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Anthology: Ten Years of TQ – Guy Zimmerman

At a time when progressives are afflicted with incrementalist ideas and a sense of retreat and resignation, I wrote these essays to promote the idea of radical transformation. By grounding this work in the personal, I wanted my own limitations, biases and presuppositions to be as clear as possible. What links these essays is the idea that the normal operations of the self are inadequate to the vivid complexity of experience, and entail suffering for all involved. Engaging with the work of artists, theatre-makers, film directors, writers, musicians and philosophers, I make the case that and that the social world urgently needs to be re-made. In my view, the artists and thinkers I write about — Marcel Duchamp, Samuel … [Read more...]

Anthology: Ten Years of TQ – Sean Hughes

Pink Elephants, Circus Polka, 1942, Fifty Elephants, Balanchine and Stravinsky Team Up A  decade ago, my writer friend Mona Houghton suggested I contribute an article  to an arts and culture site she was familiar with; it was called Times Quotidian. After perusing its contents, my response was: "Class act, but too highbrow for my tales about Hollywood's past."  Three years later, I met T.Q.'s  Publisher and Editor in Chief, Nancy Cantwell, at the second of two Stravinsky concerts I had attended that month. "Write about that ," she insisted. "Compare the two!"  The result, in 2013,  was 'Rites' of Passage, the first of thirty-five reviews I would write for Times Quotidian. Since then, movies, … [Read more...]

Anthology: Ten Years of TQ – Dance

Halfway to Dawn, Written, choreographed and directed by David Rousseve and performed by Reality   Alan Berman and Sean Hughes have been the chief contributors to the performance of dance for the last decade. Both bring a distinctive voice to coverage and context of Dance in the Los Angeles area. Due to the truly diverse nature of such venues as REDCAT, MOCA Grand Avenue or Highways Performance Space, Angelenos have never been bound by geographic confines. Nor have these confines constrained the imaginations of the performers to which we have held witness, nor have the local constraints hindered the insights of these two accomplished writers. ________________________ Alan Berman — When I came to Times Quotidian, I think … [Read more...]

Rattler Makes a Day

The Wooster Group: The B_Side, REDCAT, Feb. 1, 2019 — Related Posts: Tis a Gift to Be Not-Simple, The Cassandra Syndrome,  A Sign of Life from the Post-Dramatic, Vieux Carré, LeCompte and Co. The Wooster Group does this thing they’ve developed where the actors listen to some prerecorded text and re-enact it for us. The technique straddles the hi-lo divide between Bertolt Brecht on the one side, and your local karaoke bar on the other. Endlessly fascinating to anyone working in theatre, the technique turns the actor into a living, breathing version of a puppet, channeling or transmitting the work of an other. If you know your theatre theory you know that the transcendent eloquence of puppets is in no way to be … [Read more...]

Gob Squad and the Slow Vogue

Gob Squad, Creation (Pictures for Dorian), REDCAT, October 19, 2018  Watching The Gob Squad’s Creation (Pictures for Dorian) at REDCAT brought home to me the fact that you can get away with saying anything so long as you say it with a British accent. I’ll go even further—you can, in fact, do anything and seem up to the task and on top of things, so long as you drop a few word along the way in a British accent. Brits will get naked too, I learned at REDCAT, even when they’re older, and they’ll stand there, revolving slowly on an art-model dias, the flesh rippling around them, and manage to achieve a kind of elegance, a grace even, amidst the pillowing wreckage. I also learned how very, very avant-garde they are, … [Read more...]

Beyond Category

David Roussève: Halfway to Dawn, REDCAT, October 4, 2018 — Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington deserved his royal nickname. Throughout his fifty-year reign as America's premier composer/pianist/band leader and goodwill ambassador to the world, Ellington spoke and carried himself in a courtly, regal manner. He routinely used the "royal we" when acknowledging applause from his audiences--as in, "we love you madly"--and referred to himself, with amused and characteristic noblesse oblige, simply as "our pianist." He was charming and grandiose, elegant and hip. In truth, the princely Ellington's empire was actually quite small; it consisted of about fifteen loyal musicians, all with virtually lifetime jobs, and a retinue that … [Read more...]

Theatre for Cartoon Demons

Olwui Okpokwasili’s Poor People’s TV Room, REDCAT , Los Angeles Premier —  Related Posts: Attaining the Singular, Death and the Avant-Garde in our Neoliberal Nightmare I had a vision not long ago. It wasn’t a particularly visionary vision, but it was very specific in a David Lynchy kinda way, and it involved a dark, fluid space alive with various currents and lit up with a spectral glow. The fluid was heavier than water but not quite as dense as oil, and out of it the quarter moon arc of a human profile would now and then appear in the form of a whirlpool-like structure, and I understood this to be the way a coherent self arises out of the flood of sensations and perceptions before dissolving again back into the underlying … [Read more...]

Mars, Music, Mayhem

"War of the Worlds" director Yuval Sharon, composer Annie Gosfield, LA Phil, Disney Hall —  From the late 1920s until the rise of television in the early 1950s, two relatively new inventions--motion pictures and radio-- truly united the United States. By the time of their broadest reach in the 30s and 40s, movies had an immensely popular draw; millions of people went to see them every week. For a quarter, you could enjoy two films, a newsreel, a comedy short and a bag of popcorn. Radio was an even more visceral unifier and when families owned one they felt connected to a wider world. The airwaves carried free sources of entertainment and information. Everybody listened to FDR's "fireside chats', popular music, Joe Louis … [Read more...]

Death Defying

Sur Les Traces de Dinozard, Faustin Linyekula, Choreographer, September 29, REDCAT — To open its 2017-2018 season, REDCAT offered a dramatic dance/theatre/music presentation of the 90-minute performance of Sur Les Traces de Dinozard ("In Search of Dinozard"), choreographed, directed and danced by the award-winning Congolese artist, Faustin Linyekula. His troupe of seven male singer/dancers, known as Studios Kabako, mesmerized the audience with tableaux of death and survival, music and movement, memory and hope. Born out of more than a century of colonization, corruption and killing in Central Africa, the evening's words and images will haunt anyone who experienced them. REDCAT deserves continued praise for expanding … [Read more...]

Pink Elephants

Circus Polka, 1942, Fifty Elephants, Balanchine and Stravinsky Team Up— "Elephants never forget", as the old saying goes. And we should never forget one of the oddest moments in the history of elephants, circuses and classical music. April 9th will mark the 75th anniversary of this unique event. In late 1941, choreographer George Balanchine was contacted in New York by John North Ringling with a unique proposition: could a "ballet" be created for his Barnum and Bailey Circus elephants? The idea was intriguing and in January, 1942, Balanchine called his friend Igor Stravinsky who was busy working in Los Angeles. The two Russians agreed on the idea and, for a healthy fee, the composer finished a piano version of what … [Read more...]