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John Lasseter Recalls Favorite Pranks at Calarts at the Premiere of "Monsters University"

June 18, 2013
USA Today

By Bryan Alexander

'Monsters University' class is full of pranksters

Grover's staged death, toilet tossing — the stars at Monday night's 'Monsters University' premiere give their favorite university pranks.

During his college days John Lasseter had a thing against Grover.

The chief creative officer at Pixar and executive producer of Monsters University had his reasons: A a fellow animation student at the California Institute of Arts used to bring a Grover puppet to class and have it speak to the other students.

"It was driving us insane," Lasseter confided at the premiere of Monsters University on Monday night.

Lasseter and his fellow students finally took action, stealing the Sesame Street puppet and executing a series of pranks. Read More

Celebrated faculty member Charlie Haden performs at Healdsburg Jazz Festival

June 18, 2013

Charlie Haden Overcomes Adversity at Healdsburg Jazz Festival

The buzz in the Jackson Theater was a little more anxious than usual during the pre-show hum of this year’s Healdsburg (Calif.) Jazz Festival, because the one unconfirmed guest at the festival’s Charlie Haden tribute was Charlie Haden himself.

For the past two years Haden has been on a hiatus from jazz as he fights post-polio syndrome, and the Healdsburg festival was meant to be his comeback. Haden was scheduled to headline two days of the festival’s first weekend, June 1–2, but if the performances proved more than his health would allow, bassist Derek Oles, once Haden’s student at California Institute of the Arts, was standing by.

The show began with a set by pianist Geri Allen and saxophonist Chris Potter. Allen entered dressed like a Buddhist monk with a neat pile of dreadlocks on her head and proceeded to play a stunningly introspective program that she said she’d planned “just for Charlie.” Throughout their set, Allen and Potter flowed in and out of each other’s lines with meditative intuition. Allen, who first collaborated with Haden in 1988, opened with “Silence,” one of Haden’s compositions from the period. Read More

CalArts cited for architectural excellence by LA Conservancy

LA Conservancy

In the early 1960s, Walt Disney decided to create a new kind of institution of higher learning, devoted entirely to the visual and performing arts with no boundaries between disciplines.

He merged the existing Chouinard Art Institute and the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music and incorporated the California Institute of the Arts in 1961, making it the nation's first degree-granting program tailored to the creative arts. Disney hired architects Thornton Ladd and John Kelsey to design an appropriate campus plan for the collaborative new institution. Ladd & Kelsey were best known for their designs for Busch Gardens in Van Nuys and the Pasadena Museum of Art (now the Norton Simon Museum). They aimed for total designs that integrated landscape, buildings, and interior spaces. Read More

Photos from the career of former faculty member John Baldessari

June 17, 2013
Huffington Post

John Baldessari Birthday: The Clever Conceptual Artist Turns 82 Today 

Today marks the 82nd birthday of one of the cleverest, tallest and most wonderfully bearded artists we know, John Baldessari.

The towering 6'7" artist was born and raised in California, eventually studying and teaching art at a variety of notable local schools including Berkeley, UCSD, UCLA and CalArts, where joint rolling was apparently offered as a course. Baldessari's students included some of our favorite provocateurs such as David Salle, Jack Goldstein and Mike Kelley.

His early works explored the ways text and image could intersect, painting statements pulled from art theory onto otherwise empty canvases. Through cropping, isolating and re-appropriating snippets of language we see the deep possibilities lurking in a humble joke or the utter emptiness of a lofty theoretical text. In other words, the artist can combine Claude Lévi-Strauss' structuralism with a cheap pun and make it work. Read More

An Interview with Calarts alumnus and illustrator Kenard Pak about work with Disney and Dreamworks

June 6, 2013
Ape on the Moon

By Philip Dennis

A Chat with Kenard Pak About Working for Disney and Dreamworks

Cartoons and feature-length animated films would have undeniably had an early influence on the majority of people working as illustrators today in at least one form or another. The mass of colours, fantasy and story telling form a perfect vehicle for encouraging creativity at an early age. Recent years have seen a huge shift in a preference for computer generated art work from painted cells but the fundamentals are the same.

That being said, the scope of work in art and design is so varied that the animated feature industry might still seem completely foreign to someone working in editorial illustration or advertising for example.

The large production companies that dominate the industry may seem unapproachable to some. How would you go about working for Disney? What does someone working in visual development do?  

Illustrator Kenard Pak has worked for both Disney and Dreamworks so seemed like the right man to shed a little light on these questions. We ask him a few questions and take a look at some of the work he did for ‘Madagascar 3′ and some of his other great illustration work. Read More

REDCAT an CalArts present Radar La

June 12, 2013
LA Times

By David Ng


RADAR 2013 coming in September, featuring Britain's Complicite


The second edition of RADAR L.A.-- the Los Angeles festival dedicated to contemporary theater from around the world -- is scheduled to begin Sept. 24 and will feature a number of presitigious companies, including the critically acclaimed British group Complicite. 

RADAR 2013 will be presented by REDCAT at Disney Hall and the California Institute of the Arts in partnership with Center Theatre Group. As was the case with the festival's inaugural 2011 version, this year's lineup will be split evenly between local and international productions, according to a spokeswoman.
RADAR is scheduled to run Sept. 24 through Oct. 1 at venues around the city.

