Tag Archives: Royce Hall

Frank Warren: PostSecret Live” Weds. Jan. 23, 2015-Royce Hall

(Unsigned editorial from the performance program notes)

In the last decade, PostSecret Project founder Frank Warren has received more than a million postcards. That is a staggering amount of secrets to imagine that one human is willing to assume compassionate responsibilty for. It is also a staggering example of the capacity for empathy we all possess.

The secrets have come from around the world, each bearing a secret the anonymous senders might otherwise never voice.

Hopes, fears, confessions, regrets, dreams, all captured on 4×6 cards that come pouring into Frank’s mailbox, and his home, every day.
Tonight, we’ll get to see some of the postcards that didn’t end up on the PostSecret website or in one of Frank’s books. But we haven’t all gathered here just to pull back the curtain on the lives of strangers. Frank will share what all those secrets have taught him about the unseen dramas unfolding all around us, and how they can help us be more compassionate.

We all feel the need to conceal parts of ourselves. Whatever our individual secrets may be, we each make daily decisions about what to share and what to hide, which doors to open and which to keep locked.

Here at the Center, we believe in opening doors. We believe in creating a space where we can share an experience, and be reminded that our own most personal truth can be recognized in the unlikeliest of places. Each time an artist takes the stage, it’s an invitation to make a connection. PostSecret reminds us that the act of sharing a secret, on an anonymous postcard or in front of a crowd, is just another kind of invitation to connect, another door being thrown open.

Inspired by PostSecret, we’ve been collecting anonymous answers to the question, What’s the Boldest Thing You’ve Ever Done? Hundreds of cards were dropped into collection boxes across campus over the last few months. They are on display tonight in the lobby. Some, no doubt, carry secrets. All of them help us to see someone else’s life through their own eyes.

We hope you’ll share your boldest moment, public or private, by submitting your own card before you leave tonight.

We’re honored to have Frank Warren here, and to share this evening of insight and discovery with you. Thanks for being here, and for bringing your curiosity and your compassion.

We hope you leave with a new door open.

Sussan Deyhim: THE HOUSE IS BLACK–Royce Hall Jan. 23, 2015

(Unsigned editorial from the performance program notes).

It has been a profound privilege and honor to collaborate with and support Sussan Deyhim since the very early stages of this incredible work. Sussan was in residence at CAP UCLA with The House is Black last year and tonight’s world premiere is a culmination of energy, creative spirit and integrity of purpose.

The making of a work like this has been in the hands of many believers–the people and organizations and fellow artists who believe in the importance of the story Sussan is so committed to sharing with us all, who believe in shining a light on the infl uence of a great writer and artist who came before and whose voice has been all-too-silent in the contemporary arts world.

For three years now, we at the Center have been asking the question “Who is the Poet in Your Life?” The answers are as varied as the people who supply them, and our work and lives have been enriched through this exploration. Thanks to Sussan, Forough Farrokhzad herself has become an answer to that question for us. We welcome you here tonight to celebrate her contributions to the world of art, and to celebrate the tenacity, intention and great talent of Sussan Deyhim, who will continue to bring the work of Forough to so many. We hope you leave here with a poem from our live Poetry Bureau in the West Lobby where we will attempt to capture the great power of language through a few thoughtfully typed verses.

And we hope you leave here tonight able to more deftly ponder and answer the question: Who is the Poet in Your Life?

Tonight we all become part of a living, breathing, ongoing exhibition. Our memories and experiences here tonight are what creates a permanent collection of this ephemeral art form. We become the keepers of this moment in time and this tribute to two powerful boundary-defying artists.

An Evening with Gregory Porter– Royce Hall Jan. 17, 2015

(Unsigned editorial from the evening’s program notes).

Tonight is about soul and passion. The soul and passion of one artist as he transmits it to those of us here to bear witness; the soul and passion inherent in the blues, soul and jazz forms he so deftly inhabits; and the soul and passion that we as listeners, seekers and music lovers simultaneously bring to and extract from this space that has held so much of it over the decades.

We believe music is an essential part of the human experience.

Music perpetuates one of the most accessible rabbit holes in the art of performance. Throughout our lives, we will discover a sound or a song or a voice that resonates with us and dive deeper into it, uncover the influences behind the artist who created it, revel in other artists and forms and vibrations that emanate from it and evolve with it. And through all this we are expanding and enhancing our own experience.

Music is, indeed, essential.

Gregory Porter, over the last several years, has become an essential figure in the art of jazz performance. His third album, Liquid Skin, which you can read more about in the interview/bio enclosed in the program notes, earned him a Grammy, after being nominated for his first two albums. He was quickly recognized by his peers as a force to be reckoned with in jazz and is increasingly beloved by audiences worldwide. He is an imposing figure both literally and metaphorically, with a soul and passion to match his commanding stage presence.

As the New York Times put it in a recent review of a live performance in Porter’s home city: “Working from outer form to inner heart, Mr. Porter’s music is jazz via Oscar Brown Jr. and Nat King Cole; R&B via Ray Charles; thinky and poetic mid-’70s R&B, via
Marvin Gaye and Gil Scott-Heron; and then gospel, not as theology but as emotional policy, as devotion safeguarding against chaos.”

We are extremely proud to present this exceptional performer in Royce Hall.

Thank you for being with us.

From the Center: An Evening with Gregory Porter-Royce Hall Jan. 17

Unsigned editorial from the evening’s program notes. 

Tonight is about soul and passion. The soul and passion of one artist as he transmits it to those of us here to bear witness; the soul and passion inherent in the blues, soul and jazz forms he so deftly inhabits; and the soul and passion that we as listeners, seekers and music lovers simultaneously bring to and extract from this space that has held so much of it over the decades.

We believe music is an essential part of the human experience.

Music perpetuates one of the most accessible rabbit holes in the art of performance. Throughout our lives, we will discover a sound or a song or a voice that resonates with us and dive deeper into it, uncover the influences behind the artist who created it, revel in other artists and forms and vibrations that emanate from it and evolve with it. And through all this we are expanding and enhancing our own experience. Music is, indeed, essential.

Gregory Porter, over the last several years, has become an essential figure in the art of jazz performance. His third album, Liquid Skin, which you can read more about in the interview/bio enclosed in the program notes, earned him a Grammy, after being nominated
for his first two albums. He was quickly recognized by his peers as a force to be reckoned with in jazz and is increasingly beloved by audiences worldwide. He is an imposing figure both literally and metaphorically, with a soul and passion to match his commanding stage presence.

As the New York Times put it in a recent review of a live performance in Porter’s home city: “Working from outer form to inner heart, Mr. Porter’s music is jazz via Oscar Brown Jr. and Nat King Cole; R&B via Ray Charles; thinky and poetic mid-’70s R&B, via Marvin Gaye and Gil Scott-Heron; and then gospel,
not as theology but as emotional policy, as devotion safeguarding against chaos.”

We are extremely proud to present this exceptional performer in Royce Hall.

Thank you for being with us.

Just Curious…More Curious? (Stay Curious)

Happy New Year! As we launch ourselves back into the art of performance, I am thinking about curiosity and how important it is to be curious creatures.

One of the underpinnings of what we do here is informed by a sense of curiosity, both our presenting curiosity as a curatorial entity but also as a Center that seeks to create a safe space and fertile playground to discover what artists and makers are curious about—and in turn to inspire curiosity in the students, audience goers, patrons, art makers, thinkers, inventors, creators and researchers who surround us as they matriculate, educate and encounter new ideas on this campus or as they visit this institution by attending our programs.

Kristy Edmunds, our director, last year filled in for longtime UCLA arts professor and theater director Peter Sellars, teaching his class titled “Art as Moral Action.” It is a class in UCLA’s World Arts and Cultures department, but one that is taken by students from multiple disciplines in the arts  and other studies. Kristy often talks about her time teaching this class. And given that she is one of the most curious humans around, she often queried her students of the time about their relationship to the arts, seeking to discover what made them curious about the world beyond their personal and projected studies.

What Kristy discovered and what we continue to discover as we work with and amid students, is a sense that students do not feel like they can afford to be curious. Literally. With the costs of an education rising every year, they move through their course of study with a laser focus on the classes required for their particular degree. There’s often no time or funds to spare on a meandering elective course like “Tudor England” or “Early Women Writers,” like yours truly was lucky enough to somehow fit in alongside the requirements for a Journalism Degree 15 years ago.

