Issue 6 Winter/Spring 2020
CALARTS ALUMNI MAGAZINE
Amanda Yates Garcia
Pulitzer Prize-Winning Composer ofÂ the Opera p r i s m
Tributes to Performer-Composer, Dean, and Educator
Spell-Binding Chat with a Contemporary Witch
Unable to adapt adequately to the dematerialization of media, Julian Cowley lives in a small house in Hertfordshire, England (hemmed in by a large collection of books, vinyl records, CDs, tapes and DVDs accumulated across decades), dedicated to the pursuit of pleasure and enlightenment through study, teaching, and writing.
Jen Hutton is an artist and writer. On weekdays, she is the Project Director of Online Education and Research at CalArts, where she directs their Open Learning initiative. Jen graduated with her MFA in Creative Writing from CalArts in 2013. jenhutton.com
Joel Orozco was born in Los Angeles and raised in Chihuahua, Mexico. Since 2009 he has produced extensive documentation of the native Tarahumara population in the villages of Northern Mexico. He studied photography at CalArts, graduating in 2017.
Mark Swed has been the Los Angeles Times classical music critic since 1996. He has also contributed to the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Economist, and many other national and international publications. Swed is the author of the 25th anniversary history of the Los Angeles Music Center and is currently finishing a book on composer John Cage.
Chrysanthe Tan (CalArts ’14, ’17) is
Nicki Voss is a visual artist who works in a range of media including painting, drawing, and sculptural assemblage. Her art investigates the human experience; social and political issues; and the roles that are assigned/assumed and signify our place in the landscape. She serves CalArts as Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations in the Office of the President. nicolavoss.com
a composer, violinist, radio producer, and Star Wars prequel apologist. As a queer, autistic, multicultural artist, she exists to create, communicate, and build creative communities. Please share your favorite songs and sweet potato photos with @chrysanthetan on social media! chrysanthetan.com
A mysterious love letter constructed from Thursday-night-gallery-opening drinking cups surprised motorists driving north on I-5 in October.
Aquatic illustrations by Laurie Raskin (Art BFA 74 and Art MFA 83)
CalArts Alumni Magazine
67 Alumnx HQ 79 Class Notes 104 In Memoriam
From the President
6 From the Editor 8 Letters From You 9 Buzz
22 Through the
Prism of Opera
50 The Oracle
Chrysanthe Tan meets up with composer extraordinaire, Ellen Reid, to chat about her Pulitzer Prize-winning opera, p r i s m, keeping a creative routine, and running-shoe-nostalgia.
CalArts President Ravi Rajan sits down with Alumnx Amanda Yates Garcia to discuss the art of witchcraft and the craft of witch art.
56 Attention Foodies!
A mouth-watering survey of alumnxowned and operated LA-based food and beverage businesses.
shakalaka Celebrating the acclaimed musical and teaching career of David Rosenboom, the outgoing dean of The Herb Alpert School of Music.
64 Cold War
Asher Postcards Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Nicki Voss remembers a gift from her faculty mentor Michael Asher.
the Mask Fact and fiction converge in Joel Orozco’s intriguing new series of photographs.
Mackenzie Boudreau BFA ’19
THE CALARTS FUND SUPPORTS STUDENTS! Make a gift today to the CalArts Fund. Your generosity is reflected in the extraordinary people and programs that continue to make CalArts a special place. Every gift, no matter the size, is valued and appreciated. Increase your impact and join Friends of CalArts. As a key supporter of our next generation of creative leaders, you will enjoy special access to exclusive events with renowned artists at the forefront of arts and culture. Monthly payments are welcome and specially-priced annual memberships are available for all CalArtians: ● Alumni (1-5 years out): $250 ● Alumni (6+ years out): $1,000 ● Families and Friends: $2,500+
Make a LASTING IMPACT at CalArts You can help CalArts strengthen its community of artists with a legacy gift through your estate plan. Make a planned gift—either by including a bequest to the Institute in your will or by naming CalArts as the beneficiary of your retirement fund—and ensure that all young artists have the opportunity to realize their artistic vision, pursue their chosen career, and represent CalArts as citizen artists. If you’ve already made the generous decision to include CalArts in your estate plans, thank you! Please let us know of your plans so that we can recognize your commitment with membership in the CalArts Legacy Circle. For more information, please contact Emily Wells at 661-253-7708 or email@example.com.
“Including CalArts in my estate was an easy decision. I see my gift as a way to give back to future CalArtians who I hope will get as much out of the school as I have.” — Dave Bussan MFA ’85
From the President
Dear CalArtians, Of all the truths that arts education can lay bare, one is always clear: great artists come from everywhere. Gifts of generative brilliance simmer in equal measure across communities, cultures, demographics, and countries. When we emancipate those gifts—and fulfill our fundamental mission as a community of artists—we unleash potential from every quarter. That’s why it was so crucial to involve the whole spectrum of our community—faculty, staff, students, alumni, trustees, and artists outside CalArts—when we crafted a collective vision for our future. Now, as we move into a fresh year, these ideas will begin to shape tangible changes. Among them, we’re starting a system of shared governance that gives a robust voice to minority opinions and stands apart in higher education. The new CalArts Assembly is the beating heart of this shift: a body that will move forward issues from the faculty, staff, and students and ensures that questions can come from every member of our community. Hearing directly from the forward-thinking community at CalArts has encouraged other changes: • Last spring, students made clear their concern about how the rising cost of a CalArts education could prevent students from returning the following semester. Motivated by this, we redeployed financial aid for continuing students who demonstrated financial hardship. We were able to accommodate each and every student who showed an inability to return to school because of increased tuition. The result: the highest year-to-year student retention in recent memory. • We started to rework the entire financial aid process. We’ll be doing more to offer guidance and transparency to students: Our goal is to announce the amount of assistance available for need, the amount available for merit, and to explain the procedures for allocating both. • In response to student requests we have added physicians on campus for the first time—we have more nurses and more access to preventive health and counseling services. Through partnerships with a local hospital, we were able to achieve this without additional cost to students or the Institute. We also centralized, renovated, and expanded campus health facilities. • In another first, we’re pooling information from all the databases at CalArts to enable a central reporting tool. The upshot: we will be able to put all our institutional data to work tracking our progress in making CalArts stronger and deepening a culture of radical transparency—we want information to be available to all.
Ravi welcomes incoming students at Convocation 2019.
This is just a start. This year we will finalize the mission, values, and framework portions of our Strategic Visioning Project and publish it transparently for all. In addition, based upon community feedback, our priorities this year include technology, facilities planning, communications, and advancement. Several new leaders in these areas joined CalArts as we began the academic year, including Abigail Severance, Interim Dean of Film/Video; Veronica Alvarez, Director of the CalArts Community Arts Partnership; Nikhil Pillai, Director of Legal Affairs; Bailey Cool, Director of The Patty Disney Center for Life & Work; Lisa Seals, Director of Financial Aid; and Eric Greeny and Meredith Robbins, Vice Presidents for Development and Advancement. As CalArts welcomes them, we bid farewell to a giant in our midst: David Rosenboom, who has served as The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts dean since 1990 and oversaw CalArts as acting president in 2011. David will leave behind a rich and inspiring model of progress when he retires from his role as dean at the end of the academic year. David is the very epitome of the CalArts spirit, having fostered a host of new specializations, CalArts’s first doctoral program, and academic exchange offerings. These additions have opened doors of opportunity for countless students who’ve gone on to illuminate the world through their artistic practices. Across three decades, David made their success the core of his life’s work. Please join me in wishing him a meaningful, well-earned creative leave before we welcome him back to the music faculty in the fall of 2020. Ravi S. Rajan, President
From the Editor In May of 2020, David Rosenboom steps down as dean of The Herb Alpert School of Music and Richard Seaver Distinguished Chair in Music, marking the end of an era in CalArts history. Rosenboom came to CalArts in 1990 and through his tenure the School of Music has conferred degrees on many generation-defining musical talents populating a wide range of genres. The Pool bids David a fond farewell as dean (he will remain on faculty) with two stories. The first by Julian Cowley, focuses on Rosenboom’s whirlwind international career as a sought-after composer-performer; the second, by Mark Swed, looks at David’s educational strategies and practices as he built the CalArts program. On a personal note, I’ll miss David’s collegiality, his openness, unflappable demeanor, and timely responsiveness, as well as his understanding that it was just part of his job to help others succeed at theirs. One of the extraordinary musicians educated at CalArts on Rosenboom’s watch is the subject of our cover story, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Ellen Reid (Music MFA 11). “Ellen covered a huge amount of ground studying composition with me,” says Rosenboom. “She just exploded, acquiring expertise in writing for ensembles, with technologies for developing imaginative soundscape installations that were presented internationally, and in producing an ambitious outdoor opera. Ellen’s gregarious personality radiated, helping her to successfully recruit many student and faculty collaborators for a wide range of works. Her aptitude for collaborating continued to shine after she graduated, especially as one of the composers in the opera for 24 cars, Hopscotch, in 2015 and in her recent opera, p r i s m. Her inclusiveness and respect of others resulted in, and will continue to result in great things.” In something of a departure from our usual editorial smorgasbord, School of Critical Studies alumnx and Office of Extended Studies staffer Jen Hutton profiles five fellow alums, all finding success running innovative food and beverage businesses. And rounding out our features, The Oracle of Los Angeles, alumnx Amanda Yates Garcia, a self-described witch who has attracted national attention, engages in a spirited conversation with President Ravi Rajan. Our visual essay in this issue showcases powerful photographic imagery created by Joel Orozco. Joel mounted a phenomenal BFA exhibition on campus just five years ago that led to a 10-page feature in Black & White magazine. His talent and humility, unusual in an artist so young, are both contributing to his well-deserved success and recognition. As the Holiday season approaches, I wish all of you the best, and hope that you will keep sending The Pool updates of your current whereabouts and creative endeavors. Please check us out online at thepool.calarts.edu for video clips and other expanded content. Stuart I. Frolick, Editor 6
CalArts Alumni Magazine
The editor picking up the Maestro’s brainwaves.
THE POOL Winter/Spring 2020 ISSUE 6 Published semi-annually by the Office of Marketing & Communications at CalArts. thepool.calarts.edu PRESIDENT
Ravi S. Rajan VICE PRESIDENTS FOR DEVELOPMENT AND ADVANCEMENT
Eric Greeny and Meredith Robbins INTERIM EXECUTIVE EDITOR OF THE OFFICE OF MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS
Marylou Ferry EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Stuart I. Frolick ART DIRECTION AND DESIGN
Roman Jaster (Graphic Design BFA 07) and Kat Catmur (Graphic Design MFA 14) CONTRIBUTING EDITORS
Roman Jaster and Kat Catmur COVER PHOTOGRAPH
Ethan Hill PHOTOGRAPHY
Rafael Hernandez (Photography and Media BFA 11) PRODUCTION MANAGER
Debbie Stears PROJECT MANAGER
N.E. Jaster PROOF READING
Esther Gwynne AD DESIGN
CalArts Office of Communications PRINTING
Publishers Press, Lebanon Junction, Kentucky TYPEFACES
Arnhem by OurType Soleil by TypeTogether Prophet by Dinamo
Anouk by Sabina Chipara Seagul by Williams and McGrath
Lapture by Just Another Foundry
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF THE ARTS
CALARTS DANCE THE SHARON DISNEY LUND SCHOOL OF DANCE
Letters From You
The Pool Issue 5 Summer/Fall 2019
Re: Alex Wand
As a fellow CalArtian practicing in the world of arts and ecology, I applaud your reporting on Alex Wand’s Camino de las Monarcas project. When Alex first told me about his plan to migrate with the monarchs to their winter terminus in Michoacán by bike, I was in disbelief. The following spring, we reconnected: he arrived back to LA with 50lbs less milkweed seed, and about 50 minutes of cinematic heroism. Inspired by his personal form of filmmaking, I invited Wand to participate in the first of a series of two-person shows, which I curate at Plant Material, a new storefront for ecological design, gardening, and art. Interested in radical definitions of ‘personhood’ and with respect to indigenous ways of relating to the nonhuman, I partnered Wand’s work with the work of the narrowleaf milkweed. The milkweed acts as a caterpillar nursery, providing food and shelter. The plant, once a common feature in our landscape, has been greatly reduced by development and industrialized agriculture. The monarch population has declined in unison, dropping 90% since the 1990s. It is widely accepted that we are culpable for a climax of extinctions and a cascade of other environmental crises. Though all sharing responsibility as individuals, I place greater culpability on the forces of capitalist extraction economy and its founding colonial relationships with land and living beings as inert ‘natural resources.’ New relationships of empathy, reciprocity, and respect must ground a new economy. Artists are among the leaders who will model these changes, difficult as they may be. Perhaps we can all lead in ways as courageous as Wand’s project. Susanna Battin, MFA Photography and Media ’16 8
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Re: Man of Character
Most “independent” films made by CalArts animators are collaborative efforts. There’s just too much potential for creative interaction here to sit alone in your cubicle and make solitary art. It’s something I miss about working in A115, but happily recalled while reading Maureen Selwood’s thoughtful piece on Stephen Hillenburg (The Pool 5). It reawakened the kinds of memories that are hard to share at a memorial service. I loved seeing Steve’s loose and playful drawings again. I was touched to hear the reminiscences of some of his closest companions: Steve Belfer, Mark Osborne, and Isabel Herguera. As his mentor, Jules Engel, recognized immediately Steve was a “giant”—and it’s no accident that his talents were nurtured at CalArts. The whole world knows SpongeBob, but we were so fortunate to have known Steve! Thanks to all who made this collaborative tribute possible. Marc Ratner, Experimental Animation ’92
Meanwhile on Instagram…
mcfetridge Bring back the yellow. Geoff McFetridge (Graphic Design ’95)
harrysabin One of my favorite work study jobs was as a projectionist here. Harry Sabin (Character Animation ’79)
theviviennelux I don’t receive a printed copy anymore, how can I get it again? MARC RATNER
Vivienne Lux (Art ’98)
“The day Netscape became a public company was the same day that Jerry Garcia died. [That day] we left behind the 1960s values that had been energizing the early Net.”—Douglas Rushkoff, p. 12
XINA HAMARI NESS
Jade Jackson’s Wilderness Plus— Douglas Rushkoff, Nick Steinhardt, David Rhodes, Venice Biennale, early CalArts art stars, Holley Farmer, and Suzan Pitt remembered the POOL
ELA BIALKOWSKA, COURTESY OF M+ HONG KONG
CalArtians represent at La Biennale di Venezia
Negotiated Differences and Hyperbolic Planes Venice Biennale is known as “The Olympics of the Art World” for its international participation, and this year, CalArts students, faculty, and alumni have something to cheer about: robust representation. Faculty members Shirley Tse (School of Art) and Christine Wertheim (Critical Studies) were invited to participate in Biennale Arte 2019, held May 11 through Nov. 24, with the theme, “May You Live in Interesting Times.” Also participating were alumni Cameron Jamie (Art BFA 95), Henry Taylor (Art BFA 95), Kaari Upson (Art MFA 07), and Charlotte Prodger, who spent a semester at CalArts while earning her MFA from The Glasgow School of Art in 2009. Tse was thrilled and honored when her native Hong Kong extended an invitation to show at the event—especially when she realized that she’s the first woman to ever land a solo show for the Hong Kong pavilion. “I am the one who broke the glass ceiling,” she says, still in awe. “That is amazing.” 10
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Her exhibition, titled Stakeholders, Hong Kong In Venice, includes two installations. Negotiated Differences consists of lathe-carved wooden objects that Tse connected using plastic joints created with a 3-D printer. “I really like how all these differences are trying to come together, finding a way to fight gravity together. The only way they can do it is through negotiation,” she says. The second work, Playcourt, was inspired by Tse’s childhood memories of playing badminton in the streets of Hong Kong. In creating this work, which includes tripods poised for action, she explored themes of colonialism, communication, and trade. “I imagine the birdie—which is made of vanilla bean pods and rubber, trade products of the colonial era— flying back and forth along the two ends of the court; it’s like trading routes,” Tse says. Wertheim and her twin sister, Margaret, began dreaming up their work, Crochet Coral Reef, nearly 15 years ago. That’s when the two began crocheting curvy objects, called hyperbolic planes (the technique was invented by mathematician Daina Taimina, an associate adjunct professor at Cornell University). When Christine deviated from the formula
FRANCESCO GALLI, COURTESY LA BIENNALE DI VENEZIA
and switched to using fluffy, sparkly, colorful yarns, she noticed that the result resembled corals. “One day, I casually said, ‘Oh! They look like corals; we could crochet a coral reef.’” They did just that, inviting others around the world to participate in the endeavor, too. In Venice, the reefs are on display in glass vitrines and hanging from the wall. “The whole effect evokes the experience of both seeing corals underwater, and being in an old-fashioned natural history museum,” says Christine. “It is also about technology and craft and oceanic life.” Both Tse and Wertheim were honored to see their works on display with beautiful Venice as a backdrop, and the two faculty members agree that 2019 is a special year, in part because they were able to see so many artists with CalArts ties. “Six people from one institution in one year is pretty amazing,” says Wertheim. —Kate Silver
Christine and Margaret Wertheim’s Crochet Coral Reef (above) and Shirley Tse’s Negotiated Differences (opposite) were included at the Venice Biennale.
What It Meant to Be a Black Artist in the Sixties The internationally acclaimed exhibition, Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963–1983, made its West Coast debut at The Broad in Los Angeles and was on view through September. Beginning at the height of the Civil Rights movement and running through the activism of subsequent years, the show featured era-defining work from 60 black artists, including Chouinard Art Institute alums Noah Purifoy ’56, David Hammons ’66–68, Timothy Washington ’69, and Daniel LaRue Johnson (early ’60s). Through painting, photography, sculpture, collage, assemblage, and performance, Soul of a Nation celebrated the work of black artists during this significant time period in American history. According to The Broad, the show also revealed “communities engaged in robust artistic dialogues [and] disagreements about what it meant to be a black artist at this time.”
David Hammons, Black First, America Second, 1970. Body print and screenprint on paper.
“I’m Douglas Rushkoff and I’m with Team Human.”
Technology keeps Douglas Rushkoff (Theater MFA 86) awake at night. Not because he’s busy using it, but because he’s concerned about the ways it infiltrates and manipulates our lives. And he’s not just talking about Russian hacking. As Rushkoff sees it, technology uses people more than people use technology. He explores that notion—and suggests how to regain control—in his latest book, Team Human, which was published earlier this year by W. W. Norton. “Every time you swipe your phone, it gets smarter about you, while you get dumber about it. The phone and its apps are looking for exploits in your psychology that it can leverage to get you to do things against your best interests. You are not the user; you are the used,” says Rushkoff, who is a media and cultural theorist, author of 20 books, and host of the “Team Human” podcast, which draws 50,000 listeners every week. In 2013, MIT Technology Review named Rushkoff one of the “world’s 10 most influential thinkers.” Kate Silver talked with Rushkoff about his book. You argue in your book that technological advances are adversely affecting the world’s social fabric. Why is that? Mainly because disconnected, antisocial people make for better consumers. People buy things to compensate for the lack of social relationships in their lives. And the more antisocial they become, the more they turn to the market for solutions—whether that’s for the lawnmower they can’t borrow from their neighbor, or the friend they can’t turn to for advice. Digital technology is just the newest environment for this desocialization. Silicon Valley intentionally develops apps and platforms 12
CalArts Alumni Magazine
designed to disable our painstakingly evolved social mechanisms and revert us to a more reptilian state of mind. They can addict us more easily and extract more data from us if we are in an impulsive, frightened state. Look at this! You’re in danger! Click here! Can you pinpoint a defining moment when everything derailed? Well, everything hasn’t derailed yet or we wouldn’t be having this conversation! The fact that we’re talking means there’s still hope. But there have been some profound turns away from social connection. The earliest was probably the shift from nomadic to sedentary life. Then there was land to protect and a family to dominate. Men started to care more about their own offspring and lineage than that of the group. The Renaissance was another big one. That’s when local currencies and marketplaces were forcibly replaced with interest-bearing central currencies and chartered monopolies. People who used to be in small businesses creating value had to go to cities and work as employees of the King’s friends’ corporations. And most recently, digital technology— which could have been a great, decentralizing equalizer—ended up being used as a tool for surveillance and social control. If there’s a single moment, it could be the day that Netscape—based on the original, nonprofit Web browser—became a public company.
compel government action against climate change]. I have hope in Alexandria OcasioCortez and Greta Thunberg, who may be too strident and real for television, but who come across just fine in the digital media environment. I feel hopeful when I see schoolchildren blocking bridges in London to fight for their own futures. I feel hopeful when I start a podcast called Team Human, with no fanfare at all, and it quickly gains 50,000 regular listeners— people who are willing to spend an hour every week listening to a show that’s about humans and connection. I’m inspired by the widespread hunger to reconnect. Douglas Rushkoff’s Team Human was published by W.W. Norton.
That was the same day that Jerry Garcia died. I always saw it as the day we left behind the 1960s values that had been energizing the early Net. The book encourages people to take a stand. What’s the first step in getting back on track? The first step is to reconnect with other people, in real life. Look into people’s eyes when you speak with them. Establish rapport. Rapport is the prerequisite to solidarity. Human beings have the home field advantage here in the real world. But being human is a team sport. Find the others. What are some things you’ve chosen to do in your own life to take the reins back from tech companies and algorithms? Well, I don’t use social media—not for anything but publicity, anyway. It’s not the way I connect to people. And I’ve recently returned to the theater. I’m developing two projects at The Public Theater here in New York. No matter how many books I write or podcasts I do, they can’t replace the power of live theater. I don’t think we resist through digital media, so much as by reclaiming our real-world social relationships. I’m more interested in strengthening our cultural immune system.
Are there technological developments that give you hope for the future? The ones that give me the most hope are those that retrieve something from the past—when I see young, permaculture farmers retrieving aboriginal crop rotation techniques, or medical researchers turning to rain forest plants for new cures. Progress has become equated with forgetting or replacing the past, when it should be as much as about retrieving and renewing it. Are there ways that CalArts has influenced you? Most of all, I cherish the days at CalArts because we were all after the same thing. We were all figuring out what it meant to be an artist and how to get better at our crafts. It was really hard to find someone there who didn’t absolutely care about their work. I trusted everyone there for that reason. Sometimes I still have dreams about the place, as if it’s a touchstone of some kind—a way for my psyche to recall what it’s like to care about nothing but the intent, quality, and impact of my work.
“Look into people’s eyes when you speak with them. Establish rapport. Human beings have the home field advantage here in the real world. But being human is a team sport.”
What are some things that give you hope for the future of humans and connection? I’m inspired by Extinction Rebellion [a movement that encourages civil disobedience to the POOL
Walking Through the Wild Jade Jackson (Music BFA 15) released her second album, Wilderness. Her sister, Audrey Jackson (Art BFA 20), illustrated the cover.
Jade Jackson’s second album, Wilderness. Cover illustration by Audrey Jackson.
“Jade Jackson may be the next big country-rock star,” proclaimed a full-page write-up in the Los Angeles Times earlier this year. By all accounts, her career is taking off. After releasing her second country-rock infused album, Wilderness, she’s been touring extensively, participated in a performance and conversation at the Los Angeles Grammy Museum, and will play at the Stagecoach festival in April 2020. The Pool caught up with Jackson as she was enroute to rehearsals with her band. In a few days, they would perform at the Nashville Americana Festival before heading out for a lengthy European tour. “I’ve never played in France or Belgium,” says Jackson. “I’m super excited about that.”
CalArts Alumni Magazine
While Jackson has dreamed of recording and performing since she was 13—“All I wanted to do was start a band!”—it wasn’t smooth sailing to get here. In a way, CalArts was her backup plan. She remembers thinking, “If this music thing doesn’t work out, I don’t want to be a waitress for the rest of my life.” “CalArts was so freeing,” she says. “Faculty don’t push you into a certain category or genre.” But her CalArts experience was also complicated when she broke her back in a rope swing accident during her first year. Jackson was resigned to pivot her career towards producing and working in studios. “I gave up on all my dreams after the accident,” she says. Yet, in her third year, musician Mike Ness (of Social Distortion fame and a long-time family friend) called, offering his support. Ness ended up producing both of Jackson’s albums. “Him believing in me rejuvenated my dreams. Now I’m back to plan A.” For Wilderness, which was released on ANTI- Records, Jackson enlisted her younger sister to illustrate the cover art. Audrey Jackson is in her final year at CalArts. Her cover design combines personal symbols of the sisters’ childhood with themes from the album. She explains that the wine bottle dripping onto a heart alludes to “anxiety and pain that comes with an alcoholic environment.” The angels trumpet plant is “absolutely beautiful but ironically, extremely poisonous and toxic.” The borage plant is included because “we grew up being told that if we were ever afraid, eating the flowers from the borage would give us all the bravery we needed.” When Jade Jackson is not on the road, she returns to the small town of Santa Margarita, CA, where she and Audrey were raised. There she works waiting tables in her parents’ restaurant. The economic realities of being a musician in 2019 are challenging, even with a record deal and burgeoning success. “You just have to make it work,” Jackson says with determination.
To the Beat of a Dead Horse Nick Steinhardt (Art BFA 09) is a designer during the day. At night, he plugs in his guitar for Touché Amoré.
