All posts by Elvis Harold

When Cello And Dance Meet

Grammy Award-nominated cellist Seth Parker Woods is no stranger to the avant-garde. From donning a wetsuit and playing an obsidian ice cello in his critically acclaimed installation Ice Bodies to joining the faculty of the USC Thornton School of Music, Seth Parker Woods is a fierce advocate for the contemporary arts. On December 4, he brings his work Difficult Grace to CAP UCLA for one performance at the Glorya Kaufman Dance Theater on the UCLA campus.

Renowned by The Guardian as “a cellist of power and grace” who possesses “mature artistry and willingness to go to the brink,” Seth Parker Woods has performed in concert with ensembles from around the world such as ICTUS Ensemble (Brussels), Ensemble L’Arsenale (Italy) and the Atlanta and Seattle Symphonies.

An evocative, theatrical, and genre-bending collaboration with childhood friend and dancer Roderick George, Difficult Grace is a multimedia concert tour de force conceived by and featuring Woods in the triple role of cellist, narrator/guide, and movement artist. The work creates a vivid sonic and visual canvas that draws inspiration from the Great Migration, the historic newspaper The Chicago Defender, immigration, and the poetry of Amiri Baraka and Dudley Randall.

Join us Sunday, December 4th at 7pm to experience the west coast premiere of Difficult Grace.

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Commissioned for Seth Parker Woods by the 92nd Street Y with the generous support of Elizabeth and Justus Schlichting. Co-commissioned by the Harris Theater, UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance, and The Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth
Funds provided by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Endowment Fund.

Bill T. Jones and Eiko Otake Interview

Long time friends and celebrated dance artists Bill T. Jones and Eiko Otake are both appearing at CAP UCLA this month. We loved reading this conversation between them in the @nytimes. They reflect on turning 70 and making a career out of tackling weighty issues.

For each artist, they are compelled to continue making art:

JONES If not now, when? If you’re going to be here, what are you doing? OK, I’m going to make one more piece and try to say things I haven’t been able to say.

OTAKE For me, I feel like I need to do certain things now. I raised two kids, I took care of my parents. Since my mom died in 2019, I have no other personal duties. At 3 a.m., I’m working.

Don’t miss Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company on November 19 performing “What Problem?”

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The Power to Transport

Inspiring Future Artists
Every year CAP UCLA welcomes thousands of K-12 students to Royce Hall to experience free performances by world-renowned artists, as part of our free arts education program, Design for Sharing (DFS).

We love seeing students’ faces light up when they experience a performance in person, in community, in a beautiful space.

“I loved the performance, it was truly amazing.  I learned that beauty can be seen through music, and bring a lot of different emotions to a person. Thanks for bringing us to UCLA and for the bus and the Royce Hall was beautiful!”  –Nicholas, 5th grade

Visiting CAP UCLA can be a transporting – and transformational – moment. But the cost of  transportation makes this impossible for many schools.

Increasing Access to the Arts
Free arts programs like Design for Sharing can be out of reach for schools that cannot afford a bus for a field trip. The DFS Bus Fund helps us ensure that every school has an opportunity to experience the arts with CAP UCLA.

Thanks to generous donors, this past year the DFS Bus Fund provided buses for 2,000 students to attend performances on the UCLA campus.  From the audible gasp from high schoolers seeing new dance work by CONTRA TIEMPO to the raucous cheering at Get Lit’s “Poem Off,” the Bus Fund makes it possible for us to say yes:

Yes, you are welcome here!
Yes, we will get you here!

A Challenge to Our Community
Next year, we know we’ll keep saying yes to the schools that need our help.

On November 29, CAP UCLA will participate in Giving Tuesday, an international day of philanthropy. Our mission for the day is to give as many local kids as possible access to the arts.

We’ve set an ambitious goal to fund 100 buses this year, enough for 6,500 public school students to attend our programs.

There is no shortage of amazing causes to support on Giving Tuesday. We hope you’ll consider supporting CAP UCLA on November 29 to give kids a lift!

How Do Politics Impact Art?

As another election season comes to a close, we find ourselves turning to the arts as we reflect on the current socio-political climate. At the Center for the Art of Performance, we’ve had the privilege of hosting some of the most compelling visionaries of our time who have used their talents to process a country in flux.

In the 2022-23 Season, we are hosting artists such as Antonio Sánchez and Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company. These artists have managed to encapsulate the often distressing and divisive nature of contemporary politics.

  • Sánchez’s project ‘Bad Hombre’ was born from a need to channel anger into music, with his expert drumming style used as a tool to release frustration about the state of American politics. Even the name ‘Bad Hombre’ is rooted in resilience; Sánchez reclaimed the name from a derogatory statement made by Donald Trump and turned it into a defiant artistic statement.
  • A force in the world of dance, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company’s latest work What Problem? invites audiences to explore the meaning of community and the possibility of collective redemption. No two performances of What Problem? are the same, as the piece invites the participation of local community members. These participants are provided with a set of questions and instructions in the third act of the show, as a way to open dialogues that are specific to their community. Jones seeks to find true meaning in ‘we,’ and a connectivity that often feels impossible in our schismatic political landscape.

As we face important choices in the ballot booth, we are grateful to these artists and so many more who help us make sense of our increasingly turbulent existence while also celebrating the enduring nature of humanity.

The Evolution of Antonio Sanchez

“I started kind of realizing that I had all this power down there in my studio and I could do things as if I was a mad scientist in my laboratory. And it was so liberating that of course I wanted to keep doing music this way – and that’s how Shift was born.” Antonio Sanchez – NPR

An Award-Winning Career

Spanning a career of over 18 years, Grammy Award-winning artist Antonio Sánchez is one of the most sought-after drummers on the international jazz scene. Known as a “drummers drummer,” Sánchez has been playing the drums since the tender age of five. He has recorded and performed with many of the most prominent artists in jazz like Chick Corea, Gary Burton, Michael Brecker, Charlie Haden and Toots Thielmans.

“Antonio is an exceptional musician in addition to being an unbelievable drummer,” says 20x Grammy Award-winner Pat Metheny.

Antonio Sánchez’s international acclaim skyrocketed after scoring Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman in 2014, but it was his follow-up project Bad Hombre that gave birth to his political alter ego and new musical voice.

A “Bad Hombre”

As a response to the political climate of the 2016 Elections, Bad Hombre was named after an infamous quip from former president Trump about Mexican immigrants living in the United States, “We have some bad hombres here, and we’re going to get them out.”

Antonio began expressing the anxiety of that political moment through his drumming and that led to the completed project, Bad Hombre. He continued to explore issues of social injustice and the immigrant journey on projects such as Lines in the Sand and his latest Shift (Bad Hombre Vol. 2).

Cross Genre Collaborations

Shift (Bad Hombre Vol. 2) continues Antonio’s collaborations with artists such as Trent Reznor, Kimbra, Meshell Ndegeocello, Dave Matthews and even his own 97-year-old grandfather, the renowned actor Ignacio López. Antonio says he wanted to work with artists from different genres with the goal of re-imagining or shifting their work. Playing virtually every instrument on the album, it showcases him as not only drummer, producer and social commentator, but conceptualist, multi-instrumentalist, as well as mad scientist.

See Antonio Live on November 3

Join us on Thursday, November 3rd at 8pm for an exciting evening with Antonio Sánchez and Bad Hombre and experience their mad science for yourself!

Bill T Jones speaks on inspiration for What Problem?

“This piece is about pursuit of the “we” We the People, we shall overcome, we hold these truths.

That is part of everyday parlance, and it’s quite irritating. I am a Black American who truly grew up thinking that we shall overcome, that there was a ‘we’ that transcended ethnicity and race.

And the more I have lived, the more I see those things are so deeply entrenched.

So what’s this we? 

This piece is a poem, a metaphorical rendering of wrestling with those stories, using iconographic texts. Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, Chapter 93, and Martin Luther King’s 1963 great March on Washington speech, “I Have a Dream.”

They are iconic texts that define the American sense of our community. Both those documents have grown dusty, taken for granted. And they must be returned to regularly.”

What Problem? explores collective redemption. The work is divided into three sections: the first section focuses on one person, Bill; in the second section the lone person is joined by the company of ten performers; in the third section the company is joined by the community. We are thrilled to have the west coast premiere of this work at Royce Hall on Saturday, November 19 at 8PM. There will be a special Town Hall Discussion with the performers following the evening. Join us.

The above are excerpts from a longer interview with Bill T. Jones in TIME Magazine by Belinda Luscombe entitled ‘Free At Last’ Please. Who is Free?” Choreographer Bill T. Jones Reflects on a Half Century of Creative Work.

Offerings for the Fall and Winter begin today

 

There is a moment in What Problem? Bill T. Jones’ newest dance/theater piece (which will have its Los Angeles premiere at CAP UCLA in November), when Bill, his company of dancers, four inspirational singers and 24 local participants achieve a kind of exquisite harmony – 30 plus bodies on stage moving, speaking, singing, all separate individuals who achieve cohesion.

One of the great joys of programming a season is putting these sublime moments in front of our community.

We sit together and are moved; we laugh, ask questions, we are awed.

There are some amazing moments in the months ahead:

  • A Thousand Ways: An Assembly by 600 Highwaymen asks an audience of strangers to create a script, exploring the line between isolation and kinship.
  • The pianist Tigran Hamasyan fuses jazz improvisation with the music of his native Armenia.
  • Cellist Seth Parker Woods and choreographer Roderick George collaborate on Difficult Grace, a dance/music/theater piece exploring migration and belonging.
  • Cécile McLorin Salvant, a composer, visual artist and singer uses her versatile and evocative voice to unearth the connections between vaudeville, blues, global folk traditions, and jazz.
  • We continue our Artist Residency Program with Los Angeles–based artists Dan Froot, Annie Saunders and Edgar Arceneaux, who are each developing highly personal work around family, individual narrative and community.
  • Dancer, choreographer and filmmaker, Eiko Otake is back with us this fall, teaching master classes and developing a new piece that explores how bodies engage with place and landscape.
  • Our K-12 arts education program, Design for Sharing introduces thousands of public-school students to live performance, and Art in Action, our free community engagement program, returns with art-making activities, workshops, master classes, discussions, and collaborations with students and departments across campus.

The theater is a place where we come together and discover each other. There is joy in being together. The act of gathering is an act of hope. We hope you’ll join us, and we look forward to seeing you.

Meryl Friedman and Fred Frumberg, Co-Interim Directors

National Hispanic Heritage Month Sept 15- Oct 15

Check out these events around LA as we celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month to recognize the culture, contributions, and heritage of Hispanic Americans.

  1. LA County Library – Hispanic Heritage Month
  2. National Hispanic Heritage Month
  3. Hispanic Heritage Festival – Inglewood
  4. Aquarium of the Pacific – Baha Splash Cultural Festival
  5. Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration – West Covina
  6. Pasadena Latino Heritage Celebrations
  7. Museum of Latin American Art –  Latinx Heritage Month – Long Beach
  8. East LA Parade Mexican Independence Day Parade & Festival
  9. Abuelita’s Kitchen: Mexican Food Stories 
  10. Pasadena Latino Heritage Parade & Festival
  11. Melancholia – Latino Theater Co. at the LATC
  12. Desert Stories for Lost Girls – Latino Theater Co. at the LATC
  13. Las Marionetas en Desfile (Puppets on Parade)

Dreaming of cooler days

We are dreaming of cooler days as we gear up for our Fall/Winter programs! 

We will return October 1 with nine performances, six programs for K-12 public school students, four artist residencies, as well as a number of special events and behind-the-scenes experiences for CAP UCLA members and supporters. We invite you to learn more about our membership benefits and hope you will consider joining.

We can’t wait to see you and share the experience of live performance.

Opening the season is an interactive theatrical experience that invites an audience of 16 participants (ages 12+) to create a private performance from a shared script. Blurring the lines between spectator and participant, 600 Highwaymen’s A Thousand Ways (Part Three): An Assembly explores how the most intimate gathering can become a profoundly radical encounter.

We are then joined by one of the most influential and revered figures in contemporary music! The Branford Marsalis Quartet will be performing selections from their latest album The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul. This supercharged and energetic evening of jazz is a must-see.

Explore the rest of the lineup and celebrate the art of performance at UCLA’s Royce Hall with new work by some of the most dynamic artists of our time.

Back to school and back to the arts

For decades, the start of the school year has also meant the start of Design for Sharing’s (CAP UCLA’s free K-12 Arts Education program) annual series of performances, workshops and in-class activities. Each year, thousands of K-12 students have the opportunity to be moved by live music, dance or theater with an array of CAP UCLA artists and L.A.-based creators working and teaching within our communities.

With Los Angeles public schools back in session and a new season on the horizon, Design for Sharing is gearing up to get young people back in Royce Hall for the first time since 2020!

The 2022-23 Design for Sharing season launches later this month with artists that share global vision and local roots: L.A.’s own Extra Ancestral and CONTRA-TIEMPO. Featuring multiple percussionists, strings, horns, and powerful ancestral dances, Extra Ancestral will get our upper elementary and middle school crowd moving with Afrobeat, Reggae, Jazz, Salsa, and traditional African musical forms. The following week, activist dance theater company CONTRA-TIEMPO will share their inspiring take on joy as the ultimate act of resistance with our teen audiences.

Later in the season, students will experience performances or workshops with artists like Antonio Sánchez (pictured above with High School band students at his last DFS appearance) Israel Galván, Get Lit! and more.

We know that the arts have the power to unlock our own empathy and creativity, allowing us to learn from each other in meaningful ways. It’s always a privilege to open the doors of our venues to the young people of our city. We’ve been doing it since 1969!

In a few weeks when the first busloads of kids pull up to campus and make their way into Royce Hall, we’ll be meeting them with extra gratitude — for the artists that make time to inspire the next generation, for the educators that make space for the arts, and the supporters that make our work possible.

Find out more about Design for Sharing, and how you can be part of our tradition of sharing. Join DFS supporters at our free community celebration on the Royce Hall Terrace on September 29, featuring al fresco food and drinks, and an interactive performance by CONTRA-TIEMPO.