The ability to be curious today can be a precious commodity. When it comes to helping students at UCLA explore their curiosity in the arts, we sometimes find ourselves with limited access to their time and attention,  a fact all parties lament–which is why we are continually investing in ways to integrate artists and our program into the college experience and curriculum on this campus.

We think curiosity is an essential part of the University experience. It is an essential part of the human experience. Curiousness, whether it’s about a thing, a person, a time in history or a place in the world, is the precursor to understanding and to empathy. And understanding and empathy are the things that inspire human beings, on an interpersonal and societal level, to collectively move forward toward goals that are more aligned than combative. Curiosity, understanding and empathy are things we cannot have too much of.

And art, in all its vibrant shapes, sounds, colors, themes, its oddities and collaborations is one of the greatest instigators of curiosity.

In the spirit of curiosity, I thought I would share a few interesting tidbits about the artists visiting us this month that will hopefully pique your curiosity.

LOUISE LECAVALIER (JAN 16)

Title : SoBlue Dancer Louise : Lecavalier Choreograper : Louise Lecavalier

DID YOU KNOW…..that for nearly 20 years Louise was the principal dancer and muse for La La La Human Steps, a thrilling and innovative dance troupe from her home base of Montreal? This brought her center stage with pop icon David Bowie often and she also performed in one of Frank Zappa’s final concerts.

ALSO… “So Blue,” the work we are presenting, is the first piece she ever choreographed, for herself. She’s in her 50s now, but her body hasn’t slowed down on her. She holds an epic headstand in the piece that will have all our abdominal muscles shaking.

GREGORY PORTER  ( JAN 17)

Gregory Porter Liquid Spirit photo (4)

DID YOU KNOW….Porter was born in Los Angeles, raised in Bakersfield and originally went to college in San Diego on a football scholarship. Though he calls Brooklyn home now, California will always have a soft spot for this soulful vocalist.

SUSSAN DEYHIM (JAN 23)

great headshot bl and wh

DID YOU KNOW…Sussan, who is known amid Hollywood as an incredible vocalist and composer whose voice has been featured on such major motion pictures as “Argo,” “The Kite Runner” and “The Last Temptation of Christ” studied dance and performance in the late 1970s with the notable French choreographer, dancer and opera director Maurice Béjart at his Mudra School in Brussels.

FRANK WARREN ‘POSTSECRET LIVE’ JAN 28

frankwarrensmall

DID YOU KNOW….Frank is not only the creator of one of the most successful blogs in the world, one that inspires people to share anonymous secrets, he also volunteers for the Suicide Prevention Hotline 1(800)SUICIDE, for which PostSecret has helped raise more than $500,000. In 2006, Warren was presented a special award from the National Mental Health Association in recognition of how PostSecret has “moved the cause of mental health forward.”

ALSO…during PostSecret Live events things can get not-so-anonymous. Frank invites the audience to share secrets live in front of each other and says that far from being a tough sell, it is often the most funny, poignant and special moments of the night.

Bring your secrets, bring your curiosity. We’re ready for more creative ways of looking at the world in 2015.

Stay curious my friends!

The Nutcracker and Beyond: Warm Holiday Wishes and Welcome Reflections

‘Tis the season for Christmas-music concerts, holiday-themed celebrations of all colors kinds, shapes and sounds, the loudest and brightest and most pervasive of which is The Nutcracker.

For us here at Royce Hall, the Nutcracker has taken over….last week with the Debbie Allen Dance Company’s interpretation of  the classic work–The Hot Chocolate Nutcracker, which has become a perennial favorite for L.A. audiences this time of year. As I type this, I can hear sets moving above me as the hall and our (extremely and also perennially hard-working) production team sets up for L.A. Ballet to converge this weekend with their annual traditional Nutcracker performances. We pause our program as these two local groups take over the hall and create some holiday cheer for arts lovers.

I don’t think I am alone as an arts lover when I say I have very warm and nostalgic feelings about The Nutcracker. It was an annual tradition for my family, and especially beloved by me, a young flute player.

All this Nutcracker activity has gotten me thinking about the arts and this season. For many young people, The Nutcracker is  likely their first professional live-performance experience, their first introduction to ballet or classical music, the doors to these art forms flung wide in the wake of the magical story and excitement of the holidays.

