In conjunction with our presentation of The Ambassador — a musical exploration of Los Angeles through film, fiction, architecture, and history, CAP UCLA and the History Department at UCLA will host a conversation between composer Gabriel Kahane and UCLA History faculty member Brenda Stevenson.
Following a brief overview of his methods as a research-based songwriter, Mr. Kahane will engage in a dialogue with Professor Stevenson in response to his song "Empire Liquort Mart (9127 S. Figueroa St.)", an account of the 1991 shooting death of Latasha Harlins, which was inspired in part by Stevenson's book The Contested Murder of Latasha Harlins. The two will explore the boundaries between artistic and academic scholarship, in an effort to dismantle assumptions about the domain of research.
"The Ambassador" is a work of echoes. It shares and transmutes the sensibility of a galaxy of writers who have portrayed Los Angeles as a city forever on the brink, including Mr. Cain, Raymond Chandler and Joan Didion, who are all name-checked here. Mr. Kahane’s City of Angels is a harsh and hazy pipe dream in which legendary places vanish overnight but somehow never disappear, not as long as artists like Mr. Kahane... can reclaim them from the repository of memories that has been given such resonant life here.
-- The New York Times (Critics' Pick)