

Peter Sellars visited our offices last week to talk about our upcoming performances of Desdemona, a magical and thoughtful re-imagining of Shakespeare’s Othello, written by Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison and the magnificent Malian singer-songwriter Rokia Traoré, who performs in the piece with exceptional stage and film actress Tina Benko and an ensemble of Malian musicians. As he reflected on the attitude of this quiet piece, he laughingly recalled a sentiment often expressed in Japanese Noh Theater—“dozing encouraged.”

One of the things Peter very eloquently conveyed to us was the powerful quietness and absolutely intimate nature of this piece of theater.

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“It is one of the most elusive things I have ever put on the stage,” he said. “You do sort of feel like you are starting to fall asleep and dream…your heart rate slows until you are feeling differently and aware of this flowing space between waking and dreaming, and this beautiful work of theater touches the edges of the dream state.”

The physical staging is purposely simple, designed to evoke the feeling of traditional African mourning altars, he said. We enter into this benevolent graveyard to be greeted by the voices of women—songs from Rokia Traoré that defy translation sung softly, eloquent language from Toni Morrison spoken softly and with deep intent.  The technical sound requirements require precision instruments and exacting attention to detail so that every gesture, every sound, every movement from the stage may nurturingly welcome us deeper and deeper into a sense of otherworldliness, Sellars said.

MA_Desdemona_Barbican_12_c.Mark_Allan

The scope and shape of the play itself evolved organically over the course of its creation, Sellars said. There was no initial vision or design that the performers and writers were trying to match. Morrison essentially plucked one line out of the play, one line spoken quietly by Desdemona to the woman her husband was having an affair with, and amplified that one line into an otherworldly experience for us all, one that will change the way we think about the character of Othello, the historically revered man who invented him and the racial and social themes that continue to emanate through our society.

“In this age of big spectacle, what we are doing here is examining how valuable and rich is a single human being, and how many worlds reside within each of us,” Sellars said.

It is ephemerality laced with ephemerality packaged in ephemerality—and these are the trappings of transcendence.

We have a brief shining moment with these words and these exceptional performers. Just four performances in Freud Playhouse, a 500-seat theater. After that, the cast and crew travel to Australia for two festivals and it is not likely the play will be mounted again anytime soon.  Traoré is a rising force in global music and will be focusing on her recording career for the foreseeable future.  She is so integral to the casting, Sellars says she doesn’t see it ever being performed without her.

Be here with us. Let’s take this journey together.

 

Music is Life…

Update Your Playlist.

That’s just one of our rallying cries around our season programming. You’ll see much more of this and other statements that encapsulate our feelings about music, theater, dance and spoken word.

Music is such a huge part of our lives–as a performing arts entity, as humans living in a vibrant, music-rich city. No, make that a vibrant, music-rich world.

The way we consume music has changed dramatically over the last handful of years. It’s remarkable how much the playlist has taken over. Even for those of us, yours truly included, who still love to listen to and purchase whole albums of favorite artists, the concept of playlist is no longer as much of a labor of love as it once was. Raise your hand if you slaved over mix CDs for Valentine’s Day gifts, workout mixes, girls nights, baby showers etc? Now, a playlist is a daily occurrence, fueled as much by our own deep dives of discovery into the vastness of the music landscape as it is by the songs and sounds our social media platforms are building for us.

Here at the Center we are constantly and joyously having our collective playlist updated by the incredible artists from around the world we encounter. And they, each in their own form and culture are updating the playlists of their lineage, the history and legacy of their forms. And by bringing them here to our stages, we are seeking to update your personal playlist as well.

We recently added another great to this year’s lineup–Blues/funk/soul singer and guitar player Black Joe Lewis and his band will co-headline with modern soul great Booker T. Jones here in Royce Hall on Friday December 4. This is sure to be a  very special night as Lewis and his band open the show. His horn section will stick around and flesh out Booker T.’s band and there will likely be more on-stage collaboration between Joe and Booker throughout the evening. The two consummate performers have never worked together before, but are mutual admirers and we count ourselves extremely lucky to bring them together for the first time in an exclusive performance on our season.

Black Joe Lewis and his band.
Black Joe Lewis and his band.

This is just one example of a season full of concerts that are exclusive pairings of musicians and groups that will happen nowhere else in the world–creating a truly eclectic and unique live-playlist experience.

Our exclusive concert pairings include:

  • Grammy Winning jazz collective Snarky Puppy with eclectic local quintet Kneebody on Thursday, September 24 at 8 p.m. in Royce Hall.  (Kneebody will also perform a free outdoor lunchtime concert to welcome students back to campus).
  • Ukranian trance-like quartet DakhaBrakha will be joined by the revered Tuvan throat singers of Huun Huur Tu on Friday, September 25.
  •  Our exclusive Mardi Gras Bhangra event on Tuesday February 9 pairs the unlikely but equally thrilling sounds of New York “dhol and brass” ensemble Red Baraat with legendary New Orleans pianist Henry Butler, trumpeter Steven Bernstein & The Hot 9.
  • Regina Carter returns to Royce Hall February 26 with her violin to share her deeply personal latest album Southern Comfort. We’ve paired her with Los Angeles-based Sam Amidon, a singer, guitarist, fiddler and banjo player who creates “recomposed folk songs.”
  • March 5, 2016 we bring together North African griot and acclaimed ardine player Noura Mint Seymali and her band with Tal National, with its  blissfully hypnotic West African guitar music. Both bands transcend the suffering and turmoil caused by years of civil unrest with the sound of their defiantly joyous music.
  • We’re also one of just a few performance stops for Tigran Hamasyan, who will be bringing us sacred music from Armenia in a thoughtful and rare program that also includes members of the Yerevan State Chamber Choir–Saturday, December 5th in Royce Hall.

And,  couple of new albums from season artists are nearly ready for your playlists.

Buddy Guy, who kicks off our season in just a few weeks (August 13 at Royce Hall) has a new studio album arriving on July 31. “Born To Play Guitar,” features guest appearances by Van Morrison, Joss Stone, Kim Wilson and Billy Gibbons. Morrison joins Buddy on the heartfelt “Flesh & Bone,” a song dedicated to the late great B.B. King. On “Come Back Muddy” Guy reminisces about the good ole days with his friend Muddy Waters.

(We’ve also recently added local rock-blues trio The Record Company to the Buddy Guy show. They will open the night. Get to know them before you arrive, you won’t regret it.)

Anoushkha Shankar, who will be with us April 13 2016, with a Hang drum player, and live electronics, has a new album coming out this week, July 10 titled “HOME.”  Inspired by her classical upbringing and teaching by her legendary father, Maestro Ravi Shankar this album offers both meditative and virtuoso Indian classical raga for solo sitar with ensemble.

Recently, the Grammy Museum opened an exhibit devoted to Anoushka’s revered father, Ravi Shankar. It is the first time this acclaimed musician has been so honored in the United States and the exhibit runs through Spring of 2016.

I know, for me, it was Ravi Shankar who brought the sitar into my personal playlist and I am looking forward to having his virtuosic daughter update it even further.

Please join us often in the coming months as we celebrate the art of performance in myriad and mystical musical forms.  Our playlists will most certainly be bulging.

Choose Your Own Arts Adventure!

You are in control of your own season experience!
You are in control of your own season experience!

Our sincere thanks go out to everyone who has already subscribed to our upcoming season. We’re currently working on seating order for subscribers and your tickets will be in the mail soon! We are looking forward to a packed calendar of inspiring, provocative and exciting performers from around the world, and it is always great to know we have a cadre of committed arts lovers readying themselves for the season along with us.

Subscriptions to our pre-curated series of Theater, Spoken Word, Jazz, Roots & World, Global Music, Dance, and our special four-night package celebrating Belgian contemporary company Rosas ended last week. But, you can still subscribe to the 2015-2016 season with a self-programmed Create-Your-Own series of five or more events. In fact, you can order a Create-Your-Own series at any point during the season, gathering any five or more upcoming performances.