When the hardcore band Touché Amoré played its 1,000th show last year, its members were feeling nostalgic. Nick Steinhardt (Art BFA 09), who has been the band’s guitarist since its start in 2008, had an idea. He wanted to design a retrospective book honoring the 10th anniversary of the band’s first record. The result is Dead Horse X Deluxe Vinyl Book, a limited edition, 148-page work with writings, lyrics, photos, and ephemera from the band’s archives, along with the original LP from 2009 and a re-recorded one. What fans of the band may not know is that Steinhardt’s career in graphic design is as storied as his music career. In fact, his path to design was choreographed by his love of music. Playing in a band as a young teenager led him to design CD covers and T-shirts. “I was the only one that had any kind of art background, because I took painting and drawing classes most of my life,” he says. Word spread and he began designing CD covers and merchandise for other bands around Southern California. When he applied to CalArts, those designs filled his portfolio. As a student, he relished learning all things design oriented. He says the school helped push him beyond digital design, led him to
Nick Steinhardt joined the Touché Amoré when he was a graphic design student at CalArts. For the band’s 10-year anniversary, he designed the Dead Horse X Deluxe Vinyl Book.
experiment with collage and silk screening, and to express moods through typography. “A lot of people think that design school is a four-year Photoshop class, but it’s the furthest thing from that,” says Steinhardt. “It’s very conceptual and you’re learning how to think and problem solve.” That helped prepare him for an internship with the boutique design firm Smog, which hired him upon graduation and where he still works today. Just as his design prowess has helped him to best visually represent bands and musicians, his understanding of music helps shape his design concepts. At Smog, Steinhardt has worked with a who’s who of pop musicians— Cher, Tom Petty, Britney Spears, Selena Gomez, Pink—to design albums, advertise tours, and market merchandise. “I think my point of view as a musician helps me communicate to others when speaking about their art, and the art direction/design work I do for Touché Amoré has become a platform to showcase that,” he says. When it comes to his band—whose style he describes as “loud,”—he’s created the graphics for almost everything it’s released in the last 10 years. Steinhardt admits that when he was at CalArts, he didn’t expect that his band would still be together more than a decade later. Back then, he saw school as an opportunity to learn how to design items for the band, and the band pushed him to expand his visual vocabulary. Designing the Dead Horse X Deluxe Vinyl Book gave him the chance to reminisce about both worlds, and he loved every minute of it. —Kate Silver
Buzz David Rhodes, founder of Rhodes School of Music, which is located in Larchmont Village, Los Angeles
“A little musical world on Larchmont Boulevard.” For centuries there’s been symbiosis between art making and teaching. It not only provides a source of income for artists, but also a way to refine their skills and connect with a new generation of makers. Today that tradition lives on, and there’s hardly a better example than Rhodes School of Music founder, David Rhodes (Music MFA 12, Music BFA 10). The school has quickly grown David Rhodes didn’t set out into a bustling hub for music to run a full-fledged music lessons in Larchmont Village school, but that’s exactly and Los Angeles at large. It began what it has become, with out of necessity. Rhodes remem35 teachers and more than bers, “I was driving all over the city 500 students enrolled. to teach, and I wanted to open a small studio for myself, in which to teach, practice, and compose.” That studio was a success until a rent increase forced Rhodes to rethink. “I had to figure out how to make it work—a second teaching studio was added, and suddenly Rhodes School of Music was born!” Although he didn’t set out to run a fullfledged music school, that’s exactly what it has become. Now, seven years later, the school has 35 teachers and more than 500 students enrolled. “Because of the popularity of the location and the excellence of the teachers,” he says, “we grew really fast, and I wanted to provide space and lessons for everyone interested in learning music.” 16
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Rhodes is beloved by the school’s community and staff alike, in part because he understands the realities faced by working musicians, and because he cares. “As the school grew,” he admits, “I had to learn how to run a business in order to ensure that the school would thrive and that the teachers and front desk staff had full schedules and reliable incomes.” The teachers took note. “I’m not sure where I’d be without the Rhodes School,” acknowledges guitar teacher and CalArts alum, Steven van Betten (Music BFA 14). “It allows me to chase my musical goals while working at a place I love and care about.” Rhodes has cultivated a growing community. “The waiting room is the most important room in the school,” he says, smiling. “It fosters so much community, sharing of ideas, connecting kids and families—creating a little musical world on Larchmont Boulevard.” Rhodes has also tapped the CalArts community, employing more than 60 alumnx so far. He knew that CalArts would be a great “filter” for finding the right teachers because “CalArtians readily share the vision and vibe of the school. In addition, their training at the Institute prepares them to thrive in a teaching environment. They know how to work with people and help students with any genre of music.” The future of the school is bright, and Rhodes couldn’t be happier. “The school gives me an outlet for my skills, but what I didn’t realize when I started, was that it would also enhance the surrounding community. Helping to create a community of musical families and teachers has been very gratifying.” —Cooper Wolken
Acute Hearing, 1979, Mitchell Syrop. Performance by Mitchell Syrop, with Tony Oursler. Photography by Mitchell Syrop and Tony Oursler.
Exhibition Explores Artists of CalArts’s Early Years
“A situation where art might happen.” The Kestner Gesellschaft’s Where Art Might Happen: The Early Years of CalArts, takes a magnifying glass to the Institute’s first decade (1970–1980) and the legendary artists it produced during this era and beyond. The show’s title refers to a John Baldessari quote about his belief that art was not teachable, but that one could set up “a situation where art might happen.” The exhibition, curated by Los Angelesbased Dr. Philipp Kaiser and Christina Végh, director of the Kestner Gesellschaft, was on view from Aug. 30 to Nov. 10 in Hanover, Germany. Alumni in the show include Ericka Beckman (Art MFA 76), Ross Bleckner (Art MFA 73), Barbara Bloom (Art BFA 72), Troy Brauntuch (Art BFA 75), Klaus vom Bruch (Art 76), Dorit Cypis (Art MFA 77), Eric Fischl (Art BFA 72), Jack Goldstein (Art MFA 72), Mike Kelley (Art MFA 78), Suzanne Lacy (Art MFA 73), Matt Mullican (Art BFA 74), Daniel Joseph Martinez (Art BFA 79), John Miller (Art MFA 79), Susan Mogul (Art 73), Tony Oursler (Art BFA 79), Charlemagne
Palestine (Music 71), Stephen Prina (Art MFA 80), Anthony Ramos (Art MFA 72), David Salle (Art BFA 73), Mira Schor (Art MFA 73), Jim Shaw (Art MFA 78), Mitchell Syrop (Art MFA 78), Carrie Mae Weems (Art BFA 81), James Welling (Art MFA 74, BFA 72), Faith Wilding (Critical Studies MFA 73), and Christopher Williams (Art MFA 81). The exhibition also showcases works from artists affiliated with the Institute, such as Simone Forti and Ann Noël. Former faculty members include Michael Asher, David Askevold, John Baldessari, Sheila Levrant de Bretteville, Judy Chicago, Douglas Huebler, Stephan von Huene, Allan Kaprow, Alison Knowles, Ulrike Rosenbach, Miriam Schapiro, Wolfgang Stoerchle, and Emmett Williams. Complete with archival materials, artwork, and recordings of oral histories with 13 CalArtians, the exhibition presents a variety of perspectives on the school: parallel movements from the milieus of Conceptual Art, feminist art, and Fluxus as well as the school’s radical pedagogical concepts. Where Art Might Happen travels next to the Kunsthaus Graz in Austria, where it will be on view from March 13 to June 7, 2020. — Taya Zoormandan the POOL
Off Campus News...
Standoff in Oregon CalArts School of Critical Studies faculty Anthony McCann’s new nonfiction book Shadowlands is an apocalypse-flavored account of the Oregon standoff of 2016. The book examines the deep historical, religious, and ecological contexts of the high desert showdown that kicked off one of the more tumultuous years in recent American memory. Critic Walter Kirn, in his front-page Sunday New York Times Book Review, proclaims Shadowlands to be “that rare beast these days … that delves beneath merely partisan concerns to touch its subject’s absurd and tragic heart.”
Listening in Santa Barbara The multimedia installation Ensemble is comprised of raw timber and handmade bells that functions as a communal bell-ringing instrument. The piece, created by sound and performance artist Chris Kallmyer (Music MFA 09), was installed at The Santa Barbara Museum of Art through September. Activated by a group of nonmusician participants, the instrument employs a music-making method that blends collective listening with lively communal rituals and meditation practice.
Prize in Cannes The short film Hieu received the Cinéfondation 2nd Prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Produced by Betty Hu ’18, and Rui Xu ’20, the story focuses on a Vietnamese American household that receives a visit from a long-lost patriarch after he fails at a get-rich-quick scheme. The creative team includes voice actor Pricilla Chung ’20, production designer Jin Young Sung ’20, associate production designers and set dressers Anna Kim ’20 and Jiaying Wang ’18, costume designer Yi-Hsien Cheng ’19, assistant costume designer Shuhui Zhao ’20, sound designer Gahyae Ryu ’19, associate producer Ratri Anindyajati ’17, and producing assistant April Tse ’18.
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Awards Fever in Hadestown Mythologically inspired production Hadestown was a big winner at the 73rd annual Tony Awards, racking up a total of eight Tonys, including Best Musical. The show’s producers include CalArts School of Theater faculty Mara Isaacs, as well as alums Meredith Lynsey Schade (Theater MFA 06), Dale Franzen (Music MFA 89), and Kathleen O’Kelly (Theater MFA 18). Todd Sickafoose (Music MFA 98) shared the award for Best Orchestration for Hadestown.
On Campus News...
Powerhouse Brand new CalArts swag available in the student store!
Full House CalArts convocation (held for the first time in a very long while) welcomed incoming students and their families on Sep. 1.
