Out West Arts: Performance at the end of the world

Opera, music, theater, and art in Los Angeles and beyond

NOW Voyagers

July 23, 2012

From Poor Dog Group's The Murder Ballad Photo: Poor Dog Group
Attention! There is life for live performance in Los Angeles outside of the Hollywood Bowl. So get out of the heat and get ready for three weeks of hot off the press experimental everything when REDCAT kicks off its ninth annual Now Original Works festival (NOW) this very week on July 26. The festival continues this year with nine, count ‘em, nine new works in development covering music, dance, opera, and theater focusing heavily on local artists. There’s a lot to see, and these shows are typically some of the highlights of the entire programming year at REDCAT. And best of all it’s dirt cheap with passes running for only $36 for all three weeks. That dear reader, is a great deal to see new work from some very exciting folks.

Jinku Kim's work from NOW Festival Week 2 Photo: Jinku Kim
Where to start? How about with crafty LA-based theater collective Poor Dog Group who kick off the whole festival on July 26 with The Murder Ballad, a physical interpretation of Jelly Roll Morton’s classic 1938 recording. The group has an increasingly important position in the local theater scene and this new work promises to open a new chapter in their own history. I’m also intrigued to see To Valerie Solanas and Marilyn Monroe in Recognition of Their Desperation, an operatic staging by Opera Povera of Pauline Oliveros’ 1970 score. The wordless piece will be presented in the first week’s shows as well.

From Prumsdun OK's Of Land and Sky Photo: Poor Dog Group
At the other end of the festival is another pick that will close week three starting August 9 when Obie-award winner Heather Woodbury will unveil her latest wild and wandering dramatic narrative As the Globe Warms. The topic, as you might guess, is the social complexities surrounding the climate crisis, but Woodbury’s track record suggests this will likely be more than a mere inconvenient truth. There is plenty of dance during the festival as well and week 2, which starts August 2, offers new pieces from Nick+James entitled Lake revisiting the duo’s own experiences dancing for many internationally known choreographers and companies. And even broader in scope, Prumsodun OK will present Of Land and Sky a multi-disciplinary performance recasting a mythological Buddhist tale as a parable of homosexual love complete with Cambodian pop songs.

Of course, this is just a sampling of some of the highlights, but there is much more to consider during the NOW festival, which will include three different programs each receiving three performances over the next three weeks. You can see the full details on the REDCAT site. But take my word for it, it’s one of the best performance deals in town. We may be in between seasons, but REDCAT continues to serve up the latest downtown, so do the right thing and go.


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