And for many people, perhaps that first Nutcracker experience became more than an introduction, perhaps often it served as a complete indoctrination. Perhaps many of the audiences and arts patrons who now love contemporary dance from around the world, or gleefully celebrate up and coming new music ensembles, or revel in experimental theater, perhaps they too have far-reaching memories of witnessingThe Nutcracker during a long-past holiday season.

It’s a beautiful thing to consider, this idea that once a year, we have a completely organic opportunity to expose our children, nieces, nephews, grandkids, students, etcetera to live-performance storytelling through music and movement.  And if it inspires a lifelong passion for the arts, all the better.

Of course, around here, we’re committed to the power of live performance all year long. We’re curious about artists and art makers from around the world, with different stories to tell and myriad means by which they tell them.

This hectic and celebratory time of year also is reflective. It also ’tis the season to look back at highlights that have dotted the calendar year.

There are many that spring immediately to mind for us here at CAP UCLA. Most of them involve moments in which the center has served as a bridge between our visiting artists, the work they have created, and our audiences.

Over just the last few months, we have gathered together to witness some truly incredible and compelling contemporary performance from masterful theater makers like Robert Wilson, Willem Dafoe, Mikhail Baryshnikov and  the cast and crew of Basetrack. We encountered the creative force of Ryoji Ikeda, in a sound and visual performance that thundered and crackled through Royce Hall. We celebrated the creative vision of the one-and-only Andy Warhol, through the creative vision of a cadre of truly eclectic modern musicians. We dove into the history of the graphic novel through the wit and wisdom of Art Speigelman and music of Philip Johnston. We honored a major milestone for one of the most revered dance companies in the world—Batsheva.

For each of these performances, you not only joined us to witness the art itself, but you involved yourself with us, you leaned forward to help make art in a graphic novel workshop. You lent your faces to our tribute to Andy Warhol screen tests. You attended gaga workshops and a special performance from local dance company Ate9 in honor of Batsheva. You contributed to our first fundraiser of the season and mingled with the stars of The Old Woman.  You told us stories about what freedom and service means to you, and helped us honor those who have served.  You gathered eagerly to hear Ryoji speak about his enigmatic work in a rare post-show discussion.  You joined us last spring for our Poetry Bureau before performances of The Suit and experienced art-making up close and on-the-fly. You brought your instruments and picked your brains out on the Royce Terrace before our first performance of the season.

These moments of connection are as powerful as the performance itself, because they invite us to recall and consider that we are a community. We’re not just a loosely organized gathering of people who happen to have the same taste in art. We are so much more.

RoyceFront

 

And, when we bring ourselves together with that sensibility in mind, we are actively moving our culture forward.  No experience in the world of art is really passive, even just sitting in the audience is an activation of an idea, a participation in the process. Every time you bring yourself to a performance, whether it’s an annual  holiday attendance at any of the multiple Nutcracker productions available this time of year, or dancing in the aisles of Royce Hall to our recent presentation of New Orleans great Dr. John and the Nite Trippers, you bring something unique to the moment.

We talk a lot about how the people who are on hand and on site to experience the art of performance become the keepers of it. We are the holders of the memories and the emotions that bring about further curiosity, more ideas, and more possibilities of making things that resonate.

Early in 2014 Mike Daisey joined us with a piece entitled American Utopias. He talked about several places and ways in which our culture has collectively subscribed to a certain idea, a certain way of being in the world, about how humans might just have the power to build up the world we want to live in.

He ended his performance by asking the audience to join him on the front steps of Royce Hall. It was chilly and drizzling, much like it is today. He exhorted us to dream, to create, to witness and experience.

And that is our hope for this holiday season. The greatest gift we can possibly share is our continued endeavor to build a space for artists and art lovers to dream, create, witness and experience.

Thank you for dreaming with us. There’s much more to come in the New Year.

Have a safe, happy and art-filled season!

Vijay Iyer- ‘Music of Transformation’ ‘RADHE RADHE: Rites of Holi’ and ‘Mutations I-X’ Dec. 5, 2014

The unsigned editorial from the performance program notes.

Art is inherently transformative.  The work of artists and the results of the ideas and forms in which they invest their curiosity, their creativity and their talents is imbued with the ability to change the shape of things we thought we once knew, or to wholly create something anew that allows us to reshape, reframe and rethink our own shapes in this world.