Haunted House Gearing up for CalArts’s infamous Halloween party, students installed a wall-sized poster, designed by Jessica Peng (Art BFA 20) and Bryan Gelderbloom (Art BFA 20).
Open House The annual Open House Dance Concert was performed on campus Oct. 10.
Suzan Pitt (1943–2019)
“We needed Suzan when she arrived. Her bravery and skills permeated the program bringing forth new thinking about the animated film with new conversations.”
It is with great sorrow that we note the passing of Suzan Pitt, a singular artist and one of the great contributors to the art of animation in the last century. Friend and faculty colleague, Maureen Selwood remembers: The Experimental Animation Program invited Suzan to teach at CalArts in 1998. She came to us providing a perspective of seeing animation as something that broadened a whole spectrum of inclusionary methods: opera, painting, performance, murals, theater sets, and finally painted art coats inspired by the street life of New York City, a signage of urban rumble. We needed her when she arrived. Her bravery and skills permeated the program bringing forth new thinking about the animated film with new conversations. She never withheld what she felt needed to be said and always asked one to go further, to risk more and to be as honest as possible. Her syllabi were exciting to read with her complex associations in the art worlds of New York and Berlin in the 1970s, and with artists whom she knew personally. Her seminal film, Asparagus, is as provocative today as when it was first screened in 1979. Suzan believed that within us we have the ability to unfold the way we dream, that each image leads us to the next image, giving birth to dense scenes, often hyper-illusionistic. She gave us her theatrical dreams executed
with extraordinary self-control, showing us that language alone was inadequate. Suzan was eager to explain to students the underpinnings of the complex form of animation art—always pushing them to go deeper into their own inner lives to bring forth original, significant work. She was quick to point out what to avoid, what needed to come forth. Her wicked sense of humor was accompanied by a great laugh. She created complex images that provoked and shocked, and she delighted in knowing that she did so. Suzan rode by horseback across Mexico, lived in the isolated woods of Michigan, and cared for her beloved garden in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Mt. Washington, finally settling in New Mexico where she passed away on June 16, 2019. M aureen Selwood Faculty, School of Film/Video
Holley Farmer Brings Merce Cunningham’s Technique A principal dancer for 12 years with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Holley Farmer joined the CalArts faculty and is currently teaching Cunningham’s technique to students in The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance. She will also serve as director of the BFA program in Dance. As a stager, Farmer is authorized by the Merce Cunningham Trust to teach and present the choreographer’s dances. “I am an original source of the legacy,” she says. “I’d go crazy if I wasn’t in an academic setting with the opportunity to pass the practice forward.” 20
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CalArts MA Aesthetics and Politics
AESTHETICS ANDPOLITICS. CALARTS.EDU
BURN / HIT / RUN
Chrysanthe Tan interviews Pulitzer Prize–winning composer Ellen Reid
0kay, 0kay. Okay. Challenge accepted.” Composer Ellen Reid (Music MFA 11), recipient of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Music, is making me a playlist. She closes her eyes and sways while spinning records in her head, blurting out ideas and enthusiastic reasoning for her choices. Ellen isn’t the kind of composer I learned about growing up. She doesn’t compose from a pedestal, entertain notions of artistic purity, or get lost in the “academia of it all.” Rather, she invites people in, encouraging them to engage with her art: participate, push boundaries, share stories, and heal. I cannot overstate the impact of p r i s m —Ellen Reid’s Pulitzer Prize-winning opera—and I say this as someone who regards major award winners with skepticism. On a general, topical level, p r i s m is about sexual assault, a subject I normally avoid due to fears of being triggered. But p r i s m feels entirely different. For me, it is an exhalation of pent-up frustration and self-blame. It’s a relief to encounter a work that focuses not on the forensics, legalities, and reparations of sexual assault, but on the survivor’s journey through post-traumatic stress. It’s messy! Living beyond trauma involves far less self-assurance and far more naiveté, self-denial, and inconsistency than most people think. The music of p r i s m , assisted by librettist Roxie Perkins’s nonlinear storytelling, demonstrates this slippery narrative. We encounter a musical motif that recurs throughout the three acts in vastly different styles and with shockingly different sonic treatments—sometimes dreamy
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and romantically classical, embodying the alluring fantasy of denial, while at other times, gritty and processed through electronics, insisting that we look at the ugly things that have happened. Ultimately, any survivor decides whether to accept the realities of their trauma. Notably, the motif also shows up during the pop-up nightclub that takes place in the theater during intermission. It is a seed that neither protagonist nor audience can forget. Though Reid’s portfolio and accolades are already astonishing, she really lights up when talking about her Luna Composition Lab, the mentorship program for young, female-identifying, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming composers that she cofounded with composer Missy Mazzoli. It is Reid’s mission to empower and mentor the next generation of traditionally underrepresented composers, and she practices what she preaches. As a composer, I look up to Ellen. As a human being, I feel companionship with her. Take everything you know about opera and classical music and destroy it, because this is Ellen Reid we’re talking to.
Hi, Ellen! This won’t be an “interview” as much as a casual conversa— [A plane flies low overhead.]
Wow!!! Look at that! Did you see that? The plane was pulling the clouds like it was smoking or something! [We stare at the sky.] Well this is an oddly fitting way to start our conversation. Your attention to sensory detail is something I notice and really appreciate in your work. Thank you! I always think of points of entry. It’s important to create multiple points of entry within a work for people to get something from it. With a narrative or dramatic work like an opera, you have the visuals, but I love making sound installations too, because they’re like tactile windows in for people. I just built an the POOL
“We focus so much on
the incident and not nearly enough on the aftermath and trauma for the survivor.
interactive sound sculpture titled Playground with an opera company in Omaha, NE, and all the elements of the swing set made noise. The swing set also happened to be made of things that cause carbon pollution. In the end, we had this heavenly looking, silver sculpture that sounds beautiful and that you watch children play on—but then, when you look closely, you see that it’s made of exhaust pipes, mufflers, oil barrels, and plastic straws. There are so many levels to that. You can think about the pollution, play on it like a normal swing set, or even enjoy the beautiful sound of it. You can also think about the meta of what this all means about childhood. … Or just hit things. It’s a playground. I mean, who doesn’t want to hit percussion? I can’t get over the fact that you squeezed a nightclub into the intermission of your Pulitzerwinning opera. That’s a pretty big example of an alternate point of entry. p r i s m really surprised audiences of all backgrounds in the best way possible. I feel that you also broke protocol in terms of how we, as a society, have tacitly decided to dance around the subject of sexual assault. We focus so much on the incident and not nearly enough on the aftermath and trauma for the survivor. I agree. Your opera is therapeutic for me. What’s the best audience response you’ve gotten to p r i s m so far? I received an e-mail from someone who said they had never felt those emotions before in their life. It took me a while to process that. And I’ll never forget the audience response in São Paulo. Right now, in Brazil, there’s a lot of pressure to defund art, major issues with women’s safety and women’s rights. So, the fact that this was a modern work by two women 26
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about sexual assault made these people feel really brave. They shared their stories and because of our piece, they convened a forum about women and art in Brazil. The amount of support and investment as well as the activism it inspired, just blew me away. And now you have a Pulitzer. What’s that like? You know, I haven’t had a Pulitzer for very long, but the thing external success brings is more possibilities and control over my career, which is great. I feel more agency. All of a sudden people listen to me. A bit like winning a golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory? Exactly. External markers of success are so weird. You’ve been here all along. I actually didn’t start writing until I was 19 and in college at Columbia University. Afterward, I lived in Thailand for two-and-a-half years. When I came back to New York, I was figuring out how to make sense of my interests and experiences—theater, Thai classical music, growing up in the American South and singing in church. I started looking at master’s programs, and CalArts was one of only two places to which I applied. I loved the freedom to explore different programs within the music school and connect with other schools as well. I felt lucky to have such opportunities. And now, with all this external success, one of the first things I think about is the Luna Lab. Oh my god, I’m such a fan of the Luna Lab. That’s the fellowship program you cofounded with Missy Mazzoli for young, female-identifying, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming composers, right? I wish it had been around when I was starting out. What a dream for the fellows! As soon as I won the Pulitzer, I was like, “Holy shit, these Luna Lab Fellows are going to be able to go way beyond this now.” It made me feel like my career was about more than my own career. I want to forge a path so it’s easier for the next generation, and now I’m even more empowered to do that. I love your perspective. Is there a dark side to your success? It is very chaotic. For a while I lost track of where normal was, you know? The most challenging thing—which is also one of the best things—is that a lot of people suddenly wanted
The music of Ellen Reid’s p r i s m was published on Decca Gold.
Scenes from Los Angeles Opera’s production of p r i s m.
to communicate with me after winning the Pulitzer. It’s so great to be in touch with all these people, but there’s also so much energy and time needed to communicate. I have to be intentional in carving out writing time. But how does anyone carve out time to practice their craft as they keep advancing in their career? It’s a challenge. Good question. How, exactly, are you managing to do it? I stick to banker’s hours, or rather, academic’s hours, as much as possible. Instead of 9 to 5, it’s 10 or 11 to 7 or 8. I schedule meetings in the afternoons, if possible. Do you have rituals? I like to burn things. …? I burn Palo Santo or incense. I always meditate and burn something before writing. God, this all sounds so very … balanced. Were you always this disciplined? Kind of, yeah. My parents were always pretty health conscious. In college I took up running to deal with stress. I still try to take a short jog every day, like a 20-minute jog after I’m done writing just to kind of come down. Running is such a stress reliever! Good idea to do it after writing. I tend to do it before. NOULIN-MÉRAT STUDIO
Reid created the interactive sound sculpture Playground with Opera Omaha: “We had this heavenly looking, silver sculpture that sounds beautiful and that you watch children play on—but then, when you look closely, you see that it’s made of exhaust pipes, mufflers, oil barrels, and plastic straws.”
I honestly don’t push myself very hard, but if I’m traveling it’s a way to see the area. … Okay, you’re speaking my language. Running is such a precious travel thing for me. You can cover so much ground, and I like to christen each city with a casual run. Yes! Wow. Wait, do you get sentimental about your running shoes too? Extremely sentimental. It’s bad for my feet, because I really need to update my shoes. But I’m like, “These shoes went to Vienna. …” Yes! I’ve been to all these places in the world with my running shoes, and they probably have the dirt from India and São Paulo and the dirt from all these places on them. And you know, they’ve carried me through a lot of different places that I don’t even remember right now. That’s so special. Can I give you a challenge before we say goodbye? Okay.
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“Winning the Pulitzer made me feel like my career was about more than my own career. I want to forge a path so it’s easier for the next generation.
I know how important accessibility and points of entry are for you. So what are your top three listening recommendations for people who consider themselves unfamiliar with classical music? Ooh. Daphnis et Chloé by Maurice Ravel, because it’s just the most beautiful thing ever. The music of Silvestre Revueltas is amazing. And West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein. Wonderful suggestions. What would you recommend for people who already listen to classical music but aren’t familiar with 21st century, living composers? Most people I know are in this category. Well, the cool thing about right now is that there are a lot of people doing things in between genres, like Qasim Naqvi (Music MFA 08) from The Dawn of Midi band. They use analog instruments to make synth sounds, and it’s quite compelling. Missy Mazzoli is a huge one, for sure. She’s not only a great collaborator, but her music speaks to more than a classical music audience. And Sarah Kirkland Snider. Her Unremembered album is one of my favorite things. So good.
from p r i s m titled “Run.” That one’s great if you need to get motivated and get your ass out of bed. If you want to feel more at peace with yourself, you should really go to Playground and experience that sound installation. Otherwise, Petrichor is another good one; there’s a clip of that on the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s Soundcloud. And finally, a piece to expand your mind? … Okay. So I wrote a theme song for my friends Rhys Ernst (Film/Video MFA 11) and Zackary Drucker (Art MFA 11) —another collaboration with CalArtians, by the way. Their Whitney Biennial installation was a talk show with a trans woman as host, so I wrote a theme song that’s like a cheesy-ass saxophone with a lot of reverb. My friend ran the saxophone through GarageBand and put a lot of reverb on it just to make sure it still sounded cheesy enough. Then Zackary asked me to put, like, five minutes of massive applause at the end of it. It’s pure camp, and it makes perfect sense in context. It’s called “You’ll Love It! Theme Song.”
Last but not least I want a playlist of your own music! I find it so special to hear recommendations from artists themselves. Can you recommend: (1) something to wake me up in the morning, (2) something to help me feel more at peace with myself, and (3) something to expand my mind and challenge me? Okay, I’ve got stuff for you. For morning, I nominate several works: First, “Lost in the Blue” from p r i s m. Second, “Fear-Release,” which I wrote for Los Angeles Percussion Quartet (CalArtians, by the way), and is better if you just feel like staying in bed. And third, another track the POOL
DAVID ROSENBOOM steps down as dean of The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts after 30 years. The Pool pays tribute to Rosenboom’s multidimensional career as both an acclaimed performer-composer and innovative educator with two stories penned by Julian Cowley and Mark Swed, two prominent music journalists.
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SEN OM the POOL
PART I In the Laboratory of Music BY J U L I A N COW L E Y
Overseeing and directing a school of 300 students, three programs, and twelve specializations are challenging to say the least. Rosenboom is the first to suggest that he “couldn’t have done it alone.” His faculty, students, and administrative colleagues were all instrumental participants in his orchestrated efforts. That said, under Rosenboom’s leadership The School of Music was transformed in many fundamental ways: some of them quantitative, all of them qualitative. Its student population tripled in size; gender diversity among faculty increased significantly; program specializations now include Performer-Composer, Music Technology, Musical Arts/ Experimental Pop, and Composition and Experimental Sound Practices; development of the first doctoral program at CalArts (DMA PerformerComposer); establishment of academic international exchange programs; and vigorous support for career development initiatives.
avid Rosenboom sums up the qualities that have kept him at the forefront of adventurous music-making for more than half a century: “I’m an explorer and an investigator.” Rosenboom embodies an experimental outlook, a need to unsettle common assumptions, and take the measure of new possibilities. Luminaries such as Charles Ives, Henry Cowell, Harry Partch, or John Cage might be cited as precursors, not in terms of specific musical values, rather Rosenboom shares their restless and fertile imagination. Conceptually lucid and technically resourceful, his music is testimony to robust independence of mind. “Composition students used to be taught to find an identifiable individual voice and stick with it,” he says. “I was never able to develop an interest in crafting a musical style. I give myself the freedom to learn from and draw musical insight from everything.” Rosenboom grew up on a small farm in west central Illinois. Agriculturally it was unproductive, but looking back he recognizes intellectual curiosity as the sustaining “soul food” of the family home. In a makeshift laboratory, set up in the attic, he assembled his own apparatus and made explorations in chemistry, electricity, physics, astronomy, and acoustics. At age five, he displayed lively interest in an
New facilities created on Rosenboom’s watch include the Wild Beast Concert Pavilion and S. Mark Taper Foundation Courtyard, the Wave Cave, the Machine Lab, and the Dizzy Gillespie Digital and Roy O. Disney Recital Hall recording studios. He created innovative programming for REDCAT and performed many times at the downtown venue; established a concert series at REDCAT and the Wild Beast Concert Series on campus; and partnered with prominent cultural institutions throughout Greater Los Angeles, including the Skirball Cultural Center, MOCA, LACMA, The Music Center, and the Getty Center. And through it all, Rosenboom managed to travel and perform internationally, create fourteen albums of his own music, and to raise a family.
Brainwave performers William Hutson (left) and Micaela Tobin (right) with Rosenboom at Janacek Academy of Music and Performing Arts, Brno, Czech Republic, 2015, performing his Portable Gold and Philosophers’ Stones (Deviant Resonances).
upright piano, so his parents arranged for a trio of Catholic nuns (who ran a high-school conservatory in Quincy) to give him piano and violin lessons. Fine instructors, they also provided a sound grounding in music theory and conducting, and encouraged Rosenboom’s burgeoning interest in composition. Well trained from the outset, he has remained insatiably inquisitive. Entering his teens, Rosenboom was given an old silver trumpet. “I taught myself to play by calculating valve combinations and tube lengths necessary to resonate with notes of the musical scale. Then I’d sit in the woods for hours blowing that horn. I never had a formal lesson, but I got to a point where I could play the Haydn concerto.” That remarkable self-discipline, analytical rigor, and aesthetic commitment have continued to sustain Rosenboom as a mature performer and composer.
Stunned silence at the close of that session was broken. “I think we have just changed music.” When he enrolled as a student at the University of Illinois, during the mid-1960s, he already had considerable experience as a performer of classical orchestral and chamber repertoire and appeared to be set on that trajectory. Some teachers expressed disappointment when he opted to devote time and energy to investigative musical research rather than an interpretative role. Others, including Salvatore Martirano, Kenneth Gaburo, and Lejaren 34
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Electronic instrument designer Donald Buchla (left) with Rosenboom (right) at Music Gallery, Toronto, 1978, performing his How Much Better if Plymouth Rock Had Landed on the Pilgrims, Section V (humanity).
