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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.

“Movement” 2015

The Royce Terrace turned into a dance club on Friday, February 13 to launch CAP UCLA’s first Movement event—a party to bring art enthusiasts together to celebrate the artists and performances that inspire us.

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Following the Los Angeles premiere of Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion’s “When The Wolves Came In” guests partied with the company under the disco ball and danced to beats fueled by KCRW’s Garth Trinidad.

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A special shout-out goes to new CAP UCLA member Karin Okada who got the party started. Karin was the first guest to participate in the interactive dance video. Video of revelers dancing were projected on to the Royce Hall Building, which non-dancers got to enjoy while taking advantage of snacks and the cash bar. We’re very happy to provide  CAP UCLA members complimentary drink vouchers and members’ priority line at the bar for events like this.

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And, we’re very grateful for the CAP UCLA members and collaborators who made this party possible. Thank you Sasha & Bill Anwalt, Stu Bloomberg, Fariba Ghaffari, Deborah Irmas, Diane Kessler, Renee Luskin, Ginny Mancini, Julie Miyoshi, Edie & Robert Parker, Kathleen & John Quisenberry, Anne-Marie Spataru, Jennifer Simchowitz, DeeDee Dorskind & Brad Tabach-Bank and Patty Wilson.

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Check out more photos from Movement 2015 and both Kyle Abraham performances here. There’s more to come!

Art Spiegelman: “Five Books That Deeply Dented My Skull and Shaped Me”

For our Artists Bookshelf initiative we asked select artists on the season to share 5-10 books that have had a lasting impact.  Graphic novelist and all-around creative philosopher Art Spiegelman took a slightly different approach and wrote us this wonderful treatise which we will share in its entirety here.

Art (left) with Phillip Johnston. Photo by Sarah Shatz.
Art (left) with Phillip Johnston. Photo by Sarah Shatz.

Art will be performing in Royce Hall October 15 as part of WORDLESS! with composer Phillip Johnston. (For Philip’s bookshelf selections check out our Artists Bookshelf homepage. )

Art’s selections:

  • The Day of the Locust, by Nathanael West

The greatest “cartoon” novel I ever read, populated by grotesques and stereotypes, but (or therefore?) drilling into the heart of the human condition. It’s a seriously hilarious work drenched in alienation and despair, written during Great Depression I (1939), and focused on the losers and lowlife on the Boulevard of Broken Dreams. It uses Hollywood as a metonym for an America populated by “innocent” monsters, and ends—spoiler alert!—with Armageddon. Sentence for sentence The Day of the Locust is one of the most beautiful books I ever read, and one of the most visual—as in this description of our protagonist, Tod Hackett, a hack Hollywood set painter, washing his hands: “He got out of bed in sections, like a poorly made automaton, and carried his hands into the bathroom. He turned on the cold water. When the basin was full, he plunged his hands in up to the wrists. They lay quietly on the bottom like a pair of strange aquatic animals. When they were thoroughly chilled and began to crawl about, he lifted them out and hid them in a towel.”

(With new books precipitously piling up around me like kipple*, I don’t reread novels as often asI’d like—a pity, considering that with my rapidly fading memory, I could save a lotta dough rereading all the ones I’ve got—but I still re-dip into this short novel every few years. The only book I’ve compulsively returned to more often is….)

  • The Complete Dramatic Works of Samuel Beckett

If I was more rigorous, I’d have limited myself to Godot (the first Beckett play I read and the one most cited by people who never read Beckett) or maybe Endgame, but—happy days!—this set includes Happy Days, Krapp’s Last Tape and all the rest. Beckett’s floridly minimalist and precise language is so deadpan funny and wise it makes me sob. A couple of years back, facing a brain operation and fretting more than usual about mortality, I realized I was too confirmed an atheist to have any sort of deathbed conversion so I steeped myself in his writings (the Molloy trilogy as well as the plays) and realized I indeed had Religion: I’m a devout member of the Church of the Absurd.

(And speaking of holy texts….)

