The Getty Villa's annual outdoor theater performance is part of an innovative theater program that enhances the visitor's experience of the ancient world. "Prometheus Bound," produced by CalArts' Center for New Performance (CNP), in association with Trans Arts, is the eighth annual outdoor theater production in the Getty Villa's Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman Theater, September 5-28, 2013.
When Efren Delgadillo, Jr. first began work on his MFA at California Institute of the Arts, he caught a performance of Baal, the Bertolt Brecht play. By the end of the night, he had flipped over both the play and the school. "I have no idea what it was about. I was totally confused," says Delgadillo. "I felt excited, but totally inferior."
That's something that Delgadillo likes to impart on his students now. "It's okay not to know what happened," he says. "It's an event and it affects you."
Delgadillo's job is devising a visual plan to suck you into the drama or comedy on stage. He does this professionally. He shares his knowledge in the classes he teaches at CalArts and inside the scene shop he runs at California State University Northridge. Most recently, Delgadillo is known as the set designer responsible for Prometheus' wheel in Prometheus Bound. In this latest version of the ancient play, the great Titan appears before the audience tied to a massive wheel, his sentence for passing fire along to humans. The unusual approach to Prometheus Bound has won praise from critics. In part, that's due to Delgadillo's work in creating the stage's centerpiece. Director Travis Preston brought him into the project in May of 2012 and Delgadillo has spent more than a year obsessively crafting the perfect wheel. "It's been a crazy ride. Amazing, but crazy," says Delgadillo. It also took 15 designs to get that wheel just right.
New book paints a loving portrait of the life and times of Roy E. Disney
David A. Bossert, a graduate of the prestigious CalArts Institute, a respected animator and producer/creative director of Walt Disney Animation Studios Special Projects, paints a beautiful, loving portrait of the life and times of Roy E. Disney — only on this work, he uses words and photographs, not oils — in his new book, "Remembering Roy E. Disney: Memories and Photos of a Storied Life" (Disney Editions, $22.99).
Although loved and revered by Disney fans worldwide, it wasn’t until his death in 2009 that a broader audience became aware of just how important and influential Roy E. Disney was to the company his father and uncle founded in the 1920s.
Much like the sport of sailing he loved so much, Roy E. Disney steered the Disney Company’s fortunes on more than one occasion, helping to navigate often perilous waters, while setting a clear course to help insure the company’s continued growth and stability. Read more.
There's an erudite quality to Julia Holter's meticulously arranged chamber-pop that extends to the subject matter that populates her songs. The CalArts composition program graduate based her first album, Tragedy, on the the ancient Greek play Hippolytus. Her latest record, Loud City Song, was partially inspired by Gigi, a French novella published in 1944. Luckily, Holter's serpentine art-pop remains accessible, even if you're not a Francophile with a penchant for Greek tragedies.
Touring behind her newest record—the first she has recorded in a studio with a group of collaborators—Holter was accompanied by a four-piece band that included a saxophonist and violinist. Smiling slyly from behind her keyboard, she lead the group through intricate compositions peppered with playful flourishes. At times, it seemed as if she was guiding the group with the rise and fall of her voice, allowing each syllable to dictate the staccato cadence of tracks like "Marienbed" and "In the Green Wind."
The Cartoon Brew Student Animation Festival is made possible by sponsor JibJab and their strong support for emerging filmmakers.We’ve presented seven truly exceptional student films in Cartoon Brew’s annual Student Animation Festival so far, and today we present our eighth film premiere, i by Isabela Dos Santos, a student in the CalArts Experimental Animation program. It’s a bittersweet moment because Dos Santos’ film marks the final premiere of our 2013 Student Festival, but we can take pride in ending the festival with such a truly unique animated experience.
I uses hand-drawn animation and live-action dance to pose the eternal question, ‘Who am I?’ The film accomplishes the most difficult of the difficult by visualizing inner conflict. Encasing the live dancer is a delicate amorphous figure constructed of wispy lines. These representations of a fragmented psyche—one animated, the other human—converse with each other throughout the film as they try to reconcile themselves into a unified whole.
The choreography of these two figures forms the foundation of the film, and the details of their interaction represent the type of magic that can exist only on film. Dos Santos’ multidisciplinary approach to the film required a collaboration with dancer Yanina Orellana for the choreography and performance, and singer Kate Davis, each of whom contribute something special to the final piece. Read More. Read More.
‘A List of Students Enrolled in Post Studio Art, With Michael Asher at CalArts, 1976-2008′
By Andrew Russeth
At the New York Art Book Fair this past weekend at MoMA PS1, I came across a little book called A List of Students Enrolled in Post Studio Art, with Michael Asher at CalArts, 1976-2008 at Golden Spike Press’s stand. The title pretty much sums it up: each page page features the roster for one semester that Asher taught that famous class, which was notorious for stretching from 10 a.m. in the morning until well into the evening. (You may recall that Sarah Thornton wrote about the experience of attending in her 2008 book Seven Days in the Art World.) Read More.