This choose-your-own-arts-adventure option has by far become our most-popular subscription method over the last several years. It makes sense. As a social media savvy society, we are increasingly able to curate our own experiences with information, pop culture and entertainment. It seems natural that arts lovers would gravitate toward desiring a series of events that will specifically enhance their individual interests. And our programming is eclectic enough that we know you are also likely to be exploring and engaging with new artists and experiences as you build those personalized series.

There are people who might ask– why subscribe to CAP UCLA or to any performing arts program at all?  Why not just buy tickets as the shows approach? We know subscribing to a series in advance definitely entails a certain amount of pre-planning on your personal calendar, self-education/research into artists as well as an initial financial investment—all of which might seem daunting.

But, if you’ve never purchased a subscription to a performing arts program before, consider some of the benefits. For us, and likely for many other organizations, the only discounts on ticket prices happen during the subscription window. For example, our series subscribers (anyone who purchases our pre-curated selections) save 15% off list prices. For our Create-Your-Own option, you save 10%. This adds up to a great deal per ticket, one you won’t get otherwise.

And, ticket fees, which no one loves, but are inevitable and necessary, are lower on a subscription package because you pay one fee for five performances, rather than doling out fees on five or more different purchases throughout the year.

At CAP UCLA subscribing is also your best way to get the best seats in the house. Our venues are not large–Royce Hall is an 1,800 seat theater, Freud Playouse just 500 seats. Prime seats go to first to our returning subscribers who are also philanthropic members of CAP UCLA, then to our repeat series subscribers. By the time individual tickets go on sale every year, there is very limited access to seats front-and-center in any of our venues. So if you’re the kind who loves to see the sweat on a dancer’s brow, or catch every nuance of an actor’s facial expression, or see fingers fly across a keyboard or guitar string, subscribing is your best bet to get that experience.

For us, subscribers are the foundation of success for any given performance. We are proud of the artists we present and we bring them to Los Angeles because we truly believe that there are people here who should witness them. The subscribers who sign on now to be here for a performance up to a year from now, we know are going to bring the kind of energy to this place that will lift us all up.

For those of you who subscribe year after year, we see you. We feel you and we thank you. For those of you who are new subscribers this year, we can’t wait to see what you bring to the program. And for those of you who pick up tickets as the season progresses, we are so appreciative of the support and energy you add to the whole process as the curtain call draws near.

Individual tickets go on sale June 26 at full price. If you see several things you like on our upcoming season, consider taking a chance and Create-Your-Own series now or at any moment before a performance begins.

Regardless of how you get here though, know that we’re extremely happy when you arrive.

Here’s a peek into my arts-addled mind. This is the series I would create if I wasn’t essentially already subscribed to every single performance.

Miranda July: New Society--Because I like earnestly rendered awkwardness and I like  community togetherness and this “social experiment” is poised to provide both.

Kid Koala’s Nufonia Must Fall–While I am an electronic music lover, I’m not super familiar with his DJ work, but I find this combination of electronic sounds, live string instruments and graphics very intriguing. Plus I have a huge soft spot for sweet-looking animated robots.

Taylor Mac’s 24-Decade History of Popular Music: The 20th Century Abridged.–Because I also have a huge soft spot for men in drag.  (Avid re-watcher of Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Rocky Horror Picture Show right here).  I caught Taylor in a performance at the Hammer earlier this year and not only is he incredibly glam, but surprisingly tender and with truly legit vocal chops. Can’t wait to see him bedazzle Royce Hall.

Akram Khan and Israel Galvan: Torobaka--I fell in love with Akram Khan’s work when we presented Vertical Road a couple of years ago. It was the same year he created this beautiful piece for the London Olympics opening ceremony, which the U.S. cut out of its broadcast in favor of a Ryan Seacrest interview. I’ve watched this segment many times since then and am looking very much forward to seeing Khan perform in what seems like it will be a very powerful physical dialogue between two dancers and two forms.

