Arts + Culture

CAP UCLA announces 2017–18 season filled with bold performers and provocative ideas

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Taylor Mac
Courtesy of Taylor Mac

Taylor Mac’s “24-Decade History of Popular Music,” which charts the history of popular music and activism in America from its founding in 1776 to the present day.

UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance unveiled its 2017–18 season, which features a cornucopia of icons and mavericks in contemporary performing arts disciplines.

Highlights in theater and performance include Canadian Stage’s “Helen Lawrence,” presented by CAP UCLA in association with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Taylor Mac’s complete “24-Decade History of Popular Music” presented by CAP UCLA and the Theatre at Ace Hotel. The concert slate spans the reunion of South African jazz pioneers Abdullah Ibrahim and Hugh Masekela to John McLaughlin in his farewell tour to the return of CAP favorites Ludovico Einaudi and Ryoji Ikeda.

The season will also feature new dance works by award-winning choreographers Ann Carlson and Kyle Abraham. To showcase words and ideas the calendar includes Matt Groening and Lynda Barry, Eve Ensler and Anne Lamott, 2017 Pulitzer Prize-winner Colson Whitehead and more.

Los Angeles will be one of only two West Coast cities presenting Mac’s “24-Decade History of Popular Music” in its entirety (March 15–24). Charting the history of popular music and activism in America from its founding in 1776 to the present day, this original performance art concert features many special guests and will be presented over two weeks in four separate performances at the Theatre at Ace Hotel. Winner of the 2017 Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History, the production was hailed by New York Times critic Wesley Morris as “one of the greatest experiences of my life.” Tickets for this four-part event can be purchased for individual performances or for the entire series. Single tickets go on sale to the public on June 15.

A multi-genre survey of the 60s will start with a 90th birthday celebration of activist Barbara Dane with special guests poet Sonia Sanchez, Tammy Hall Trio, Pablo Menendez and the Chambers Brothers. The 60s survey also includes 20-member contemporary classical music ensemble Alarm Will Sound with “1969,” a wildly imaginative fantasy that intertwines the music of the Beatles, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Leonard Bernstein, Yoko Ono and Luciano Berio; the Jazz Epistles reuniting Abdullah Ibrahim and Ekaya and Hugh Masekela in concert; and Kronos Quartet, Rinde Eckert and Vân Ánh Võ in “My Lai,” which features traditional Vietnamese instruments and digitally processed sounds.

Performances will take place at iconic Royce Hall on the UCLA campus and the Theatre at Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, with additional projects to be presented at Will Rogers State Historic Park and REDCAT, among other venues.

“No matter where each performance takes place, every single one is elemental to the creative alchemy of CAP UCLA,” said Kristy Edmunds, CAP UCLA’s artistic and executive director who cultivated the new season. “Here’s to carrying the culture forward one performance at a time.”

This is the sixth season Edmunds has led UCLA’s performing arts presenter. Initiatives she instituted encompass commissioning collaborations to support acclaimed artists throughout the entire development of a project, UCLA’s CODA21 pilot partnership that examines the process of making and receiving memory, and an artist fellows program that allows the center to consistently present master artists across performance disciplines.

The upcoming season will include performances by CODA21 participants Ann Carlson, Okwui Okpokwasili and Kyle Abraham and CAP UCLA Artist Fellows Ann Hamilton and SITI Company and Kronos Quartet.

Highlights of the CAP UCLA theater program at Royce Hall:

  • Oct. 13-14: Canadian Stage’s “Helen Lawrence,” conceived and directed by Stan Douglas
  • Oct. 26–27: Théâtre de la Ville – Paris in “L’État de siege (The State of Siege) by Albert Camus directed by Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota
  • Nov. 17–18: William Kentridge’s chamber opera “Refuse the Hour,” composed by longtime collaborator Philip Miller
  • April 28–May 12: SITI Company with “the theater is a blank page,” co-directed by Ann Hamilton and SITI co-artistic director Anne Bogart.

