MESSAGE FROM THE ARTIST: Michael Keegan-Dolan

DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK.

Every winter, as the days grow short and the nights grow long and dark, thousands of migrating swans appear on the many lakes that surround the house where I used to live. Over time the presence of these swans and that darkness began to merge in my imagination with the love story and tragedy that is Swan Lake. Much of Christian culture has been reduced to a simple notion that God is good, has a white beard and lives in the light, and the devil is bad and sits in the dark. This reductive view of the nature of things can be the root of much suffering and confusion.

Darkness is the absence of light. Fundamentally it is how we know what light is. Depression, like most illness, can be a consequence of a continued state of imbalance, often connected with unresolved events from our lives. The accumulated sadness eventually immobilizes us and can make us sick. This sickness often requires a fundamental change to move it. Change, no matter how unwelcome, is an inevitable part of life; nature’s forces are constantly moving, seeking to find balance so that life can continue to endlessly unfold. When depression visits us it is asking us to change. Depression, by its nature, forces you to be still long enough to hear what you are trying to tell yourself. In the dark we can see nothing with our actual external eyes. In silence there is nothing to hear with our external ears. When our senses have nothing on which to attach, our internal world wakes up and starts to speak to us quietly. When this happens it is important to listen carefully. The darkness in any story is there to teach us something.

Don’t be afraid of the dark, it is your friend.

—Michael Keegan-Dolan

London, UK. 30.11.2017. Michael Keegan-Dolan’s Swan Lake/Loch na hEala; Picture shows: Alexander Leonhartsberger, Rachel Poirier. Photo – © Foteini Christofilopoulou.

Swan Lake (Loch na hEala) ft. Michael Keegan-Dolan!

We are excited to bring Ireland’s Teaċ Daṁsa to the Royce Stage to perform Loch na hEala (Swan Lake) under the direction of Michael Keegan-Dolan!

The name Swan Lake alone evokes sentiment among audiences, the classic tale being prolific in literature and entertainment. The ballet is a popular choice among dance companies, providing a complex narrative and character arcs for dancers. Further, many film adaptations have been produced based on Swan Lake, including films from Columbia Pictures, the Barbie franchise, and Japanese writer Hirokazu Fuse.

Given the pathos that audiences may associate with the classic tale and ballet of Swan Lake, those in attendance for Michael Keegan’s adaptation this weekend will be met with a stimulating and thought-provoking interpretation.

Keegan’s Swan Lake takes place in a small town in modern-day Ireland, providing a relatable context for the dark and comedic entities of the story to blossom into fruition. Michael Keegan-Dolan is renowned for his ability to bring Irish wit to life through unique choreography, and coupled with the new score from the Dublin-based band Slow Moving Clouds, the combination of Nordic and Irish traditional music with minimalist and experimental influences is sure to be moving.

Keegan-Dolan’s incredible career has been praised globally, and his ability to touch on political issues through dance continues to move audiences. What a treat this Saturday evening will be to all!

 

MESSAGE FROM THE CENTER – AARON NEVILLE DUO

Until now, it’s been easy to separate Aaron Neville’s career into two separate but equal strains: the funky stuff he’s favored when working with his esteemed band of brothers, and the angelic balladry you associate with him when he’s punching his own time card as a solo artist.

Casual fans might admit they don’t know much — to borrow a phrase — about Neville’s musical center, but they’ve perceived a certain split in his career. An education is about to be provided, then, in the form of Apache, a solo album that makes the case for Aaron Neville as the most holistic of soul men. Its hard R&B side matches anything the Neville Brothers ever recorded for true grit, while still allowing plenty of space for a singer who’s arguably the most distinctive vocal stylist on the planet to tell it like it is.

MESSAGE FROM AIN GORDON

1972: Dr. John Fryer dons tuxedo and rubber mask to become Dr Henry Anonymous confronting the American Psychiatric Association with these words: “I am a homosexual, I am a psychiatrist.” Dr. Anonymous propelled psychiatry to declassify homosexuality as a mental illness – but who was Dr
Fryer?