An Evening with Anoushka Shankar–I love the sitar and had many chances living in L.A. to see her glorious father perform live, none of which I took. I am remedying that mistake with the next generation.

 

 

 

 

Keeping Up with Kristy Edmunds

It’s been a whirlwind around here lately, between preparing for the launch of our 2015-2016 season (subscriptions are officially on sale!) and the final performances of our 2014-2015 season, which included several epic events such as last weekend’s John Zorn Marathon and our April 25 presentation of Matthew Barney’s River of Fundament, not to mention a sold-out Gilberto Gil concert and a series of incredibly touching theater performances from Jean-Michele Richaud of Leonard Nimoy’s Vincent.

That flurry of activity is dying down and we’ll take a much-needed deep breath over the next few months as we gear up for 2015-2016. There is one whirlwind around here however,  that never quite stops—Kristy Edmunds, who is constantly on the go working with artists on upcoming projects, participating in arts-advocacy programs, speaking at conferences and events, teaching classes, working with local and national philanthropists and groups to make a case for increased giving to the arts and so much more.

Kristy (33 of 56)

Tonight, our season wraps up with David Sedaris and tomorrow, Kristy is in Portland, a place that represents an important marker on her path as an arts curator. Twenty years ago this year, Kristy founded the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art (PICA), and for the first ten of those years led the institution, also creating the lauded Time Based Art festival, a convergence of contemporary performance and visual art that annually takes over theaters and unexpected public spaces throughout Portland, activating the city with art and energy.

Today, a special exhibition opens at the Elizabeth Leach Gallery in Portland, titled PICA: Celebrating 20 Years, Reflecting on the First Decade. The exhibition celebrates Kristy’s dynamic vision as the founder and inaugural curator of PICA and showcases 21 artists selected from the impressive roster of artists who exhibited, performed or were in residency at PICA during the first decade. As Kristy has said, the programming involved both tremendous risk taking and a great deal of trust.

Tomorrow, Kristy will be joined by two of the artists from that exhibition, Kristan Kennedy (currently Visual Art Curator at PICA) and Topher Sinkinson for a public conversation about the first decade of PICA. We’ll post video of it when we have it.

Later this month, PICA will ring in its anniversary by reviving its gala, the TaDaDa Ball.

This year Kristy has also been serving as is the Scholar in Residence for the Pew Center for Art & Heritage in Philadelphia and has traveled there often to consult with the organization and local artists.

Check out this recent video of her time there.

And stay tuned for more Kristy Edmunds and CAP UCLA activities. Cheers!

From the Center: John Zorn Marathon

Unsigned editorial from the performance program notes. 

Artist vision. Undiluted. So reads the credo of Tzadik, visionary composer, arranger, producer, multi-instrumentalist and MacArthur Fellow John Zorn’s not-for-profit cooperative record label. Zorn’s impact on contemporary music worldwide is immeasurable. His vision is vital and relentlessly prolific. As we have worked with John Zorn over the course of almost two years to help realize his vision for this robust day of performance, his first time in Los Angeles in 25 years, we have borne witness to his deep sense of rigor and the profound persistence of his undiluted artist vision.

Zorn’s remarkably diverse aesthetic draws inspiration from art, literature, film, theater, philosophy, alchemy, and mysticism. For those of you here tonight who were also among the many intrepid explorers of Zorn’s artistic vision through the halls of the permanent
collections of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art earlier today, we thank you for joining us on this marathon. And we suspect you’re still vibrating with the incredible energy brought to that space by a group of truly commanding musicians—Kinan Idnawi, Mellissa Hughes, Kirsten Sollek, Jane Sheldon, Jack Quartet, Kenny Wollesen, Carol Emanuel, Chris Otto, Kevin Mcfarland, Dave Lombardo, William Winant, Nava Dunkelman and Zorn himself. Today’s musical progress through LACMA could not have happened without our friends Claire Kim, Jane Burrell and Mitch Glickman at LACMA.

