LOS ANGELES (Sept. 20, 2020) – On Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021, CalArts Center for New Performance (CNP) kicks off Fall 2021 with a world premiere from Alpert Award-winning theater artist Daniel Alexander Jones. Produced by CNP, Jones’ new work, ALTAR NO. 1 – ATEN, uses the solar system as both metaphor and method for an immersive journey through the celestial, within and without. The work is intended to, as Jones states, “remember us whole.”
“As long-time supporters and friends of Daniel, we are thrilled to partner together on this singular creation," says Travis Preston, CNP Artistic Director and Dean of the CalArts School of Theater. “His unique voice and fearless imagination embody the best of what CalArts promises."
Anchored in Jones’ ever-expanding digital portal (aten.life), ALTAR NO. 1 – ATEN unfolds over a series of 10 weekly installments. Beginning with the digital release of a new album of fifteen original songs by Jones and musician Josh Quat, ALTAR NO. 1 – ATEN also includes fifteen connected music videos featuring Jones’ alter ego, legendary performer Jomama Jones, in an exploration of the planets, moon, and aspects of the sun. Each week, a new music video will be released, along with a series of probing podcast conversations with special guests and powerfully penned provocations that offer invitations for audience practice and engagement.
ALTAR NO. 1 – ATEN officially launches Jones’s multivalent ALTAREDSTATES project, devised over the last two years in close collaboration with the creative braintrust of writer Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs, artist Ebony Noelle Golden, composer Walter Kitundu, musician Josh Quat, and artist Sangodare Wallace. Each project in the forthcoming series utilizes core principles from altar-building—charged temporary structures that bridge dimensions and serve to focus and amplify our attentions—to guide process and shape the experiences of encounter, be they live or digital.
For almost 20 years, CNP—the professional producing arm of California Institute of the Arts—has been an active incubator of new directions in the performing arts. Through ongoing residencies, development support, and presentations on the local, national, and international stage, CNP invests deeply in the creative practices of visionary national and international artists, realizing projects through a commitment to artist-led process.
This Fall, CNP is also slated to release The George Project, an immersive audio experience based on When This War Is Over, You’re Going to Get It George, written by artist Emilio Cruz and directed by playwright Juli Crockett. CNP also brings back the creative team of Nataki Garrett and Andrea LeBlanc to remount their celebrated work, The Carolyn Bryant Project, for the stage and screen. Octavio Solis (Mother Road, Dreamlandia), one of the most prominent Latino playwrights in America, also returns to workshop his newest play, Scene with Cranes, with director Chi-wang Yang. Additionally, artist and director Natalia Lassalle-Morillo is this fall developing a documentary film capturing the creative process behind El Camino Donde Nosotros Lloramos (The Road Where We Weep), the CNP-produced project by Mexico-based theater company Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol. More projects will be announced in Spring 2022.
ALTAR NO. 1 – ATEN was commissioned by The Public Theater, and created with support from the CalArts Center for New Performance and New York Live Arts’ Live Feed Residency, with funding from Rockefeller Brothers Fund, National Endowment for the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, and the Partners for New Performance.
ALTAREDSTATES is made possible with generous support from the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Theater Project, with lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and additional support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Additional support provided by the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab.
About the Artist
Alpert Award-winning theater artist Daniel Alexander Jones exemplifies the artist-as-energy worker. His wildflower body of original work includes plays, performance pieces, recorded music, concerts, music theatre events, essays, and long-form improvisations. The Herb Alpert Foundation notes that he “creates multi-dimensional experiences where bodies, minds, emotions, voices, and spirits conjoin, shimmer, and heal.”
Jones’s critically-acclaimed performance pieces include Radiate (Soho Rep and National Tour including the Kirk Douglas Theatre/CTG); Black Light (Public Theater, Greenwich House Theatre, American Repertory Theatre, Penumbra Theatre); Duat (Soho Rep); An Integrator’s Manual (La MaMa, etc. and Fusebox Festival). Jones has recorded five albums of original songs as his alter-ego, Jomama Jones. Love Like Light, his first anthology of writing for performance will be published by 53rd State Press in 2021.
Jones is the 2021 PEN America/Laura Pels Foundation Awardee in Theatre. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Helen Merrill Playwriting Award, a Doris Duke Artist Award, and a USA Artists Fellowship. Jones is a Professor of Theatre at Fordham University.