(C) 2015 John Reiff Williams

Photo (courtesy John Reiff Williams): A 6-foot-wide image by John Reiff Williams is part of an upcoming exhibit at Bergamot Station.

Santa Monica will welcome 50 world premiere films tonight when the third annual Cinema at the Edge Festival opens at the aptly named Edgemar Center.

This unconventional complex on Main Street was originally a warehouse, then an egg candling facility, and in the hands of famed architect Frank Gehry, was adapted and designed first to house Santa Monica Museum of Art and later redesigned for the Edgemar Center for the Arts.

This one-of-a-kind festival programs movies with a unique voice that blend genres or break conventions, with a focus on life in Santa Monica and Venice. Narrative features, documentaries and short film programs will be screened with jury cash prizes and audience awards given in each category. Producers tell us that this year, you can “expect more films, parties and events, more sponsors and perks for festival attendees.”

In addition to the Cocktail Reception, the featured Opening Night screenings are “All Stars,” a comedy about a coach who wants to give back to the community, and a complicated romantic triangle in “Manhattan Romance.”

Of particular note, I’d like call attention to the CalArts Shorts program on Saturday from noon to 1:30 p.m. Many a new talent is spotted amidst this school’s offerings.

Also on Saturday, at 2 p.m. is the world premiere of a documentary by James Bruce, “Our Food Chain.” The Los Angeles school district is the second largest in the country and its cafeterias serve over 700,000 meals a day. But a food revolution is sweeping the nation and L.A. is no exception. Emmy Award-nominated producer/director James Bruce explores the food revolution in LA public schools. But LA schools are doing more than just changing the menus, they’re changing the way that students and their parents think about food.

And for wanna-be filmmakers, an important panel discussion takes place at 4:15 p.m. on Saturday, “How to Raise Financing and Distribution for Indie Films,” focusing on how filmmakers must become creative to find funding at this crossroads moment for the entertainment industry.
Find out all you need to know to buy complete festival tickets, individual screening tickets and tickets to shorts programs at www.cinemaattheedge.com.

The festival begins tonight and runs through Sunday, April 12.

Extinction and an ark

When the second installment of the photo series “No Es Basura: This is not Trash” opens at the EarthWE Gallery in Bergamot Station, two ways of contemplating earth’s future will present themselves.

The first, “Extinction,” is a series of photographs of trash collected by environmental educator Peter Kreitler from the beaches of Cape Cod, Santa Monica and Pacific Palisades. They have been turned into fine art photos by photographer John Reiff Williams.

The 35 color photographs are matched with commentary by scientists about the potential for a “sixth extinction,” a condition brought on by human society’s propensity to trash its own nest.

To balance this sobering thought, EarthWE gallery will also feature an ark called “Adam’s Ark, The Ark of Hope.” An ark is a metaphor for some, an ancient boat from Biblical times for others, but in this show it represents the ingenuity, creativity, and the hope-filled future orientation of the human spirit. Families are welcome because the ark can be touched and viewed up close and personally.

The photographer and environmentalist will be present for both openings on Friday, April 17 from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. and Saturday from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. The exhibit runs through May 30th. The EarthWE gallery is located near the Santa Monica Museum of Art and diagonally across from William Turner Gallery.

For more information, visit http://earthwe.com/events/detail/extinction.

Theatre and spoken word

Macarthur “Genius” fellow, playwright, actress and Tony Award nominee Anna Deveare Smith is an artist who has probed deeply into the thoughts of others, both known and unknown, and speaking in their voices, creates theatrical performances unique to their time and place yet somehow timeless and universal.

She’s back at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica with seven performances of “Never Givin’ Up,” a theatrical exploration of civil rights, including a seminal reading of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s landmark “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” More than 50 years after Dr. King penned this letter, Ms. Smith delivers contrasting threads of strength, love, reason, and outrage to the stage.

Smith also performs material culled from interviews done in her signature style. Among those portrayed are journalist Charlayne Hunter Gault, Congressman John Lewis and some people the Los Angeles audience will remember from her play “Twilight Los Angeles” about the Los Angeles riots.

I’ll share a review in two weeks. For more information, visit www.thebroadstage.com or call the box office at (310) 434-3200.

Meantime, the Getty Villa Auditorium is the setting for British master storytellers Hugh Lupton and Daniel Morden, who will transport you to ancient Greece as they bring Greek myths to life.

Drawing inspiration from the current exhibition “Dangerous Perfection: Funerary Vases from Southern Italy,” Lupton and Morden will animate images from the Apulian vases in the exhibition, such as the depiction of Jason, the leader of the Argonauts and his hunt for the Golden Fleece. They’ll recount “The Calydonian Boar-hunt,” a Greek episode of heroism told and re-told throughout antiquity that follows the great Meleager who sets out to slay a monstrous boar in the forest.

These myths still have the power to charm and chill us today, remaining part of human consciousness millennia after they were first created. Performances take place at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 10 and Saturday, April 11 and at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 12. Tickets are available at (310) 440-7300 or www.getty.edu.

Sarah A. Spitz spent her career as a producer at public radio station KCRW-Santa Monica and produced freelance arts reports for NPR. She has also reviewed theatre for LAOpeningNights.com.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *