Tradition is not the word at REDCAT

Times Staff Writer

Multimedia presentations, unorthodox artistic collaborations and experimentation with new technologies define the inaugural season of programming at the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT), the multipurpose space for the California Institute of Arts that opens in October in the new Walt Disney Concert Hall.

The season also will have a special focus on contemporary Latin American arts, with appearances by Mexican performers Delfos Danza Contemporanea (Jan. 15-18, 2004) and cabaret performer Astrid Hadad (Feb. 13-14, 2004); Mexico City’s Arte Sonore international sound art festival (March 19-20, 2004), and performances of experimental music from the Americas by the CalArts New Century Players (Nov. 24, 2003).

“I think that working to feature artists from the Pacific Rim and Latin America is an exciting part of the equation,” said executive director Mark Murphy. “REDCAT provides a downtown home for work of a contemporary nature, that will attract a young and diverse audience to downtown.”

The CalArts space, with its black-box interior, will have a different, more rough-edged feel from the sleek elegance of the Frank Gehry-designed symphony hall, the new home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Murphy said.


“Upstairs is all graceful curves; it’s been described as like being inside a cello,” he said. “REDCAT feels much more like a laboratory, or a machine for creating new works. Technology is more part of the scenario; it has sort of a refined rawness.”

REDCAT’s Worldview Series will open Oct. 29 with productions by dumb type, a Japanese performance troupe that presents a hybrid form of theater that Murphy describes as “highly visual and entertaining.” “The title ‘dumb type’ does not comment on level of intelligence, but the fact that it is a form of theater that is not language-based,” he said. Also included in that series are Deja Donne contemporary dance theater (Dec. 3-7) and motiroti, a duo of two London artists with East Indian roots, presenting what Murphy calls “a spectacle and installation work including elements of Bollywood,” in collaboration with the ensemble the Builders Association (March 3-7, 2004).

Other season highlights include new projects developed for the theater as the result of collaborations between guest artists and artists from CalArts. They include director Chen Shi-Zeng’s staging of the opera Peach Blossom Fan for the Center for New Theater at CalArts (April 9-24, 2004) and two multimedia performances on Nov. 19 by CalArts composer Morton Subotnick and new media artist Tony Martin. The CalArts Dance Ensemble will perform a tribute concert Dec. 12-13 for the late Nina Simone.The Musical Explorations concert series will include performances by the California EAR Unit (Feb. 19, 2004), John Oswald (Feb. 20, 2004), Anthony Braxton (Feb. 21, 2004), Abbie Conant (March 16, 2004), Arohi and the Lian Ensemble (Dec. 19-21, 2003), Gavin Bryars (March 18, 2004), L. Shankar (May 1-2, 2004), Steve Coleman (April 30, 2004) and Laetitia Sonami (Jan. 30-31, 2004).The season will feature film, video and animation series and festivals, including the traveling Montreal International Festival of New Cinema and New Media (March 10-14, 2004); a showcase for independent Los Angeles filmmakers and video artists, and retrospectives for filmmaker Chantal Akerman in January and CalArts animation pioneer Jules Engel in November.

The Lund Dance series, featuring the CalArts Dance Ensemble, also includes a joint presentation by CalArts and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art based on Brazilian music and movement.

REDCAT’s 3,000-square-foot visual arts gallery will present fine art and design exhibitions assembled by the gallery’s director Eungie Joo and guest curators. The first is a retrospective of the work of the late painter Emerson Woelffer curated by L.A. artist Ed Ruscha. Other exhibitions will be announced later. Information: