Tag Archives: Laurie Anderson

Notes from Kristy: Thinking of Lou Reed

As I write this, I feel a combined sensation of a need to honor and a gut filled sorrow from the loss of a truly great artist, Lou Reed. Having received countless messages, I am expressing on behalf of many the acute sensation of longing which comes to the surface when we lose someone who inspired us deeply. Importantly also, is a shared depth of gratitude for his contributions in so many ways to our collective experience through his poetry, music and spirited fullness. I offer our support, condolence and sincere compassion to Laurie Anderson most especially, and the many extended friends and loved ones of Lou’s who are and will be grieving the most, while undoubtedly celebrating his incredible life in the days and months to come. Our hearts are with you each and every one.

At the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA we honor and acknowledge the life work of many esteemed artists, at various stages within their careers and within their evolving projects and ideas. It’s in times like this that I can be grateful to know that our mission and purpose matters to many artists the world over, while at the same time I cannot help but feel overwhelmed at how much more we need to be doing to change the culture that supports the incredible possibility of greatness within artists so that they can thrive, contrive and inspire us all with what it means to be truly human in the bigness of our tiny world together.

I am struck in the media and press coverage surrounding the news of Lou Reed’s passing, that there is a tremendous articulation of his impact and artistic output — credit authentically coming where credit is authentically due. Occasionally these testimonials are flavored with the mention of his work not garnering substantial “commercial success” (however deserved).

To which I can only really offer this — if the allure for artists to deeply excavate our human truths and give them form, was motivated by commercial success alone, the songlines of our heritage would be thin indeed. I ponder this duality often in my own role as an artistic director where I am requested to deftly straddle the active importance of putting a spotlight on the artistic integrity of artists and their art, with the pressure to deliver the somewhat more comforting nuances of assured familiarity and easily knowable outcomes on behalf of another kind of measurement of “success.”

Instead, because of artists like Lou Reed, like Laurie Anderson, like their contemporaries, and the great many artists I have the deep pleasure of working with, not only are our songlines profoundly strengthened, but so too are the tools we have to bolster our awareness of what it means to be “AWAKE” in the world while we inhabit it.

So in honor of Lou Reed, and in service to our communities of artists – I feel compelled to simply say…thank you. Thank you, Lou for expanding the fence line of the familiar and allowing the creative terrain for our souls to wander well, regardless of ever being in full possession of a known outcome at the outset of your own path.

—K

Diving Deep in 13-14

Did you hear we added another performance to our 2013-2014 season? We did. And it’s a doozy. We’re bringing back our current Artist Fellow Laurie Anderson and hanging on to the fabulous Kronos Quartet for an extra day in spring 2014. On March 15, the evening following our 40th anniversary program with Kronos, the ensemble will perform with Laurie in their first-ever collaboration, Landfall, a technology-tinged new work created for the Kronos by Anderson. (Tickets go on sale tomorrow, don’t miss it).

COLLEGE PARK, MD – February 1, 2013 – The Kronos Quartet, in dress rehearsal, with Laurie Anderson at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland.(Photo by Susan Biddle)

It’s incredible to think that these two massively important artists have never collaborated before this piece. They premiered the work in May at Montclair University’s Peak Performances series and it has been met with unsurprising acclaim.

Kronos and Laurie are both trailblazers in contemporary music. They are unceasing in their evolutionary approach to the form and have changed its face time and again over the course of decades.

Adding a night with Kronos and bringing Laurie back to campus (where she will also undoubtedly explore other projects her innovative mind is tackling in relation to her status as a CAP UCLA Artist Fellow) is indicative of a larger theme of the season.

These are not the only artists we are spending extra time with this season. We’re diving deep into some exceptional performers and their work in several multi-performance showcases.

Our other fellow Robert Wilson will perform his deeply introspective production of Lecture on Nothing, which goes beyond a theatrical adaptation of words on a page to become a living homage to Cage, lovingly and compellingly wrought by a fellow influential artist.

Meanwhile, Robert will also join with two of his most revered collaborators, Lucinda Childs and Philip Glass as they discuss their seminal 1975 work Einstein on the Beach. We are truly proud and thrilled to partner with LA Opera in their presentation of this incredibly ambitious and important work. Stay tuned for more details on events and activities that will help our audience intersect more closely with the themes and principle creators of Einstein.

And ahPhilip Glass. May 2014 cannot arrive quickly enough. We have so much Glass in store. We’ve carefully crafted three successive performances that will allow Glass acolytes and lovers of new music the opportunity to experience this legendary composer/performer’s work in multiple ways over the course of one weekend—from a highly personal peek at the artistic process revealed by his solo project The Etudes, to the epic marathon performance from Glass and his ensemble in the Los Angeles debut of Music in 12 Parts (it’s five hours long, but you’ll leave energized) and a more straightforward compositional perspective with Glass’s moving score to the Cocteau masterpiece La Belle et la Bete. If you’ve never experienced a music-and-film night in Royce Hall, this is a great opportunity, even if you’re not familiar with Glass’ oeuvre. The hall is glorious, well, always, but something about the marriage of music and film makes it even more so.

In dance, we’re proud to showcase two very different, and yet equally compelling perspectives of Jerome Bel. The French choreographer is very well known for shattering convention and even pushing buttons. We present his portrait of renowned Merce Cunningham company (among many others) dancer, Cédric Andrieux, who will be here performing the work himself in a thought-provoking evening that merges multiple forms of modern dance and a bit of spoken word, all in service of deciphering exactly what drives an artist. The performance is as much a question to Cedric from Jerome as it is an answer back, and as it is a query from Jerome to himself—and to us.

We will also present one of Bel’s most controversial works, The Show Must Go On, which essentially entails a group of movers (a mix of professional dancers and other performers) literally acting out the lyrics of popular music, as played by a live DJ.

We’ll be casting this work with local dancers and really look forward to giving the dance community the chance to work with Bel and his collaborators. We think it will be an experience of a lifetime for them.

As for the audience, we’ll get to see a whole ‘nother side of Bel and our perceptions of pop culture will be challenged, called in to question, maybe even clarified a bit here and there.

That’s a theme for another blog entry!

More to come. Join us and dive deep this season.