The Pool Issue 3

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Issue 3 Summer/Fall 2018


Antoine Hunter

Superstar in the firmament of San Francisco dance

Atsuko Okatsuka

Confrontational comedian vibing outside the mainstream

CalArts Posters

Selections from the archives of the Program in Graphic Design

A Super Blue Blood Moon rises over CalArts, January 31, 7pm


10 Buzz A music festival in an unlikely place, a U.N. visit to campus, a man with a thousand faces, and a spate of awards, performances, and museum shows

4 From the President 6 From the Editor 8 Letters From You 61 In Memoriam

87 The Big Idea The Visual Language of Oppression: Filmmaker Nina Menkes on the plight of young women in Hollywood

50 Alumnx HQ Seed grants bear fruit, Chouinardians reunite, a new hallway mural fascinates, and a heartfelt speech by REDCAT Award recipient Charles Gaines

Inside Covers Details of J. Cash-Cooper’s new mural for the Alumnx Office depicts a phantasmagorical origin narrative for CalArts. (See story on page 53.)

62 Class Notes The creator of Eat Me, a cat with seven “Lives,” P!nk’s editor, and The Gasman Cometh are among 236 updates we received from alumnx near and far 2

CalArts Alumni Magazine



Flying High

He left his art in San Francisco: The high-flying Antoine Hunter leads his Urban Dance company to glory in the City by the Bay


Accidentally Alternative

Sit-down with a stand-up. Chrysanthe Tan chats with comedian Atsuko Okatsuka about pre-performance jitters, riding the mumblecore train, and laughs on the fast track

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Recommendations For Us Right Now… A manifesto for the future reprinted from CalArts’s literary magazine, Sublevel

The CalArts Poster Archive A feast for the eyes: ephemeral artifacts from the Art School’s Program in Graphic Design now available as an online archive


From the President

Dear CalArtians, As I near the end of this first year as President of CalArts, I can pause briefly, take a breath, and look back at the whirlwind of activity it has been. Since June 2017, I spent much of my time listening and learning. I’ve met with many CalArtians, starting right here on campus, talking with students, faculty, and staff in settings as formal as a Student Union or Academic Council meeting, and as informal as lunch in the café. I’ve visited with many alumni across the country who continue to inspire me with their ideas about what makes the Institute such a special place, and with their ideas for the future. And I’ve met with non-CalArtians— supporters, friends, and fans—who know the Institute’s reputation for shaping the cultural landscape. In each and every encounter, whether abroad or here in the U.S., east, middle, or west, I’ve been struck by the passion and enthusiasm that greets the mere mention of CalArts. That’s largely because our alumnx, our faculty, and our students continue to produce work that has a lasting societal impact. It’s the depth and range of a CalArtian’s ideas that inform this work and it’s this—the people and the ideas—that distinguishes CalArts from all other schools. Of course, like any institution approaching 50-yearsold, we also face challenges. Our campus facilities are in need of investment and upgrading, especially our dormitory. And securing enough financial aid for our students continues to be a critical challenge. The recent news that the federal government is doing away with the Perkins Loan program was disappointing, because Perkins Loans are subsidized and only for needy students, and there’s been no program to replace it, leaving some of our most vulnerable students scrambling for tuition this coming fall.

We have begun work to resolve the most pressing of these issues, with our friends, trustees, and enrollment and financial aid teams working hard to mitigate the loss of Perkins loans. Yet, any financial support that you can provide to the CalArts Fund will make a direct and real difference for these students. On page 64 of this issue you’ll find an envelope for gifts to support these students. More recently, meetings have begun here on campus as part of a visioning process that will help us come together and chart the journey ahead for CalArts. These meetings have been very encouraging—the input from the on-campus community and trustees has been broad, insightful, and diverse. Moreover, the discussions have produced a wealth of interesting questions through which to ask, test, and collect responses from all our constituents, yielding responses which will help guide CalArts toward a strong future. Stay tuned for upcoming ways in which you can directly participate to share your vision and dreams for CalArts’s future. Lastly, with commencement just days away, we are proud to send another class of CalArts graduates out into the world. Surely this group of talented citizen artists, like so many CalArtians who came before, will make our world a better place. Wishing you a relaxing and productive summer,

Ravi S. Rajan, President


CalArts Alumni Magazine

Alumni receive 20% off REDCAT membership.

“Global connections bolster local artistry at REDCAT… an atmosphere of creative experimentation, penetrating discussion and community involvement.”

Photo: Steve Gunther

Ligia Lewis, minor matter. Part of Pacific Standard Time Festival: Live Art LA/LA.

— American Theatre Magazine

CalArts’ Downtown Center for Contemporary Arts Roy and Edna Disney / CalArts Theater

From the Editor

Funnier, perhaps, if the editor was lifting the dancer—the spirit was willing, alas, the flesh too weak.

We’d love to hear from you! Send updated contact information and a Class Note to Or just tell us what you think about this issue of The Pool.


CalArts Alumni Magazine

As we spring forward, and dive in to our third issue of The Pool, I’m excited, first, by readers’ enthusiastic reception of our still-new alumni/alumnx magazine. Class Notes, perhaps more than any other section, has filled a void at CalArts, and has shown that even in the age of social media, CalArtians still enjoy sharing and connecting with their classmates, friends, and the larger Institute community through this traditional print format. Thanks to all of you who have responded to our e-blasts for submissions. If we don’t have current e-mail addresses for you, please do update us, and let us know what you’ve been up to, personally and/or professionally. On campus, as we approach the first graduation under President Ravi Rajan, CalArts students are driving their final projects to the finish line with intelligence, creativity, and intensity—the recipe for what Ravi likes to call our “secret sauce.” Indeed, this spirit and energy continues to define this amazing institution generation after generation. The subject of our cover story embodies all of the above, and more. Antoine Hunter’s life and career path have taken him from adversity to triumph. Upon meeting him, I was struck, first, by Antoine’s beatific countenance, then, by the contrast between his imposing physicality and genuinely gentle demeanor. Watching Antoine’s deep calm explode into leap after leap before noted dance photographer Mark Kitaoka’s camera was both exhilarating and great fun. In our second feature, alumnx Chrysanthe Tan interviews another alum of her choice, Atsuko Okatsuka, an Inter-School MFA graduate, now working as a stand-up comedian and filmmaker. Atsuko’s fearless brand of humor is topical, personal, and brave, and here she touches on everything from the immigrant experience to pitching ideas to the studios. After reading the interview, be sure to check out Atsuko’s YouTube videos. Our visual essay for spring is a stunning array of archival posters created by CalArtians. Just launched in digital form via, this dynamic gallery is a feast for the eyes that also serves to remind us of the stimulating ideas, events, and performances that enlivened the campus over the past half century. Until Fall 2018, keep those cards and letters coming in. No salesman will visit; our operators are standing by… Stuart I. Frolick, Editor


Continue your education with innovative arts courses designed to meet your needs, whether you’re an emerging artist or a lifelong learner.

Letters From You The Pool Issue 2 Winter/Spring 2018

What are current student artists up to?

We have fond memories of the energy and abundance of work at CalArts. There are always posters on the walls, instruments playing outside, dancers jumping through the halls, and someone turning an unexpected space into something compelling. We are aware that this publication is meant to speak to alumnx, and the content reflects that by focusing on stories of fellow postgraduates who bring their distinct energy to the world outside of CalArts. While we enjoy reading these stories— the beginning of a new publishing press for artists, the president’s commencement, photographs from the old days, meeting new faculty, and knowing where alumnx are congregating—we’d love to learn more about what student artists are doing at CalArts right now. We want to connect to what excites and informs students’ work today—to consider the questions that shape the current campus culture. Learning more about the student artists and their perspectives would grant us a glimpse into the world we wish we could visit more often and—in the best of cases—would foster connections between alumnx and current students that may lead to a stronger, richer engagement within the CalArts community. Brooke Irish (Art ’14) & Armando Martinez-Celis (Art ’13) Kudos to the Editor

I was quite impressed with your integrity in regards to “From the Land of Three Kidneys” by Clayton Stromberger. As an identifiable CalArtian—a student and staffer from long ago—I have prided myself on being a member of its community of institutional mavericks. Often thinking outside the box is greeted


CalArts Alumni Magazine

with trepidation. Your full disclosure of not wanting to print the story, yet then doing so, and then admittance of its value is an impressive editorial journey. Such ethics and commitment to serve CalArts’ treasured dare to dare mission is worth noting, and even more worth applauding. Tamar Fortgang (’88) Linguistic Kerfuffles

I found Rageshwar Kaur Goldberg’s letter explaining the recent name change from alumni to alumnx quite fascinating. And I applaud CalArts’ efforts to strive for inclusivity and to expose linguistic conventions that are unconsciously marginalizing. Many spirited discussions have since ensued among my friends and me. Yet, such top-down decisions to distort language to the point of unpronounceability seem problematic. To find fault in the word alumni one must have an understanding of the intricacies of Latin grammar. How many people remember that the Latin suffix -i describes the masculine plural while -ae gives feminine words their plural form? Oh, the joys of highly inflected languages! I propose a much simpler solution, which makes use of the gender-neutral plural suffix that English already provides— call us alums. That’s actually pronounceable. A concerned but supportive alum (’07)

THE POOL ISSUE 3 — Summer/Fall 2018 Published semi-annually by the Office of Marketing & Communications at CalArts. PRESIDENT



Rageshwar Kaur Goldberg EXECUTIVE EDITOR



Yay Brigade: Nicole Jaffe and Roman Jaster (Art BFA 07) COVER PHOTOGRAPH


Rafael Hernandez (Art BFA 11) ILLUSTRATIONS


Debbie Stears COPY EDITOR

Ani Tatintsyan (Critical Studies MA 16) PHOTO RESEARCH


Hugh Hart, Judith Brennan, Kirsten Quinn-Smith, Christine Ziemba, and Ellen Evaristo AD DESIGN

CalArts Office of Communications PRINTING

Publishers Press, Lebanon Junction, Kentucky TYPEFACES

Arnhem by OurType Lapture by Just Another Foundry Soleil by TypeTogether

Contemporary art and its history as considered from Los Angeles

ALLAN SEKULA Facing the Music: Documenting Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Redevelopment of Downtown Los Angeles


AS IS Noah Purifoy, Joshua Tree SECOND LIFE Los Angeles Free Music Society Light Bulb, 1977–81

Buzz Two CalArts Alumni Claim Academy Award Gold

And the Oscars Went To… The Oscars 90th anniversary year was yet another big night for CalArts’s School of Film/ Video alumni: four were nominated and two took home the film industry’s coveted statuette. Adrian Molina (Film/Video 06), who co-wrote and co-directed Disney/Pixar’s Coco, the Día de los Muertos–themed film won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film, an honor he shared with Lee Unkrich. “Marginalized people deserve to feel like they belong. Representation matters,” said Unkrich in his acceptance speech. Molina picked up the theme in his pressroom comments, saying “At Pixar…we work very hard to show that films about communities of color, films that come from particular places, have a resonance that can reach across the world. We’ve seen that with Coco, we’ve seen that with Black Panther, and I think you’re going to see it with a lot of other films in the future.” Coco’s song “Remember Me” also won the Oscar for Best Song. Alumna Natalia Cordova-Buckley (Theater 04), proudly provided the voice of one her artistic inspirations, Frida Kahlo. Coco was competing against the scheming baby comedy Boss Baby, directed by Tom McGrath (Film/Video 90), a film that also received a Golden Globes nomination for Best Animated Feature. Director Glen Keane (Film/Video 74) won the Award for Best Animated Short Film for Dear Basketball—based on retired L.A. Lakers legend Kobe Bryant’s love poem to the game. In his speech Keane thanked Bryant, for writing Dear Basketball. “It’s a message for all of us, whatever form your dream may take, it’s through passion and perseverance that the impossible is possible.” James Mangold (Film/Video 85), co-wrote Logan with Scott Frank and Michael Green.


CalArts Alumni Magazine


Logan remains a game-changer; it’s the first superhero movie to be nominated in the Best Adapted Screenplay category. Composer Amir Sadeghi Konjani (Music 15) scored The Silent Child, which won the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film.

Reigning champs. Glen Keane and Kobe Bryant, all smiles for a celebratory selfie.

Low-tech “headsets” added color and fun to last summer’s Jam at the Barn festival.


Small Music Fest in Nevada

Jam at the Barn Blue Diamond, Nevada, population 300, is a tiny oasis located amid the majestic scenery that is Red Rock Canyon National Conversation Area, a rock climber’s paradise. It’s also the boyhood home of CalArts alumnus, Steven Kai van Betten (Music 14), who, as a high school freshman, started a small music fest with his friend Jakob Pek to honor seniors graduating from their high school, the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts. It was held at the old barn in Blue Diamond’s town center, and quickly became known as the “Jam at the Barn.” The festival was a hit with students and parents alike, so van Betten and Pek continued to organize it the next few years. “When I enrolled at CalArts, I assumed Jam at the Barn would fade away,” says van Betten.

“But the town urged us to continue, so I floated the idea with some CalArts classmates and was surprised by the response.” More than a few made the 300-mile drive to perform. The next few years, van Betten continued to invite CalArtians, attracting students, alumni, a few faculty, and even a senior administrator or two. Dance performances were added when CalArts dance troupes began to attend. Solarc Brewery, co-founded by CalArts alum, Archie Carey (Music 11), even created a special beer for the festival, conspicuously named, Donkey Piss. “There’s a lot of wild burros in Red Rock Canyon,” laughs van Betten, explaining the origins of the name. Last June, some 300 people attended, with more than half having a CalArts affiliation. “It’s been a wonderful cultural experience for my home town,” says van Betten, who still smiles when he recalls faculty member Vinny Golia’s performance. “Vinny brought a large ensemble of some 40 avant-garde jazz musicians up on stage to perform. The audience was blown away. They had no reference point for this sort of music, yet they embraced it completely. It was an amazing performance.” The musical line-up reflects the range that CalArts’s Herb Alpert School of Music is famous for, and van Betten says the beauty of Red Rock Canyon inspires people to return each year, as the festival has become a sort of annual retreat for alums, who get to perform and then go off to commune with some of the most stunning rock formations in the world. The festival even offers a bit of Yoga. This year’s festival, the 12th annual, is scheduled for Saturday, June 2, and runs from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. “It’s always held the first weekend in June. Saturday is filled with music, dance, and art. Sunday morning is clean-up time, and everyone happily pitches in,” says van Betten. “Then, we spend the rest of Sunday hiking and climbing the Red Rocks. It makes for a very spiritual weekend.” Find out more about the festival at

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CalArts’s Womanhouse Inspires a Sequel

Almost a half-century before #MeToo, there was Womanhouse, the 1972 disruptor landmark created by Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro, co-founders of the CalArts Feminist Art Program. A contemporary sequel, Women House further challenges traditional notions of gender and domesticity through the work of 36 global artists, including Chicago and Schapiro (1923–2015). Organized by La Monnaie de Paris, the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) in Washington, D.C. is the only American venue for the exhibition. Themes and aesthetic strategies of the new show include Desperate Housewives, Home is Where it Hurts, Femmes-Maisons, A Room of One’s Own; a section for artists’ memories of space titled Marks; another titled A Doll’s House (influenced by Schapiro’s Dollhouse, a survey of idealized childhood visions of the home; an installation, Construction as Self-Construction, reflecting on clichés of the “well-styled” home; and Mobile Homes exploring nomadism and exile. In 1971, Chicago, Schapiro and their CalArts students transformed a dilapidated Hollywood mansion into a groundbreaking female-centered art installation and performance space— the first of its kind in the Western World. Introducing a new consciousness raising technique led students to an open discussion of rape, orgasm and sexual rage, breaking down timidity in their artistic expressions. In her autobiography Through the Flower Chicago wrote, “ …the idea of a major art school being willing to…devote so many resources to the needs of its women students was, to put it mildly, astounding.” Women House is on view through May 28, 2018.


CalArts Alumni Magazine


A Classic of Feminist Art Re-imagined

Laurie Simmons, Walking House, 1989.

Dis Guy’s a Master of Disguise

‘prepare to have your mind blown’…Huffington Post For a new take on “Dear Diary,” consider Michael Gump (Art 94), aka professional prop master, art director, and production designer for television shows like the upcoming Mutt & Stuff (with puppets and trained dogs) for Nickelodeon; aka creator of UFO SHOW (with an 8-foot tall brain-head alien talk show host) on YouTube; aka an artist whose diary on Instagram, Master of Disguise boasts almost 60,000 followers. Owner and creator of Banabee Laboratory, a specialty prop fabrication company he founded in 2008, Gump, the TV prop master, decided a few years ago to create a photographic chronicle of a wide range of daily disguises. He’s covered his face and upper torso with everything from broken mirrors, Legos, knives, crayons, and soiled diapers(!), to fake eyeballs, razor blades, donuts, clothespins, toy hammers, and packing peanuts. Gump began his 365-day Master of Disguise project on January 1, 2015; Instagram became the perfect platform for it. Now it’s a spontaneous, free-wheeling art diary, featuring whatever inspiration hits him on the way home from work. Some posts include his kids (son, 7, and daughter, 4), which he must if he wants to keep being the coolest dad ever. Have your mind blown at

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A Cross-cultural collaboration challenges and deepens a unique theatrical experience

CNP’s Fantômas Premiere Wows ’em in Wuzhen By Travis Preston, Dean, Head of Directing, CalArts School of Theater, Artistic Director, CalArts Center for New Performance

In January 2016, I was developing Fantômas: Revenge of the Image at the CalArts Center for New Performance (CNP). This unique theatrical experiment is based on a massive audience unit on wheels—not unlike a moving camera obscura—that transports the audience through a landscape of animated projection as the theatrical environment for the actors. At the same time, Stan Lai, the celebrated Chinese writer and director, was leading a developmental workshop of Nightwalk in a Chinese Garden, a CNP collaboration with the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens. Stan invited us to premiere Fantômas at

the Wuzhen Theatre Festival, which he had co-founded in China. Wuzhen is one of China’s most enchanting destinations. A 1,300-year-old water town on the lower reaches of the Yangtze River; it has been stunningly restored to its former splendor. A grand celebration of the art of performance, the Wuzhen Theatre Festival consists of various inter-related parts: the Invited Productions, the Young Theatre Artist’s Competition, the Outdoor Carnival, and the Wuzhen Dialogues. The entire town of Wuzhen is transformed into a splendid stage. Fantômas: Revenge of the Image is a radical exploration of performance space and spectatorship at the intersection of film, theatre, and physical sensation. Based on Fantômas, the fictional phantom bandit and figure of


Contemporary fascination with the commingling of sensation, violence, and entertainment is explored in the CNP production Fantômas, which literally draws the audience in.


CalArts Alumni Magazine

unbounded criminality from French serial literature and film, Fantômas—Revenge of the Image engages urban terrorism as an enduring facet of the contemporary landscape. Through the creation of an innovative mobile, enclosed audience unit (designed by Tony Award winner Chris Barreca and Drew Foster), the production investigates the close relationship between sensation, violence, and entertainment in contemporary visual culture. Throughout the production, the audience unit moves through space like a camera dolly and the audience, seated inside, views the performance through the lens-like aperture. The framing of the aperture and movement of the rolling unit intensify and focus viewers’ experience. Fantômas was developed over many years and is a challenging piece to rehearse. The interaction of the “camera box” movement, animated video from multiple projectors, and the actors’ choreography create a dizzying level of complexity for both rehearsal and performance. Because there is no “backstage” (the movement of the box making offstage a constantly shifting proposition!) the running of the show is a stage management nightmare, involving the continual shifting of props, crew, and performers. No aspect of the running of the show is static. As one can imagine, communication among all the participants is crucial for the success of the piece. Creating the first public performances in Wuzhen offered us a series of challenges that were almost entirely unanticipated at the start. Fantômas is designed to have the entire text spoken by a single actor on microphone, riding unseen on the camera box. She provides the voiceover of Tom Gunning’s collaged text that accompanies the visual/dramatic experience created by the actors—in concert with the multiple technical elements. The visual is so important to the piece that we could not promise a full experience if the audience had to read supered titles. Indeed, the density of text in some moments would have made this prohibitive. No—Fantômas is a pure visual/acoustic experience. We had to confront the fact that alternating English and Mandarin performances would segregate our audiences in ways that were unacceptable. In response, we devised a strategy that wove both languages into a poetic whole, with two speakers working in tandem to deliver the text. The powerful interaction

of the English and Mandarin was one of the great discoveries of this process, enhancing the mystery of the dramatic landscape and the beauty of the acoustic environment. Our work was not created and then transported hermetically to another culture. We discovered how it could interact with and be permeable to the impulses and interpretations of another cultural environment. The textual dramaturgy had to alter considerably because we had now more than doubled the amount of text (in general, we discovered that Mandarin took somewhat longer to speak). This then required significant reediting of the text in order to balance the amount of spoken text to image and action. Fundamentally, this meant creating another text with a significantly different dramaturgy. We also discovered the crucial difference— both visually and dramaturgically—that occurs with just miniscule adjustments to the position of the box. Again, this obvious point impressed itself upon us—every movement of the box is a redesign of the theatre, not just the scene. We went to China with a team of over 25, including five Mandarin speakers who were trained at CalArts. The Chinese production team was roughly the same size, not including the box construction crew. The team in Wuzhen was superb. Indeed, one of the most satisfying features of our work in Wuzhen was to see this large group from disparate backgrounds and languages evolve into a seamless theatrical community, all working in concert to create an exceedingly complex performance. That being said, every day was an exercise in cultural diplomacy—a continual challenge to our assumptions of what is appropriate and effective process and interaction. This space between our cultures was navigated daily by the whole CalArts/Wuzhen team and, of course, was extremely personal. This intimate encounter is the true arena of cultural diplomacy—the space of personal interface, with its moment to moment awkwardness, joy, and confusion. Excerpt from HowlRound, a free and open platform for theatremakers worldwide. For the story in its entirety, please visit

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Laura Owens Owns The Apple HeForShe Promotes a Critical Human Rights Issue In February, Elizabeth Nyamayaro, Global Head of the United Nations’ Women HeForShe Movement, visited CalArts to discuss a new partnership between the Institute and the UN’s HeForShe movement—an initiative that calls on men around the world to stand together in solidarity with each other and with women, to end sexual harassment and promote gender equality.

With the most highly regarded exhibition of paintings by a contemporary artist in recent years, CalArts alumna Laura Owens (Art 94) took New York City by storm late last year with a mid-career survey of her work at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Comprised of more than 70 canvases, the show was widely celebrated in the media. Laura Owens is now showing at the Dallas Museum of Art until July 29, and opens in Los Angeles at MOCA on November 4.

New York Times

“Ms. Owens loves painting but she approaches it with a rare combination of sincerity and irony. Distinguished by a sly, comedic beauty, her work has a playful, knowing, almost-Rococo lightness of being in which pleasure, humor, intelligence and a seductive sense of usually high color mingle freely…Images and techniques ricochet off one another, enticing us to make connections of all kinds— within the work and across history.”—Roberta Smith The New Yorker

The UN Women’s special project is being conducted at CalArts through the Animated United Nations Women class, taught by School of Film/Video faculty Pia Borg and Soyeon Kim (Film/ Video 01). UN Women hopes to develop 12 to 15 short videos through the class, all of which tell stories, furthering the Movement’s mission and message. The CalArts student films will be highlighted on stage during the HeForShe IMPACT Summit in September 2018 at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, followed by distribution through HeForShe’s social media channels. The videos will be translated into the UN’s six official languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, Spanish (and English) for its 194 member states. The students accepted into Borg’s class will each receive a $500 scholarship added to their financial aid portfolio. 16

CalArts Alumni Magazine

“…she has adopted craft techniques and teased out iconographic and formal ideas from whole fields and genres of the pictorial. Gestural and color-field abstraction, digital imaging, American folk art, Japanese landscape, children’s-book illustration, dropped shadows, greeting-card whimsy, clip art, wallpaper design, silk screen, tapestry, typography, stencils, recorded-sound elements, and mechanical moving parts…Slam-bang visual impact co-occurs with whispering subtlety. Owens’s art imparts a sense, from first to last, of being in the middle of a process that doesn’t evolve but that spreads, delta like, from a mysterious headwater.”—Peter Schjeldahl The New York Review of Books

“I especially admire the way that Owens integrates her various influences into her own pictorial vocabulary. The ability to be influenced in a productive way, which includes making ones influences legible to the audience, might be essential to success in today’s art world…” —David Salle (Art MFA 75, BFA 73)

SpongeBob Bubbles Up on Broadway


The underwater world of Bikini Bottom, created by Stephen Hillenburg (Film/Video 92), has been beautifully reimagined for the stage as SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical, which began its run at the Palace Theatre in New York on December 4, 2017. Based on the highest rated cartoon series in cable television history, SpongeBob SquarePants has also grown into a $13 billion retail merchandising empire. Spoiler alert: on stage, the underwater universe of SpongeBob is in danger of being destroyed by a volcano! Directed by Tina Landau, Ethan Slater stars as the sponge icon, and the show’s songs were composed by an all-star roster including John Legend, Cyndi Lauper, Lady Antebellum and They Might Be Giants. That world where innocence prevails, has already been featured in The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (2004) and the sequel, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (2015).

Installation view of Laura Owens (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, November 10, 2017 – February 4, 2018). From left to right: Untitled, 2015; Untitled, 2015.

From animation to pop art and documentary photography, three major museums have recently showcased and celebrated the talents of CalArts. The work of 2018 Oscar winner Glen Keane (Film/Video 74), will be on view in Make Believe: The World of Glen Keane at the San Franciscobased Walt Disney Family Museum through September 3, 2018. The artist’s animation sketches and maquettes for unforgettable characters in Disney’s Tangled, Tarzan, Pocahontas, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, and The Little Mermaid are among those exhibited. Keane joined the Disney Studio in 1974 where he was mentored by the studio’s famed Nine Old Men. Keane, himself, was named a Disney Legend in 2013. More than 80 black-and-white documentary photographs by School of Art faculty, essayist, and performance artist Harry Gamboa Jr. are part of the Autry Museum of the American West’s LA RAZA show (on view until February 2019). Shot

at night throughout Los Angeles, Gamboa Jr.’s Chicano Male Unbonded images challenge cultural stereotypes of Mexican American men who identify as Chicano. The first comprehensive exhibition of this ongoing body of work reveals a diverse community of creative and avant-garde Chicano men. Iranian pop artist Farhad Moshiri’s (Art 84) first solo museum exhibition, Farhad Moshiri: Go West, was on view at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, PA, until January 2018. The paintings and sculpture of the Tehran-based multimedia artist—who has been called “the Andy Warhol of Iran”— often juxtaposes Western cultural influences with those traditional to his homeland.


Three Prestigious Museum Shows for CalArts Alumni and Faculty

The Company of SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical

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Speakeasy Society Creates Theatrical Adventures in Atwater Village

Immersion Theater Down the Yellow Brick Road “Kansas is presented in an episodic format, in a series of 30-minute mini-performances. In By Kirsten Quinn-Smith between them, audience members receive customized content based on the choices they’ve made,” said Bamberg-Johnson, co-artistic An immersive theater company founded by director of The Speakeasy Society. “We origia group of CalArtians, The Speakeasy Society, nally built Kansas for an independent game fesrecently presented its first five episodes of tival called Indiecade, and we were looking to The Kansas Collection in a most unusual corner create a live theater experience, drawing from of Atwater Village. sources such as the Telltale Games, Firewatch, With characters ripped from the pages of Gone Home, etc.” Frank L. Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, A resurgence of interest in immersive theKansas picks up in the magical world, right ater was led by the NYC-based Punchdrunk where Dorothy left it. Her departure has trigcompany in 2000. Since then, more and more gered a state of distress and civil unrest. The theater-goers are trading passive observation Scarecrow was left in charge, and he is deterfor the thrill of creating a live narrative. mined to keep Oz safe—no matter the cost. And Kansas does this beautifully. On the Cue the audience. In immersive theater, day of the performance, audience members, audience members become the storytellers, or “recruits” for the Scarecrow’s Armed Militia, evolving their role in the interactive perreceive an email disclosing the secret locaformance with every question they answer tion of the night’s events. From the moment and every choice they make. Like a theatrical of arrival, each audience member is engaged adventure in which they decide the ending, with the storyline, beginning with the intake Kansas is exactly the world you’re hoping for process. Gathering around a bonfire, all the “over the rainbow.” recruits must wait for their number to be Not surprisingly, Speakeasy’s CalArts roots called, which triggers a series of encounters run deep. The company officially formed in a first floor women’s restroom at CalArts in 2012, with the Kansas characters. Each interaction encourages them to explore the role assigned where longtime collaborators Julianne Just and decide how their story will unfold. One (Theater 12) and Genevieve Gearhart (Theater clue leads to the next, and one quickly finds 13), along with newcomer Matthew BambergJohnson (Theater 13), created The Weird Sisters, that the narrative is complex and nuanced. Suspense sets the stage for the next episode, a witch-centric adaptation of Macbeth. Eleven with an invitation to continue the game indeCalArtians in all lead Speakeasy. Associate pendently, if one so chooses. The entire space, artistic director Chris Porter (Music 09), proand even different locations throughout L.A., ducing director John Henningsen (Theater 15), become a playground for exploration. and consultant producer Cathrin Farrar Here the Speakeasy Society really shines, (Theater 13) are also CalArtians, as is their host of CalArtian actors. In true CalArts fashion, the in its unexpected use of space and its ability to create a sense of otherworldliness in members of the company are highly collaboyour neighbor’s backyard. The first episode, rative and egalitarian, trading hats on man“The Key,” was held on a residential property agement and creative roles in each production. 18

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Speakeasy Society will present chapters of Kansas at CalArts Weekend, October 12 and 13, 2018. Attendees can experience immersive theater for themselves. in Atwater Village where the show itself seemed to double as a found art installation. The steampunk-style recruitment tent, crafted out of brilliantly colored sheets and filled with trinkets, made the “real world” fade quickly as audience members navigated its many rooms. Characters spoke to the audience through mirrors, or from hidden, dark corners, as they blurred the lines between reality and theater. After only 30 minutes, the audience had traveled a world away, and carried pieces of it back to their reality—only for the adventure to continue with the next episode. “It’s no wonder young people, are especially attracted to this immersive art form,” says audience member Lyndsie Scoggin. “We’re so consumed with social media and our phones, that I think we crave this kind of intimate interaction with other people.” A member of the L.A. immersive theater community, Scoggin had just come from her own performance to enjoy the Speakeasy show. While she awaited

Members of The Speakeasy Society (from left to right): Colleen Pulawski, Zach Davidson ‘15, Julia Henning, Michael Bates ‘14, Alexander Demers ‘14, Matthew Bamberg-Johnson ‘13, Chynna Skye ‘12, Zan Headley ‘14, Jonathan Bangs ‘16, Michael Pignatelli ‘12, Jenny Curtis ‘12, Christine Harms ‘13

the intake process, she shared the bonfire with a CalArts student, who heard about Speakeasy through a popular theater podcast, No Proscenium. “People get really into this, almost addicted to it,” says Scoggin. Speakeasy, and the genre in general, have attracted a loyal following for good reason. It was named Best Emerging Immersive Theater Company of 2015 by LA Weekly. Since then, Speakeasy performances have included: Kitchen/Sugar/Bullet/Blank, a dinner party in a private residence; Ebenezer: An Immersive Christmas Carol, an interactive adaptation in a hidden pub at a local brewery; The Stronger, a private conversation created for an audience of one at a local restaurant; The Johnny Cycle, whose third chapter took place in the Mountain View Mausoleum, and more. For more information about The Speakeasy Society, please visit or follow it on Facebook @TheSpeakeasySoc.

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Buzz Artist Barbara Carrasco (Art 91) in front of her mural at Union Station, where it was exhibited briefly last year as part of the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA

L.A. History: A Mexican Perspective at The Museum of Natural History

A Public Triumph—At Long Last Beige Luciano-Adams, writing in LA Weekly: “…it arrives with a redolent aura; as a powerful origin myth reminding us to perpetually question who we are, even as it details how we got here. It functions both literally, illustratively, as intended—and as a living record and commentary on the inevitably political struggle over what becomes history.” She’s referring to a piece of art with a precarious and storied past, that has recently received long overdue public recognition, respect, and appreciation. Most importantly, it’s being seen. Originally commissioned by Los Angeles’s Community Redevelopment Agency in 1981, Barbara Carrasco’s (Art 91) 80-foot-long mural, L.A. History: A Mexican Perspective is out of storage, and on view at Sin Censura: A Mural Remembers L.A., an exhibition that runs through 20

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August 18 at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum. The mural has survived despite the now-defunct CRA’s attempts to censor portions of its content. The artist’s well-researched narrative arc, formatted as vignettes framed by the flowing black hair of “La Reina de Los Ángeles” (the queen of Los Angeles) begins with L.A.’s pre-history, the tar pits, and moves all the way through to the farm workers’ protests in the late 1960s. Fourteen of Carrasco’s images were deemed too controversial by the CRA in 1981, the year of the city’s bicentennial. The Zoot Suit Riots of 1943 and internment of citizens of Japanese descent during World War II, were among those the CRA sought to have deleted. Carrasco refused, and the mural wasn’t seen publicly again until it was exhibited briefly at the Los Angeles Festival in the 1990s. In the meantime, Carrasco won legal possession of the copyright and the work was moved to different storage locations repeatedly in a determined effort to protect both its material safety and the integrity of the artist’s vision. Times change, and Carrasco’s perseverance has been rewarded. Of the agency’s attempt to censor her work, quoted in The Weekly article, Carrasco said, “I don’t think you’d see any attempt like that now. People would fight it tooth and nail.”

With a dynamic faculty and a diverse range of international visitors, including Lauren Berlant, Fred Moten, and Jacques Rancière, CalArts’s MA in Aesthetics and Politics offers students unique access to the most exciting debates in contemporary critical theory. The Aesthetics and Politics Program is thrilled to welcome Katherine Hayes as the Fall 2018 Theorist in Residence.


CalArts MA Aesthetics & Politics

Antoine Hunter 22

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Laura Bleiberg PH OTO G R A PH Y

Mark Kitaoka

Flying High Choreographer, performer, and educator, Antoine Hunter is a super-hero of the Bay Area dance world

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Up in the clouds. With San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge as a backdrop, Hunter embraces the moment with open arms.


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ntoine Hunter is a sublime dancer—admiring colleagues call him a “beautiful mover.” With muscled arms, powerful torso and swift feet and legs, he eats up space, crossing a stage with a stream of steps, or hovering high above it on a leap. He stands tall and regal, and yet, he seems to push holes in the floor with his deeply bent-knee, rolling-hip walk. One can’t help but be attracted to his joyful spirit and whole-body physicality; his is an imposing stature tempered by a gentle, elegant soul. “Oh my God, he’s got so much charisma,” says San Francisco choreographer Kim Epifano, director of Epiphany Dance. “He’s just honestly who he is, and he’s got a great passion for his work.” And so, it’s astonishing to discover that Hunter is deaf. He cannot hear the music, but has learned to embody it. Hunter explains that he can feel the vibrations when the music is played loudly. He “listens” to a score at home, the volume cranked all the way up, to get a tactile sense of its

Hunter cleaned other students’ rooms and cooked meals for extra dollars. But he just didn’t have the money to continue. “I prayed for years to return to CalArts.”

rhythms. On rare occasions, another dancer will stand in the wings and give him visual prompts of when to start, or he’ll memorize a piece’s lighting cues. He’s developed an extreme sensitivity to everything that’s happening onstage to stay in unison with other performers. And sometimes, if he’s slightly off the beat, his fellow performers adjust their dancing to be on time with him. Hunter attended CalArts for two years in the early 2000s, and has worked nonstop to prove that even someone who cannot hear, can dance—not just at a minimum standard, but at the highest level. It has become his primary cause to open doors for other deaf dancers. In part, that’s because he loves to dance and wants to share that love, but also because he sees dance as a way to connect Deaf culture and the hearing world. “I think when I was in high school I was feeling really segregated from the world. Hearing and deaf people were just segregated,” Hunter says. “When I started dancing, I realized that it was the key to communicate with both worlds. It was the bridge—the bridge to bring us together.” Based in Oakland where he was born, he directs, choreographs and performs with Urban Jazz Dance Company, the group Hunter started in 2007 that at present has five deaf dancers and stages about 100 shows annually, to general audiences and for educational programming. His other passion project is the Bay Area International Deaf Dance Festival, which this summer celebrates its sixth anniversary from August 10 to 12. While there are well-known Deaf theater companies and festivals, Deaf dance festivals are rare. A new one launched in San Diego earlier this year and Hunter and Urban Jazz Dance were there. He is also completing his first commissioned piece for Oakland Ballet, which will premiere May 31 through June 3. In addition to dancing with his own company, he continues to perform with other troupes, too, from the Afro-Cubanmodern Alayo Dance Company, to Alpert Award-winner Joanna Haigood’s Zaccho Dance Theatre. Last fall, he was a guest dance teacher at Harvard University and taught acting at the prestigious Rochester Technical Institute for the Deaf, a renowned school for deaf students. A short dance

film that he choreographed and stars in won an award at the 2017 San Francisco Dance Film Festival, and in one of his more lighthearted accolades, he was crowned the 2017 King of San Francisco Carnival, an experience he enjoyed tremendously. “I really look at him as a success story, with a beautiful robust career,” says Jill Randall, artistic director at Berkeley’s Shawl-Anderson Dance Center, where Urban Dance is a resident company; the studio is one of 12 different places in which the indefatigable Hunter teaches. “Literally, you’ll see him popping up in all these awesome ways, as an artist, as a leader, as a facilitator.” *** Raised in the “poor parts” of Oakland by a single mom, Hunter was smitten with dance at four, and tried to copy the local street dancers he saw. A few years later, his mother took him to Oakland Ballet to see The Nutcracker. Not only did he fall in love with the spectacle, but he noticed that, unlike when he watched television, he reacted to the onstage action at the same time as the rest of the audience, which was a revelation. Dance doesn’t rely on audible words for meaning and it made him feel less different. Meanwhile, he developed a love for music not by hearing it but by feeling it. He would lean against his great grandfather’s oversized stereo system and feel the beat of the instruments punctuating his body; jazz music became his favorite. “So, when I later danced for Savage Jazz Dance Company or other people, the music I felt from when I was younger, it was in my body,” says Hunter, sitting in a conference room at ODC Commons dance complex in San Francisco, after teaching a class in jazz dance. “It’s something that hearing people have to listen for to respond to, or they listen for the cue to move. I have to create my own music in my body to move at the exact same time.” Hunter started formal training late with teacher Dawn James at Skyline High School, and at the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts. He viscerally remembers the dance audition for CalArts. He made his first solo trip into San Francisco on that day, heading to the studios at San the POOL




Hunter and Urban Dance company members in rehearsal for a performance at a recent dance festival in San Diego. OPPOSITE

Antoine Hunter and SJDC Dance Artist Alison Hurley.


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Francisco Ballet. “I was just excited. I was very focused and I wanted to look serious,” he says.. “At one point I fell and, I couldn’t help it, I had a big smile on my face. I thought, ‘That was so cool, I fell! I’ve got to come to your school because I’ve never done that before.’ ” After arriving on campus, Hunter was simultaneously challenged and exhilarated. He became the proverbial sponge, soaking up not just dance instruction but lessons in acting and music, too. He learned to make costumes. He spent hours in the library and remembers his delight when reading about the multi-faceted talents of artists such as modern dance pioneer Martha Graham and African American post-modern choreographer Bill T. Jones. “It was fascinating. No matter which corner of the building you went around, you would find something you could apply to your work, your imagination or to your spirit,” says Hunter. In the studio, he developed a wide range of helpful skills and tricks. He closely observed the body language of piano accompanist Michael Roberts, the dance school’s former music coordinator, for clues about tempo and when to start moving. “My advantage as a deaf person was that I really watched,” he says. “I noticed a lot of dancers weren’t listening for the combination or for what to do, but I had to watch and feel and be present, alert. It pushed me.” Still, it was hard to collaborate with students in composition class because they couldn’t easily communicate. Classmate Janet Collard, from Berkeley, remembered Hunter from their audition. At CalArts she reached out to him and they became friends. They fondly recall a dance they created together. “I think it must have been one of our composition classes,” says Collard, who is now a Berkeley-based dancer and choreographer, “…we were partnered up, and I’m like 5 feet and he’s 6 feet or so. We just thought it would be funny if I attached myself to his leg, and he walked like normal and shook his leg as if he didn’t notice I was even there.” Struggling to make financial ends meet, Hunter cleaned other students’ rooms and cooked meals for extra dollars. But he just didn’t have the money to continue.“I prayed for years to return to CalArts,” he says. Hunter returned home, at which point he joined the Savage Jazz Dance Company. He began teaching, too, including at the East Bay Center, where he met members of the Paul Taylor Dance Company, which led to two summers of training at Taylor’s New York school. Jordan Simmons, director of the East Bay Center, has known Hunter since he was a teenager and was his mentor for a teaching internship through the Kennedy Center Very Special Arts Program. Simmons says Hunter demands a lot of his students and is especially good at teaching choreography to youngsters who cannot imagine themselves making up dances.


“My advantage as a deaf person was that I really watched. I noticed a lot of dancers weren’t listening for the combination or for what to do, but I had to watch and feel and be present, alert. It pushed me.”

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Hunter on set in Qiying Lin’s Dance to the Music in your Heart, winner, Best Student Film, 2017 San Francisco Dance Film Festival. OPPOSITE

His pride and joy. Hunter and his daughter, Zula, at The Presidio in Golden Gate Park.

“Antoine’s story and his determination; both his attitude about making work and his seriousness—the way he carries himself, and the way he dances—all inspire other students,” Simmons said in a phone interview. “And, I think in the arts, we need role models of different kinds because we have to find a piece of ourselves in those role models.” When Hunter starts a new piece, he says he begins with movement exploration, but he wants his dances to speak to audiences about deeply felt issues—about equality, about making connections with others who are different, and about ending hatred. He has made pieces about slavery and domestic violence. In 2011, he and Epifano won a Margaret Jenkins Dance Company CHIME award, and with Epifano mentoring Hunter, he pushed his process to the next level. “I saw him start to take risks,” says Epifano. “I saw him physically engaging in partnership in another way; not just with the weight exchange, but how you create choreography from that. He was abstracting things and creating metaphor.” Hunter’s most recent choreography salutes the strong women in his life, including his mother, sister, Zula, and best friend, who have supported and guided him, but who have also overcome their own trials. He puts American Sign 28

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Language movements into his compositions because the gestures are a kind of visual music; he says that learning ASL also helped him to feel rhythm. He uses it because he wants to communicate with his deaf audience, and, just maybe, the hearing crowd will learn a new language. “I do want to give a message: that it’s OK to be different and that we need to take the time to learn from each other, so we can become closer together.” Laura Bleiberg is a freelance writer based in Long Beach, specializing in dance. Her stories have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and LA Weekly among other publications.

“I do want to give a message: that it’s OK to be different and that we need to take the time to learn from each other, so we can become closer together.”

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Acci den tally Alter nat ive

Chrysanthe Tan Talks Comedy With Atsuko Okatsuka


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“Remember when everyone woke up, and suddenly no one could eat gluten anymore? That was a sad day.” Atsuko collapses over the mic. “We’re in a drought, and it’s bread that’s gonna kill us. Well, not all of us, just white people…I think one day soon, Silver Lake and Echo Park will be re-gentrified by all the immigrants who were able to eat bread.” — Atsuko Okatsuka (Critical Studies MFA 15) at Comedy Comedy Festival, 2015


Chrysanthe Tan

(Music MFA 17, Critical Studies MFA 14) PH OTO G R A PH Y

Rafael Hernandez (Art BFA 11)

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I’ve been an admiring, if not slightly

lurking, fan of Atsuko Okatsuka’s from the day I first encountered her work four years ago. I keep up with her comedy sketches, watch her documentaries, and laugh at her “Grandma and Me” Facebook videos. Atsuko doesn’t spin jokes; she tells stories. Whether it’s hiding in a garage, growing up an undocumented immigrant, or watching a hot dog eating contest, she resists the urge to tie a neat little bow on top of her tales. She leans into the stories, expands on them, and explores the psychology of her reactions. Then, she juxtaposes them with other stories and builds an arc to her set. “If you don’t have an origin story, you fall back on observation,” she tells me, citing tired shticks like “I was walking around the other day” and “you ever notice how coffee looks?” She tells me “a lot of white dudes” do that. Fair enough. Mainstream comedy is still undeniably dominated by white men. In 2012, Atsuko co-founded Dis/oriented Comedy, the first-ever Asian American, mostly female, national comedy tour, as a way to foster a safe, empowering space for Asian American comedians and audience members. She is quick to point out that Dis/oriented isn’t just for Asian people; “it’s for all people of color, immigrants, queer people, and those who don’t usually have a chance on mainstream comedy stages.” Atsuko’s fervent sense of ethical responsibility is a through line in everything she does. But don’t forget, she’s also funny as hell—a shining example that compassion and comedy should coexist. Before you read the interview, I must get this out of the way: Atsuko’s name is pronounced OTTS-koh oh-COTska. Whatever you do, don’t call her Stacey. Chrysanthe Tan: I must confess, I normally hate comedy. It doesn’t do anything for me. But somehow, I think your stuff is really funny. My favorite piece is the Comedy Comedy Festival video posted on YouTube.

Atsuko Okatsuka: When I was naked on stage? A designer said, “I want you to wear my piece in your show. It’s a dress.” I was like, “Sure, I would love that. That’s awesome.” When he gave it to me, I said, “Where is the rest of the dress? This is a bathing suit.” That was a dress? Whoa. How intentional are your costume choices?

Sometimes I play myself down a little bit. I like dressing up, but if it’s a more industry-type show, instead of a dress I’ll wear overalls that make me look like a tarot card reader. That’s so that the audience is not so focused on my nice dress. In comedy, once you step on to a stage, you have to establish your theme and brand very quickly, so they can figure out how to get on board with you. I don’t want my 32

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dress to be my theme. What I like to do is a weird, sad voice where I’m pissed and sad at the same time, so I start that the moment I get on stage. I usually like to see the audience before deciding how I want the set to go. Do you peek out from behind the curtain?

I may go, “That’s a lot of white people tonight…” How do you treat white audiences?

Well, I guess “white” is so broad. I don’t mean that if it’s a white audience, I’ve got to do my set a certain way. Is it that there’s an absence of Asian people in the crowd?

There’s always an absence. Asian people don’t go to comedy shows. Not even to see you?

A lot of them say ‘It doesn’t speak to me…’ Or, if they’re the only Asian in the audience, they get called out, heckled. They get ching, chong, ching, chong, especially sitting up front. So, they never go see comedy. Do you see Asian American audiences at Dis/oriented shows?

Dis/oriented, brings out Asian American communities. I think it’s encouraging to see comedians they can relate to—and not just because we look similar. They connect through our stories. And they won’t get picked on. It’s crazy that we have to start our own platform, just for people to feel safe about seeing a live show. A lot of themed rooms started that way, too: Latin-themed nights, Def Comedy Jam, etc. But funny is funny. Storytelling is interesting. It shouldn’t have to be ethnically themed for it to be relatable. That’s what the alternative comedy scene is trying to do right now. Hold up, alternative comedy? I didn’t realize there was a distinction between mainstream and alternative comedy.

At first, I didn’t necessarily want to make experimental or alternative work. You’re not alternative. You’re just you.

The alternative scene just happened because we didn’t fit the Comedy Store style of comedy; we hated it and just didn’t want the tourist crowd and dick jokes. So we started these underground shows at little bars and laundromats. We weren’t vibing with mainstream comedy. So alternative is a label that you now embrace?

Totally. And it’s thriving now because there’s a positive air and uniqueness, and actual stakes. It’s like Get Out, the movie. It’s in the genre of horror. But if you’ve lived as a black person in America, I would argue that Get Out is

a drama or documentary. When I go into pitch meetings, people often say, “Give me a high concept idea—something out of this world.” I tell them I have a story about when I was undocumented and I lived in a garage. They say, “We want it more high concept. This is too real.”

I’m like, “Bitch, this is high concept. Being undocumented is out of this world. That experience is almost sci-fi, because it’s inhumane and strange to be locked up in a garage for seven years trying to be quiet.” Real life can be horror or sci-fi, too.

You’re a filmmaker, too! How do you identify yourself as an artist?

I think comedian, actress, filmmaker. For me, it’s comedy first, then whatever comes out of that. Seems less about the medium than the message. You also graduated from CalArts with an Interschool MFA in both Film and Writing…

Right. I sent in my stand-up for my application—video and transcribed words. I like that they consider those “Critical Studies.”

Atsuko Okatsuka (left) convinces interviewer Chrysanthe Tan to take part in an impromptu dance performance at Echo Park Lake.

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What did you do for your thesis project?

I made a dramatic video about looking for my sister in Japan. Then I mixed the film with poems. They love poems at CalArts. At the time, I didn’t know what my place was. There is no comedy program. Everyone is so serious. I was like, “maybe I need to step back a little, try to be less narrative.” Sometimes it takes time after graduating to realize that it’s not your aesthetic. A lot of artists can relate to that…there’s always pressure to look fancier or weirder or edgier. Why did you go to CalArts, though? You already had a career at the time.

I wanted a safety, and to prove something to my grandma. But my grandma is awesome. She asked, “what happened to comedy? What is art school?” I said, “I don’t know. I’m finding out myself.” Was it valuable?

Oh yes, I still draw from my Critical Studies program, especially with outlines. I didn’t realize until recently that there’s now an arc element to a lot of my sets; that I like to come back to themes that I hinted at in the beginning. And you weren’t expecting that?

No. Don’t you ever go back to that one lesson?


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Yep. It’s always the last thing you’d expect. Speaking of unexpected, the first time I saw your work was at a little CalArts poetry reading. Instead of reading poems, you showed a short film about a massage parlor. It was hilarious. You were laying there naked, face down, with a sheet over you, getting a four-hands massage and receiving a diagnosis of carpal tunnel.

Oh yes, beautiful story about the people working there. I loved the experience! Do people mind being in your films and videos, especially when viewers might be laughing at them?

Laughing with them. That’s an important distinction for me. But some people will be laughing at them.

It’s really important that I am the butt of the joke. I don’t ever make fun of audience members or of people in my stories. They’re just living, or may be victims. Do you feel responsible as a comedian to protect vulnerable people and make sure you’re not throwing them under the bus?

For sure. I feel silly quoting an old formula: ‘Comedy = Tragedy + Time.’ But here’s where alternative comedy diverges from mainstage comedy: Alternative


Strength of character, an abundance of attitude, and her signature fashion statements define Okatsuka’s on-stage persona. RIGHT

Still from In Waiting, 2015. Okatsuka refers to her mother and grandmother as her “heart and soul.” They often appear in her films and videos.

comedians poke fun at themselves, the tragedy is themselves. With mainstage comedy, they’re often making fun of someone who doesn’t have a voice. Not a lot of white guys can talk about living in a garage or being called the N word, so what’s the tragedy? It’s the women or the people of color. This is an actual joke I heard at The Comedy Store: “I hit a guy while driving in the dark the other day—granted, he was black. I couldn’t see him. Maybe if he were smiling at me, I could see him, but he should have smiled before I hit him.” Awful!

The filmmaker, too, should be the butt of the joke, not other people. Your mom and grandma appear in many of your films, often doing silly stuff with you, but I never feel like you’re making fun of them. The videos celebrate your special relationship.

Those two are my heart and soul. I know mental illness is something that affects your family, but you don’t seem to focus on it. You just celebrate people instead. Do mental health issues influence your work?

I talk about mental health from the standpoint of “things that might drive us crazy that we need to fix”, but I don’t

explicitly talk about mental illness much. My grandma and mom live together. My grandma is my mom’s caretaker. I love your short documentary about them, In Waiting. It wasn’t meant to be a comedy, but lots of people thought it was funny. Are you not taken seriously sometimes?

I don’t really care if people take me seriously or not. I don’t know my self-worth; that’s why I’m a comedian. I wanted to be taken seriously for the longest time, and maybe that was the problem. Does your art help you process life?

It does, always. It makes things palatable. Do you have any artistic routines or superstitions?

I usually have a cigarette before I perform. I use the restroom; empty myself out. Then a massive cup of tequila afterward.

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“When I first came to the states, I was given a name Stacey and my teacher refused to call me Atsuko. She would come over and put tape over my entire name…and say ‘you are Stacey.’ And I didn’t understand what was happening at the time, so I went home and asked my grandma ‘what is this?’ She was like ‘oh…uh, racism, that’s called racism.’”

Have you had a performance from hell?

I’m trying to decide if it was on America’s Got Talent or when I performed in the south at a Hard Rock Café in front of Vietnam War vets. Oh, fun.

The vets were nice for most of the lineup, which was all white dudes. The crowd was cheering, roaring; they were into it! But when I showed up on stage the entire room went silent. I said ‘Oh, my God, thank you for the warm welcome…I feel like I lost you guys at Pearl Harbor.’ But then I said, ‘I know you weren’t part of that war. You’re not that old.’ Impressive…

Thanks! What art is affecting you most these days?

Oh, my God. I really loved Get Out. I loved Moonlight. I’m excited about Black Panther, even though it’s a Marvel movie and I’m not into superhero stuff. Genres are starting to be done from different perspectives, whether independent filmmaking or comedy. It’s a relief, because for the longest time, we were on this mumblecore train. And by mumblecore you mean?…

Like Girls or the TV show Love—trust fund kids sitting around talking about how they’re upset that their friendship is over, and the rest of the series is them walking around 36

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complaining. I appreciate that they were trying to create a new wave of filmmaking where it’s back to mundane realism, but… You just don’t like it.

It’s not relatable. It’s boring and it’s for low stakes. It’s just first world problems. Did we, as queer artists and artists of color, come to a point where we have to ride the mumblecore train and fight to be mediocre? Now that we’re finally getting platforms, we should be spectacular. Let’s retry the horror genre. Retry classic comedy. Slapstick comedy. We’ve never seen people of color do slapstick, because it was out of trend after Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and I Love Lucy. Are there any comedians you’d recommend for people like me, who are a tougher sell?

You might like Tig Notaro, Ali Wong, or Cristela Alonzo…

Chrysanthe Tan is a Los Angeles-based composer, violinist and writer. See her work at



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The CalArts Poster Archive

CalArts has a long history

of graphic design students designing and printing posters for visiting artists and designer lectures, as well as performances in the Schools of Music, Theater, and Dance. The CalArts Poster Archive contains almost 2,000 of these posters, most of which are silkscreen prints produced in a limited run. While the posters serve to publicize events, they also allow students to experiment with form and composition. The small, self-contained audience and the short time they hang in the hallways of CalArts allow for a high level of experimentation and risk-taking, making the posters as much about the agenda of the individual designer as the event itself. Today, more than 20 years after The CalArts Poster Archive was founded by faculty members Shelley Stepp and Kary Arimoto-Mercer, faculty Michael Worthington and a dedicated group of student assistants have digitized the collection, which is now available online at An exhibition of a selection of the posters, and an accompanying publication, is planned for October, 2018 at the REDCAT gallery. The goals of are to make the poster collection available to the public and to crowdsource missing information from alumni and faculty. The physical archive contains many more posters than the digital component currently displays, as the process of documenting and cataloging continues. What follows is a selection of posters representing a sliver of the rich history of experimental form making, as well as that of events and performances at CalArts.

PREVIOUS PAGES Row 1: Denise Gonzales Crisp, Gail Swanlund, 2013; David Karwan, Scott Massey, Stefano Giustiniani, Tom Kracauer, 2012; Jon Sueda, Peter Kaplan, 2001; Izaak Berenson, 2012; Jiwon Lee, 2005; Don Chang, Nancy Levey, 1983; Calvin Rye, Kat Dickinson, Sarah Shoemake, 2012; Jesse Lee Stout, 2010; Sophie Dobrigkeit, 1999; Christina Rodriguez, Jazmyn Faulkner, 2011; Florencio Zavala, Tanya Rubbak, 2006 Row 2: Ed Fella, Harmen Liemburg, 2006; David Karwan, 2011; Caroline Oh, Colleen Corcoran, 2008; Bijan Berahimi, Christopher Burnett, 2011; Caryn Aono, 1991; Christopher Burnett, Pedro Lavin, 2012; Jonathan Louie, 1985; Joel Evey, Mansi Shah, 2008; Eileen Levinson, Nikelle Orellana, 2005; Andrea Tinnes, Jose Allard, Lee Schultz, Pirco Wolframm, 1998; Credit Missing, 2008 Row 3: Bijan Berahimi, Christopher Burnett, 2013; Credit Missing, 1988; Joseph Prichard, 2008; Lorin Brown, Sean Yoon, 2009; Isaiah Montoya, Sarah Young, 2013; Peter Kaplan, 2010 Row 4: Harmen Liemburg, 2006; Christopher Burnett, Pedro Lavin, 2012; Masato Nakada, Karen To, 2010; Karen Hirt, Tuan Phan, 2000; Stephanie Chen, 2007; Credit Missing, 2013; Alejandro Hernandez, 2011; Credit Missing, 1983; Aaron Vinton, 2007; Jin Son, Maja Blazejewska, 2005; Scott Barry, 2010 Row 5: Max Erdenberger, Megan McGinley, 2004; Stefano Giustiniani, 2012; Tami Pivnick, 1982; Izaak Berenson, 2011; Scott Massey, Stefano Giustiniani, 2011; Christopher Burnett, 2013; Francesca Ramos, Juyoung Kim, 2013; Caroline Park, Masato Nakada, 2010; Daryn Wakasa, Devin Dailey, 2008; Francesca Ramos, Lily Sin, 2013; Masato Nakada, Aastha Gaur, 2008


Allbriton Robbins, 2007 Design Credit Missing, 1977 Peter Kaplan, 2009 Robert Burns, 1982 David Chathas, 2014 Edwin Alvarenga, Lila Burns, 2010 Mike Calvert, 2005

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Peter Levine, 1980 Ron Miller, 1984 Mansi Shah, Tiffany Malakooti, 2007 Florencio Zavala, 2006


Andrea Tinnes, Jose Allard, Lee Schultz, Pirco Wolframm, 1998 Andrew Hogge, John Wiese, 1999 Andelee Lin, Tiffanie Tran, 2011 David Chathas, Jacob Halpern, 2014 Chathurika Thenuwara, Tina Hung, 2016 Christopher Burnett, 2012

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Scott Barry, 2010 Caroline Oh, Teira Johnson, 2008 Ron Romero, 1984 Jessica Kao, 2013 David Devine, Stephen Kessler, 1995 Alex Ketchakmadze, David Matthew Davis, Nathalie Sehee Kim, 2013 Ed Fella, Harmen Liemburg, 2006


CalArts Alumni Magazine


CalArts Legacy Circle is a community of artists and supporters who have provided for CalArts in their estate plans or through a life-income gift. “The advantages of a Planned Gift were many. First, it was an easy way to give back. We set up a family trust which allows us control of where our money will go. Rich and I were in total agreement that we wanted to make a gift to CalArts, which contributed so much to who we are today. It’s assuring to know that our gift will grow through the years and will benefit students, and the very special place that is CalArts.”

Planned gifts, no matter the size, have the power to change lives for generations of CalArtians. Planned gifts provide essential funding for students and faculty, while creating a lasting legacy for the donor.

—Kali Nikitas MFA 90

For more information about the CalArts Legacy Circle, please contact Aaron Campbell in the Planned Giving Office at 661-222-2743 or by e-mail at

Kali Nakitas (MFA 90) and Rich Shelton (MFA 90)

Sublevel is CalArts’s new literary magazine, launched in

adrienne maree brown

February 2017, co-founded by Maggie

Nelson and Janice Lee. It is a primarily online publication devoted to the nexus of literature, poetics, art, criticism, philosophy, culture, and politics. Housed in the CalArts MFA Creative Writing Program—an interdisciplinary environment dedicated to the experimental impulse in writing and thinking—Sublevel is a literary magazine immersed in the world of art without being in service to it. It makes no hard distinctions between creative and critical enterprise, but rather celebrates writing that finds itself at the inter-

R E PO R T :

Recommendations For Us Right Now From A Future

section of the two. Sublevel publishes original essays, interviews, roundtables, conversations, scripts, stories, and lists, annually, on a topic. Sublevel’s second issue is on “The Speculative.” Eight features explore the de-familiarizing of the familiar as a crucial tactic for investigating reality; how science fiction, fantasy, and horror

They stood by the heat, watching the wood pop open to unveil sunlight. Noemi was the teacher tonight, sifting through the memory to find wisdom, to find some guidance. It had been an exhausting long day after months, years of pushing beyond the limits of their bodies.

not only pervade media but influence collective political and social efforts; the ways in which new technologies are pushing us toward a slippage of communication, dislodging language from reality; the space that the speculative and speculation provide for an intersection of academics and autodidacts alike; how speculation has shaped, and continues to shape, the current economic climate, specifically in relation to Los Angeles.

This excerpt, republished

in The Pool, is a new commission from

writer, doula, healer, coach and pleasure activist, adrienne maree brown. For our Correspondent Section (“a report from the field, in the form of recommendations”), brown practices time-travel to send us a series of manifesto-like tasks that propose self-care as a political act of resistance/resilience from her near future-self.


Be revolutionary.


The changes we are responsible for shaping are profound. When we can see the end of our species on the horizon, we must operate at a scale that extends our life beyond the horizon. M A NTR A  We root the work we do and the ways we do it in love, in being an extension of love in the world. CONTE X T

Even if we don’t have a clear sense of the exact solutions to fix the future, we should have a clear sense of how we want to feel in ourselves, in our relationships with each other, in community, and in relationship to the planet. Those feelings aren’t for the far off future, they are guidance to what we must be seeding and practicing now, right now. PR AC TICE

If we believe that we are miraculous, we must treat ourselves and each other that way. PR AC TICE

If we believe in community, then we must get curious about the ways we need 46

CalArts Alumni Magazine

to grow and communicate in order to truly be a part of community. Not just one community, but the multitude of communities we intersect with. TA SK

We must become scholars of belonging.

N E E D  Separation weakens. It is the main way we are kept (and keep each other) in conditions of oppression. TRUTH

Belonging doesn’t begin with other people accepting us. It begins with our acceptance of ourselves. Of the particular life and skin each of us was born into, and the work that particular birth entails. M A NTR A  Where we are born into privilege, we are charged with dismantling any myth of supremacy. Where we are born into struggle, we are charged with claiming our dignity, joy and liberation. POSSI B I LIT Y

From that deep place of belonging to ourselves, we can understand that we are inherently worthy of each other. Even when we make mistakes, harm each other, lose our way, we are worthy. PR AC TICE

Learn to apologize. A proper apology is rooted in this worthiness—“I was at my worst. Even at my worst, I am worthy, so I will grow.” PR AC TICE  Move towards spaces that value us, let ourselves belong to those communities that know they want us, know they need us, know we have worth, know we deserve more than transactional care.


Care for ourselves and each other as a revolutionary practice. N E E D

This is a world of wonder and wounds. Both are always with us. If we ignore the wonder, we lose our will to live—not just individually, but our collective will to continue our species. If we ignore the wounds, they fester into unspoken needs and inhumane policy. M A NTR A

We are each other’s medicine.


We must be clear that caring for each other is a fundamental piece of any future we will build. This doesn’t displace struggle, critique, or conflict, but rather deepens and softens these necessary human experiences, makes them part of belonging instead of a precursor to exile. PR AC TICE

Question any strategies that don’t account for care. Especially when such strategies are housed in the work of reforming existing oppression, making it slightly less harmful. That is not care, it’s complicity. WA R N I NG

We must understand it is advanced work to wield any master’s tools— most of the time we become the shape we shift into, we forget why we entered the big house, and that we still come and go through the back door. We cannot dabble in reformist work under the guise of revolution, we must be looking directly at the ways oppression has coiled itself at the stem of our work for social justice. We must seek comprehensive change from the roots of the world to the sky. S TA N DA R D

This means we must have a very clear reason in our organizing work any time we delay or reject cooperation, consensus, democracy, socialism, abolition or transformation. (Ex. “we are redistributing funds from the wealthy to the poor in the only way that the wealthy will currently relinquish these funds, the POOL


forgiven neighbor, we must be capable of this kind of complex cohabitation, or we will ruin the possibility of life.

aka charity.”) We must know these reasons barely justify the methods, and approach such work as temporary and dangerous tactical movement. Otherwise our rejection of these liberation technologies must be understood as compliance with oppression and, perhaps, a terror of freedom. CONTE X T

It is ok to be afraid. It is logical. We were just slaves and slave owners a minute ago. We were just segregated a few seconds ago. Both of those systems morphed without dying; they live on in us, in practice. It is daunting to carry the dream of freedom in an imprisoned body, it is terrifying to truly face the vast scope of heartbreak and othering that permeates our species. It requires looking within as deeply as we look without, and it is scary to see oppression inside ourselves.

PR AC TICE  We cannot change others, but we can be honest with each other, and celebrate the work we do to change ourselves. Applaud the work wealthy people do to organize and educate their own community out of cursory charity and into transformative solidarity.* Or that white people do to unlearn supremacy.** Or that men do to extract patriarchy. PR AC TICE  Remember we are miraculous and interconnected, and anything less is not worthy of the life-gift we have been given. PR AC TICE  Feel pleasure every day. Don’t let your body, your heart, forget why we fight— to feel aliveness and togetherness. We will grow.

* Resource Generation organizes young people

with wealth and class privilege in the U.S. to become transformative leaders working towards the equitable distribution of wealth, land and power.

** Catalyst Project helps to build powerful multira-


We place our collective freedom before our individual fears. PI VOT  To fight does not always mean to move against. It also means we need to be investing our energy, attention and resources in generating alternative and sustainable methods of supporting our work. Our attention is as precious and precise as sunlight. If we put it on each other’s flaws, we can burn each other out of existence. But if we put it on the best of us, on the lessons, on the children, on our practices—we will grow. PR AC TICE

Identify the front lines within us and bear down with love. We are the microcosm. Self reflect and adapt.

PR AC TICE  Identify the front lines of toxic behavior in the world and bring all our tools for the detox. Do not assume we can use the same approach in every battle. PR AC TICE

Know the difference between fighting an enemy and struggling with a comrade. Let our goal be the elimination of the concept of enemy, the need for an enemy— rather than the obliteration of specific enemies. We must make our current enemy our future 48

CalArts Alumni Magazine

cial movements that can win collective liberation. In the service of this vision, they organize, train and mentor white people to take collective action to end racism, war and empire, and to support efforts to build power in working-class communities of color.

adrienne maree brown is the author of Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds and co-editor of Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction from Social Justice Movements. Through the Emergent Strategy Ideation Institute, she facilitates social justice work with a focus on black liberation, and serves as a doula, healer, coach and pleasure activist. She writes the Pleasure Dome column for Bitch magazine, and cohosts the podcast How to Survive the End of the World with her sister Autumn.

August 21–28 2018

CalArts Travel

Engage with other CalArtians and join faculty Jon Gottlieb for the three CalArts productions in the Festival Fringe. We will also travel to Glasgow to see its distinct architecture and contemporary art scene, from historic Charles Rennie Mackintosh and David Hamilton to the Gallery of Modern Art and Transmission Gallery. Experience all five festivals. Additional highlights include: •

Join CalArts Travel August 21–28 in Scotland at the intersection of renowned arts festivals including the Fringe, Edinburgh International Festival, Military Tattoo, Art Festival, and Book Fair.

An exclusive studio visit with a couture milliner who works in Scottish fabrics A bespoke bagpipe demonstration and tour with the National Piping Centre A three-dram tasting and private dinner at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society

This special opportunity is open exclusively to CalArts alumni, families, and friends. Proceeds support, in part, the travel and performance costs of CalArtian Fringe artists. Space is limited. To reserve your spot call, 661-222-2742 or email

Edinburgh the POOL


Alumnx HQ

Checking In With Inaugural Seed Grant Awardees

Dear Alumnx,

Watch for exciting opportunities (like the new Seed Grants Program) in our biweekly e-newsletter, The Network. Please contact us at if you are not receiving it.

I’m thrilled to share with you new works produced by our first crop of Seed Grant awardees. Last fall, we developed the Alumnx Council Seed Grant Program as a way for the Institute to give back to CalArtians. Grants are funded by the Alumnx Office via the CalArts Fund. As you know, artists work very hard to put together financial backing for their projects. Each $250 Seed Grant helps in this overall funding picture by covering costs for anything from supplies and equipment to travel and space rental—funding can be used in many, flexible ways. Alumnx Council Chair John Schwerbel and fellow Council Leaders looked for new work celebrating our founding philosophies of collaboration, community, and innovation. After poring over 31 thoughtful proposals, they decided on the five exciting projects featured on these pages. And what you see here is just the beginning. A new round of proposals is being reviewed this spring. In the years to come, we look forward to more of your creative, collaborative, CalArtian works. Be sure to check on updates on these projects as they develop! We are grateful to our alumnx for sharing these works with our community! Rageshwar Kaur Goldberg Director of Alumnx and Family Engagement


CalArts Alumni Magazine

Thymele Arts Artistic director John Henningsen (Theater 15) runs Thymele Arts, an 8,000-square-foot incubator space in Hollywood that includes rehearsal rooms, a dance studio, and shared workspaces. “It’s a hub for new work and emerging artists,” Henningsen says. “Hundreds of CalArtians come through our door so we’re proud to be a home away from home for alumnx as well as other members of the Los Angeles arts community.” Henningsen, who also serves as producing director for immersive entertainment company The Speakeasy Society, earmarked Alumnx Office Seed Grant monies to outfit the Thymele Arts’ gallery space. He says, “Our gallery provides artists with a place to present their work and share it with the larger community.”

Alarm Actor/director Leah Kestrel (Theater 13) used her seed grant to develop the live music-theaterdance piece Alarm in collaboration with 10 other CalArtians. The production deploys a “security alarm” metaphor to dramatize sonic, physical, and political events, Kestrel says. “The piece layers movement with extended vocal textures to question boundaries, ownership, and power in our current geopolitical scene.” Building on support from New Music USA and The Watermill Center, Kestreal explains, “The Seed Grant


Wild Art Actress/writer/director Allison M. Keating (MFA Theater 14) founded performance group Wild Art in 2015 as a vehicle to explore “unfettered self expression through daring projects.” Keating used the Seed Grant to rent space and equipment for her 2018 Wild Art Party. Describing the Wild Art

was really useful because the money helped cover expenses for materials used in costume mock-ups.” Kestral

presented a 15-minute excerpt of her production at REDCAT Studio in December and plans to tour the full length Alarm within the next year after enlisting new partners and support.

concept, Keating says, “It’s a won-

derful way for CalArts alumni to stay connected after graduation and potentially spark new collaborations.” the POOL


Alumnx HQ

Everything I Say is True An artist, performer, violinist, composer, producer and video-maker, Suzanne N. Kite (Music 13), aka Oglala Lakota, investigates her own heritage as a Native American in Everything I Say is True. The performance art piece incorporates music, lecture, movement, animation, video, and sculpture drawing upon the history of Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota, where Kite’s grandparents were born. Everything I Say is True includes creative contributions from CalArts faculty members Eyvind King on viola, Kemancheh, harpist Marilu Donovan, Matthew Clough Hunter on balinese flute, Matthew Allen on vibraphone, costume designer Hannah Lawton, and audio mixer Devin Ronneberg. The Alumnx Council Seed Grant enabled Kite to expand the reach of her project at kitekitekitekite. com/portfolio/items/everything-i-say-is-true.

“I’m using the seed grant money to make time to create an online home for the work,” says Kite. “We want to share all this content so that the international community of indigenous artists and curators, the CalArts community, and the public can all access it.”


CalArts Alumni Magazine

Porta Capa: Layers Become Landscape in October Venezuelan-born photographer/choreographer/ sculptor/musician Dany Naierman (MA Critical Studies 17) produced Porta Capa: Layers Become Landscape in October. Presented at San Pedro’s Angeles Gate Cultural Center as part of the Getty Foundation-partnered Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA initiative, the outdoor installation featured puppets, automatons and kinetic sculptures inspired by the nearby Port of Los Angeles. Naierman’s Seed Grant money compensated the production team. Collaborators include alumnx Paola Escobar (co-choreography), Tanya Orellana (scenic and interaction design) and Rose Malone (lighting design). Current CalArts students also contributed, with Daniel Gower composing the music performed by classmates Melanie Waingarten, Sam Creely and Nicolas Savignano. “Our process is based on conversation before action,” Naierman says. “For me, it was

wonderful to see a lighting designer bring dramaturgical ideas or watch our choreographer thinking about integrating movement into costumes and scenic elements.”

Alumnus J. Cash-Cooper’s fantastical artwork now marks the entrance to the Alumnx Office.

CalArts ‘Creation Myth’ Enlivens Campus Wall A vibrant and playful new mural took up residence in February outside the Office of Alumnx and Family Engagement. Black Magic Blessed Children by J. Cash-Cooper (Film/Video 12) begins inside the office and wraps around a corner, stretching into the corridor. Teeming with a cavalcade of fantastical beasts, aliens, demons and hybrid-human characters, the 40-foot wide acrylic painting extends across eight sheets of plywood. Cash-Cooper’s work has been characterized as “Dr. Seuss on drugs.” It draws on many influences, including Tibetan Thankgka fabric paintings, Hindu deities, Babylonian creation myths, American comic books, and Japanese manga. Cash-Cooper sees his 272-square foot mural as an opportunity to jolt passers by into states of enlivened consciousness. “My goal is to move people from their mental space—even if it’s for half-second; that someone may see the mural and say, ‘Hey what’s up with that?’ If my work takes people out of worrying about an exam, the ex, or whatever, then I’ve done my job.” Mentored at CalArts by Experimental Animation faculty Paul Vester, Myron Emery

along with Character Animation professor John Mahoney, Cash-Cooper in 2014 earned an “International Teaching Fellowship” at Ngee Ann Polytechnic in Singapore. He then taught art history at Dalian University of Technology on a “Princeton in Asia” fellowship. In 2016, the Jummei Art Commune in Dalian presented Cash-Cooper’s first solo exhibition Unseen Forces. The artist says, “The experience of being on the other side of the world, traveling to places like Angkor Wat in Cambodia, art-building with students—it was a perfect feedback loop that fed my own imagination and inspired me to come up with different styles and color palettes and modes of expression.” Returning to California, Cash-Cooper learned about the mural project from a posting on CalArts’s Common Space job board. The creative brief was simple. “Our main building is really kind of a blank canvas,” says Rageshwar Kaur Goldberg, Director of Alumnx and Family Engagement. “When you open the doors, all of a sudden it’s magical—an art studio; music, dance, a theatrical scene being rehearsed—the space is activated by our artists. We wanted to go a step further and move an artwork from inside our office to the outside, and invite CalArtians in.” Cash-Cooper rooted Black Magic Blessed Children in concepts borrowed from ancient Babylonian culture. “When Rageshwar talked about depicting our community at CalArts, I realized the mural would be the perfect opportunity for me to make a new universe, writ large,” Cash-Cooper explains. “In Babylonian mythology, the blood of god acts as fertilizer for creation, so what you see in the painting is the children of god practicing black magic, not in the sense of sorcery, but in the way they wield the power of creation by making magic and partying and mutating and getting wild.” Goldberg sees echoes of Hieronymus Bosch and 19th century Japanese woodblock artist Hokusai in Cash-Cooper’s work. “It’s wonderful that Cash didn’t design a literal representation of CalArts,” she says. “In a way, he constructed a CalArts creation myth based on all these other traditions. I hope his mural will become a marker, a milestone in time, that will mean something distinctive for each class of graduating students and every generation of alumni.” — Hugh Hart the POOL


Alumnx HQ

Generations Unite In the Spirit of Chouinard CalArts honored its Chouinardian roots—without which the Institute would not exist—as generations of artistic legends gathered at Maggiano’s Little Italy at The Grove for the 2018 Chouinard Alumni Reunion. “Today was the first time I saw a friend in 45 years, and I’m so glad she recognized me without my nametag!” said Anahid Sultanian ’69 with a laugh. She paused and placed a hand on her chest. “I hope we do it again because I will definitely come back. I will always support Chouinard, it was the love of my life.” What started as a small get-together and spontaneous art showcase, held in Timothy and Marriott Clark’s backyard, has expanded into a reunion that grows in attendance each year and attracts artists from across the globe. On Saturday, February 10, alumni shared memories of their days at Chouinard, a heartfelt awards 54

CalArts Alumni Magazine

Back: Masako Watanabe ’60, Larry LeGras ’60, Sharon Jeniye ’67, Jerry Eisenberg ’56, Lois DeArmond, Jean Loew ’49, Tim Clark ’72, alumnx Janet Rogoff, Bill Stout ’71, Stace Aspey ’70, Joy Parker ’70, Ian Kennedy ’69, Robert Rodriguez ’69, Vicki Laszlo ’65. Middle: Barry Friedrich ’70, Mona Thalheimer ’71, Anahid Sultanian ’69, Ellen Romm Lampert ’70, alumnx Sangeeeta Sydney Levy, Stan Tusan ’60, Russell Blandino ’70, Phyllis Fields ’70. Front: Doris Olga Gotsinas Kouyias ’69, Claudia Hurtz ’69, Nobuyuki Hadeishi ’61, Joel Goldstein ’68, Barbara Salanitro ’62, Glen Kittelson ’56, Leo Monahan ’58, Bob Kurtz ’59, Becky Bristow ’76, Carole Castillo-Ramsdell ’67

ceremony, and enjoyed a program representing both Chouinardians and current CalArtians. Each year, award recipients are selected by a Chouinard alumni peer committee whose members this year were artist and committee chair Timothy J. Clark ’72, Glen Kittelson ’56, and artist Doris Olga Gotsinas Kouyias ’69. The Chouinard Alumni Award Committee and CalArts presented the Nelbert Chouinard Award to artist Leo Monahan ’58 for elevating the art form of paper sculpture, and the Grand View Award to fashion designer Larry LeGras ’60, honoring his artistic and professional career and service as an Alumni Council Leader. “Leo’s professional achievements and dedication to his work embodies the spirit of Nelbert Chouinard,” said Kittelson. “He’s taken, what I considered at the time to be a craft and

elevated it to, what I can say today, is, a fine art.” Monahan’s art has appeared in galleries in California and throughout the Southwest, as well as the Smithsonian Art and Space Museum. He is a 35-year participant in the U.S. Air Force documentary art program and a founder of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s documentary art program. Monahan received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Los Angeles Society of Illustrators, and he has taught at Chouinard, CalArts, USC, and Disney Imagineering. In accepting his award, Monahan shared memories of Nelbert Chouinard’s own artistic ability, wit, and pedagogical savvy. “Mrs. C was just an incredible person. If it were not for Chouinard, then nothing,” he said, throwing his arms out in passion. A round of heartfelt applause followed his remarks, and Clark took

the podium to announce the winner of the Grand View Award. He spoke about both Larry LeGras’ career, and his service as an Alumni Council Leader. “His contributions have significantly impacted fashion, culture, and the community of our nation,” Clark said. LeGras worked as a fashion designer, jeweler, and teacher throughout Los Angeles, and he has served as president and vice president of the California Fashion Designers, on the Costume Society of America’s Board of Directors, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Costume Council. He taught fashion design at Otis College of Art & Design, Woodbury University, among others, and he served as Chouinard’s representative on the CalArts Alumni Council. “Larry wanted to be an independent person, which is what we all learned to be at Chouinard,” Clark said. “In this room, there are a lot of people who made huge differences in people’s lives. Very often, they’re not household names, but what they created went into almost every household.” Following the awards ceremony, current CalArtians Sam Chen (Art 18) and Yonatan Tal (Film/Video 17) took the podium to share their work. Chen explained how she brings her art into the world, through student exhibitions and classroom work in schools, while Tal spoke of traveling the world before finding CalArts, as well as his current work at Disney Television. As Chouinardians listened to these CalArtians express their affection for the Institute, they found that they shared a common core value: the spirit of artistic individuality. “As far as the spirit of Chouinard, I think that’s the one thing that’s still alive within CalArts,” said Chouinardian Bill Stout ’71. “Chouinard faculty would look at each individual and say, ‘I see what you’re doing.’ They would make each of us a better artist. They were developing individuals—not cookie-cutter animators and artists. What I’m hearing from these students, is that this is still emphasized.” Clark concurred. “Something like Chouinard has come back—something like it has regrown,” Clark said of the student presenters and their work. “It’s stunning because we didn’t think

[CalArts] would be that way. Yet, it’s closer to what Chouinardians did than anyone ever thought. It zigged and it zagged and it went a lot of different places, but it’s wound up filling a role that Chouinard figured out how to fill. When Chouinard left, there was a vacancy—and someone reinvented it. The CalArts students have the right spirit, and they’re right on track.” Class of 2017 graduate Yonatan Tal found himself nearly speechless to be in such storied company, and when speaking to Chouinardians about the future of their legacy, he returned to where it all started. “There’s something about the spirit of CalArts that can’t really be explained in words. Generations of artists have come and gone starting with Chouinard. We’ve somehow maintained a community of very special people and talents from all over the world. Even though we’re decades apart, the creative experience is the one thing that connects all of us here.”

Grand View Award honoree Larry LeGras ’60 with Masako Watanabe ’60 and John Paul Drayer


Leo Monahan ’58 received the Nelbert Chouinard Award. Selection committee members Glen Kittelson ’56, Doris Olga Gotsinas Kouyias ’69, Tim Clark ’72 with Rageshwar Kaur Goldberg, Director of Alumnx & Family Engagement


— Kirsten Quinn-Smith

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Alumnx HQ

REDCAT’s Annual Gala Celebrates Charles Gaines and Adele Yellin This year’s REDCAT Gala, marked 15 years of the Institute’s presence in and impact upon the arts in downtown Los Angeles. At each of these annual events a REDCAT Award is presented to a significant philanthropic supporter of the arts, and to a distinguished artist that embodies the values held dear by the CalArts community. The 2018 award recipients were Adele Yellin, a dedicated and tireless champion of the arts and of the redevelopment of L.A.’s downtown, and Charles Gaines, a noted conceptual artist and longtime faculty member in CalArts’s School of Art. Ms. Yellin was introduced by her daughter, Jessica Yellin, and Mr. Gaines, by his son, CalArts alumnus Malik Gaines. After acknowledgments and thanks, Mr. Gaines delivered a very personal and heartfelt acceptance speech, which follows in its entirety.

“I guess I have to admit

never thought in a million years that I would be standing here receiving this type of honor. I believed that at a certain point in my development as an artist that I was interested in things that would forever keep me on the margins of the art community. There are few benefits to being a black person in America, and one of these benefits is perverse, in a way, which is that by definition, one is refused by society to form an identity based upon mainstream or so-called normative values. Therefore, one’s first idea of the self is one that is marginalized, the tropes of self are absent, except as a negation of the normal. One is born into the world this way. But in a curious way this is an advantage for the minority person, because it requires that you invent yourself, invent your space in society, or as it goes in the US, land in jail. This is a complex process because the mainstream insists that those negative tropes of minoritarianism are one’s definitive identity and it calls on you to act mainstream, to act white as the space of normalcy in order to control the minority. At the


CalArts Alumni Magazine

same time, even when you try, you are refused whiteness. But my inability to imagine that someday I would be on this stage was not due only to my inability to imagine a black person receiving such honors. In fact, I could imagine that, and I have seen it, many times. What I couldn’t imagine was that Charles Gaines could ever enjoy this moment. Because, as I said, it’s not just that I was marginalized as a person, but the things I was interested in seemed marginal to the interest of the art world. The benefit that I just spoke of is that my experience as a black person made the experience of living on the margins familiar, part of this is the acceptance of exclusion. I was always interested in critical thinking within the framework of art practice, which led me to an obsession with analytical thinking and philosophical propositions about reality, which in turn lead me to an interest in the ethical problems of culture. I understood that these interests were always a part of art, to a greater or lesser degree, but for me my interests were almost on the level of academics, the history of thought in such matters, and I simply felt, correctly or incorrectly, that this

Adele Yellin and Charles Gaines, recipients of the 2018 REDCAT Awards, at the Gala on March 17.

obsession would place me permanently on the margins of the art world. I found teaching as a way of feeding this obsession, by inventing courses, both at Fresno State where I used to teach and at CalArts where I still teach. These courses could ultimately be described as attempts at reconciling the difference between analytical thinking and what I understood as creative practice. And I appreciate all those students at both institutions who willingly participated in this often Sisyphean endeavor. I would see the expression on the faces of my students, a look that said, “What in hell is he talking about?” I don’t know why they persevered? But many of them did. But I did construct a world for myself this way. And even as I found success in the art world in the 70s, I still felt that I was on the margins with a type of practice that was exhibited in significant galleries, but gave me very little public recognition. This, for me, was a unique space of marginalization, different than the space produced by the idea of the under-recognized artist or of minoritarian identity. I lived in a space of my own invention and for many years I saw it as separate from, not a part of the cultural landscape.


This year’s Gala’s decor was designed by alumnx Geoff McFetridge (Art MFA 95).

Ravi Rajan, Edgar Arceneaux, Charles Gaines, Andrea Bowers, Rodney McMillian, Laura Owens, Sam Durant, Liz Glynn, and Malik Gaines

In spite of the many times I’ve declared that I will never make another work of art, something I cannot deny because too many of my friends heard me say it, I didn’t, I couldn’t. The reason? I have to say that my mother, Amelia, had a lot to do with it. My mom, who was born in Charleston, South Carolina, came into the world with quite a great talent as a singer. She was fortunate enough to be trained in opera; by the age of 17 had her own radio show in Charleston where every Sunday she would sing Negro spirituals. She had the opportunity to continue along this path but decided to marry my father instead. She lived her life as a seamstress, not an opera singer, but she had this immense

Tim Disney, Adele Yellin, and Neda Disney

comfort and an infectious optimism, even in the darkest of moments. I understood, even as a child, that my mother lived a marginal existence, both as a black woman and as an artist, (her opportunities to sing happened only in church, where she was the favorite of the church choir), and I knew she understood that. But it was okay with her. And from this I began to believe that it is quite possible to invent your life if you are an artist, particularly if you are one who is also a cultural minority, and this invention had to be as complete as any state or condition of normativity. But with this present recognition at REDCAT I have learned a new lesson. There is an identity of the self that is

circumscribed by one’s conscious life and body. But that there is also an identity of the self that transcends those boundaries, that one is inheriting the life of one’s mother, and that what you do extends into the life of those who succeed you, including one’s son, if one is so fortunate as to have one like mine. This honor means for me that my mother’s marginalized existence has been emancipated, 70 years later, here, at the REDCAT Gala. And I think that this is amazing.

— Charles Gaines

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Alumnx HQ

Friends of CalArts: Attuned to the Cutting Edge Friends of CalArts, founded in 1971 by a group of vanguard supporters, helps realize the Institute’s vision by engaging with great artists in a variety of events, salons, and conversations. The donors in this special group have served as essential partners in positioning CalArts at the forefront of arts education. Members include CalArts alumnx and parents as well as philanthropists dedicated to supporting the Institute through annual gifts to the CalArts Fund. FOCA insiders enjoy access to exclusive events throughout the year attended by President Ravi S. Rajan, CalArts alumnx, and select faculty. Here are a couple of highlights from recent months. For more information about becoming a Friends of CalArts member, visit

A private tour of Laura Owens’s exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art included (left to right) CalArts President Ravi Rajan, artist Owens, and RISD President Rosanne Somerson.


Laura Owens Hosts Whitney Museum Tour

The Draper University panel moderated by Leighton Pierce (left), included (left to right) Raphael Aurar, Eric Darnell, and Karen Dufilho-Rosen, a producer for Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group.


CalArts Alumni Magazine


Panel Parses New Media Landscape In November, Leighton Pierce, Dean, School of Film/Video, moderated a FOCAsponsored panel discussion at Draper University in San Mateo about augmented reality, virtual reality and gaming. Friends of CalArts invited to “The Evolution of the Moving Image: Exploring the Role of Film Schools in the Age of Extended Reality and Immersive Media” conversation enjoyed insights from Eric Darnell (Film/Video MFA 90), Chief Creative Officer for Baobab Studio, and IBM designer/artist/researcher Raphael Arar (Music MFA 14). Pierce says, “We looked at AR/VR/Gaming in the context of CalArts and how we might consider engaging with these evolving media.”

In February, Laura Owens (Art MFA 94) hosted a private gallery tour of her exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Organized by Friends of CalArts and Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), guests joined the Los Angeles-based artist for a breakfast reception. Owens then guided FOCA members and RISD guests through her critically acclaimed midcareer retrospective. (See page 16.) Recently profiled by New Yorker magazine, Owens incorporated common craft materials, doodles, and eccentric personal allusions in her early work. The solo show, described by the New York Times as having a “playful, knowing, almost-Rococo lightness of being” also included recent large-scale paintings that utilize silkscreen, digital printing, and new materials.


The CalArts contingent visited a biodiverse agro-ecological farm south of Havana that produces high quality vegetables, non-trans-genetically, without mechanization or state-run distribution. La Finca Marta serves many of Havana’s restaurants, schools, and nursing homes. TRIP OF A LIFETIME

Parents and Donors Travel to Havana with Student Artists Alumnx, parents, and Friends of CalArts donors joined faculty and student artists for a trip to Havana in March focused, first and foremost, on the multi-media collaboration initiative known as El Acercamiento/The Approach. Conceived by CalArts School of Theater faculty Evelyn Serrano (Art MFA 04), El Acercamiento/The Approach brings together CalArtians with students at Havana’s Instituto Superior de Arte to produce work showcased at contemporary art space Fábrica de Arte Cubano. The week-long immersion in Cuban culture was organized by Sage Lewis (Music MFA 08). Building on a network of contacts established over the past decade, Lewis guided guests on an intensive itinerary focused on local music, art, cuisine, and history. “We were on the go all the time,” says Karolyn Heimes, Associate Director, Alumnx & Parent Engagement, who led the group of 13 travelers. “We sat in on a rehearsal for the Folklórico Nacional de Cuba, for example, a unique opportunity that we thoroughly enjoyed. “

Excursions included those to living room lectures by University of Havana professors, and a visit to Ernest Hemingway’s country retreat, Finca La Vigía, in the hilltop village of San Francisco de Paula. Studio visits were hosted by Cuban artists José Fuster, ReQuer, Leandro Feal, and Yamile Pardo. Visitors were also introduced to Cuban artists paired with CalArts faculty, alumnx, and students on projects featured in the third and final year of the El Acercamiento/The Approach program. Heimes says, “It was the trip of a lifetime.”

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Alumnx HQ

Disney’s Andrew Millstein Joins the CalArts Board of Trustees Andrew Millstein found his way to the arts through his passion for archeology, photography, documentary filmmaking, and animation. The Philadelphia native, who currently serves as President of Walt Disney Animation Studios, earned his B.A. degree in archeology from Haverford College and learned filmmaking at USC. His love of travel took him to Kodiak, Alaska, where he worked with an archaeological team for two summers, and to Israel where he spent months documenting life on the West Bank. Millstein’s career trajectory began in New York where he shot projects for PBS and Cinemax with documentary filmmakers Allan and Susan Raymond. He picked up

more live action experience working for Douglas Trumbull and learned special effects and motion control at the digital start-up Image G. Moving from the creative to administrative side, Millstein oversaw production at Digital Domain in Venice, CA, and joined Disney in 1997, working with John Lasseter and Ed Catmull to revitalize Walt Disney Animation Studios around the time of Disney’s merger with Pixar. “The relationship between CalArts and Disney is unique and special, both on the corporate and the academic sides,” says Millstein. “It’s a relationship that extends back decades—all the way to CalArts’s founders, Walt and Roy O. Disney. The success of what we create at Disney often depends upon the work of CalArts alumni artists. So, it’s really a one-of-a-kind relationship between the company and the Institute. Over the years, many CalArts alumni have found their professional homes at Disney.”

Andrew Millstein (right) hosted a reception in February for CalArts Alumni currently working at Walt Disney Animation Studios. Left and center, Ravi Rajan and Stevie Werners (Film/Video 94).


CalArts Alumni Magazine

In Memoriam Remembering Chouinardians and CalArtians who have recently passed

Paul Edwards ’37, a Chouinard graduate who created the Emporia State mascot, Corky the Hornet, died on March 9. He was 103.

Chouinard alumnus Robert “Bob” Givens ’53 passed away in December at the age of 99. Givens was an animator whose celebrated career touched many of the milestones in 20th century animation—from Walt Disney’s Snow White, to the first Bugs Bunny cartoon, to Hanna-Barbera’s Quick Draw McGraw. A graduate of Alhambra High School here in Los Angeles, Givens worked as a freelance artist for a year before joining the Walt Disney Studio, which encouraged him to enroll at Chouinard. Later, Givens joined Warner Bros., where he worked alongside animation legends such as Chuck Jones and Tex Avery, who in 1940 asked Givens to review designs of a new character—a grey rabbit that was coming across as “too cute.” Givens would go on to create the first design of Bugs Bunny, one of the most iconic characters in American history. William “Bud” Luckey, a Chouinard alumnus who was credited with the design of Woody from Toy Story, has died at age 83. Luckey was an artist and performer whose career spanned more than four decades. Luckey served during the Korean War and used his G.I. Bill benefits to attend Chouinard. During the 1960s, he worked for a San Francisco ad agency, working with memorable characters such as Tony the Tiger, Toucan Sam, and the Peanuts gang. He won a Clio Award in 1966. During this time, he worked with Charles Schulz and Bill Melendez, Rocky & Bullwinkle creator Alex Anderson, Jim Henson, and Don Hadley, a lifelong friend with whom Luckey co-created numerous Sesame Street shorts. He founded Luckey-Zamora animation company in the early 70s, which became the Bay Area’s largest toon studio for more than a decade.

Luckey would later join Pixar, where CEO and CalArts alumnus, John Lasseter ’79, described him as “one of the unsung heroes of animation.” Luckey won an Annie Award and an Academy Award nomination for the Pixar short Boundin’, which he wrote and directed, and for which he also composed the music and performed as the solo singer/narrator. Luckey would go on to design beloved Pixar characters for A Bug’s Life, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, Cars, Ratatouille, WALL-E, Up, and two more Toy Story adventures. CalArts alumnus and playwright, Albert Innaurato Theater/Dance BFA ’71, passed away last fall. Innaurato had significant success as a playwright early in his 20s with a Broadway hit, Gemini, running for more than four years and more than 1,800 performances. He was 70. Michael Metcalfe ’68 Chouinard Joyce Kjarsgaard ’69 Chouinard Dennis Lewis ’71 Chouinard Frank Stone, Chouinard Tim Winship ’74 Art BFA Shoshannah Shoshannah ’79 Music BFA Judith Lausten ’87 MFA Art

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Class Notes Class Notes are featured regularly in each issue of The Pool. Share your personal and professional accomplishments with your fellow CalArtians! Send your note to and include a photo if you wish.

Fifties Wallace (Wall) Batterton ’59 writes: “I have shown my works (paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints, collages) in LA since 1961. My collage art, ‘What If,’ is now at the Lodge Gallery. In 2007, I had a partial retrospective curated by Ed Ruscha at the Pharmaka Gallery.”

Sixties Roberta Griffith ’60 writes, “Last September, I was voted into the prestigious International Academy of Ceramics based in Geneva, Switzerland. There are approximately 680 members representing 56 countries from all continents. The bi-annual Congress will be held in Yingge District of New Taipei City this October, where I submitted a small installation from among my NO Series: three porcelain cups on a round velvet pad. The decals were made from my ink drawings and kiln fired onto the cups, each with distinct text of NO, NOT, NOPE. It is titled, ‘Unpleasant Conversation at 3,’ and the cups were placed in disarray to represent disharmony. The simple black panels with white text on the cups, coupled with the communal reference to the sharing of food and drink, pull people in. At the same time, the words on these everyday objects push people away, reflecting the overwhelming negativity, divisiveness and hostility often found in society today.” Ken Graning ’66 updates us: “I recently won a poetry award for a poem that I wrote that accompanied one of my new abstract paintings that was juried into the Poetry Art Night exhibition at the Suzi Haskew Art Center in Milford, Michigan. At the awards presentation I was required to read my poem to the audience.”  A Richard Kjarsgaard ’69 reminisces: “I was taught at Chouinard by my wonderful instructors, (Marv Rubin, Danziger, Touchin,


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Overby, Hovsepian), that if I just set good type there would be no more wars. After a successful career as creative director and agency owner, I was happy to get out with just a little personal dignity left. Retired in Keaau, Hawaii where my wife of 50 years, Joyce Rose, who I met in Jepsons drawing class, has just passed. May you be half as smart as your Dog thinks you are!” Dr. Amrik Kalsi ’69 writes that he is a former United Nations chief officer, now director of Sustainability Africa based in Kenya, focusing on poverty reduction and sustainable development in rural Africa and the Asia-Pacific region. He is also the best-selling author of An Island of Success in a Sea of Failure? The MDGs and Sauri Millennium Village in Kenya. From 1973 to 1978 he was Managing Director of Systems Design, a design consultancy in Kenya, and on the faculty at the University of Nairobi in Kenya. Since 1972, he has been invited to present articles on a variety of topics at international conferences and has published many articles. Kalsi has served on many international juries and panels.

Seventies Guy Dill ’70 recent public placements and museums include: Stanford University, Byers Eye Institute, San Jose, CA; Aqualina, Sunny

Isles, Florida, public commission; Talaria Project, Burbank, California, public commission; Wheaton College Massachusetts, permanent collection; Lancaster California Museum of Art and History, permanent collection; Reading Public Museum, Reading Pennsylvania, permanent collection. Drew Cottril ’71 recaps his career: “My 9-to-5 career ended nine years ago when I retired after 38 years in advertising, graphic design, and printing. What a great ride, living and working in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver, British Columbia and San Diego. Now, I am free to draw and paint as I please. I built a studio behind our home back in the woods. I have written and illustrated two books, shown in local galleries and juried shows. I have been lucky to receive several commissions each year to keep me in beer money. I teach a drawing class at the Averitt Center for the Arts. Nothing better than giving back what we have learned! One of the reasons I am writing a class note, well, the real reason, is reading about these young artists out on their own now takes me back to Chouinard in the 1960s and 70s. I can see a continuum from Mrs. Chouinard’s vision to Walt Disney’s plan for preparing young artists. Great teachers made it so! When I sit down with my students now, my mind goes back to the 1960s. I see Watson Cross sitting on my drawing bench, watching his hands move across the paper. The charcoal flowed

the time she spent at MacArthur Park across the street from Chouinard. That park proved to be a haven in the middle of the jungle, which is what Los Angeles was to a girl from a small town in South Carolina. She saw them filming an episode of The Mod Squad there once, so Hollywood made its presence felt even in that pastoral place. Maybe that’s why she loves living in southern Oregon so much; it’s the definition of pastoral. She hopes that her CalArts classmates have found as much satisfaction and peace as she has, and wishes alumni and present students all the best. B

out of his hand forming a perfect human figure. He was a true master. I remember Don Graham telling the class one day, ‘If you’re not constantly thinking of your art, if you’re not driven to draw, if you’re not dreaming of your art, if you’re not thinking and planning art each day if you’re not doing these things, you should leave NOW.’ The best part was spending hours talking with them—Emerson Woelffer, Ed Reep, Herb Jepson. Of course, life sometimes interrupts our best laid plans. At the start of my junior year my Army reserve unit was called to active duty—this was right after the TET offensive in Vietnam. Next thing I know, I’m pulling out of Chouinard heading off across the Pacific with my helicopter Company! So, off I go for two years of active duty. I did continue to draw and paint, and entered the all-Army art contest for the Pacific and won first place. Now, here is where it gets weird. In 1969 I returned to Chouinard and met a fellow student named Robert Blue, who also entered the Army art contest—he came in second place! Imagine that, two Chouinard students in the Army making art thousands of miles away from LA, but not meeting until we returned to Chouinard. Robert went on to have a very successful career; so sorry he died too soon. My last two years were wonderful, classes were small, which afforded quality time with instructors like David Hammons, Jack Goldstein, Cory Buckner, Don Graham. It was wonderful! Keep making art!”  B Elana Dykewomon (Nachman) ’71 won the Lee Lynch Trailblazer Award for her first novel, Riverfinger Women (started at CalArts), by the Golden Crown Society at their annual lesbian literary conference in Las Vegas in July. It’s still available as an e-book from Open Road Media and as an audiobook from Amazon. Elana was also inducted into the Saints & Sinners LGBT Literary Conference Hall of Fame in New Orleans in March 2018. Deborah (Debby) Teller Scott (Snipes) ’71 While waiting for her cozy mysteries (Downfall and Breakdown) to become bestsellers, Deborah spends as much time as possible doing volunteer work with likeminded friends. She takes care of a number of rescue animals, an occupation her friends and family find endearing (for the most part). One fond memory of her years at CalArts is

Byron Tomingas ’71 received a “Lifetime Achievement in Music” Award in San Diego this year. Byron writes, “Jose Oribe is a living treasure of the United States creating concert guitars that are the pinnacle of the art. Receiving this living, breathing instrument is now the pinnacle of my career!” The guitar is valued conservatively at $25,000. This marks the second anonymous donor award Byron has received; the first was an oil painting by Park City, UT artist, David Volsic, in 2012, likely by the same group as the guitar award, since it carried the same anonymous stipulation. Byron says, “It’s the greatest of awards, because you can’t compete for it, can’t submit materials for it, and can’t lobby for it. They find you worthy, or not. The only issue with these anonymous awards is that you have to be nice to everyone because you don’t know who or what group is behind it!” Recipient of a Gold award three years in a row, Tomingas is a native of Jackson Hole and you can find his PBS interview at


Karsen Gould ’72 founded Arts for Humanity! in 1997 and continues to lead this unique arts outreach organization. For more than 25 years Karsen has been active in bringing the inspirational and healing power of the arts to under-served communities. She works with a wide variety of populations, developing an integrated arts practice teaching creative theatre, expressive dance, and visual art for personal growth. Facilitating other people’s creativity and utilizing the therapeutic nature of the arts proved to be an art form in its own right. Over the past decade Karsen has created, produced, and directed seven original Mixed-Ability Theatre/Dance Productions

through Arts for Humanity!, providing the Santa Barbara community with inclusive and enriching cultural experiences.  C Garit Imhoff ’72 says, “I am currently performing with two world music groups, Zimbeat, a Southern African Ensemble (pictured here at a performance at SDSU late last year) and Kembang Sunda a Sundanese Gamelan from Indonesia. I continue as one of the artist/teachers for The Center for World Music’s, ‘Music in the Schools program.’ I am preparing a puppet show with Kembang Sunda for later this year.”  D


Donald Beagle ’73 checks back in: “Because I won the Hopwood Writing Award, I’ve been contracted to do a book of conversations and interviews with the working title: The Hopwood Poets: Conversations with Major Award Winners, (scheduled for publication in Sept. 2018 by Library Partners Press at Wake Forest University). I am delighted to say that fellow-Hopwood Award-winning poets Anne Stevenson, X. J. Kennedy, Marge Piercy, Rosmarie Waldrop, Keith Waldrop (former winner of a National Book Award), Lawrence Joseph, Patricia Hooper, Garrett Hongo, Laura Kasischke, and four others have already signed on for interviews. X. J. Kennedy has also authored an essay on Keith Waldrop’s poetry, since their grad school days overlapped. Larry Goldstein of UMich/ Ann Arbor is contributing an essay on the late Robert Hayden, probably the first black poet to crack the glass ceiling of elite literary consciousness (though he never quite drew the popular following of the roughly contemporary Langston Hughes). I’ve personally interviewed all the poets, and I will be interviewed myself for the book about my own 2017 poetry collection, What Must Arise, and my forthcoming collection of poems, Driving into the Dreamtime, slated for release in early 2019.” Jody Diamond ’73 is the director of the American Gamelan Institute and shares a special CalArts memory: “When CalArts began in 1970, I was 17, and not planning to study music. The first time I went into the gamelan room, I had no idea what I was looking at. I only knew Java had something to do with coffee. An experienced student

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Class Notes

Rachel Youdelman ’73 reports: “I was interviewed by author Paul Cronin, who is writing a book on early CalArts history and, hence, gathering information from pre-1976 alums. The 1972 photo I attach is a group portrait of participants in Miriam Schapiro’s class in the Feminist Art Program; I am at far left, 2nd row.”  B Marc Smason (Greenwald) ’73 says, “Our new CD is just out! Earthlings features some of Seattle’s finest musicians and compositions, plus the trombone and vocal stylings of Marc Smason, (me!).” A

agreed to give me a lesson. We sat on either side of an instrument. No one else was playing. He told me to follow him. The melody traveled across all seven bronze keys, curling around like a mysterious snake. Then, at a certain moment, something happened. Maybe I got it, or gave up trying—I don’t really know—but I looked down, and my hand was playing by itself. I watched my hand move up and down, playing the right notes. But it felt like the gamelan was playing me and I was just observing. As the melody circled around me, I sat very still in the center. A voice in my head said, ‘I am going to play this music for the rest of my life.’ In the internationally connected world of gamelan, I have studied, taught, written, and composed. Forty-eight years later, the magic remains!”  A Peter Karnig ’73 says: “My recent solo show ‘Potrero Nuevo’ at Negative Space Gallery in San Francisco’s Dog Patch neighborhood was a success and reconnected me with many CalArtians. I am currently working on a new series of film and one-off silver fiber prints entitled Tree Farm to be shown at a photography gallery in Oregon.” Denise Koch ’73 writes: “After a decade acting and working in regional theater, (mostly on the East Coast), I made the move into television news. I began reporting on the arts, moved to anchoring, and have been doing that on the Baltimore CBS station for 30 years. How does CalArts fit into this journey? My years there were essential for self-exploration, self-realization, and communication. I continue to tell stories. Now they are generally factual. I continue to act. Now the role is generally defined by my profession. I am who I am because of where I have been: ‘To See What I See, See What I’ve Seen.’ CalArts was one of my most important stops along the way!” Leda Siskind ’73 tells us: “After a successful run at Theatre 40, my play, All My Distances Are Far, was published by Steele Spring Stage Rights and is available via Amazon. My one-act play, The Liar’s Punishment, was produced at last summer’s Hollywood Fringe Festival. I’m still working as a psychotherapist specializing in adolescents and families.”


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Tamra Whitney ’73 says, “Doing large acrylic abstract pieces derived from photo shoots.” Robin Mitchell ’74 paintings were exhibited at the Craig Krull Gallery, Bergamot Station, Santa Monica CA. John Steinmetz ’74 says, “Last April, I went to Phoenix to hear Mill Ave Chamber Players give the first performance of my newest composition, What’s Going On, for wind quintet, which was co-commissioned by ensembles from around the country. The next week I traveled to Lincoln, NE, to hear the Moran Quintet give its long-delayed premiere of another wind quintet, All the Difference, composed in 2016. Having retired from bassoon playing in 2016, I continue to teach at UCLA, where I have been giving bassoon lessons, coaching chamber music, and teaching a graduate seminar in notation and interpretation. My wife and I live in Altadena.” Leonard Horowitz ’74 writes: “Dean Dick Farson was a great hero. We all pass, but he will be a force of positive beauty forever. After all, the arts and artists are most important to our civilizations. Thanx for the Memories!” Tom Kelem ’74 checks in: “I grew up to be a professional queer. As if I wasn’t queer enough while at school, I am the executive director at Stonewall Alliance in Chico. We provide amazing resources for the LGBTQI+ B

community in rural northern California. I am also a licensed marriage and family therapist and am the clinical director for our counseling center. I still think of my life as an ongoing art project and adventure. After 45 years of having short hair I am growing it long again, longer than ever. There is new found freedom at 65. Living in the dorm was one of the best times of my life. Being an RA was awesome—thank you Stephanie and Jo!” Michael Fink ’75 writes, “It’s been a long time since my 1975 MFA graduation! Worked for Doug Huebler at CalArts for two years, went to work for Stuart Ziff (MFA 1974) and Richard Hollander (BFA 1974) on The China Syndrome in December 1977. Worked on lots of films since then. Won an Academy Award and BAFTA in 2008 for Visual Effects on The Golden Compass. Now a professor at USC School of Cinematic Arts, and Chair of Film and Television Production. Still at it. Married for the past 33 years to Melissa Bachrach, and we have a son, Alex, 27, who is a guitar player and luthier. We also have two sweet, crazy dogs, Franny and Rocco. One of my favorite parts of life is our small art collection comprised of work by CalArts classmates.” Rann Haight ’75 says, “As of April 1st, I’m celebrating my third year of producing a daily comic for the Coeur d’Alen and Post Falls Press newspapers (over 1,100 panels). I’m also celebrating 35 years of practicing architecture. See examples at” Janet Lott ’75 says, “Dance remains an integral part of my life, now taking the form of Argentine Tango. As an Alexander Technique teacher, I apply the method to Tango, of course. I also have Alexander students who are challenged with nervous system differences (MS, Parkinson’s). Research has shown the benefits of Argentine Tango for this population, so I include Tango in Alexander lessons. During my years at CalArts, I was always permitted and encouraged to think of Dance beyond the proscenium/


Meet Mackenzie Boudreau, School of Art, BFA 3 “I do a lot of sculpture and ceramics work. Right now, I am working on glaze mixing with cow bone ash, which is one of the only organic materials used in glaze chemistry. “This is my third semester as a caller for the CalArts Fund. I like being able to have real conversations with alumni and to hear about their experiences. During CalArts Weekend last year, I loved seeing alumni from every decade return to campus. It was like seeing my future–one day I will be the alumna giving back. It’s a cycle of giving that has definitely benefited me. Thank you for continuing this tradition!” – Mackenzie Please make a gift to the CalArts Fund. Your generosity is reflected in the extraordinary people and programs that continue to make CalArts a special place.

Class Notes

issues that came into being after sustaining a traumatic brain injury in 1984—will “paw deliver” white papers to Congressional representatives to encourage equal access regardless of ability. Another project underway is a series of workshops titled, “The Intersection of Art & Disability: The Medium Has Changed, But Not The Message,” which she’s modeling after her closing keynote at San Francisco Art Institute’s Symposium on Art & Disability back in 2016.


choreography situation. I have such gratitude for that permission and opportunity.” Lewis Silverman ’75 checks in: “I’ve kept myself busy in theatre, both professional and regional/community and educational, since graduating. As an actor, I have appeared in such varied roles as the Marquis de Sade in Marat/Sade, as Harry Fatt in Waiting for Lefty; Pastor Mandors in Ibsen’s Ghosts; as Stanley in Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party; as Stefanowski in Mister Roberts and as Kris Kringle in A Miracle on 34th Street. As a director, I have been at the helm of productions of Bus Stop, All My Sons, The Dark at the Top of Stairs, Jimmy Shine, Waiting for Godot, Wait Until Dark, and The Mouse Trap. From 1987-91, I was a member of the Communications & Theatre Department faculty at Susquehanna University, where I taught classes in arts administration, theatre management, and marketing/public relations. From 20092012, I was the theatre critic for The PatriotNews in Harrisburg, PA. Currently, I serve as a play reader for the American Association of Community Theatre (AACT) NewPlay Fest.” Nat Dean ’76 writes that she continues to expand her work in the area of disability consulting, advocacy, and mediation services. She’s serving as a New Mexico Democratic Pre-Primary Convention Delegate again in March 2018 in an effort to “keep it Blue” and heads to Capitol Hill in May 2018 for three weeks of advocacy, public speaking, and press conferences with a focus on harm reduction, along with promoting and informing actions to strengthen ADA policy. She’ll also speak and train at the Spina Bifida Association’s Annual Lobby Meeting on service animals. Tommy, her fourth service dog in 30 years—who helps mitigate


CalArts Alumni Magazine

Victoria Nodiff-Netanel ’76 reports that, “I painted animals while at CalArts and had my German Shepard T’ai by my side, and my horse Macbeth in Sylmar. I used to ride with Paul Brach and we spent many days talking and sharing the trails. I worked closely with Miriam, Paul, and Emerson Woelffer who were my mentors. For the past 10 years I’ve had a nonprofit charity called MINI THERAPY HORSES. I combined my love of horses with my passion for helping people that experience trauma. I have seven highly trained miniature therapy horses that visit the Greater Los Angeles Veterans Hospital doing bedside visits. We’re part of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. We’re also part of the Los Angeles Mayor’s Crisis Response Team, Ronald McDonald Houses, Department of Children and Family Services, Shriners for Children Medical Center in Pasadena, and many more. We were in the 2018 Tournament of Roses Parade with all seven tiny horses!” C

Doree Sitterly ’76 tells us that, “Twinkie, my balloon popping dog, predicted the Super Bowl LII winner, second year in a row. I am still training animals for film and television. See Twinkie on my YouTube channel!”  A Anne Terrail ’76 writes: “I’ve mostly lived in France with some time in NY. Not working right now, but have done theater producing in France and assistant PR in NY. I also taught Feldenkrais for eight years. I have two kids, my daughter is studying photography… in NY! Do not hesitate to reach out if you come to France. I’ve always enjoyed meeting CalArts people. I have wonderful memories of the school where I made lifelong friends.”

Gregg Barbanell ’77 shares that he won a Golden Reel at the 2018 Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel Awards in the “Best Animation Short Form” category for his work on Overwatch – Honor and Glory. Gregg has won five previous Golden Reel Awards and one Emmy.  B


Bill Hutchinson ’77 says, “‘New York defined her—Hawaii changed her,’ is the tagline from my novel, From da Big Island, in which CalArts and Sandy Mackendrick are mentioned on page 103—specifically, Sandy’s use of the egg timer for pitches. America Doesn’t Exist (1976), my CalArts film project, ran exactly three minutes, without credits, thanks to Sandy’s egg timer. (The project is available in the CalArts library and on YouTube.) From da Big Island is a senior coming of age, fish-out-of-water story. Ruth, a New York City television personality, is the sole survivor of an accident. Depression and fans get to her. She wants to be alone and have a peaceful life, retires to the Big Island of Hawaii only to discover life there is vastly different than what she expected.” Chas Smith ’77 writes: “This is Guitarzilla 2 with the Replicant bolted on the front right. Back around the turn of the century, I played a concert at Podewil, in Berlin, and used Guitarzilla 1, which weighed 110 lbs. in the case. After wrestling it through airport terminals, I vowed, never again. So, I made Guitarzilla 2 out of titanium tubing and aluminum. And because of GTZ, I used rods welded to small plates, and made the Replicant, with the rods welded to a plate and mounted over pickups. Now I don’t need to bring a forklift to play.”  C Adam Stern ’77 shares, “I am in my 15th year as Music Director of the Seattle Philharmonic, paying homage to the classics and, simultaneously, doing many performances of unjustly neglected repertoire. In particular, we are featuring compositions by some amazing women composers of the 20th century, e.g., Elsa Barraine, Ruth Gipps,

Julia Perry—whose work was largely passed over due to moronic gender bias. Proud to be using my podium as a platform for these phenomenal talents.” Margaret Batiuchok ’78 tells us, “I’m teaching Swing and Ballroom Dance at and have lots of videos on YouTube—if you look up my last name you can see what I’m up to! I founded and ran the NY Swing Dance Society for 31 years and got my master’s from NYU after CalArts. This summer I’ll be teaching at Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing again. I hope to see or hear from you!” Jonathan Berger ’78 writes that, “My Lai, a monodrama for tenor, string quartet, and Vietnamese musician, was performed on March 4, 2018 in Berkeley, CA, and on March 9th at UCLA by Rine Eckert, the Kronos Quartet, and Van Anh Vo.” Martin Casella ’78 reports that for the past year he has been working with CalArts alum Roger Holzberg ’78 and his company, Reimagine Well, as a writer on a series of guides for people with life-threatening diseases. The first book, Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer: From Diagnosis To Wellbeing, is now available online, in hard copy, and as an enhanced e-Book. Upcoming books in the series will deal with pediatric cancer, leukemia, and oncofertility. He’s also been working with another CalArts alum, Leon Joosen, on a British animated film called, The Land of Sometimes. Martin co-wrote the screenplay for the film, which will feature Ewan MacGregor and Helena Bonham-Carter. His latest play, Black Tom Island, will receive its world premiere at Premiere Stages in October 2018. Last summer, his award-winning play, The Report, received a stage reading in London, under the direction of British director Alan Cox. A British production company subsequently optioned the play to be adapted as a television film.


parks’ ‘architecture of reassurance’ into an ‘architecture of healing’ at hospitals nationwide. He presented at the American Community Cancer Center summit in Washington, D.C., at the Miami Cancer Institute, Stanford MedX, and GlobalMind Ed. in Denver. Through their Infusionarium platform, Reimagine Well creates ’immersive healing experiences’ that enable patients to be treated in the places they believe will best heal them. They also publish enhanced media Learn Guides and provide private support for patients and families. CalArts alums Ed Haro ’82, Martin Casella ’78, and Doree Sitterly ’76 have all worked with Reimagine Well in this multi-disciplinary initiative designed to change the patient experience in healthcare.”  D Sherri McEuen (Katz) ’78 “I am a bronze and ceramic sculptor. I will be exhibiting at the Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach this summer. Please take a look at my website, I graduated in 1978 and Jules Engel was my mentor!” Suzan Shutan ’78 writes: “Just completed a solo exhibit at The Arts & Cultural Center, Hollywood, FL called, Wired. Also in group exhibits at Van Deb Editions NY, Elizabeth Stone Harper Gallery, South Carolina, Sideshow Gallery, NY, and in Dumbo, NY. In 2017 I was included in exhibits at Chashama Projects, Brooklyn, NY Bigger, Bolder, Better; Gallery Kierat, Szczecin, Poland International Exhibition of Paintings & Sculpture curated by Marzena Paczkowska; Bruch & Dallas Project Space, Cologne, Germany; Europa curated by Billy Gruner, Boecker Contemporary, Heidelberg, Germany; Black Box curated by Arvid Boecker, Touring and The Arsenal, Kiev, Ukraine, among other exhibits.”  E


Roger Holzberg ’78, former Disney Imagineer and 14-year cancer survivor, writes that he “will be presenting extensively this year on how his company, Reimagine Well, is adapting Disney theme

Allan Trautman ’78 is scheduled to appear in Episode 9 of LA to Vegas as a ventriloquist, which he is not. Allan also performed multiple characters in The Happytime Murders, starring Melissa McCarthy, which is scheduled to appear in theaters on Aug 17,

2018. He continues to perform locally on the historic Chaplin Stage at The Jim Henson Studios in occasional productions of Puppet Up—Uncensored! Alan also serves on the board of CA25 United for Progress (25-UP), a public-benefit nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting progressive policies and candidates in the 25th Congressional District of California. Arthur Zadinsky ’78 asks that we please enjoy some of his performance videos on YouTube and Vimeo: Search “Arthur Zadinsky Enescu.” Arthur also performed on recent Grammy award-winning recordings by the Seattle Symphony, including Become Ocean by CalArts alumnus, John Luther Adams, and his upcoming world premiere of Become Desert. John Debney ’78 scored The Greatest Showman, Jungle Book, The Orville for Seth Macfarlane, Madden 2018, Disney’s Tokyo Disneyland 35th and Marvel superheroes. Richard Green ’78 is once again working with David Lynch. This time on a new feature documentary about Catherine E. Coulson. She was Lynch’s right hand on Eraserhead and during that time they conceived the role of Margeret Lanterman, the mysterious woman who gets messages from her Log. Coulson was in the original Twin Peaks and in the 25 years between the first show and the revival last year, she did 22 seasons of theatre at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The Log Lady was dying in the recent show and Catherine was too. The story of her hanging on long enough to shoot her final scenes is the focus of the film, I know Catherine, the Log Lady. David Familian ’79 reports: “I was appointed Artistic Director and Curator at the Beall Center in 2009. I have curated one-person exhibitions of artists Shih Chieh Huang, Golan Levin, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Chico MacMurtrie, Jennifer and Kevin McCoy, Nam June Paik, Eddo Stern, Victoria Vesna and Zimon. I also curated group exhibitions such

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as: Grand Text Auto, exploring new forms of gaming and narratives; DataVIz, data visualizations made by artists across media; Live, works that employed live, real-time data; Play in Three Acts, a trio of interactive installations, Sight and Sound, sound art projects ranging from noise to music and Drawn from a Score. I also initiated Black Box Projects, collaborative exhibitions in which artists work with scientists in areas such as cognitive robotics, computational genetics, and information science. The first project, Paul Vanouse’s Evidence, utilized light boxes, live biological experiments, electrophoresis gels, and interactive performers in the gallery to reveal varying aspects of DNA. The second project, Wetware, was a residency and group exhibition of bio art.” Mark Deutrom ’79, guitarist, composer, songwriter, and producer, shares that while studying composition at CalArts he attended seminars with composers John Cage, Lou Harrison, Morton Feldman, Aaron Copland, and Morton Subotnick. In 1986 he co-founded Alchemy Records in San Francisco, during which time he produced a record for his own band, Clown Alley, as well as records for Sacrilege, Melvins, RKL, and Neurosis. In 1993 Mark was invited to play bass in the Melvins. He was in the band from 1993-1998, and played on and contributed material to the albums Prick, Stoner Witch, Stag, Honky, and additional releases. The band toured with Tool, Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, Kiss, and Rush among others. In 2006 Mark was invited to collaborate with SunnO))) on various live dates in the USA and Europe. The band Bellringer is the live vehicle for his music, and currently features RL Hulsman and Aaron Lack. In 2017 Mark signed an agreement with French label, Season of Mist, to reissue his back catalog and also release new material.  A

Eighties Lucius Cervantes ’80 is a composer/ producer of cinematic scores. His most recent work includes a tribute to Princess Diana entitled Queen of Hearts recorded at Abbey Road Studios by The London Symphony Orchestra. The piece was also performed by The South Hampton Symphony Orchestra in South Hampton, England at Turner Sims Auditorium. Please visit: Queen of Hearts is available on CD Baby.


Hamish Paul (Korky Paul) ’80 writes that he was born in Zimbabwe and studied Fine Arts at Durban Art School, South Africa and animation at CalArts. He began his career in advertising before becoming an illustrator of children’s books. Korky is best known for illustrating the multi-million selling series, Winnie the Witch, which has been published in more than 30 languages, and will soon be a TV series, Winnie and Wilbur on Britain’s Channel 5 “Milkshake.” Known only to himself as the “World’s Greatest Portrait Artist and Dinosaur Drawer,” Korky regularly visits schools promoting his passion for drawing. He is one of the 20% hardcore elite still scribbling with Pen ’n Ink on Paper. Winner of ‘Supporter of the Year’ for Summertown Stars Football Club, Korky works and lives in Oxford with his wife, the artist Susan Moxley. A

Lee Scott ’80 says, “I am now in my 24th year of working as a music editor and sometimes composer for feature films and television. Recent projects include Sicario 2: Soldado, American Gods, Mechanic Resurrection, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Bengazi, and Hannibal. I continue to write and record in my studio with four albums on iTunes and a new one in the works. Mark Vickness ’80 writes, “I released my first solo modern fingerstyle guitar CD, Places, in September, 2017, which features original compositions plus an arrangement of the spiritual I Must Tell Jesus. The CD booklet includes photography by my wife Jennifer and my son Will, as well as a poem by my daughter Lucy, who is currently serving as the 2017-18 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate. I continue to record and perform in Glass House with singer/vocal percussionist, David Worm. We released a new EP, Combinations, in December, 2017. By day I own a small law firm in Oakland where I represent people injured at work. I am also serving as a policy advisor to Gavin Newsom’s gubernatorial campaign.” James Vitale ’80 “Hola amigos! I have been happily ensconced in developing seven paradisiacal, ocean-side acres in Nayarit, Mexico into a hotel, organic gardens, orchards and more while building large sculptures and structures over the past 31 years. Come check ’er out!”  B B. (William) Wurtz ’80 says, “The current group show at the Hirshhorn Museum has the work of many CalArts alumni in it, including myself.” Kevin Richardson ’81 says, “After completing work on my second animated feature for the Chinese cinema, I am developing a CG adaptation of the classic comic strip B.C., which still runs in over 800 north American newspapers, read by 64.4 million readers— that’s 20% of the US population! Apart from it being a fun project, B.C. has a wonderful cast of characters and unique situations to work with. I have teamed up with CalArts animation story vets David Fulp and Michael Cachuela, and other feature story professionals. And, the Hart family (the rights holders), have been a joy to work with.” Adrian Bruch ’81 reports: “I still call Australia home, currently educating and coordinating the games design and animation disciplines at SAE Creative, Melbourne. Having fun playing at the bleeding edge of digital creativity, growing a beard and becoming a grandfather, working on several films (animation, fake documentary and investigations into creativity), slowly writing a screenplay for a romantic drama, and struggling to travel overseas, taking only a few cameras and lenses. If you remember me and we have lost touch, contacts are welcomed via LinkedIn, Facebook, whatever.” Scott Frank ’81 is staying busy: “Sending out a new script. Raising money for a feature to


CalArts Alumni Magazine

shoot next winter. Circulating a documentary series reboot and putting together a production slate for India.”  C


Joe Flynn ’82 announces: “This month I finally paid off my student loan! (Seriously!) In recent decades, I’ve made hand-bound books and 4 volumes of a zine, World Without End, a digest of religious fervor. Largely montage in form, WWE combines spiritual venting with latter-day editing and cartoons. The zines gave birth in 2017 to a book, Prayer Closet. Amy Knoles ’82 checks in: “Yo peeps! Just did two tours. One was a workshop tour on electronic percussion of the Midwest: U of Michigan, Columbia College, and UCI. The second was a fabulous three-day residency at Univ. of North Texas. The invite came from film video alum David Stout, (who is teaching in both Music and Art schools!), and he blew my mind with his work on sonifying particle video, along with amassing a huge analog synth set up; then on to Rice University, ending up with a performance at the most awesome High Voltage Festival at LSU, and hanging with alum Jeffery Perry!”


Rich Mann ’82 shares that while staying mobile in Venice and Marina del Rey, he’s been involved in “a compilation of images consisting of various conjoined characters on a roller coaster ride from the Santa Monica Amusement Park, merged with a cumulus nimbus set of spiritual-like clouds, and a panoramic background. Passengers on the ride, (titled, Life Is Like A Ride In The Park), are current notable people who have succeeded in overcoming their hardships and adversities. They include the Dalai Lama, 2017 Miss Universe Demi-Leigh New-Peters, Martha Stewart, Oprah Winfrey, Mike Tyson,

Sung-Bong Choi, Maria Shriver, Bruno Mars, Anthony Robbins, Caitlyn Jenner, Richard Branson, Cher Bono, and Warren Buffet. My philosophical perspective of this image is a reminder that ‘Nothing Is Impossible On The Journey To Accomplish A Dream.’ In addition, I have been a consistent contributor on my Instagram account, so please follow my page! Thanks goes out to CalArts for the inspiration that is the backbone of my perpetual enlightenment.”  D Rand Steiger ’82 reports that he “has been on the composition faculty of UC San Diego for 30 years with the rank of Distinguished Professor, and is the Conrad Prebys Presidential Chair in Music. Recent projects include string quartets for both the JACK and Flux Quartets, and an octet that premiered at the 2017 Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik. My installation Nimbus was commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and played continuously in the lobby of Walt Disney Concert Hall throughout the 2016/17 season. Beacon, a work for flute and electronics, was premiered by Claire Chase at the Mostly Mozart Festival, and broadcast video is posted on the PBS website. Recent recordings include a portrait CD recorded by the Talea Ensemble released on New World Records, and a work for bassoon and electronics on Rebekah Heller’s CD on the Tundra label. David Bossert ’83 received the 2018 Oscar Pomilio-Blumm Forum Ethic Award for his writing. He accepted the award at the annual forum, held each year in Pescara, Italy. The Oscar Pomilio-Blumm Forum was born with the goal of bringing together intellectuals and representatives of different fields and cultures to represent and, if possible, to interpret the scenarios of change which characterize globalized societies, uncovering their ethical and moral roots that can act as connective tissue for a new conscious and

humane development. “Turning Fantasy into something real and tangible is a bold move which further transforms it, embodying the physical dimensions of our humanity. David A. Bossert is an absolute master at depicting voyages through time and human sensitivity,” said Franco Pomilio, President of the Oscar Pomilio-Blumm Forum. Bossert, who has published a number of books on animation, is currently completing his latest one, Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas: Visual Companion, for Disney Editions. He also serves on the CalArts Board of Trustees. Amnon (Ami) Buchbinder ’83 reports that he’s still teaching screenwriting at York University, which has the largest film department in Canada, and of which he is a former chair. His fourth book, The Biology of Story, launches soon along with a public online course. The book and course are based on his 2016 interactive documentary, freely accessible at He lived through a terminal cancer diagnosis in 2014, and now has no evidence of disease; as part of his healing, in 2015 he completed the DIY feature film, Traveling Medicine Show, exploring the interconnection between his illness and his art. He recently became a grandfather and divides his time between Toronto and Hornby Island, British Columbia. Susan Emshwiller ’83 checks in to say she has published several short stories, including in Independent Ink magazine, Gone Lawn, Smoky Blue Literary and Arts magazine, Black Heart magazine, and upcoming in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Susan has taught play and screenwriting in Los Angeles and now teaches screenwriting at North Carolina State University. Laurie Raskin ’83 writes that her work was featured in Paris Match October 2017, and British Vogue. A carpet line based on her art

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was produced by Didden and Co. in Belgium. Her work is represented by Vogelsang Gallery Brussels, and she will have a solo show at 55 Bellechasse Gallery in Paris beginning in May 2018. Jim Billings ’84 remains the resident scenic and lighting designer for the American Southwest Theatre Company and head of scenic and lighting design at New Mexico State University where he has been employed for more than 30 years. Jim continues to design for opera, dance, film and museums.

movies. Then, as we shared food and drinks, we’d discuss the scenes, give feedback, and answer questions regarding Bergman’s way of directing. And, of course, we interacted with each other and the teacher. This remains a unique approach to pedagogy that I had never encountered before and have not encountered since!” Alexis Krasilovsky ’84 shares that her new book, Great Adaptations: Screenwriting and Global Storytelling, and her first novel, Sex and the Cyborg Goddess (under the pseudonym Alexis Rafael), were shared last February at the Alliance for Women in Media event: “An Afternoon with Alexis Krasilovsky.” Her 1971 film, a, starring Andy Warhol, Bob Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, and others, is now available on Amazon Video Prime.  B Jeffrey Perry ’84 reports that Associate Dean of The Herb Alpert School of Music, Amy Knoles, recently performed her composition 9:8:7:5:4:3:1 in the High Voltage Concert held by the Experimental Music and Digital Media program at Louisiana State University. She met up not only with Jeff, but also alum Nick Erickson ’92, both members of the LSU Faculty.


Stephanie Barton-Farcas ’84 reports that following the 2017 publication of her book, Disability & Theatre: A Practical Manual for Inclusion in the Arts, a new book is due out in 2018. Acting & Auditioning for the 21st Century: Tips, Trends, and Techniques for Film, Stage, Digital and New Media will be published this fall by Routledge Press. Stephanie also continues to act, direct, teach and produce audiobooks. Damini (Michel) Celebre ’84 writes: “My work uses layering as a metaphor for the many ways we connect or don’t connect with Nature. I explore this tenuous connection through a range of 2D works and site-specific installations. In 2017, I completed a year-long mixed-media project called A Drawing a Day and was an artist-in-residence at Elephant Butte Lake Artist Retreat, New Mexico. In 2016, I also attended an artist-in-residency at OCHO, Questa, NM. In the past four years, my work was awarded Best of Show at the Liz Afif Gallery in Philadelphia, PA, and has been included in publications such as, The Artblog, Upper Case magazine, Tempo, Taos Arts Magazine, DoNArTNeWs, Philadelphia Art News Blog, Bethlehem Times, PA. I was profiled on Passion with Purpose, East Brunswick Public Library Television. I’m currently living in the Philadelphia area and am actively exhibiting art and teaching workshops across the US and online.”  A Veronique Helias ’84 “I want to share the memory of a film directing class taught by Dr. Don Levy. Each Student would bring a dish they prepared, (sounds like a potluck). We’d view scenes from Ingmar Bergman


CalArts Alumni Magazine

Patrick Neary ’85 Visual Arts Teacher, Middle School, Menlo School, Atherton, CA. Aaron Plunkett ’85 Paleo-acoustic artist Aaron Plunkett writes that he has created sculpture renderings of his interpretation of a prehistoric whale based on his discovery of fossilized, articulated pre-historic bones on 1/19/2000, in Ojai, CA. Titled, Spirit of Pahat, the sculptures are life-like prehistoric whales. Aaron’s discovery is significant both historically and scientifically in that these are California’s first and oldest family of fossilized, toothed baleen whales, Ojaicetus C


plunkettdentus, which date back 25 million years. With his work, Aaron honors the indigenous people of the Ojai Valley, the Chumash. He respects their reverence for the whale which provided them with much, and had a pervasive impact on the entire culture. ‘Pahat,’ pronounced ‘PAW-HOT,’ is the Chumash word for whale. Diane Reynolds ’85 shares that she launched Reflective Praxis Consulting in 2017 to support growing demand for trainers and organizational consultants in the burgeoning field of reflective supervision (aka reflective practice) for organizations serving children and families. Reflective supervision is utilized across mental health, public health, and education, supporting providers working with families living with adversity—poverty, incarceration, and trauma. Reflective supervision creates brave

spaces for teams to think together about their work and the impact of that work on those they serve—as well as on providers themselves. Diane sees this practice as a platform for teams to engage in context— informed, socially transformative, reflective conversations—about race, ethnicity, gender, poverty, immigration, incarceration, and more—targeting more authentic service. Diane is currently engaged in supporting reflective supervision staff in the launch of Dept. of Health Services’ countywide effort to provide pre- and post-natal home visitation services to at-risk families. Additionally, Diane was recently contracted to co-create the first scalable, nationwide, reflective supervision curriculum and training for multi-disciplinary providers. Diane continues using her CalArts BFA skillsets every day, whether crafting program design and implementation, supervising teams, providing trainings locally or overseas, or inviting organizations and communities into courageous, liberating conversations. D

By the end of the first week I resolved fairly quickly to ignore both pieces of advice and spent lots of time in world music classes. I had a life changing class with the truly larger than life Richard Saul Wurman, (he didn’t fit in at CalArts either), and redeemed myself in year two by winning a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in design, and a Fulbright Scholarship (to Basel). Eventually I graduated with a master’s degree in design…and so here we are, 30+ years later. And guess what? April, I’m in New York and Lou, I’m an Advertising Director. So, if you guys are out there reading this—thanks for everything.”  D Joanna Priestley ’85 says, “I recently completed North of Blue, an abstract animated feature film that I started when I was a fellow at the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture in Dawson City, Yukon. I spent a month in the Yukon in February and March and the film became an exploration of snow, ice, plant shapes and landscape forms of the far north. North of Blue took six years to complete and it grew into an exploration of the non-objective idiom that plays with shifting focal points, suspension, and tension of two-dimensional patterning and trance. It was a tremendous luxury to create a long abstract film and to have so many years to experiment and explore. The world premiere of North of Blue will be at the Annecy International Animation Festival in June 2018.

Deb Heller Robicheau ’86 writes, “Since CalArts I’ve penned four screenplays, now in various states of development, worked on many creative projects, and am currently in post production on an anti-bullying LGBT indy, with an almost all female crew. We filmed Out Of My Comfort Zone last summer, where I wore a first-time producer’s hat. What a learning curve. CalArts was where I found I could tackle learning curves like that and reach further. I have so many amazing memories. I wish I could go back and do it all again. Thanks CalArts!” Douglas Rushkoff ’86 says, “I started doing a radio show and podcast as well as live shows. It’s all about human intervention in the machine. My TeamHuman manifesto will be published by WWNorton in January 2019.” David Ake ’87 chairs the Department of Musicology at the University of Miami’s highly acclaimed Frost School of Music. When he’s not teaching, doing administrative stuff, working on his next book (on popular music and jazz in the United States during the 1970s), or enjoying time with his wife and son, he’s composing and playing music. His latest album, titled Humanities (Posi-Tone Records), was released in March 2018 and features fellow CalArts alum Ralph Alessi.

Ann Telnaes ’85 says she has a new book, Trump’s ABC, published by Fantagraphics. A political parody book about the first six months of the Trump presidency. (Not for children!)  E Claudia Walther ’85 sends greetings: “Dear roomies, dear Johanna, Cathy, Laura, Laura London, Lenny Jordan…and Dear teachers, Hello from Switzerland and best wishes!”  C Devorah Goldman ’85 writes, “My time at CalArts was definitely…curious. We were a spectacular mismatch. I dreamt of graphic design in the way that only a kid from New York would. During the first week of school, the infamous (and then very famous) April Greiman, the newly appointed department chair and ‘Swiss Miss’ met me in the graduate designers’ workspace. She, of the impossibly elegant deconstructed shapes floating in space, and me—fascinated by the stable grids and old-world fonts of the New York Times. We eyed each other warily. ‘Maybe you should go back to New York,’ she said bluntly, and, I thought, a bit harshly: Back to NY? Damn, I just arrived in sunny SoCal at this CalArts place. Later that week, I met the legendary designer and CalArts instructor, Louis Danziger. He coolly appraised my work and with an arched eyebrow jangled the coins in his pocket, lowered his voice and said, gently, ‘Maybe you should consider advertising.’ Advertising? Are. You. Kidding. Me. I mean, who comes to CalArts to study advertising?

Howard Baker ’86 tells us: I’ve been “back in Los Angeles for a year-and-a-half, working at Pure Imagination Studios on several animated themed rides for parks in Malaysia, Abu Dhabi, and China. At the beginning of summer in 2017, I directed a 30-second ad for LEGO, recreating the Cars 3 trailer that showed theatrically across America all through July. On a personal note, I got married, and with our new dog, we are settling down in Venice Beach.” Frederick McClure ’86 has relocated to Las Vegas from Southern California and is a Digital Content—Creative Director for Beasley Media Group, Inc., a cluster of six radio stations in the Las Vegas valley. He also consults for the Discovery Children’s Museum and other local non-profit entities in Nevada, California, and the East Coast. He’s been married for 25 years to Yannet, from Venice, California, and they have three sons, Christian (23), Jonathan (22), and Augustine (16). Michael McDonough ’86 says he’s “working on screenplays, directing when I can, teaching film classes. It’s a wild, but fun, ride. Hoping my CalArts class mates are doing well. I miss you all.”


Ramsey Avery ’87 writes, “You guys sent a note asking for a picture of Scott Ault’s and my 30th anniversary celebration last year. We didn’t take many (and we’re not the most photogenic gents on the planet), but here it is, (we met while both studying at CalArts). Otherwise, not sure when my last note to you was, but in 2017/18 I was the supervising art director on Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2, and was also the production designer for additional photography on that film. Was also the production designer for additional photography for Spiderman: Homecoming. Then, the production designer on two films shot here in LA: Hotel Artemis with Jodie Foster, Sterling K Brown, and Dave Bautista, among others, directed by Drew Pearce, and the recently completed, Peppermint, starring Jennifer Garner and directed by Pierre Morel.

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And for the last 4 years, Scott Ault ’87 has been the CEO of Rethink Entertainment and Leisure, developing and directing projects around the world, including Dubai, China, Hong Kong, the UK, and here in the U.S. Before that, he was the COO of BRC Imagination Arts. He’s been involved with, and won THEA Awards for, projects as diverse as the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam, The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Illinois, and the USA Pavilion at the Shanghai World’s Fair, among many, many others. Scott recently left Rethink to form his own consulting company, Checkmate, so that he can be more intimately involved in the direct design and production process.”

and around the world including, most recently, to Macau for our first bilingual English/Cantonese performances.  B Sindy Fredrick ’88 reports: “I graduated in 1988 as a Visual Communications student and went on to work in advertising agencies for 30+ years. I entered CalArts the same year in which Steven Lavine became president. Almost 30 years later, my son was accepted as a Music student—in the same year that Steven exited CalArts. Cole graduated Orange County School of the Arts and is in a band named Undecided Future, which has been together for the past six years. I have been managing the band for all six years and recently brought on Larry Fridie (James Brown, the Godfather of Soul’s manager). Undecided Future has made a video with mega pop star Jason Derulo, and has had more than seven million views on YouTube. The band signed a two-year contract with Disneyland to play at its properties in Anaheim. You can find us on YouTube as well as Spotify, iTunes, ReverbNation and all digital platforms. Watch Out! This Band Is Hot! It is fun to be a mom that went to CalArts and have a son that is attending CalArts as well.”

Blair Martin Cahill ’88 tells us that, “After a career as a production designer and art director for feature films and commercials, I decided to head back to school and received my MA from Chelsea School of Art in London. I now have a full-time fine art practice combining traditional methods of foundry casting and textile production with modern technology. Peter Duschenes ’88. “My company, Platypus Theatre, continues to tour to symphony orchestras across North America


CalArts Alumni Magazine

Cal Liedtke ’88 says that he is the owner of Grandpa Chuck’s Chocolate [in Santa Clarita]. Grandpa Chuck’s Chocolate makes dark chocolate hot fudge sauce in a variety of flavors including original dark chocolate, dark chocolate chili, mint, cherry, and raspberry. Cal continues to teach theater and communications courses, and “can’t wait to retire and get the hell out of California.” David Trasoff ’88 writes that he returned from a performance tour of India, which included concerts in Mumbai for Inner Courtyard, Pune for the Gandharav Mahavidyalaya, and Gangtok for the University of Sikkim. Nedra Wheeler ’89 writes, “I’m collaborating with Drew, Ruth, and Abby of CAP/JMP doing workshops to prepare beginning piano students to play the annual recital, April 8, at the Watts Towers Art Center Campus for the community and parents. I performed in Francesca Penzani’s Diamond Awardwinning film, Double Up, with dancer Kyreeana Breelin. Both are CalArts grads. I was also invited by violinist Lesa Terry (Clark Terry) to play in an all-women’s group at LACMA May 18, 2018 at 6 pm. Lastly, I been invited to tour Sweden with guitarist Tomas Janzon.”


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Sharon Bjorke (Cohen) ’88 tell us that she entertains in the San Francisco Bay Area with ‘Hot Kugel,” the Jewish music/klezmer group she founded in 1997, and in which she sings in Yiddish, Hebrew, and Ladino. Sharon leads the jazz blues ensemble ‘The Sugar Sweet Blues Band’ on vocals, guitar, and mandolin. She has recorded several CDs and is working on a collection of traditional folk duets. Sharon teaches visual art at The South Peninsula Hebrew Day School and also creates ceramic ware and other sculptural art.

along with my brother Steve Hanft, who has a master’s degree in film. Even though my gallery is going under right now, (all systems normal), all I can say is ‘thanks’ to CalArts for the amazing life that I wound up with!”


Scott Hanft ’88 shares: “I was taught and mentored by John Divola, Jo Ann Callis, Allan Sekula, and John Bach. I earned my bachelor of fine arts degree in fine art photography from CalArts back in 1988. It seems that photography is old-school now. Is there still a photo school at CalArts? I would not know because I have been living on Kauai for 27 years. I have a small gallery selling photos of Kauai and I have been doing that for 16 years. It is getting harder and harder to keep the gallery open. I am trying to reinvent myself, but I can’t seem to get away from my old-school ways. I also studied classical guitar at the school of music with Miroslav Tadic, so I guess you can call me interdisciplinary. I still use my music skills to help sell guitars and ukuleles! I am so glad that I studied music while I was in school. I also have to give credit to my mom, Margie Hanft, who was the reason I went to CalArts. She was the librarian at CalArts for 25 years. I grew up around the school, and then attended myself,

Jenifer Anisman ’90 reports that, “After creating my family, I set my creative sights on legal work, and yes, it is a very creative field! Thank you, CalArts.”  C Caschia Jones ’90 says she’s, “Always dancing under the sun!” Andy Mennick ’90 checks in to tell us, “I am working as the high school counseling team leader at the International School of Beijing.” C

Kali Nikitas ’90 will be one of the facilitators at TYPO Berlin 2018, an international design conference in May. As part of her duties, Kali curated “Talent Talks,” a selection of eight young international designers that lead by example. Among them is CalArts alumna Kate Johnston of WCCW. Philip Widmer ’90 is currently in his 18th year of designing for the syndicated morning television show, Live. Phil has designed Live with Regis and Kathy Lee, Live with Regis, Live with Regis and Kelly, Live with Kelly, Live with Kelly and Michael, Live with Kelly, and now, Live with Kelly and Ryan. He is also the Lighting Director for New York’s, Eyewitness News. Phil also operates Widmer Designs, a lighting design firm with various broadcast venues as clients. Widmer Designs has designed news broadcast studios, gaming studios, and special event rooms used for broadcasts, as well as special events. D

Scott Davis ’91 writes, “As far as updates go, this is a transit bus turned into a stage. The possibilities go on from there.”  D Chris Innis ’91, the Oscar-winning film editor for best picture winner The Hurt Locker, appears as an expert interviewee in the documentary 78/52, which is a post-modern breakdown of the iconic shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. The doc features interviews with actor/producer Elijah Wood, actress Jamie Lee Curtis (daughter of star Janet Leigh), Osgood Perkins (son of Anthony Perkins), directors Peter Bogdanovich, Guillermo del Toro, Eli Roth, Karyn Kusama, film editors Bob Murawski ACE and Walter Murch ACE, as well as Marli Renfro (former Playboy model and body double for Janet Leigh). The film was directed by Alexandre O. Philippe, a Swiss director best known for the documentary films Doc of the Dead and The People vs. George Lucas. Film critic Owen Gleiberman of Variety called the documentary “delirious and definitive…a cinematic meditation that features a wealth of terrific anecdotes about the creation of Hitchcock’s masterpiece.” Chris was also a presenter of the Mary Pickford award at this year’s International Press Academy’s 22nd annual Satellite awards.

Todd Pimentel ’91 is celebrating his 25th anniversary with The Walt Disney Company this year (2018). He continues to hold a global management position in Disney’s book publishing division under Disney Publishing Worldwide, based in Burbank, California. Todd serves as Co-Chair of FOCA (Friends of CalArts) and is a strong alumni advocate for CalArts. James Wade ’91 “Married with children; two boys.”  F Julie West ’91 reports G that, “after India I moved to Fort Collins, Colorado, where I work as a communications specialist for the National Park Service Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division. I use my creative media and writing skills to support science communications and interpretive outreach. It’s been interesting to learn why a dark night sky—free from light pollution—is important for humans and wildlife; and that each park has a unique soundscape integral to its ecosystem. I take advantage of hiking the Front Range as much as possible, including nearby Rocky Mountain National Park, and enjoy singing with the Larimer Chorale. Iyengar yoga is a newfound anchor in my life. H

Amy Chisman ’92 has been designing lighting in the Seattle area for the past several years and is designing the lighting for Wichita Grand Opera.

Ray Sandoval ’92 says, “I have been living abroad since 2006. Tokyo, London, and Berlin have been main stops. I have been doing more composing for media projects and documentaries and performing live jazz guitar in these cities. F There have been a few tours but I have stopped touring to take care of my family.” Laura Brody ’92 writes that she is working on plans for Opulent Mobility 2018, a group exhibit that re-imagines disability, mobility, and access. Check out Opulent Mobility online to find out more, and submit your art and inventions this spring! In other news, she and her partner, David Robkin, are in the process of setting up a microbrewery in Monrovia. Stay tuned for full details.  G

Bob O’Neill ’92 announces he’s been promoted to Alex Theatre Technical Director and Facilities Manager. Bob has worked at the Alex since 1995 serving also as Head Sound Engineer, Flyman, Electrician, and Assistant Technical Director. Since its reopening in 1993, the 1400 seat Alex Theatre has been the centerpiece of Glendale’s arts, culture, and community events. A registered historic landmark, the “Alexander” began life in 1925 as a neighborhood vaudeville and movie house. Designed by architects Charles R. Selkirk and Arthur G. Lindley, the Alex hosted Hollywood previews and screened first-run films until the 1980s, when it closed after several years of decline. In 1992, the Glendale Redevelopment Agency invested $6.2 million to transform it into a performing arts center and an anchor for its revitalization plans. Today, the Alex Theatre hosts roughly 250 events per year and attracts more than 150,000 patrons to the region.  H

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Class Notes


Hollywood glamour with modern female identity, and explores how religion intersects with desire. She is now working on developing her new film, a Bluebeard-themed project set in England, that will further explore modern feminine desire and its various fulfillments and fragmentations.  C Sandra Ann Miller ’93 reports that she has published her second novel/fourth book, Temporary, on her imprint, Same Ink. The book is currently being shopped as a television series.

Christian Senn ’92 says, “Hello to staff and alumni from the early 90s! After 26 years making video games, I’m passionately pursuing the creation of fun card games.”  A Kubilay Uner ’92 writes: “Cold November, an intimate drama I recently scored, had its world premiere last fall at CPH Pix in Copenhagen, followed by its North-American premiere at the Woodstock Film Festival. The film follows an 11-year-old girl as she is about to shoot her first deer. This spring, Lionsgate will be releasing another film I had the privilege of writing music for, Gone Are The Days, a western starring Lance Henriksen, Tom Berenger, and Danny Trejo, directed by fellow CalArts alumnus Mark Gould ’98. The release will include a limited theatrical run in LA and New York. In the summer of 2017 I was elected to the Board of Directors for the Society of Composers and Lyricists, the nation’s premier nonprofit organization for composers, lyricists, and songwriters working in motion pictures, television, and multimedia. Meanwhile, the MFA program I have been leading for Columbia College, Chicago, since 2015, Music Composition for the Screen, was listed by the Hollywood Reporter for the second year in a row as one of the world’s top 25 music-for-media programs. Over the past couple of years, the program has continued to show steady increases in what already had been robust application numbers, with a 23% increase between 2017 and 2018 alone.” Deborah Wasserman ’92 writes: “Over the past few years, I started doing Socially Engaged Art. No Longer Your Chica was an intervention and interactive experience intended to raise awareness of the distribution of Chica Cards on Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York. Females, mostly immigrants, are kidnapped and forced to work as prostitutes, unable to get help or legal assistance. Local residents, agencies, and police are often helpless in the face of this mega business run by criminals. Dressed in an elaborate B


CalArts Alumni Magazine

‘Chica’ costume which challenges stereotypical female sexuality, I distributed my own version of the card with a functioning phone number to call. These subverted cards did not deliver a ‘Chica’ to one’s home but rather led to a dedicated voicemail recording with monologues by former sex workers. Notorious C for their lurid, sexual imagery, ‘chica cards’ are postcard-sized printed advertisements (designed to mimic collectible trading cards) whose distribution, though illegal, still persists. The cards provide a number which potential customers can call to order a desirable ‘chica’ (the Spanish word for a girl or young female) for delivery to their home.”  B

Barry Morse ’93 is currently working on his #activityfifty show which includes 10 mannequins with costumes, masks, and yarn wigs, 10 paintings, 5 sculptures, and 25 years worth of self-portraits to be exhibited by 2020.  D

Jacqueline Wright ’92 checks in: “The feature film I wrote and acted in, Eat Me, (based on my critically acclaimed play of the same name), was released in theaters last March, and also on SVOD. I have been working toward this moment for many years—it is a story close to my heart, and I am so excited to be able to share it with an audience. Fellow CalArts Alums Noelle “Maline” Knight was the production designer, and Nicholas Trikonis, our cinematographer. It has taken the support of every friend I have to see this dream realized. I hope my fellow CalArtians will seek out Eat Me and watch it! It’s an insightful, darkly hilarious, and terrifying exploration of the extremity of human endurance, whose lead character, Tommy, a despondent woman with nothing to live for, attempts suicide on the same night that Bob breaks into her house. Over the course of the night, they collide on a desperate and brutal journey, struggling to find a way out of the circumstances that brought them together.”

Jefferson Thomas ’93 created a 110-foot mural for the Shasta County Public Library in Redding, CA. The mural is titled “The Flora and Fauna of Shasta County” and highlights the landscape, plants, and animals of Shasta County. He also just completed a music video for the MarchFourth! Marching Band, from Portland Oregon.

Anna Biller ’93 directed a feature film, released in 2016, called, The Love Witch, about a modern-day witch looking for love in Northern California. It was shot on 35mm film and the original negative was cut, so the film print process was entirely photochemical. The film combines ideas of old



Craig McTurk ’93 is the co-producer and additional cameraman for Satan & Adam, an epic documentary feature film that will premiere this April at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. The film was directed by V. Scott Balcerek and exec produced by Frank Marshall. Satan & Adam tells the story of two idiosyncratic blues musicians, and was made over a period of 23 years. Craig is currently in post-production on another documentary feature, The Last Artisan, about an elderly Singaporean painter who passes his life’s work to a pair of Mainland Chinese workers. Eric Geoffroy ’94 checks in to say, “After extensive musical training and two degrees I am now…a coder. Ah, well, it’s fun, creative, and challenges my brain. The workaday job involves a little audio work, too, which is nice. I swim a lot, but in a swimsuit. I miss nude swimming in the CalArts pool!” G

Luis Prieto ’94 tells us that he “directed Kidnap starring Halle Berry, produced by Lorenzo Di Bonaventura (released in August 2017 by Avian Pictures). Also, directed The Disunited States of America, a portrait of America in the months, weeks, and days leading up to the 2016 election. With no interviews or narration, we get to know the real lives of real people that were sensationalized by the media—Bikers for Trump, undocumented immigrants, Planned Parenthood employees, etc. The election is only a backdrop for this portrait of America—a time capsule of a populace. The film is screening at the 2018 EFM Berlinale.”

Alisa Rasera-Holden ’94 recently performed in Oakland-based AXIS Dance Company’s 30th anniversary season with the original cast of Secret Ponies, a piece choreographed by Stephen Petronio in 2001. Alisa was a dancer with AXIS from 1999-2007. She has been a Bay Area resident and artist since 1996. She lives with her husband Wally Holden ’94 and their two daughters, Iris & Viola. Nathan Bishop ’95 writes: “After graduating and living the dream working for several years in the television/film industry, I finally grew tired of being laid off after every project. I bounced around trying other jobs, from tutoring art to web design for a tabletop game company. My journey took me from California to New Jersey to Dallas to Baltimore, then back to Dallas in 2008 and finally, to Kalamazoo Michigan in 2009, where I met my amazing wife, Heather, whom I married in 2013. We had our son Robin in 2016. Now I have the most important job ever, which far exceeds all the movies and television shows I’ve ever worked on, being a stay-at-home dad. I aim all my creative energy into raising my son (and making him the best Halloween costumes!) I still like to play around with video, but it takes the form of fun videos announcing Robin’s birth and the milestones of his life. Here is a photo of my son Robin as the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in his custom Ecto-1 Cozy Coupe that I made for him this past Halloween.”  E Brian Driscoll ’95, a professor of music at Santa Monica College, tells us that he was commissioned to write a five-minute anthem for an eight-part choir and organ dedicated to the retiring sixth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles. The piece, a setting of an excerpt of Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If,” along with extracts and quotes inspired by the Bhagavad Gita, was premiered on November 4, 2017, by the Cathedral Singers of St. Paul’s Pro-Cathedral at a benefit dinner and retirement party for 400 guests.  F Amy Alexander ’96 works in digital media, audiovisual, and performance art. She has also written and lectured on software as art and culture, audiovisual performance, and

histories of women in technology. She has served as a reviewer for festivals and commissions for new media art and computer music. Amy’s projects have been presented internationally on the Internet, in clubs, and on the street, as well as in festivals and museums, including the Whitney Museum, Ars Electronica, Transmediale, ISEA, and NIME. She was a founding member of the software art collective and an early member of the TOPLAP live coding collective. Amy has an ongoing side project increasing the research visibility of 20th century audiovisual performance artist and inventor Mary Hallock Greenewalt. Recently, Amy has been working on PIGS (Percussive Image Gestural System), which she has performed in the US, Canada, and Australia. Amy is an Associate Professor of Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego, where she currently serves as area head for Computing and Speculative Design. F

Margaret Pezalla-Granlund ’95 checks in: “I recently moved from Minnesota to Pennsylvania to take a position as the director of the Art Gallery and The Sarnoff Collection at The College of New Jersey. The Sarnoff Collection is a small, but significant collection of artifacts from RCA and Sarnoff Labs that trace the history of broadcast and communications technology in the 20th century.” Brent Crayon ’97 is music director, conductor, keyboardist for upcoming productions of South Pacific, Newsies, and A Night with Janis Joplin at La Mirada Theater. Sandy Rodriguez ’97 tells us: “This summer (April – July) you can see my latest work as part of a two-person show with John Valadez at Fine Art Solutions in Vernon, CA. Recent awards and residencies include: Department of Cultural Affairs Cultural Trailblazer Award, and Artist-in-Residence for Los Angeles County Arts Commission. My artist communiqué and artwork are featured on the fall 2017 cover of Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies from UCLA’s Chicano Studies Research Center. My work has been featured on CBC Radio Canada Hour le Monde, KQED Statewide Report, KPCC’s Off Ramp, in the Los Angeles Times, and on KCET.”  G

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Class Notes

Bobby Brewer-Wallin ’98 says, “2017 included costume design for Lear’s Daughters, Macbeth, An Inspector Calls (Willamette University), You in Midair (New Expressive Works), The Events (Third Rail Repertory), The Importance of Being Earnest, and the world premiere of Magellanica by E.M. Lewis (Artists Repertory Theatre). 2018 kicked off with costume design for the world premiere of Wings of Fire, a musical by Hayley Hoffmeister Green. I was also promoted to full professor at Willamette University.  A



Jeremy Hight ’98 says: “My writing and art is being archived this year by a university, the Whitney Museum, and by the International ELO (Electronic Literature Organization). My book of short fiction, What Remains, was made by taking all the sci-fi out of famous Sci Fi films. Published last year by Free Dogma press, What Remains was nominated for two writing awards. I am currently making poems from gifs and working on a novel. I am judging the international digital creative festival ISEA in Durban, South Africa, and a competition for a writing award.”

