The climax of all this Pacific Standard Timing is here. Funded (like much of PST) mostly by the Getty, the PST Festival of Performance and Public Art stretches an official ten days (January 19-29) from the beach to Pomona and many environs in-between. Like all festivals, there’s always more than you could possibly see. And like all festivals the demand to make a schedule is paramount and declaring it to others helps ensure that wants and wishes become reality. So here’s a bit of a curated schedule, a few things this writer is actually going to see.
First of all, the things I can't or won't do: I really, really want to go to Hirokazu Kosaka’s performance of Kalpa at the Getty but to get there from downtown where I live might take two hours during Friday rush hour traffic on January 20. Ditto to the Channa Horwitz choreographed performance in Santa Monica at 7pm on Monday, January 23. Is this laziness? Possibly. I may have sacrificed a life to art, however there is very little in this world for which I’ll sacrifice two hours in traffic. I also love the idea of seeing Lou Reed and his installation for Metal Machine Music at Cal State Long Beach, but there’s something gross about forty-five bucks to see him have a staged conversation. I’ll just check out the installation after Lou has left the building.
So as much as I may enjoy going to many or all of the performances, I’m only listing the ones that I’m actually going to try and go to. A potpourri, a sampling, an honest schedule. Perhaps I will see you at some, or maybe you'll tell me about the great thing I missed. Here's the plan:
Five Events in two hours. Three Performances and Two Openings. There’s something about this that has a lovely simplicity, the schedule is from 5-7, two easy hours. Alone I’m not sure any of these events could get me to Pomona, but with five at once it seems fulsome, satisfying, to have the critical mass to make one feel that you’re actually at a festival. All three performances have a great frisson of violence: indoor football, pyrotechnics, flares. And though not performances, the two openings are for exhibitions that I’m really looking forward to seeing: one for three wonderfully weird ceramicists, John Mason, Ken Price, and Peter Voulkos, all of whom, and especially in the 60's, made incredibly stronge, trippy and sometimes downright libidinal ceramics; and the other for Liz Glynn, the grand dame of Black Box.
Admission: Free; open to the public.
Location: Rose Bowl Stadium, Area H, Seco St. and N. Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena 91103
There will be a plane laden with paint crashing into a forty foot canvas. Jackson takes automatism, sculpture, abstract expression, and painting to the next messy level.
Thursday, January 26, 2012: 8:00 p.m. in West Hollywood
Admission: Free; reservations required.
Location: The Annex (of the Margo Leavin Gallery), 817 North Hilldale Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90069
Though there was a performance of one of Leavitt’s plays during his retrospective last Spring at MoCA, I was stupidly out of town and missed it. Ever since his exhibition I feel more and more that I live in Leavitt’s Los Angeles and that his work captures the permeability of fiction and fact, theatricality and mundanity that defines the city.
Sometimes re-engaging the historical avant-garde can feel like a pretty boring history lesson. The class taught by Ben Stein in "Ferris Bueller’s Day Off" with its humming fluorescents and droning voice effectively sucks all the energy out of something that’s really fucked-up, exciting, and relevant. And vanguardism, usually cooked up by weirdos in back rooms, suffers the worst when its re-presented through the venues and the methods of the mainstream (though admittedly Minimalist Jukebox at Disney Hall was pretty incredible). There’s something about this event's set up at a motel and the ability to potentially wander from room to room that suggests more in the spirit of the thing, not a dramatic re-enactment or spirit-sucking history lesson. It hits the sweet spot and will be a beautifully strange and fitting conclusion to Los Angeles' first city-wide performance festival since 1980.