  • The Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics, edited by Bill Blackbeard & Martin Williams

We now live in a golden age of comics reprints that includes enough beautiful multi-volume collections of Little Nemo, Krazy Kat, Gasoline Alley, Dick Tracy Peanuts, et al to break any library’s budget and bookshelves—but this 1977 anthology of the first 60 or so years of newspaper strips was seminal. Bill Blackbeard was a peerless connoisseur, collector, and scholar of comic who curated this inspiring collection of lost treasures, a book so essential to understanding my medium that a number of my closest cartooning cronies simply refer to it as ‘The Book’.

  • Inside Mad, edited, written and laid out by Harvey Kurtzman

This 1955 paperback collection of Harvey Kurtzman’s early issues of Mad (back when the no wailing magazine was still a comic book) is the very first book I read that changed my life. I was seven or eight and, if nothing else, it doomed me into aspiring to become a cartoonist. (The cartoonists who collaborated with Kurtzman—a genius cartoonist in his own right—all seemed to draw with pens manically overflowing with seratonin rather than india ink!) Mad also changed the life of America. Kurtzman’s self-referential anarchy may get taken for granted now, but he held up a cracked mirror that told the truth about a then Very Bland and Monolithic American culture. For better or worse, Harvey Kurtzman made literary irony mainstream. Without Mad there’d be no generation that grew up to protest the Vietnam War; nor the one that at least tried to Occupy Wall Street; no Simpsons or Colbert Report or Daily Show…. and certainly there could’ve been no Maus without Mickey Rodent!

  • This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen, by Tadeusz Borowski

Tadeusz Borowski was a Polish poet and journalist, a non-Jewish Communist prisoner in Auschwitz, who committed suicide in 1951 by sticking his head in a kitchen oven. His short stories, strikingly written even in translation, are seen through the eyes of a brutalized and brutalizing kapo, whose wide-open eyes are a camera, and whose emotions are clamped shut. It’s as if a less romantic and sentimental Raymond Chandler had lived through Auschwitz.

In the decade or more that I fully immersed in the grim world of “Holocaust Lit” in order to turn my father’s memories into comics panels, I couldn’t wrap my brain around the oxymoron of daily life in a death-camp until I found this book. If, as Franz Kafka once wrote, “a book must be an icepick to break the sea frozen inside us,” then Tadeusz Borowkski’s book of short stories is the volume that broke me the most.

****

Also in my top five are

—Kafka’s collected stories

—and Nabokov’s Lolita (as well as his Pale Fire)

—and Portnoy’s Complaint

—and maybe a collection of Harvey Kurtzman’s anti-war (or at least Humanist) War comics of the 1950s to show the flipside of that artist’s furshlugginer genius. (“Corpse on the Imjin” and Other Stories was published by Fantagraphics in 2012)

—and definitely the two-volume compilation of Lynd Ward’s six woodcut novels published by The Library of America that has an introduction I wrote that catalyzed the Wordless! performance at Royce Hall on October 15th (which occasioned the UCLA library’s request for this list.)

(At the moment I’m reading book on elementary math so I might to learn to count to five with greater accuracy….)

—art spiegelman, 2014


∗A word coined by Philip K. Dick (whose Ubik and The Three Stigma of Palmer Eldritch would be on this list if I put it together yesterday or tomorrow), defines kipple in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, (also on tomorrow’s list):

“Kipple is useless objects, like junk mail or match folders after you use the last match or gum wrappers or yesterday’s homeopape. When nobody’s around, kipple reproduces itself…. the entire universe is moving towards a final state of total, absolute kipple-ization.”

Anonymous Awesomeness

You may have encountered, over the past two seasons, our exploration on poetry and poets. We’ve stuffed poetry writing prompts in envelopes and stashed them around the hall. We’ve created mini-poetry books. We’ve held poetry slams and instituted an on-the-spot poetry bureau.

We have typewriters scattered about our offices and  notepads with the prompt “Who is the Poet in Your Life?”

It’s been interesting to witness the ways in which people encounter these moments of poetic thought. It’s been gratifying to witness how many times it has inspired a poetic impulse.