The full schedule will be announced in July.  Simon McBurney's Complicite will appear in a collaboration with the Satagaya Public Theatre of Japan. "Shun-kin" will be presented Sept. 26 to 29 at the Freud Playhouse at UCLA, in association with the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA. Read More

An Interview with Calarts Alumnus and Jazz Player Todd Sickafoose

September 22, 2008
All About Jazz

By Rex Butters

Todd Sicafoose: The Art of Non-Resistance

With the release of his unique, understated, and critically acclaimed Tiny Resistors (Cryptogramophone, 2008), bassist/composer Todd Sickafoose suddenly and unintentionally upped the ante for indie jazz. Surging ahead of such indie mainstays (and label mates) as Nels Cline, Steuart Liebig, and boss Jeff Gauthier, Sickafoose has garnered strong press from such diverse sources as Bass Player Magazine, PopMatters, Jazz Times, USA Today, and The New York Times. The daring, spacious compositions and performances on Tiny Resistors, Sickafoose's third CD collection, have succeeded in obliterating all the subheadings of "modern," "progressive" and "new"—settling, instead, on eminently appealing.

A longtime coconspirator of Ani Di Franco's, Sickafoose finds himself in the enviable position of touring behind a musical statement that seems to be irresistible. Read More.

School of Dance Dean Leads Outdoor Dancing at UWM's Summerdances

June 12, 2013
Third Coast Daily

By Tom Strini

UWM Summerdances: Dancing outdoors with Stephan Koplowitz

Stephan Koplowitz looked east, to Lake Michigan, south to a splashing fountain and north to the grand North Avenue Water Tower (and before it, Tuesday evening, to the Bel Canto Chorus in front of the tower). A few sprinkles of a just-passed thunderstorm fell, though the sky above was blue.

Water, water everywhere, and it clearly charmed the Los Angeles choreographer. He had never visited Milwaukee before starting work on the capstone dance project of UWM’s nearly-over Year of the Arts. Koplowitz, the dean of dance at Cal Arts, made two site-specific pieces for UWM dance students, one to perform at the Water Tower at the east end of North Avenue and the other at the Cudahy Gardens of the Milwaukee Art Museum. Water figures prominently in Dan Kiley’s design for the garden – a stream/fountain runs straight as a string for 600 feet to bisect the gardens, which separate Lincoln Memorial Drive from the lakefront museum. Read more.

Calarts' Center for New Performance presents "Prometheus Bound" in conjunction with Trans Arts and the Getty

June 12, 2013
Los Angeles Times

By Mike Boehm


Getty Villa to sport a giant steel wheel for 'Prometheus Bound'


The Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades boasts a magnificent collection of ancient art in a replica of a Roman Villa, but this summer the biggest sculpture on display will be a creation from 2013: a 23-foot-tall, five-ton steel wheel that will be the centerpiece of an avant-garde production of the ancient drama “Prometheus Bound.”

The play, believed to have had its premiere around 450 B.C., depicts the suffering of the titan Prometheus, who’s been chained by the vengeful gods to a remote mountain. His transgression: teaching humanity the use of fire and other civilizing skills that had been the exclusive property of the gods themselves.
The wheel represents the mountain. Prometheus, played by Ron Cephus Jones in the production that begins previews Aug. 29, will spend the bulk of the evening strapped to it, on a smaller wheel that traverses the gigantic one like a hand on a clock or a gondola on a Ferris wheel.

Fortunately for the actor, he won’t be turned upside down, and he’ll have company from other performers who’ll clamber onto the wheel.
Vinny Golia, a noted L.A. jazz musician, will add live instrumentals, performing original music he composed with Ellen Reid.

The setpiece was conceived by director Travis Preston and scenic designer Efren Delgadillo Jr. for the production, which is being presented by the California Institute for the Arts’ Center for New Performance in conjunction with Trans Arts and the Getty Museum. The script is poet Joel Agee’s new translation of the ancient Greek text, which is commonly attributed to Aeschylus, although that’s a matter of scholarly dispute. Read More

Site specific piece for UWM Summerdance conceived and choreographed by School of Dance Dean Stephan Koplowitz

June 11, 2013
Express Milwaukee

Dancing on Site

UWM Summerdances transfigures two Milwaukee landmarks

At nightfall on June 13, 14 and 15, 14 dancers will perform at the base of the beautiful North Point Water Tower while digital projections animate the white stone monument's upper half and 25 voices from Bel Canto Chorus sing a wordless accompaniment written and conducted by Music Director Richard Hynson. You'll watch, free of charge, from the edge of North Avenue where it carves a small island around this historic landmark.

On the afternoons of June 14 and 15, twice as many dancers will transfigure the fountain-lined Cudahy Gardens of the Milwaukee Art Museum. Tim Russell, Milwaukee's outstanding composer for modern dance, will premiere an original score. You'll watch, free of charge, first from the sidewalk facing east with the Calatrava as the background, then from the walk bridge that connects the building with O'Donnell Park and Wisconsin Avenue, looking south onto the terraced gardens, the nearby traffic, the lake and the far horizon.

Named for the man who conceived and choreographed both works, these entirely distinct site-specific performances share the title "Stephan Koplowitz: Water Sight, Milwaukee." They represent the UW-Milwaukee Peck School of the Arts Dance Department's radical rethinking of its annual "Summerdances," the recital with student dancers that caps each school year. UWM's School of Freshwater Sciences is a project partner. Water is the theme. Read More

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