Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT), CalArts’ downtown contemporary arts center, presents the 19th Annual New Original Works (NOW) Festival, a celebration of Los Angeles’ vibrant community of artists creating new performances, over three weekends this summer: August 18-20, August 25-27 and September 1-3, 2022.
This year’s festival showcases nine new works by Los Angeles artists who are redefining the boundaries of contemporary performance, inventing hybrid artistic disciplines, reinventing traditions and confronting pressing issues – all of which can be enjoyed in person or online via the REDCAT website.
NOW Festival 2022 was organized by Edgar Miramontes, Deputy Executive Director and Curator of REDCAT, with artists Meena Murugesan, jumatatu m. Poe and Kendra Ware.
“REDCAT has strived to prioritize diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion in its program offerings, staff and performers. This year’s NOW Festival continues this practice by showcasing a diverse range of artists, with a specific focus on BIPOC and queer artists,” said Miramontes. “NOW 2022 aims to highlight issues of identity and intersectionality, which supports REDCAT’s mission to push the evolution of contemporary art and culture, develop new ideas and create dialogue vital in our complex and changing world.”
In the spirit of the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), REDCAT’s parent institution, the NOW Festival serves as a catalyst for creativity and new ideas. Each year, NOW transforms REDCAT into a laboratory for the creation of new contemporary performances in dance, theatre, music and multimedia. All artistic teams benefit from rehearsal space, technical support and artist fees. Since the first edition in 2004, NOW Festival has featured the work of over 200 Los Angeles-based artists who continue to be seen on stages across the United States and abroad.
Each of the three weekends of the festival offers a triple program of world premieres during a shared evening. Each program will premiere on Thursday evening and will be repeated on Friday and Saturday at 8:30 p.m. Performances will also be streamed live every Saturday night for the duration of the festival.
First week: August 18 to 20, 2022
Achinta S. McDaniel: Restless Autumn. restless spring.
Using improvisation and collaboration at the forefront, artistic director Achinta S. McDaniel and the ensemble of artists at Blue13 Dance Company pull production back to explore the impact of movement alone in Restless autumn. restless spring. Drawing on a Fluxus-inspired score, the performers revisit contemporary dance, revealing the multiplicity of intersectional global majority identities, seemingly incongruous with a basic dance score. Largely a response to isolation and separation from the COVID-19 pandemic, Restless autumn. restless spring. is a return to collaboration and a rediscovery of what it means for artists to unite in a space to reflect on shared experiences and create works together.
Lindsey Red-tail: you can see with them
Evoking both the visible and invisible forces of nature, Lindsey Red-tail’s ensemble dance work You can vision with Them explores the journey to find well water. Inspired by the story of an ancestor who received visions through the wind, this work is a call to be present with nature and those who lived here before us. Red-tail explains, “The spine of a feather in the sky holds up against the wind. The giant plume stretches miles across the moon on its way to the mountains. The spine. My spine .Air can move through it and lift it.Carry it through terrain and sky.
X’ene Sky: Revenge
Music and performance artist X’ene Sky’s new musical work, Vengeance, explores the connectivity between legacy, state violence, and how revenge manifests in all parts of our being. Conceptualized in the summer of 2020, while cooped up in Los Angeles amid the noise of parrots in his backyard – an invasive species that has begun to hunt native birds – and constant helicopters and police surveillance overhead and on the ground of his neighborhood, this work is inspired by texts by Angela Davis and Toni Morrison, where the themes of theft, surveillance and surrender are omnipresent.
Second week: August 25-27, 2022
Jay Carlon with Micaela Tobin: Novena
Derived from Bisaya rituals for mourning and healing, Novena is a meditative performance that struggles to confront and transmute suffering into vulnerability, joy and acceptance. Choreographer/dancer Jay Carlon and composer/sound artist Micaela Tobin discover and reimagine the Filipino experience towards a queer future and collaborate to empower, connect and re-invoke the delicate and intimate web of pre-colonial Filipino expressions.
Joe Diebes: EN
Blending sound, visual media and voice in myriad ways, ENG is an experimental opera structured around a newscast format. ENG confronts the “voice of authority” of the American media in relation to cultures overseas, particularly in the Middle East. The familiar rhythms and rhetoric of newscasters’ speech will be musicalized and mutilated, redirected and blamed for the ideological veil they often are. Featuring performers Christina Campanella and John Rose, the sung lyrics are accompanied by projections and a hypnotic electronic score composed by Joe Diebes.
Stephanie Zaletel | szalt: 5 basic movements (wave extract)
Choreographer and dance artist Stephanie Zaletel’s 5 Basic Movements (Wave Excerpt) engage with fundamental sensorimotor actions – reaching, grabbing, pushing, pulling, yielding – as a foundation for performers to study intuitive choreography, body language and the relational dynamics of our nervous system. systems. Featuring talks and interviews with Jungian psychoanalyst and dreamer Marion Woodman, plus live chants, sounds, bells and harp, 5 Basic Movements (Wave Extract) is a dance forward, poetic, no linear and symbolic work imagining feminine consciousness and matriarchal logic as an option for how our bodies can move forward and through uncertainty.
Third week: September 1 to 3, 2022
Sarahjeen François: Sister, braid my hair
Accompanied by the bass, tone and slap of the djembe, Sarahjeen François’ new theatrical piece Sister, Braid My Hair pays homage to the rich cultural practices of African hair braiding through rhythmic poetry and flow. When the ancestors of today’s Diaspora were kidnapped and sold into slavery, they did what they could to retain whatever generational traditions, information, lessons, and skills they could – among those traditions, the braiding of the hair preserved the bond it created. Sister, Braid My Hair participates in the tradition of this transmission of knowledge by exploring how cyclical time can be, examining the effects of over-surveillance of black and brown spaces, and asking: what happens when unsuspecting black lives being interrupted by systemic change? oppression?
Sara Lyons: this story of emancipation
This Emancipation Thing by Sara Lyons is a new interdisciplinary performance that embraces second-wave feminist histories as embodied and non-linear. Theater becomes a multimedia session of self-awareness as archival 1968 texts and transcripts of interviews with Los Angeles-based feminists of all ages and genders create a textual landscape and collaborative installation that shatters the time. What resonances and glitches emerge between 1968 and 2022, across generations? With reproductive rights slipping through our fingers, what wisdom should we learn from the activists who ushered in Roe v. Wade (1973)?
The Rock Collection: Fault | Lines
Combining dance, spoken word, sound and light, Fault | The lines create a landscape both obscured and defined by darkness. Throughout the new work, the members of The Rock Collection (Erik Speth, Sarri Sanchez, Arletta Anderson, Finn Murphy, Jamar Morris and Nguyễn Nguyên) oscillate between manipulating warm halogen and cool LED task lights to constantly recontextualize their body and space. Illuminations and shadows become extensions of individuals with their surroundings, their connection to one another, as well as the deepest parts of themselves shielded from the appreciation of an outside world. Default | Lines contemplates the mechanics of memory, origins, beginnings, and human connection, physical and otherwise.