The Pool Issue 4

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Issue 4 Winter/Spring 2019


Malko Maestro

Citizen Artists

A Transparent Conversation

Conductor Ryan Bancroft Triumphs on the World Stage

Making ‘Our Cracked World’ a Better Place

Chrysanthe Tan Chats With Zackary Drucker



4 From the President 5 Letters From You

8 Buzz From a silkscreening nun to CalArtians at the UN, it’s all in the Buzz. Plus: Interview with the new provost, sustainability efforts on campus, move-in day, and Nurse Audrey Hampton bids farewell.

58 Alumnx HQ Reports from CalArts weekend, Graduation 2018, and GOLD Open Seasonal

Inside Covers The two aquagraphic illustrations were created by CalArts graphic design students during an experimental marbling workshop led by JJ Adkisson in 2016. (See the story about JJ on page 54.) The images eventually became design elements for the 2016 CalArts Print Fair poster design.

70 Class Notes CalArtians radio in from around the world, in a frantic effort to win a hat

96 In Memoriam


CalArts Alumni Magazine


18 Millennial Maestro

Following his career-making Malko honor, conducting wunderkind Ryan Bancroft ’11, ’13 heads for the world stage

38 Bueno

Hombres Portraits of Chicano males by CalArts faculty member Harry Gamboa Jr force viewers to confront the stereotypes already embedded in our psyches

28 Cal–

Activism Roger Holzberg ’78, Dionna Michelle Daniel ’17, and Deborah Wasserman ’92 are unafraid to wear their art on their sleeves as they put their talents into practice for the greater good

54 Remembering

46 The Visible Artist

A raw conversation with ground­ breaking filmmaker, artist, and trans woman Zackary Drucker ’07

JJ Adkisson

A tragic loss becomes the inspiration for an unforgettable student experience


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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 4

CalArts Alumni Magazine

From the President A Year of Planning

Dear CalArtians, Listening. Observing. Being a sponge. That was the priority during my first year as president, and while it was impossible to connect with each of the almost 18,000 CalArts alum around the world, I was fortunate to meet with many of you—from every school, and every generation—and hear your insights about the Institute’s history, its culture, its successes, its failures, and most of all, its people. One thing common to these conversations is that CalArts’s presence in your personal stories is significant, vivid, and meaningful. And, your presence and influence on the world is far out of proportion to the size of our alumni: Wherever I traveled, CalArtians were there, active in communities, and making a difference. I also learned about the many difficulties—formidable ones—that the Institute faces today. From the rising cost of attendance to our aging facilities, from significant space constraints to bringing in new technologies that are changing the way artists express their ideas—CalArts will need to make significant changes in the years to come. Such challenges make clear that our priority this year must be planning. That is, it’s time for CalArts to chart its future. To that end, we have announced the start of a community-wide Strategic Visioning Project, which will span two years and involve students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees, cultural influencers, and others—CalArtians past, present, and future—in a dialogue about where CalArts is today, and what the Institute’s trajectory might look like for the next 50 years. A key goal of this project will be to engage as many people as possible in this process. To make this happen, we must create multiple ways for the CalArts community, both on- and off-campus, to be involved. To guide this process, we have created a steering committee made up of the Institute’s four special trustees (faculty, staff, student, and alumni trustees), the board chair, Tim Disney, and members of the senior management team. This committee will oversee the Visioning project and will work very closely with the academic council, deans council, staff council, student union, and alumni council, as well as faculty, staff, students, and alumni directly, to ensure that there are opportunities for everyone to connect with the visioning project. We have selected LaPlaca Cohen ( as consultants to help us with this important work, and they will assist us in reaching this broad group.

Alumni participation is critical to the success of the Strategic Visioning, so we plan to reach out in multiple ways to ensure that everyone who wants to participate will get an opportunity to do so. If you want to participate, please make that desire known by sending an e-mail to Because 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of CalArts in Valencia, and the 100th of the Chouinard Art Institute, the results of this visioning project will feed our work in celebrating this milestone—which we will do by launching a comprehensive capital “Alumni participation is campaign, a master facility critical to the success of plan, and by developing a strategic framework that will guide the Strategic Visioning.” CalArts over the next 50 years. Many of us will have the opportunity to return to campus when we celebrate our 75th anniversary and, especially for current students, our 100th in 2071—the hope is that upon returning, we will get to see the dreams we formed about our future though this process having become reality. As I said during the inauguration one year ago, this is not my vision for CalArts, but our vision. We must build it together, base it on the strength of our past, and push it boldly into the future. I am looking forward to collaborating with the alumni community, and the entire CalArts family, on this exciting project. With a community like ours, the possibilities are truly exciting.

Ravi S. Rajan, President

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Letters From You See the Music, Hear the Dance

Antoine Hunter is truly a miracle of being able to overcome boundaries and doing something considered impossible. Being deaf and dancing one does not imagine going together, but he has made it a career through his love of dance and “feeling” for the music. One of George Balanchine’s quotes, “see the music, hear the dance,” really describes his ability to make dance heard by those that observe him. Antoine is an inspiration for all of us who might take music for granted, and his story wants to make me listen even more closely to the music played, and what real effects it has on dancers. I have big respect and heartfelt feelings for this man who made it possible to accomplish his love of the art. Colleen Neary Artistic Director, Los Angeles Ballet Barn Jamming With Misty Eyes

As a grandmother of a CalArts grad, I have enjoyed reading The Pool as it gives me a sense of the unique education my grandson received. Since I live on the east coast, however, I almost never have a chance to attend CalArts events. Imagine my surprise then to see a story in your last issue that covered the only CalArts event I’ve been able to attend since he graduated—Jam at the Barn. It was a lovely music festival in a beautiful location and featured many talented CalArts musicians and composers. Best of all, the Festival included a beautiful dance performance by CalArts dancers, which turned out to be a tribute to grandmothers and the important role they play in families. That dance performance made me cry that day and reading your story brought tears to my eyes again. Eme Lu Evers Cape Cod, MA


CalArts Alumni Magazine

The Pool Issue 3 Summer/Fall 2018

CalArts Poster Archive, Phase Two?

How exciting to see the CalArts poster article in the last issue. The poster culture is such an integral part of everyday life at CalArts. When Kary Arimoto-Mercer [then Assistant Dean of Technology] and I started collecting posters in the mid-90s, we had three main goals: preservation, publication, and exhibition. With the website up and running, a Redcat show and a printed catalog in the works, and the move into a dedicated archive space last summer, I feel our dreams are closer to being realized. (A special thanks to Michael Worthington for all his hard work on this.) As a next step, I would love to see the physical archive expand to include an Ed Fella Library of Visual Images and Reading Room to honor Ed’s astounding work. That would make me incredibly happy. Shelley Stepp Technical Faculty Graphic Design, (MFA 94 Graphic Design)

THE POOL ISSUE 4 — Winter/Spring 2019 Published semi-annually by the Office of Marketing & Communications at CalArts. PRESIDENT





Roman Jaster (BFA 07 Graphic Design) and Kat Catmur (MFA 14 Graphic Design) COVER PHOTOGRAPH


Rafael Hernandez (BFA 11 Photography and Media) Angel Origgi Daniel Loyola ‘19 ILLUSTRATIONS




Rageshwar Goldberg, Hugh Hart, Ellen Evaristo, Kirsten Quinn, Andy Levinsky, Cori Bratby-Rudd (MFA 20 Creative Writing) AD DESIGN

CalArts Office of Communications: Stuart Smith (MFA 02 Graphic Design) Julie Moon (MFA 11 Graphic Design) Jacob Schpall (BFA 18 Graphic Design) Christina Huang (MFA 19 Graphic Design) PRINTING

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

Publishers Press, Lebanon Junction, Kentucky TYPEFACES

Arnhem by OurType Soleil by TypeTogether Lapture by Just Another Foundry Prophet by Dinamo Text by Alias

CalArts Dance @ CalArtsDance



It Begins with Listening A conversation with Tracie Costantino, CalArts’s new Provost

Tracie Costantino became CalArts’s new provost in July after a nationwide search for the Institute’s chief academic officer. Described by President Ravi Rajan as a “collegial and gifted leader,” Costantino earned her PhD from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and taught arts education at the University of Georgia before serving as Associate Provost and Dean of Faculty and then Interim Provost for Rhode Island School of Design. Costantino recently took a break from a packed schedule to talk about her role and how it helps shape the quality of academic life on the CalArts campus. What exactly does a provost do? I get this question a lot. A provost oversees all academic programs and ensures the quality of those programs. Here at CalArts, the provost is also responsible for the Community Arts Partnership program and other Institute initiatives. How are you developing your relationship with faculty? I support the faculty as educators, but also as artists and professionals out in the world, because there needs to be a synergy between those two roles. I’m holding a series of faculty luncheons this fall so I can get to know faculty and have conversations about teaching and


CalArts Alumni Magazine

their experiences as faculty members. We’re going to have one session around inclusive pedagogy. CalArts has incredible diversity in the student body, so given all those different perspectives, experiences, and content, how do you navigate those differences and make everybody feel included and respected? To me, that’s a very important thing. For students, what are your priorities as provost? I see my job as ensuring a good experience for our students. I might look at the registration process, for example. How smooth can we make that? I might look at how our students are doing in terms of their persistence to graduate. And I’m very hands on, so there’s also day-today things. If a student is having problems in the classroom, I’ll engage the dean so that we are being responsive in supporting that student. I also partner closely with Student Affairs if a student has concerns around health or wellness. It’s important that we don’t just divide academics on one side, Student Affairs on the other. The whole person needs to be engaged—heart, mind, and body. These are artists, after all, and that holistic approach is how they themselves approach the world.

were able to find a house in Santa Clarita with studio space potential. Daniel loves the light so he’s been painting outside a lot while we renovate the space that’s going to be the studio. It’s wonderful that he can do that here. Outside of work, what do you like to do for hobbies? I love to cook, and I especially love to bake. My specialty is a type of Italian biscotti from Tuscany called “cantucci.” It’s a very traditional cookie with almonds, and that’s the present I give to my family every Christmas.

What were your first impressions of CalArts? My first impression is that this is a values-centered school. One of CalArts’s primary values is this concept of the artist in society, the “Citizen Artist,” and that really spoke to me. Then when I visited the campus for the first time back in March, I found everyone to be so warm and welcoming. During my [job] interview with Ravi, I was inspired by his energy and visionary thinking. After I accepted the position and came back to look for a house, the whole community threw an ice cream social for me out on the terrace, with students, staff, and faculty. I’m actually a little shy but that made me feel really comfortable about coming here.

What goals do you have for your first year? My primary goal is just to learn as much as I can about CalArts and get immersed in the community. I’ll be visiting lots of classes and attending events. At the same time, Ravi already has a clear agenda in place, including a faculty salary advancement plan and a faculty merit review process, so I’ll be working very closely with academic council on these pragmatic things. We also have a strategic visioning initiative that started in September, which will be going on throughout the year. It’s perfect timing for me to be a part of that process because the whole Institute is developing it. I’m excited to learn what people are imagining for the next fifty years. It’s an opportunity for listening and learning from this whole community, including alumni. You don’t want to make assumptions which is why, for me, listening is always very important.

Tell us a little bit about your family. My husband Daniel Barber is a painter, and I have two teenaged boys, Oscar and Adam. It was a really big deal to pull my older son out of his high school, but now that we’re here, the boys love California. They’re in good schools. And we

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CalArts Sustainability Commission forges path to a clean future

The Last Straw The message greeting thirsty students at Steve’s Café this fall signaled a more ecologically sustainable future, one sip at a time. “Make this the last straw” flyers served as warning that come January, CalArts’s cafeteria and Tatum Lounge would no longer provide straws for beverage consumers. In September, Bon Appétit Management Company switched over to completely compostable cups for cold drinks. Getting rid of plastic straws and their paper wrappers seemed like a natural next step, according to General Manager Diana Sherrick: “Straws create enough “I would love to have alumni waste to wrap the circumon the Sustainability ference of the earth two Commission.” and half times every year, — Justin Hogan, Co-chairperson so that’s one reason for the ban,” she says. The café’s straw-free policy is just one of several initiatives propelling CalArts to the front ranks of environmentally sound universities. Leading the charge to a clean future is the CalArts Commission on Sustainability, an ad hoc campus group of students, staff, and faculty that meets once a month. Co-chairperson Justin Hogan, Head of Production Services at the School of Film/Video, helped start the group in 2014 after producing Climate Refugees. To make the documentary, Hogan traveled to 48 countries ravaged by flood and drought. “I saw first-hand how climate change can destroy lives and cause border conflicts,” he says. “I see sustainability and climate change as being part of the same thing. We’re doing as much as we can here on campus to make CalArts a leader in art school sustainability.” To that end, the Commission has organized a number of catchy campaigns. For example, Hogan says, “We did this ‘Beat the Electricity Month’ where we challenged the school to reduce its electricity by $15,000 for that month. And when we got rid of all the water bottles at Tatum Lounge, we staged this whole ‘Killing of the Water Bottle’ ceremony.”


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Hogan and Commission co-chair William Alschuler (Adjunct Professor, Critical Studies) also advocate for eco-friendly infrastructure improvements, including the installation this fall of energy-efficient LED lights on roads and walkways. Additionally, the Commission offers small grants to students whose work address environmental issues. “We’re trying to inspire the students as much as possible so they think about sustainability when they go through their process and create their projects,” Hogan says. Last spring, one group of students, the Materials Collective, made art from recycled materials for the LA County-wide “Junk Battle!” and organized the “New Normal: Sustainable Arts Fair and Green Workshop.” This academic year, the group is expanding its agenda. Collective co-leader Bora Kyung Min Lee, a BFA3 scenic designer, explains, “We plan to recruit a research team from every department and investigate the waste behavior in every studio space on campus so we can create a guide for sustainable, reusable material alternatives.” The Commission hopes to bolster future sustainability efforts through the creation of a “revolving green fund.” Hogan says, “If we could find some alumni willing to put up seed money, that would help us get to sustainability faster. And I would love to have alumni on the Commission. If there’s someone out there who wants to donate some of his or her time each month, that would be amazing.”

Students settle into Chouinard under the supervision of a donutwielding president Student RAs Emara Vonae and Alan Vasquez-Lopez play it cool while welcoming new students to Chouinard residence hall.

Move In Day

A glittery photo booth serves as an ice-breaker.

Everyone get into the selfie with Ravi!

Student volunteers strike a pose in the main lobby.

First-year roommates explore their new living quarters at Chouinard from all angles. President Ravi Rajan welcomed every family, schlepped many a suitcase, and spent part of his morning delivering baked goods.

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Celebrating the versefilled art of Chouinard alum Corita Kent

A Text Messenger Before Her Time A master of mid-century printmaking, Los Angeles artist Corita Kent crafted text mess-ages of uncanny pertinence, as when she silk-screened poet e.e. cummings’ line, “Damn everything but the circus,” in hot pink and sky blue. Kent studied at Chouinard Institute, which merged in 1961 with Los Angeles Conservatory of Music to form CalArts. After taking vows, Sister Corita Kent taught art at Immaculate Heart College and produced more than 800 serigraphs, now collected by institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Museum of American Art. In 1985, a year before her death and 17 years after leaving the Immaculate Heart of Mary religious order, Kent designed the rainbow-themed “Love” postage stamp that sold more than 700 million copies. To commemorate Kent’s 100th birthday, Corita Art Center in November hosted a centennial celebration of the artist once known as the “rebel nun.” On December 2, the Center staged its annual Holiday Open House


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featuring silk-screened wrapping paper and other gift items. “Corita’s catalog is incredibly rich,” says Corita Art Center Director Ray Lee. “As someone who’s been working in arts for most of my career, I’ve never seen people show so much enthusiasm for an artist. They engage with her work quickly and deeply.” Corita Art Center Events Strategist Jillian Schultz observes that Kent’s anti-war, pro-civil rights themes continue to pack a punch for contemporary audiences. “The social justice issues at the core of Corita’s work are still very relevant in these tumultuous times,” Schultz notes. “And with the new wave of feminism among young people in America, we feel it’s important to shed light on the important work done by female artists who have previously been in the shadows.”

An iconic photo, Sister Corita Kent and other nuns work with students at Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles, where she taught from 1938 to 1968.

In keeping with her humanistic ethos, Kent purposefully chose the silk screen format to “democratize” her art, according to Schultz. “Corita had no interest in the distinctions between high art and low art, between art and design,” says Schultz. “She wanted to sell her work to the working-class Catholic couple coming by the school for an open house, and also sell it to the Met. The silk screen medium gave Corita this ability to reach audiences everywhere.” Kent’s pop art-flavored fusions of word and image have, in fact, galvanized new fans, thanks to recent exhibitions throughout North America and overseas in England, New Zealand, Australia, France, Denmark, Finland, Holland, and Germany. Lee says, “Although she’s traditionally been associated with Los Angeles, over the past five years it’s been interesting to see Corita’s work ripple out into the world.” On the local front, Corita Art Center hopes to expand awareness of Kent’s artistic legacy in Los Angeles by establishing a more formidable physical footprint. “We’re looking to move the Center into a bigger gallery space where we

can offer educational programming and open up her work to a wider audience,” Lee explains. “When I was [studying] art history in college, Corita Kent wasn’t really a part of the canon. What we’re trying to do in 2019 and beyond is to make sure people know who Corita Kent was and how important her work is.” For information on The Corita Art Center in Hollywood visit

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Open Learning at CalArts Open Learning at CalArts brings together a community of engaged online learners from around the world interested in the arts and creative education.

Through partnerships with education technology platforms Coursera and Kadenze, CalArts offers several courses and certificates in graphic design, video game design, poetry, music technology and web development for artists.

All courses are taught by CalArts faculty and are free, non-credit offerings. Additional options for fee-based certificates or premium membership are available where noted.

CalArts student films premiere at the HeForShe IMPACT Summit

United Nations + CalArts = Equality The first class of animators at CalArts had two women. Today, the Institute’s Experimental and Character Animation program is 70% female—just one of the reasons why The United Nations selected student animators from CalArts to create short films for its HeForShe movement, the campaign it launched in 2014 to promote gender equality. When the organization decided to create films of 60 seconds or less that could reach large audiences and spread the word about equality, they chose animation because it transcends language and CalArts “for their reputation,” according to Elizabeth Nyamayaro, Senior Advisor to Under Secretary-General UN Women and Global Head of HeForShe Movement. “CalArts became a very important and obvious partner for us because we wanted to have the best in creativity. We also wanted to have a partner that had the credibility, that was highly respected and recognized for their excellence, so we reached out to them.” The dozen student animators worked closely with Nyamayaro and CalArts faculty members Pia Borg (Experimental Animation) and Soyeon Kim (Character Animation) who taught the graduate seminar, “Animated United Nations Women.” “It was an honor to work with the United Nations and develop such essential and timely pieces,” says Leighton Pierce, Dean of the School of Film/Video. “Our work in the animation programs is creating a future where the inequality our students so eloquently addressed will hopefully be a problem of the past.” Spending time with the CalArts filmmakers, Nyamayaro can already see that future. “For me, what was really interesting is in speaking with the students themselves that they almost understood this to be a no-brainer—that, of course, we should all be equal. This idea of confining gender as binary is quite outdated. It’s not how

they see themselves and those that they love, and it doesn’t represent who they are.” The films premiered at the HeForShe IMPACT Summit on September 26. The twelve CalArts filmmakers who were selected to make the films are: Ana Perez Lopez, Danski Tang, Melissa Ferrari, Kyung Won Song, Jenna Caravello, Gabriel Mangold, Gabriela Escovar, Christopher Bishop, Louise Pau, Minha Song, Soyeon Kim, and Elaine Won Choi. “We knew the quality of the work was so high,” Nyamayaro says. “It was premiered during the UN General Assembly…because we very much wanted to ensure we gave the material the right level of platform and the visibility that it deserved.”

President Ravi Rajan and dean of the Film/Video school, Leighton Pierce, pose in New York with the students who created HeForShe animated shorts: Danski Tang (MFA 18), Ana Perez Lopez (MFA 18), Kyung Won Song (MFA 19), Melissa Ferrari (MFA 19), Kyung Won Song (MFA 19), Jenna Caravello (MFA 19), Gabe Mangold (MFA 15), Gabriela Escovar (MFA 19), Chris Bishop (MFA 19), Louise Pau (MFA 18), Minha Song (BFA 20), and Elaine Won Choi (BFA 20).

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In the lead-up to the 2018 mid-term elections, CalArts students, staff, alumnx, and faculty organized many voter registration drives.

“Every time I visit CalArts, I see my alma mater, the Chouinard Art Institute. I see Chouinard in the students’ work, and I can hear it in their voices. It’s why I come to CalArts Weekend every year. It makes Chouinard come alive again.” —Glen Kittleson ‘56, Chouinard Art Institute


Over-the-counter... CalArts bid farewell to Nurse Audrey Hampton who retired after 27 years of service. During the retirement celebration, student Rachel Handlin (BFA 2019) presented Hampton with a special artwork.


Skybound photoshoot on a portable outdoor stage built by the School of Dance on the soccer field.



Screenwriter, painter, and devoted thalassophile, Deborah Robicheau (Art BFA ’86), shows off her CalArts swag after winning the raffle for sending in a Class Note for the last issue of The Pool. You can see Deborah’s work at

commonspace . CalArts Alumni Magazine


At the apex of creative experimentation, CalArts’s dynamic and innovative MFA creative writing program is designed for writers to explore a range of forms and styles. Rather than limit students’ courses of study towards a single genre, students have the freedom to explore fiction, poetry, nonfiction through an exciting mix of workshops, seminars and labs intended to inspire the generation of new methods, fresh forms and expanded practices.


MFACREATIVE WRITING CURRENTLY ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR FALL 2019 Weaving a path through the Institute’s course offerings, the Program’s four concentrations, Writing + Its Publics, Documentary Strategies, Image + Text, and Writing + Performativity, foster interdisciplinary techniques and approaches as students cultivate their writing alongside the other arts.

To learn more about CalArts’s MFA in Creative Writing, its world-class faculty, its roster of distinguished visitors, including this year’s visiting faculty members, contact: Seth Blake 661 253-7716

CalArts MFA writers are encouraged to situate their creative practice in a critical context—to engage with the aesthetic and cultural movements, theory and politics of contemporary writing, and to think hard about what, why and how they write. Through the Writing Now! Visiting Writers series and myriad opportunities for professional development, the Program offers graduate students the chance to further develop both their practice and their knowledge base in conversation with the people, projects and ideas particularly relevant to the world of writing and publishing today.


CalArts Alumni Magazine


Andy Levinsky PH OTO G R A PH Y

Tycho Merijn

An international competition that attracts the best young conductors in the world trumpets the arrival of Ryan Bancroft the POOL


Ryan Bancroft, in August 2018, rehearsing with the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra, one many opportunities after winning the Malko Competition for Young Conductors.

|. April 27, 2018 DR Concert Hall, Copenhagen, Denmark

We asked Ryan what’s on his playlist. Here are his Top 10 Essential Albums in no particular order…

Laurie Anderson – Homeland


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In a few minutes, Ryan Bancroft (BFA ’11, MFA ’13) will conduct one of the two most important performances of his life—the first movement of Brahms’s Second Symphony and Danish composer Carl Nielsen’s Dance of the Cockerels—and he is listening to music by rap artist Cardi B and South Indian Carnatic vocalist Aruna Sairam “to get hyped.” When he is introduced, Bancroft strides on stage confidently, shakes hands with the concertmasters of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, and turns with a warm smile to acknowledge the audience. Noticeably missing from his hands is a baton. As he conducts, his gestures are so animated that props would feel extraneous. Every expression mirrors the music, from exuberance to anguish, his baby face ruddy and perspired but without the slightest sign of tension. To the contrary, he appears content, confident, and completely in the moment.

The Malko prize is akin to the Grammy award for best new artist or being named NBA Rookie of the Year.

Bancroft describes himself as “the opposite of a shy person,” but his fearlessness is surprising given the stakes. This is his final performance at the 2018 Malko Competition, an international triennial event for conductors under the age of 35. Launched by the Danish National Symphony Orchestra in 1965 (in recognition of its founding conductor, Nicolai Malko), the Malko prize has evolved into something akin to the Grammy award for best new artist or being named NBA Rookie of the Year. The monetary reward of 20,000 euros and the considerable prestige pale next to even more valuable career-making benefits: bookings with 24 orchestras from around the world and two extraordinary mentorships. The first, which lasts a year, is with Jennifer Spencer, a strategic planning consultant with two decades of experience managing artists. Spencer, a former concert violinist, knows just how competitive the field is. “There are more and more musicians training to be conductors at a time when there is a gradual reduction in the number of orchestras,” she says. “So, for every conductor who makes it, there are a lot whose dreams are shattered.” The second mentorship, which last three years, pairs the winner with Fabio Luisi, principal conductor of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, General Music Director of the Zurich Opera, and future music director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. “The Malko Prize is effectively a career on a plate,” says journalist and critic Andrew Mellor. This year’s competition received an unprecedented 566 entries from around the world, with just 24 invited to Copenhagen to compete. Standing on the stage this evening are the three finalists: Alessandro Bonato, 23, from Italy; Anna Rakitina, 28, from Russia; and Bancroft, also 28, from the U.S. When Luisi announces that the third-prize winner is Bonato, Bancroft reaches out to Rakitina, and the two exchange smiles and shrugs, as if to say, “Can you believe we’re still here?” Then the second price winner is announced: Rakitina.

As Bancroft applauds for her, his expression suggests that the implications of being the only finalist still on the stage have not fully registered. Yet by the time Luisi announces his name, Bancroft is biting his lip, holding back tears. Placing a fist over his chest, he acknowledges Luisi, the orchestra, and the thunderous applause of the audience who, like the jury, also selected him as the 2018 Malko winner. The Malko website described it as “Ryan’s Night,” determining that “the evening’s best conductor won.” Around the world, viewers of the live stream are watching. Among them are instructors and other mentors who helped Bancroft reach this stage. One of his teachers, Dutch conductor Ed Spanjaard, had a concert himself that night, “but each time I was offstage, I would check the Danish website and was so happy when I heard the result.” Kenneth Montgomery, a teacher at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, also began to work with Bancroft in 2015. Noting how Bancroft

Anonymous 4 – American Angels Jónsi – Go Joni Mitchell – Blue the POOL


managed to “switch immediately and with such verve and genius” from Brahms to Nielsen, “a complete contrast of style,” Montgomery says. “I had no point of criticism, only great pride that I had been one of his teachers.” Then there is the instructor who gave Bancroft his first conducting lesson, CalArts Brass Program coordinator Edward Carroll. Watching from Novara, Italy, where he is giving master classes, Carroll, who Bancroft describes as his “second father,” takes a different view. “I wasn’t watching Ryan so much as I was watching the musicians in the orchestra and how they were responding to him,” he recalls. “It became clear to me that this was going very well for him because when he would cue, let’s say, the flutist, and bring this instrument in, [she] had a little twinkle in her eye.” Carroll’s observation was dead-on. Orchestra members later told Bancroft that after his performance, the principal flute player said, “I’ve been playing this piece for twenty-five years and for the first time, it feels real to me.” Other non-partisans also weighed in, like Lloyd Schwartz, Pulitzer Prize-wining critic and contributor to NPR’s Fresh Air, who observed: “He’s both very graceful, sensitive, yet he’s unshowy. His gestures, almost balletic hands, seem to stimulate the response from the orchestra, which is better than the other way around, where the conductor (too many famous names) actually seem to be acting out what they’ve already heard in the music.” The cello virtuoso Jeffrey Solow felt his performance “had a very natural flow as well as electrifying energy.” Solow noted “his hand gestures are graceful and expressive, and that is not just visual aesthetics—string players respond in sound to what they see, and they played that night with a warm, rich, sensuous sound,” concluding, “It’s easy to see why his conducting not only impressed the judges but captivated the audience.” Fabio Luisi describes Bancroft’s performance as “very convincing, self-assured, with a good non-verbal communication between him and the orchestra.” While he declined to disclose his vote, the Maestro added, “I was happy about the result.”

Jascha Heifitz & Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra – Erich Wolfgang Korngold: Violin Concerto in D Major

“CalArts became the single most pivotal institution I have ever been a part of as it shaped me as a human.”

2. 2007–2013 Valencia, California

When Bancroft arrived at CalArts in 2007, his first impressions were not entirely positive. He remembers feeling “actually angry” watching “Kryl,” a work for solo trumpet by the modern composer Robert Erickson at orientation. “All I wanted to do was play Haydn and Mozart,” Bancroft confessed. “Oh, how quickly that changed. CalArts became the single most pivotal institution I have ever been a part of as it shaped me as a human.” CalArts was the only school Bancroft applied to, partly for practical reasons. The campus was exactly 50 miles from his home in Lakewood, and his family could not afford plane tickets or accommodations for him to audition in other states. But he also knew the reputation of Ed Carroll, “a world-renowned trumpet teacher at the school.” Carroll calls Bancroft “one of the most talented trumpet students I’ve ever had,” but he discovered that Bancroft also played cello, piano, flute, and harp. “I never had a student with such diverse musical skills as Ryan,” Carroll recalls. “I don’t want to use the word ‘genius’ because genius is used far too often, but he has something in that direction.” Ironically, classical was the one musical genre not represented in the house where Bancroft grew up. His father, a housepainter, was partial to Motown and Smooth Jazz. His mother, who worked the night shift as a stocker at a local grocery store, preferred hard rock; and his brothers listened to rap. Bancroft’s introduction to classical music came from a program called Yahoo Music Jukebox that was loaded onto the family’s first computer. “There just so happened to be the first minute of the scherzo from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony,” he recalled, “which I’m pretty sure I listened to a thousand times.”

River Song Quintet – Monarchs


CalArts Alumni Magazine

“All I wanted to do was play Haydn and Mozart,” Bancroft recalls of his arrival at CalArts in 2007. “Oh, how quickly that changed.” After receiving his BFA, Bancroft wanted to continue for his MFA at CalArts, a not uncontroversial request. Faculty member Ed Carroll made the case that “no other school would let Ryan be Ryan.”

While Bancroft’s musical skills were preternaturally developed, he had never been outside of Los Angeles. Carroll recalls when Bancroft came to visit him and his wife at their vacation home in New Hampshire. “At first, he was very uncomfortable because there wasn’t enough pavement,” he says. “He was upset that everything was so green. It was just so outside of his experience. It takes a certain kind of inquisitiveness and a certain type of courage to be able to leave your home environment and move onto things totally unrelated to your past.”

Michael Tilson Thomas & the San Francisco Symphony – Gustav Mahler: Symphony No.3 in D minor

At CalArts, Bancroft took advantage of every new experience. He took writing courses like Ekphrasis, studied ballet privately with Ryan Glass (BFA ’15), which he says “freed my movement immensely,” and immersed himself in Ghanian dance and drumming every year. While courses like these were outside of his major, he pursued them as if he knew they would be directly applicable to his work. Bancroft believes “Those courses shaped my musicianship, artistry, and personhood in an incredibly profound way.” “Soon after Ryan arrived at CalArts, it became apparent that, though he entered as a trumpet player, he was clearly launching what was sure to be a rocket-like ascent into a music world that only he could define,” says David Rosenboom, Dean of The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts since 1990. “The best thing we could do was to help him in every way we could, and then, just get out of his way.”

Emmanuelle Haïm & Le Concert d’Astrée – L’Orfeo

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“The best thing we could do was to help him in every way we could, and then, just get out of his way.” —Dean David Rosenboom


CalArts Alumni Magazine

After receiving his BFA, Bancroft wanted to pursue an MFA. Carroll recalls an internal faculty debate about whether that was in his best interest. “There are people on the faculty—and sometimes I am one of them—that feel that once you’ve spent four years at a school, it’s probably not a good idea to do two more years in the same environment,” he recalls. “We were having a meeting in the dean’s office about what we were going to do with Ryan because he wanted to continue at CalArts,” Carroll recalls. “I made the case, which was fortunately accepted by the dean and the faculty, that no other school would let Ryan be Ryan.” Those words turned out to be prescient. As an undergraduate, conducting wasn’t on Bancroft’s radar. But with Carroll’s encouragement, he began to pursue it in graduate school. “If he had been at any other school, they would have asked him to focus only on the trumpet because that was his major and he played it so very, very well,” says Carroll. A graduate of Julliard himself, Carroll describes a parallel in the unique opportunity the school offers him as a faculty member. “CalArts is a place where they let me forge my own way and become who I wanted to become then instead of being a square peg in a square hole…I can be a student at CalArts. I can keep growing in ways that are oftentimes very different than my traditional training.”

“It was very strange. It took ’till the last moment of the piece for me to grasp that my father was actually gone.” Bancroft would go on to pursue a Master’s of Music degree in conducting from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and was accepted into the National Master’s of Orchestral Conducting program, but he left his mark at CalArts. “It was bittersweet when he graduated,” recalls his instructor for drumming, Andrew Grueschow (BS ’96, MFA ’99). “Drumming and dancing is largely ensemble music and when a member brings the kind of energy and talent that Ryan did, it was felt throughout the ensemble. [It was] amazing to see him head out into the world knowing he would be a great success. It was also very difficult to lose him.”

Sir John Eliot Gardiner & Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique – Beethoven: 9 Symphonies

3. March 19, 2010 Valencia United Methodist Church

Although he was not a classical music aficionado, Ryan’s father, David Bancroft’s favorite piece of music was Mozart’s Requiem. “My father knew that piece because of the film Amadeus,” Bancroft recalls. “The first date my parents went on was to go see that film in 1984. He showed that film to me, and I started binging it. Once I started listening more, my parents embraced [classical music].” In January 2010, David Bancroft succumbed to heart ailments after years of illness. He was 54, and Ryan was 20. The day his father passed away, Ryan began calling friends at CalArts, some of whom knew his dad, to enlist their help as musicians and chorale members for a memorial concert. At that point, he had not yet decided to become a conductor, but when he decided to plan the concert, he thought, “Well, who else would I get to conduct?” For several months after his dad had passed away, Bancroft said he “was sort of numb to what happened,” but he recalls the date of the concert vividly: “There’s a moment in the last two bars [of the Requiem] where there’s an absolute silence from the entire orchestra. It was, of course, a moment of silence but I could see everyone in front of me was watching me for the next cue, sort of hanging onto what was going to happen next. My entire family and friends [who] weren’t performing were sitting in the audience behind me and the gravity within those sheer milliseconds kind of hit me and in that moment, I started to cry. This all happened in the space of about two seconds but I realized, ‘Oh shoot, I have to finish the piece—I have two more bars left to go. I continued conducting and then that made the choir cry as well, so that made the last chords a little wobbly. It was very strange. It took ’till the last moment of the piece for me to grasp that my father was actually gone.” Along with his finale at the Malko Competition, the concert at this church just a mile and a half from CalArts is the pivotal performance in Bancroft’s conducting career thus far. “Had my father never passed,” he reflects, “I would have never conducted the Requiem and felt the innate need to search further.” And yet, he adds about that life-changing performance, “I don’t think I have it in me to listen to it yet.”

Michael Pisaro & Greg Stuart – Ricefall (2) the POOL



CalArts Alumni Magazine

3. Coda

Today, Ryan Bancroft lives in Amsterdam, a world away from where he began. Already fluent in Dutch and conversant in French, he is about to run off for an Italian lesson. When he takes a moment to reflect on how he might advise an aspiring conductor, musician, or other artist based on his own experience, he replies: “If you have something important to say, then CalArts should be the obvious choice because they’re not going to make you fit into a box. They’re going to make you make your own box.” After a summer working with his mentors and securing an agent, he has begun touring. In 2019, he will return to the U.S. for the first time as a Malko recipient with dates in Seattle and Houston. But his real “homecoming”— the booking he is most looking forward to—is his return to the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. “If we’re being really blunt about it, they changed my life overnight,” he says. “You know, it was from one night being no one to the next night, having a career for the rest of my life.”

“Ryan has some of Leonard Bernstein’s openheartedness and passion. He beams at the orchestra which puts me in mind of the Danish conductor Thomas Dauggaard.” — Andrew Mellor, Gramophone critic who covered The Malko Competition

Studying the score for Beethoven’s 6th symphony for an upcoming performance in Bucharest, Romania, with the Romanian Radio National Orchestra.

Walking along the quaint streets of Enschede after rehearsing with the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra.

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Deborah Wasserman Dionna Daniel Roger Holzberg

Defining the role of Citizen Artist TEX T

Clayton Stromberger PH OTO G R A PH Y

Rafael Hernandez & Angel Origgi


CalArts Alumni Magazine

In his 2017 inaugural address, incoming CalArts president Ravi S. Rajan called on CalArtians everywhere to cherish their role as »Citizen Artists« who, in the words of the Institute’s founding provost, Herbert Blau, are in a unique position to help »put the whole cracked world back together.« Beginning with this issue, The Pool will bring you the stories of alumnx who exemplify this vision of Citizen Artists— graduates who have found a unique way to, as Rajan put it, »steer us toward a better future.« In this edition, meet Deborah Wasserman (MFA 92 Art), Dionna Michelle Daniel (BFA 17 Theater), and Roger Holzberg (BFA 78 Film/Video), who are using their training as artists and their life experiences to make this “cracked world” a better place.

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»I’m trying to understand the voices of those who are on the outskirts of society, the margins of society.«


CalArts Alumni Magazine

In the heart of one of the most diverse neighborhoods in America, amidst the vibrant whirl of immigrants from India, Pakistan, South America, and Mexico, artist

heavy padlocked chain attached to a small blanket. People stared; some men, angry, shouted. A handful of police officers gathered. Was it someone out of their mind on drugs? No, it was Deborah Wasserman, in character, handing out her version of what are known in the area as “chica cards”—thinly disguised advertisements for a sexual encounter, usually with a young immigrant woman trapped into being a sex worker by traffickers. But when someone called the phone number on these cards—which read No longer your chica—instead of being connected with a prostitute they would hear an expressive monologue, written and performed by Wasserman, about a woman trapped into sex work. During the four-minute voicemail, which was also translated into Spanish and Chinese, information was given about how to seek legal help for those caught sex trafficking, and the character’s voice declared: “I’m your sister, your daughter, your next-door neighbor. I’m a woman.” All of these personae emerged from Wasserman’s response to, and interactions with, the neighborhood that she and her musician husband, along with their two children, moved into a decade ago from Brooklyn. The relocation to Jackson Heights, a working-class melting pot, was transformative. “This is when I started doing artwork that was outside of my comfort zone and took the shape of public interventions, or performance, or social practice, because that was the only thing that was available and made sense to me at that time,” Wasserman recalls. “Since I was kind of alone as an artist in this community, I decided not to wait until I got permission to go to a nonprofit place or get a gallery show. I did my art on the street, just interacting with the people in my community. It was important that I make it relevant to them.” It was uncomfortable at times to be taking on a new persona in public, unsettling even, but she discovered it was a direct way of making something happen. “When you insert yourself into a day-to-day situation,” Wasserman says, “and you do it very consciously, it puts the audience in a state of semi-shock—‘What are you doing here, why am I coming across you today?’ They collaborate with you in a way that you invite them to, and

DEBORAH WASSERMAN —who is fluent in four languages and proudly calls herself a “multicultural hybrid”—brings an extra layer of diversity all her own. Over the last decade, countless residents of Jackson Heights in Queens have bumped into an unusual new visitor on their sidewalks or in their neighborhood park. One day, it was Mother Earth/Queen of Trash, a figure with glowing-green skin and ripped-rag clothing, pulling a regal train of stitched-together garbage and handing out small cloth bags of earth and seeds, pausing to speak gently to rapt young children about the importance of recycling and caring for the planet. Another day, it was Morphing Woman, appearing down the road in Socrates Sculpture Park, a strange bodysuit-wearing figure seemingly trapped inside mesh fabric, crawling, stretching, and sometimes striking poses in juxtaposition to the park’s sculptures. Another time in the same park, it was a friendly but determined woman in a white kerchief and an apron tied over a simple dress evoking an image of immigrants of a century ago; as you strolled through the park, you would see her engaging in a four-hour ritual of hand-washing clothes and lying them out to dry, as women have done for generations before. People stopped by to look, take selfies, and even help out. Then there was the day a startling figure walked down the sidewalks of bustling Roosevelt Avenue in a frizzy blond wig and a bright pink-and-white mask covered with glued-on images of women’s faces and body parts—only her eyes and mouth visible. She wore a skimpy, shimmery dress, fishnet hose, and spangled boots, one of which trailed a

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the interaction is always heightened. Everyone gets more out of it.” “No Longer Your Chica” evolved out of her dawning awareness of the sexual exploitation of women just down the street on Roosevelt Avenue, where young men would hand out cards with images of scantily clad women and a phone number, mumbling, “Chica, chica.” “I wanted to express my rage and raise awareness,” Wasserman says. “I wanted to reverse the power relations a bit…. It was a protest piece.” Jackson Heights has also sparked an entrepreneurial energy in Wasserman, leading her to create a neighborhood art education program for children. She also teaches free classes in local public schools and has led two grantfunded projects in area senior centers. She hopes to continue finding inventive ways to deepen her relationship with the neighborhood; her latest idea is to exhibit some of her studio work in one of the area’s ubiquitous local beauty salons. For one of her pieces, she simply created a small space on a sidewalk out of cardboard and colorful fabric, put out a welcome mat, and invited passersby to sit and have tea with her as a way of exploring the concept of hospitality across cultures.

In June of 2015,

Born in Brazil, raised in Israel, Wasserman arrived at CalArts “like a country mouse come to the city,” she recalls; she was self-conscious about her English and initially very quiet in classes. Through encountering so many new experiences with this “immigrant mentality,” she developed an abiding compassion for people on the outside looking in. “At CalArts, I played invisible for a long time,” she reflects. “It was half true, half a play. Twenty years later, I’m trying to understand the voices of those who are on the outskirts of society, the margins of society—the mothers who have a lot of children and work in the basement doing laundry, the old people in the senior center, children, the women on Roosevelt Avenue. I’m trying to look at all these communities and groups that don’t have a voice, like I didn’t, and then find a way to give them a voice.” Find out more about Deborah Wasserman’s No Longer Your Chica project at

“It was a weird moment of grieving,” she remembers. “That was when the whole debate about the Confederate flag came out. People in houses I had driven by my whole life were putting Confederate flags out on their porches. It became almost like a parade.” Out of that jarring and emotionally wrenching summer, an idea for a play began to take shape. Two years later, just after Daniel’s graduation in May of 2017 with a BFA in Acting and a minor in Creative Writing, Gunshot Medley made its debut at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, with its author playing the all-singing role of High Priestess of Souls, an incarnation of the Yoruban goddess Oya, who remains onstage the entire play like a Greek chorus, awakening the other characters to their reality through spirituals and Appalachian folk ballads. On opening day in Edinburgh’s Venue 13, there were two people in the audience; by the end of the 20-performance run three weeks later, the 70-seat venue was sold out daily, and Gunshot Medley was one of the hottest tickets at the Fringe. In September of this year, the piece had its American premiere at Rogue Machine Theatre in Los Angeles with a new cast, and then moved to the Watts Village Theater in October. Los Angeles reviewers, echoing those in Edinburgh, took note of the arrival of a new theatrical voice: “This is a work of tragic majesty…This is what theater is for, it’s why it matters,” wrote a critic for the Stage and Cinema website. The Los Angeles Times

DIONNA MICHELLE DANIEL had just finished her second year at CalArts and was back home with her parents for the summer in WinstonSalem, North Carolina when terrible news suddenly came: Nine members of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina—a few hundred miles to the south—had been shot and killed by a white supremacist during a prayer service. “It hit hard, because all of my family is from South Carolina,” Daniel says. The country, horrified and in shock, mourned and reflected on its legacy of racial hatred and violence. Then, during the raw aftermath of the massacre, Daniel began noticing Confederate flags in her hometown where she had never seen them before.


CalArts Alumni Magazine

»People in houses I had driven by my whole life were putting Confederate flags out on their porches. It became almost like a parade.«

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recommended Medley as a “best bet,” saying, “Daniel’s allegorical tale subtly addresses not only past racial atrocities but also the present-day scourge of police violence against African Americans.” The journey to having a critically-acclaimed play as a 23-year-old has been a thrilling ride for a young Los Angeles-based artist, who entered the arts at age five with one overriding passion. “From the beginning, as a child, I was obsessed with Alicia Keys, and I made my parents get me piano lessons,” Daniel recalls, laughing. “I started playing when I was six. I wanted to be Alicia Keys—from the braids, to playing the piano, to singing.” Next came joining a choir, and competition singing, visual art, and writing. Then at age 15, Daniel discovered a local arts education program called Authoring Action that encourages young students to find their voice as writers as they work as a group to tackle issues of social justice in the local community. “That was when it really became apparent to me that I was interested in work that was socially engaged,” Daniel says. “We wrote poems for the North Carolina Bar Association on why pro bono cases mattered, on sexual abuse, domestic violence. I performed at a rally with Authoring Action because the NAACP was suing the state government about gerrymandering.” Daniel was accepted to the North Carolina School of the Arts High School and studied visual arts and acting, and began to dream of performing in musical theater. During

college auditions her senior year, she met theater director Nataki Garrett, then on the CalArts faculty. Daniel had brought her visual art along and showed it to Garrett. “She looked through it and said, ‘CalArts is the perfect school for you,’” Daniel remembers. “And that was the biggest reason I came and was excited about the school. I wanted a place where I could flourish in all of my art forms.” A transformative moment came in her first semester, when she saw Garrett’s production of We Are Proud to Present a Presentation… by Jackie Sibblies Drury, which tells the story of the Herero genocide in Namibia during the early 20th century at the hands of occupying German soldiers. Daniels recalls, “When I left that performance, I saw Nataki after the show, and I told her, ‘I’ve never felt this way after a piece of theater before, I’m so angry—I want to do something.’ I knew then I wanted my work to have that same impact.” Daniel loved the interdisciplinary aspect of CalArts, and found her definition of theater expanded by the school’s embrace of experimentation and invention. “I was introduced to work where people were pushing the boundaries of what form is,” she says. “That’s when I first read Suzan Lori-Parks. Having those influences made me change my idea of what art can do.” The setting and main characters of Gunshot Medley began to emerge for Daniel just weeks after the Charleston massacre. She and her friend and mentor from Authoring Action, Nathan Ross Freeman, were walking through the historic Salem Cemetery in Winston-Salem, strolling past the graves of Confederate veterans marked by yet more Confederate flags, when Freeman led her to an area she’d never seen before, hidden beyond a row of hedges—the segregated section of the cemetery where slaves had been buried more than 150 years earlier, before the Emancipation Proclamation. In one patch of earth, Daniel came across three small slabs of stone simply bearing death dates from 1859 and 1860 and three first names: Betty, Alvis, and George. “I had been wanting to do a play for some time about the Trinity,” Daniel recalls. “I realized then that I had found my trinity.” Betty, Alvis, and George are given voice in Gunshot Medley, as they return to life to grapple with the violence they have witnessed and suffered, and to confront the painful and triumphant history of African-American life in America. “At the play’s end, there’s often tears in the audience’s eyes, but there’s also hope,” Daniel says. “And that’s what I want them to leave with.” Find out more about Dionna Michelle Daniel’s work at

Dionna Daniel on the set of Gunshot Medley


CalArts Alumni Magazine

“When you look that beast in the face, and confront mortality, things change,” says

ROGER HOLZBERG. On a sunny Southern California day fourteen 14 years ago, Holzberg—then a Disney Imagineer with a gift for inventing joyful experiences for millions of people—found himself sitting in a lead-lined room deep inside a Glendale Memorial Hospital, awaiting the entrance of a hazmat-suit wearing Radiation Safety Officer, whose job it was to wheel in a lead canister, open it, retrieve a second canister within, open that, and then with lead tongs extract three radioactive pills and carefully hand them over to be swallowed with a pitcher of water. It was like something out of a horror movie, Holzberg recalls, and his treatment experience for thyroid cancer— which included days in that room sweating and urinating the radiation out of his body as it worked to kill cancerous cells—was about as far from the famed “architecture of reassurance” of a Disney theme park as one could get. “There was no question in my mind, going through that,” he recalls, “that the patient experience—which I didn’t even know was a thing – was something I needed to change.”

Patient experience is indeed changing today, one hospital room at a time, thanks in part to Holzberg and his partner, Dr. Leonard Sender, who in 2008 formed Reimagine Well, dedicated to “evolving the patient journey” and using cutting-edge technology with an Imagineering artistic sensibility to create immersive experiences that support patients, caregivers, and health providers. “We’ve been adapting Disney’s ‘architecture of reassurance’ into an ‘architecture of healing,’” Holzberg explains. Reimagine Well’s Infusionarium transforms the dreaded experience of chemotherapy for young and adolescent patients. While receiving chemotherapy, patients can take a virtual journey to a special “healing place” of their choice or connect to inspiring places alongside other patients around the country. “Our approach is to never tell a patient what we think would be healing for them,” Holzberg says. “We believe our job is to listen to patients about what they believe would be healing, and then give them that experience to the best degree we can.” The company has built and installed 36 “dimensional” Infusionariums in hospitals; another 6,000-plus patients and families are using the platform for post-treatment the POOL


support on phones and tablets, and it is also accessible in 300 hospital rooms via smart television screens. Patients using the Infusionarium experience fewer side effects, health providers report, and feel empowered by a sense of ownership during their treatment. Holzberg’s journey into passionate advocacy for patients came with a jolt one day in 2004 as he approached his 50th birthday. He was a successful Vice President/ Creative Director for Imagineering, where he led such projects as Virtual Magic Kingdom—in which five million children online could connect in real time with other kids in Disney theme parks—as well as directing Imagineering teams on the “100 Years of Magic” and “Millennium” celebrations at Walt Disney World. He also created the first free-swimming animatronic dolphin for Disney’s Castaway Cay. Then he heard those three words that one in two American men and one in three American women will hear in their lifetime: “You have cancer.” “Time stops…I think I was in shock for two weeks,” Holzberg recalls. Once a treatment plan was in place, Holzberg pulled together a team of trusted colleagues and fellow cancer survivors and caregivers at Disney to form a “cancer volunteer hit squad.” They redesigned the lobby for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, created the “Living With” video series for, built a version of one of Holzberg’s Disney World attractions—Turtle Talk with Crush—or the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC), and began a wellness network to provide patients information and support from diagnosis to well-being. Holzberg eventually left Disney to become the first consulting Creative Director at the National Cancer Institute, revamping the website and leading the organization into the social media age. Along the way, he met Dr. Leonard Sender at CHOC and was challenged by Sender to help him confront a daunting problem: Young cancer patients were dealing with profound depression and isolation while in treatment—could an Imagineering approach make a difference? A creative brainstorm session followed, and then that weekend Holzberg had his “aha” moment. He was leading an open-ocean swim off the coast of Malibu when he looked up and saw two dolphins and their pups surface just eight feet away. “I thought—okay, this, for me, is the most healing place on the planet,” Holzberg says. “I went, ‘Boy, if I could have been here when I was in cancer treatment, this would have helped heal me for sure.’ And then another light bulb went off and I thought, ‘Wait, you used to make rides for Disney—you actually could have been here in every single way but physically.’” Holzberg came back to Sender with the opening question they now ask every patient with whom they work: “If you could heal anywhere in the universe and there were no rules, 36

CalArts Alumni Magazine

»There was no question in my mind that the patient experience was something I needed to change.«

what special place would best promote your healing?” After hearing responses, Reimagine Well works to create those healing places virtually, using patient direction throughout the process. The next step in Holzberg’s journey is to return to the place where so much of his career began—his alma mater. He currently directing a curriculum for a course of study for CalArts students focused on creating an “architecture of healing” in healthcare. Holzberg credits CalArts with giving him a foundation of “fearless creativity” for pursuing his work, so it’s a perfect homecoming. “My hope,” he says, “is that there will be many, many more of me and Reimagine Wells out in the world. We can do a whole lot better with the patient experience than we do today.” Find out more about Roger Holzberg’s work at


T H U R S DAY, JA N U A R Y 1 7 , 2 0 1 9 H O S T E D BY S U S A N D I S N E Y L O R D AT T H E B E L- A I R R E S TAU R A N T, 6 : 3 0 – 9 : 0 0 P M S I L E N T AU C T I O N × C O C K TA I L S × H O R S D ’ O E U V R E S F O R M O R E I N F O R M AT I O N, P L E AS E C O N TAC T B R I T TA N Y P R I E T O 661.253.7718

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Chicano Male Unbonded offers a powerful counterpoint to the pervasive “one-dimensional image of Mexican American men�

Bueno Hombres Harry Gamboa Jr.

