I am going to be gone for the summer, so next week’s column will be my last for awhile. I want to give you a heads-up about what’s coming up in the immediate future and get you out to some super summer events.
Next week, I’ll share with you what I will have learned at this week’s media announcement about the 2014-15 Broad Stage lineup. We are truly fortunate to have this world-class performance venue in our midst.
I’ll also be attending the world premiere of “Death of the Author” at the Geffen Playhouse’s Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater in Westwood Village on Wednesday, May 28.
This play, by Pulitzer Prize-nominated playwright Steven Drukman and directed by the much-in-demand local helmsman Bart DeLorenzo, sounds really intriguing.
With a cast that features Orson Bean and David Clayton Rogers, the plot of follows a young professor who suspects a student of plagiarism. His inquiry sparks a chain of events affecting the lives of four people in very real terms. It’s a tale of heartbreak, blind ambition and cutthroat competition in the academic world…right up my alley! Maybe yours, too.
“Death of the Author” is scheduled to run through June 29. Find out more here: geffenplayhouse.com or call (310) 208-5454.
KCRW’s Summer Nights
My former employer, public radio station KCRW is celebrating the fifth anniversary of its free, all-ages, outdoor concert series “Summer Nights,” featuring live music and KCRW DJs spinning. It’s a party all summer and doesn’t cost a dime.
Taking place across Southern California, the station is partnering with The Hammer Museum for music tied to the theme of their “Made in L.A.” exhibition; with The Annenberg Center for Photography for their country musicians portrait show, “Country in the City;” with our local Twilight Concert Series at the Santa Monica Pier; with One Colorado in Old Town Pasadena; and with a wonderful series, highlighting the work of such world music stars as Angelique Kidjo and Cesaria Evora, as part of Grand Performances at California Plaza in downtown Los Angeles. It’s an ambitious lineup and will feature music from around the corner and across the globe, including hip-hop, electronica and afro-pop to name just a few genres.
Details at kcrw.com/summernights.
So much to do at SMMOA
Speaking of KCRW, my former colleague, “Art Talk” host Edward Goldman has a recommendation for a beautiful new show at the Santa Monica Museum of Art at Bergamot Station.
“The Form of Color” by artist Robert Swain fills the gallery with small squares of color that cover the walls in organized patterns, and points to the fact that the human eye has the capability of seeing millions of colors beyond red, green, yellow and blue. It’s utterly hypnotic.
On Wednesday, May 28, join the Llano Del Rio Collective for a free event from 7 to 8 p.m. celebrating the release of their latest guide, “Utopias of SoCal.” Members will be on hand for a conversation and will share fast-paced, image-driven presentations about their working concepts and critical reflections on the practice of manufacturing ideal states.
Since 2010, the Llano Del Rio Collective has produced guides to Los Angeles, including Map For Another L.A., Scores For The City, An Antagonists Guide To The Assholes of LA, and Utopias of SoCal. These guides are distributed free to county residents. The guides and the Llano Del Rio Collective’s members hope to “expand cultural, social, and political imagination of Los Angeles,” and “aim to frame practices, rather than be a practice.”
And I know you’ve been harboring fantasies about becoming a DJ – now make it a reality with this very low-cost “DJ Basics” workshop, interactive for all ages! Dublab, the non-profit web radio collective, will introduce you to the arts of mixing, spinning and experimenting with music. Next summer maybe you’ll spin at “Summer Nights.”
Find all you need to know about these and other great SMMOA shows and activities this summer at www.smmoa.org.
Summer enchanted evenings
Summer wouldn’t be summer without visiting the wooded glens of Topanga Canyon and the magical outdoor amphitheater, Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum.
And this summer, it’s an all-Shakespeare repertoire, with Ellen Geer in the lead role of a gender-reversed “King Lear,” and the company’s signature production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” “Lear” opens June 7th and “Midsummer” on June 8th.
The two productions will continue to run in repertory through the end of September in the theater’s spectacular outdoor amphitheater, nestled in a Topanga Canyon ravine, and will be joined later in the season by three additional mainstage productions, to be announced.
For tickets and further information, call (310) 455-3723 or log onto www.theatricum.com.
A feast of fests
Now in its 20th year, the Los Angeles Film Festival, presented by Film Independent, showcases diversity, innovation and a unique vision in new cinema as well as exciting events featuring industry professionals and emerging talents from across the globe.
This year’s no exception. Movies and special events run from June 11 through June 19th at numerous venues, including LACMA, Regal Cinemas, The Conga Room, Nokia Plaza and more.
Be on the lookout June 16th for “Harmontown,” Neil Berkeley’s feature-length documentary based on TV writer/producer Dan Harmon’s popular weekly podcast, “Harmontown.” It’s a comedic, brutally honest documentary following Harmon (NBC’s just-cancelled “Community,” Adult Swim’s “Rick and Morty”) as he takes his live podcast on a national tour.
For all events visit lafilmfest.com.
One of the events I’ll be attending this summer is the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which is in many ways the progenitor of the Hollywood Fringe Festival.
Dubbed L.A.’s largest celebration of the performing arts, this annual open-access, community-derived event features comedy, cabaret, variety shows, dance, solo performance, opera and theatre, from June 12th through June 29th throughout the city. Check out all the listings and venues here: hollywoodfringe.org.
You have no excuse not to go out this summer; the arts await you!
Sarah A. Spitz is a former freelance arts producer for NPR and former staff producer at public radio station KCRW-Santa Monica. She has also reviewed theatre for LAOpeningNights.com.