Category Archives: 2020-21 Season

We Have Some Spring Changes and Updates

As CAP UCLA adapts to what the new found realities of the arts ecosystem and economy look like, we will remain online and socially distanced for the spring.

We’re making changes all in the hopes of better serving you, our artists and the community, including a commitment to digital programming.

CAP UCLA will present 10 programs in the remainder of the 2020-21 season, two of which are additions. The two new programs for the spring season are Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK and Monica Bill Barnes & Co: Keep Moving.

Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK is a GPS-enabled work of public art that uses music to illuminate the natural environment. This work has been intricately mapped to the varied terrain of Los Angeles’s Griffith Park. Simply download the free app and explore!

Premiered by the American Dance Festival, Keep Moving is an online dance experience created by Monica Bill Barnes & Robbie Saenz de Viteri delivered in 10 chapters; some are videos, some are audio. All of them try to answer the question of how a dancer, a woman who works so hard to keep moving, finds a way forward while live performance is on pause.

While we were hopeful to gather and experience the performing arts together once again, our priority remains safety and well-being. Therefore, we’ve had to postpone the following programs to future dates when we can safely resume live programming:

  • Living Music with Nadia Sirota
  • Antonio Sanchez: Bad Hombre
  • Martin Hayes Quartet
  • Anthony de Mare: Liaisons 2020: Re-Imagining Sondheim from the Piano
  • Rudresh Mahanthappa and Terri Lyne Carrington: Fly Higher Charlie Parker at 100
  • MK Guth: Choreography for Reading Aloud
  • Jennifer Koh & Davóne Tines: Everything That Rises Must Converge
  • John Cameron Mitchell: The Origin of Love Tour
  • David Sedaris

Message from the Artist: Charles Lloyd

Charles Lloyd

My heart hastens with gladness to be with my compadres again to make music. This year of COVID has been a trial and a revelation. A time of reflection and resourcefulness. We hope that the offering we bring to you from this stage will help to console your losses, and fill the void of your loneliness. Above all, we hope to lift you up and inspire you to go forward in love and light. Yours in the music,

—Charles Lloyd

Message from the Center: On Philip Glass’s Piano Sonata

When Philip Glass mentioned to me a few years ago that he was working on a piano sonata (his first!), I instinctively sensed that this was going to be a big deal. Not because a new composition by Philip Glass generally is, but because of his exuberance for it: “Hey! Did I tell you I’m working on a piano sonata?!” For all I knew, he committed himself to the idea in that exact instant, or, more likely, he had been working away on it in his mind while we were talking about a range of other topics over our bowls of soup. Whichever the case, he was excited by the journey he was embarking upon.

Phil has written sonatas for other instruments before, but this would be his first for the piano. I imagined how much he would pour into it given that the piano is the instrument he has spent a lifetime playing (at home and on countless tours). However, Phil is not an artist to let the potential of a ‘first’ be tethered to what is known. His exuberance came from writing something that would far surpass what he could play, or be able to entirely hear on the instrument itself beyond imagining it as the composer. There would need to be someone who could bring the music to life and bridge the musical space between themselves, the audience and the composer.

Phil composed his Piano Sonata for Maki Namekawa and Maki collaborated on its shape and dimensionality by adding her tremendous capacity and insight as a pianist. They sent recordings and adjustments back and forth across the Atlantic, and Phil describes her contribution as much more than a facile pianist interpreting the material, but adding to it in order that it can be heard and embodied.

Many will recall an epic week in 2013 when CAP UCLA presented a survey of Philip Glass works at Royce Hall that included La Belle et La Bete, Music in Twelve Parts and his Complete Etudes. The week offered towering elevations, with an audience experiencing countless intakes of breath on so many levels and for me, experiencing Maki play Phil’s Etude #20 is forever lodged in my being. I have little doubt that I was not alone in my astonishment.

