BWW TV: Segerstrom Center for the Arts presents OFF CENTER FESTIVAL
Video preview: http://youtu.be/UVmo6nmKcQE
Segerstrom Center for the Arts introduces a bold new project with its first Off Center Festival, a dizzying mix of contemporary theater, music, dance and performance art taking place throughout the campus over nine days January 13 - 21. Every company and performer will be appearing at the Center for the first time.
The festival kicks off with Chautauqua!, a site-adapted vaudevillian-influenced variety show packed with music, comedy and short lectures by hand-selected local guests. Taking the spotlight will be OC Weekly's Gustavo Arellano; Erwin Chemerinsky, Founding Dean of the University of California, Irvine School of Law; Shelley Hoss, President of the Orange County Community Foundation; and Jim Washburn, arts and music writer and historian. The festival will continue with the soundscapes and sonic textures of indie band Lord Huron with supporting band, The Union Line; a one-of-a-kind set by explosive comedian/musician Reggie Watts with opening band BLOK, winner of OC Music Awards' Best Electronic Band 2011; and an in-your-face examination of our automobile-obsessed society in The Car Plays, which puts actors and audiences together in actual parked cars, and will include commissioned pieces.
The festival line-up also features ReEntry, a riveting story based on actual experiences of soldiers returning home from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars; a mash-up of poetry, hip-hop and comedy in The Word Begins is being presented in association with South Coast Repertory's Studio SCR; experimental dance performed on the smallest dance floor ever in Ten Tiny Dances, including new works by local choreographers Melanie Rios of The Wooden Floor, Jennifer Backhaus of Backhausdance and L.A.'s Meg Wolfe; and Indie Music Award winner for Best Dance/Electro Album, Mexican Institute of Sound with opener Nancy Sanchez. Patrons will enjoy the Off Center Festival's Starving Artists Lounge in Leatherby's Cafe Rouge. The lounge will offer audience members a place to relax, engage and mingle with Off Center Festival artists. This specially created lounge will also feature music and refreshments.
"The inaugural Off Center Festival will animate our campus with an eclectic and energetic array of the finest in contemporary performance," said Center President Terrence W. Dwyer. "From the entertaining and celebratory Chautauqua!, to the hilarious and provocative satire of The Word Begins, to the intimate theatricality of The Car Plays, to the post-show festivities in the Starving Artist Lounge, our audiences will be treated to the most unexpectedly imaginative performances of music, theater and dance. Our hope is this festival will engage new audiences from throughout Orange County and that its diverse performances will, in an exciting way, redefine for them what is a Center experience. We look forward to welcoming the entire community to our new Festival as we continue our 25th Anniversary Season that celebrates the best in the performing arts and the generous support of our community."
This first full festival is an expanded take on the Center's Off Center Series, which was created several years ago to showcase and celebrate the innovative concepts and diverse talents of today. These intriguing performers are leading the new wave of creativity in the performing arts. Together with the Center's traditional programming, the Off Center Series has infused Segerstrom Center for the Arts with a dynamic pulse and energy that has helped to introduce new disciplines and art forms to engage and welcome diverse audiences from throughout the community it serves.
Chautauqua! - January 13 – 15 in Samueli Theater
The National Theater of the United States of America presents Chautauqua! inspired by the Chautauqua Circuit, a wildly popular traveling lecture series that flourished from 1874 to the Great Depression. Scholars, scientists, magicians, jugglers and dancers gathered under circus tents across the country in an effort to educate and uplift The Common man. Chautauqua! brings this tradition into the 21st century, straddling "high" and "low" culture as it combines informative lectures with Broadway-style song-and-dance numbers, joke telling and feats of strength. The ensemble illuminates the dynamic culture of each city and venue it visits, so no two productions are alike. The program will be specially created for Orange County, with material drawn from the history of the area. Special guests Gustavo Arellano, Erwin Chemerinsky, Shelley Hoss and Jim Washburn will make appearances. Time Out New York wrote, "An underground theatrical coup…A triumph of style and stagecraft."
Lord Huron - January 13 in Founders Hall
Lord Huron's music is an auditory travelogue: evocative of many places, but tied to none in particular. Lush harmonies inspired by Calypso singers, folk traditions and the American frontier fuse with modern experimentation to create the distinctive sound. Lord Huron's two albums, Into the Sun and Mighty, have received rave reviews from critics and fans alike. Earlier this year, they performed at SXSW and Lollapalooza. Pitchfork described Lord Huron's music as "gut-level, emotive songwriting that hits directly and honestly." The Union Line will play the opening set.
