On Thursday (Oct. 5), in Downtown Los Angeles, the fifth annual Los Angeles Exchange [LAX] Festival will kick off 10 days of contemporary performances by Los Angeles-based artists presented in dialogue with works by international artists.
Organized by the Los Angeles Performance Practice, LAX Festival was founded by CalArts alum Miranda Wright (Theater MFA 09) and is co-directed by Wright and George Lugg, former Associate Director of REDCAT.
Featuring 44 performances of 12 projects across five different venues, this year’s LAX Festival marks the first time a particular city will be highlighted for cultural exchange: Mexico City. Featuring three projects developed with Mexico City-based artists and multiple programs and performances intended to create artistic dialogue between the two cities, the 2017 festival will include multiple world and local premieres of new dance, experimental opera, interactive theater, literary performance, and more.
This 5th edition of LAX Festival also marks a name change–from Live Arts Exchange to Los Angeles Exchange–to place a greater focus on the event’s platform for artistic exchange.
“This year is actually the first year we are practicing exchange in this way, with the Festival serving as an intentional platform for both local artists and select visiting projects,” said Wright. “It brings me so much joy to see the festival fulfilling its original purpose: to serve as a platform for local artists to be seen on the national and international level, and to act as a switchboard of exchange between artists, curators, organizations and audiences.”
Four of the 12 performances at this year’s LAX Festival include CalArts alumni and faculty:
On Oct. 7, at the Bootleg Theater, dancer, choreographer and School of Theater faculty member Jessica Emmanuel will perform two sections of her untitled work-in-progress: Witnessing Her, capturing the trauma of senseless black deaths, and Decolonize That Mind, which explores the idea of identity as imposed by society and understood by oneself.
And on Oct. 14, celebrated Los Angeles theater ensemble Poor Dog Group–a collective founded at CalArts that features eight alumni members–will preview its new work, Group Therapy at the Bootleg Theater. Commissioned by the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA and premiering in January, the uncensored piece of documentary theater will delve into 16 hours of the group’s actual transcribed therapy with a licensed professional.
Zoe Aja Moore (Faculty/Theater MFA 11), Liz Toonkel (Art MFA 12) and Amanda Jane Shank (Theater MFA 13) present Lulu–a multiplatform performance adaptation of the 1895 Frank Wedekin play–during a week-long residency at Automata, from Oct. 3 through 9. Inviting male-identified audiences into the bedrooms of women across Los Angeles, each show features a different performer in a mix of autobiographical and theatrical performance seeking to explore intimacy, sexuality and domesticity.
The latest evening-length work from choreographer Stephanie Zaletel (Dance BFA 12), Marshmallow Sea takes water as its theme, reflecting on its fluidity and force, sustenance and submission. Performed by szalt dance co., Zaletel’s company of six dancers, the piece will be presented Oct. 6 through 8 at the Bootleg Theater.
In its 2016 "Best of LA" issue, LA Weekly wrote of LAX Festival: “Experimental theater so unprecedented and boundary-breaking that it feels like messages from the distant future.”
The LAX Festival will take place Oct. 5 through 15 at The Theatre at Ace Hotel, Los Angeles Theatre Center, Bootleg Theater, Automata and the Bob Baker Marionette Theater. For more information, visit performancepractice.la/festival.
Los Angeles Exchange [LAX] Festival
Oct. 5-15, 2017
Downtown Los Angeles