As you experience the concert as given by Maki – there is something undeniably present about the current moment we are living in, and an incredible point of connection to the future that arrives in the third movement. There is far more consonance in the music than dissonance, and Philip Glass has put a great deal of faith into our evolving capacity to listen and hear. We recognize the piano, the structure of the sounds and the notes in time – but the speed of change and harmony is almost unimaginable. Hearing what we perhaps could not have been able to until now, is the gift of their work.

We originally scheduled the concert to take place on the Royce Hall stage, which has served as one of Philip Glass’s many ‘creative homes’ over decades. Throughout this pandemic we have had to invent previously unconsidered approaches for fortifying our commitment to artists and audiences in supporting our continuity together. No small feat within a global pandemic, with our borders closed, and our stages dormant. As the US administration stopped all visas, as the devastating heave of the virus expanded, we had to find another way.

I want to thank Maki and my team at CAP UCLA, and especially also Gerfried Stocker, Artistic Director and CEO of Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria for the truly generous collaboration in filming the Piano Sonata just before the new COVID-19 restrictions took hold in Europe.

My gratitude to Philip Glass runs deep and long. For his immense humanity, perspective and music. For me, it is like light finding its way through all of the cracks in the seams and is forever arriving.

Thank you for joining us.

—Kristy Edmunds,
Executive and Artistic Director
UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance

This Was the Year that Was

While we will all be glad to bid farewell to 2020, there were several bright spots for CAP UCLA this season for which we are grateful.  Season highlights include:

Artist Commissions

CAP UCLA provided financial support for some 300 artists through commissions this season. Projects included:

  • Chris Doyle’s Memento Vivere, a 24-hour digital clock made with UCLA students and available for Apple watches
  • Constance Hockaday’s Artists-In-Presidents, a collection of “fireside chats” from artists released in the final two months of the 2020 campaign
  • Choreographers’ Scores, a collection of visual scores by 27 contemporary choreographers that will become available as limited edition prints and tour nationally
  • Notes on Napkins, a collection of more than 100 musicians’ doodles on napkins that will become an affordable boxed set of commemorative napkins
  • Meshell Ndgeocello’s Chapter & Verse: The Gospel of James Baldwin, a multi-media tribute to James Baldwin co-commissioned by a consortia of national and international performing and visual arts partners
  • A filmed version of Robyn Frohardt’s Plastic Bag Store installation in Times Square that was set to open just prior to the COVID-19 shutdown

Constance Hockaday

Digital Programs

CAP UCLA also brought back new online versions of several programs we had presented in the past, including:

  • Forced Entertainment’s Complete Table Top Shakespeare: At Home Edition filmed by the company at their kitchen tables in Sheffield, England and Berlin. Available online through December 31, 2020
  • The online version of Kid Koala’s Music To Draw To, two hours of curated music designed to get your creative juices flowing which we presented live as a follow-up to his 2016 performance of Nufonia Must Fall
  • A three-day celebration of Grace@20, a seminal work by choreographer Ronald K. Brown, that included a filmed performance of the work, an online class and a talk with the artists

Ronald K Brown EVIDENCE

CAP UCLA Online

We also filmed all of our fall performances this season and streamed them online on our new channel. We will continue this practice in 2021 and hope you will join us.  Fall highlights included:

  • The Tune In Festival – a four day celebration of music for change filmed in Los Angeles and elsewhere, bringing together musicians and poets from the U.S., Canada and Latin America. Excerpts from the performances and interviews with the artists are available online.
  • The acclaimed Quinteto Astor Piazzolla filmed in Buenos Aires and seen by an international audience of more than 1200. Available on demand.

Quinteto Astor Piazzolla

L.A. Omnibus

We also created a new literary series, L.A. Omnibus, featuring conversations with L.A. writers and artists. This fall featured artists Constance Hockaday, Daniel Alexander Jones and Kristina Wong and discussions with authors Donna Rifkin and Lynell George. All Omnibus programs are available on demand.

Tue, Dec 8: L.A. Omnibus: Lynell George - Upcoming Programs - UCLA's Center for the Art of Performance

Taylor Mac Holiday Benefit Concert

We were delighted to be able to once again present Taylor Mac’s Holiday Sauce…Pandemic!, an online version of his holiday extravaganza that we presented for two days live last year at Royce Hall. This event was a benefit for CAP UCLA that was seen by some 600 households and raised $23,000. Thank you to everyone who donated and attended the event. If you missed it, it is still available on demand through January 2, 2021.