All my work interrogates the ruthless editing machine we call “history.”
I write to theatrically annotate our cultural record by spotlighting figures swept (or forced) to the margins of public memory; stories too fragmented for traditional-form historicizing that may remain untold without imagining the factual gaps.

217 Boxes Of Dr. Henry Anonymous began in alliance with the Historical Society Of Pennsylvania (HSP) and two-year funding from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. The grant stipulated I use any of HSP’s collections as source material for a new play guid- ed only by the thematic launch: “personal battles for public liberty.” (OK, I authored the prompt to defend myself against requests I prematurely specify further). During my intake tour, the head archivist showed me a double set of drawers. The right set, he said, held “steps toward our ideal democracy”, while the left held “stumbles along the way.” (Great set up, I was hooked.) The “ideal” steps on the right side included drafts of the Constitution, etc (all the Philadelphia narratives most aggressively promulgated to tourists – AKA stories I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole.) The “stumbles” on the left side included Drum magazine, a 1960’s Philadelphia-based “gay” publication (quite the counterpoint).

Googling Drum magazine led me to seminal LGBTQ activists Barbara Gittings and Frank Kameny, which led me to an image of them seated at a hotel dais next to a man in a rubber mask, which led me to a PDF of a handwritten speech on a yellow legal pad that began “I am a homosexual, I am a psychiatrist.” I realized the PDF identifier said “HSP” – the building in which I sat googling. I went up to the readin -room front desk: “Hi, you have this?” “Oh, yes,” they said, “we have 217 boxes of that.”

MESSAGE FROM THE CENTER – Samin Nosrat In Conversation with Lindy West

A few years ago I was wandering around at a farmers market and came across a table of cookbooks. The one that immediately caught my eye (and which I had to have) had a title that made me laugh out loud: I Am Almost Always Hungry.

Who isn’t?

And not just in the stomach-growling, feed-me-now kind of way, but in the larger, hungry-for-everything kind of way. We are always hungry — for a piece of the pie, for a seat at the table, for a change of scenery, for more, for better, for different. In our abundant, overflowing culture we are all almost always hungry.

The two writers on stage tonight, Lindy West and Samin Nosrat, both address this notion of hunger; for equity and acceptance, for humor, for access, for difference, for joy and comfort, for the right to just let your freak flag fly. One of the things I love so much about both of them, is that they refuse to ignore this hunger, they refuse to apologize, to fit in, to lower their voice. Instead, they are delightfully ravenous, they ask questions, and they demand that we too, ask questions, that we not dismiss our own hunger, that we take notice. There is a reason we are all, almost always hungry. It forces us to pay attention, to not ignore or deny the gnawing little voice deep inside that demands we feed ourselves and others.

The late, great M.F.K Fisher, in her introduction to The Gastronomical Me, writes this about hunger:

“Like most humans, I am hungry…our three basic needs, for food and
security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it…and then the warmth and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied…and it is all one. We must eat. If in the face of that…we can find other nourishment and tolerance and compassion, we’ll be no less full of human dignity.”

Thanks for joining us for our first Words & Ideas program of the new
season, it’s an honor to share this glorious hall with Samin and Lindy, and as always, with you.

Meryl Friedman
Director of Education & Special Initiatives

A Note from Damon Lindelof, Co-creator of The Leftovers

Fellow Members of The Guilty Remnant,

The following is an excerpt from the actual script of the Leftovers finale.  Matt Jamison sits with his sister, Nora Durst as she prepares to get zapped into an alternate dimension while he prepares to return to his wife and son… and die.  Here’s what we wrote:

Matt and Nora trade ONE FINAL LOOK.  This is it.  He SMILES —

MATT
She’s the Bravest Girl on Earth.

And she SMILES back.  The Richter starts to play.  Something quiet and beautiful and pulling us towards the inevitable…

A big part of screenwriting is trying to convey how a particular moment feels using only words.  We, however, had a secret weapon.  Why even bother wasting the keystrokes on “happy” or “sad” or “painful” or “joyous” or “scared” when we could simply write…

“The Richter starts to play.”