Vijay Iyer and Prashant Bhargava, two uniquely transformative artists, have collaborated to bring us a vivid rendering of an entire city embracing a transformative sentiment with RADHE RADHE: Rites of Holi.

Or, as Vijay explains it so eloquently in the notes that follow: “The result is a ballet of sorts: a performative encounter between live music and film, between lived experience and myth, the self and the transformed self, winter and spring.”

The art of contemporary performance revolves around this powerful concept of lived experience, both the experience of the moment, the life and performance experience of the artists on the stage, and the experiences and perceptions we the audience bring into this space as we lean forward to receive the great artistic gifts being offered.

It is a privilege and a gift to do the good work that creates the opportunity for that shared experience to exist. To hold a space and intention for the artists of our time who are committed to shaping and re-shaping our perceptions of art and culture and music.

This is Vijay Iyer’s second appearance at Royce Hall and the second time we have worked closely with him to craft an expansive inquiry into the deep wells of artistry he inhabits. Last time, Vijay performed in several different jazz ensemble configurations, showing his skill as a versatile and intelligent band leader.

We return him to this stage to further showcase the versatility that is making him one of the most important artists in modern music, and one least inclined to sit inside any preconceived notions of genre boundary.

We are incredibly fortunate to be music lovers in a world that Vijay Iyer is dominating. His transformative explorations into the raw potential that lives inside all music continues to take shape, evolve and transform.

We welcome the transformation. And we welcome you to share it with us.

Marc Ribot ‘Silent Movies’ and Los Cubanos Postizos Nov. 21, 2014

The unsigned editorial from the performance program notes. 

We are extremely fortunate here at the Center to regularly present, collaborate with and support artists who defy simple categorization, who often cannot be confined to a single presentation format.

Guitarist/composer Marc Ribot is one of those artists and we are very proud to present him here tonight in Royce Hall in a special showcase event that highlights his profound versatility and scope of artistic vision. Marc will take us on ruminative solo journey for the first half of the program, with his poignant and complex Silent Movies. Later, joined by his fellow members of New York City party band Los Cubanos Positzos (a.k.a The Prosthetic Cubans).

For nearly four decades, Marc Ribot has been a solo artist, a bandleader, an in-demand studio and touring  musician who has worked with everyone from Tom Waits and fellow New York experimentalist John Zorn to Elvis Costello, Sam Phillips, Robert Plant, and Marianne Faithful.

It is exceedingly appropriate that Marc step into the spotlight of Royce Hall and take his place among the long list of great instrumental talents whose work has filled this space before.

Tonight’s appearance of Los Cubanos Positzos will raise the roof in honor of   Arsenio Rodríguez—innovator of the son montuno in the 1940s and 1950s, the sound that set the template for modern-day salsa and an artist who greatly influenced Marc Ribot.

This group is meant to be experienced live. Their shows are fearsome and fulsome.  If you start feeling the urge to dance, you’re doing it right.

Thank you for being here with us tonight as we celebrate a true music great. Thank you for helping us welcome the one-and-only Marc Ribot to the program.

Enjoy the performance.

Robert Wilson, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Willem Dafoe: ‘The Old Woman’ Nov. 14-15, 2014

The unsigned editorial from the evening’s program notes. 

Over the last year or so, Los Angeles audiences have been rich in opportunities to experience the iconic and unique creative vision of Robert Wilson, one of the most revered directors in American contemporary theater.

The triumphant and long-awaited performances of Einstein on the Beach, Wilson’s seminal collaboration with Philip Glass and Lucinda Childs happened last October and were met with sold-out performances populated by engaged and enthusiastic crowds of audience goers that shattered known demographics of opera audiences. We were proud to partner with the LA Opera to bring this work to the Los Angeles stage. And we held on to Robert Wilson after the curtain fell on Einstein, bringing him to Royce Hall for John Cage’s Lecture on Nothing, a challenging piece performed by Wilson himself and which was met with awe and appreciation.

Over the last two seasons we have been committed to showcasing his exceptional artistry as one of the Center’s inaugural Artist Fellows and we’re proud to once again bring a Robert Wilson work to the Royce Hall stage with The Old Woman.