Among the Royce Hall events in dance, music and spoken word:

  • Oct. 19–20: Ludovico Einaudi
  • Oct. 28: Sō Percussion with special guests Dawn Upshaw and Shara Nova
  • Nov. 2–3:  “Attractor,” a unique music-dance ritual by Dancenorth/Lucy Guerin Inc.
  • Nov. 4: Grammy-winning indie rockers OK Go
  • Nov. 11: Los Angeles-based dance company Ate9 with “calling glenn,” a collaboration with Wilco’s percussionist Glenn Kotche
  • Nov. 30: Zadie Smith and Michael Chabon: A Conversation
  • Dec. 2: “That Bad Donato: The L.A. Brazil Connection” presented as part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA
  • Dec. 3: Mexican contemporary classical musicians Onix Ensemble
  • Feb. 22: Tony Kushner and Sarah Vowell: In Conversation “The Lincoln Legacy: The Man and His Presidency”
  • April 19: Writer and MacArthur Fellow Colson Whitehead, author of the acclaimed novel “The Underground Railroad”

The CAP UCLA Jazz series at the Ace features:

  • Sept. 15: A musical conversation with “A Prairie Home Companion” host Chris Thile and pianist Brad Mehldau
  • Nov. 10: Pianist Jason Moran’s acclaimed “In My Mind: Monk at Town Hall” in honor of Thelonious Monk’s centennial
  • Feb. 10: American soul and R&B singer-songwriter Goapele
  • Feb. 17: Five-time Grammy-winner Antonio Sanchez and his band, Migration

Words and Ideas programs at the Ace include:

  • Oct. 8: “An Evening with Matt Groening and Lynda Barry: Love, Hate and Comics — A Friendship That Would Not Die”
  • Jan. 18: Bestselling author Andrew Solomon, best known for his two groundbreaking books “Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity” and “The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression”
  • April 14: “Farmhouse Whorehouse, an Artist Lecture by Suzanne Bocanegra starring Lili Taylor,” with text, songs, film and projections.

Additional musical artists at the Ace:

  • Dec. 14–15: Electronic composer and light-and-sound-installation artist Ryoji Ikeda
  • Dec. 17: Blind Boys of Alabama Christmas Show featuring Preservation Hall Legacy Horns and Ruthie Foster
  • Jan. 13: Composer-pianist Murray Hidary and his collective journey “MindTravel”
  • Jan. 20: Gabriel Kahane’s post-election song series, “Book of Travelers”
  • Feb. 2: Comedienne Meow Meow in concert with piano virtuoso Thomas Lauderdale, founder of Pink Martini
  • April 7: Afro-pop vocalist Salif Keita
  • April 21: Grammy-winning new music ensemble Eighth Blackbird, joined by singer-songwriter Will Oldham, aka Bonnie “Prince” Billy

Residency and CODA21 programs presented on- and off-campus include Karen Sherman, and later Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion at UCLA’s Freud Playhouse; Poor Dog Group at UCLA’s Little Theater; Ann Carlson’s “Doggie Hamlet” at Will Rogers State Historic Park and Okwui Okpakwasili at REDCAT.

Throughout the season, CAP UCLA will announce additional community engagement events and activities, related to season performances. CAP UCLA’s acclaimed Art in Action, a free public engagement program, provides a platform for UCLA and Los Angeles communities to exchange ideas and participate in shared cultural experiences with a new series of programs, “Facing the Blank Page” in addition to two ongoing initiatives, “Writing the Landscape” and “Hearing Beyond Listening.”

The CAP UCLA 2017–18 season brochure and announce video are online, and more information on all upcoming programs is available at cap.ucla.edu.

Series subscriptions are available for purchase starting May 4 through the CAP UCLA website. Individual tickets go on sale July 17. At that time, UCLA faculty and staff will be able to purchase discounted tickets at $25, two-per-event while supplies last. Student tickets, priced at $15 go on sale Sept. 25.

Part of UCLA’s School of the Arts and Architecture, CAP UCLA curates and facilitates direct exposure to artists who are creating extraordinary works of art and fosters a vibrant learning community both on and off the UCLA campus.

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