Reggie Watts - January 14 in Founders Hall
Hilarious, brilliant, unpredictable – comedian/musician Reggie Watts is a staple of the international performance scene. He opened for Conan O'Brien during his 2010 tour and played Bonnaroo. Watts' improvised musical sets are created on the spot using only his formidable voice and a looping machine. No two songs are ever the same. An avowed "disinformationist," Watts loves to disorientate his audiences in the most entertaining way. You may not know what Watts is going to do, but that's ok – he doesn't either. New York Magazine proclaimEd Watts is "half man, half astral-funk muppet." BLOK will get the evening started.
The Car Plays - January 14, 15, 20 & 21 on the Arts Plaza
Moving Arts' The Car Plays, conceived by Paul Stein, is an environmental theater event. Fifteen short plays are simultaneously performed inside parked cars. Audiences of two move from vehicle to vehicle, experiencing works by different playwrights in an intimate setting all too familiar to Southern Californians – the inside of a car. For Stein, who lives in Los Angeles, his car was a haven of solitary moments of reflection, long talks with friends, an occasional breakup or two and much more. Drawing on those memories, Stein collaborated with playwrights to create an experience that engages audience members in a new "performance model" of voyeuristic intimacy due to proximity. Audiences will experience five plays in one hour, as "car hops" usher patrons from car to car. There are three different tracks of five plays each. Each play lasts approximately nine minutes. For the Off Center Festival, South Coast Repertory is facilitating the commissioning of new pieces. The Los Angeles Times said "The Car Plays combines the pleasures of site-specific theater and voyeurism – one of the better arguments for carpooling since the high-occupancy lane."
ReEntry - January 18 – 20 in Founders Hall
In 2008, Emily Ackerman and KJ Sanchez began interviewing Marines returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. Both are sisters of veterans – KJ has five brothers who served in the military during the Vietnam War and Emily has two brothers (USMC) who have served multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Having a personal investment as they do, it was vital to them that ReEntry sidestep the politics and instead find out what the experience of returning home is like for these remarkable men and women, and to ask how we – as families, as a culture, a society, and as a country – can help. All the dialogue in this play was taken directly from interviews with combat veterans and their families. Variety stated ReEntry has "Raw power. Searing impact."
The Word Begins - January 19 – 21 in the Nicholas Studio at South Coast Repertory
Nominated for three Helen Hayes Awards, The Word Begins follows the hilarious and provocative journey of two men discovering the power of words to define love, faith, race and humanity in America. Mashing up theater, spoken word, comedy and hip-hop, Steve Connell and Sekou Andrews deliver a high-energy performance in this fresh new satire that examines the current cultural landscape. The Word Begins is being presented in association with South Coast Repertory's Studio SCR. LA Weekly called it "A theatrical machine gun: Rapid fire, dangerous, powerful and unpredictable."
Ten Tiny Dances - January 20 & 21 in Samueli Theater
An experiment in confined space, Ten Tiny Dances is a unique performance event that offers inventive dance/performance art and an exciting and accessible performance experience for a diverse audience…all on a 4 by 4-foot stage. Produced by Mike Barber, Ten Tiny Dances frees artists from the pressure of infinite possibility through the constraint of the stage. Local choreographers Melanie Rios of The Wooden Floor, Jennifer Backhaus of Backhausdance and Meg Wolfe are creating new pieces especially for this engagement. The Seattle Times wrote "smaller-than-a-Volkswagen stage doesn't rule out larger-than-life dramas and antics."
Mexican Institute of Sound - January 21 in Founders Hall
Mexico City-based Camilo Lara recently released his third album, Soy Sauce. It traverses Lara's wild musical imagination with a witty sense of humor whether it's converting the traditional sounds of cumbia to a full-on electronic dance track, paying tribute to hip-hop with Mexican sonidos or singing a love song as if Serge Gainsbourg had spent time in the Mayan Jungle. NPR notes his newest album "pushes eclecticism to a new level by mixing mariachi with hip-hop, rock and electronica, while some songs feel reminiscent of '80s British New Wave." Nancy Sanchez will be the opener.
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Michael Lawrence Quintos is a quiet, mild-mannered Art Director by day. But as night falls, he regularly performs on various stages everywhere as a Counter-Tenor soloist, actor, and dancer for The Men Alive Chorus since 2002. He's sung everything from Broadway, Jazz, R&B, Classical, Gospel and Pop. His musical theater roots started early, performing in various school musical productions and a couple of nationally-televised programs. The performing bug eventually brought him a brief championship run in the Philippines' version of "Star Search" before moving to Las Vegas at age 11. College brought him out to Orange County, California, where he earned a BFA in Graphic Design and a BA in Film Screenwriting. He has spent several years as a designer and art director for various entertainment company clients, while spending his free time watching or performing in shows. |
Follow Michael on Twitter at: twitter.com/cre8iveMLQ.
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