Taylor Mac’s Holiday Sauce… Pandemic!

Art in Action

For these past 10 months, we’ve re-imagined how our public programs continue to provide opportunities to take part, learn and engage.  We’re still learning, but there have been definite bright spots:

Design for Sharing, our K-12 arts education program migrated to a virtual platform, providing filmed performances, remote art-making, virtual arts residencies and Art Kits that we made available to over 100 elementary school students.

Our student committee, Student Committee for the Arts (SCA) partnered with our colleagues in Residential Life Arts Engagement to pilot a Pen-Pal program, over 200 UCLA students spanning 7 countries and 13 states participated during Fall quarter, making connections and sharing art work.

Our CAP Poetry Bureau went online for Poetry Month, and we wrote and distributed over 100 poems that were mailed or emailed to members of our LA and UCLA communities.

Along the way we wrote Odes to Ordinary Things, established a virtual gallery, and engaged in some proactive thinking about the City of Angels. Thanks for staying connected, and stay tuned for more.

Happy Holidays

We would like to give a shout out to the artists who are facing the largest cataclysm of their professional lives, yet who remain steadfast in their determination, resourcefulness and commitment to expressing universal truths and helping us get through this year.

We also want to give special thanks to you, our audiences and supporters, for hanging tight with us as we reinvent ourselves in the digital universe so we can continue to share the work of contemporary artists around the world and provide them with an income stream until they can return to our stages.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS from all of us at UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance.

 

Happy Holidays from all of us at CAP UCLA

Dear CAP UCLA family,

At the tail end of a year unlike any other, where we have experienced so much of our work in the arts thrown against the rocks, we can still celebrate the incredible care that enabled us to keep steering and stitching the seams together with vigilance and creative problem-solving. I’m not going to dwell on the grief because there is not enough room to adequately do so, but I acknowledge the word in scale while also being inspired by how we continue to make, find and share beauty at every turn. I want to recognize the contribution of all who work here at CAP UCLA and our Executive Producer Council. In a period of constant change, everyone gave their unwavering support through each calamity large or small.

The well-spring of inspiration has come from the artists and their creative teams who continue to engage with us, no matter the strain, to invent new ways for bringing their work to life – and it is safe to say that the reason behind all of our collective effort is our audiences. You are the community that makes what we do uplifted and possible. While the adage that “If you are standing still you are falling behind” is something all of us have viscerally lived at high velocity this year, the motivation for sprinting ahead has been to ensure we are connected to our audiences and communities as we cope in our different lives and realities – and to offer something joyously and very much alive in the performing arts.

For CAP UCLA we were able to create a financial lifeline this season for more than 300 artists and their work through our newly invented online channel, collaborations with colleagues in film production and those with empty stages, here and around the country and world, who hosted numerous performances without live audiences.

Thousands of you have shown up for our events and we cannot thank you enough. For us it was a profound sign of your belief in our continuation and of our shared possibilities together.

Although we are truly proud of what we have held together and created this year, we know there is much still to do as we head into 2021. There will continue to be heightened needs in the arts community as we ride out the pandemic (while wearing our masks and staying safer at home).

I know that you have been asked to support the many causes and needs there are across the country and world, and I know that everyone has been affected in ways that we could not have comprehended less than a year ago. CAP UCLA and the artists and communities we touch and work with also need your support in any way it can come. Please give what you can. We can’t carry the future from here without you.

There is so much more to dance and sing and play and make together and to support and stand with. For now, on behalf of all of us at the Center, may you have love and peace, respite, friendship and neighborliness over the holiday season.

We look forward to seeing you in the new year ahead and thank you again in advance for all you do and give and extend in all of the ways that you do so.

With gratitude and love,

—Kristy Edmunds,
Executive and Artistic Director
UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance

Message from the Center: Lynell George

Cities reveal themselves in multiple ways. There is the Los Angeles that we know from behind the wheel of a car, the Los Angeles that we know from walking the neighborhoods and the Los Angeles that we see from the large, high windows of a city bus.

Before the pandemic, more than 1.6 million people rode LA Metro every day, and most of them on the bus. That’s more than the entire population of Rhode Island. A number of years ago I rode the 720 from Westwood to DTLA. I had assigned my students a special project downtown, most did not have cars and I suggested the 720 bus as an option. I wanted to know what they would experience, so we could talk about it, but none of them saw the bus as a viable option. “Why not?” I asked. “Too long…too boring…I don’t know how.”

Lynell George, in her new book, A Handful of Earth, A Handful of Sky, uncovers the hidden gems buried in the 300+ boxes of the Octavia E. Butler archive. The stories behind the story — the small notebooks, receipts, clippings, scraps of paper, marginalia, bus passes, bus schedules, bus maps and bus routes of the greater metro area. In a city of cars, Octavia Butler chose not to drive. Lynell writes:

A long vivid stretch of inspiration, the bus is a moving theater. Even the waiting provides an opening act. Anticipation: there’s a noisy expanse to get lost in, to be transfixed or puzzled by. Los Angeles is the world, the world comes to Los Angeles, to dip into a little bit of everything, to try a new self on for size… [Octavia] watches it flicker by from the bus window, seated high, as she passes through her day.

Like Butler, Lynell George is a collector of stories. Her reporting, her essays, her three books (each illuminating a different aspect of Los Angeles); all are filled with the stories of our city. These stories are our support system, they help us to make sense of where we live and how we live. Here, in this place.

In the introduction to her second book, After/Image, Lynell writes: “What is Los Angeles when you pull the image of the city away? What are you left with? What is the Los Angeles that lives inside of us?”

Los Angeles is more than the known images, more than one view. When’s the last time you rode the bus? Or walked the neighborhoods; or the boulevards, streets, alleys and secret stairs that connect the neighborhoods? There is so much to see.

Like Butler, the poet Marisela Norte uses her time on the bus to write, to compose, to imagine. And like Lynell George, she is searching for the stories of our city.

snow covers man on pavement/polka dot shoes run by/no clean getaways

waiting/for languages/as drivers become green

follow the curve of a building/trace your curve next to mine

building blue/violent pink/unread books on shelf/our stories inside

The stories are there to be read, we only need to look.

—Meryl Friedman, Director of Education & Special Initiatives

Message from the Artist: 600 HIGHWAYMEN

Dear Audience,

Thank you so much for calling in and making this performance with us. Without you, the performance is just a series of empty instructions and unanswered questions. While the inspiration for this project came long before COVID was a word any of us knew, it is this inability to be physically close that has fueled our curiosity for how to find our way together again. It is not hyperbole to say that we cannot do this project without you. And because of that, we are very grateful that you have contributed to its life.

This phone call is the first of a three-part project. We hope you will return to experience the second and third installments, which will occur in the year ahead. The second and third parts (‘An Encounter’ and ‘An Assembly”) exist in shared (and safe) physical space, and will continue the trajectory as we collectively travel the course of this unexpected year.

Until we meet again!

—Abby & Michael, 600 HIGHWAYMEN

Message from the Artist: Kid Koala

Kid Koala

Normally, We would host these Music To Draw To events somewhere cozy with everyone in the same room. It started in the winter of 2009 in Montreal at Théâtre Ste. Catherine. Each Monday, I would play a set of quiet time focus music and people were invited to come draw, write, code and study. We strung lights and set up seats and little drawing tables for everyone. The point was to create a cozy atmosphere for people to work on their own creative projects.

Over the years, I started to improvise and create some original ambient pieces live. Several of which would become the skeletal tracks for the Music To Draw To album series which would start almost a decade later.

Since 2009, We have been lucky enough to bring this event to several cities around the world. We also continue hosting them in Montreal every winter. It remains one of my favorite events to host.