We found the following poem on a table in our Royce Hall Pop-Up Library the other day. We’re not sure who wrote it or when. But, we love it. And we thank you, whoever you are for sharing it.

Poem1

me

by “kj”

Half of my life is spent rolling my eyes

at dumb things I do orWatch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

have done

I am rolling my eyes right

this second

Who am I to act like a poet

To pretend like I am not inadequate

To talk myself up so I don’t feel the disappointment

that creeps into my veins without warning

These same veins that once flowed with the

hot blood of want

now stiff with doubt

Am I really doing all I can to succeed

Who am I to preach when I am guilty

I am a hypocrite of the worst kind

The one with the false pride

The one who attends church every Sunday

Yet cannot recall the last time I had a prayerful thought

Is this what it means to be humble?

When I am still faking sick to stay home from school at 20 years old,

Is it fake when my stomach turns at the words

“mature adult”

Don’t look at me

But please–look at me

A fine specimen of the genuine wannabe

I want to be so many things

But especially

A contradiction

I want to be worhty

of God’s attention

I want to be honest

But until then

I will remain in this perpetual state of

eye-rolling

An actor, but never a poet

Marathons and Milestones

March has been quite a month. A few themes have emerged for me in the coalescence of life in this city and the way the art we present winds itself into our lives as a presenting organization.  And since I dearly love metaphor, bear with me as I express one.

For the first time in more than a decade of living in West L.A., instead of avoiding leaving the house during the L.A. marathon, I dove into it. Not insofar as I would actually participate in such a daunting activity. (yikes!) But, since I live just a bit south of the marathon route, my S.O. and I went to watch the runners at a couple of different spots along the way.

Mile 22 made me believe in the power of humans to support each other’s endeavors. I literally teared up as I watched the crowds that lined the route. A few people were looking for friends or family members specifically, but mostly it was just people from the neighborhood, the churches and local business that lined the route, out there cheering every runner on, encouraging and congratulating, handing out tiny cups of water and candies and bits of fruit to stranger after stranger. Athletic clothing store Lululemon went big, with a DJ and dancers holding up witty encouraging signs for all to see.  It brought more than a few smiles, fist bumps and bursts of dancing to the sweaty, determined faces as they ran past.

HaMikeatmile22ving witnessed this moment of the race, we really wanted to see some people cross finish line too so we navigated to the point along the ocean in Santa Monica where the marathon ended. Here again were mounds of people lining the route, many layers of them. But, unlike back at Mile 22 where the onlookers cheered and applauded and encouraged every single runner, here, it was clear that the people clamoring at the edge of the race boundary were posted up in an effort to witness their specific friend or family member cross the finish line, and didn’t spare much cheer for strangers. It was awesome to see that support, but also made me a bit wistful for the vibe a few miles back. Runner after runner marked this major accomplishment in front of a sea of people who did not cheer spontaneously for them, because they were waiting for, checking their phones for text messages from, straining to get a glimpse of…someone else, someone specific cross that line.

While I don’t think that lack of spontaneous cheering from strangers diminished anyone who passed by at the culmination of such an incredible feat, I have to say, I much preferred the atmosphere of the admittedly smaller crowd back at mile 22. I bet there may have been a few runners who didn’t even  make it to or beyond that point of the race.  But mile 22 wasn’t the only spot where people line up in support of the marathoners. I saw crowds down the route as far as the eye could see. And regardless where the final stopping point of any runner was, I still think their effort was worthy and admire their fortitude.

It made me think about the artists we present here at the Center. We see groups and performers and creators at many and varied points on the creative marathon that is the life and career path of an artist. We cheer for them at the start, at multiple other convergences on their journey, sometimes stretches wherein there aren’t as many familiar faces lining the sides as others.  We celebrate their milestones.

And we’re proud to do so. Two weeks ago we celebrated the 40th anniversary of one of the most iconic groups in the art of contemporary performance—Kronos Quartet. We reminisced with them, we reveled in a showcase of their talent as individuals, we honored their collective vision and we enjoyed their collaborative spirit. It’s not a finish line, per se, because we hope there are many decades of music to come from this seminal cadre of performers, but it was a thrilling moment of connection to share that huge milestone with them.

