CalArts' REDCAT Presents the Sixth Annual New Original Works Festival (NOW)
"REDCAT's New Original Works (NOW) series has become one of the city's more eclectic and vital performance festivals." --LA Weekly
Los Angeles, CA, June 25, 2009--The Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater and California Institute of the Arts proudly present REDCAT's sixth annual New Original Works Festival (NOW), July 23 through August 8, 2009, launching innovative and interdisciplinary projects that bend traditions and investigate new visions of work for the stage. Designed as a laboratory for adventurous work by emerging and mid-career performing artists, this year's festival features eight new projects by Los Angeles based artists who are expanding the language of visual performance, making use of REDCAT's advanced technical capacity and teaming up with artists across disciplines.
The embodiment of REDCAT's interdisciplinary mission, the NOW Festival encourages risk-taking and invention among theater, dance, music, and multimedia artists throughout Los Angeles. "It's gratifying to realize that REDCAT has supported 42 different productions through our first five NOW Festival," says Mark Murphy, REDCAT's executive director. "With this year's program we hit the 50-production mark, and have reviewed over 500 fascinating proposals. What pleases me most is the outstanding quality and vitality of the work we've been able to feature, particularly that this year's program investigates some highly visual performance forms, including interdisciplinary collaborations by teams of artists from a variety of artistic practices. I can't wait to see the results."
The Los Angeles Times writes, "For audiences, it's become a unique home base at which to put their fingers on the pulse of cutting-edge contemporary performance." Past NOW productions have lived on after their presentations at REDCAT, receiving national and international grants and often expanding into full-length works. REDCAT is thrilled to be giving artists in this region the creative support they need to achieve national and international stature. Examples of past projects launched by the festival include choreographer Lionel Popkin's Your Hand/My Mouth which expanded into There Is An Elephant In This Dance and premiered last May at Danspace Project in New York; Kristina Wong's Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest which toured to venues throughout the country; and media and performance group, Cloud Eye Control, followed their performances at the festival with presentations in San Francisco, Toronto, and Portland, and a newly commissioned work will premiere this October at REDCAT as part of its upcoming fall season.
This year's eight NOW productions will share the REDCAT stage for three daring and distinctive programs over three consecutive weeks:
JULY 23-25, 2009
Early Morning Opera: Abacus
Staged under the direction of Lars Jan, Early Morning Opera's large-scale multimedia work Abacus features a solo performer interacting with projected video and a chorus of choreographed Steadicams to explore R. Buckminster Fuller's vision of a Geoscope--a data visualization device that could almost perfectly model the future. From utopian to messianic, Abacus is a persuasive performance-cum-PowerPoint presentation that catapults data into metaphysical territory, where vision and fanaticism are equal parts in an equation of prophecy.
Sheetal Gandhi: Bahu-Beti-Biwi
With powerful dance, stirring vocalization and percussive text, Sheetal Gandhi's magnetically rhythmic Bahu-Beti-Biwi (Daughter-in-Law, Daughter, Wife) wraps North Indian music traditions and family characters into a contemporary tour de force that glides between humorous portraiture and active resistance. Gandhi mines the texts and subtexts of centuries-old women's songs to create an arresting vision of generational shifts that are reshaping our definitions of freedom and compromise, desire and longing, duty and love.
Ayana Hampton: The Ayana Hampton Show
Vibrant performer Ayana Hampton rocks a portrayal of stardom as she headlines her own wildly sexy and overtly subversive music-theater cabaret. Backed by The Lustrous Black Up Dancers and live music by Mark Mendelson and Brian Barrale, Hampton's song stylings range from raunchy to reverent as she testifies to the obsessions that fuel her iconic ambition--from prolific fornication to roiling heartbreak, from Michelle Obama's coiffure to Hampton's own celebrity social cause: Acute Diana Ross Disorder.
JULY 30 - AUGUST 1, 2009
Carole Kim w/ Oguri, Alex Cline and Dan Clucas: N1
Carole Kim's hallucinatory mix of live-feed video and layered projections form an immersive installation that refracts the live performances of celebrated dancer-choreographer Oguri, percussionist-composer Alex Cline and multi-instumentalist Dan Clucas. The inventive media artist and her collaborators use time and technology to twist the myth of Narcissus, with a visual vocabulary that evokes a dreamlike state in which past and future mysteriously entwine.
Jennifer The Leopard: Leop Year (No Jamming)
The performance art inspired punk collective of Lauren Fisher, Stephanie Hutin, Lana Kim and Marissa Mayer portrays unpredictable artmaker-songwriters whose band, Jennifer The Leopard, aims to fuse feminism and cock-rock into a new genre of post-punk under the guise of an "all-girl band." The band, popularly known as J-Lep, stages a multimedia event featuring songs about celebrity sightings and knife fights while it pits an on-stage "audience" against the real one in a show that is part bitchin' rock concert and part post-studio pep rally.
AUGUST 6-8, 2009
Meg Wolfe: watch her (not know it now)
Sharp, precise and wholly original, choreographer Meg Wolfe is known for dances that are restlessly inquisitive and edged with dark humor crafted from fractured neo-noir storytelling, avian video imagery and showgirl camp. Now she strips the stage bare for a new solo accompanied only by Aaron Drake's original score, placing at the center of the work her signature dancing in which gesture is tied to action, muscles are strong-willed and abstraction rubs against articulation.
Zackary Drucker/Mariana Marroquin/Wu Ingrid Tsang: PIG
Provocative multimedia collaborators Zackary Drucker, Mariana Marroquin and Wu Ingrid Tsang stage a meeting of Politically Involved Girls in their compelling and wryly funny PIG. With an irreverent nod to Warhol's cult film Women In Revolt, the unpredictable trio mixes biting humor with socio-political themes ranging from contemporary transgender politics, sexual identity, civil rights, and the evolving language of trans societal constructs.
Lauren Weedman: Off
In her unflinchingly funny theater works, Lauren Weedman's incisive observations and painfully dead-on characterizations are woven into laugh-out-loud stories that boomerang back to nail the teller of the tale. Her latest solo performance traces her attempts to "trust herself" even as she struggles with things beyond her control. On the brink of motherhood, Weedman seeks comfort in hospice work, hangs out with a pair of harassed lesbian moms, and puts her faith in not one but two untalented tattoo artists. Her inner voice may not yet be audible, but her outer voice is certain to spill its guts.
The NOW Festival runs July 23, 2009 - August 8, 2009 at REDCAT. Each program is performed on three consecutive evenings and all performances take place Thursday through Saturday at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $18 for a single performance or $36 for a festival pass, with student discounts available. Seating is general admission. Tickets and information at the REDCAT box office, 213.237.2800 or www.redcat.org.
The NOW Festival is supported by grants from The James Irvine Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
REDCAT, the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater, is located at the corner of W. 2nd and Hope Streets, inside the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex (631 West 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012).
The Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater, opened by CalArts in 2003, introduces diverse audiences, students and artists to the most influential developments in the arts from around the world, and gives artists in this region the creative support they need to achieve national and international stature. REDCAT is the newest partner in an international network of adventurous art and performance centers, which together are playing a vital role in the evolution of contemporary culture. REDCAT is a center for experimentation, discovery, and lively civic discourse.
REDCAT sponsors include The Standard, Ovation TV, KCRW and LA Weekly.