I’m constantly inspired by the range of projects that people work on at these sessions. Over the years, there have been many writers, painters, animators, sculptors and video game coders at the events. But there have also been filmmakers finishing screenplays, teachers finishing lesson plans and even designers bringing in looms and dress forms for their clothing/textile projects. I remember this one attendee was working on a laptop on what I thought was some wild 3D animation. I asked her if it was for a video game or music video but it turned out she was a neuroscientist studying CT scans. I love that! Everybody’s welcome!

Bring your creative projects.

Come join us if you need a little focus music or to get some (quiet) work done.

Eric, AKA Kid Koala

Message from the Artist: Ronald K. Brown on Grace@20

Grace, the dance was commissioned and performed by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and premiered in 1999 NY City Center. The work became a part of the Evidence, A Dance Company Repertory in 2001. The Grace@20 Workshop gives participants a chance to view the work, learn some of the movement from the piece and have a conversation to learn how each of us thinks of grace in our lives and work.

When Judith Jamison, former Artistic Director of AADT, contacted me to discuss the possibility of me creating a work on Ailey there were several immediate responses.  One was the memory of going on a school trip to see the Ailey Company when I was in the 2nd grade and going home and making a dance.  I also remembered my mother taking to a dance studio at Bedford-Stuyvesant Corporation in Brooklyn, NY after that trip and I recall my 8 year old self telling my mom “there are 80 girls.”  There weren’t but as the only guy I felt that way and did not think dance was a serious option for me until I began studying seriously at 16.  I found Evidence in 1985 and believed that I needed to make space for Evidence, the kind of work that I believed was my purpose to create.  After speaking to Ms. Jamison, my heart was full and I wondered how do I say thank you to Mr. Ailey, a choreographer and legend who inspired my first work when I was a child and who let me know, through his work and example,  that it was possible and necessary to have a dance company that reflected the human condition.

I knew that Mr. Ailey was fond of Duke Ellington, so I turned to Ellington’s Sacred Concerts and  discovered over a hundred versions of Come Sunday, a song that became the opening and closing of Grace. During the Grace@20 Workshop participants will learn about the other music that is in Grace and the reasons for their inclusion in the piece.  For the 20th Anniversary of Grace the Evidence performed the work for the first time with live music and an expanded cast at Bard College in July 2019.

I look forward to the screening of Grace, the movement classes and the conversation, especially during these current times when so many of us are in search of grace.

—Ronald K. Brown

Message from the Artist: Perla Batalla on Discoteca Batalla

Discoteca Batalla is a tribute to my mother and the little record shop she ran in the 60’s and 70’s. It was a spot for Spanish speaking immigrants to gather, exchange news from home, buy the latest Spanish language hits, or maybe just drink coffee and listen to Javier Solis or Carlos Gardel with my mom, Barbara. Whether they asked for it or not, our customers could expect to receive an abundance of sage advice from Barbara on matters of love, finance, immigration, psychology, child rearing, dental hygiene, appliance repair, and anything else on which she held strong opinions…which effectively left nothing out.

Mom also hand wrote letters home for the working men and women separated for years at a time from their families.

The shop made them feel like they were home for a second. Farmworkers, restaurant workers, people who cleaned other people’s houses and watched other people’s children all came. By the time I was 10, mom entrusted me to run the shop while she made buying trips downtown. Alone in the shop, listening to some of the greatest singers of all time, I began to dream of becoming a singer

Discoteca Batalla closed its doors over 30 years ago. A shop like ours was is difficult to envision today, in part due to digital downloads and Amazon. And while it may be true that we are what we eat, the things we choose to sing about probably say much more about us. Songs are our stories; who we are, the roads we’ve chosen and the people and dreams we’ve followed, or sometimes left behind.

As the U.S. becomes ever more polarized, the importance of sharing one another’s stories is more critical than ever. Barbara Batalla was an immigrant. She left Buenos Aires alone, as a teen-ager, without speaking English to begin a new life in Los Angeles, where she worked her ass off every day of her life.

This woman had more courage than anyone I know.

—Perla Batalla