Summer Reading List

I know, I know, summer is waning. But there’s always time for books, right!? There are a lot of books related to programs on our 2013-2014 season that have become part of a CAP UCLA-centric summer reading list. Join us as these performances approach.

Photo courtesy Simon Cocks via Creative Commons.

You can easily get literarily energized in advance of several of our spoken word artists.
Definitely grab Chris Ware’s latest, Building Stories. As usual, Ware’s storytelling approach is part book, part puzzle and part work of visual art. I can’t wait to get my hands on the copy floating around our offices.

But, we can also dive into the bestseller that helped put Ware on the map.

There are multiple offerings to choose from our lovely wandering poet Naomi Shihab Nye that will provide even greater understanding of her work and enjoyment around her live reading this spring. Both Chris and Naomi’s events are free and we hope you’ll jump at the chance to join us for these wildly different but equally inspiring authors.

And this September, The Moth will release it’s very first book—a collection of some of the organization’s favorite true stories over the years from frequent performers Annie Duke, Nathan Englander, Malcolm Gladwell, Richard Price and Andrew Solomon as well as Moth founder George Dawes Green and many delightful other contributors. (I’m halfway through this one and it is one of those delightful non-linear “discovery” reads that’s perfect for lunch breaks or if you only have short bursts of time to read.)

Along the lines of discovery, I also plan to plunge myself into the inspiration behind several dance and theater programs we have coming up, starting with Complicite and Setagaya Public Theater’s interpretation of some intense writings by Junichiro Tanazaki, who is a literary household name in Japan.

Shun-kin, which kicks off our 2013-2014 theater programming in September, is partially based on a story by Tanazaki titled In Praise of Shadows. Interestingly, there is a strong local connection to this work. In the 1977 edition, the forward to In Praise of Shadows was written by influential Los Angeles architect Charles Moore, who was then Chair of the UCLA Department of Architecture and Urban Design.

Our April presentation of The Suit, Peter Brook’s loving adaptation of a short story by South African writer Can Themba, brings to vivid life a work of art that was suppressed during the writer’s lifetime. It’s still not the easiest thing to find. All the more reason to go searching I say. Here’s an anthology from Amazon that includes it. (How did we book lovers live before Amazon?)

I’m always fascinated by what prompts choreographers to create their work…the possibilities and interpretations are limitless. This season I’m eager to explore the philosophies found in Flesh in the Age of Reason, by Roy Porter, which was part of the impetus for Wayne McGregor’s FAR– so much so, that it’s where the name of the piece comes from.

After we presented Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s Orbo Novo, I was compelled to go and read the book upon which it was based, Jill Bolte Taylor’s My Stroke of Insight. The book itself is amazing and a worthy read in, but knowing that Cherkaoui read it, and like I did, probably marveled at it, and yet somehow, very much unlike me, was inspired to create a very intricate and thought-provoking dance work out of it. Unlikely art pairings are a joy to experience.

Lots of context and personal perspective to unearth, explore and wrap ourselves up in–which is just the thing art should inspire us to do I think.