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CalArts Alumni Magazine

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CalArts Alumni Magazine

Previous pages: Selections from Chicano Male Unbonded by Harry Gamboa

Alfred Arteaga, Poet, 1994

p. 40

p. 42

p. 44

Hugo Hopping, Artist, 2017

Ernesto Chávez, Ph.D., Historian, UT El Paso, 2004

Chon A. Noriega, Ph.D., Film Theorist, UC Los Angeles, 1998

Jeffrey J. Rangel, Art Historian, 2000

p. 39

p. 41

p. 43

Jack Vargas, Librarian, 1995

“Be on the lookout for a Chicano male—he’s dangerous.” These words on a radio news report made Harry Gamboa Jr., as he recalled in an interview with KCET-TV, determine that “family could be at risk, friends could be at risk, I could be at risk.” In 1991, Gamboa, a founding member of a 1970s media arts collective promoting social justice for Chicanos, began work on Chicano Male Unbonded, a series of photographs depicting Chicano men who had influenced his life. From September 2017 through June this year, these portraits appeared at The Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles. “I’ve heard people comment, just looking at the pictures, that they are gang members,” Gamboa observed in an introduction from the museum. “But then they get closer, read the descriptions, and discover that the ‘gang members’ are lawyers, Ph.Ds, artists, and novelists.” In the KCET interview, UCLA Professor Chon Noriega notes that, “It’s a series that really challenges people to confront the fact that in some ways, they already have an orientation towards the subjects they’re going to be looking at.”

Gamboa, whose work is represented in collections from The Whitney Museum of American Art to The Smithsonian American Art Museum and in exhibitions from Centre Pompidou in Paris to Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City, has been a faculty member of the CalArts Photography and Media program since 2008. He recalls being attracted to the position by “brilliant faculty that encourage intensive research and that embrace experiential creative projects enhanced by theoretical and other imaginative frameworks” and students who are “a consistent force of creativity and intellectual achievement.” Autry Museum Chief Curator Amy Scott believes, “Gamboa’s take on both Chicano and masculine identity offers a reminder that these are not monolithic groups or labels and a rejoinder to the narrative of criminality that has been weaponized by specific media channels and against entire populations.”

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THE VI– SIBLE AR– TIST Chrysanthe Tan talks art and pop culture with Zackary Drucker PH OTO G R A PH Y

Rafael Hernandez


CalArts Alumni Magazine

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“ What we do is never neutral. Our position is never neutral. Culture is not neutral. ”

I need some of her secret sauce. That was the first thought that popped into my head as I left my interview with Zackary Drucker (MFA 07 Art). She is glorious, an embodiment of her passions, ethics, and dualities. Solitary but community-driven. Productive but relaxed. Entrenched in both the art and pop worlds. Needless to say, the groundbreaking multimedia artist, cultural producer, and trans woman already has a career that spans the globe and is highly influential. Emmy nomination? Check, (for her short independent film series This Is Me). Producing an Emmy and Golden Globe-winning show? Check, (for the hit series Transparent). Having work displayed at a Whitney Biennial exhibition? Check, (hell, REDCAT even presented a 12-year retrospective of Drucker’s short films and documented performances this past July). The REDCAT event made Drucker nervous. “Nobody’s going to buy tickets,” she’d told herself. But the theater was packed, including both the general public and a sizable contingent of queer and trans family, friends, and youth. Creating art that uplifts and gives multiple voices to her community is Drucker’s motivational undercurrent, and for this reason, her vast involvement in various forms of media and scale make perfect sense. While many artists—especially with her breadth of training—shun the pop world and mass media, Drucker leans in with vigor. After all, she credits books, films, and television for helping her find her way and learn about herself as a young trans person in the 90s.

Chrysanthe Tan Zackary Drucker

I’m so honored to be speaking with you, Zackary. Likewise, it’s so nice to meet you! I just watched your This Is Me shorts last night. I love them. Thanks. It was a big project. It was four years ago, and I was involved with every part of the process, from writing and conceptualizing to executing, crewing, and seeing it all through to completion.


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You also acted. One of the most striking things you say is “for trans people, being passable means being invisible.” You’re doing the opposite of that as an artist and public figure.

show Transparent to experimental art and film. You even collaborate with your mom. I watched “Southern for Pussy,” which your mom co-stars in.

I think that navigating visibility is required in any marginalized community. Visibility is something that the trans community has probably discussed more than anything else. So much has changed in the many years that I’ve identified as trans.

I love my parents. I got so lucky with them.

So many things about your own identity or about the word? Well, the trans experience. I discovered the word when I read Kate Bornstein’s book, Gender Outlaw, when I was 14. I knew that I was trans. At the time, nobody I knew had done that before. I learned and found community through media—through books, film, and television. And now you’re one of the people creating those films, television, and other media. Your career is so unbelievably varied, from being a producer on the massively popular, Emmy-nominated

Zackary Drucker (MFA 07 Art, left) strolls with The Pool’s Chrysanthe Tan (MFA 14 Critical Studies, MFA 17 Music) in Glassell Park, near downtown Los Angeles.

When did you start collaborating with your mom? My mother was always my muse. Not just my feminist icon but also my muse. As soon as I started taking pictures, she was an available model, so I photographed her. Did you photograph strangers, too? I’m learning photography and am always too nervous to ask people to be in my photos. I was mostly interested in documenting my life as a counterculture queer punk kid. I’ve always photographed my friends. I photograph myself. I think photography is an amazing space for self-invention. And when photographing others, I don’t get nervous. People want to be seen, people want to be remembered. People want to be immortalized and recorded.

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Your art and personal life have always been so lovingly intertwined. Is that exhausting?

Were you emotional or analytical during the screenings?

Yeah, it is. I do think I’m being trusted with different things now, as I move in directions that are less personal. But I also think that the more specific you are, the more universal it becomes.

Oh, my God, I cried so much, and afterward, people were telling me how much it meant to them. You don’t necessarily expect that. The most exciting part was that there were young people in the audience who are starting to make their own work and form their own identities.

You had a screening at REDCAT this year. It was 12 years of your film, video, and performance work, which is kind of absurd, because you’re pretty young for a retrospective. I know. I thought nobody would buy a ticket. But they did. Did you watch it? I did. I was nervous about the whole thing, until I walked into the theater and saw that people were there. That felt really special and validating. Just witnessing the arc of my own history on screen and all the people, including people who are no longer with us, my Grandma Flawless Sabrina and Aunt Holly Woodlawn.


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Do you have any preference in medium? Photography, performance, directing? No, not at all. I think that the lives we live are our truest art forms. I’ve known really incredible people who didn’t have the means to make art but who lived their lives in this intentional kind of way that amounted to an artwork, you know?

I like that. We can’t separate our humanity from the work that we’re producing, especially in the realms of cultural production. What we do is never neutral. Our position is never neutral. Culture is not neutral. People are led to believe that heteronormative masculinity is the neutral, and we’re taught that in order to reinforce the status quo. Did you always have this holistic view of art? Yes. Back then, photography was my preferred medium, but also writing. And I was always impressed with video performance, too. Is CalArts the place where you really started experimenting with writing, directing, and acting? Yes.

“ I think that the lives we live are our truest art forms.

Did you take any impactful classes?

Yeah. I also took an excellent Kathy Acker class with Matias Viegener in the Writing School.

God, CalArts! I took classes in so many different departments. The critique classes within the Art School were excellent. Just having long conversations deconstructing work and meaning. But sometimes the nuance of critical theory can be stifling. It’s like “come up with a perfect concept, make sure it’s hermetically sealed, and then create it.” That doesn’t really capture the magic and spontaneity of art making. With that in mind, did you like any of the art you made at CalArts, even if you weren’t at your pinnacle yet? Yeah, definitely! I did a video class with Judy Fiskin and made a little video called “Star Worship.” It was, like, video diaries before YouTube’s time. So you were doing “vlogs” before “vlogs” became a thing!

Matias was my thesis advisor! And oh yes, he loves him some Kathy Acker and talks about her a lot in his book, 2500 Things About Me Too, which I love. Totally. In the class, we read the majority of Kathy Acker’s books. It was a lot of work, but I was so grateful because it changed me. It conceptualized language as an art form.

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Who else do you like to read these days?

Do you like living in LA?

I’m on a mission to read every single Octavia Butler book this year. My favorite so far is The Parable Series. I think it’s prophetic because it takes place in LA in the 2020s. An apocalypse is happening, and then there’s a post-apocalyptic reconstruction which leads to a religious evangelical takeover of America, and our President starts running on the slogan of “Making America Great Again.”

I can’t really imagine living anywhere else. I’m definitely an introvert, very much about home and familiarity. Los Angeles can be a very solitary place, and I like that. Here, you can have a very independent life.

Oh, my God. This was in the book? And it was written in the ‘90s! What else do you consume, media-wise? My favorite TV this year has been Vida on Starz, Pose on FX—which is an incredible reimagining of the ‘80s Harlem ball scene—Room 104 on HBO. Handmaid’s Tale is also amazing, but so hard to watch. And I just saw Crazy Rich Asians yesterday. It was good. I’m excited about the shit that Hollywood is making, namely because I think culture always precedes political and legislative change by 10 years. All of the gains we’re making in the realm of culture will eventually influence legislation. You embody this belief in your work as well. Rather than renouncing, you embrace the commercial, the pop, the entertainment industry. You work with it rather than disengaging. I think the artist has an expanded role, especially in the future. We have a set of tools and a type of education that prepares us to be agile, flexible, to move as things are changing. And our expanded role influences other sectors. A big piece of my mission is serving our community and getting the stories out there to the broadest possible audience. How do you stay so productive and prolific? Do you ever feel stuck? Not being stuck requires just outputting, even if it’s crap. When I took a creative writing class with Lori Weeks, she said 99 percent of what you write is going to be shit, but if you don’t write it, you’ll never get to that one percent of the good stuff. Do you challenge yourself to “make shit” every day? I’m in the middle of probably the most productive time in my life. I’ve been in LA for 13 years now.


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The internet still connects everyone though, right? I stay offline, mostly just for inner peace. It’s a noisy world we’re living in. It’s distracting and easy to be in denial about things if you’re not paying attention to what’s happening in your own neighborhood. I never scroll through Instagram and think, “Well, that was time well spent,” you know? But when I read every fucking Octavia Butler novel, that feels like an achievement. It helps reframe my reality to be conscious of other stories. What’s coming next? I have some art-based projects. One of them is like collaging, printing, and appropriating on flags. And I have a self-portrait series I’m developing. And then just different Hollywood projects, like two feature films and the finale of Transparent. What do you wish you could tell your younger self, or other young trans artists? I would just say, “we want to hear from you. Your story matters. The way that you tell your story is completely unique and completely valuable.”

“ Culture always precedes political change by 10 years. ”

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top: The Wild Beast performance venue at CalArts. bottom: Friends of CalArts brochure from the 1970s.

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JJ A Trip to Europe Leaves a Lasting Legacy

At the end of his second year studying graphic design, JJ Adkisson went home to see his parents in San Francisco and excitedly told them about a design conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, that he wanted to attend. His parents asked a few logistical questions about the trip, including the date of the conference. JJ’s mother, Anne, bursts out in laughter at the memory. “It was in five days!” she exclaims. In typical JJ style, he hadn’t considered timing—or other practical details, like purchasing tickets and planning travel—as important. Rather, he saw an event that could further his design knowledge, and he was impatient to make it happen. Anne and Jonathan, JJ’s father, suggested that JJ could go the following summer, which would allow for proper advance planning. Unfortunately, that opportunity never came. A few weeks later, on July 15, 2016, JJ was killed in a multiple car crash in Pasadena on his way to a camping trip in Joshua Tree National Park with his best friend. His death left an unfillable void in his family’s life, and also in his 14-member graphic design class. In her grief, Anne thought back to that Copenhagen trip. “One day Jonathan and I were hiking, and I said I have a crazy idea. We were never able to send JJ to Copenhagen like we wanted. What do you think if we took his classmates as a graduation gift?” she says. “And it just went from there.” AN INSATIABLE APPETITE FOR DESIGN

JJ had been a child determined to soak up anything and everything he could. “He was such a sponge,” remembers Jonathan. When he was 12, he asked his dad for the Adobe Creative Suite so that he could learn how to use Photoshop, Illustrator, and other graphic design tools. His parents remember that he read an instruction guide that was as thick as a phonebook and sat glued to the computer all summer

long. “He was on the computer all day, but he wasn’t playing video games like other boys his age; instead, he was busy learning Photoshop,” recalls Anne. When JJ later attended Marin School of the Arts for high school, his parents recall that he was often frustrated, because he had already taught himself many of the digital tools that high school students there were just starting to learn. But at CalArts, he found his stride. There, he felt challenged, driven, motivated, and inspired. “His work was valued and that hard work ethic that he brought to everything he did was valued, and the professors actually had stuff that they could teach him,” says Jonathan. “It was absolutely the right place for him.” Adds Anne: “If you have kids, it doesn’t matter if they’re a good athlete or artist or academic or whatever. You want them to thrive, and be happy and find their place in the world. And for us, CalArts represents this place where he found his place in the world. It’s a beautiful thing to watch.” His classmates and faculty saw his love for CalArts, too. When they describe JJ, they use words like “leader,” “big personality,” “extraordinary talent,” “visionary,” “charismatic,” “dedicated,” and “friend.” He was also incredibly intelligent, headstrong, determined, competitive, tireless, insatiable, and intense. For Scott Zukowski, who was JJ’s BFA-1 year core graphic design teacher, one memory in particular keeps coming back to him. It was early in the first semester, and the students were hanging their work for the day, awaiting a critique. Zukowski told them that after the critique, he’d give them their homework assignment for the next day. His plans changed when he noticed that the class just wasn’t tuned in. He decided to skip the homework assignment. For JJ—who was always impatient to learn more—that wasn’t ok. “JJ’s very rambunctious. He walked up to me very quickly and said, you didn’t give the new assignment,” Zukowski recalls. “And I said ‘yeah, I didn’t, there’s too many people that are missing the point. They’re not on the same page.’” He watched JJ pivot and walk out the door, seeming slightly agitated. Zukowski says he didn’t give it much thought until the next time the class met. That day, he recalls, everything was different. The entire class was at attention, and their work was immaculate. He thought back to JJ’s response and just knew that he was responsible for the new attitude. “That kind of spirit and energy just infected his classmates in a positive

In honor of their son, JJ, the Adkisson family invited his CalArts graphic design class mates on a trip exploring Paris, Berlin, Dessau, and Copenhagen. Pictured on top of this page are (from left) Erasmo Tapia, Kristin Schultz, Andrea Yasko, Sarah Adkisson, Es Youn, Hannah Kim, Bradley Krebs, Anne Adkisson, and Paul Adkisson. Also part of the trip were Jonathan Adkisson, Devon Kasarjian, Paul Um, David Weiss, and faculty member Scott Zukowski.


way. He was just that kind of kid,” says Zukowski. “It was always about the work and about design.” SOAKING UP DESIGN IN EUROPE

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After learning that the Adkissons were interested in funding that graduation trip, Zukowski set about planning a European tour JJ would have loved. Nine students, along with the Adkissons and their other two children, Paul and Sarah, made the trek in August. The itinerary honed in on cities known for their design prowess: Paris, Dessau, Berlin, and Copenhagen. While they didn’t make it to the design conference (as the timing didn’t work out), the group visited three to four design studios in each city, including Helmo, Jean Marc Ballée, and Vier5 in Paris; HelloMe, Dinamo, Node, and Hort in Berlin; and Playtype, Alexis Mark, Urgent.Agency, and Hvass & Hannibal in Copenhagen. In particular, Zukowski was thinking of JJ when he included the city of Dessau, which is home to one of the world’s most famous design schools. The Bauhaus, an influential 20th century art school that the students had studied during their Design History class, offered a remarkable cultural opportunity. But at the same time, its location, about two hours outside of Berlin, would add some logistical complications. In pondering whether to include it or not, Zukowski could hear JJ demanding, “How can you be that close and not go?” It turned out to be one of the most memorable stops of the trip. The group stayed in the famous dorms where Bauhaus students once lived, and celebrated “JJ Adkisson Day,” with everyone wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with a design that JJ had made. The tour also took them to the see the Master Houses adjacent to the school, which counts famous modernists, such as László Moholy-Nagy, Wassily Kandinsky, and Paul Klee as former residents. In addition to visiting design studios, the itinerary left plenty of time for fun, says JJ’s friend and classmate, Kristin Schultz. “We rode bikes along the Berlin wall, admired the sparkling Eiffel Tower, became students at the Bauhaus, watched the best firework show of our lives at Tivoli Gardens, and had a crazy time at Monsterkabinett. We were inspired by the Louvre, the Pompidou, and the Hamburger Bahnhof. I was in awe of beautiful places like The Palace of Versailles, Nyhavn, Dessau, and Hillerød.” Schultz adds that it also opened her eyes to career possibilities. “Overall, the trip was very inspiring and motivating because seeing people

do the type of work that I want to do makes my dreams seem possible and tangible, and that is so important, because it gives me hope for the future of design,” says Schultz. “These designers that we met were brave enough to pursue a career filled with quality work that they love and they get paid for it.” Bradley Krebs, another friend and classmate on the trip, says what surprised him most were the cultural differences among the design studios. “The history of the countries influences how they treat image and typography,” he says. For him, the foray also turned out to be fortuitous networking: He reconnected with Paul Um, another attendee, who had graduated a year prior. Um, who was also a friend of JJ’s, has since hired Krebs to do some graphic design work for his firm, which works with small fashion companies. And, of course, beneath it all was the chance to memorialize JJ, whose presence, says Krebs, was felt everywhere. “It didn’t even necessarily need to be talked about because it was so palpable,” he says. “That was the reason. That was why we were there.” LEAVING A LEGACY

While JJ’s class has now graduated and moved on to the next chapter in their lives, his name will continue to brighten the halls of CalArts in different ways. The Adkissons have established the JJ Adkisson Memorial Scholarship Fund, a merit-based scholarship that will be awarded to a BFA graphic design student every year. Through a generous donation, they’re also in the process of renovating the BFA3 studio in his honor. When complete, Anne and Jonathan say the JJ Adkisson Studio will be “tricked out” with all the latest technology, as JJ would have wanted. And in the school’s library, current and future students will be able to check out design books from JJ’s extensive personal collection. His parents donated his books, and his classmates designed a bookplate that says, “JJ Adkisson Collection.” “We believe that the world lost something really incredibly powerful and valuable when JJ died,” says Jonathan. “We could foresee that he was going to be a force in the field that he chose. And we all lost that.” But they still have hope that by continuing his connection to CalArts, that force can live on through others, leaving a distinctive mark—even in the face of tragedy. — Kate Silver the POOL


Alumnx HQ

No Place Like Home Dear Alumnx, As you see in the pictures on the next pages, CalArtians come together every year for milestones that celebrate collaboration, experimentation, and community. These events tap into a feeling we’ve heard from many alumnx who tell us they associate CalArts with the word home. Typically, I hear comments just like this: “At CalArts I loved the sharing and collaboration and dialogue. It felt like home...I don’t have this same community out in the world.” While CalArtians don’t rely on the usual college traditions to define our identity, our milestones bespeak and edify our very special, unique community. Whether it is graduation, gallery nights, or the Digital Arts Expo, our milestones are heartfelt and vivid. They are impenetrable to those who

John Wu (MFA 2018 Art)


CalArts Alumni Magazine

can’t lean in and open up. And they are never the same twice. But they are OURS. Most importantly, our non-traditional traditions all share a common goal: to celebrate CalArts as home. Commencement is one of our oldest traditions, but it’s unique compared to any other graduation ceremony. It shocks a few family members to say the least. President Rajan hatched from an egg this past May, which actually makes sense: these new alumnx go out in the world to create anew, like every generation of CalArtians before them. There are no caps and gowns, unless they are part of a deliberate costume. Every student chooses their own theme music to be played as the dean confers their degrees, and pets might accompany their grad as they cross the stage. Completely unconventional in every way, and never the same thing twice. For the last couple of summers, grads of the last decade enjoyed a creative home at the Open Seasonal Open Multimedia Mic event. Niko Solorio (Art BFA ’07) suggested we do something where people can share their work. We’d received considerable feedback from alumnx telling us, “One of the things I miss the most about campus is experiencing other people’s work, and they in turn giving me feedback on mine.” Niko spearheaded these events where CalArtians shared films, readings, performances, music, installations, and more. Alumnx did what they used to do when they were on campus: they asked each other about their work, gave critiques, applauded each other, and connected deeply. It’s a new tradition we’ll continue every year.

Lastly, CalArts Weekend provides a non-traditional homecoming for alumnx through a mix of performances, artist talks, and, of course, parties. We meet established artists like Glen Keane ’74 and Groundislava (Jasper Patterson ’12), as well as emerging artists like those from Try/Step/ Trip, The Speakeasy Society, and Cilience. We still host many families, but the greatest growth has been in the numbers of alumnx and students attending. Nearly 900 people came this year! Alumnx have a chance to celebrate our amazing community, and importantly, to do so alongside our students—our future alumnx. It’s a powerful testament that CalArts will always be this home you can return to, and at the same time, there will always be new work cultivated through that iterative process of CalArtians deeply engaging with each other and their creative endeavors. I write this letter in my last days here. I love CalArts and this community: for our fearlessness to uncompromisingly create what Ravi calls “idea-first art”; for every Chouinard grad who returns to toast their legacy and today’s student-artists; for every student who receives their degree in one hand and holds their dog’s leash in the other. For our proud non-traditions; our “naked pool”; our Alumnx Council, Chapters, and Ambassadors; and every alumnx who has given their time, talent, or treasure to make a difference for those to come. I’m grateful to all the alumnx who made me feel as if I went here. I know why CalArts will always feel like home to so many of you. And now it does for me too. Rageshwar Kaur Goldberg Former Director of Alumnx and Family Engagement (She/Her/Hers)

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Graduation 2018 Graduation 2018 created many memorable moments, as once again CalArts students, faculty, and staff collaborated to put on a spectacular graduation ceremony that is unrivaled in academia. Oklahoma artist Edgar Heap of Birds was the Honorary Degree recipient, becoming the first Native American to receive an honorary degree from the Institute. Edgar and his family were warmly embraced by the CalArts community as they stayed and celebrated with students until the wee hours of the morning.











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Alumnx HQ 3







CalArts Alumni Magazine





The 2018 graduation theme, There Will Be Art, featured a huge billboard above the stage that was then decorated live by six different graffiti artists (one from each school) as diplomas were awarded. As for the graduates themselves, the Class of 2018 continued the CalArts tradition of wearing dazzling graduation attire, save for two students who opted for no attire at all. First-year president, Ravi Rajan, made a grand entrance, breaking out of an large egg to officially start the festivities. Many dogs, cats, unicorns, grandmothers, parents, partners, and others also crossed the stage alongside their graduates. After the last diploma was awarded, the graduates and their families enjoyed music and dancing as the CalArts Salsa Band played tirelessly until the sun came up to announce the official end of the 2018 academic year.

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1 Leighton Pierce, Dean, School 1 Angel Rodarte, BFA 18 Art; of Film/Video; Joye Forrest, BFA 18 Dance Rageshwar Goldberg, former 2 Hunter Janos, BFA 18 Director of Alumnx and Family Experimental Animation Engagement; Glenna Avila, Artistic Director, 3 Madeline Quint, BFA 18 Acting Community Arts Partnership with her dog Vita (CAP) 4 Ray Shin, BFA 18 Graphic 2 Michael Piwowarczyk, BFA 18 Design; Hannah Kim, BFA 18 Character Animation Graphic Design; Erasmo “Teddy” Tapia, BFA 18 Graphic 3 Samantha Bartow, BFA 18 Design; Kristin Schultz, BFA 18 Acting; Graphic Design; Kathy Bates, Rachel Handlin, BFA 19 Photo MFA 18 Graphic Design and Media; Henita Telo, BFA 18 Acting 5 Joye Forrest, BFA 18 Dance; 4 Kathy Bates, MFA 18 Graphic Design with her cat Phoebe 5 Abigail Salling, BFA 18 Stage Management; Malik Drawhorn-Pauldon, BFA 18 Design and Production

Sarah Forge, BFA 18 Dance; Alexandra Bender, BFA 18 Dance

6 Xinyi “Sunny” Liang, BFA 15 Experimental Animation & MFA 18 Experimental Animation

6 MarieElena Martingano, 7 CalArts President Ravi BFA 18 Dance; Rajan, making his hatching Kevin Zambrano, BFA 18 debut and earning a roar of Dance; laughter and applause from Antonia Timbol, BFA 18 Dance; the graduates Sarah Forge, BFA 18 Dance; Marissa Osato, MFA 18 8 Andrew Freeman, Choreography; Associate Dean, School Jasmine Sugar, BFA 18 Dance; of Art, Photography and Alexandra Bender, BFA 18 Media Faculty; Dance; Christina Niazian, BFA 17 Felicia St. Cyr, BFA 18 Dance Photography & Media; Kathryn Riccitiello, BFA 18 7 Bradley Butterworth, Photography & Media ’18 Performer-Composer 8 Cameron Amelia, BFA 18 Costume Design; Angel Rodarte, BFA 18 Art; Joye Forrest, BFA 18 Dance

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1 Noga Yechieli, BFA 18 Acting; Cameron Amelia, BFA 18 Costume Design; Josh Rivas, BFA 18 Acting 2 Coffee Kang, MFA 18 Photography and Media 3 Darcy Huebler, Associate Dean, Faculty, School of Art; Sam Chen, BFA 18 Art 4 Paige McGhee, BFA 18 Acting 5 Performance interlude 6 Felicia St. Cyr, BFA 18 Dance; Kevin Zambrano, BFA 18 Dance 7 Alexandra Bender, BFA 18 Dance 8 Vienna Gist, BFA 18 Photography and Media, and family 9 Sasha Douglas-Nares, BFA 18 Photography and Media

9 Louis Coy, MFA 18 PerformerComposer; Iris Sidikman, MFA 18 Experimental Sound Practices; Sam Friedland, MFA 18 Experimental Sound Practices; Evan Schaaf, MFA 18 Experimental Sound Practices 10 Edgar Heap of Birds, Honorary Graduate Degree Recipient 11 Cici Cheng, BFA 18 Photography & Media; Sam Chen, BFA 18 Art 12 Felicia St. Cyr, BFA 18 Dance; Dimitri Chamblas, Dean of Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance 13 Emily Whittemore, BFA 18 Art; Jenny Byun, BFA 18 Art; Angel Rodarte, BFA 18 Art; Zane Gutierrez, BFA 18 Photography and Media; Tania Hong, BFA 18 Photography and Media

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Alumnx HQ

Grads of the Last Decade Share Their Work For the last couple of summers, grads of the last decade (GOLD Alumnx) have enjoyed a creative home at the Open Seasonal: Open Multimedia Mic event. Niko Solorio (Art BFA 07) suggested we give alumnx an event at which they can share their work, a repeated sentiment we’ve heard from various alumnx across our community. Alumnx did what they used to do when they were on campus: they shared work, asked each other about process, gave critiques, applauded each other, and connected deeply. 1



1 Niko Solorio (BFA 07 Art) performs entrance music 2 Melanie Carroll-Dolci (BFA 14 Music) and Lucas Morin (BFA 16 Music) perform Wings & Time Is Wasted 3 Jacob Gibson (BFA 15 Theater) 4 Maleke Clemmons (BFA 18 Music)


5 Jesse VanDenKooy (MFA 17 Critical Studies, BFA 15 Music) performs selections from Trout Are Selfish 6 Mac Rasmus (BFA 18 Theater) performs Franken vs. Coleman: The Longest Election

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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.

Alumnx HQ

CalArts Weekend 2018







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CalArts Weekend provides a non-traditional homecoming for alumnx through a mix of performances, artist talks, and social gatherings. Attendees met established artists like Glen Keane ’74 and Groundislava (Jasper Patterson ’12), and The Speakeasy Society as well as emerging artists like those from Try/Step/Trip and Cilience. Alumnx have a chance to celebrate our community, and importantly, to do so alongside our students—our future alumnx. It’s a powerful testament that CalArts will always be a home you can return to, and at the same time, there will always be new work cultivated through the iterative process of CalArtians deeply engaging with each other and their creative endeavors.

1 Party at the Pool/Taste of Santa Clarita with live music by Groundislava (Jasper Patterson, 09 Experimental Animation) 2 Josh Cloud, BFA 21 Experimental Animation; Isabel Ivey, BFA 19 Art 3 CalArts Weekend BBQ Lunch 4 Dress-up fun upon arrival


5 Speakeasy Society: Matthew Bamberg-Johnson, MFA 13 Acting, Co-Artistic Director, “Phil Daring”; Julianne Just, MFA 12 Theater Directing, Co-Artistic Director, Director; Chris Porter, MFA 09 Music Composition, Associate Artistic Director, Writer, Sound; Genevieve Gearhart, MFA 13 Acting, Co-Artistic Director, “Phoebe Daring”; John McCormick, “The Wizard”; Zan Headley, BFA 14 Acting, “Jo Files”; Michael Bates, MFA 14 Acting, Associate Artistic Director; John Henningsen, MFA 15 Theater Management, Producing Director, “Lyman” 6 David Mccall, BFA 21 Dance 7 Keynote speaker Glen Keane, 74 Experimental Animation 8 Try/Step/Trip: Amanda Shank, MFA 13; Dahlak Brathwaite, Choreographer; Derek Jackson, BFA 20; Freddy Ramsey Jr., MFA 18; Max Udell, BFA 18; Dante Rossi, BFA 19; Toran Moorem, MFA 17


9 Stephanie Smith, MFA 11 Experimental Sound

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Alumnx HQ

Introducing New Trustees

Caroline Cronson Calarts Trustee

Caroline Cronson is the producer of Works & Process at the Guggenheim, where she has helped commission original work from choreographers such as Donald Byrd, Michelle Dorrance (Best Dance of 2017, NYTimes), Pam Tanowitz, Ryan McNamara (Best Site-Specific Performance of 2017, NYTimes), and Wayne McGregor; composers including Ted Hearne, David Lang, Hannah Lash, Nico Muhly, Caroline Shaw, Charles Wuorinen, and John Zorn; and work by ballet and dance companies (New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theater, Miami City Ballet, Random Dance, and Spectrum Dance); and playwrights including Lisa Kron (Fun Home) and Brandon JacobsJenkins (Octoroon) as well as opera and film. This past year, she produced the critically acclaimed Prurience, an experiential entertainment about pornography, to sold-out audiences— the first theatrical commission in the Museum— and introduced a new Works & Process touring program, with Jodi Melnick’s New Bodies featuring stars of New York City Ballet and Ryan McNamara’s Commedia dell’Arte


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with music by John Zorn. Works & Process informs and illuminates the performing arts process and offers unprecedented access to the creative cast in the unique space of the Guggenheim Museum. Born in England and educated at the University of Oxford and Columbia Business School (MBA, Finance & Marketing), Caroline was an investment banker for many years (finishing up at Lehman Brothers, where she worked in Healthcare Investment Banking and Private Equity), and served on the board of many nonprofit organizations, including Planned Parenthood of New York City, the School of American Ballet, Dance Theatre Workshop, and New York City Opera. Caroline currently serves on the Board of Works & Process at the Guggenheim. Now a permanent New Yorker, Caroline is married with one son (a student at CalArts) and lives in Manhattan and Martha’s Vineyard.

Meg Cranston Calarts Alumni Trustee

Meg Cranston received her MFA from CalArts and her BA from Kenyon College. She is an award-winning artist (Guggenheim Fellowship, J. Paul Getty Community Foundation Artist Grant, Architectural Foundation of American Art in Public Places Award, and a COLA Artist Grant). She is also Chair of the Fine Arts Program at Otis College of Art and Design. Meg has exhibited internationally since 1988, including curator Paul Schimmel’s seminal 1992 exhibition, Helter Skelter, at MOCA, Los Angeles, and the 1993 Venice Biennale. She co-curated the influential exhibition, 100 Artists See God, with John Baldessari. Solo exhibitions include the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Witte de With, Rotterdam; Neuer Aachener

Kunstverein, Aachen; Artspace, Auckland; and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. More recent exhibitions include solo exhibitions at the Kunstverien Heilbronn, Germany, in 2015 and LA><Art, Los Angeles in 2013, as well as, the group exhibitions, The Afghan Carpet Project at the Hammer Museum curated by Ali Subotnick; Made in LA 2012, also at the Hammer Museum; and Hans Ulrich Olbrist’s ongoing Do It project. Meg was co-editor of More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About John Baldessari volumes 1 and 2, and authored numerous essays, including those on Jack Goldstein, Mike Kelley, and the history of feminist video in California. A monograph on her work, Hot Pants in a Cold, Cold World, was published in 2008. Meg has curated and co-curated numerous exhibitions, including 100 Artists See God, 2005 and This Brush for Hire, which opened at ICA LA in June, 2018. Her documentary film, This Brush for Hire, was released June, 2018. Meg’s work is included in major collections around the world, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; K21, Düsseldorf; the Denver Museum of Art; and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.

Pablo Leñero Calarts Student Trustee

Pianist, composer, conductor, producer, teacher, and activist, Pablo Leñero Archer (Music BFA4) was born and raised in Mexico. At 16, Pablo formed the nonprofit recycling project ¡Reciclemos México! at his high school, which then expanded to local cultural centers in San Miguel de Allende. The goal of the project was to reduce waste and to use the proceeds from selling recyclables to create a scholarship fund. Five years ago, Pablo moved to the US to study music and composition for film. He started at Santa Monica College before transferring to CalArts to pursue a bachelor’s degree in piano performance and composition. To help pay for his studies, Pablo launched a tuition fundraising concert series that takes place every summer in L.A. and Mexico. This summer, he is collaborating with Chris Garcia, an alumnus from the 1970s, to create a series of compositions and guided improvisations that combine piano extended techniques and Mesoamerican indigenous instruments.

Pablo points to the CalArts Latin American Arts Festival as his most significant accomplishment. He was part of a team that spent eight months planning, fundraising, and producing this unique event. The LatinFest, the first of its kind, was a one-week-long celebration in February of 2018 that promoted artistic diversity, raised cultural awareness, exposed social issues, and challenged stereotypes about Latinx and Latin America at CalArts and in the community. Pablo and festival organizers raised $5,000 from six different grants to pay for production costs, guest artists, and food. The festival included more than 50 artists in music, film, visual art, theater, and dance.

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Note: All mentions of ‘the hat’ in the Class Notes below refer to the raffle prize offered to all participants. The winner of the previous prize is featured on page 16.

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.



Roberta Griffith ’60 (Chouinard) writes, “A new ceramic sculpture installation was in the 83rd Annual National Cooperstown Art Association Juried Exhibition this past summer. I’ve named my new artworks, ‘Street Stuff.’ Besides Cooperstown, a new ’Street Stuff’ work was juried into the International Academy of Ceramics Juried Exhibition, ‘Orientalis,’ plus an installation titled, ‘Unpleasant Conversations at 3’ from my ‘NO Series’ was accepted into the member’s show. They were on view in Taipei (Taiwan) for the biennial IAC conference earlier this fall. In addition, in the Smithy Gallery, Cooperstown, NY exhibition, ‘The Truth, what is yours?’ A small ‘NO Series’ installation consisting of text on porcelain tiles (9 tiles, 2 × 3 inches) was on view back in August. Plus I’ve been nominated by the American Heritage Committee of the Oneonta Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) to the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) for their American Heritage Women in the Arts Award.”  A

Bill Davis (AKA Trowzers Akimbo) ’71 tells us “It’s been a busy year, so far. Completed my second painting commission from Valley Children’s Hospital for their new Eagle Oaks Specialty Care Center in Bakersfield, CA. My first commission from the organization now hangs at Valley Children’s Hospital, in Madera, CA. Also been commissioned to create a painting for the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University next year. Both organizations have purchased numerous giclée prints of my existing work, originally created for Sesame Workshop. My painting, ‘Pretty in Pink,’ was accepted into the very competitive Yosemite Renaissance Exhibit and will tour various California venues throughout the year. I presented a ten-week art curriculum to two 5th grade elementary school classes on behalf of the Mariposa County Arts Council. My painting, ‘Attitude,’ was presented the Portrait Award by the Society of Western Artists in San Francisco. Took some visitors to Yosemite National Park to paint, plein air, on behalf of the Yosemite Conservancy.”

Nick Mendoza ’65 (Chouinard) shares that he was “co-founder of Mendoza Dillon & Asociados and a native of Mexico City who was educated in both Mexico and the United States. Graduated from the amazing Chouinard Institute that would later become the prestigious California Institute of the Arts, with a bachelor degree in Advertising Design. Began my advertising career with Jay Chiat & Associates as an Art Director. Young & Rubicam, New York, was my next move where I worked on GoodYear, Eastern Airlines, and Johnson & Johnson. As my career blossomed, I gained invaluable experience in the Latin American market as Art Director at Y&R Caracas Venezuela, where I spearheaded Art Direction on the General Foods, Chrysler, and Procter and Gamble accounts, among others. I then transferred to the Y&R Mexico City office as Creative Director for Frito Lay, Chrysler, J&J, P&G, and others. I returned


to California in 1979, where Dick Dillon and I founded Mendoza Dillon & Asociados, which went on to become one of the largest Hispanic Agencies in the United States. As partner and Creative Director, I developed campaigns for such clients as J&J, Tylenol, Miller Brewing Co, General Foods, and many others. Over the course of my career, I won a plethora of Clio and Belding awards for my work. Today I work for my own advertising agency in Henderson, Nevada.” Ken Graning ’66 (Chouinard) checks in to say, “In Milford Michigan near where I live, there is an annual Plein air painting competition called ‘Fresh! Plein Air Milford Paint Out.’ This is the second year for this competition, and the event typically draws 40 to 50 painters who paint at various locations in the area during the three-day event. Awards are given for the main paint out and also for the Sunday quick paint. I was fortunate to win a first place award for the Sunday morning quick paint. It’s always a thrill when that happens. This year the awards judge was Mark Mehaffey, an internationally known watercolor painter.” Jack Enyart ’69 (Chouinard) invites all alumni “to my art show at the V Cut Cigar Lounge, 8172 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles. Show runs through Dec. 2018!”  B



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Elana Dykewomon (Nachman) ’71 was inducted into the Saints & Sinners LGBT writers Hall of Fame in New Orleans in March 2018 and awarded the C Lee Lynch Trailblazer Award at the Golden Crown Literary Society for her first novel, Riverfinger Women, (1974—begun at CalArts). Her Lambda Award-winning novel, Beyond the Pale, is still available in audio and e-book formats. Her most recent book, What Can I Ask—New and Selected Poems 1975–2014, is a Sapphic Classic release from Sinister Wisdom. She started a residency in October with Alter Theater in Palo Alto, CA, to complete her play on the right to die.  C William Stout ’71 writes to tell us November 7 saw the release of Fantastic Worlds: The Art of William Stout from Insight Editions.


The 300+ pp. book covers all aspects of his career with over 500 images. Stout is an award-winning artist of international renown in many fields: themed entertainment design, motion picture design, comic book art, book illustration, poster design, CD covers, public murals, and dynamic yet accurate reconstructions of prehistoric life. While LA has always been home, Stout has lived all over the world, including Antarctica on a National Science Foundation grant, where he scuba dove under the ice, camped out in the dry valleys, and climbed the active volcano Mount Erebus. Stout’s murals and paintings of prehistoric life are on permanent display at the San Diego Natural History Museum, the San Diego Zoo, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Walt Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the Orton Geological Museum, the Museum of the Rockies, and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science. Bill’s most recent books are Legends of the Blues, William Stout–Prehistoric Life Murals, Dinosaur Discoveries, Hallucinations and Inspirations. His recent film work includes Pan’s Labyrinth and the first Disney/Pixar live action co-production, Jon Favreau’s Magic Kingdom.  D Byron Tomingas ’71 writes, “This is my 50th anniversary as a professional guitarist. My hands are every bit as good as they were in 71. I give credit to the great technique I learned at CalArts! It also takes a lot of energy to play at this level, but so far, my enthusiasm far outweighs my age so my Oribe and I

are still having a wonderful time making music. Back in June a very large box arrived for my birthday. In it was a painting by the legendary artist for the movie industry, Drew Struzan (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, etc.). Two other people have received personal paintings by Drew at their craft—Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. The brilliance in Struzan paintings is his unique gift to create a complete personality and story line just with the face! A great painting is like a very good book, and this one speaks volumes to me! On another front, I started the Tomingas Foundation to provide unique educational opportunities in a variety of fields: music, media arts, philosophy, science, marine science & earth studies, all in inspiring settings. I fully believe that your environment can enhance your creativity, so these courses will be in uniquely beautiful settings and full of the Tomingas family philosophies, which have made this family successful in so many fields. We all love teaching, so this was a very natural outcome and brings us all together.”  E

am currently working with him on Season 2 of She’s Gotta Have It. Just finished directing 2nd Unit on Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die and am also supervising VFX for the ‘Ray Donovan’ series. In my rare spare time, I enjoy sailing around NY Harbor and up the Hudson.” Donald Beagle ’73 writes, “This summer, I was selected to be the latest ‘expert’ to be interviewed as part of the Library Design Thought Leaders series, sponsored by Agati Corp. The illustrated interview has just appeared online at the blog.” Edward Rollin ’73 says, “I am presently playing oboe in a group called the Gypsy Funk Squad accompanying belly dancers. We play music from all over the world, including music from the 60s and 70s. I am also working as an actor Sag Aftra member mostly driving classic cars in movies and TV shows. I also star in several short films shot locally in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania.” F

Christopher Canole ’72 “My new Dude Vader charity cosplay outfit was featured in Cosplayzine magazine.”  F John Collins ’72 tells us that he’s continuing his “arrogant, aloof, and eccentric artistic pursuits throughout the world.” Michael Pressman ’72 writes, “I just finished directing an episode of Law and Order SVU—about the immigration crises in our country. Very powerful episode, which aired October 4 on NBC. I also directed a play at the Rogue Machine Theater in Los Angeles, which opened on Nov. 10th at the Electric Lodge in Venice. The play is called FINKS, and it is about the McCarthy blacklisting era and the red scare E in the entertainment business in the 1950s.” Nurhan Arman ’73 sends greetings: “I attended the CalArts School of Music in 1971–73 as a violin major at the time. Since then, I have done a few things, but way too long to write down here. My website is at nurhanarman. com. Since I switched to conducting in 1982, I have conducted orchestras throughout the world and have held concurrent music directorships with Canadian orchestras. For the last 20 years, I have been the music director of Sinfonia Toronto. With this orchestra, I have toured in Europe, USA, and South America. Much love and hugs from Canada to all my friends at CalArts!”  G

Michael Jang ’73 writes, “I am working on a Ramones comic book with my original black and white photographs. Next year will be the 40th anniversary of their free concert in front of City Hall back in June of 1979. In order to get backstage and meet the Ramones and photograph them, I used a fake ID that I had made and used while at CalArts.” Peter Karnig ’73 says his film, The Sacred, is showing at Light Box Gallery in Astoria, Oregon. Rachel Youdelman ’73 tells us, “I’m building a studio, which I designed with a friend, in the Central Valley in California.” G

Randy Balsmeyer ’73 tells us that “This year, I celebrated 30 amazing years of working with Spike Lee. I was VFX Supervisor and title designer for BlacKkKlansman, and

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Class Notes

Laris K. Berggren ’74 writes, “I moved back to Sacramento in August.” Leonard Horowitz ’74 announces, “Always adding to the mutual joy in our world. Projecting creative energy into the social atmosphere.”  A Devo Cutler-Rubenstein ’75 sends this: “Hi, CalArtians! Fond memories building African Huts, performance art with Nam June Paik live (w/clothes) and video (naked); mentors Mariam Shapiro, Pat O’Neill, Don Levy, John Baldessari, and Alexander MacKendrick; my love affair with the Optical Printer creating MingNight Transplant, a documentary about a rare Chinese Ming Tree being transported under military guard during the first political and sports exchange between USA and China. Edinburgh Arts acting-directing scholarship, still doing Spolin work. Doing stand-up comedy to heal myself of breast cancer, and my documentary, Not Afraid to Laugh, was honored for ‘social relevance and historical significance’ at Chicago’s Museum of Broadcasting. Directing lots of theater while being a studio exec and exec producer, leading to feature and television gigs. Enjoying my community of artists and friends, and giving back as a teacher (at USC Summer Program for the last 14 years and UCLA Extension for 2 years). I travel to Paris to teach acting. Life is full with husband, Scott; we perform comedy together. Have five grandkids, a dog, cat, and a ton of fish. I still paint with my mom, write, and perform poetry that straddles the worlds of art and commerce. Nature nurtures. Group Hug!” B


Janet Lott ’75 writes, “Teaching Argentinian Tango for folks living with Parkinson’s. The class is informed by the Alexander Technique. Both of these modalities have been clinically shown to have a positive effect on nervous system irregularities. I apparently was put on this earth to dance. It’s what always feeds and sustains me. Thanks to CalArts for supporting all my explorations!” Lewis Silverman ’75 checks in: “I will be directing a production of Tennessee Williams’s classic play, The Glass Menagerie,


performed the world premiere of his 4-hour long string quartet and electronics piece, KOSMOS, with the FLUX Quartet at The Knockdown Center in Queens, NY.  B

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at Hershey Area Playhouse in Chocolate Town, USA (aka Hershey, PA). The show opens April 4, 2019. I’m excited because directing a play by Williams is a desire shared by many directors.” Guy Eckstine ’76 says, “I’ve been super busy this year with my Iconique Music Group Management and Production clients. I just finished producing country music artist, Danielle Johnson; world music stars, House of Waters; and upcoming jazz and pop singer, Chloe Borthwick. I have had great luck in the past few years finding and developing talent, including signings at Universal Music Group with Twin Danger, Nailah Porter, Grant Davis, Incognito, and Tiempo Libre. This all come back full circle to my time as a percussion major at CalArts, and the knowledge I learned at CalArts was really beneficial during my time as an A&R executive at Columbia, Virgin, and Verve Records, where I signed and produced Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Chris Botti, and Jeff Lorber, among many others. I would love to rock the CalArts hat in NYC, where I reside, and in Nashville too!” Peter Grenader ’76 and Jill Fraser ’76 write, “Jill and I recently released an album—which also includes Chas Smith (MFA ’76) and the zZyzx Society. The zZyzx Society is the brainchild of two like-minded half-crazy avant-garde synthesists/composers who, at one time or another, fell down the same sonic rabbit hole. Jill Fraser and I first met at California Institute of the Arts in the late seventies studying with Morton Subotnick. We later worked together building synthesizers at Serge Modular Music in Hollywood. Separately we have each had busy and interesting careers infusing electronic experimental music into the collective cultural zeitgeist.” John King ’76 reports that he is a freelance composer and musician living in New York City. Winner of the Alpert Award in Music (2009) and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Award in Sound/Music (2014), John worked with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company from 1985–2011 as composer/ performer. During those years, he was commissioned by and performed with John Cage, David Tudor, Takehisa Kosugi, Christian Wolff, and David Behrman. He was Music Curator at The Kitchen from 1999–2003. King’s compositions have been premiered by the Kronos Quartet, Ethel, New York City Ballet, and Stuttgart Ballet. His most recent CD, Free Palestine, was released on the New World Records label in 2017, recorded by The Secret Quartet. He recently

Michael Marks ’76 (Art MFA) says, “I retired as the arts and events supervisor for the City of Santa Clarita in 2008 and moved to Haines, Alaska, where I learned to fish for salmon, halibut, shrimp, and crab. I also plant gardens for Alaska. Worked with local arts organizations to develop local arts and live performances. I live in the most beautiful place in the world. My time at CalArts was the most rewarding time of my life working in the arts.” Doree Sitterly ’76 shares, “I’m heading up to Calgary in Alberta, Canada to train puppies for a Disney Film!” Donna Spruijt-Metz ’76 writes, “I was accepted to CalArts in 1971 as a poet. I walked across the quad to the music school and changed majors (back then you could do that). After my MFA, I went to The Netherlands, where I got another MFA in flute at the Royal Conservatory in Den Haag. I lived and worked as a professional flutist in The Netherlands for 22 years, and during that time I got a PhD in Adolescent Health and Medical Ethics. After trying to perform and hold down an academic job, I finally moved entirely into academia when we immigrated back to the states in 1990. I missed poetry. I got an MFA in creative writing in 2006. My first chapbook, Slippery Surfaces, is coming out with Finishing Line Press in 2019. I am still a professor in Psychology and Preventive Medicine at the University of Southern California.” Nancy La Mott ’77 says, “I run an art program in Sydney, Australia, called Artability, which provides art and craft classes for people with intellectual and physical disabilities at the Forest Community Art Centre. I have been Creative Director for over eight years. I do this on a voluntary basis. I have about 20 adult art students and 15 volunteers. The art students are involved in painting, printmaking, ceramics, sculpture, and mural making. We have an active Exhibition program where we display our students’ artworks within the local community including: The St Ives Art and Agricultural Fair, local libraries, and local galleries. I have worked at the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences in Sydney for over 19 years. I have worked across many departments, including managing volunteers, education and public programs, and the curatorial department in various roles. My current role is in Corporate Services in Finance.” Bill Hutchinson ’77 reports that his screenplay, From da Big Island, made the quarter-finalist round in the Creative World Awards’s Imagination 2018 Screenplay Competition comedy category. His book, From da Big Island, is based on the screenplay

and available at and other retailers. Bill recently relocated to Europe. Chas Smith ’77 checks in: “Thirty years ago, when I lived in LA, I had a shop in my garage, and behind it I built a recording/music studio from the ground up. It was to be the instrument where I would build the instruments and sound sculptures that would make the sounds I would use to build my compositions. The materials, wood, metal, and sound are different, but the building process is the same. Two years ago, we moved to Grass Valley. The garage was converted into Laura’s studio, and I’m currently framing a wraparound on the barn to be my next shop and studio. I contracted the slab, 860 sq ft, bought a scissor lift, and brought my forklift for the heavy lifting. The idea of building my musical world from the ground up came from two of my heroes, Harry Partch and Harry Bertoia, and now it’s beams, lumber, siding, and nails all over again.” Margaret Batiuchok ’78 taught and performed Swing and ballroom dance at Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing this summer. She starts her classes in Manhattan this fall at, and her videos are on YouTube under her name and on her website Roger Holzberg ’78, former Disney Imagineer and 14-year cancer survivor, offers this update on his company Reimagine Well, which has worked with many CalArts alums, including Ed Haro ’82, Martin Casella ’78, and Dory Sitterly ’76. Their latest patient experience project has launched pilot studies at two pediatric hospitals utilizing “immersive healing education,” where pediatric patients use Xbox controllers with monitors, then VR headsets, to acclimate to MRI and radiation environments and procedures before treatment begins. The goal is to reduce the sedation typically needed for pediatric patients having these kinds of procedures. Roger is also in active conversations with CalArts faculty members, alumnx

leadership, and our associate provost discussing the possibility of creating a multidisciplinary program on the “architecture of healing” that would enable students at the institute to partner with hospitals to create new types of patient experiences. [Roger is profiled on page 35.] Michael Mendelson ’78 tells us he’s “Working on retrospective for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Smithsonian, and the National Portrait Museum. This photo of Gregg C Allman is one example. Caregiver to three people. Happy to be alive and well.”  C

Composer Lois V Vierk ’78 reports that she performed at the Festival of New Trumpet Music, held at the New School in New York City this past September. James Ward Morris ’78 shares that “Sarah Vowell and Ira Glass produced a story that aired on the program, This American Life, that included my music exclusively. The title of the show was ‘The End of the World.’ It can be found on Bandcamp.” Allan Trautman ’78 reports that he had an interesting summer. He performed a number of characters in the feature, The Happytime Murders, released in August. He also performed with the Muppets in London at the O2 arena, and in the live puppet improv show “Puppet Up!—Uncensored” on the historic Chaplin stage at The Jim Henson Company lot in Hollywood. He even performed as a screaming gopher in the Ariana Grande video, “God is a Woman.”  E David A Valentine ’78 says, “The LA Guest Artist Series, an all-volunteer program I began in 2015 to connect emerging and established contemporary artists with LA area high school Art teachers, has kicked off its first fundraising campaign. The goal is to raise $15,000 to support an artist stipend


fund, administrative support, and insurance for artists’ work on display in the classroom.” Arthur Zadinsky ’78 writes, “I have been married to CalArts alumnus Debra Noreen ’81 for 35 years! Our son plays double bass with the Cleveland Orchestra, and our daughter is a cellist with the Pittsburgh Symphony. I will be starting my 28th season as a violinist with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra in September! I have beautiful videos of works by Enescu, Szymanowski, Schoenfield, and Milhaud posted under my name at Vimeo and YouTube. I also performed in the world premiere and recording of ‘Become Ocean’ by CalArts alumnus and Pulitzer Prize winner, John Luther Adams ’72, as well as the soon-to-be released recording of his ‘Become River.’ Hard to believe I graduated from CalArts 40 years ago! Many fond memories.” Jonathan Berger ’79 is a current Guggenheim Fellow. Following his year as the Rome Prize recipient, he has had commissions from Lincoln Center Chamber Society, the 92nd Street Y, and the Kronos Quartet. He is currently composing a work on Leonardo’s search for the soul. Berger is the Denning Family Provostial Professor in Music at Stanford, where he teaches composition, music cognition, and computational music theory. E

Deborah Brothers ’79 “I continue to be the costume designer as well as teaching costume design at Williams College in the Berkshires in Massachusetts. For 2017/18, I designed Tartuffe and The Wolves there. I frequently design for summer regionals in the Berkshires. This summer, I designed the 1887 period costumes for Shakespeare and Co’s. production of The Creditors in Lenox MA. I also teach courses at Williams in the Humanities; one is called ‘New Orleans as Muse’ and one is ‘The Culture of Carnival.’ Both of these courses have a performance/parading component. I am also team teaching a course with artist Amy Podmore called, ‘Sculptural Costume and Its Performative Potential.’ (Welding, Sewing, and Performing in the Galleries.) I have been serving two terms as Vice President of Awards, Grants, and Honors for the Costume Society of America. And I have two fabulous children who are out in the world being artists, performers, comics, and writers.”  F

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Class Notes

Eighties A

Mark Deutrom ’79 notes that his album, Bellringer, was reissued on October 26, 2018 by French heavy music label Season of Mist worldwide, streaming, and on compact disc.  A Cary Gries ’79 says, “I’m still primarily working as a feature film editor but I’ve written a script called Seekers about a film editor who is forced, because of circumstances beyond his control, to take the reins and fix the movie he’s working on through re-shoots. Yes, it’s semi-autobiographical. I also just completed production on a music video for Brad Byrd in which I photographed, directed, and edited. It will premier in the fall. I am painting and drawing as much as humanly possible while attending to my two boys, Wyatt, 4, and Eli, 2, along with my wife Amanda. Every day, I feel as if I’m younger that the day before. I better—or I’ll drop dead!” Emily Sanders (Sandler) ’79 “I sing with Angel City Chorale, and we performed on America’s Got Talent this season! We reached the semi-finals, performing Bruce Springsteen’s ‘The Rising’ on September 11, in honor of those who lost their lives on that terrible day. We got the Golden Buzzer in the previous round for our performance of Christopher Tin’s ‘Baba Yetu’—The Lord’s Prayer in Swahili, which was the first song from a video game to win a Grammy Award.”


