September 28, 2013 |
A wrathful, wondrous, clairvoyant, powerfully sexual and just as powerfully beyond-sex Maori women's dance ritual had its astonishing first public presentation Thursday night as part of Radar L.A. Whimsical Japanese puppetry followed a half-hour later. Lemi Ponifasio's "Stones in Her Mouth," the Samoan choreographer's new work for his company MAU, was not intended to be a double bill with "Dogugaeshi," created by American puppeteer Basil Twist and Japanese musician Yumiko Tanaka a decade ago. The shows had little to do with each other, geographically, theatrically or psychically.
September 25, 2013 |
The most startling - and stunning - moment in David Roussève's latest dance-theater hybrid, "Stardust," came an hour into the 80-minute intermissionless piece, which premiered Tuesday at REDCAT. The 53-year-old choreographer appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, to perform a heartwrenching solo set to Johnny Mathis crooning the Bach/Gounod “Ave Maria.” With his jerking, swooping arms and quasi-angelic face, Roussève, bathed in Christopher Kuhl's amber light, and bending and dipping as if the world's weight were on his shoulders, was spellbinding.
September 22, 2013 |
During their 17-year creative partnership, Tina Kronis and Richard Alger of L.A.-based Theatre Movement Bazaar have drawn a receptive global audience to their audacious, rip-it-up, ensemble-based remixes of classic Chekhov. "Anton's Uncles," their gleefully irreverent deconstruction of "Uncle Vanya," was an out-of-left-field smash at the 2011 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Recently, they returned from a London touring production of their work "Track 3," a vaudeville- and disco-infused riff on the Russian playwright's tragi-comic "Three Sisters.
September 20, 2013 |
The real estate mania that brought the financial system to the brink of collapse has also had a deleterious effect on the arts. Too many refurbished show palaces and money pit museums have found themselves at the mercy of their mortgages. When overhead costs soar in unpredictable economic times, adventurous programming is the first thing to suffer. A rising commercialism is the price we pay as a cultural community for fancier digs. But for every rule propounded by a furrowed-brow critic there is a thrilling exception.
September 12, 2013 |
Theater festivals have the potential to galvanize an audience, but in a sprawling city already awash in performance, the importance of sharp curating can't be overemphasized. Radar L.A., an adventurous amalgam of international theater, made a winning debut in 2011 in part because it recognized that L.A. is a unique metropolis and that a replica of New York's Under the Radar Festival just wouldn't cut it. It took more than two years for the festival to return, but the wait promises to be worth it. The program, presented by REDCAT and CalArts in association with Center Theatre Group and a consortium of other partners, features work from Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, New Zealand and Japan as well as our own backyard.
August 6, 2013 |
For his first solo exhibition in L.A., São Paulo artist Héctor Zamora sutures together two emblems of Southern California consumerism: the single family home and the shopping cart. Nearly filling the gallery at REDCAT, "Panglossian Paradigm" consists of a single sculpture: the wooden frame of a small, six-room house entirely supported by evenly spaced metal shopping carts. An odd and unwieldy structure to be sure -- giving new meaning to the term “mobile home” -- it is a quiet indictment of the American dream.
April 24, 2013 |
An authority on Euripides, Christian Wolff is a retired professor of Greek and Latin classics (along with Marxist literature), having taught at Harvard and Dartmouth for many years. He is also one of America's most unpredictable, most venturesome, most radical (politically and compositionally), most inventive, most satisfying (intellectually, aesthetically and musically) and, at 79, least recognized (at least by America's musical establishment) living composers. In addition to all that, he happens to be the last living musical link to the New York School of composers and artists who gathered around John Cage in the 1950s.
April 18, 2013
For the truly devoted music nerd in your life, the EMP Pop Conference is like summer camp and your favorite college class rolled into one. Writers, professors and pop savants of all stripes gather to present papers and lectures on a huge swath of issues in pop music, from L.A. punk scenes of yesteryear to Kendrick Lamar and the feverish dance form of krumping. Fri.-Sat. at various times at USC and REDCAT. See empla2013.posterous.com to register.
April 5, 2013 |
Bebe Miller is a contemporary choreographer of power and pertinence. But in her multimedia retrospective "A History," she attempts to make navel-gazing into a spectator sport, undercutting her most indelible achievements. This ambitious, overproduced 75-minute exercise opened Thursday at the REDCAT in Walt Disney Concert Hall for a four-day run. "At once an archive and an installation as well as a performance piece," in Miller's words, it enlists text, video, music, title slides and an elaborate scenic environment, but the only indispensable contributions come from Miller company dancers Angie Hauser and Darrell Jones.
March 17, 2013 |
As emcee for the REDCAT Gala on Saturday, Jack Black said he had always hoped his debut at the multidisciplinary theater would include a performance of his “special post, post-modern interpretive dance,” complete with a “big dynamic gymnastic finale.” He pointed out, however, that instead of the usual stage at the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater, the venue that night had tables filling the room wall to wall. “I know that CalArts and REDCAT encourage artists to take risks,” Black said, “but I don't think that injuring the gala patrons is what they had in mind.” For those wondering how the star of “Bernie,” “School of Rock” and “Kung Fu Panda” came to host the gala, Black said he married into the CalArts family.