CITY ARTS : Festival Closes With Variety of Performances

The Los Angeles Women's Theatre Festival, now in its second year, grew out of one woman's desire to put all the powerful one-woman shows she saw around town under one roof--and then raise it with joyful voices.

Co-founder and executive producer Adilah Barnes rounded up 24 performers to put on four nights of acting, dancing, comedy, poetry and performance art that address the triumphs and tribulations of being women, and simply being human. The program today, the last day of the event, includes a dance by Janet Meskin dedicated to Holocaust survivors, storytelling by Milbre Burch, and dance and performance art by Nina Kaufman.

Barnes, who is African American, has performed her one-woman show, "I Am That I Am: Woman Black" around Los Angeles for several years. The piece illuminates black heroines, from abolitionist Sojourner Truth to writer Maya Angelou.

Barnes, a Mid-City resident, said she sought a varied cultural mix to reflect not only Los Angeles' melting pot but its wealth of perspectives from people living in all corners of an urban sprawl.

"I make time for this festival because I believe it's important that women's voices be heard," Barnes said. "There's an incredible amount of work being done. My greatest hope is that these performances will be an incentive for people in the audience to do their own thing, create their own vehicles. This is both education and entertainment-- edutainment. "

Performances begin at 8 p.m. at the Hollywood Moguls, 1650 N. Hudson Ave. Tickets and information: (213) 380-3373 or 466-1767.

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