Hiller, supported his exploratory inclinations. The UrbanaChampaign campus introduced Rosenboom to computer engineer James Beauchamp’s sound synthesis techniques and biological computing models developed by cybernetics expert Heinz von Foerster. Fascinated by such innovation, Rosenboom began to envisage potential applications in the wider world. “Even in my early explorations,” he affirms, “my real interest was to bring new compositional ideas into live performance.” Leaving Illinois in 1967, Rosenboom was appointed to work for a year in the stimulating context of SUNY’s Center of Creative and Performing Arts, in Buffalo. During this period he played drums with Think Dog!, ostensibly a rock group, actually dedicated to the pursuit of “genre-denying music.” He also played viola on a hugely influential recording of Terry Riley’s mesmeric tour de force In C. Stunned silence at the close of that session was broken, Rosenboom recalls, by producer David Behrman’s prophetic announcement, “I think we have just changed music.” Relocated to New York City, Rosenboom got to know La Monte Young and joined his legendary drone ensemble The Theatre of Eternal Music, performing with the group at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a festival in France, and the 1972 Munich Olympics. Electronic composer Morton Subotnick became an especially helpful friend and valued collaborator in New York. He made his Bleecker Street Studio available for Rosenboom’s use and introduced him to other innovative musicians. It was through Subotnick that Rosenboom became, for a while, artistic coordinator for Manhattan’s countercultural nightclub Electric Circus. Another important figure was Ted Coons, a psychologist who had trained as a composer. Rosenboom describes
STEVEN A. GUNTHER
him as a “professional catalyst, introducing to each other people who would generate extraordinary collaborative sparks.” Such input from Coons was a vital ingredient of multimedia performance events hosted by the Electric Circus. Rosenboom was an enthusiastic participant in those cross-disciplinary experiments. Crucially, it was through Coons that Rosenboom’s inquiring mind became aware of early research into biofeedback. Before long that awareness precipitated “Portable Gold and Philosophers’ Stones,” his alchemical translation of brainwaves into musical forms. Appointment as professor in the Music Department of Toronto’s York University enabled Rosenboom to set up a laboratory for experimental aesthetics, affording him the opportunity to look into relationships between aesthetic experience and information-processing modalities of the nervous system. He published a written report, Biofeedback and the Arts: Results of Early Experiments, and conceived On Being Invisible (1976–77) that he describes as “a self-organizing dynamical system rather than a fixed musical composition.” The changing states of consciousness of a solo performer, wired to a computer that analyses brainwave signals, were channeled through electronic instruments designed by synthesizer pioneer Donald Buchla. Brainwave music and its concomitant notion of listening as performance constitute an important strand within Rosenboom’s multifaceted creative output. In 2014 computational neuroscientist Tim Mullen and cognitive scientist Alex Khalil became his collaborators in the realization of Ringing Minds. Tools developed for epilepsy research were adapted by Mullen for use by an ensemble of four brain-music performers. In live presentation Rosenboom improvised
Scene from Rosenboom’s concert-length work Bell Solaris—Twelve Metamorphoses in Piano Theater composed in 1998 and produced in 2005 at REDCAT in collaboration with theater director Travis Preston.
on electronic violin and Khalil played a xylophone made of stone. The wired-up listeners responded at a neural level to what they heard. “We treated this data as if it were arising from a collective brain,” Rosenboom explains. “I built a software-based electronic music instrument for this work that generates a vast sound field of ringing components.” Readiness to draw upon the expertise and ingenuity of researchers across a range of disciplines has persistently characterized Rosenboom’s approach to music-making. With Donald Buchla he recorded an LP indicatively
Music, for Rosenboom, is not a fixed set of rules, values, or techniques but an investigative arena where models may be floated as propositions, then brought into being through whatever resources are available. entitled Collaboration In Performance (1750 Arch Records, 1978). Playing live has always been vitally important to Rosenboom; working with others no less so. “Collaboration requires shifts in the way we regard material we believe we originate, towards a deeper understanding of group consciousness,” he observes. The record with Buchla presents a section from Rosenboom’s How Much Better If Plymouth the POOL
“I was never able to develop an interest in crafting a musical style. I give myself the freedom to learn from and draw musical insight from everything.”
Rock Had Landed On The Pilgrims, an epic composition overall, musically polyglot. It also features an extract from And Out Come The Night Ears, with his propulsive Steinway piano interacting synergistically with a Buchla 300 Series Electric Music Box. “I have certainly continued to draw on the instrumental technique I gained from my training,” Rosenboom acknowledges. “But I take a composerly approach to practicing the piano. I think of improvisation partly as composing yourself as a musician.” His fluency and exhilarating vigor at the keyboard have drawn Rosenboom into the company of comparably exceptional instrumentalists. A taste from the mid-’70s of his remarkable performances with Texan pianist 36
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J. B. Floyd and Indian percussionist Trichy Sankaran is preserved on Suitable For Framing (Mutable Music, 2004). While teaching at Mills College in Oakland, CA, during the ’80s, Rosenboom formed a stellar trio with saxophonist Anthony Braxton and percussionist William Winant, and in 1986 he joined Braxton’s superb improvising quartet, alongside drummer Gerry Hemingway and bassist Mark Dresser, for a European tour. The dynamism of his musical relationship with Braxton is volubly displayed on Two Lines (Lovely Music, 1994). Other notable collaborations have included a wittily ironic songwriting partnership with performance and visual artist Jacqueline Humbert; projects with renowned
Rosenboom performing on 5-string electric violin at the concert Propositional Music at the Wild Beast during CalArts Weekend in 2019.
theater director Travis Preston; and AH!, conceived with poet Martine Bellen as an opera generator, a template for countless operas receptive to input from composers around the world. Rosenboom’s Systems of Judgment (1987) may involve a sophisticated array of computers, synthesizers, samplers, and home-built circuitry, but it was written with Duncan MacFarland’s choreography in mind. More recently Rosenboom has worked with Indonesian choreographer Sardono Kusumo creating electronic music for Rain Coloring Forest (2010), while for Swarming Intelligence Carnival at the 2013 World Culture Forum in Bali he processed field recordings to produce immersive sonic environments. “It’s important to give oneself license to create new practice without the requirement that it be based on extant practice,” Rosenboom asserts, “to have free access to information, sources of inspiration, and facilities with which to make new work, no matter the media context in which these tools may traditionally be imbedded.” In 2015 he participated in a collaborative Los Angeles production of Hopscotch, a dramatically innovative “mobile opera for 24 cars” directed by Yuval Sharon. Battle Hymn for Insurgent Arts, presented in 2018, involves a feisty combination of Rosenboom’s music with images by animator Lewis Klahr, and texts drawn from writers ranging from Ovid to Lawrence Ferlinghetti. At York University, Mills College, and CalArts, Rosenboom has had the good fortune to alight in institutions at which he could nurture “happy homes for the experimental.” Cultivation of favorable working environments has been an integral dimension of his creative life. An especially important friendship was formed when composer and theorist James Tenney took up a post at York. “We were both interested in algorithmic composition, which involves a huge range of possible model investigations,” Rosenboom recalls. “We talked about models for neural network systems, black holes, quantum gravity, harmonic perception, the nature of matter, evolution, and on and on. Most of what we call theory in music merely provides a language for retrospective analysis of styles and forms. It was clear that we didn’t have analytically useful languages for much new music, or for music outside European and American classical traditions. My approach was to start inside the brain, to investigate parsing principles evident in neural network signal processing and then to work outward towards musical experiences.” That outward journey has assumed no limits. Rosenboom’s monograph Collapsing Distinctions (2004) poses the question: “What can we learn from experimental music that might aid us in interstellar communication?”
His piano piece Bell Solaris (1998) invokes acoustic vibrations of the sun. “Stars do ring like big bells,” he affirms. “The sound with which music, as I see it, can deal, might include cycles of emergence and dissolution of universes, or very high-speed cycles found on the scale of quantum particles or waves.” The findings and speculations of science do not circumscribe his creative aspirations, however. Naked Curvature (2001), Rosenboom’s “whispered chamber opera,” was inspired by the structure of A Vision, the cosmos delineated in prose by Irish poet W. B. Yeats with assistance, he claimed, from occult instructors. Rosenboom’s music thrives on the elaboration of unexpected connections.
“Stars do ring like big bells.” Music, for Rosenboom, is not a fixed set of rules, values, or techniques but an investigative arena where models may be floated as propositions, then brought into being through whatever resources are available. Whole domains of thought and modes of being can be summoned up through emergent sonic forms. “I love complexity,” Rosenboom acknowledges, “not because it represents some higher level, but because it is another name for a rich sound world which one might explore endlessly, discovering extraordinary relationships that can only be found through active imaginative listening. My piece with Salvatore Martirano, BC–AD I (The Moon Landing), which we presented at a concert in July 1969 to accompany live televised images of Apollo 11 descending to the Sea of Tranquility, explored the nature of nonlinear dynamics and thresholds of change embodied in circuitry built into an instrument. The most important thing was listening, and then understanding how electronics could open onto new worlds.” Notes on the page, sounds in the air and ear are just part of the music-making process. Instrumental design, conceptual modelling, and initiating ideas are no less vital. Rosenboom understands music as a model-building discipline as much as a means of expression. It is a laboratory, a field of investigation and discovery, a continuously evolving world view. “No individual piece can expose the full territory of a particular propositional world,” he says. “If particular emergent forms don’t continue to provide rich territory for new discoveries, I move on. If they do, I think about ways in which I can share those territories with others.”
