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Highways Offers L.A. Artists

August 24, 1992

Thanks to Tony Abatemarco for his Counterpunch regarding the import of a New York artist to deal with the Los Angeles uprising ("When Will the Taper's Power Brokers Wake Up?," Aug. 17)--an excellent opportunity to make a point many have been making for years.

But later on he asks the reader to call Highways to find out why Keith Antar Mason and the Hittites were commissioned first by the Serious Fun Festival in New York to do their piece on the L.A. uprising, "49 Blues Songs for a Jealous Vampire."

I am close enough to "49 Blues Songs . . . " to know that it was commissioned more than nine months ago, long before the uprising. That context was added after the uprising, an excellent call on the Hittites' part.

The Hittites have performed at Highways at least 10 times in the last four years, premiering numerous major works. Performing in New York is important to many L.A. artists, and most people would note that it is partially Highways' consistent, years-long support of artists like the Hittites that makes it possible for Serious Fun to locate and book them. We're glad New York got to hear about the L.A. uprising from L.A. artists!

And I hope Tony reads his fall Highways schedule, in which we have programmed 10 weeks of work by Asian-American and African-American artists (and others) related to the uprising. Come on, guys, when it comes to local artists dealing with burning local issues, Highways is trying.

LINDA BURNHAM

Artistic Director

Highways, Santa Monica

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