It is an experience we will not soon forget. We are incredibly grateful to them, all the artists and everyone at LACMA for saying yes to making that experience happen. Everyone who steps into the hall tonight will keep the vibration going, into the wee small hours of tomorrow after Zorn’s eclectic midnight organ recital.

It has truly been a marathon, one that has gathered so much momentum as this epic moment in the art of performance drew near. Helping set the tone for tonight on the Royce Terrace are artists from our most immediate community, UCLA students and faculty who have been influenced by Zorn’s work. Our thanks also go to Ganavya Doraiswamy, Elizabeth Erickson, Hassan Estakhrian, Putu Hiranmayena, Aaron Hogan, Molly Jones, AJ Kluthm Elisabeth Le Guin, Steven Loza, Alex W. Rodriguez, Mehrenegar Rostami, Richard Savery, Otto Stuparitz, Andrea Vancura, Jordan Watson, Dave Wilson, who performed a series of improvisational duets, inspired by Zorn’s compositional techniques.

Today is for all of us. For everyone Zorn has influenced, inspired, thrilled or challenged—artists and music lovers, Zorn aficionados and newcomers to his work, collaborators and curiosity seekers.

Today is a beautiful example of what we make together as artists and audiences. Together, in this moment in time we become the permanent collection of this project. There will be no John Zorn Marathon album to re-visit, no poster or painting to hang on a wall. But there will be all of us. We are the keepers and caretakers of this incredible moment in the art of performance.

Thank you for being part of the permanent collection.

Welcome to the 2015-2016 Season

The process of planning for and later presenting live performances is a remarkable encounter with careening variables. However refined a season schedule might be or however long we have planned with artists and colleagues for each project – we are ever aware that in an instant, things can change on a dime (and frequently do). Multifarious daily adventures become months and then a year, and a new season is born!

Since our work at the Center parallels life at large, it also offers us abundant recognition of how interdependent we are in creating the conditions for great artistry to arrive and thrive on our stages. That is a potential and vitality that includes you – our patrons, members, supporters, subscribers, audiences, students and visiting cultural omnivores. Without your interest, involvement and support, none of this would happen. Thank you.

As you have come to expect from Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, the 2015-2016 season reflects a diverse and highly considered program of contemporary performances.

One particular intention within our programming focus this season is the massive contribution of women in all of the art forms that our mission envelops.

Our Words & Ideas series is chock full of powerful, maverick and generous voices – from the literary genius of Ursula K. Le Guin, to the disarmingly brilliant cultural commentary of cartoonist Roz Chast. Miranda July returns to the Center for a top-secret experience, and we will hear from Moscow-based Russian feminist punk protest group Pussy Riot.

We also present a retrospective survey of one of the world’s most admired and influential choreographers Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker and her company Rosas. The world premiere of a major commissioned work by Ann Carlson, entitled The Symphonic Body UCLA features 100 performers culled from the workers on this campus. It is unlike anything you have experienced before. And, we present the world premiere of new work from L.A.’s beloved Latin-Urban collective CONTRA-TIEMPO under the direction of Ana Maria Alvarez.

Anne Bogart and SITI Company return to the season in a new collaborative work with Julia Wolfe and Bang on a Can All-Stars. And we’ve linked arms with our colleagues at Center Theater Group to welcome Young Jean Lee back to L.A. Her newest theater piece titled STRAIGHT WHITE MEN opens just in time for the holiday season. To start the season’s theater offerings, CAP UCLA is proud to present Desdemona, written by Toni Morrison and Rokia Traoré. Directed by the singular Peter Sellars, this thoughtful work is a re-imagining of Shakespeare’s Othello, as told from the female characters’ perspectives.

In music, Cassandra Wilson performs her disarming Billie Holiday tribute and Regina Carter takes the stage in collaboration with Sam Amidon, in a celebration of her own Southern roots. We will also host Anoushka Shankar, Noura Mint Seymali, Lucinda Williams, as well as Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho in an intimate concert featuring UCLA’s one-and-only Gloria Cheng—just to name a few. We love men too! A generous and formidable contingent of men join us as well.