There’s been a great deal of excitement and buzz around this particular piece, thanks in part to the two incredible performers—Mikhail Baryshnikov and Willem Dafoe— who have collaborated so closely with Wilson to bring this unknown work of absurdist Russian literature to vivid life and thereby cementing Daniil Kharms, an often-forgotten writer of Russian absurdist literature into American theater canon. It is a work of passion that would not be possible without the complete creative investment of many artistic visionaries, those who you will witness on the Royce Hall stage tonight, and those behind the scenes.

Robert Wilson is a profoundly important theater maker. He also is a profoundly generous “permission giver” when it comes to artistic possibility. He creates a fertile and intricately crafted field of study that is unnatural and often bizarre. But in the bizarreness, in Wilson’s exactingly manufactured specifications of movement, sound, style and color, there is also a freedom—a freedom to explore the concept of absurdity, of perception, of reality and unreality.

The medium of theater, the ephemeral nature of the art form, lends itself to framing a safe space for us all to explore the unknowable, the gloriously unnatural. It is an invitation and an exclamation simultaneously. No one harnesses those sensibilities better than Robert Wilson.

We thank him for this work, we thank the performers and crew and staff who work tirelessly to build it for us, for just a moment in time.

We thank you for being here to share it.

A Journey Through and With Ryoji Ikeda

A message from Kristy Edmunds for the evening’s program notes. 

Ryoji Ikeda: superposition. Royce Hall Nov. 7, 2014

I have had the great pleasure of working with Ryoji Ikeda over the span of a nearly 20 year arc. I first experienced his work in the context of an artist collective in Kyoto, Japan, called DumbType. I had seen their performance entitled “S/N” in 1994 at On the Boards in Seattle, Washington and was at the formative stage of my own career as a curator/artistic director.

DumbType was unique in their cross-discipline approach. They weren’t “blurring boundary lines” between art forms exactly, they were compressing many sources of artistic intelligence into a specific form. Their projects were stunning – quite literally. While we were grappling with floppy disks, dial-ups and beginning to say farewell to the marvels of our beepers and fax machines – Ryoji and his contemporaries were generating dimensional aesthetic poetry for the stage, the screens and for the gallery cubes that sought to frame their dynamic exploration.

I for one, had absolutely no idea what I was experiencing when I saw that first work – but I understood it was brilliant and it left me with a wonderment that soon converted into a recognition that I would have to galvanize something in my community in order for it to be seen. I started the Portland institute for Contemporary Art in the spring of 1995.

In 1999 we presented DumbType’s project entitled, “OR” and again in 2002 with “memorandum.” When I took up the position of Artistic Director at the Melbourne International Arts Festival, I invited Ryoji to perform and screen two of his pieces: “C4I” and “Formula” in 2005; with DumbType returning in the 2006 Melbourne Festival with “Voyage.”

By 2010, I was consulting artistic director at the Park Avenue Armory in New York and Ryoji was living in Paris, I commissioned an immersive installation entitled,  “the transfinite” which premiered in April of 2011. Below is an excerpt of my introduction to this installation

“In ‘the transfinite,’ Ryoji Ikeda takes the pursuits and structures of mathematics as one ‘material’ for his aesthetic and does so with monumental and poetic result. At the center of the work is his sonic and visual re-purposing of binary code: 0 and 1. These numbers form the string codes used to represent all information in the digital world. While few of us understand just how the intricacies of this works, we are impacted by it in every conceivable way and on a daily basis.

Ikeda is drawn to that which is at the edge of comprehensibility and human perception and he distills it into an experience we can viscerally and physically connect to. In so doing, he also offers us a tangible glimpse into the sublime purity that exists within mathematics.”

I think this continues to provide insight into his continuing explorations, now involving the language of physics, and Einstein’s theory: “superposition.”

Having with Ryoji for many years, I am interested in his return to the incorporation of live performers on the stage as a part of his immersive sonic and visual environments. So too, the conjoining of his work within the legacy of Royce Hall itself. A stage where the multiple languages and lineages of art, poetry, poetic and scholarly thought are steeped into its history located within the confines of a major research institution known worldwide for its contributions to mathematics and data.

I think it is worthy of mention, Einstein himself stood on this very same stage, a fact I cannot wait to share with Ryoji.

In both cases, and certainly the many other artists, scholars and innovators who have spanned the distance in between these two men and their ephemeral footprints – this is a place where we illuminate the existence of endless possibility.

Thank you for being here.

Kristy