James Vitale ’79 sends an update from paradise: “Because advertising is not allowed in Class Notes, I won’t tell you to come visit me, a CalArtian/BurningMan alum, at his tropical oasis on seven ocean-side acres of unparalleled beauty in Nayarit, Mexico! With the healthiest and most delicious cuisine in the world, plus an ideal winter/spring climate, yoga classes, beach fun, and a room full of costumes that will create an unusually relaxing and inspiring retreat, it’s a great place to spend a month (for as low as $500 a month!). So do not check out our website at, because, again, class notes are not for advertising.”


CalArts Alumni Magazine

Nan Avant-Spady ’80 says she has been busy composing music for symphonic orchestra and jazz ensemble. The Canadian premier of her work, “Tributum” for Celtic Bagpipes and Orchestra with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Canadian Artillery Pipes and Drums, played to a sold out audience. Last April, Musica Bella~ a Bossa Nova for Jazz Ensemble and Strings and Walt’s Thyme, premiered in the Celebrate Jazz Concert in Seattle with several Seattle composers. Nan’s new jazz single releases can be found at She has worked on several projects with Burmer Music LLC, including the orchestral concerts with the NW Sinfonia under the direction of David Sabee. Nan lives in Seattle with her husband, Walt Spady, their puppy Piper, and cat MingMing.  B MB Gordy ’80 writes, “I’m currently working in the music industry playing on records, films and TV scores. I was featured soloist on American Sniper by Clint Eastwood. My newest project is the U.S. leg of the Game of Thrones Live tour. I am also writing and producing Library Production Music. My home studio is Riot Drum Studio.” Jack Sanders ’80 “I continued touring as a Piatigorsky Foundation artist, performing in Washington and Oklahoma in the spring of 2018. Upcoming Piatigorsky concerts will be in Arizona, Georgia, and Alaska. I’m still teaching at Pomona College and Claremont Graduate University (since 1980) and am very active as a luthier building classical and copies of historic guitars. I honed my woodworking skills in the CalArts Supershop. Photo shows an in progress copy of a Stradivarius, 1700.”  C Christopher Deppe ’81 says he “has created Appcompanist, a rehearsal and teaching app for vocalists. The library features thousands of singer-sensitive arias, art songs, and musical theater accompaniments, all recorded by top-level collaborative pianists. You can transpose to any key, adjust tempo in real time, blend melody in and out as needed, hold a fermata of any length, and more, using intuitive on screen controls, all without any loss in playback quality. You can find out more at It’s currently available for iOS devices on the Apple App Store. An Android version is in the works.” Dana Berman Duff ’81 “Screened the (almost) complete series of my 13 films and videos titled Catalogue last fall at Echo Park Film Center; I would love to do a westside LA screening for all the people over there who couldn’t come—but where? Individual pieces from the series have screened all over in the past few months—in 2018: Festival Ecrã, Museum of Modern Art Rio de Janiero, Brazil (Vol.1 and 6); Visions in the Nunnery, Bow Arts/Nunnery Gallery, London (Vol.6);

Bideodromo Festival 2018, BilbaoArte Art Production Center, Bilbao, Spain (Vol.10); Traverse Vidéo Festival, Toulouse, France (Vol.10—version français); and Experiments in Cinema Film Festival, Albuquerque (Vol. 6); aDifferent Festival, Milwaukee (Vol. 3 and 10). ‘Catalogue Volume 10’ was screened in the exhibition called ‘School of Chairs’ 500 Capp Street/David Ireland House, San Francisco (curated by the SF Cinematheque), and a couple of the films will be included in a fall 2018 exhibition in San Francisco curated by Gina Basso. My closest friend for 32 years, the artist Sabina Ott, passed away in Chicago at the end of June and I have the blessed responsibility of completing her last work, our collaborative installation, at Aspect/Ratio Gallery in Chicago in January 2019.” Scott Frank ’81 shares, “I’m working on a dramatic film with the premise of saving the Bengal Tiger from poachers and ultimate extinction. I’ll be producing the film in January.” Emily Hay ’81 writes, “I have a new CD/ digital release entitled Nomads, distributed by Mentum Records, where I perform on flutes, vocals, and electronics in a duo project with electric bassist/sound artist Steuart Liebig. Excerpts from the ensemble performance by ‘Hay Fever’ at the Wonder Valley Experimental Music Festival can be found on YouTube. In addition to regular performances in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and throughout the left coast with Liebig, pianist Motoko Honda, live sampler/ frequency modulator Thomas Dimuzio, and others, I will be playing amplified bass flute B

on the piece, ‘Willow, Willow,’ by composer Paul Chihara with percussionist Joseph Mitchell and tuba player William Roper at El Camino College in January. I now live on a mountain near Ojai, CA, where my primal vocals and freaky flute improvs often echo down the canyons, scaring off wayward coyotes, gun toting ranchers, and local singer songwriters!” Steve Kassel ’81 says, “With a career switch 33 years ago, I remain a creative Marriage and Family Therapist and Biofeedback Therapist. A few years ago, I merged biofeedback with couples counseling and this summer worked on my third paper for publication on a therapy I have pioneered and labeled as ‘Interpersonal Biofeedback.’ I have also explored use of virtual reality to help persons with anxiety and phobia.” Richard Mann ’81 “My most recent project deals photographically with living renown persons who have successfully overcome hardships and adversities in their life. This images and the passengers on life’s roller coaster are listed at and include: Dalai Lama, Martha Stewart, Oprah Winfrey, Maria Shriver, Bruno Mars, and many more. Nothing Is Impossible On The Journey To Accomplish A Dream! Thank you CalArts!” Kevin Richardson ’81 says, “Under the Parallax Media Ventures banner, I’m working with John Hart Studios to adapt two pop comic strips, B.C. and Wizard of D Id, into feature films, working with CalArts alums Mike Cachuela, David Fulp, and PIXAR story genius, James Baker. I’ll also be speaking at the upcoming LUMA Festival in the story track, on a panel of guests drawn from theater, music, film, VR, AR, immersive performance, and, of course, projection mapping about how to use story and story-thinking in public spaces and installations.”  D Gary Schwartz ’81 taught an intensive hands-on Kinetic Visual Storytelling Animation Workshop Project called “Locomotion” in the former Soviet Union. Results will be screened at ReAnimania International Animation Festival of Yerevan. He also conducted a three-day hands-on animation workshop for the Flint Institute of Arts in September, 2018. Tim Wolf ’81 performed as a member of the New London Drone Orchestra at the 24-HourDrone: Experiments in Music and Sound this past April at Basilica Hudson in New York. Other CalArts alumnx contributing to the 24 hours of non-stop sound were harpist Marilu Donovan and performance artist Suzanne Kite. Tim continues to release ambient/ drone, as well as more groove-oriented music

on multiple digital platforms, and says his work can be found on Instagram. Steven Avalos ’82 sends this report: “The summer of 2018, I finally retired my Academy Award acceptance speech. It will never see the light of television cameras. So I once again flew to Germany for a two-week vacation. On my return home, I finished a painting (my annual hobby), and I realized I matured too much in my middle age to aim for the prerogative to be a mean old man who says whatever comes to mind, so I think I’ll continue growing up. Nevertheless, I really want one of those very cool CalArts hats!”

Coast Repertory Theatre, Newsies at Pioneer Theatre Company, The Diary of Anne Frank at The Cleveland Playhouse, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center of New York City at The Geffen Playhouse.

Amy Knoles ’82 “I’ve been writing Madeline and the Machine for the Iasura String Quartet and robotic musical instrument Lydia from the KarmetiK Machine Orchestra, creation of which was directed by Ajay Kapur, which premiered at REDCAT October 24th. In January, I will go to UNT to begin work on a new duo collaboration with CalArts Film/Video alumnux David Stout. I am also honored to say that I am the new recipient of the Larry Levine Chair in Contemporary Music at Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts.”

CalArts trustee and alum, David Bossert ’83, has written a new book on Kem Weber, a well-known mid-century architect who was part of the distinctive West Coast modernism movement that helped shaped the relaxed California lifestyle. Weber influenced California style during the mid-twentieth century with architecture, interior designs, and furniture, including his famed Air Line chair, which is part of many museum furniture collections. Kem Weber: Mid-Century Furniture Designs for the Disney Studios (November 2018, The Old Mill Press) is a comprehensive overview of the Kem Weber designs that takes the reader on a journey from concept sketches and photos to interviews with legendary artists. It celebrates and details the form and function of this unique mid-century furniture, and the impact it had on the Disney artists and animation process over the decades. Bossert has written numerous books on animation, including Dali and Disney: Destino, Remembering Roy E. Disney, and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit: The Search for the Lost Disney Cartoons. Susan Emshwiller ’83 says she’s thrilled to have her short story, Suicide Watch, published in the Sept/Oct issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. David Kay Mickelsen ’83 has been elected to the position of Western Region Board Vice Chair, Local USA 829 IATSE. His designs can be seen currently and very soon on the stages of The Utah Shakespeare Festival (The Foreigner, The Liar), The Cleveland Playhouse (A Christmas Story), Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis (How The Grinch Stole Christmas), The Repertory Theatre of St Louis (A Christmas Story). Recent work includes: Cabaret at LaMirada Theatre, Shrew (World premiere by Amy Freed) at South


Duro Oni ’83 Professor Duro Oni was the Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Lagos from 2013 to 2017. His research interests are in theater arts, design and aesthetics, and the Nigerian Film Industry. He was Dean of the Faculty of Arts from August, 2009 to February, 2013 and Head, Department of Creative Arts from 2006 to 2009. A versatile academic and administrator, Professor Duro Oni has nine books and over 60 academic publications in national and international outlets. He is a Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Letters and also Fellow, Society of Nigerian Theatre Artistes. He holds the BFA and MFA degrees from CalArts and a Ph.D. in Theatre Arts from the University of Ibadan.  E Alexis Krasilovsky ’84 was the opening speaker at “Update: Books into Film” on August 15 and a panelist on “Embarking in the Heroine’s Journey” and “Making Great Adaptations” at the Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference on June 23, speaking about her book, Great Adaptations: Screenwriting and Global Storytelling. John Franklin ’84 just acquired a house in East Chatham, in Columbia County, New York, which he plans to use as a home and studio. Juri Koll ’84 curated and exhibited with the Venice Institute of Contemporary Art at Long Beach Museum of Art. Founder/Director of the 4th Annual Fine Arts Film Festival, featuring films from all over the world on the art/dance/performance/music world. Produced/directed the feature, Jackson’s Hole, a female-driven murder mystery set

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in Malibu Hills. Released features, The Bellwether, and Attack of the Southern Fried Zombies. Produced the feature, Ms. Daisy, a female driven uber movie. Opened a new gallery called ViCA/Pedro in September. Presenting at over a dozen shows in 2018–19. Lawrence Shapiro ’84 “I retired from full-time teaching photography 15 years ago at the following schools: Venice HS and Venice Adult school. Part-time at Pierce College, College of the Canyons, Otis Art Inst., CSSSA summer program at CalArts. I recently participated in two exhibits: Radiant Space in Hollywood, in December 2017, and at San Juan Capistrano Library Galley, June 2018. I have been traveling to Cuba over the last 20 years, working on photography photo projects with the focus on Cuban Folklorico music and dance, Afro-Cuban in style. I have produced four photo books concerning Folklorico dance and music, in which one copy is in the main library collection in Havana.”


Robbie Austin ’85 tells us, “I am in the 15th year of teaching art at my high school alma-mater in Louisiana—where the oldest of my three children will be joining me in the fall of 2018. This semester finds me at the front of a new class, Art Appreciation,

where my students will be exploring the works of and having an artist talk with four of my CalArts classmates: Michael Gump, Marina Kappos, Tony Larson, and Martin Ontiveros. Outside the classroom and in the studio, I have found and cultivated an interest in and practice of portraiture drawing.”  A Ellen Burr (Schimmel) ’85 “I began this year spending three weeks at the winter session of Banff Musicians in Residency. In July, at IMPAR, Flutes Hands on in Aveirno, Portugal, I presented my books on extended techniques in lecture/recital and workshop, as well as a free improvisation concert with bassoonist Robert Glassburner, a colleague from Wichita State University, who now teaches and plays in Porto. My improvisation events keep growing. In addition to The West Coast Chamber Jazz Trio with Andrea Centazzo (compositions/percussion), and Jeff Schwartz (bass), I joined improv forces with Anne LaBaron (harp), Jeff Schwartz (bass), and Charles Schwartz (saxophones), as the ‘Present Quartet.’ Jeff Schwartz and I have a standing gig every third Thursday at the Industry Café in Culver City playing with invited friends. I also played with Jack Curtis Dubowsky Ensemble at the Carlsbad New Music Festival in August. I also branched out into the acting world. This summer I filmed a short, Ruby, with director/writer, Rachel Wiederhoeft. And still making jewelry out of flute, clarinet, and piano keys, bow hair and bassoon reeds (” Tim Goecke ’85 says, “I spent the summer recuperating from bilateral knee replacement. To all the PADT stagehands, riggers, lighting ADs, and everybody on their feet all day: SIT DOWN for a minute. Nobody will die if that fresnel isn’t re-focussed for the 32nd time today. Be careful now and you’ll have a long successful career.”  D


Patrick Neary ’85 “Over many months (years, perhaps?) I would regularly drive down a rural road past a big yard in West Marin, and would glimpse this same goose standing on an apparently (and routinely) very contented pig. There was never really an opportunity to effectively stop to take a good photograph. Besides, I’m not sure that a photograph is how I really want to remember these two friends. I haven’t seen them in quite a while. Occasionally, I would see either one or the other, presumably them, as far as I can identify an individual goose or a pig. I don’t know what happened to them, but I wanted to commemorate them. I hope that they were not eaten by their human captors. The sense I got from the pig was that it was quite OK to be a perch for its pal, the goose. I put more of a smile on the pig than was probably actually on its face, but, it’s my picture, so I can do what I want! The goose seemed to know its business, and was proudly doing it. (Goose and Pig, August 2018 graphite, Canson sketch paper.)”  B Aaron Plunkett ’85 writes, “Yes, there are whales in the desert! The Ojai Valley Whale Society is proud to announce a showing of Aaron Plunkett’s artwork inspired by California’s first fossilized, 25-millionyear-old, toothed baleen whales he discovered in the Ojai Valley.  E Kevin Adams ’86 “This summer I was nominated for a Tony Award for lighting SpongeBob the Musical; opened Head Over Heels on Broadway and opened The Cher Show in Chicago.” Howard Baker ’86 shares, “My big fun this past summer was a theatrical LEGO commercial spoofing PIXAR’S Cars 3 trailer. I also recently delivered content for Warner Bros World in Abu Dhabi for Animayhem and the Flintstones Bedrock River Adventure rides. Currently, I am directing content for more international parks, featuring Blue Sky Characters, Garfield, and Ubisoft’s Rabbids.”



CalArts Alumni Magazine

Shane Guffogg ’86 writes, “I have an exhibition, The Circle of Truth: A Visual Game of Telephone that Explores the Subject of Truth in the Human Experience, that I co-curated

and am in. It’s a unique collaboration of 49 contemporary artists, each sequestered and unknown to one another, working in absolute secrecy. Taking a full nine years from launch to completion, The Circle of Truth is a modern, visual take on a common childhood classroom exercise wherein a secret message was whispered from student to student, often referred to as the Rumor Circle, or the Telephone Game. The Circle of Truth was launched in 2009 and completed in 2018. The exhibition makes its debut at NUMU on October 18 and runs through March 10, 2019. It will travel to the Lancaster Museum of Art and History (MOAH) in Lancaster, CA, in August 2019, and the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (OCCCA) in Santa Ana, CA, in October 2019. Viewers of all ages, backgrounds, ethnicities, and levels of education will be able to quickly understand the meaning of the exhibition. There are no prerequisites or any fundamental knowledge needed to appreciate and recognize truth. The experience relies simply on the viewers’ inherent human nature. The exhibition provides many levels of interest, from superficial amusement to existential explorations.”


Shari Cohen ’86 has been channeling her creative efforts into the humanitarian arena since 1987, when she joined the Peace Corps, and then beyond as an independent consultant to international NGOs and UN agencies. Currently, she is co-founder and lead facilitator for Change Makers Experiential Learning Labs, and leads workshops that teach people how to tap into and utilize their human technology to create positive social change around any human development issue. The Change Makers approach is ultimately about creating environments where human rights-based approaches can be used to tell stories that contribute to social change. She most recently led a team from Swaziland in this creative new approach and, in 2015 & 2016, was instrumental in training the first national team of Change Makers facilitators in Kenya. In addition to her international work, Shari’s new fine jewelry line, Seal & Scribe, debuted in 2016. Born out of her love of antique art and jewelry, Shari’s jewelry line is also about storytelling, albeit of a different kind. She scours the globe for antique seals, each of which has their own

unique story to tell, and re-sets them in 14kt and 18kt gold as one-of-a-kind pieces. Each piece has a story to tell, both from the past, as well as from its present owner. Curtis Macdonald ’86 is celebrating his 24th CD release, Where the Heart Belongs – The Very Best of Curtis Macdonald, on the indie label EverSound. A collection of re-mastered fan favorites spanning over 25 years as a composer in the New Age genre. Michael McDonough ’86 says, “My writing partner David Nathan Schwartz and I have completed a new feature-length screenplay, O’Malley’s Critter Control, about an ordinary family with an extraordinary E family business—Alien pest or Critter Control—who get in over their heads against an army of reptilian aliens (Reptoids) who wish to take over the world. Wish us luck!” Jennifer Murphy ’86 writes, “I am a puppeteer and community art maker in Asheville, North Carolina. We moved from LA ten years ago to the Blue Ridge Mountains. My youngest just started college, studying welding (no starving artist route for him). I work on a myriad of art and community projects including the Asheville Fringe Festival and the Street Creature Giant Puppet Collective. I also run the Organic Armor costume studio with my husband.”  C David Peck ’86 “Spent a month in Asia split evenly between Japan, Taiwan, and Thailand. It was like a dream that you never want to wake up from. Backpacking with friends in Northern California. More backpacking in the Sierras. Upcoming Climate Ride fundraiser, which means a week of bicycling in Colorado. A new position as president of the Music Teachers Association California, Pasadena branch. Never practicing enough. Teaching a beginning cello class this week in Arcadia. Welcoming my old students back, looking forward to many new ones.” Douglas Rushkoff ’86 “I started a podcast/ radio show, now with over a 100 episodes, and also published a manifesto for human intervention in the machine—both are called Team Human. Also, just got funded to develop an interactive mass theater project over the next three years, and sold a few of my graphic novels to be made into movies.” Morgan Rusler ’86 has been building scenery for film and television for almost 20 years. Currently his work can be seen in Sharp Objects, and he just wrapped up the second season of Big Little Lies. Morgan also recently made his directorial debut with The Altadena Shakespeare Company, directing and starring in The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Steven Subotnick ’86 recently returned from a residency at the Yaddo Corporation, where he was working on a new animated film. The film, which has also received a Guggenheim Fellowship, is an exploration of 19th century American identities related to tall tales. Ben Cleaveland ’88 This fall ten of Ben’s past students from his student run theater company at Tamalpais High Drama will be attending CalArts: four scenic designers, a costume designer, and five actors. He’ll be visiting campus throughout the year to see their amazing work.

Jeff Hartlieb ’88 is currently Director of attractions with Nickelodeon Experience Design. He writes, “having spent most of my career in the development of theme parks and attractions, I am still excited every day learning new and exciting ways to delight and entertain park guests. I continue to cross paths with fellow Calartians on projects worldwide—we are everywhere! I enjoy my off-time in Orlando with my family, especially my son, a young actor, who wants to continue the legacy and attend CalArts.” Robert Levine ’88 “Had a solo exhibition ‘Deep End,’ which ran through the summer at the C. Nichols Project in Venice, CA.” Jeff Pidgeon ’88 says, “I was accepted into the Motion Picture Academy last fall. I’ve been at Pixar for more than 25 years, and I recently finished three years of storyboard work on Toy Story 4, (opening June 21, F 2019). Currently, I’m working with Pixar’s Theme Park team on an overseas hotel project.”  F Jane Rubin ’88 writes, “Greetings from New York City. This is the first time I have provided an update. I will keep it brief: After CalArts, I completed The Whitney Museum Program, worked in corporate advertising,

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Class Notes

and then started my agency, TotalView Global, in 2001. This was done to support my painting. I have continued to paint and draw, and in the late 1990s, I began drawing and painting live at Men’s Pro Sports Games in New York. Much to my surprise, this brought on a great deal of controversy. I did not imagine that in the 21st Century, a female painter would be ‘hated on’ for painting male athletes. Wow! In any case, I am persevering through the controversy, although my father, with whom I was very close, passed away in March. He was both Dad and Mom to me, a man who encouraged me early in life, without ever being oppressive about it. You can see paintings and drawings at janefirst. com, and my ad agency at totalviewglobal. com. Thanks and be well!” Leslie Ernst ’89 This September, Leslie Ernst begins a new post as Creative Director of the Harry Ransom Center, an internationally renowned humanities research library and museum at the University of Texas at Austin. The Ransom Center’s extensive collections provide unique insight into the creative process of artists and writers, deepening our understanding and appreciation of literature, photography, film, art, and the performing arts. Emilie Talbot ’89 tells us that she’ll be appearing in the World Premiere of Ashlin Halfnight’s The Resting Place at The Magic Theatre in San Francisco this fall, and in Stuart Bousel’s film, A Wake, which premiered in September. Earlier this year she reprised her role as Ruby in the world premiere of Bondage by Star Finch with AlterTheaterEnsemble. “I also appeared in two episodes of 13 Reasons Why and also appeared in a commercial campaign for Charles Schwab. Currently, I’m filming two shorts and a web series with producer Jana Sue Memel, and trying to wrap my head around the fact that I now have two children in college, and none at home. Yow!”

Nineties Deborah Banerjee (Edwards) ’90 coauthored with Rachel Middleman a chapter in the anthology, Academics, Artists, and Museums: 21st-Century Partnerships, in the Routledge Research in Museum Studies series, 2019. The chapter highlights an exhibition of conceptual art curated by students that was a result of a class that we co-taught at Utah State University. The title of the chapter is “Ideas: The Art Museum as a Laboratory for Learning.” Hillary Spector ’90 continues to teach theater for the NYC Department of Education. She recently received her Certification in Thanatology from the Open Center and is currently developing a puppet show based on death and dying. She initiated


CalArts Alumni Magazine

accompaniment by David Gaines with Louis Tucci on bass, drum, accordion, and guitar. The show featured new arrangements of such classics as, Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head, Trains & Boats & Planes, Alfie, and What the World Needs Now, and provided a personal look at this influential songwriting team and the influence their work made on myself and the generation who grew up with this soundtrack.”


and appears in this NY Times article, “The Positive Death Movement Comes to Life.”  A Cathe Boudreau ’91 moved back to San Francisco and is working on the album, Red Pennants, with the band of the same name. The band is a funk-motown-rock inspired project featuring dozens of guest artists. She’s also completing a second book of Ratmando–The Ratgirl! The comic strip takes on the issues of disability and puts it into context for the able-bodied world. Finally, she continues to work doing stand-up in the bay area and welcomes contact from friends from CalArts in the same area! Laurie House ’91 says, “I’m living in Brooklyn. Working as Creative Director/ Video Producer at TED. Married to Colin Powers. One son, Liam, 14 years. Dreaming of small-town life and wondering what I’ll do next!” Christian Senn ’91 “It was character animation and my love for games and design that led me into a 26-year career designing video games. I now develop my own card games at Thank you CalArts, you were my start!” Charly Bloomquist ’92 has been teaching darkroom photography for 24 years, and Digital Photography for 10 years, at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. A. Laura Brody ’92 says, “Good news! The brick-and-mortar version of Opulent Mobility 2018, a group exhibit that re-imagines disability, mobility, and access, will be at Thymele Arts in Los Angeles, December 2–8, 2018. The opening reception will be Sunday, December 2nd and the closing event on Saturday, December 8th. Opulent Mobility is developed and curated by me (Costume Design MFA ’92). Many thanks to fellow CalArtian John Henningsen at Thymele for all of his help. Many thanks also to Create! Magazine and Voyage LA for their features on my artwork and on Opulent Mobility.”  B Whitney Chapman ’92 “I performed Bacharach & David, a cabaret celebration of the music of Burt Bacharach and Hal David, which debuted this summer at New York’s renown “Don’t Tell Mama” restaurant and cabaret. The show ran for three nights to packed houses. A fall remounting is in the works. The show was directed by Barry Klienbort, musical direction and piano

Mark Duggan ’92 writes, “I was in Munich, Germany to participate in the Munich International Gamelan Festival this past June. Events were held at various locations and the home base of the festival was the Munich Stadtmuseum. I performed original music with Canada’s Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan of which I’ve been a member for 35 years! The festival presented gamelan groups from around the world, including representatives from Indonesia, USA, Canada, England, France, Germany, Spain, and Portugal. This was an amazing and rare opportunity for gamelan practitioners to come together and experience the wide variety of gamelan music that exists. The entire 10-day event was videoed and portions are available on YouTube. Rick Minnich ’92 is currently traveling around Alaska for his documentary, The Strait Guys, about the proposed InterContinental Railway (ICR) connecting North America and Asia via a railroad and tunnel beneath the Bering Strait. He and his crew and two ICR proponents met with communities in the Bering Strait region of Nome, Wales, and Little Diomede island to discuss the project and get their feedback. They also met with US Senator Lisa Murkowski and other local, state, and federal officials from Alaska. In September, Rick and his team traveled to the railroad construction B

site in Yakutsk, Russia, where the Russians are extending their rail line toward the Bering Strait. They will also participate in a parliamentary discussion in the Russian Duma on the railroad project. More information about the ICR can be found online.


Deborah Wasserman ’92 recently had a solo exhibit titled ‘wander, woman’ at the Zaritsky Artists’ House in Tel Aviv, Israel. The exhibit included drawing, collage, installation, and performance and was accompanied by a color catalog. Here’s an excerpt from Lilly Wei’s catalog essay, The Women are Present: Seen/Not Seen: “Deborah Wasserman’s latest exhibition continues her ongoing investigation of women’s roles and identities, filtered through her own complex sense of ‘unbelonging’ … It must certainly be one source for her particular empathy with the wanderer, the refugee, with whom she identifies, mirroring a Jewish heritage that historically is one of displacement and wandering. Her personal reactions are set against a particularly disruptive—some say perilous—time in world history … Women and children are subjects close to her heart, touched by their vulnerability; they have all too frequently been headlined as tragic examples of how the political impinges on the personal, the personal involuntarily shocked into the political….” [Deborah is profiled on page 31.] Jacqueline Wright ’92 writes, “My feature film Eat Me (finalist for Sundance Screenwriting lab) based on my critically acclaimed play, recently closed its theatrical run. It is now available to own on DVD via Amazon or streaming on iTunes. I am so proud of this collaboration with fellow CalArts Alums Nicholas Trikonis and Noelle Knight. ‘Timely and effective, A Tour-deforce howl of primal damaged rage,” says the LA Times.” Craig McTurk ’93 says, “I was the co-producer and camera operator for Satan & Adam, a documentary that premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. The film, which was 23 years in the making, was directed by Scott Balcerek and produced by Frank Marshall. I’m also in post-production on another feature documentary entitled, The Last Artisan. Set in Singapore and shot on 4K video, it tells the true story of an artisan who has painted iconic Chinese sculptures for seven decades and is now turning his painting brush over to the next

generation—in this case, to two Chinese nationals who are nearly half his age. I also serve as senior lecturer at the School of Film & Media Studies at Ngee Ann Polytechnic in Singapore. Barry Morse ’93 is in preproduction for “Father Neptune,” a music video in which he plays 18 bearded characters, centering around a love triangle between a sailor, Father Neptune, and a bearded lady. It was presented on, which is the brainchild of CalArts alumna and Emmy winner Julianna Parr, which can be found at  C

patient-healthcare worker relationship in conditions where face masks must be worn. Ephemera from Heffernan’s project during the Liberian Ebola epidemic is currently on display at the RCN an in exhibition


Michael Taylor Gray ’93 “My film, To the Beat!, debuted on Netflix on August 7th!” Jefferson Thomas ’93 “I’m creating branding and design for the new California Street Labs, which is part of the major revitalization underway in Downtown Redding, California. I’m looking forward to collaborative projects as this develops over the coming year. It’s a new venue in a restored warehouse space for pop-ups and tactical urbanism, including art installations, pop-up retail, music performances, film screenings, bike-related activities, meet-up groups, and more. Following the Carr Fire, it is more important than ever to give this community a place to participate and connect, and I’m excited to be a part of it. We see this as a bright spot in our city as downtown development projects and community revitalization are underway. I invite CalArts alumni traveling to far Northern California to come visit and participate in the arts activities.” Art Citron ’94 says he’s “currently working as an Editor/Producer for TV and film and working on everything from WebMD to ‘Hustle and Soul’ to ‘Fantom Works’ to ‘American Diner Revival.’ Am currently trying to get my new show, Bald Guy in the Kitchen, up and running!”  D Larry Cooperman ’94 says, “Make America Grape Again!” Mary Beth Heffernan ’94 presented the evolution of the PPE Portrait Project at the Royal College of Nursing in London, which covered a range of topics, from an emergency response to the Ebola epidemic to a hospital-based social practice project. The Isolation Portrait Project used adhesive photo portraits to humanize the

on epidemic responses that will travel to Scotland and enter the Royal College of Nursing’s permanent collection. Mary Beth will present her social practice Isolation Portrait Project, and larger strategies of advancing collaborations of art and medicine, at the Mayo Clinic’s 2018 Humanities in Medicine Symposium. Dan Joseph ’94 visited California to perform his solo work Dulcimer Flight for electroacoustic hammer dulcimer in Berkeley, Los Angeles, and Joshua Tree. He also appeared in San Francisco with new music ensemble, sfSoundGroup, in a program that included his chamber work, Notes & Queries, alongside pieces by Michael Pisaro and Pauline Oliveros. The trip also included an interview on KPFA, Berkeley and an artist talk at the CalArts Graduate Composers Forum. Louise Sandhaus ’94 (MFA Graphic Design, CalArts Faculty) presented “Type In Film” at the San Francisco Public Library back in July, which was presented by Cooper Union and the Letterform Archive for Type@CooperWest series. Co-authored and designed with Kat Catmur, A Colorful Life: Gere Kavanaugh, Designer (Princeton Architectural Press 2019). Have a scheduled TEDx UCLA talk: “Many images, many possibilities: expanding our history” on May 18, 2019.

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Brian Driscoll ’95 writes, “Newly-tenured professor of music at Santa Monica College, and president of the board of the children’s music nonprofit Elemental Music. Elemental Music’s mission is to inspire, train, and nurture young musicians. They currently serve nearly 300 young participants each year across seven programs, including a wide variety of ensembles and lessons, with 40 percent of families receiving need-based financial aid.” Anna Geyer ’95 says, “I completed the co-editing of That Woman, a video by Sandra Davis which premiered at Braquage in Paris back in June, 2018, and then at the Canyon Cinema Salon in August. Still teaching in the Cinema Dept. of CCSF.” Ranardo-Domeico Grays ’95 Choreographer, Founder, & Artistic Director of VISIONS Contemporary Ballet writes, “I am proud to be a four-year brain cancer survivor…and to be creatively flourishing. After taking two years off for treatment, I returned to VISIONS with even more of a story to share. I created Roots in 2016 and Through the Valley in 2017 for our 10-year anniversary performance, Healing Works. Currently I am working on Healing Works II program, including the newly completed Dash–Between. VISIONS performed at NYC’s Dixon Place back in September and at the historic Theatre at The Riverside Church in NYC in November, 2018. For the first time since leaving my hometown of Detroit to embark on my dance journey, I will be returning home to present VISIONS in a concert dedicated to the ‘Queen of Soul,’ Aretha Franklin, at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History on December 19—bringing this amazing dance company home to share my work with the community that first nurtured dance in my life!”  A


is performed with PIGS (Percussive Image Gestural System)—Amy’s custom system for structured live visual improvisation using custom software, silent drums, and other gestural controls—and Curt Miller’s “The Farm,“ a system for music and sound improvisation that integrates clarinet, talk box, and custom software. In “Utopian Algorithm #1,“ a “curator” algorithm analyzes the most recently uploaded YouTube videos, seeking to find the Internet’s lost Utopia by thwarting social media popularity algorithms to reveal non-ostentatious first-person narratives of the moment nobody gets to see. Craig Rowe ’96 “Since leaving CalArts, I have had a dual identity. On the one hand, I have continued in music as a performer (Javanese, Jazz, Blues, Rock), Ethnomusiologist, and theologian. I recently earned my Doctorate of Ministry: Music (2018). Through this I am able to combine Theology, Ritual, Liturgical and Secular musics. I am also an educator, focusing on special needs students. I earned my Masters in Special Education from Azusa Pacific University in 2009. I also received my teaching credential from APU in Spec. Ed. I teach, run several programs, and am a force for advocacy for all special needs students. Cheers to All, Craig Rowe D. Min., MFA, M.Ed.”


Robbin Broad ’96 “Have been a part of the following recent openings: Audio Media Designer for: GOTG Mission Breakout at California Adventure, California Adventure and EPCOT Soarin’ Over the World, HKDL Iron Man Adventure, HKDL Lodge, HKDL Hyperspace Mountain. Upcoming Openings: Quack–Center Theater Group, HKDL SHIELD Ant Man, Star Wars OBA and Figure Hardware Design, Ongoing New Hardware Designs for OBA and Figure Aural Imaging. Also now have children entering 5th, 4th, 1st, and Pre-K. In addition, we have a great dane puppy! These are my biggest projects! Husband producing Celebrity Boot Camp!”

Amy Alexander ’96 and her collaborator musician/sound artist Curt Miller debuted their audiovisual improvisational composition, “Utopian Algorithm #1,” at the International Conference on Live Interfaces in Porto, Portugal back in June. The piece

Gustavo Aguilar ’97 says, “I have had a busy few years since the publication of my co-edited book, The Modern Percussion Revolution: Journeys of the Progressive Artist, with performances at the Interpretations New Music Series (NYC) and the Back Cove New Music Festival (Portland, Maine), and Artist Residencies at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts (Omaha) and the Lawrence Arts Center (Kansas) with my partner, Gaelyn Aguilar. As Co-Artistic Directors of TUG Collective, the Aguilars are coming off a three-year, performative project along the Lewis and Clark Trail that has culminated with the exhibition, Borders, Corridors, Lines of Desire. Selections from this exhibition have been shown at the SoCA Armouries Gallery (Windsor, Canada) and HERA Gallery (Rhode Island), and will be on view at the 2018 Biennial at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art (Rockland). TUG recently joined the faculty of the MFA Art Practice program at the School of Visual

CalArts Alumni Magazine


Arts, NYC. Later in the fall, they will be performing one of TUG’s earlier works at the Colby College Museum of Art, and giving the plenary lecture at ‘The Figure of the Migrant and the Representation of Migration in the Arts and Literature’ conference at the University of Le Mans, France.” Greg Fleisher ’97 “My family and I live in Los Angeles with our six year-old son and four year-old daughter. My wife Maryl is the Vice President of Operations at Cadenza Artists. I recently left Lussier, where I was a Creative Director for shows such as The Sinner, Krypton, and Splitting Up Together, to join the team at Toy Box Entertainment as the VP / Creative Director of Broadcast and Streaming. This is an exciting and new venture for Toy Box, who’ve built their brand identity, by being a vital part of the campaigns of tentpole features like The Incredibles II, Coco, and Ant-man and the Wasp. I have just finished writing a pilot script based in 1920s Wall Street era that I am excited to shop around town.” Denise Gillman ’97 is an Associate Professor of Directing & Dramatic Literature at Christopher Newport University (CNU) in Newport News, VA, and a Stage Directors and Choreographers Union member. For almost two decades, science-themed plays have been a major focus of her teaching, research, and scholarship. At CNU, she teaches “Science on the Stage” for the Honors Program. Nationwide, she is one of only a few professors teaching a course that promotes interdisciplinarity between the arts, humanities, and sciences. She recently published, “How Science Plays Are Building Interdisciplinary Bridges in the Classroom and Inspiring Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity,” in the summer 2018 issue of SPUR Journal. This past year, she launched a science play online database (scienceplays. org) that provides information about

published science plays for artists, educators, scholars, and scientists. Justin Jorgensen ’97 is organizing the upcoming Dapper Day Events in California, Florida, and Paris. Started in 2011, Jorgensen created the Dapper Day organization with the aim of “celebrating refined style from yesterday and today” with elegant outings to museums, cultural institutions, and Disney parks. As such, each spring and fall, Jorgensen organizes the Dapper Day Expo at the Disneyland Hotel Exhibit Hall, which attracts over 10,000 visitors to the two-day marketplace of fun, stylish living, with live music and fashion and accessories vendors (both vintage and new). Since 2016, Jorgensen has held annual events with LACMA, and in 2018 Jorgensen also partnered with LA Opera and The Natural History Museum. “I felt people were wanting opportunities to dress up,” said Jorgensen. “And not in a costume kind of way. Many people, including me, just want to express their personality in a festive, but refined way, and not feel out of place. I wanted to created that opportunity to have fun with style, and make a great social event.”  B Ashanti Miller ’97 has recently co-produced an animated short film for Rituale Productions for the album, Rhythmic Hypnosis. It premiered at Ritzy Cinema, Brixton, London. Sandy Rodriguez ’97 is an artist and independent educator. Her artwork investigates the methods and materials of painting across cultures and histories. Her most recent work includes the Codex RodriguezMondragón, a bioregional map C and series of paintings about the intersections of politics, history, color, medicine, and culture. Her landscapes capture moments of transformation in the social, political, and cultural landscape of Los Angeles, with a focus on themes of resistance, persistence, and cultural regeneration. She has exhibited at institutions such as the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; Art+Practice, Los Angeles; and Self Help Graphics, Los Angeles. This fall, you can see her first solo museum exhibition, Codex Rodriguez Mondragón, at Riverside Art Museum as well as in group exhibits at The Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery and the MexiCali Biennial, Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art, CSUSB, San Bernadino, CA. Her work will be printed on banners for the Music Center, the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles

County this September. Recent awards include: American for the Arts Public Art Network Year in Review 2017 award (2018), City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs COLA Master Artist Fellowship (2018–2019), and The Department of Cultural Affairs Cultural Trailblazer Award (2017–18).  C Marco Vidaurre ’97 writes, “So after living in New Zealand for 15 years and working at Weta, I finally moved back home and took a job for a game company called InXile. We are currently working on a very ambitious Virtual Reality title. I have taken all of my film knowledge I learned at CalArts and applied it to the new realm of Virtual Reality. Thanks, CalArts, for laying the foundation.” Jessica Wallenfels ’97 who’s based in Portland, OR, has recently directed Ella Enchanted for Oregon Children’s Theater,and will direct Into the Woods at Broadway Rose in spring 2019. She has been developing new work through her company, Many Hats Collaboration, the latest of which is an interdisciplinary physical theater piece with live scoring by Northwest Piano Trio. Markus Engel ’98 finished shooting the first season of the series now entitled, Last Will, which he wrote and directed. Currently the project is in post-production. It is scheduled to be aired in 2019 on the ORF, the Austrian Broadcasting Association.  D Hight Jeremy ’98 checks in: “I judged the Marjorie Luesebrink career achievement award and was also a judge for the ISEA festival in Durban, South Africa. I published two short stories and finished two new short story collections.”

other harpists to help with all of this. I also run a harp dealership for the French harp manufacturer, Camac. I have a showroom on my property and enjoy serving the harp community both locally and globally. One of my dreams has been to have a house concert series, so I have been doing that for the past four years. The concerts are on my back patio, I have done from five per year to nine per year (that year nearly killed me!). I have world class harpists from all over the world, playing all genres of music on my little stage. A couple have been CalArts graduates. I can seat 80 people, and we always serve food and drink so it becomes a party afterwards!” Sara Guerrero ’99 reports, “I’m the founding Artistic Director of Breath of Fire Latina Theater Ensemble and currently am directing Guadalupe in the Guest Room, by Tony Meneses for this season at Creede Repertory Theatre in Creede, Colorado. Previously, I directed Rosado for the John Lion New Plays Festival for Cal State Los Angeles, and The Madres, a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere for Skylight Theatre Company. Also directed Curious


Ann Millikan ’98 “I composed the Millikan Symphony, recorded by Boston Modern Orchestra Project, in honor of my brother, cancer epidemiologist Dr. Robert C. Millikan, which was released on Innova Recordings. My tribute to Sir William Preston, Preston Toccata, commissioned by St. Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh, had its world premiere, which was recorded and broadcasted on BBC Radio 3. The South Dakota Symphony performed the US premiere of Ballad Nocturne and The Schubert Club presented a concert of my vocal chamber music. I am currently working on a commission for Strains New Music Ensemble.” Jack Saltzberg ’98 is shooting a documentary in Israel in 2019. Carolyn Sykes ’98 “I’m living in Pasadena with a teaching studio in my home and an office. I have about 25 students, run some harp classes in schools (all ages), and perform throughout Southern California for weddings, recording sessions, solo concerts, and chamber groups. Occasionally, I do orchestra work but not so much these days. I employ

by Jose Cruz Gonzalez for Center Theatre Group, Fabulous Monsters for the Latinx New Plays Festival of San Diego Repertory, and Real Women Have Curves for Costa Mesa Playhouse. I am a Resident Artist of Cal State Fullerton’s Grand Central Arts Center and The Children’s Museum, and a long standing faculty member for South Coast Repertory. Additionally, as a professional versatile theater artist, I look to model, share, and create theatre-making opportunities for and with community.” Todd Simon ’99 conducted the Polish National Symphony Radio Orchestra for the Detroit Techno pioneer, Carl Craig, at the Tauron Nowa Muzyka festival in Katowice, Poland. He spent the summer DJ’ing and playing the trumpet (at the same time) with his #HodgePodgeLA project at various LA destinations such as the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles and Arts Brookfield’s City Beats. After teaching high school music at the PUC Schools charter network for ten years, Todd is now the middle school music

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director at the James A. Foshay Learning Center (LAUSD). Todd’s work on the recent Dirty Projectors release is receiving plenty of praise and his African-Jazz ensemble, Ethio Cali, will be featured at this year’s Music Taste Good festival in Long Beach.


Double Ohs Joshua Jade ’00 reports, “I’m getting excited for Season #3 of the Sonic Liberation Players, with fellow CalArtians Jessica & Trevor Berens, Andrea Douglass, Kristin Olson, and Rachel Barringer, as well as getting a casual groove/improv quartet out of the rehearsal room and into some gigs. Find us at (will play for beer!). Plus, my 12 year-old daughter has converted me into a fan of musicals, and I have to say, I did not see that one coming. All the best to everyone!” Danny Wascou ’00 is the writer/director/ creator of the new web series, Only Children, a character-driven dramedy about four unique friends, all only children in their thirties, who rely on one another to get through the everyday ups and downs of adulthood, premiering on this fall. He is also the co-executive producer of MTV’s long-running series, The Challenge. John Churchville ’01 checks in: “I produced, engineered, and released Sumkali’s 4th album titled Dha Re Dha. Sumkali also presented and performed at the Association for Popular Music Education’s National Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. I am also performing on tabla for a duet concert with Grammy Award winning harmonica player, Peter Madcat Ruth, for the 2018 Society for the Preservation and Advancement of Harmonica convention in St. Louis. I was also tapped to curate a two-month long public program at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum called the Sonic Workshop, where visitors interact with exhibits centered around sound and music creation.”


CalArts Alumni Magazine

Sarah Fazeli (Thomas) ’01 has taken a teaching position in the Writing, Literature, and Philosophy Department at Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD). She was A invited to the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) Conference in Tampa earlier this year to attend the launch of the anthology in which her work is featured, In Season: Stories of Discovery, Loss, Home, and Places in Between. She also teaches workshops for aspiring young writers at The Thurber House, using techniques rooted in theater and performance to expose aspiring writers to new ways of storytelling. Sarah was recently awarded First Prize in the Spoken Word competition at the largest celebration of its kind, the Dublin Irish Festival.  A Melissa Ficociello ’01 has enjoyed painting at LA opera as co-lead scenic artist and recently completed an art director position at Ferrari World theme park in Abu Dhabi, UAE. She is currently teaching at East Los Angeles College and lives in Pasadena. Tim Said ’01 says, “After having served as a tenured professor at Moorpark College for eight years, where I created and launched a successful AA degree program in Game Design, I’ve recently taken a position as Professor and Program Director of a new Games and Interactive Media program at Azusa Pacific University, where I’ll be developing a BA degree for the school.” Joseph Shannon ’01 “Done with touring and currently am the Production Manager for the Knight Theatre in Charlotte NC.”

and curates shows with many international artists at MF Gallery in Brooklyn, NY. Andrew Choate ’03 had his fourth book, Learning, published on September 10th by The Accomplices, a new partnership between Writ Large Press, Entropy, and Civil Coping Mechanisms. The book is a long-form poetic memoir about a crime that happened to his father. It explores trust, memory, and how and what we (choose to) learn. A book release party with the world premiere of a composition by Radu Malfatti, written for the occasion, and a film by Haoyan of America, likewise, is in the works.  B Seamus Garrity ’03 checks in: “After teaching piano privately for 10 years and advocating for local issues, I now work full-time for the California State Assembly. My boss is the honorable Laura Friedman, who represents the 43rd Assembly District. I represent her in her district office and the section of our district within the City of Los Angeles. We are currently hard at work addressing the issues facing our state, including affordable housing and affordable education. I also serve on the board of my daughter’s school, the Los Feliz Charter School for the Arts. The school’s philosophy is rooted in the ideas of arts integration. My role on the board is to help decide how to implement the curriculum that will allow our students to demonstrate their knowledge through various art forms, while nurturing them to ensure that they grow to become the most empathetic individuals as adults. My wife Jessica and I met during our time at CalArts. We live in Silver Lake with our two children, Vera and Eamon, and our dog and our cat. Can I have the hat, please? I miss you.”  C

Noel Dahl ’02 “After eleven years as Director of Graduate Admissions at California College of the Arts, I’m excited to take on a new position at San Francisco Art Institute as their Director of Admissions—overseeing both undergraduate and graduate enrollment efforts.” Karl Erickson ’02 says, “I moved to Memphis, TN, to become the Assistant Professor of Digital Art at Rhodes College. The summer was also very artistically productive, culminating in doing a video and audio drone with musician, Mark Perretta, for a Yin Yoga session taught by Daniel Chamberlain.” Jessica Morris ’02 has relocated to Boise, Idaho, with her family. Jessica will be teaching Acting and Theater Studies at Boise State University, and her husband, Benjamin Burdick, will be the new Managing Director at Boise Contemporary Theater. Martina Secondo Russo ’02 just celebrated the 15th anniversary of her NYC gallery. She continues to work on her own paintings


Goh Kurosawa ’03 “Hello friends. I performed at the 2018 Zihuatanejo International Guitar Fest in Mexico, followed by a Japan Tour. Back in Los Angeles now, I just finished performing at the Los Angeles Lotus Fest and the Summer Arts Crawl in South Pasadena. Currently, I am putting together a concert in Cuba, which is being supported by the Japanese Embassy in Havana. This will be my first time to visit and perform there. Take care!”

Cricket Myers ’03 won the Ruth Morley Design Award from the League of Professional Theater Women. The League advocates for opportunities and visibility for female theater professionals. Cricket spoke about our need to find a way to support young designers and women in particular as they join the work force. “There are too few women in theater and in design, and many young women studying their craft walk away before they get established. We must welcome them and take a professional stand with them to minimize the brutal atmosphere for any young artist. We must share and inspire them to help them push through those difficult years as they master their art.” Kris Tiner ’03 Trumpet player and composer Kris Tiner toured the mid-west in July with Tin/Bag, his 15-year collaboration with NYC guitarist, Mike Baggetta. The duo’s performance at the FMRL series in Nashville was the Nashville Scene Critics’ Pick, and music editor, Stephen Trageser, described their blend of jazz, country, and art music as “ingenious.” Other tour stops included Barking Legs Theater in Chattanooga, Pilot Light in Knoxville, Jimmy Can’t Dance in Louisville, Filament in Columbus, State Street Pub in Indianapolis, the District Library Concert Series in Ann Arbor, and Elastic Arts in Chicago. Tin/Bag will be releasing their fifth album of original music on Big Ego Records next year. Sarah Wass ’03 Flutist Sarah Wass, violist Natalie Brejcha (Music MFA ’02) and pianist Traci Esslinger (Music MFA ’06) have formed The Arroyo Ensemble. In their quest to find music to suit their odd instrumentation, they presented “The Arroyo Ensemble Plays CalArts” at the Wild Beast back on September 29, featuring music by CalArts faculty and alumni: Ulrich Krieger, David Rosenboom, Bob Clendenen, Aniela Perry, Christine Tavolacci, T.J. Troy, Cassia Streb, Art Jarvinen, and others.

CalArts is a very special place full of special people. While my stay at CalArts was only for a year (I received an internship with Disney after my first year), it was fundamental to my becoming the artist I am today. The friendships I made while there are still my friends today. Be very grateful you have the chance to experience what CalArts is.” Lori Damiano ’04 writes that she “went on a trip to Guatemala to paint a mural and learn about coffee production and how it is being affected by climate change. I was featured in this film, Flower of Flowers, made by Stumptown and Farm League along with pro skateboarders, Ray Barbee and Rick McCrank.”  E Jeni Jones ’04 worked as a film & television executive, director, producer, screenwriter, musician, dancer, martial artist, and choreographer. Her recent directing of the one woman play, Women on the Verge, by Kimba Henderson, earned the production a 2018 NAACP Theatre Award. Jeni also recently

directed Club Rat$, a short film which premiered at the Oscar-qualifying L.A. Shorts Festival and is entering the festival circuit. The film was used to raise money for RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network). She’s directed theater in NY & LA, including plays like Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot and Krapp’s Last Tape. She’s been credited for her creative contributions to numerous feature films, including Law Abiding Citizen with Gerard Butler & Jamie Foxx, Parkland, and Ron Howard’s Rush. She currently has several films, theater, and television projects in development, and will be directing a feature film. She raps and is writing an original hiphop musical called The Shore.  D Beth Laske-Miller ’04 was awarded a 2018 Non-Equity Jeff Award in Chicago for her costume design of Shockheaded Peter with Black Button Eyes productions. It is her second nomination and first win. Elizabeth Buchta ’05 writes, “I recently accepted a position to teach graphic design at University of Missouri St. Louis with Jen McKnight, another CalArts alumna. I play old-time music in my spare time. For the last two years, I have been living in Springfield, IL.” W.S. Cheng ’05 says, “Went to Anaheim, California for a conference this May, and it was the first time that I have stepped foot in the state of California in thirteen years.”


Shaun Fillion ’05 is program director for the masters in lighting design program at New York School of Interior Design. He also serves as lighting studio manager for RAB lighting, and recently presented on a panel with Pablo Molina (’07) for the national conference of the Illuminating Engineering Society.