Thank you for finding us, for supporting what we do, and for coming along as we host some truly unforgettable performances this season.

Here’s just a snapshot of what’s in store.  You can also click through the online 2015-2016 program guide.

From the Center: ‘River of Fundament’ by Matthew Barney and Jonathan Bepler–Royce Hall April 25, 2015

Unsigned editorial from the performance program notes. 

Nearly seven years in the making, River of Fundament is Matthew Barney’s largest filmic undertaking since The Cremaster Cycle—an an elaborate contemporary opera of cinematic dimension.

Alluring, authentic and intense, it is a vast, multidimensional experience interspersed with remarkable live performances.
The multidimensional scope of Barney’s work in River of Fundament is truly epic and vast. His longstanding collaboration with composer Jonathan Bepler is alive in the structure and operatic pacing of the work, and Bepler’s score is extraordinary.

In the extensive advance planning to present River of Fundament at the Center, we discussed at length the requirements associated with Barney/ Bepler’s vision for the work. Put succinctly, it was envisioned to be held within the architecture of a “grand concert venue” and in this presentation, Royce Hall itself plays a role in the framing of Barney’s original intent. Royce Hall technical and production staff have made major adjustments to the soundscape in order to balance the acoustic properties of Royce with the rich and refined composition of Bepler. These details aren’t visually apparent – but will certainly be in the aural experience, the effort of which warrants mention.

In an era of downloadable clips, and repeated loops and various points of digital points of reference, we are honored to be able to present River of Fundament as it was meant to be experienced – live, large, an epic in its entirety, surrounded by the refined acoustics that simply cannot be achieved without this grand
architecture.

We are also proud to collaborate with fellow artsinstitutions
around the presentation of this work, starting with the Manchester International Arts Festival where it had its World Premiere—UCLA
Hammer Museum and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

This week the Hammer Museum presented the entire Cremaster Cycle, giving local Barney aficionados a chance to view that seminal work in anticipation of this West Coast premiere. The Hammer also hosted a discussion between Barney, Bepler and Kenneth Reinhard, UCLA associate professor of English and Comparative Lit.

In September MOCA opens the eponymous exhibition, Matthew Barney: River of Fundament, featuring 14 large-scale sculptures weighing up to 25 tons, drawings, photographs, and vitrines
that were inspired by or made in conjunction with the film. The exhibition will be presented at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in Little Tokyo, from September 13 through January 18, 2016.

Matthew Barney is one of the most influential artists of his generation, and our multi-institutional collaboration is a testament to Barney’s relevance and vision, while marking the collegial esprit du corps there is among all of us in Los Angeles.

Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA makes Royce Hall the creative home for many performing artists from here and around the world. So too for the audiences who have dubbed us their ‘living room’ for live performance. Feel free to ‘move in’ for this unforgettable night – a journey in in many ways – and thank you for being here.

From the Center: An Evening with Gilberto Gil–Royce Hall April 18, 2015

Unsigned editorial from the performance program notes. 

Gilberto Gil is no stranger to Los Angeles. And with each illuminating visit to our city, he continues to update the playlists of our lives.

The last time Gilberto Gil performed on the Royce Hall stage, it was 2007, in a rare solo set. He had just released the intimate compilation disc Gil Luminoso, recorded only with voice and acoustic guitar.

Unsurprisingly, he charmed the audience. Gil is gracious, unaffected and eager to serve as a spokesperson for the greatness of Brazilian culture, and his fellow artists.

This time, he is back with a full band that includes another generation of Gil brilliance, with is son Bem on guitar.
From his earliest days performing in Brazil, to his high-profile collaborations with fellow luminaries such as Caetano Veloso, Gail Costa and Jimmy Cliff (just to name a few); Gil has been a prolific, consistent and generous example in the art of performance.

