This weekend The Velaslavasay Panorama and Automata Arts present the program Adrenalin, Eyesight and Uncertainty, featuring new works by CalArts faculty members Laura Heit, co-director of CalArts’ Experimental Animation program, and Susan Simpson, an instructor in the School of Theater’s Cotsen Center for Puppetry.
Located in Los Angeles’ historic West Adams Neighborhood, the Panorama is part exhibition hall and part theater dedicated to providing audiences “unusual visual experiences.” The pieces by Heit and Simpson certainly seem to fit the venue’s mission statement:
Bureau of Small Requests: The Department of Uncertainty is the first in a “76-part series of tabletop toy theater.” Written and designed by Heit, the project draws its inspiration from the artist’s visit to Beijing’s Taoist Dongyue Temple with its 76 departments of the Taoist Pantheon. (Surrounding the temple’s central courtyard are 76 small rooms that house displays and sculptures of gods and spirits to help people with particular ailments or problems.)
Using puppetry and projection, Heit’s project invokes a sense of “ritual, poetry, pathology and supplication” to a person’s hope or fear. Also performing in the Bureau of Small Requests is Moira MacDonald, a current MFA student in the School of Theater.
Heit will also screen her new short film, Deep Dark, with live vocal incantations by sound artist and CalArts alumna Emily Lacy. Be forewarned, however, that the short is not suitable for children.
Using puppets accompanied by electric guitar, Simpson’s Firewatch explores the themes of adrenalin, aggression, remote viewing and what it means to be an American. Performers are DanRae Wilson (Theater MFA 10), Juliana (J.P.) Parr (Film/Video 94), Brent Johnson, Kristy Baltezore (Theater 05) and Emily Oliveira.
Adrenalin, Eyesight and Uncertainty
The Velaslavasay Panorama
1122 West 24th St., Los Angeles
July 15-16 at 8 pm
Tickets: $15 ($12 VPES members, students, seniors)