Just this past weekend, we had the equally profoundly moving opportunity to intersect with four groups  who have followed in the footsteps of Kronos—new music ensembles Imani Winds, ETHEL, yMusic and eighth  blackbird—each of which is on its own distinctive mile in its unique artistic evolution. And all of which are traversing this path with grace, joy, abundant creativity, eclecticism, and persistent vision.

There was a palpable sense of warmth,  generosity and energy from the audiences who joined us to experience these talented ensembles as part of the first-ever Tune-In Festival L.A. It took me back to mile 22. And for that. I thank you.

If you missed any of these groups this month and you are a lover of music, I would encourage you to find that point on their performance marathon where you can lend them your applause. They’re worth it.

TuneIn

eighth blackbird, yMusic and several UCLA student musicians performed the finale of Tune-In Festival L.A. with “Worker’s Union.”

Notes from Kristy: Come On In, The Water’s Fine

The other night we heard the resulting song cycles and creative framework of a new work by Heidi Rodewald and her collaborators Donna Di Novelli and Kevin Newbury, who just completed their residency here at the Center. While their time in residence was concentrated, they generated some truly remarkable material in pursuit of collaborative ideas.

And if my reaction to what they shared is any gauge of the future life for this work, it is going to strike some very resonant chords. The project is called “The Good Swimmer” and is based in part upon the found text of a lifeguard training manual from the 1940s (when women had to assume traditional male job roles as they were all off to war).

There was a particular conceptual through line in it that I cannot get out of my mind. A central thread from the instruction manual for lifeguard training: “The Lifeguard knows what she must be most alert to, and most concerned over, which is the good swimmer. The good swimmer knows how to take care of themselves when they swim out beyond where most would venture. The danger for the lifeguard is that those less capable will follow. The good swimmer therefore poses the greatest hazard to the lifeguard’s duty of care.”

I love it when an unexpected and pristine clarity knocks me sideways.

We are about to play host to a whole season of pristine clarity coming out of the artists that are soon to arrive as we open the 2013-2014 program. I thought it might be good to mention a few of the firsts – The Moth kicks off the Spoken Word series, LACO returns for their illustrious program at Royce Hall as our Resident Orchestra, Deer Tick sets UCLA’s Welcome Week off with an alt-country twist to our Roots/Folk series, and Keith Jarrett, Jack DeJohnette and Gary Peacock – while marking 30 years of amazing music together – kick off our Jazz offerings.

Crossing over from both the Atlantic and the Pacific we welcome the mega-theater work, “Shun-kin” by Complicite in collaboration with Setagaya Public Theater — putting a momentous start to the Theater season, with a work that is quite simply not to be missed. Our Dance series opens the following week with the North American premiere of Lucy Guerin’s most recent choreography, “Weather.”

To put this into some statistical perspective, that’s about 100 independent artists over three weeks, hailing from cities and countries far and wide converging in Los Angeles this September. We are going to be heaving with the generosity of brilliant artists taking the stage to send up their finest for our ebullient audiences, and I for one am BEYOND READY.

One of the aspects to bringing that much creative mastery into a place like this, is what happens on campus, in Westwood Village, and in the venues themselves when unanticipated and astonishing moments in art between impassioned people come together in unique exchange…well, it makes the fight against the traffic and I-405 closures and daily irritations melt away and we get to be joyously AWAKE together. For the artists– the equivalency is that it makes the airport delays, visa approval processes and all of the rehearsals well and truly worth it.

This is a big and important season for the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA. It marks the deepening presence of our mission and purpose, and a heightened relationship to our supporters and audiences, along with these extraordinary artists. For those of you already reading this, it means that you are interested in the Center sustaining the work of our purpose. Know that I consider one and all of you to be the exact people it will take for us to continue to develop and evolve regardless of the ever-vexing pressures that can work against a great public promise. In short, you are the good swimmers, and here’s hoping that by watching you swim out into the great beyond, others will indeed follow.