As Minister of Culture for Brazil, one of his accomplishments was implementing a program called Culture Points, which gives grants to provide music technology and education to people living in poor areas of the country’s cities. He’s inspired artists from diverse backgrounds and aesthetics worldwide.

Gil himself has never been bound by any one convention or defined by one particular sound. His personal musical interest and output is informed not only by the traditional sounds of Brazil like samba and bossa nova, but also rock and reggae. His own playlist is vast and varied and he joyously shares it with the world.

Tonight, he shares it with us.

Please help us give a very warm welcome to Gilberto Gil.

From the Center: Leonard Nimoy’s ‘Vincent’–Little Theater April 17-19, 2015

Unsigned editorial from the performance program notes. 

This July marks the 125th anniversary of Vincent Van Gogh’s death. In the intervening century-plus, the images he created in his life have become an indelible part of popular culture.

Vincent Van Gogh was just 37 when he died. His years as a working artist were largely made possible by the unflagging emotional and financial support of his brother, Theo. Sadly, early 2016 will also mark the 125th anniversary of Theo Van Gogh’s death as well. He died just six months after his brother.

Together they left behind an important and powerful legacy in the art world, Vincent through his works and Theo, as not only a patron of his sibling, but as an art dealer who helped shepherd the early careers of such Van Gogh contemporaries as Monet and Degas.

Vincent is a work of performance laden with memory and great storytelling potential that can be extracted from the art of archiving. The telling of this tale is made possible thanks to the careful preservation of hundreds of letters sent between these two devoted brothers.

Vincent also carries within it an inherent inspiration for gratitude. As we experience this story, we can be grateful for the incredible works Vincent Van Gogh brought into the world, images that continue to pervade our culture. We are grateful for Theo Van Gogh, for his passionate support of artists and belief in their contributions to society.

We are grateful to Jean-Michele Richaud, the extraordinary artist who so lovingly performs this intimate work of theater here and continues to share it worldwide.

As this performance celebrates a great artist as well as a great supporter of the arts, we are also given pause to remember and give thanks for the remarkable man who was inspired to write this work of theater.

Leonard Nimoy was not only a great artist of his time, but a passionate supporter of fellow artists and artistic endeavor.

He is dearly missed and dearly beloved.

How fortunate we all are that he left so much of himself behind for us and future generations to experience, from his films and photography to his words of poetry and the words we will hear on stage today. Nimoy himself ensured that an archive of his passions and vision will live long and prosper.

Thank you for joining us.

From the Center: Ethel ‘Documerica’–Schoenberg Hall April 17, 2015

Unsigned editorial from the performance program notes. 

Thank you for joining us as we welcome ETHEL back to the program. If you’ve experienced this masterful quartet before, you know well just how buoyant and electrifying they are in live performance. This very special multimedia project allowed the members of ETHEL to apply their keen artistic sensibilities to a major photographic undertaking of the people, places and landscapes that comprise this country.

At first blush it might not seem so significant to think that there is a massive collection of images documenting daily life in the U.S. After all, here in 2015, we are confronted daily by, or making our own contributions to, myriad social media applications that allow us to share any and all photographic details of our independent experiences. Most of us walk around holding in our hands the ability to snap a high-quality photograph of anything that moves us– ourselves, our meals, people and sights around us. We can even immediately and sophisticatedly edit, stylize and share that image fairly broadly.

But from 1972-1977, this was decidedly not the case, and therefore the 15,000 images now available to view from the EPA’s Documerica project, if you take pause to consider how nascent the digital world was then, is utterly fascinating. Don’t be surprised if you leave here feeling inspired to peruse the entire archive. (Which you can do at Flickr.com)

Investigating these images and selecting ones that resonated was the driving force behind each composer’s approach to their segment on tonight’s program. Their highly individual and creative responses to the imagery they encountered has resulted in new layers of poignancy and buoyancy around each shot.

Combined with the creative editing and technologies employed in this unique performance project and animated further by ETHEL’s incredible stage presence, it makes for an unforgettable program of sight and sound.

Sit back and enjoy.

Thoughts from the staff of CAP UCLA