"UK/LA '88--A Celebration of British Arts" begins today with the opening of a retrospective of artist David Hockney's work at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Though the Hockney exhibit (on view Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. until April 24) serves as the debut of the three-month cultural event, festival organizers say a black-tie dinner Wednesday, planned to thank sponsors and others involved in UK/LA, is considered the official start to this celebratory cultural exchange between Britain and Los Angeles.
For Southern Californians, the festival, with more than 60 events scheduled, will be hard to avoid--special programs will be broadcast on radio and television stations; performances will take place at more than 26 venues across Los Angeles and exhibits will be displayed in galleries in Venice, Los Angeles and Santa Monica.
"We tried to get a balance, a diversity of performers," said John Houlton, festival administrator and vice consul of information in the British Consulate. "We want to show the best of our culture, while at the same time continue to encourage Brits to do their business in this area."
Some 55 Los Angeles and 29 British companies will bring their talents to stages and galleries such as the Wiltern Theatre, Ambassador Auditorium, Asher Faure Gallery and L.A. Louver Gallery during the coming months. UK/LA '88 officially ends April 30, but some visual arts and design events will be extended through May and June.
In addition, the festival will feature the first official visit of the Duke and Duchess of York (Prince Andrew and the former Sarah Ferguson) to the United States. The pair will attend various events during their stay from Feb. 26 through March 6, including the rock benefit at Universal Amphitheatre. They also will be guests of honor at a dinner hosted by Armand Hammer, chairman and chief executive officer of Occidental Petroleum, and Lodwrick M. Cook, chairman and chief executive officer of the Atlantic Richfield Co. Proceeds from the dinner will benefit the festival and the "Save the Books" campaign of the Los Angeles Library.
Said Houlton: "We'd like to feel that this (festival) is the beginning of an ongoing and increasing relationship between Los Angeles, Britain and the arts."
Tickets to festival events may be purchased through the specific venues or in some cases Ticketron and Ticketmaster outlets. Some exhibits are free while other events cost up to $50 (for the Brodsky String Quartet performance).
For more information on UK/LA '88 or tickets, call (213) 972-7564.