–K

Notes from Kristy: Looking Forward at Summer’s End

With a full year under our belt as Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, and a new season of performances soon to be upon us, I thought it was high time for me to start contributing various missives to our web site and monthly eNews. As we go along, some will invariably be generated from airports, others from my desk, likely others from backstage here or elsewhere–but since I am always thinking about something (at least when I am awake)–I am keen to share it with those of you involved in what we do over here at the Center.

I am sure I am not alone in this, but today is my elevated recognition that it is A U G U S T 1st. I have been busily looking forward to summer all summer it seems, and now it’s August 1st ! From my desk that means that we are six weeks away from the arrival of the first artists on our season.

After the announcement of the 2013-2014 season in the spring, I was in Tel Aviv, Moscow and St. Petersburg with colleague artistic directors—seeing a great deal of performance and visual art, meeting with artists and practitioners and developing plans for projects to become part of our future programming at the Center (stay tuned). I was also able to participate in the LA Dance Summit, which generated a great deal of spirited exchange about the dance ecology in Los Angeles. Still being relatively new to the city, I appreciated being able to listen to the challenges and opportunities of dance artists and organizations over the years, and to ponder what strategies might be developed for increased visibility and growth over time.

Similarly, I was fortunate to have a chance this summer to really sit down and meet with theater artists and colleague presenter/producers of theater. There is a spectacular amount of energy and wisdom to draw from and I am always motivated by the possibilities of building different bridges that can lift the capacities of great artists and connect their work and ideas to places and people where they will find resonant embrace.

I want to talk a bit about two projects for which we are in rigorous and detailed preparation: Shun-kin by Complicite under the direction of Simon McBurney, and Weather, by Australian choreographer Lucy Guerin. Shun-kin just completed a highly successful engagement in New York with the Lincoln Center Festival, and then the technical director popped across to visit us here and look at the Freud Theater, where the company will set up in a few short weeks.

Much to his delight, the venue is going to be ‘perfect’ and we have made adjustments that will accommodate the subtitle positioning quite well (this is always a somewhat vexing undertaking, so I am very happy to report this news). Still, there is ample time for those of you coming to see an unforgettable work of theater, to read the Junichiro Tanazaki text that inspired it. There’s also a brilliant L.A. connection to this work, an essay on architecture by former UCLA professor Charles Moore which stands as design inspiration to the production, and also serves as a forward to the printed edition of In Praise of Shadows. While we will be printing the synopsis of this intense and challenging piece of theater in the program notes–and making those available in advance–it would be great for those of you inclined to read the original material.

If you can come to the opening-night benefit, please do so. It is going to be unforgettable, and it will help us continue to present exceptional theater that would otherwise not make it to Los Angeles. There is so much to do, and knowing we have your support makes the difficulty of getting it done utterly worth it.

Lucy’s piece deals with weather patterns and systems in change and sets the choreography into a world of weather in dynamic change – the scenography and score are equally dynamic, and we will be updating you in the lead up. I am so happy to be able to welcome Lucy and her dancers to Los Angeles. For those Aussie expats now based in L.A., we will make sure to have a gathering while they are in town.

Thinking of Australia for a moment – when you do return to Royce this September you will discover four newly planted, gorgeous eucalyptus trees adjacent to the back entrance of Royce near the stairs that lead down to our offices. These came to us when a gentleman working at Campus Facilities saved them from the chipper at a construction site elsewhere. I wonder how on Earth he did it – these are not saplings – and wanted to say thanks.

Our lovely rescued trees will soon flank a brand-new ramp on the backstage loading dock.

While most of us on staff here spend the summer months actively detailing the complex preparation for visiting productions and concerts from the upcoming season, I am also finalizing the major works that will become the backbone of the 2014-2015 season. I am happy to say that it is now largely in place (artistically speaking), and the long march of ensuring that we can resource the scope and dimension of the program is now at hand.

I am thinking about a lot of other stuff as well, but will save that for future missives.

Have a spectacular August!

Kristy