At Friday’s 10th anniversary screening of his documentary “Los Angeles Plays Itself” at the American Cinematheque’s Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, filmmaker Thom Andersen told the audience, “It’s not an update. I didn’t see the need.“The way movies foreclose the possibility of emancipatory politics has not changed,” he added, and the gulf between an impoverished working class and a wealthy one percent — another running theme of Andersen’s film — is “even more of a truism now” than it was in 2003.
And yet, much is new about “Los Angeles Plays Itself,” Andersen’s encyclopedic, sardonic valentine to his adopted hometown and how it has been represented — for better and worse — by its most famous local industry. For starters, Andersen has remastered “Los Angeles” (which was made at the tail end of the analog video era) in high definition, replacing most of the thousands of film clips excerpted therein with HD source material. In addition, Andersen said, he’s done “a bit of re-editing” to fix “those things that were annoying me,” including moving up the intermission of the 170-minute feature from the 104-minute mark to 92 minutes in. A few clips have been extended, a few others removed.
In most other respects, “Los Angeles Plays Itself” remains very much what audiences first saw — or more likely, didn’t — a decade ago. Despite premiering to great acclaim at the 2003 Toronto Film Festival and playing extensively on the festival circuit for the next year, the film has maintained a largely clandestine existence ever since, circulated among cinephiles and architecture buffs on bootleg DVDs and YouTube links, and periodically revived by the American Cinematheque (where it had its first local screenings back in 2004). Due to copyright concerns over the unlicensed film clips, commercial distributors were understandably wary of Andersen’s magnum opus — a situation, the filmmaker noted happily at Friday’s screening, that may finally be changing. Read more.
Walt Disney Concert Hall's REDCAT electrifies, yet more can be done
Critic's Notebook: Though Disney Hall's REDCAT continues to be innovative and eclectic, its theater programming could be more robust.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. Walt Disney Concert Hall has had a transformative effect on an art form, a neighborhood and a city's self-esteem. Here the innovative brilliance of Frank Gehry's design has been matched by the creative ingenuity of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Read More.
Running through September 28, 2013 at The Getty Villa is the world premiere of Joel Agee's new translation of Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus. Directed by Travis Preston, the production is produced by CalArts Theatre for New Performance in association with Trans Arts.
Prometheus, punished by Zues to remain chained to a mountaintop for stealing fire from Mount Olympus, is in this case chained to a massive five-ton wheel that measures 23.5' in diameter, and sits on a base with a footprint of 20'x14'. "The wheel was built at LA Propoint's scenic shop in sections, brought into our modular theatre on the CalArts campus which can handle a 35' height and assembled there, as the Propoint shop doesn't have the height," explains production manager, Gary Kechely. The wheel was then moved to The Getty Villa in sections in July and assembled on site. Read More.
Questioning Authority in Ah, Wilderness! and Prometheus Bound
By Steven Leigh Morris
In his program note to his elegant and fervent staging of the 5th-century Greek tragedy, Prometheus Bound director Travis Preston writes, "The dramaturgy of Prometheus Bound asks us to question common assumptions of theater practice — assumptions related to individual psychology, personality, and the nature of human motivation and identity. This exceptional play urges investigation of other pathways," which Preston goes on to describe as "communal identity, gestural power and the iconic."
That's all well and good, but his production — al fresco at the Getty Villa through September and presented by CalArts Center for New Performance — also demonstrates quite the opposite. Classical, individual psychology lies at the heart of this impressive production, alongside personality and the nature of human motivation and identity.
This approach starts with the play itself. (Its common attribution to Aeschylus has come under growing scholarly scrutiny of late, which would explain why CalArts has left the original author's name off its program.) The play is certainly primal, but that doesn't make it any less psychological than Oedipus the King, Antigone or The Trojan Women. Its crux is the lament of one demigod, the eponymous Titan, sentenced by Zeus to be pinned to a rock for eternity — or until he's rescued — for the crime of helping mortals by giving them fire and knowledge. Read More.
SCI-Arc Welcomes Richard Baptie, Tim Disney and Enrique Penalosa as New Trustees
Richard Baptie of the general contractor Hathaway Dinwiddie, Writer, Director and Producer Tim Disney, and Urban Strategist Enrique Peñalosa, a Former Mayor of Bogotá,Colombia, Join SCI-Arc’s Board of Trustees
SCI-Arc elected three new trustees to its ranks today: Richard Baptie, a Senior Vice President of Hathaway Dinwiddie and head of their Southern California office; Director and producer Tim Disney, a principal of Blu Homes; and urban strategist Enrique Peñalosa, formerly the mayor of Colombia’s capital, Bogotá.
“SCI-Arc has extended the political reach and intellectual capacity of its board of trustees by adding Tim Disney, Richard Baptie, and Enrique Peñalosa to its board,” said SCI-Arc Director Eric Owen Moss. “Disney brings a supportive interest in art and design along with expertise in housing pre-fabrication; Baptie is an alumnus and long-time advocate for architecture education, and a builder with a unique reputation for constructing large and complex urban projects; and Peñalosa brings an international political pedigree and an expertise in Latin American urbanism to the SCI-Arc community. Welcome all." Read More.