Over the weekend (Oct. 12-13), hundreds of guests descended upon CalArts’ campus for the Institute’s annual two-day event celebration of culture and community. Parents, family, friends, alumni and visitors took part in specially designed workshops, tours and classes, enjoyed art exhibitions and performances and met up with Institute leadership and faculty at CalArts Weekend 2018.
The weekend opened on Friday with classroom visits and a rollicking luncheon with a soundtrack provided by the CalArts Salsa Band, led by David Roitstein and CalArts President Ravi Rajan sitting in for a tune or two.
The afternoon activities included a panel discussion, Beyond Campus: Institutional Engagements with Cultural and Civic Partners, moderated by Arne De Boever, director of the Aesthetics and Politics Program at CalArts. Joining in the discussion were: Critical Studies Dean Amanda Beech, faculty Andrew Culp, Janet Sarbanes and visiting scholar Dany Naierman (Critical Studies MA 16). Rounding out Friday was the Party at the Pool/Taste of Santa Clarita, followed by performances by The Speakeasy Society (The Kansas Collection, Chapter 1 — The Key) and the Open House Dance Concert.
The Featured Alumni Forums proved to be hot tickets during the Saturday sessions. The audience packed the Sharon Disney Lund Theatre for Glen Keane (Film/Video 74) whose talk, “Thinking Like a Child,” recounted his childhood memories, time at CalArts and his 40+ year career. He drew characters he created, including Beast from Beauty and the Beast, to “illustrate” his points, and ended the talk with a 3D rendering of Ariel from The Little Mermaid using Google’s Tilt Brush. (See a similar presentation on Late Late Night with James Corden.)
The Speakeasy Society returned to discuss their immersive theater work in the forum, “Take My Hand: Collaboratively Experimenting, and Engaging with Art and Audience.” Moderated by Michael Jung (Theater MFA 94) of Walt Disney Imagineering, the panelists—Genevieve Gearhart (Theater MFA 13), Zan Headley (Theater BFA 14), Julianne Just (Theater MFA 12) and Chris Porter (Music MFA 09)—talked about their experiences with immersive works as well as the origin story of their troupe. (In a bit of guerrilla theater, their first performance of a scene from Macbeth took place in a CalArts restroom.)
The forums ended on a high-energy note: An excerpt from the CalArts Center for New Performance work-in-progress, Try/Step/Trip was led by hip-hop artist, writer and performer Dahlak Brathwaite, and a cast that included Jasmine Gatewood (Theater MFA 18), Derek Jackson (Theater BFA 20), Freddy Ramsey Jr. (Theater MFA 18), Dante Rossi (Theater BFA 19) and Max Udell (Theater MFA 18). A talkback session with the cast and choreographer Toran Xavier Moore (Theater MFA 17) was moderated by Amanda Shank (Theater MFA 13), CNP Associate Artistic Director. The powerful highlights from Try/Step/Trip examined what it means to be male and black in today’s America.
After an afternoon Fun Fest on Clark’s Field, CalArts Weekend ended with a Wild Beast Concert, Machines and Strings, Part 1, curated by the Isaura String Quartet: Madeline Falcone (Music MFA 13), Emily Call (Music MFA 13) and Betsy Rettig (Music MFA 12) who were joined in their performance by guests violist Rachel Iba (Music MFA 17). The program featured a number of CalArtian performers and composers, including Music faculty Amy Knoles (Music BFA 82) who previewed a piece called, Madeline and the Machine.
Browse through the photo gallery, above, to relive some of the highlights of CalArts Weekend 2018.