And so it did.  It played over a mother’s realization that her baby was missing from his car seat and it played over another mother picking up another baby on a doorstep.  It played over a cavewoman dying in a stream.  Over a woman running across a bridge to embrace the daughter who abandoned her.  It played over an assassin dying in the arms of a president.  And finally, one last time, it played over two people sitting at a kitchen table… one telling a story almost impossible to believe… and the other believing it.

And here’s what I believe.  There would be no Leftovers without Max Richter and his incredible music.  His brilliance occupies the space between extreme faith and the terror of nothingness… the unexplored region that lies between hope and despair.  But most of all…

Max reminds us that we’re human.   And as painful as life can be, it’s also beautiful.   So sit back, close your eyes, and let it all wash over you as…

The Richter starts to play.

We’re Still Here,

Damon Lindelof

Eiko Otake: Residency Snapshot 

Discover how CAP UCLA engages behind the scenes to facilitate artistic development.

 

 

CAP UCLA’s artist residencies provide local and national artists creative time and the necessary space to develop new work. This year CAP UCLA is excited to welcome Eiko Otake back in October 2019 for the second half of her artist residency, which will include a public demonstration or performative element.

 

Born and raised in Japan and a resident of New York since 1976, Eiko is a movement–based, interdisciplinary artist. She worked for more than 40 years as half of the internationally acclaimed Eiko & Koma, but since 2014 has been performing her own solo project, A Body in Places. 

 

Eiko’s residency time at CAP UCLA is to develop and create an installment of her ongoing work Duet Project: Distance is Malleable. As a commissioning partner, CAP UCLA is interested in further developing a platform for her extraordinary artistry in Los Angeles. This multi-part creative development period will result in extensive site visits, dialogues and audience development threads in advance of what is anticipated to become a major presentation in season 20-21.

 

Eiko’s first research and residency visit was in April 2019, during which she spent time with local LA artists and went on a roadtrip to visit ecologically sensitive sites. 

 

About her experience, Eiko shares, “With the strong guidance of  CAP UCLA staff and its chief Kristy Edmunds, I was invited to travel widely and deeply recognized that California and its landscape illuminate so many of the problems we are facing both regionally and globally elsewhere. California is bigger than Japan where I come from and so varied. Having worked in the irradiated landscape of Fukushima over 5 visits as an outsider, I wanted to be a careful visitor to both distraught landscapes (Salton Sea, sites of forest fires) as well as ancient landscapes (Death Valley and Sequoia trees) and historical sites (Manzunar).  Some of the landscapes were so inspiring and awe-causing I ended up creating some media work which will be incorporated into a larger scale installation that is new to me.”

 

Throughout her residency, CAP UCLA will present informal works-in-progress of the project and Eiko plans to offer three master classes for UCLA dance students. The impact of residencies can be felt beyond the artists involved, often spurring collaboration, igniting inspiration and spreading nourishing ideas throughout the UCLA student and local creative communities in Los Angeles.

 

Supporters can make a gift directly to CAP UCLA’s Artist in Residence Fund. Each donation, no matter the size, helps to fuel an artist’s practice and provide crucial support and vital resources to works-in-progress which may not otherwise become actualized. These rare and hard to come by offerings to resident-artists are only possible because of generous patrons and dedicated allies who believe in the power of the arts.

 

CAP UCLA would like to acknowledge the generous support of Susan & Leonard Nimoy, Good Works Foundation, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for investing in creative development initiatives at the Center. 

 

To invest in new work and provide crucial support for artists, make a gift today! You can also learn more about our residents and explore ways to be involved here.

Message from the Artists: Movement Art Is

Creating Love Heals All Wounds has been an amazing process and is a true embodiment of all the powerful work MAI has created in the last few years. The show tackles a range of potent issues — from environmental racism, systematic oppression, police brutality, and the many ideologies that keep humans from connecting to one another and the world around them. This work has been a transformative challenge for the cast and creators — we’ve not only had to develop the right movement language alongside the narrative, it was essential to face our own mental barriers and to thread those discoveries into the work. The vision of Love Heals All Wounds is to inspire audiences to look deeply within themselves in the hopes that together, we will carve pathways forward to creating real solutions for true healing.

