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CULTURE WATCH : Good Show

October 26, 1994

Is there another country in all the world that could have spread before the citizens of Los Angeles the artistic feast that the United Kingdom has spread in the two dazzling months of the UK/LA arts festival? There surely is none whose artistic treasures, thanks to the bond of culture and language, are so immediately accessible. Artists like Lynn Redgrave, Neville Mariner, David Hockney (who designed the poster for the festival) and the Monty Python comedians are Los Angeles household words.

The festival does not end until Nov. 13, and some of the best has been saved till the last. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has just opened a controversial retrospective of the work of R. B. Kitaj, an American artist who has lived for years in England. Peter Hemmings, who came from the Scottish Opera to head the Los Angeles Music Center Opera, is offering Handel's "Xerxes," Oct. 29-Nov. 5. The Royal Shakespeare Company will perform "Henry VI" at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts Nov. 2-6, overlapping Prince Charles' Oct. 31-Nov. 4 visit. And this is, so to speak, just the beginning of the end.

It's been a wonderful show, and we'll hate to see it close. But then it won't, quite. As UK/LA director Bruce Joseph stressed at the start, the United Kingdom is in its own distinct way a multicultural, multiracial society whose exchanges with our own society are not a historical curiosity but an unfolding present reality. We are proceeding by different paths to a common destination, and, as always, our artists are among the first to arrive.

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