June 2018. The work explores the creative act of memory-making and examines memory’s effects through time. Arianne is also Adjunct Faculty at Cal State University Long Beach, Pasadena City College, and Glendale Community College.  B The latest novel of Gwendolyn Womack ’98, The Fortune Teller, became a USA Today Bestseller. The book is a historical thriller that follows the world’s first tarot cards through time, published by Picador/Macmillan. Joy Gregory ’99 is writing and producing the CBS drama, Madam Secretary. Her episode “Good Bones” was a finalist for the 2017 Humanitas Prize.

Evan “Bones” Kendall ’98 says he’s “on stage at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood, introducing the show he helped create, a fundraiser for Los Angeles City College, featuring the ‘Comedians with Disabilities Act’ from northern California.” Arianne MacBean ’98 says that in 2015, her LA-based dance-theater group, The Big Show Co., embarked on a community performance initiative called, The Collective Memory Project, inspired by survival memories of U.S. military veterans. Arianne facilitated free Memory Writing Workshops for veterans at the LA Public Library and the text generated there became script material. Works-in-progress were presented at The Brand Library in Glendale, ARC in Pasadena, and El Camino College. In February 2017 four veterans performed alongside The Big Show Co. at Hollywood Legion Post 42. With generous funding from the City of Los Angeles’ Department of Cultural Affairs and the California Arts Council, The Big Show Co. is now poised for its biggest season ever. Ford Theatres is hosting a 2018 spring residency consisting of 15 Memory Movement Workshops and presenting the world premiere of The Collective Memory Project in


CalArts Alumni Magazine


Tom Hiel ’99 says “I wrote music for the hit TV show, The Practice, and the films, A Plumm Summer, with Henry Winkler, and Under Still Waters with Lake Bell! Also orchestrated and provided additional music for Red Eye, Angel Eyes, Cursed, Rugrats in Paris, and Rugrats Go Wild. I enjoyed immensely my classes with Stephen L. Mosko and Mort Subotnick. Shellie O’brien (Kvilvang) ’99 checks in: “When not juggling two kids and a flatfaced cat, I’m Supervising Director and Show Runner on a new re-boot series. Most recently I boarded on the third SpongeBob feature for Paramount, in addition to writing and story consulting for Hasbro Studios. My fondest memory of CalArts would be going to the release of the Star Wars prequels and being too tired to know if they sucked or not!

I live in Santa Clarita with my family, and our kids attend a super cool creative school called SCVi!” Marjam Oskoui ’99 would like to announce her “collaboration with Nathaniel Eras opening up our venue, #vertexx, in downtown LA—a culture club where we explore techno music and immersive art at the intersection of mind exploring experiences. Please join us!” Todd Simon ’99 reports that his horn arrangements are featured on Macklemore’s platinum selling single ‘Glorious.’ He also performed with Portugal the Man at the American Music Awards and contributed to a Timberland/Foot Locker campaign featuring the legendary rapper, Nas. The fifth installment of Todd’s #JazzOn45 series is an all-45 tribute mixtape to the recently deceased South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela that has been featured in the magazine Wax Poetics. His DJ/musician jam night, #HodgepodgeLA, has relocated to the brand new Apotheke, while his African-Jazz project, Ethio Cali, was performed at the Regent Theater (opening up for Antibalas) and at the Bombay Beach Biennale this past March. Ethio-Cali will also be performed at Music Tastes Good Festival on Sept. 30. Todd will be the conductor/orchestrator for Carl Craig’s, Versus, an orchestral/Detroit House project performing worldwide.  C

Double Ohs Joseph LoPiccolo ’00 reports that he continues to teach at College of the Canyons and Mt. San Antonio College where he has been Guitar Faculty since 2002 and 2001 respectively. In September he performed solo at the 15th “Festival Chitarristico Internazionale Delle Due Città” in Treviso Italy. In January, he performed duo in Rome with Bass Player (and former member of

Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass) Pasquale (Pat) Senatore. Joseph recently updated his two textbooks for guitar, Guitar Improvisation and Guitar Mosaic, and re-released his CD Passages, featuring CalArts alumni Eric Barber, Randy Gloss, Larry Steen, and Miroslav Tadic. Reynier Molenaar ’00 says, “My latest short film, Strain, has picked up two new awards, winning the Expo Film Award at the Latino Comics Expo, and Best Horror Film at the Latino Shorts Festival in New York City. Strain has been selected for competition in 12 international festivals, including screenings in Spain, Nigeria, Canada, and across the United States. Strain follows two survivors of the zombie apocalypse who must travel across an eerily abandoned Los Angeles in order to save their lives—and their humanity.”  D


John Churchville ’01 was named as a semi-finalist (top 25) in the 2018 Grammy Music Educator Award for his work with student composition and musical ownership. His Indian fusion group, Sumkali, just released its fourth album, titled “Dha Re Dha,” (after completing a successful Kickstarter campaign in which it raised $10,000). Sumkali has also been invited to present and perform at the 2018 Association for Popular Music Education’s National Conference in Murfreesboro, Tennessee in June, as well as the International Society for Music Education’s 2018 International Conference in Baku, Azerbaijan. Juli Crockett ’01 checks back in, “Serving my second year on the Board of Directors of the California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA), and was elected in January as the Chair of their Legislative Committee. Recruited in January by a leading cannabis consulting company (MMLG) to be its Director of Compliance. Also named Producing Director of the legendary Padua Playwrights (founded by Maria Irene Fornes, Sam Shepard, and Murray Mednick) and have been writing/directing/performing monthly in LA for an ongoing theater experiment called Jack Benny with fellow CalArts alums Shaughn Buchholz, Brian Tichnell, and Jenny Greer. Life is weird. Attached photo (from left to right) shows my friends Linda Wallem (creator of Nurse Jackie), Elizabeth Warren (rock star), and Melissa Etheridge (rock star) on a trip to Washington, D.C. to talk about cannabis regulation.”  E

Joshua Jade (J.J.) ’01 says he’s “Finally making some proper music again with, and by, some fellow CalArtians—The Sonic Liberation Players—based in the ’burbs of Boston, with Rachel Barringer, Jessica Tunick Berens, Andrea Lieberherr Douglass, Kristin Olson, and Trevor Berens. Other than that, I’m just running an art gallery and raising an 11-year-old. Give a shout if you are in my neck of the woods.” Peter Ksander ’01 says his design for composer Travis Just ’02 and writer/director Kara Feely’s Opera, It’s All True, (built from the sonic detritus of post-hardcore band Fugazi’s live archive, minus the songs), had its North American premiere at La Mama ETC in New York City.

The solo show of Kate McCabe ’01, The Doomsday Optimist, opened this past March at the Taylor Junction gallery in Joshua Tree, California. Inspired in part by the renewed threat of nuclear proliferation, the recent time change of the Doomsday Clock, and the history of former President Reagan’s failed attempts to stop the arms race, these works stare intelligently and humorously into the void. A world where skulls can make a rainbow and cakes fill the emptiness, McCabe turns the idea of nihilism around to a paradoxical Nihilistic Hopefulism. Featuring new paintings, mixed media, and nihilistic prayer flags, these strange pieces offer a reprieve of sorts in which we can be reminded that everything will be OK. Kate will also return to Lichtenberg Studios in Berlin this fall for another month-long Artist in Residency. E

Fill Marc Sagadraca ’02 says, “I recently directed episodes for an as yet unannounced animated series for Netflix at Bento Box Entertainment.” Martina Secondo Russo ’02 reports that after graduation, she moved back to NYC and opened MF Gallery (with her husband Frank Russo) in 2003. This summer, MF Gallery will be celebrating its

15th Anniversary with a huge group show! 2018 kicked off with a mid-career survey of Reverend Jen’s art, including film screenings and a re-creation of her infamous L.E.S. Troll Museum. To celebrate women’s month, MF Gallery will host an all-female Breastfeeding Art Show. Also, this year will have a solo show by Brazilian queer punk artist, Fernando Carpaneda, and MF Gallery’s Annual Halloween and Toy Shows. Martina continues to work on and exhibit her paintings at MF Gallery and other spaces.


Brad Comfort ’03 says he’s been working with P!nk as her editor since the release of her Beautiful Trauma album and current 2018 World Tour of the same name. He most recently created and edited her latest music video, Whatever You Want, an intimate behind-the-scenes look at P!nk’s tour rehearsals and performances, depicting her life as a wife, mother, and pop star. Brad was also asked to edit a short documentary film to introduce the What About Us performance in her current show. When he sat down with P!nk to discuss the film, she told him she wanted to create something moving, that wasn’t pandering or preachy, something that her daughter or any young girl or boy could be inspired by. She gave him the freedom to create within the framework of the Cash Cash remix of this song, which she particularly loved. Brad decided to use a mixture of news footage clips, music videos from her archive, and interviews she had selected for him to use, which presented her political views and values. The Beautiful Trauma World Tour opened March 1, with tour dates scheduled this year across the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.   F

Goh Kurosawa ’03 checks in: “Hello friends at CalArts! 2018 started with shows in the Pacific Northwest, Zihuatanejo International Guitar Festival in Mexico, and now I am on

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my way to Japan for 20 shows up to mid-May. I also released two new song videos so far, and this year, I am planning to do so for every single month to come. Please visit, my website for latest updates. Thank you always CalArts, Class Notes, and rock on with love!”  A Ryan Vincent Anderson ’04 reports: “I starred in the World Premiere of Kodachrome by Adam Szymkowicz at Portland Center Stage at the Armory in Portland, Oregon.” Maile Colbert ’04 writes, “I’m very happy to share that the second film I have designed sound for with filmmaker Irene Lusztig, Yours In Sisterhood, was just featured at the 2018 Berlinale Forum. The sound was created using methods from my current sound study research towards my doctorate degree, a research project called, Wayback Sound Machine: sound through time, space, and place, exploring the relationship between soundscape and cinematic sound design through time.”

Markets, which is a combined company of Chicago Board Options Exchange and Bats Global Markets. While I earned my MFA at CalArts in 2005, I also hold a MS in Engineering from the Whiting School of Engineering, Johns Hopkins University. I am an artist and engineer by training, and that gives me a C distinct perspective on investigations on cybercrime, dealing with cyberattacks, and incident handling.” Shaun Fillion ’05 says he “has become obsessed with architectural lighting design.” He is Program Director for the Masters in architectural lighting design at New York School of Interior Design, ranked #2 in the country. He also serves as the Lighting Studio Manager at RAB Lighting. Trish Hausmann ’05 tells us she’s the House Manager and Patron Services Coordinator for the Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance at Indiana University. Trish currently teaches Special Topics in Stage Management for IU, which covers topics of cruise ship entertainment management, Las Vegas entertainment management, and theme park entertainment management. In March, she presented at the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) Conference in Ft. Lauderdale, presenting sessions on grant writing (with fellow CalArtian Erin McCann Sabo ’05) and communication between stage managers and arts managers. She also serves as the Vice Commissioner for Arts Management for USITT.


Tanja Raaste ’04 writes that she’s “General Manager at ZU-UK theatre, and teaching ‘professional practice for actors’, as well as networking, negotiation, self-marketing, and most recently, an MA course in ‘Cultural Event Management.’ Been growing my own food in my urban London garden and blogging on FB as Edible-Garden.” Seok hwan Won ’04 wants to say, “I miss you all!”  B Phil Chang ’05 says he has a group exhibition at Andrew Rafacz gallery in Chicago.



CalArts Alumni Magazine

Wai Sheng Cheng ’05 “I am currently working in cybersecurity for Cboe Global

Billy Burgess ’06 sends an update: “Since graduation I’ve been touring the US, screening films through my program, The Druid Underground Film Festival. Last year we pulled off 16 shows in 13 states from Los Angeles to New York City. I’m currently in pre-production on my third feature film as writer/director and still work with CalArts folks from time to time. If you or anyone you know has made an incredible film (regardless of production date), feel free to hit me up at I’d love to see it!” Aaron Drake ’06 scored three new films! First, The Rise and Fall of the Brown Buffalo began airing March 23 on PBS. It chronicles the life of Oscar ‘Zeta’ Acosta—Chicano lawyer, activist, and the inspiration for Dr. Gonzo in Hunter S. Thompson’s, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Second, The Godfathers of Hardcore, about the seminal NYC hardcore band, Agnostic Front. Rolling Stone calls it the “dynamic, crucial companion piece to American Hardcore, The Decline of Western

Civilization and other films chronicling the evolution of Eighties punk.” Also, the score is being released on 180 gram, clear vinyl for Record Store Day 2018—get it! Last but not least, check out California Typewriter (iTunes, Amazon etc.). A portrait of artists, writers, and collectors who remain steadfastly loyal to the typewriter as a tool and muse, featuring Tom Hanks, John Mayer, David McCullough, Sam Shepard, and others. Michelle Young Lee ’06 says, “I participated in a performance program at MoMA PS1. I presented my performance piece, The Care Room, as part of Topical Cream’s, (an online magazine), programming of feminist performance art.” Emery Martin ’06 sends us an amazing double shot: A Segment of Approximately Twenty-Two Thousand Four Hundred Miles Over Approximately 16.28 Days was included in the “Breaking Illusions: Artist as Scientist” group show at the Peggy Phelps and East Gallery. The show included artists and works that blur the methodologies used by artists and scientists to create works that analyze data, language, and scientific phenomenon. The piece is derived from GPS data and field recordings completed during one of Martin’s commutes, and it encapsulates all driving decisions made and sounds heard along the 32.6 miles traversed in 29 minutes. The resulting data is mapped digitally in three-dimensional space and printed in layers of plastic to create a sculptural form acting as a physical representation of this everyday experience. A field recording from within the cabin of the automobile during this commute plays from surface transducers hidden in the base of the sculpture, causing the entire structure to become a resonator for the auditory experience of the solitary driver. The piece is illuminated with a custom LED fixture bathing the print in blue and red light, reminiscent of a police light bar that mixes and bounces a magenta blue glow on its surrounds.  C

Submission #2: The artist duo of Emery C. Martin ’06 (Experimental Animation BFA) and Kerstin L. Hovland ’12 (Experimental Animation and Integrated Media MFA) was brought in by FragmentNine to create animation for the unconventional screens

and lighting configuration for the current alt-J: Relaxer 2017-2018 World Tour. The screen configuration consisted of eight semi-transparent LED screens on carts and 150 pixel-mapped Sceptron linear LED fixtures staggered and layered in space. We created a series of highly textural noise, geometric, and light-based looks tailored to the dynamic 3-dimensional and architectural nature of the show. “We got to work with the opening, closing, and highest energy songs of its amazing set including: 3WW, Intro (Awesome), Something Good, Nara, In Cold Blood, Every Other Freckle, The Gospel of John Hurt, Hit Me Like That Snare, Fitzpleasure, Intro (This is All Yours), and many more. We also brought in our frequent collaborator Meejin Hong ’12 (F/V MFA) to contribute to 3WW. The show has gone on to garner the coveted Knights of Illumination award and continues to travel the world thrilling audiences. It will be back in the spotlight at Coachella 2018.” D

Dave Rogge ’06 (MFA Theater) and Julie Schworm ’06 (MFA Theater) welcomed their son David to the world in September 2017. They will celebrate their sixth wedding anniversary this year, and say, “Thanks CalArts!” Brigette Barrager ’07 writes, “I’m now a children’s book illustrator and two of my books, Uni the Unicorn and Uni the Unicorn and the Dream Come True, written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, have been New York Times Bestsellers. I’m also currently teaching a children’s book illustration class at CalArts in the Character Animation program.” Torry Bend ’07 reports that the puppet show, The Paper Hat Game, was nominated for a Drama Desk Award in the category of ‘Unique Theatrical Experience.’ The project was created and directed by Bend; Lighting Design by Jeanette Yew ’06; Sound Design by Colbert S. Davis IV ’06, and puppet design and construction by Sarah Krainin ’08. Anneliese Charek ’07 checks in to say, “I have been living and working in Shanghai since 2012. In that time, I have opened a community art space called Basement 6 Collective, and have started a dance company

named SLATE. Shanghai is a fascinating city with a complicated art scene: there is a strong interest in the arts, which is constantly at odds with government censorship. There is a growing interest in dance, but a lack of stages/theaters or performance spaces open to perform non-traditional dance, and a list of rules to abide by. Navigating this conflicted landscape has been a challenge, but has forced me to conjure up creative problem solving with my work. Everything moves quickly here. There is constant construction, constant development, and a light-speed pace of life that makes you feel like you are always running. The international, multi-cultural communities in this city set it apart from the rest of the nation. People here are eager to create and collaborate.”

technologist,” textile designer, digital artist, and 3D animator. Some highlights over the past couple of years include a feature in Wired for my Fragmented Memory Project; inclusion in exhibitions in Abu Dhabi, UAE, and ZhangZhou, China; working with Dior to create textiles for its Cruise 2015 collection; and creating 3D animations for musicians like Kimbra and Kygo. Most recently, I worked with Azsa West & Valentine Freeman and Lauryn Siegel on a music video for the Ruby Suns, The Zipper, in which you can see some of my 3D work in the VR cafe scenes.

Daniel Corral ’07 writes, “I’m premiering a new piece this Sunday called Polytope, which was written about on Calarts’s blog, 24700. I’ll be joined by fellow alumni Erin Barnes ’97, Cory Beers ’05, and Andrew Lessman ’09 for this performance. Polytope is the eponymous concert of the 2018 MicroFest season. I’ll also be touring the piece up the coast.”  D Eddie Lopez ’07 returns to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for his sixth season of Destiny of Desire by Latinx playwright Karen Zacarías, directed by LATC founder José Luis Valenzuela. In Zacarías’s hilarious, provocative, and revolutionary send-up of the telenovela genre, women take power over their futures, their families, and their destinies. Love and betrayal overflow amid a vibrant cast of classic Mexican telenovela characters, with nods to Shakespeare’s comedies and Brecht’s epic theatre. “Destiny is clearly the one to see this season—the show everyone will be talking about, the one you’d better buy your tickets for early because, by all rights, it’s going to sell out soon.”— Eugene Weekly  E Elana Mann ’07 was recognized as a 2017–18 cultural trailblazer by the City of Los Angeles. She is the 2017–18 inaugural ceramic artist-in-residence at Pitzer College and she will have a solo show at Pitzer College Art Galleries in the fall of 2018. Phillip Stearns ’07 says, “I graduated over 10 years ago (eeek!) from the Music MFA program in Composition, Experimental Sound Practices Program. My trajectory since has led me into a media arts practice where I find myself working for other artists, splitting my time between being a “creative E


Robin Sukhadia ’07 says 11 years after graduating from CalArts with an MFA in World Music, he has a lot to be grateful for. He currently serves as an Advancement Officer at the Colburn School of Music where he oversees major fundraising for the school. For the past four years, he served as the Development Director at artworxLA. He recently returned from India, where he had taken his father to spend time with tabla maestro Swapan Chaudhuri, in Kolkata, India. It was truly a special moment in his life. Tabla continues to be central to Robin’s creative life, and he regularly performs and records on a wide range of classical and contemporary projects. He is most excited about his electronic group Sadubas, which recently released its first single entitled Railways. The group is now working on an album. Robin and his lovely wife have a three-year-old son named Kailash who keeps them busy around the clock and loves Octonauts. Their goldendoodle Jhansi is obsessed with chasing tennis balls. They all live in East Los Angeles, and love driving their new electric Chevy Bolt.  F Daren Burns ’08 says he’s living and teaching music in Beijing at an IB World School. In March, he released his fourth solo recording, Interstellar Echoes. The recording is a bass and drums duet in tribute to John Coltrane and features Craig Bunch on drums.

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Louisa Conrad ’08 updates us: “My husband and I run a goat dairy and farmstead confectionary on a Vermont hillside. We have recently opened a boutique farmhouse for agristourismo farm stays as well. Come visit us and the goats!” A

Alex Lewin ’08 checks in: “I left my position as the Assistant Director of Residence Life at CalArts in August 2017 to pursue my master’s degree in College Student Personnel at Bowling Green State University. Classes are going well and I love my role as the Graduate Assistant for Student Conduct in the Office of the Dean of Students. In May, I will be presenting at the 2018 ITGA City & University Relations Conference about the project I am working on, transforming single-user singlegender restrooms at local businesses into all-gender restrooms. I miss California and CalArts dearly, but am so thankful for the people there that supported and encouraged me in pursuing my career in student affairs.” David Mack ’08 is currently serving on the host committee for the national 2018 Dance/ USA conference coming to Los Angeles, June 6–9. Ashley-Martin Dunn ’08 announced that she joined The Animation Guild Local 839 in 2017, and is the Technical Director on Bunnicula for Warner Bros. Animation.

Colleen Corcoran ’08 sends a picture of her daughter, Juno, critiquing The Pool Issue 2.  A Sam Deutsch ’08 writes, “I’ve been touring the world as a puppeteer, working on five continents. Was part of the first group of Americans to perform in Iran since 1979. Working primarily with Manual Cinema, a Chicago-based shadow puppet company.” Bety Le ’08 sends this update: “Since graduating from CalArts, I’ve dabbled a bit in film/ TV…Pretty Little Liars (“Bridget Wu”), Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides B (“mermaid”), and Hail, Caesar! (“synchronized swimmer”) But mostly, I have made a career in musical theatre. National tours include playing a lost boy, Curly/Jane understudy in Cathy Rigby is Peter Pan, and flying (“swimming”) as the Ariel Double/Ensemble in Disney’s The Little Mermaid, which featured Diana Huey as its first Asian-American Ariel! Having closed the show this past November, I am now back in NY, auditioning, and enjoying not living out of a suitcase, and coming home to the same place every day.”  B


CalArts Alumni Magazine

Joe Milazzo ’08 checks in: “A second edition of my novel, Crepuscule W/Nellie, was published in February 2018 by Civil Coping Mechanisms. Also, my second poetry collection, Of All Places In This Place Of All Places, was recently published by Spuyten Duyvil.” Silas Munro ’08 was a contributor to a book on W. E. B. Du Bois’s Data Portraits. He authored an introduction and captions for a series of 63 ground-breaking C data visualizations advocating for African American progress designed by W. E. B. Du Bois and his students at Atlanta University. Published by Princeton Architectural Press, New York, NY.  C Joseph Prichard ’08 writes, “I’m celebrating two important milestones this year; the first birthday of my son Caleb Phoenix Prichard, born in January of 2017, and the first anniversary of the launch of my design studio, Kilter. Caleb is a rambunctious and incredibly sweet toddler with an unnatural attachment to The Pool, which has become his go-to mealtime reading material. Kilter, launched in spring of 2017 with my co-founders Stephanie Chan and Jessica First, is a full-service branding studio that works with startups, nonprofits, and educational institutions to create work that delights & engages audiences.”  D Lisa Rose ’08 catches up: “Years of rejection. A few stints with Apple and some teaching. Still out there pitching animation, illustration, and UX projects and ideas—all rejected so far. Posting daily now on Instagram.”  E


Ama Birch ’09 says that her essay, “Who Is The Bad Guy? Race, Class, Gender and Occupy Wall Street,” was included in the anthology From Somewhere to Nowhere The End of the American Dream (Autonomedia, 2017). Allie Carr ’09 reports: “A book that emerged from my PhD work is soon to be published by Routledge. The ideas in this book began with work started at CalArts and so may be familiar to some of my peers! Here’s the book blurb: Drawing on interviews with a breadth of different showgirls, from shows in Paris, Las Vegas, Berlin, and Los Angeles, as well as her own artworks and those by other contemporary and historical artists, this book examines the experiences of showgirls and those who watch them, to challenge the narrowness of representations and discussions around what has been termed ‘sexualisation’ and ‘the gaze.’ An account of the experience of being ‘looked at,’ the book raises questions of how the showgirl is represented, the nature of the pleasure that she elicits and the suspicion that surrounds it, and what this means for feminism and the act of looking. An embodied articulation of a new politics of looking, Viewing Pleasure and Being a Showgirl: How Do I Look? engages with the idea (reinforced by feminist critique) that images of women are linked to selling and that women’s bodies have been commodified E

in capitalist culture, raising the question of whether this enables particular bodies—those of glamorous women on display—to become scapegoats for our deeper anxieties about consumerism.” Joel Egger ’09 says, “After serving as an adjunct professor for Nebraska Wesleyan University and Doane University since 2015, last year I started a tenure-track position as Assistant Professor of Theatre at Doane University in Crete, Nebraska.” Brian Higdon ’09 writes, “After a year-anda-half producing media content for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, I took a producing role with Group SJR (WPP), an ad/content agency in NYC.”