—Jon Boogz

Love Heals All Wounds brings together an exceptional myriad of artistry. Mixing the incomparable words of Robin Sanders, original music by Jason Yang, Daniel Bernard Roumain and Chizzy, and an unparalleled mastery of street dance styles such as popping and Memphis Jookin, this collaborative work strives to bring awareness to important social and global issues and how they affect us all. Giving a one-of-a-kind experience through the inimitable lens of MAI, Love Heals All Wounds aspires to have positive social impact in communities around the world by uniquely using art as a tool to help inspire action and ultimately lead to positive, sustainable change.

—Lil Buck

Love Heals All Wounds By MOVEMENT ART IS featuring Jon Boogz & Lil Buck and special guests; Thu, May 23 at 8PM Royce Hall

Message from the Artist: Nico Muhly

Archives, Friends, Patterns is an evening of music written for friends. The first part of the evening focuses on the music of Philip Glass. Much of his early work was written for a core group of his friends, comprising woodwinds, keyboards, and voices. Having his own ensemble allowed him to explore musical processes which would be quite difficult to achieve with ensembles of strangers, and therefore, much of his music from the 70’s and early 80’s feels shimmeringly cosy: an ensemble of friends working as a community to make music. I’ve tried, here, to take some of Philip’s lesser-known works (taken from the film score Étoile Polaire, the epic Another Look at HarmonyMonsters of Grace, and the CIVIL warS, the last two collaborations with director Robert Wilson) and re-arrange them for an ensemble of my friends. Although the sonic language is different, the fundamental philosophy of collaboration and community music-making remains the same.

The second part of the evening has a more convoluted origin story. In the 1930’s, the Canadian composer and musicologist Colin McPhee went to Bali, and made transcriptions of gamelan music. He transformed this music — deeply compromised by the almost Colonial processes on which most ethnomusicology relies — into music for two pianos, which he and the composer Benjamin Britten recorded in Brooklyn in the 1940’s. McPhee’s transcriptions and other work deeply informed the musical language of Britten’s work in the 1960’s and 1970’s, particularly after a trip Britten and his partner, Peter Pears, took to Bali in 1957. Thomas Bartlett, one of my oldest friends and collaborators, shares an obsession with the McPhee & Britten recordings, heartbreakingly foxed and worn in their transfer to the digital format, and we decided to write a set of songs loosely based on them. These songs are, collectively, part of a project called Peter Pears; here, we present the songs interspersed with the aforementioned gamelan transcriptions.

The final part of the evening is the smallest and most personal: a collection of drone-based music, played by two friends I’ve known for the better part of two decades: violinist Lisa Liu and violist Nadia Sirota. My Drones cycle is simple: a combination of any instruments create a drone consisting, usually, of two notes, over which I wrote long lines, athletic activity, and lyrical episodes. The community comes together, makes a simple noise together, and one member steps out for reflection, movement, and action.

—Nico Muhly

Message from the Center: Anoushka Shankar

Photo by Anushka Menon

Anoushka Shankar once said of the Syrian refugee crisis that she “felt overwhelmed with a sense of powerlessness to alleviate the suffering and injustice taking place as the world looked on.”

I know the feeling. Today we are constantly confronted with opportunities to feel overwhelmed by our powerlessness. We’re all thrown backwards into an uncertain future, encouraged to literally and figuratively wall ourselves off from each other. How do we resist collapsing into passively nihilistic despair?

One answer is music. As Shankar says, music has the power “to express how even within chaos, one can find beauty when in connection with another human being.”

No matter how powerless we feel, or how chaotic our situation, music reminds us that we have the ability to be present with others in a moment, to resonate together to an intersubjective hum. We experience that beautiful connection with each other when artists, audiences and architectures combine through the alchemy of performance to reveal something irreducible, something beyond us.

Moments of genuine human connection are rare in our atomized and “optimized” society, but we do not leave these moments unchanged. They remain with us, we are empowered by them, our capacities to affect and be affected are modified, and our worlds are expanded.

We hope that your world is slightly expanded by Anoushka’s performance, and that you leave Royce Hall feeling a little more connected and, perhaps, a little more human.

—Andrew Hartwell

Anoushka Shankar performs at Royce Hall Fri, Apr 19 at 8PM

Thoughts from the staff of CAP UCLA