Adriana Yugovich ’03 spoke at The Getty in May on behalf of LAUSD teacher grant recipients for Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA. She called on institutions to expand their support of diversity initiatives in the arts and hire more leaders of color, including artists, curators, and educators. Adriana and her students from Humanitas Academy of Art and Technology in East L.A. were invited by L.A. Promise Fund to present images from their documentary photography exhibition, “home/work,” exhibited alongside other student award nominees from across Los Angeles County. Joshua Allen ’04 “In 2003/2004, under Gary Mairs (my mentor), Deborah Lavine (Nordman), John Hawk, and Lou Florimonte, I received one of the best film directing educations I could imagine. The skills I learned (both technical and artistically) have stayed with me for over a decade. I would urge CalArts students to embrace the entire school, not just their peers or programs.


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Lucy Griffin ’05 writes, “I have taken on my greatest role yet… motherhood! Through the tears, tantrums, terrors, and total beauty of it all, I’m happy. I went to a school that prepared me even for this. Sometimes I bring my daughter up to campus to walk the halls with me. She looks at the dancers and musicians with the same A eyes I did. I hope to bring her to as many shows as possible and was even inspired to think of continuing the education at CalArts for the little ones. CalArts preschool anyone?”  A Jared Olmsted ’05 is continuing to support the Chary EP by Courtship Ritual through live performance, while working on a follow-up at Godmode’s Faculty Recording Arts facility. Kelvin Kyung Kun Park ’05 notes, “My video work ‘ARMY:600 thousand Portraits’ will be presented at the 2018 Busan Biennale. The 65 participants from 34 countries were selected by Artistic Director Cristina Ricupero, Curator Jörg Heiser and Guest Curator Gahee Park. Titled ‘Divided We Stand,’ the theme of the 9th Busan Biennale is that of split territories as reflected in artists’ work from around the world. The exhibition was held at the Museum of Contemporary Art Busan and the former Bank of Korea in Busan.” Brooke Smiley ’05 reports, “‘Permission to Heal,’ is a new sculptural earth work made from the recent mudslides of Montecito. Built in April, as part of the 2018 State of the Art Gallery Exhibition in Santa Barbara, CA, with local members of the community, this work was inspired by the Venus of Willendorf, the first known depiction of a woman from 25,000 BC representing fertility. With a background in earth architecture and indigenous justice, I exhibited this work from April 1 – July 31. I guided two reconstruction processes with Anna Halprin in her seminal protest piece ‘The Paper Dance’ from Parades and Changes (1965). Leading this work, first with students from UCSB, and again with students from UW– Madison, became an improvisational score for embodied conversations about identity, meeting the oppressor, the natural body, and our nature, with performances at UCSB, TrinityLaban (London), Hunter College Kaye Playhouse (NY), and Memorial Union Play Circle (Wisconsin). At California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture’s (CalEarth) Open House, I had the honor to guide Simone Forti’s Huddle (1961), and facilitate and perform in newly created scores.” Scott Cook ’06 shares, “Oftentimes summers are full of firsts: a first love, first jobs, a first apartment. This summer, I experienced a first. As I am now 45 and have had many firsts in my life, this first was a special event—the first time I had the honor of being sent out of country as a representative for my employer in the capacity of a


CalArts Alumni Magazine

senior illustrator and art director. While I was in India, I experienced things I had only read about or seen in books or in film. My two-week stay was filled with exotic places, animals, food, and people with whom I found I had much in common. My summer of firsts has planted in me the desire to have many more firsts in diverse corners of the planet. It has also made me appreciate the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells I experience here at home, as if they were firsts. I truly enjoyed experiencing something I have devoted much of my life to— half a world away, with people and new friends, not so different from myself.” Angela Bryant ’06 “I recently celebrated eight years at the Georgia Aquarium working on their world class dolphin show. In addition, I am actively continuing freelance projects at Atlanta’s Actor’s Express, Newton County Arts, and other Atlanta theater venues.” Emery Martin ’06 The creative duo Emery C. Martin (Experimental Animation 2006) and Kerstin L. Hovland (Experimental Animation 2012), a.k.a. Electronic Countermeasures were back in action creating animated and real-time effects for the Maroon 5 Red Pill Blues Tour. They created custom abstract animated looks for the six rows of volumetric LED cubes, along with set extension looks for the moving LED walls, and real time effects for the camera feeds. Emery and recent alumni Tyler Russo (Experimental Animation 2015) were onsite for the 1st show at the Tacoma Dome to finalize animation and integrate the real-time effects into the show with the screens team. Zachary Morris ’06 is “starting another year as an education specialist at a very special non-profit organization called The Helix School based in the San Francisco Bay Area. I have been freelancing and doing recording sessions locally. I am collaborating with Luke Andrews, who plays guitar for Julian Marley, and we are experimenting with chance procedure composition and free improvisation with world music influences. I would like to collaborate with more CalArts alumni, so please reach out on social media or through the directory! Peace and gratitude.”  B B

Kathy Pisaro ’06 reports that she and fellow CalArts alumni Eric KM Clarke, Sarah Wass, Christine Tavolacci, James Sullivan, and Luke Storm were on the faculty of the Kadima Conservatory Summer Music Seminar. Alison Russo ’06 writes, “I joined the Institute of International Educaton in 2015, having most recently curated and managed the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Programs and arts portfolio. I spent the last years developing and designing the Artist Protection Fund, which fills a gap in assistance for threatened artists. The fund explores innovative ways to respond to the specific needs of these artists by constructing a comprehensive, collaborative, and socially engaged program that stands as a leader in the artistic freedom and freedom of expression movements. As an artist, I work collaboratively to create original devised work with a focus on site specificity, integrated media, and civic engagement. My collaborations include arts and philanthropy, live performance, installation, and video. I have been involved in arts-based humanitarian projects in the U.S., Europe, the Balkans, and East Africa.” Min Son ’06 says, “I’m honored to have contributed my vision to build the Arts Bridge Louisville leadership program for rising high school juniors and seniors in the underserved Louisville metro areas. My idea for this project that amplifies young voice through the arts has been supported by the Louisville Mayor’s office for NEA ‘Our Town’ grant. The mission of Arts Bridge Louisville is to nurture young leaders through the arts, art-making, critical thinking, and teambuilding and to build healing connections. The participants selected from three neighborhoods in Louisville, where these areas bear long legacies of disinvestment, segregation, and alienation from the rest of the city, will engage in the arts practice and the virtual (online) arts journal, which they develop and collaborate to continue sharing their creative work. I work closely with community organizations, the arts organizations, and the metro government leaders to solicit potential participants.” Johnny Bradley ’07 “I am part of the lighting team for NBC’s show The Voice. It is our 5th consecutive year in a row nominated for a prime time Emmy Award for our work. Dan Boland, who is on our team, is also a CalArts Alumni.” Marley Carroll ’07 “I have a new full-length solo LP coming out, my first in five years. It’s called Flight Patterns, and it will be released November 16, 2018 on Loci Records. The first two singles, ‘Starlings’ and ‘Seven Crows,’ were picked up by XLR8R and a few other progressive electronic music outlets. This record takes its inspiration from the natural world, specifically flying and flocking creatures, and might be worth a listen for fans of Caribou, Boards of Canada, and Four Tet.”  E

Daniel Corral ’07 released Polytope on Orenda Records (run by alum Dan Rosenboom). Polytope will be available on major streaming platforms, as a download, and on CD. The LAX Festival (whose executive director Miranda Wright is also an alum) presented two live performances of Polytope back in October at the Think Tank Gallery in Los Angeles. For these performances, Corral will be joined by musicians Erin Barnes, Cory Beers, and Andrew Lessman (all alumni). Polytope’s 15 tracks recall classic experimental electronic albums. In live performance, Polytope is a multimedia mixture of a string quartet, Kraftwerk, James Turrell, and an

be trampled out of existence. The series on display includes the Mexican long nosed bat, Gulf Coast jaguarundi, Nichol’s turks head cactus, California least tern, California Condor, Vaquita, Mexican grey wolf, jaguar, and the Big Bend gambusia.”  C


Janne Larsen ’07 reports that “This past September, I was in dOGUMENTA, a curated art show for dogs at FIGat7th in Los Angeles.” Esme Allen ’08 “I am currently teaching acting at the college level and, often times, when I am teaching a lesson I find myself swirling above myself and thinking (for only a moment…but an important moment) this exercise I learned from Marissa Chibas years C

the fantastic opportunity to work in our Off-Campus Student Services office and for our Office of Title IX and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. I was also able to spend some time exploring all the great things Northwest Ohio has to offer in the summer, including catching up with some of my CalArts friends who live nearby. I can’t wait to start the job search again and hopefully end up back somewhere close to my SoCal home.” Joe Milazzo ’08 and collaborator Tyler Flynn Dorholt have a poem appearing in They Said: A Multi-Genre Anthology of Contemporary Collaborative Writing.  D Silas Munro ’08 Book Contributor: W. E. B. Du Bois’s Data Portraits: Visualizing Black Lives. Author of an introduction and captions for a series of 63 ground-breaking data visualizations advocating for African American progress designed by W.E.B. Du Bois and his students at Atlanta University. Published in Fall 2018. Princeton Architectural Press, New York, NY.

Indonesian dhalang (master shadow puppeteer). Performed entirely in darkness, it’s a mesmerizing dance of silhouettes of fingers over colorful glowing diamonds, captured on live feed video and projected large and bright as an evolving visual score. Daniel has also joined the music faculty at CalArts. Caroline Foley ’07 “I showcased nine illustrated pieces from my Endangered Species: Along The Border series in the August perimeter V gallery at LA ArtShare in the Downtown Los Angeles arts district. The series raised awareness about the 93 endangered and threatened species along the United States/ Mexico border that would be affected by a border wall if one were to be constructed. Species living within 50 miles north and south of the border would not only be affected by the construction of the wall itself, but by the construction of the roads to bring in the construction equipment, the lights that would stay on throughout the night after the wall was built, and the contamination leftover from materials and heavy machinery used. Species that cross the border like the jaguar and Mexican grey wolf would suffer fragmentation while plants with a very small population like the Otay Mesa Mint could

ago…this fabulous warm-up I learned from the wonderful Irene Connors…the way I hit my T’s and use my voice and even stand correctly is ALL thanks to my wonderful teachers in the CalArts Theater dept. I am so grateful for my three years there.” Alex Calle ’08 writes, “I am CEO/CCO of Entertainment Design Corporation, a E location-based entertainment design firm in LA. I just began my continuing education with an EMBA at USC. My ultimate goal is to merge the artistic and financing sides of business into a cohesive positive story for the company and direction of the firm.” Alex Lewin ’08 is “excited to be starting my second and final year of my master’s program in College Student Personnel at Bowling Green State University. This summer, I had

Laurie O’Brien ’08 has recently opened a new Peephole Cinema in Brooklyn, located at 97 Wilson Ave. between Troutman & Starr. Films will change every two months for three years. The Peephole Cinemas in other locations have been playing programs of short, experimental films nonstop since 2013 through a dime-sized hole available to the public 24/7. The Peephole Cinema

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was founded by Laurie O’Brien as a way to celebrate short experimental filmmakers and offer free hidden magic in pedestrian neighborhoods. Other locations are in the San Francisco Mission District and behind Automata Gallery, hosted by Janie Geiser and Susan Simpson, located in the Chinatown District of Los Angeles. The San Francisco Chronicle says, “The Peephole Cinema can accommodate an audience of one staring into hole…on the window of a storefront…. On the other side is a tiny screen showing experimental films that are silent and short. Very short. In our world of short attention spans, it makes the film feel like a tiny gem with no distractions.” Paul Turbiak ’08 got to play CS Lewis in Freud’s Last Session by Mark St. Germain at the Margaret Jensen Theatre in Boston. Andrew Alderete ’09 says, “I’m head of Communications and Publicity at CineConcerts, which produces film concerts where an orchestra plays the full score live while an entire film plays on a huge screen in a concert hall. Been immersed in the Harry Potter Film Concert Series, Dreamworks Animation, Gladiator Live, and more! To take breaks I go for runs in the mountains with William, my new golden retriever.”



John D’Amico ’09 writes, “‘Having a star on the Walk of Fame is a privilege that is highly sought after by those in the entertainment industry.’ This statement was part of the resolution I authored in August of this year demanding the removal of the Donald Trump star from the Hollywood Walk of Fame. ‘Allowing Mr. Trump to continue to have a star in light of his behavior toward women, particularly in the time of the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements, should not be acceptable in Hollywood and the entertainment industry communities.’ When I heard that the same star had been vandalized again it occurred to me that a conscious effort should be made to remove that star, if not completely, at least to a place out of the public eye. This particular star (and there may be others—I’m looking at yours, Bill Cosby) signals to young men that all behavior is acceptable in the pursuit of “stardom”— abuse of women, bullying, targeting—the list goes on—and doesn’t teach young men to be solid professionals nor good citizens. And the message it sends women is that your career choice isn’t safe, your future boss might assault you. And then he will be rewarded with a “star” for his celebrity and an excuse for your assault. These are not values I could support, nor could I stand by and allow the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and the city of Los

CalArts Alumni Magazine

Additionally, I’ve been writing the upcoming Women of Impact: Origin Stories series, which will feature true stories from female role models and showcase each subject as a modern-day superhero.”  A B

Angeles to pretend that they are not part of a chain of misbehavior that needs to be broken at every link. The news coverage was global. The response from the cultworld of Donald Trump was furious, jammed full with excuses for his behaviors and threats of all kinds. More than 500 people from across the country wrote and called City Hall to voice their displeasure. The city responded to every person, and I wrote back to nearly 200 people myself thanking them for taking the time to contact me. As an elected official (Mayor pro Tempore West Hollywood, California), I’ve been entrusted with a platform that I choose to use to pursue justice, equality, points of view, and opportunities that might be beyond my reach, but within my values. I learned that at CalArts. Like we all did. I am currently working on a performance essay highlighting the experience of dipping my ‘political left’ toe into the cultworld of Donald Trump.” Samantha Levenshus ’09 says, “I recently finished work on the new SyFy and Netflix series, NightFlyers, based on the novella by George R.R. Martin. Have also consulted and created stories for the virtual reality companion episodes that will premiere alongside the series. More recently, I’ve been writing the graphic novel series, Neon Future, with Eisner Award-winning Jim Krueger. The series is produced by Steve Aoki and Impact Theory. The first issue premiered at New York Comic-Con back in October and should now be available at a comic book store near you!


D. Alex Mack (The Captain) ’09 checks in: “I taught at CSSSA for the first time, two of my students won the Alpert award, but I really just want that hat.”

Twenty Tens Matt Cook ’10 “New baby! Quinn Avery Cook was born June 15, 2018, 8lbs 8oz.”  B Pete Cross ’10 recently received his second AudioFile Earphone’s Award, this one for his narration of Eden Express: A Memoir of Insanity by Mark Vonnegut. He also just completed narrating Moby Dick. Nicole Emmons-Willis ’10 tells us, “2018 has brought on lots of exciting events for me! I was selected to be included in this years ‘Art Now’ at Oklahoma Contemporary Art Center, which opened November 16th, 2018. I am also in a show called ‘Take a Seat,’ a group exhibition of feminist art, in the Hulsey Gallery at Oklahoma City University which opened in September. In addition, I started teaching classes in animation and art at Rose State College, as well as art classes at Oklahoma City Girls Art School. I am still working with local Oklahoma City animation studio, Reckless Abandonment, animating and creating puppets for their various projects, but now under my own brand new moniker, OKC Puppet and Animation Lab. The included image is from my 2018 film Domesti City, OK, which will be screening alongside images from the film at Art Now.”  C Ben Guhin ’10 founded the City of Austin’s Office of Design & Delivery in May 2018,


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 Nikitas (MFA 90) and Rich Shelton (MFA 90)

Class Notes

dedicated to designing and building services that grow and adapt with the needs of our residents.” Aleigh Lewis ’10 says she’s been working in post-production since she graduated from CalArts. She started as an editor in reality TV (Project Runway and Naked and Afraid) and has switched over to scripted film/TV as an assistant editor working on shows such as Bob’s Burgers, Cobra Kai, Green Book (due in November), and she joined the Charmed reboot team in September for the CW network. Last summer, Aleigh enjoyed editing two episodes of the award winning KCET program, Lost LA, for the CalArts production company, Nonetheless Productions. Aleigh is the proud mother of two daughters, Maisie (5) and Beatrix (2). Her creative outlet these days is in progressive adventure play design, and she has consulted on several park projects. Her daughters love visiting Santa Clarita Adventure Playground, run by CalArts alum Erica Larsen-Dockray. Aleigh and her husband Sage Lewis ’09 live in Mt. Washington.


Michael Mull ’10 is teaching part-time at Los Angeles City College and at his alma mater CSU Northridge, where he directs the Studio Jazz Ensemble, jazz combos, and teaches jazz arranging and private lessons. Along with a busy schedule of freelance performance and arranging work, Michael is working on a debut recording of his group Wax People, an experimental metal trio of amplified bass clarinet, bass guitar, and drum set. Also in post-production is a saxophone/drums duo album with Los Angeles creative music mainstay, Jason Harnell.


CalArts Alumni Magazine

Peter Bo Rappmund ’10 premiered a new feature film, Communion Los Angeles, with fellow alumni Adam R. Levine at the Locarno International Film Festival. Upcoming screenings in Vancouver, Lisbon, Camden, and Mar del Plata. Alexandra Sachs ’10 says, “Hi, I don’t want to be in the magazine as I don’t have anything significant to add right now, but I really love the Dodgers AND being CalArts alum, so I’d love to win that hat.” Brandon Stirling Baker ’10 has been appointed Lighting Director for Boston Ballet. Since 1963, Boston Ballet has been an internationally acclaimed ballet company of classical, neo-classical, and contemporary ballets. Combined with its dedication to world class dance education and community initiative programs, Boston Ballet has been a leader in its field, with a 53-year history of promoting excellence and access to dance. At the age of 30, Baker will be among the youngest Lighting Directors in the field of ballet. Orlando Tirado ’10 Hannah, a film co-written by Orlando Tirado (2010. School of Art) and Andrea Pallaoro (2008. School of Film/Video), directed by Pallaoro, is now on Amazon and iTunes. Hannah, starring Charlotte Rampling, premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2017, where Ms. Rampling won the Coppa Volpi for Best Actress for her portrayal of Hannah, a wife living in the aftermath of her husband’s imprisonment for a heinous crime. Laura Youngkin ’10 “This summer, I produced a large-scale immersive theatrical experience based on the new Stephen King / JJ Abrams anthology series, Castle Rock, for Hulu at San Diego ComicCon. The show was Stage Managed by fellow alums, Amanda Eno and Kathryn Eipl (both MFA ’15), and included Sound Design by Jesse Mandapat (Sound Design ’16). The experience took over two parks in Downtown San Diego. One park featured the forest of Castle Rock with several art installations and a Hulu Lounge; the other featured the main attraction: The Historical Castle Rock Bed & Breakfast. Guests were issued a key to their room at the B&B and, upon checking in, spent 14 terrifying minutes exploring the mysterious world of Castle Rock, Maine. Rolling Stone rated our show in the top five best things at Comic-Con 2018.” Patrick Brice ’11 shares, “This year after directing four episodes of the upcoming season of the Duplass Brothers anthology series, Room 104, on HBO, I had the opportunity to direct a feature, Corporate Animals (w/ Ed Helms and Demi Moore), which is currently in post-production.” Robert Cucuzza ’11 reports that he’s the “Vice Chair of Theatre Arts at Los Angeles Mission College where, over the past four years, I created a full-fledged theater program. Housed in the new Arts, Media &


Performance building, the Mission program offers students the opportunity to take a variety of design, technical, and performance classes, obtain certificates and degrees, and work on large-scale theatrical productions. As a full-time tenured professor, I teach a wide range of courses, direct musicals and plays, and mentor young playwrights through the development, writing, and complete production of their work. I have brought in many CalArts alums to train students, including professors Aubree Lynn (Theater ’16) and Cristina Frias (Theater ’11), and guest artists Dorothy Hoover (Theater ’11), James Cowan (Theater ’13), Keith Skretch (Theater ’12), Hsuan-Kuang Hsieh (Theater ’15), Darius Gangei (Theater ’15), and Cristian Gomez (Theater ’17).” Jessica Lawson (Ramsey) ’11 “I’m excited to announce a bit of a career change. I’ve been hired as a Field Representative for the Motion Picture Costumers Union, Local 705. I’ve been a member for the last five years, making custom costumes for television shows like GLOW, American Horror Story, and Insecure. Now I’ll be working for the members and local, see you around fellow CalArts alum Costumers!” Lisa D. Long ’11 and Rebecca R. Levy (MFA 2010 Dance) teamed up in August and performed in France as part of “The Labyrinth Project.” This collaboration between L2 Dance Theater and Jacksonville Dance Theatre began via FaceTime between California and Florida as Rebecca learned Lisa’s work, ‘Into the Rose.’ She performed within the site of its inspiration, the labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral, as well as within the labyrinth at Grail Haven, Escales France, created from tiles from the eighth century Abbey of Lagrasse. The two plan to continue their collaboration in the future as the project within labyrinths around the globe. Lee Ann Paynter ’11 writes, “Two CalArtians teaching together in Paris! Lloyd Davies (Piano Performance BFA ’73) and I became colleagues over the summer, both teaching with the Kentucky Institute of International Studies Paris 1 program. I am a Lecturer in Digital Media & Photography at the University of Kentucky School of Art and Visual Studies.

Lloyd is an English Professor at Western Kentucky University. We spent the month of June in Paris working in our fields with 16 students from around the region, while making a new CalArts connection!”

name as a 12 year-old. Finally, I was recently offered and accepted a faculty position at Occidental College to become their new head of costumes as an instructor, costume shop manager, and costume designer.”  B

Megan Broughton ’12 assumed the position of Printmaking Instructor at The Oxbow School in Napa this year after five years working other positions at the school in residential life, Humanities, alumni teaching assistant, and After School Art Program founder. She returned to CalArts this summer for another round at CSSSA as a graphic design instructor. She was also selected for the Arctic Circle Residency for June 2019 in Svalbard, Norway, which she will attend with her co-worker and frequent collaborator. She is still a Bay Area Alumnx Chapter Leader and looking forward to organizing future events.

Kerstin Hovland ’12 and Emery C. Martin ’06, working as Electronic Countermeasures, had the pleasure of being brought in to work on the printed backdrops that set the scene for Weezer’s latest tour. They created two full-scale 60ft wide scenes that included a diner for Buddy Holly and a dingy garage for In The Garage. A series of paper ocean waves were created for the S.S. Weezer pedal-powered boat prop that front man, River Cuomo, would sail through the crowd on. They also brought in fellow alumni and long-time collaborator Meejin Hong ’12 for some additional digital set decorating for the diner scene.

Adam Dippre ’12 “Since graduating CalArts, I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and have now served over four honorable years. I was stationed with the 2d Marine Aircraft Wing Band for three years, went on to be named Honor Graduate at the Sound Reinforcement Technician Course at the Naval School of Music, and currently serve as a Sergeant with the Marine Corps Band Quantico in Virginia. Along with regularly performing trombone in military brass quintets, brass ensembles, concert bands, and rock bands, I also serve as the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of Sound. I have had the opportunity to represent the country by performing at the Bermuda Tattoo, for the Boston Red Sox, the Carolina Panthers, and numerous military engagements.”

Jamie Tatti ’12 passed their board certification for occupational therapy this summer and began working as a therapist in skilled nursing. They accepted a fellowship with the VA hospital in Tampa, FL and will receive a year of specialized training there in rehabilitation for spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury/poly-trauma. Jamie has enjoyed learning about conducting and utilizing scientific research and the many ways they feel it mirrors an artistic practice. They are interested in growing their involvement in research and are also hoping to gradually build in more time for artistic practice and exploration as they settle into their new career.

Zoe Etkin ’12 In December 2017, Zoe published her first chapbook, Cetacea Vaginae, and in early 2018 published her first full length poetic memoir, The Birth & Death of Girl. Zoe recently left LA with her husband and daughter to move back to her hometown of Memphis, TN. She has opened a new business, Awaken space + shop, which offers reproductive health and intimacy related workshops and events. She continues to serve families as a birth and postpartum doula.  A Catherine Foldenauer ’12 shares, “This past year has been a huge push towards artistic and career growth for me. At the beginning of the year, after joining the local 705, Motion Picture, Costumers union in the fall, I was put in charge of processing out large quantities of background costume scene projects for multiple popular films and television shows at the largest union costume house in the United States, Western Costume Company. In the summer, I was the Costume Designer for the first Latinx theater show at California’s official state theater, the Pasadena Playhouse. Designing the show by Culture Clash, Bordertown Now. This was especially monumental as Culture Clash was the reason I wanted to pursue a career in theater, when I first saw the show by the same

Stephen Touchton ’12 is currently a J.D. candidate at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, where he received First Honors awards in “Music Law” and in the “Art and the Law” seminar during the Spring 2018 semester. A recording of Touchton’s composition, Vibraphones, mastered by Daniel Eaton (MFA Music ’11), and performed by percussionists, Ches Smith and Shayna Dunkelman, was also self-released via Bandcamp this past May. John Warren ’12 is the festival director of the psychedelic-themed Far Out Film Festival at Third Man Records in Nashville. He continues to make films and videos for festivals and art galleries, and he is a lecturer in the Department of Art at Vanderbilt University.

working for ISANA, Matthew continues to serve as a Co-Artistic Director of The Speakeasy Society, one of the most prolific and celebrated immersive theater companies in the country. The Speakeasy Society recently traveled up to CalArts to perform their episodic piece, The Kansas Collection, at CalArts weekend. Hyein Chun ’13 says, “Hi! It’s nice to come back to my dear school!”


Armando Martinez-Celis ’13 says, “It’s been a year of change. On the professional side, I have the great opportunity to be a part of Project Lab (CalArts Extended Studies online courses) and am excited to announce I’ve joined Kilter (co-founded by fellow alum Joe Prichard Art MFA ’08) as their new Art Director. On the personal side, my wife Brooke Irish (Art BFA ’14), my son Calder, and I welcomed the newest addition to our family, Nayeli.”  C

Stephen Armstrong ’13 “What’s up fellow CalArtians?! I’ve been up to no good as usual. Making art and living my best life. I hope to catch up with a lot of you at mixers or other events in the area. I’d also love to start a group of CalArtians here in Las Vegas as well! Hit me up if you’re in the area!”

Leah Olbrich ’13 reports, “My friend, Kate Katz, and I have been invited to puppeteer her political tabletop puppetry piece, ’Til it Happens to You, at the National Puppet Slam and at Dragon Con in Atlanta, Georgia, this summer. This will be our fourth event performing this piece. Most recently, we performed it as part of the LA Views X ‘Sanctuary’ show with Company of Angels. It feels amazing to share such a powerful piece of work.”