Jennifer Koblosky ’09 serves as the Vice President of FoxNext Destinations at 20th Century Fox, where she leads strategy, business and creative development for theme parks, resorts, exhibitions, and live shows. Jennifer is overseeing the development of the first 20th Century Fox World park, currently under construction in Malaysia. The park will feature attractions based on Fox IP, including Ice Age, Aliens and Planet of the Apes. Other notable projects currently underway at Fox include global touring exhibitions based on

Avatar and Ice Age and 4D attractions based on Fox IP. Fahad Siadat ’09, ’18 recently participated in Ron Athey and Sean Griffin’s experimental opera, Gifts of the Spirit, and premiered his own chamber opera, The Moon Has Made Us Brothers, with collaborator André Megerdichian. He’ll be graduating with his Doctorate of Musical Arts from CalArts in just a few days.  F

Twenty Tens Christie Bondade (Nelson-Sala) ’10 checks in: “Since graduating CalArts in 2010 I returned to Dallas, and have been on faculty at University of North Texas, Texas Woman’s University, Collin College, Eastfield College, Richland College, and Southern Methodist University. I am currently on faculty at SMU and Collin College where I teach online courses, lecture courses, dance technique classes, and yoga. I am also the resident Stage Manager for SMU Meadows dance school. I have held residencies at Eastfield college, Collin College, Texas Tech University and the Oklahoma Contemporary Dance Festival. I work for the Dance Council of North Texas, a non-profit organization, as Office Manager and Advertising Director. I help run programs such as Dance Planet—free master classes and performances; Dallas Dances— performance program for North Texas artists and beyond; Adaptive Dance—movement workshops for teachers tailored for individuals with differing abilities; Art & Stage Live series and interviews; Dancers Network—free networking event with artists, colleges, dance companies and arts organizations; and free dance lessons at events throughout the DFW


area. Since graduating I’ve collaborated on many projects with CalArts alumni Scott Cazan, Colton Lytle and Chaz Underriner; as well as former faculty member Mitchell Rose.  G Hilary Darling ’10 says, “Hello! The Darling household is business as usual. I’m still making Summer Institute happen at CalArts, and Michael is still making Theater happen. The girls, Sophie and Zuzu, are getting more and more wonderful every day. In fact, I have to say they are my favorite people to hang out with—square pegs in a really good way. I am still writing poetry and that’s because my CSSSA students inspire me to do so. I am still the Creative Writing Chair and Poetry Faculty for CSSSA, and I love it so much. Life is good; politics suck. (CalArts Character Animation student Erin McDermott did the Darling family portrait!).”  H


Ben Ginsberg ’10 writes, “Since graduating I have music directed dozens of theatre productions, both professional, amateur and children’s, all throughout Southern California. I have performed for Oprah Winfrey, Stephen Schwartz, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, to name a few. I am currently studying Music Business at CSU Northridge. I also teach piano lessons, and am producing original songs with an up and coming pop artist, Jorgie.”  I


James Brandon Lewis ’10 reminisces: “Upon Arriving at CalArts in my beat-up car from Colorado where I had been living, I arrived at 6 a.m., car smoking, but thankful that it made the parking lot, got out of my car walked toward the building, and right

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a tribute to choreographer Jerome Robbins and composer Leonard Bernstein for Lincoln Center’s centennial celebration. Cady Zuckerman ’10 writes, “Missing my theatre art family from 2010. Good thing Pete Cross’s voice is available on all streaming platforms so I can listen to him as I sink into a dreamy abyss.”


in front of the CalArts’ blue sign I kissed the ground with joy in my heart, excited for the journey ahead. Worked with Charlie Haden, Wadada Leo Smith, Joe LaBarbera, and many other amazing faculty. CalArts was what I thought it would be, and it still holds a special place in my heart, allowing me to realize and crystallize who I am, and continue to be, as an artist.”  A Hector Machado ’10 says, “After my amputation I’ve moved back to Miami, Florida and I’m currently dancing with the Pioneer Winter Collective’s premiere of Reprise, which uses contemporary dance and physical theater to explore memory, marginalization, and queerness—how our lives intersect. Reprise premiered in March 2018.”  B Nick Shoob ’10 has opened an L.A.-based photography company called Shoob Photo South. The company specializes in School Photography and Portraits.

This spring Brandon Stirling Baker ’10 (BFA Lighting Design) is lighting two world premieres for the Dutch National Ballet in Amsterdam and the New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center. Impermanence which opened March 25 at the National Opera House in Amsterdam, features choreography by Dutch artist Ernst Meisner, and marked Brandon’s third collaboration with the Dutch National Ballet. On May 3, Baker will design his sixth world premiere for the New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center, featuring choreography by Justin Peck and scenic design by graphic artist Stephen Powers. The new ballet will be


CalArts Alumni Magazine

Mitchell Colley ’11 graduated with a degree in acting. Presently, he identifies as a writer, producer, and digital storyteller. He is a co-founder and acting CEO of 4th Street Bridge, overseeing strategic planning and external relations for the company. He also leads the development efforts for journalism and film. Most recently, Mitchell served as the Assistant Program Manager at The Music Center of Los Angeles County, focusing on the company’s public programs. Prior to The Music Center, Mitchell was a freelance production and marketing consultant, working with arts and culture in Los Angeles. Past projects include social innovation for the Goldhirsh Foundation and LA2050, marketing, and communications strategy for Grand Park, marketing and outreach coordination for The Industry’s opera Invisible Cities, audience experience management for The Industry’s opera Hopscotch, and lead marketing for L.A. Dance Project at The United Artists Theater at Ace Hotel. This fall, he plans on returning to school to pursue a Master’s Degree in film.  C Cristina Frias ’11 has been busy acting and storytelling in new media platforms, regional theatre, commercials, and TV (One Day at a Time with Rita Moreno). This past winter quarter, she was a Guest Artist at UCSB’s Department of Theater and Dance working on a new play, Staging the Daffy Dame, written by former CalArts Instructor Anne García-Romero. Recent theatre collaborations include leading roles in Magic Fruit, written by Cornerstone Theatre B Co.’s Artistic Director, Michael John Garcés; Between Riverside and Crazy at Studio Theatre D.C.; and Real Women Have Curves, at the Pasadena Playhouse. Cristina is also a Guest Lecturer in the Department of Chicana/o Studies at UCLA and in the Theatre Arts Department at LA Mission College. Valerie Green ’11 shares that her solo exhibition, Gray Area will be on view at Moskowitz Bayse in Los Angeles from May 5 – June 16, 2018. In June of 2016, Valerie married Sean Flaherty ’12 (Art MFA) in Los Angeles. Cybele Moon ’11 reports: “Last fall I was Costume Designer for Your Healing is Killing

Me at Jack Theater in Brooklyn, New York with CalArts alums, Virginia Grise, writer/ performer, Emily Mendelsohn, director, and set designer Peiyi Wong. Was also a grant recipient for a Wesleyan University/ Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Creative Campus Commission to create a new performance. In January I was Costume Designer for Where you from? What you be About performed at Downtown Art in NYC, written and performed by Eric Aviles, directed by Eddie Torres. In March, I was co-creator/ designer/artist with CalArts Alum Erica Larsen-Dockray for A Modern Woman’s Wit, a performance installation at the Davison Art Center, Wesleyan University.”  D C

Taylor Beia ’12 has been working as the Coordinator of Operations and Sales of all sound stages at RED Studios Hollywood since early 2017. Recent projects at RED Studios included TV and features for Amazon, Netflix, Universal, DreamWorks, and Dimension Films. Kerstin Hovland ’12 (Experimental Animation and Integrated Media MFA) and Emery C. Martin, were proud to return for their second year as production designers for Girl School, a music and ideas festival with a mission: to celebrate, connect, and lift women-identified as artists, leaders, D

and voices. The 2018 edition of the sold-out festival featured a packed three-day, two-stage lineup of all female fronted/ female identified acts with a mixture of local performers, such as Polar Tropica and headliners like Shirley Manson, along with special guests Fiona Apple and Karen O. Electronic Countermeasures designed the two performance stages using a blend of LED tiles, reflective surfaces and moving light fixtures, and created a light and concrete sculpture for the panel discussions and DJ sets. Fellow CalArts alumni Lauren Sego and Daphne Mir (School of Theater) rounded out the roster of incredible talent as Lighting Directors for the two stages while Kerstin and Emery created animation, video looks, and real-time effects and video programming for each act.  E Jazz drummer Charles Levin ’12 says that since finishing his MFA, he stays busy leading his jazz group, Coda, which appears at several clubs and wineries in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. Charles also co-leads A Celebration of Joni Mitchell, featuring singer Kimberly Ford. COJM has sold out venues throughout the West Coast and Southwest, including appearances at the historic Lobero Theater in Santa Barbara and the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz. Meanwhile, Charles regularly plays for several local jazz and pop singers, including Bernie Meisinger and Leigh Vance. As a journalist, Charles is co-authoring a memoir with CalArts drum instructor Joseph La Barbera about Joe’s tenure with the late Bill Evans. James Tatti ’12 reports that he went on to earn a Master of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from San Jose State University in December of 2017. John Warren ’12 writes, “In February, I organized a two-day cross-disciplinary symposium and co-organized an art exhibition at Vanderbilt University, both relating to the experimental legacy of Black Mountain College (1933-1957). As part of the symposium, I curated a multimedia “happening,” incorporating newly composed music, video installation, and dance, very much in the spirit of the work done at Black

Mountain. I am currently a Lecturer in the Art Department of Vanderbilt where I teach Video Art and The Experimental Arts at Black Mountain College.” Mo Zareei ’12 sends an update, “I am now a Lecturer in Sonic Arts at Victoria University of Wellington. My latest project is an audiovisual album called “Function,” which


will be released on Experimedia later this year. I would love to come and visit CalArts again and present my work, perhaps at the CalArts Digital Arts Expo. Hopefully there will be a time in the future when there are no Travel Bans.”  F Meg Annand ’13 says, “Since leaving CalArts, I have ventured into the robotics space as a founding member of Applied Aeronautics, a drone developer and manufacturer for commercial and government applications.” Matthew Bamberg-Johnson ’13 (MFA Acting) says he is now a performing arts coordinator for Celerity Educational Group, a group of K-8 charter schools catering to underserved populations in L.A. He manages 25 artists who pass a love for the arts on to the next generation. Matthew spoke at the first-ever Immersive Design Summit in January 2018 on behalf of The Speakeasy Society, an award-winning alum-run Immersive theater company. Other speakers included Punchdrunk (Sleep No More), Meowwolf (House of eternal return), and Oculus (Oculus VR storytelling). The Speakeasy was also recently commissioned to create Wild Party: A Jazz Age Immersive Experience for The Broad Stage in Santa Monica. Matthew says the event raised more than $15,000 for The Broad Stage’s

Education programming, and was warmly received by both The Broad Stage’s audiences and the immersive community at large. Sam Rosenblum ’13 has used his skills learned from the Technical Direction program to try and help make the world a better place for all. He has assisted on the production side with the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, the Clinton Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Special Olympics, the C40 Cities Climate Initiative, AFL-CIO Union, AFSCME Union, the US Department of State, the US Department of Commerce, ANOC, and the IOC, among others. Sam believes that artists and creatives have the power to make this world a better place for all people and that while art follows life, life also follows art. Janice Lobo Sapigao ’13 (Writing Program MFA) says her new book, like a solid to a shadow, is a documentary and exploratory poetry collection focusing on family lineages, learning the Ilokano language, and fatherlessness. It was released by Timeless, Infinite Light in November 2017. This is her second full-length poetry collection.


Christoffer Schunk ’13 sends this fasscinating update: “Since I left CalArts five years ago with a music degree, I have been across the country and globe for my art. My most recent completion was an album composed with hundreds of fart samples recorded by my butt and my friends’s butts. This work has been showcased by MUSLAB – Mexico, Ars Electronica – Switzerland, and Sound Thought Festival – Scotland. My mother always told me not to fart at the dinner table and now I get to tell her I’m farting all over the world. I have to thank CalArts for giving me the tools and confidence to forge my own path. My experimentation while studying there led me to where I am today. I’ve also expanded my practice to theater and film. I had my first film accepted into the Brooklyn Film Festival and am excited to continue producing more. I am currently working on dance music. I’ll see you in the nearest bar and club grooving to my beats.” Christoffer’s work can be found at   G


Amanda Candler ’14 says she’s been floundering since graduating, still trying

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Axxis Inc, Louisville Metro Government, The Kentucky Derby Festival, Inc., Danny Wimmer Presents, Marriott International, and more. In his free time, Hunter can be found enjoying a glass of Blanton’s bourbon on his porch nestled along the banks of the Ohio River.  A Avery Lawrence ’15 provides a canine update: “The ice and snow bring an untold quantity of salt here in Philadelphia. We hear it’s bad for dog paws, so we researched a variety of dog slippers. We settled on a bright red latex balloon-style paw covers. They were too big for Charlie and slid off while we walked. Charlie’s missing a leg, so all told, we only lost 3/4 of what we would have otherwise. Next winter, we’ll try something else.”

to find her place in the animation industry. She had the supreme honor of working with Disney’s Eric Goldberg on a Simpsons’ Couch Gag—something that is still a bit of a shock to her. In 2017, she had her first ever book cover illustration printed, though the book had failed to receive the acclaim that Vashti Harrison’s ’14 (MFA Film/Video) book has— way to go Vashti! Ryan Hines ’14 sends an update: “After returning to New York in 2015, I’ve been back at The New York Times working on many different editorial, identity, and visual system projects. In 2017, I led the identity and site redesign of Wirecutter (acquired by the Times in 2016), where I’ve recently been appointed Creative Director.”

Dillon Evans ’15, a stage management graduate, was recently hired to join entertainment company, Cavalia, in China. As a stage manager on tour, Dillon helps oversee artists and technicians, as well as 40 horses that perform in the show. The tour will be in Nanjing for a few months before continuing its Chinese tour. Hunter T. Graham ’15 tells us that after CalArts, he joined the team at Walt Disney Imagineering Research & Development Inc. where he focused on developing new, multi-sensory experiences for the world’s premier operator of immersive attractions. After seven exciting years with the Walt Disney Company, he was offered the unique opportunity to aid in the redevelopment of a regional theme park in his hometown of Louisville, KY. He now applies his talents to the design, production, and activation of large-scale events and festivals across the country for clients such as


CalArts Alumni Magazine

Mallory Strong ’15 reports back: “Hiya CalArts! For the past two years, I’ve been working as a merch graphic designer for Warner Music Group in Burbank. Basically, I get to make band tees all day! During my time at CalArts, I used music as a huge inspiration for my designs, and even created an album cover for a fellow student in the music school for my fourth-year thesis. Favorite artists to create designs for are The Smashing Pumpkins, Green Day, Kimbra, and my new favorite boy band, Why Don’t We.”  C Meg Whiteford ’15 says, “My first novel, Callbacks, won the Madeline P. Plonsker Prize for Emerging Fiction, and will be published October 2018 with &Now. Diana Cioffari ’16 is a composer, performer (voice and multi-instrumentalist), educator, arranger, voice over artist, and actress as well as the Program Associate for Alumnx & Family Engagement at CalArts. She taught high school choir for Albert Einstein Academy upper school and is currently teaching group piano lessons through The Music Globe at Albert Einstein Academy elementary school. Her most recent credit is the composing and performing of her original score in Vanessa Kwan’s animated short, “Glissando.” Cioffari is also working on her own original musicals/operas/ballets, songwriting, film scores, performances, and other varied creative, academic, and professional projects.


Tony Larson ’14 tells us that he had his first solo show at Zevitas Marcus Gallery in Los Angeles, which opened in March, running through April 28. He is also featured in the 2018 Pacific Coast Issue (#133) of New American Paintings.

from the public, and plans on pitching it to HBO, Netflix and OWN in 2019.  B


Imani Robinson ’15 continues to exercise her craft, and matriculated at UCLA’s Professional Program in Screenwriting. Imani became the Writers’ Office Assistant on HBO’s The Deuce (Seasons 1 and 2), garnering her more insight on the production side of the industry. Imani also had an acting role on The Deuce, playing the character of ‘Alice.’ Imani wrote a pilot titled 3 Blind Mice, which has received much interest


Alex Hamberger ’16 says that in the years since graduation, he has laid the foundation of an independent alternative soul record label, Sol Sounds Records. Beginning in December 2016, as an effort to organize his and business partner (and fellow alum) Ben Hubbard’s personal musical projects, the idea has grown into an endeavor to partner with artists to help publish, distribute, and market their soul-orientated music. The goal is to help artists promote music that explores and ponders the fantastic, while remaining rooted in the rhythms D of the body. In its first full year, Sol Sounds released two full-length albums, A Walk in Color by Minneapolis duo Koimé, and the self-titled debut from the Los Angles based, International Connection, as well as nine singles. It celebrated by releasing an anniversary compilation CD entitled Sol Sounds Records: Once Around the Sun, which is available exclusively from its website at This year, Sol Sounds looks to expand its roster and continue the flow of new music.  D William May ’16 reports: “I’ve been working for furniture brands the past nine years, first with Bend Goods and now with Shift, a Philadelphia brand founded by design studio, ShiftSpace. We have an apartment in Old City stuffed to the brim with art and design objects. I haven’t made many paintings or ceramics lately, and plan to get back into them over the summer. If anyone needs a sofa to crash on in Philly, hit me up.”

Conservancy, a division of the National Park Service. At sunset on May 6, he will open an installation for 30 automated cassette recorders, perform a concert, and release a vinyl record at Peter Strauss Ranch in Agoura Hills. As a collaborator, he recently mixed and produced LP’s for CalArts Alumni Kat and Ben (Music MFA ’16) and Yvette Holzwarth (Music MFA ’16) at Parakeet Studios.  G Michelle (Chelle) Thompson ’16 tell us, F “Since graduation I have been working for several different companies and am currently working as a scenic artist on a Disneyland project. I just finished working for Universal on Kung Fu Panda at Universal Studios, and at Paramount Studios for The Alienist premiere.   H


Stevie (Stephanie) Nemazee ’16 sends an update: “I’ve been delighted to delve into the world of puppetry for animation and live performance. Since graduating, I have worked as a puppet fabricator for companies such as Stoopid Buddy Stoodios (Robot Chicken), and Bix Pix (Tumble Leaf), and several shows around Los Angeles, including Nice Fish with Interact Theater Company at the Shakespeare Center of LA. I’m hoping to attend the O’Neill National Puppetry Conference for my third consecutive summer.”  E

Sarah Van Sciver ’16 is a composer, arranger, performer, educator, and engineer, as well as the Assistant Director of Alumnx & Family Engagement at CalArts. On February 3, Strange as Angels (a film for which she crafted score, songs, and sound) was an official selection at the Final Girls Berlin Film Festival 2018. Ongoing creative collaborations span screen, stage, and studio projects, including two original musicals and an upcoming singer-songwriter LP. Alessandro Barthlow ’17 says, “If anyone is hiring, please let me know.” Colby Beers ’17 writes: “I am now teaching tabla in the LA area and playing as a tabla accompanist for vocal and sitar classes. I am

also the percussion director for a high school drumline (Murrieta Valley High School) teaching North/South Indian percussion, Balinese Gamelan, and Ewe percussion concepts for percussion instruments. I am also in an untitled world percussion quartet with three other CalArts Alumni, (Clarice Cast, Trevor Anderies, and Dalia Berman), and I am a percussionist for the Celtic/world music quintet called Kraken. I also started a percussionist/artist collective with seven other people in Pasadena, where percussionists can practice and live for cheap.” Erik Dabrowski ’17 shares his news: “Upon graduation I took on a gig in Skagway, Alaska where I learned a great deal of history about the last frontier as a dinner musical theater performer. Also learned how Donald Trump’s great grandfather made much of his fortune via a brothel and selling horse meat in Dawson City. After a ‘memorable stint away from the lower 48, I signed to an agency and just recently became SAG eligible!

Leslie Scott ’16 writes: “I’m a current Assistant Professor of Dance and New Media at Tulane University in New Orleans. I just got back from a tour to China where I was able to include Jesse Garrison ’17 (Video Design), R.S. Buck ’18 (Lighting Design), and Rachel Abrahams ’08 (Dance) for our debut of Antigone at the Sichuan International Theatre Festival.”  F G

Davy Sumner ’16 says that when he is not tinkering with tuning forks, he is an Artist in Residence at Side Street Projects in Pasadena, and will soon start a residency in the Santa Monica Mountains


the POOL


Class Notes I am currently waiting on paperwork, but all is well. Worse comes to worst, I can always move up north and sell some horse meat! Yeeee haw!”  A Delaney Januzzi ’17 tell us, “I took my first full-time job in Brisbane, Australia. I’m currently working as a concept artist for TV shows and games!” Eliane Lima ’17 sends a big update: “Been very busy participating in various film festivals worldwide, which has led to some amazing awards. My film, Sherry, received the prestigious Vanguard award from San Francisco Shorts, followed by the Best Documentary Short Film award from Verona Film Festival (Italy), Somerville Film Festival (Boston), and 2018 Brussels Independent Film Festival (Belgium); and the Sexual Redux – Women’s Sexuality Award from Les Femmes Underground Film Festival (San Diego). Sherry was the finalist in the 60th Cine Golden Eagle Award for Student Media—Documentary Short; Blow-Up International Art House Film Festival (Chicago); and Outlaw Film Festival



CalArts Alumni Magazine

(Missouri). Sherry was also entered into two distinguished International Film Festivals: Kaohsiung Film Festival (Taiwan) and /Slash Film Festival (Austria). Sherry was also nominated for the Best of Los Angeles New Filmmakers Awards Ceremony in the New Media category, (fingers crossed, the ceremony is in May).” Eliane also says she is very thankful for A the support of her former mentor and Dean of the School of Film/Video, Leighton Pierce. Eliane is preparing another short documentary about a transgender woman from Anaheim and outlining her first feature film. She is also working as contractor for A.M.P.A.S. – Oral History projects; participating as talent and model for CalArtians’ projects; taking care of her teenage daughter, and enjoying her new slim figure—she has lost 80 pounds since graduation—and, a new LA performance will come up soon! “Several people were puzzled about my choice of getting a second Master’s degree, and I doubted it myself on occasion. But today, I am certain that CalArts helped me to grow as an artist and trust me, it was not in a smooth way. I had many challenges, and I overcame each one, which gave me more strength to fight for my creative work. For me, this is just the beginning of an amazing journey! Much Love! And, please, keep your work out of the closet!”  B Antonio Perez ’17 tells us: “My internship ended at Pen&Public and I am now situated at another agency named A-OK Collective located on the north side of Chinatown. I am also freelancing with IM-CREATIONS which has been producing and installing neons all over Los Angeles. I am working on my own practice, not as intensely, but still thinking of possible outdoor pop up installations. One will be installed this year, titled ‘The Wishing Castle’ at Peter Strauss Ranch (in Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area) from May 12 through Sept. 15, 2018.”  C Ginger Q (Tanya Quintnilla) ’17 checks in: “Since graduating from CalArts, I have developed a creative agency with my brother that encourages artists to elevate one another. Our business, called IM-CREATIONS, combines my passion for art, sculpture, and design, with my brother’s knowledge of materials and production. We aim to push the boundaries of commercial branding by conceptualizing artistic and innovative installations. We specialize in neon signage and have worked with various brands and individuals in the art community and beyond, including Petra Collins, Ford,

H. Lorenzo, and booths at ComplexCon and CES. Our work is local, fair, and based on the foundation of helping and uplifting our community. We are artists helping artists.”


Jesse VanDenKooy ’17 was recently named Lead Genius at Apple, Inc. and has started an independent publishing and design company—jkoi Press. He’s also releasing a new collection of short stories Trout are Selfish: Short Fictions and Transitions, as well as a new edition of his fantasy novel sequence, Daemonology: the book of Faolan. Katriana Zommers ’17 says she’s “currently preparing for a European tour for the 100th year of independence for the Baltic Countries, with the Magi Ensemble in Seattle. I am also preparing for a trip to Stanford to sing at the Advancement for Baltic Studies conference, as well as for a concert with Northwest ACDA in Portland!”

Congratulations to our Bose Soundlink winner Nick Benacerraf.

The Big Idea

The Visual Language of Oppression Harvey Wasn’t Working in a Vacuum by Nina Menkes

Like many others who work in the film business, I find none (zero) of the revelations about Harvey Weinstein’s behavior even remotely surprising. His abusive work style was widely known, and, until two weeks ago, even admired by many of his male colleagues and/or competitors. And as is becoming increasingly clear, he was most definitely not alone. Pretty much everyone within a 1,000-mile radius of the biz is well aware that Sex-for-Work is Standard Operating Procedure in Hollywood. As Quentin Tarantino recently explained, in its treatment of women, Hollywood has been “operating under an almost Jim Crow-like system.” Precisely. Within this system, men are subjects and young women are objects for gratification/consumption. Glamorous Sexual Objects cannot be imagined as film directors or DPs by those holding power. It just doesn’t click with the Hollywood system. Looks wrong. Feels wrong. Just no. And less than glamorous and/or over-40-year old women are more or less invisible. Not even in the running for Object-dom. Therefore the beyond-dire statistics we have lived and suffered for decades. An entire culture of visual language supports and encourages this system, justifying both the perpetrators’ actions and the victims’ humiliated silence. It is essential that this visual code of oppression be exposed and understood. We’ve all heard the phrase “the objectification of women,” but most don’t know how precisely and insidiously this objectification manifests itself cinematically inside the very details of shot design. Laura Mulvey, in her seminal expose, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema,” was the first to explain that women in traditional cinema primarily signify “to-be-looked-at-ness.” Demoting half the world’s population to use-object happens not only at the level of script and narrative but within actual framing choices and lighting strategies. Almost without exception, every “important” and “great” white male director, those who win Cannes or the Academy Awards, those who are considered must-see viewing for any aspiring student of cinema—e.g., Hitchcock,

Welles, Scorsese, Godard, Tarantino, Aronofsky (to name only a few)—utilize cinematic techniques that belittle women while appearing to glamorize them. And although these directors are considered auteurs with their own distinct styles, and their films represent very different stories and genres, there is a stunning consistency, and frankly, a total lack of originality around the way these men use lighting, angles, POV and framing to formally disempower women on screen. While we are watching an exciting spy story, an emotional drama, or an allegory set in the Garden of Eden, the powerful message we are actually absorbing is consistent information about who gets to be a subject and who doesn’t. It’s hard to over emphasize how widespread and destructive these techniques are…leading women to understand that their best—and maybe only—chance for advancement is through sexual attractiveness. It’s therefore no surprise that many women try very, very hard to turn themselves into beautiful objects in order to succeed in relationships, or on the job (two categories that can often overlap). It doesn’t work that well for most, but for those women who do advance, via this route, the price is steep. Over my many years teaching film, both at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts and currently at California Institute of the Arts, I have watched many female film students—and of course, the male students—reproduce the same kind of images they have been seeing (why wouldn’t they?) without even being aware that they are doing so. As a result, I developed a visual talk that exposes these systematic cinematic techniques: “Sex and Power: the Hidden Language of Cinema,” which I will be presenting at Sundance 2018. This visual language lays the most basic groundwork for a system in which the most promising male students will go on to get directing jobs, while women, no matter how deeply talented, barely stand a chance. Hollywood and its “almost Jim Crow” system of discrimination against women is one of the major players in a massively destructive ideology which idealizes ego, male power and financial profit over anything else. This has been called, appropriately, “Rape Culture,” and it is destroying our planet. One can hope that Harvey Weinstein’s fall signals the beginning of a new consciousness. Nina Menkes is an independent film director and faculty member in CalArts’s School of Film/Video. Her filmography includes Phantom Love and Dissolution. For more information visit and follow her on Twitter @menkesfilm Reprinted by permission of Filmmaker Magazine.

National School Walkout— on March 14, 2018, CalArts stood in solidarity with schools around the country to honor the 17 victims at Stoneman Douglas High School.


CalArts Alumni Magazine

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