Matthew Bamberg-Johnson ’13 is now working as a Performing Arts coordinator for ISANA Academies, a network of public charter schools in the greater Los Angeles area. Matthew manages a staff of 30 acting, voice, and dance instructors. When not

Linda L. Rife ’13 is running a nonprofit organization, the Los Angeles Composers Collective. She writes, “We will do a three-concert series in collaboration with 1888 Center in Orange, CA, and Brew Sessions Live. The concerts will also be a

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Class Notes

part of their podcast series, “The Sounds, The Stories.” The first concert will be Dec. 8, a concert of string quartet music and storytelling. The second concert will be in early March and will be a concert of art songs based on Italian literature, and is in collaboration with Chapman University’s Italian Studies Department. The third concert is not finalized yet, but we may pursue a concert for guitar octet! Stay tuned.”

on Sedimental Records and recently gave a guest presentation for the music composition program at University of North Texas. Ex Mus Ensemble has also collaborated with choreographer Christie Bondade (MFA ’10) on the dance piece ‘Same Sound, Different Instrument,’ most recently performed at 254 Dance Festival in Waco, TX. I’ve since collaborated with Christie individually to write music for her piece ‘Categories of Self.’ Over the past year, I’ve enjoyed being a part of the Sounds Modern concert series at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, which is run by flautist Elizabeth McNutt and composer/ violinist Andrew May (MFA ’94).”

Kat Catmur ’14 was excited for her daughter Lazlo’s first Halloween and promptly wrapped her as a sushi roll.  A

Lily Sin ’14 “I attended a design conference in London with Melissa Kuo (Graphic Design BFA ’14), visited Francesca Ramos (Graphic Design BFA ’14) in Munich, went on a work trip in Seoul, and met up with CalArts Class of ’14 designers and character animators in LA!”  C

Toby Jacobs ’14 “Following my graduation from CalArts Photo/Media program in 2014, I co-founded a production company with classmates Chris Willmott and Philip Wareborn. Our Los Angeles-based production company, ‘Department 4,’ just moved into its 4th year of business. We recently completed nine productions with Honda for their Helpful Hunt campaign, and we’re working on all media production for the Santa Monica Pier. Additionally, we just finished a broadcast PSA for our repeat clients, The Ford Theatres in Los Angeles, and are working with LA Galaxy star Zlatan Ibrahimovic on broadcast commercials for Samsung. We work regularly with M&C Saatchi and Secret Weapon agencies in Los Angeles and have done numerous videos over the past four years for Sotheby’s, Gloveworx, and Melia Resorts. Department 4 also continues to associate produce Broke LA music festival in Downtown LA. I am A currently living and working in Stockholm, Sweden, and am the co-founder of a new company called ‘Qyre.’ Qyre is a recruitment, communication, and project management tool made by and for professionals in the media industry. Our web and mobile application is moving into beta testing starting with TV productions in Stockholm and will be expanding into the US in late 2019.” Eve LaFountain ’14 continues as the CalArts Film/Video Admissions Counselor and is working hard on her art practice. She writes, “I was named a Sundance New Frontier | Native Program Fellow. The Program, which is funded by the MacArthur Foundation, supports a select group of Native American storytellers innovating the art and form of story through acts of journalism. I gave a gallery talk about artistic mentorship with


CalArts Alumni Magazine


Harry Gamboa Jr. at the Autry Museum. [A small part of Harry’s Autry exhibit is profiled on page 38.] I was commissioned by fellow alumni and public art curators, Dyson & Womack, to curate a screening of experimental films by Native American artists that showed in Santa Monica as part of Art @ Tongva and at Echo Park Film Center. I also gave a talk about experimental film education at the Laboratorio Experimental de Cine analog film conference in Mexico City. My long-time partner and collaborator, Jon Almaraz, proposed to me while I was showing my photographs at the Santa Fe Indian Market!” Tony Larson ’14 held his first major Los Angeles solo exhibition “Load Signs” at Zevitas Marcus Gallery on March 10th. The show was reviewed in the Los Angeles Times by art critic David Pagel. According to Pagel, “The 13 works in ‘Tony Larson: Load Signs’ are so fun to see that you may not notice how smart they are. And that’s just fine with Larson, whose geometric abstractions on canvas, drop cloth, and metal are nothing if not comfortable in their own skin. That maturity—or grown-up groundedness— makes Larson’s solo debut at Zevitas Marcus stand out. Its even-keeled composure an antidote to the spoiled-brat theatrics of social media, the tantrums of political discourse, and the puerile pretentions of so much contemporary art.” Colton Lytle ’14 “I’ve been collaborating for the past couple of years with composer/ guitarist Chaz Underriner (MFA ’12) and bassoonist Jolene Masone as a part of Ex Mus Ensemble. We released an album this spring


Angie Son ’14 reports, “After a very difficult deliberation, I’ve made the decision to leave my life in LA to join the talented folks at Hue & Cry as an art director in Richmond, VA. All my things have been packed haphazardly into boxes and loaded onto a trailer that will travel nearly 3,000 miles across the country. It’s been a roller coaster of emotions…from excitement to fear, anticipation to dread, I dive in and out of my emotions as my brain flashes back to the past, craves to linger in the present, and looks onward to the future. Making this decision was difficult; it involved ending a 3-year relationship, leaving my family and friends, giving up the freedom of working as a freelancer, and having the ability to travel often. It’s so crazy to think about leaving California, a place I’ve called home for more than half my life. This place, the people, the culture, the arts, music, along with all the experiences and memories made here… really shaped who I am today. And although it would be easier to stay, there is no story without a hero’s journey…and new adventures await! I’m excited to change with the

seasons, adapt to unpredictable climates, and try my hand at southern living.”  B Adrian Brizuela ’15 says “Hello! Life has been amazingly difficult! I’m learning to embrace all the obstacles that come with being a full-time artist. I work in the LA area as an actor, teacher, and editor. My time at CalArts has proven valuable, whether it’s resume building or networking here in the LA area. So many people in entertainment know about CalArts from underground warehouse parties to auditions rooms on studio lots. It always comes as a shock to the person when I say I went to CalArts! I overheard one of my bosses talking to a potential employee today about how ‘we have a guy from CalArts and he loves effects, colors, experimenting,’ and I couldn’t help but smile and feel proud about my time here. Sending love and positivity to all the artists out there. No matter what, don’t give up on your art and don’t give up on your dream!” Efajemue Etoroma Jr. ’15 “Adjunct Instructor at the Musicians Institute Hollywood, toured USA, Canada, Asia, and Europe with Los Angeles-based neo-soul group Moonchild, released Fragile EP, and Efajemue Drum Sample Pack. I am currently working as a freelance drummer, producer, and educator.”


Jono Freeman ’15 has taken off from the world of in-house product design (formerly @ Waverly Labs) to co-found a small design agency, Shaper, tackling bleeding-edge tech at the intersection of web and wearables. “I’m also biking across the United States with my girlfriend next June for our newly founded nonprofit organization, FeelTrip, raising funds for the National Alliance for Mental Illness.”  E E


Avery Lawrence ’15 recalls, “With summer comes the discovery of a dog beach in New Jersey. The Jersey Shore, just an hour’s drive and six toll-dollars from Philadelphia, proved to be the perfect spot for Sophie and Charlie to escape the oppressive urban sauna. Sophie had a blast chasing tennis balls, while Charlie found great pleasure in peeing on strangers’ beach blankets. Now, we steel ourselves for the start of fall and the new semester (for Emily as a med student at Penn, for Avery as art adjunct-er at Penn). A fun alumni connection side note: As Studio Assistant at the Fabric Workshop and Museum, I’m very much enjoying chatting with the inimitable Carrie Mae Weems, as she drove me to set for my work on Suzanne Bocanegra’s new video project made in collaboration with FWM.” Devin Ronneberg ’15 After building his own plane, Devin Ronneberg received his private pilot’s license as of August 2018. Stephanie Taglianetti ’15 reports, “I graduated from the MFA Writing program in 2015. I recently moved to NY and have been working in Manhattan as a research editor at Business Insider, primarily working on research about technologies and companies that are disrupting the healthcare sector. I also self-published a leadership development book.” Diana Cioffari ’16, is currently working in the Alumnx & Family Engagement Office at CalArts as the Program Associate in the department. She reports, “I got married on September 8, 2018 to my wonderful now husband, Matthew MacPhee. Since we are both originally from Massachusetts, the ceremony was held there. I composed and performed an original song in lieu of spoken vows. I’m pursuing many of my own

independent projects that include musical theater, operas, ballets, film scoring, voice over/voice acting work, acting, writing, teaching, and many other types of creative collaborations.” Mallory Fabian ’16 “I started my own dance company, ‘fabe dance,’ in 2017 and since have performed in many theaters and dance spaces in LA! I’ve created two evening length works, Don’t Inhale it, Strictly Mouth and unknow and am working on a third piece with my Executive Director, Darby Kelley (CalArts ’16). Our new piece will premiere at ‘It’s Not About Pretty’ at the Bootleg Theater, a show I’m co-producing with Brigette Dunn-Korpela (CalArts ’15) and Vannia Ibarguen. I’m a board member, assistant, and dancer for Rosanna Gamson/World Wide and a Rehearsal Director for Invertigo Dance Theatre. Darby Kelley and I are starting a new company called PCKT where people call us if they need freelance artist recommendations, and we’re stoked! I became a certified yoga teacher after graduation, though I’m currently not teaching, and I plan to take more trainings within the next year.”  D Sara Martin ’16 “This summer, I was named one of this year’s fellows in the 2018 HOLA MEXICO Tomorrow’s Filmmakers Today program and was named an Emerging Content Creator at the 2018 NALIP Media Summit. I also produced/released three music videos for the band TOWSE, which features many CalArts School of Music Alumni, such as Grace Fellows (Music ’17). I’m currently in development in producing a few horror/experimental short films that will be in production later on this year and in the spring of 2019, with my creative team that includes production designer, Ryan Mackel, and CalArts alums Mikael Paris (Film/Video ’16) and Derek Etman (Music ’16).”  F

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Class Notes

Joan Padeo ’16 “Earlier this year my work, Helmet I Goliath, premiered at Highways Performance Space & Gallery as part of the New Shoes Series. I conceived and directed the work which was co-choreographed and performed with Carissa Songhorian (Dance BFA ’17). The music included original works by Lexington Kills, a duo consisting of Johanna Garfield (CalArts Alumni) and Samuel Garfield. Carissa and I took Helmet I Goliath to Santa Fe Springs Art Festival 2018. After a successful run, Highways Performance Space has invited me back to create and present an original evening length work. The evening will be shared with San Francisco choreographer, Hope Mohr, and will premiere February 2019. The work will be a collaboration with Grammy Award-winning musician and composer, Alex Wand (Music MFA ’12), and I will be performing it with Carissa Songhorian, Kayla Johnson (Dance BFA ’16), Kearian Giertz (Dance BFA ’16), Shane Raiford (Dance BFA ’13) and NY transplant Cody Potter.”  A

Davy Sumner ’16 spent the summer performing and improvising with lasers, marbles, and unpitched bells in Toronto, Montreal, and New York. Davy writes, “I participated in the inaugural Westben Performer-Composer residency with CalArts alumni Ben Finley (MFA ’16), Kathryn Shuman (MFA ’16), Ryan Gaston (MFA ’16), and Sarah Reid (DMA ’19), before livescoring a talk by Radiolab Producer Simon Adler at I currently teach Low Tech Prototyping and an Electroacoustic Seminar at CalArts as a visiting music faculty member. My event-horizon this fall includes a kinetic, motorized installation in the CalArts WaveCave, designing and creating an original musical instrument based on the Doppler Effect, and making numerous trips to Home Depot to buy the nuts and bolts to hold it all together.” Sarah Van Sciver ’16 is “thrilled and honored to serve the CalArts community as Assistant Director of the Alumnx &


Family Engagement team in the Office of Advancement. When I’m not at CalArts, I run my own music company, composing, recording, teaching, and performing music, specializing in scores, songs, and sound for film, theater, and studio projects. I am working on a new LP of original love songs. Speaking of which…I just got engaged! Life is busy and beautiful.” Glovan Alonzi ’17 “was published in, started teaching Creative Writing at Loyola Marymount University, and recently made a playlist on Spotify called ‘Forever’s Gunna Start Tonight’ that I’m super proud of!”  B



CalArts Alumni Magazine

Preston Butler III ’17 reports, “I have had an exciting year of traveling and performing! I recently returned from the east coast after

starring in The Royale at Cleveland Playhouse where I portrayed one of the greatest boxers of all-time, Jack Johnson. Previously, I was blessed to tour in Europe for the world premiere of a new play called, FORE!, written by Aleshea Harris and produced by the CalArts Center for New Performance. I will be returning to South Coast Repertory as the infamous John Willoughby in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility after playing the lead alongside Tony Award-winners, L Scott Caldwell and Cleavant Derricks, in August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean last fall. Wishing the best for my fellow CalArtians everywhere!”  C Yaou Chen ’17 recalls, “This summer, CalArts CAP, Lili’uokalani Trust, and ArtChangeUS had a wonderful collaboration helping the local Hawaiian kids with animation education. I was greatly honored to work side-by-side with Linda Dorn, the CalArts Character Animation faculty member who did an exceptional job leading and guiding the program. Two of my extremely talented team members, Nak Yong Choi and Lorenzo Fresta, and I helped shape the program and mentored all the kids with their creative direction with animation. We guided them in refining their story ideas and putting their personal approach into the art work. As a result, each of them had a general idea of the making of characters, story, and layout, and they finished at least one animated scene to show what was on their minds. I learned so much during this valuable teaching experience. With a growing understanding and appreciation of the Aloha spirit, I have learned to bring it to everyday life and in my teaching. While teaching Character Design and Solid Drawing, I applied different forms of games and adjustments according to distinct groups of kids, so they could enjoy the process and get the best out of it. It has been a life-changing experience.” Evangeline Crittenden ’17 “I signed with Beal Talent for theatrical, Firestarter for commercial, and Panache Management. I performed with Sacred Fools Theater company in their LA premier of Denim Doves. I have booked three commercials in 2018, including Fender Guitars and Samsung. I have a faculty position at New York Film Academy.” Dionna Daniel ’17 “This summer, I have been workshopping my play, Gunshot Medley: Part 1. It was performed at Los Angeles’s Rogue Machine Theater in September.” [Dionna is profiled on page 32.] Dylan Freeman ’17 recalls, “I know the prompt was ‘Summer Vacation,’ but since graduating last year I had struggled with freelance and part-time work for the better part of the year and my ‘Summer Vacation’ was getting a real job! I got a real job!! It has absolutely nothing to do with my field of study at CalArts. This may be seen as a negative to some, but honestly I couldn’t be happier about it. I’ve always had multiple artistic

has started his Ph.D. studies at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand in the Sonic Engineering Lab for Creative Technology (SELCT). He writes, “I am studying under Dr. Jim Murphy (Music ’10) and Dr. Mo Zareei (Music ’12) and spent the summer designing and building robotic musical instruments. I’m looking forward to returning to the states for the fall semester to teach design in San Francisco before returning to New Zealand to continue my doctoral studies.”


passions and this allows me to focus on them all at once. Music (my metier) can stay ‘pure’ in my mind and I can make the sounds I love with the people I love and not turn that into a job because I’ve got money coming in from doing film work. I’m surrounded by creativity in my office and it’s doing something I love. If that isn’t better than a summer vacation… well, then maybe I’ve got my priorities in the wrong place. But as of now, it’s working out great for me and hopefully someday soon I’ll be able to afford my very own summer vacation! Now how can I get my hands on one of those SICK hats?” Linda (Mage) Lockwood ’17 “On June 6, 2018, I finally got to perform my original music (in this case black/doom/death metal works plus one cover) in a public setting. I was very lucky to have one of my dreams come true which was to play at the Tavern in Ventura, CA. Ever since I learned about this place in 2014, I was fascinated with the antique decor and charm of the huge house converted into a venue. I didn’t realize how lucky I was to have performed there until toward the end of that month the venue, after five years of hosting Metal Wednesdays, decided to stop having metal night. Longtime friend and CalArts alum Sara Cubarsi (DMA ’17) and current CalArts student Kyle CookeGilbert (BFA) joined me that night on electric violin and drums respectively as I did vocals and alternated between guitar and bass.” Audrey Olmos ’17 “I worked on the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival in July with my uncle and worked on social media for Youth Cinema Project, where I am an intern. It was founded by Edward James Olmos. We bring filmmaking to students from elementary-high school. We teach them how to use film equipment and to develop a story from paper to camera, giving them opportunities to succeed in their passion. All this has been a huge opportunity for me to get involved with my Latino community and

education, which I enjoy. This has been the best summer I’ve ever had in a long time.” Xanthe Pajarillo ’17 “Hi, CalArts family! My team and I successfully raised funds through Seed&Spark for our web series titled AIRMEN. It’s about a group of Air Force troops navigating life and career, and focuses on what it’s like to serve when you’re not deployed. It was created to work against the way Hollywood portrays vets as stereotypes. I will also be pursuing my MFA in Film and TV Production at USC soon. I’ll be sure to carry the CalArtian mindset with me there!”  D

Erica Estrada (Jude) ’18 writes, “After graduating CalArts, I was lucky enough to work at the Moving Picture Company (MPC) where I animated characters for a film coming out in the Spring of 2019! I also got to work with one of my professors here at CalArts on another animated film while working at MPC. I’m also creating a short animated web series I hope to release soon. I’m so grateful to now be a part of the CalArts alumni. I met so many people here (classmates and professors) that I’m happy to call some of my closest friends. I’m so excited for what the future holds for my classmates who’ve graduated and for those who are continuing their studies at CalArts.”



Irina Prokhorenko ’17 reports, “The past year, I worked for NCIS: Los Angeles as a Post Production Assistant. I learned about working for a major CBS television show. Now I am looking to work in development or a writing department, but it is tough! Also, I have finished a couple of short films that needed final post touches. I screened my thesis, Bean, at a couple of festivals, and I finished a draft of a feature film. My goal is to start applying to writing labs this year.”  E Marrok Sedgwick ’17 has a short film, Stim, that won the P.K. Walker Innovation in Craft Award at Superfest International Film Festival. It was screened in October in Berkeley, CA. Nathan Villicana-Shaw ’17 is an Adjunct Professor for the Interaction Design program at the California College of the Arts, and

Natalia Garcia Clark ’18 “Transitioning from CalArts to the ‘real’ world has been difficult, though I have learned many things and worked on some projects. I wrote an article for a magazine about American cinema that was made during the Mexican Revolution and how many stereotypes that prevail today come from that era. I also found employment at Tobey Moss Gallery and at a couple other places for short-term type gigs. I was a mentor for Venice Arts last month, and I really enjoyed that as well. Now I am working on a program that will be screened (my film is in it) at the Mexican Consulate. I’m also starting a new project about light, science, technology, and mass-produced art. Not sure what it really is yet, but it involves specters. Looking to apply to a couple residencies and art opportunities since I haven’t really looked into that yet. Other than that, just enjoying Los Angeles and my friends!” Sam Gurry ’18 had a thesis film, Winner’s Bitch, made in the MFA Experimental

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Class Notes

an experimental short film that explores socially constructed identity versus assigned identity, and takes place within the famous streets of Akihabara. The finished film screened inside of the 3331 gallery space at the end of our stay, with notable Japanese artists such as the “superflat“ painter Aya Takano, who attended the screening. The film is currently available to watch in the online exhibition organized by They/ Us Magazine called ‘Our Own Pantheon,’ a show dedicated to queer artists of color.”  B

Animation program, premiering this past September at the Toronto International Film Festival. Tim Johnson ’18 is “just about to publish my first album with Gestalt, a group that was born at CalArts. I also found two jobs: one at Apple (retail) and one teaching rock climbing. Until I can land a college-level teaching job, I like having the two non-art jobs to give me balance. I still have time to work on my craft and am creating more music, and am feeling remarkably confident about the new chapter, which I am beginning.” Scarlett Kim ’18 and Anthony Storniolo (Music MFA ’18) have founded The Mortuary, a laboratory for experiments in life and art, in Lincoln Heights. The Mortuary is home to unclassifiable experiences and unusual collaborations.


Asuka Lin ’18 attended the artist residency program held in the esteemed contemporary art gallery, 3331 Arts Chiyoda in Tokyo, Japan. There, she writes, “I collaborated with current CalArts music student Abe Abe to create a project titled headless.exe,


CalArts Alumni Magazine

Carolina Vargas Romero ’18 reports, “After graduating from the MFA acting program last May, I traveled to Chile, my home country, to spend time with family and friends, to re-encounter my A roots and self, to practice ashtanga yoga every day, to cook food full of love and connect with nature. I worked at two women retreats, where I could assist on healing many women’s heart and spirit. Meanwhile I’ve been applying for an ‘artist visa’ so I can return to the US ready to work as an actress and collaborate with my fellow Calartians.”  A Abby Salling ’18 writes, “I’m very excited to have joined the ranks of alumnx who now work at CalArts! Just one week after graduation, on my birthday, I started a job in the President’s Office, which was a really fun full-circle to make, having been on the search committee that hired Ravi in my second year. Outside of CalArts, I’ve been working on writing some long form papers on the relationship between the art market and finance theory and on the topic of artistry within the prison industrial complex. I’m hoping to use the former as the basis for a ‘discourse burlesque,’ which would play with the concepts of fetishization in the Marxist and colloquial sense.”  C Jinal Sangoi ’18 was one of the Gender Bender 2018 grantees, a show curated by Sandbox Collective and supported by Goethe Institut, Bangalore, India. Jinal reports, “I addressed the issues of migration and domestic labor through my work titled ‘Stories of Invisible Labor.’ I interviewed six women who migrated to Mumbai, based on which I engraved steel utensils with organic forms of femininity. In the past dialogues concerning the power dynamics within the families, I came across a patriarchal attribute in the western part of India where, despite the women being forced into domestic labor, the utensils were engraved with the name initials of the ‘family head,’ who was usually a male. As most kitchen utensils are made of steel, the performative act of engraving on the reflective surface further intensified the subjective experience of femininity—by watching my own reflection while making

these forms. The utensils were returned to the women from whom they were acquired to activate dialogues of and on the body, by making use of the engraved utensils in their everyday life. Through this project, the engraved utensils become the holders of women’s stories of invisible labor.” Katherine Shea ’18 reflects, “The summer after graduation has been filled with depression, self-doubt, and self-loathing. It was the post-graduate experience I was promised since the beginning of this journey. CalArts has chewed me up and spit me back out, and then turned me loose to the world as a half-functioning adult. I’ve had wonderful opportunities. I’ve been in contact with people out in the working world and making connections that may not pay off until months down the line, if at all. I’ve written, pitched shows, and applied for jobs that would have only dreamed of applying for before. I’ve done a lot of self-exploration. I’m still tackling the monsters that are depression and anxiety, but there are some silver linings. Everyone is miserable on the other side of graduation.” Fahad Siadat ’18 has recently been appointed as Managing Director of Overtone Industries, an innovative theater/opera company in Los Angeles. He writes, “I will also be the Music Director for Theater Dybbuk’s upcoming performance based on the 17th Century Kabbalist Zacuto’s work, Hell Prepared. This fall, I will begin work at Chaffey College as assistant choral conductor, and my vocal Sextet HEX is enjoying their first full season of performances with upcoming shows at Tuesdays@ MonkSpace, the Masters in the Chapel concert series in Venice, and the Sound and Fury series in Pasadena.” Wen Yi Yu (Lily) ’18 is working at EPACENTER ARTS in East Palo Alto doing arts programing for youths. C


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

Class Notes

Cynthia Velasquez ’18 writes, “I am a lecturer at California State University, Dominguez Hills, in the Social & Behavioral Sciences Program. I am also a Teaching Artist at the Museum of Latin-American Art (MoLAA) in Long Beach, CA. Throughout the year, I will be showcasing works in the U.S.Mexico Border Arts Collective. Central to this collective is using ‘disturbance’ as a point of departure toward examining border living and dwelling.” Lilac Atassi ’19 writes, “I went to community college (College of the Canyons) where I took classes in Precalculus, Algebra, and statistics. I also went to a supercollider software programming workshop at Stanford. I practice piano and I spend quality time with my family. I wrote and composed two pieces, and I made sure to catch up on sleep.” Ellody Wu ’19 “I found myself losing the ability to either create or relax at all. So I tried to do every idea that I like. I started to dance. I tried painting and singing. I performed in film school faculty Abigail Severance’s dance film. I came across many online learning platforms. I learned a couple of software programs for 3D modeling and architectural design; accomplished ‘Leaders of Learning’ from Harvard Graduate School of Education; got a certificate from MoMa on Art & Activity. I’ve been a mad-worker when I am at work. Later in July, I set a cut-off time in a day to only do things totally irrelevant to work. It is a dramatically opposite approach. Gradually, I’ve experienced that a break might be a conducive factor for waking me up for the next creative moment.”

In Memoriam Remembering Chouinardians and CalArtians who have recently passed

Stephen K. Goodman of Granada Hills, California, born on August 12, 1949 in Glendale, California, to Naoma (Noble) Goodman (deceased) and Kent Goodman (deceased), passed away at age 68 on July 18, 2018 at his home in Fresno, California. He attended USC, CalArts, and Dick Grove School of Music. He began writing marches at age 12 and continued composing professionally up to the time of his death. He also restored and created the music for Automatic Musical Instruments. His hobby was working on film scripts. He was preceded in death by his grandmother, Bessie Goodman. Stephen is survived by his wife, Kelly Goodman; his brother, Garry Goodman; and niece, Lisa Goodman. He also leaves behind his adored cat, Cindy Sue “Toots” Meowz, and many wonderful and dear friends. He was a member of Baptist and Methodist Churches. He was also a member of ASCAP and AMICA. The Neptune Society is handling his final wishes. William “Bill” Hartman, Class of 1981 Russ Nieman ’93 percussionist, had been living and playing in western Massachusetts with his wife, Roxanne Merryfield Nieman (MFA ’94) and their daughter, Skylar, for the last 15 years. Roxanne continues to write and teach while 16-year-old Skye takes up the family music/performance traditions, most recently playing electric guitar, singing, and writing for performance. Russ unexpectedly died on July 13, 2018, taken too early at age 47. Any donations should go to the Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts in his name.


CalArts Alumni Magazine

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Celebrate Chouinard’s 97-year legacy

Chouinard Alumni Annual Reunion Lunch Saturday, February 9, 2019 in Los Angeles Look for your invitation in the mail.

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