PART II Educator and Dean BY M A R K S W E D
ver the past half century, including the last three
STEVEN A. GUNTHER
CalArts Alumni Magazine
decades as dean of CalArts’s Herb Alpert School of Music, David Rosenboom has set about radically transforming the training of composers and performers. He has done this as a music theorist; a scientist having studied the complex relationship between music and the brain; an instrument inventor and builder; a leader in electronic technology. That is a rare and excellent résumé for any dean. The fact that he has done this (not only as, but because he is a pioneering composer and performer operating at the center of the American avant-garde) is what has made all the transformative difference in the world. For Rosenboom music education has been an ongoing composition—the realization of it, an ongoing performance. The result is that from his CalArts aerie, Rosenboom has been a crucial, if under-the-radar, force behind a Los Angeles new music renaissance closely watched, massively envied, and unashamedly copied in cultural centers around the country, with Europe taking note as well. In June, though, Rosenboom steps down from his deanship, relinquishing administrative duties but continuing to teach, allowing himself to put more time and energy into his own music. Meeting with Rosenboom in his campus office last August, as he began to prepare for his final school year (and about to turn 72), I asked why now? Only to have him, with a chuckle, point a finger. I—and a chorus of others! —had complained that after New York’s Whitney Museum of
STEVEN A. GUNTHER
One hundred thirty-four CalArts musicians and two guest artists led by Rosenboom in a performance of Terry Riley’s In C at Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2006.
American Art opened its new Chelsea museum in 2015 with a retrospective, it had become all too evident that Rosenboom’s music is not out in the world as much as it should be. Readying himself for radar detection is a long story. Rosenboom, who describes himself as coming “from a relatively poor family that lived on a small farm” in the Midwest, gives perhaps a bit too much credit to luck. The good fortune was an upright piano in the house of a child who took to it immediately. Lessons began at age five and, with musical aptitude evident, violin lessons a year later. The rest, however unlikely, seemed inevitable. In the nearby town of Quincy, IL,his parents found a Catholic high-school conservatory run by three nuns who offered rigorous training in theory and performance. Before long Rosenboom was mastering the major piano literature and virtuoso violin concerto solos. Drawn to the avant-garde excitement of the 1960s, he began composing as well. That led to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (200 miles away) with exceptionally advanced music departments, including a pioneering computer music program. There, as an undergraduate, he came under the spell of the flamboyantly controversial Salvatore Martirano, whose music included a Vietnam War protest piece for a performer in a gas mask. This was a place where a promising student could get noticed. Still an undergraduate racing through the curriculum, Rosenboom got a call from composer Lukas Foss, then music director of the Buffalo Symphony, inviting
him to join the three-year-old Center for Creative and Performing Arts he had founded in the music department of the local State University of New York campus. They needed a violist. “Sal said, ‘you can’t pass that up,’” Rosenboom, who played violin not viola, recalls. “I drove to Chicago and bought a viola.” In Renée Levine Packer’s history of the Center, This Life of Sounds, the former administrator describes the 20-yearold Rosenboom arriving in 1967 as a “composer-violist and award-winning young scientist.” Terry Riley was also new to the Center, which had become a hotbed of new music. Morton Feldman was on the faculty. John Cage and the New York School composers and performers found it a hospitable place to do projects. Rosenboom immediately got busy at what would be his life’s work as a composer, performer, and educator, namely taking music apart and putting it back together with new systems of notation, new instruments, and new thinking about the brain, all in the effort to a return to the essence of music as the art of sounds. Buffalo was his laboratory as well as playground, where he not only found his voice as a composer but took part in a number of now legendary performances, such as the first recording of Riley’s In C, which precipitated music’s Minimalist movement. Still, while Buffalo had its important Center, New York City was the center, the magnetic core of it all. After Buffalo the young musician joined the freelance life of a New York artist. He became associated with the Electric the POOL
“Studying with David Rosenboom was completely freeing and inspiring. He found music in every living (and nonliving) thing. I felt the limits of tonality disintegrating and a whole world of possibility opened up. David always championed my work. His belief in me helped me believe in myself.”—Ellen Reid
Circus, the city’s hippest disco, hospitable to both the Velvet Underground and Morton Subotnick, who later founded CalArts’s electronic music studio with his synthesizer. The downtown Manhattan new music scene gave Rosenboom exposure as a composer, and at the same time the resources to further research music as a biofeedback art, his increasing obsession. What it didn’t provide was much of a living. The phone rang again. It was York University in Toronto inviting Rosenboom to start, along with three others, a music program from scratch. Not having even completed his bachelor’s degree at Urbana-Champaign, Rosenboom thought like a composer, like a performer, and like a scientist, not an academic. After a year in Toronto, he took a break to study experimental psychology at New York University where he learned research techniques needed to develop his ideas for York. Rosenboom was now ready to begin reinventing the curriculum. “York taught me that, yes, one can develop confidence in the conservatory model, but it isn’t the best for highly creative, self-motivated people who want to develop something. “I had felt held back in Rosenboom leads a tour during Illinois. While working on construction of the Wild Beast developing new notation in 2008. systems and extended instrumental techniques, along with exploring electronics, I found that I could learn on my own much faster than the curriculum model permitted. It felt like there needed to be a more pliable approach for people trying to plow new territory. “In Buffalo I developed a notation language for raw sound that was just about how sounds start, stop, and evolve from beginning to end. I created configuration spaces.” One of these, which came to be key to his work at CalArts, was a piece structured as large circles of chosen pathways agreed upon in advance by a group of players 40
CalArts Alumni Magazine
who followed different parameters of music plotted out in figure-eight pathways. “At York,” Rosenboom continues, “rather than begin with a particular language of music or a particular lineage of music, we took the materials of music and reduced them down to their abstract fundamentals.” That way ear training, for example, becomes about hearing raw sounds, first learning to discern their acoustic and perceptual differences. “Can you measure it?” he asked his students. “Can you then make a scale out of those measurements? Can you then develop compositional materials out of that? Can you apply that to the form of the piece? And then can you apply that to spontaneous creation like an improvisation and to structured notation or instrument design or whatever it might be? That would be one pathway, one way of looking at it. “Can you then develop the course material? That relates directly to what we’ve done at CalArts, because we’ve finished just the first year of a completely redesigned, or what I call a rearticulated, curriculum. It tries to make sense out of the plethora of potential pathways that a student could take and still come out with a broad set of tools that are very highly developed, yet allow the musician to function in a wide range of circumstances.” Rosenboom has skipped ahead. He left York at the end of the ’70s, not wanting to commit himself to spending the rest of his life in Canada, and moved to Oakland, CA, where he then headed the Mills College Music Department in the ’80s. At Mills’s progressive music department (where Darius Milhaud, Luciano Berio, and Robert Ashley had been on the faculty; where Morton Subotnick and Pauline Oliveros had been involved with creating a groundbreaking electronic music studio) Rosenboom was able to take his educational ideas, along with composing and performing, into a new realm. “You say, here’s what’s going on at the cutting edge,” he explains of his approach at Mills. “You seem interested in that, so go right to it. Let’s work on a project right here. The
All CalArts alumnx ensemble performing with Rosenboom in his 1974 composition Is Art Is, part of Propositional Music: David Rosenboom Portrait Concert in the Wild Beast music pavilion, CalArts, 2019.
students then participate like apprentices. They learn right away the skills they need to be contributors to this project, thus making projects a basis of learning. I liked to show students, here’s a chord in a Brahms rhapsody. Here’s a piece by John Coltrane and it’s got the same chord. What’s that about?” Rosenboom cites his motivation to leave his cushy tenured position at Mills for what seemed at the time an uncertain. At CalArts the ambition of Steven Lavine, who had been installed as president two years earlier, was to refashion the School of Music. “I found a collection of very nice people of different but also overlapping ideals and interests,” Rosenboom says of his first impression upon arriving in Valencia. “But all were off in their own corners, in an atmosphere of what I would describe as kind of administrative neglect. “I came in with the idea of building, like a composition, something. So, we started little by little by little. I had been in institutions long enough to know that it takes five years to get going, and then eventually you can get some momentum. Eventually we built up the school. It’s now, with over 300 students, nearly three times the size than it was then. Bigger may not always be better, but we didn’t have a critical mass to make things happen.” One of Rosenboom’s first major moves was to create a performance program. “The separation of performers and composers was coming to a close, and I thought that would be key to moving forward. The writing was on the wall that the outside professional world was going to change. The era of the overly narrow specialist was going to be harder and harder for people professionally. Midsized orchestras were folding. The new model was to be able to do all kinds of stuff: play chamber music as well as in orchestras, do studio work, improvise, join rock bands, arrange, teach. And we slowly evolved towards that actually being the model, the multiplicity of skills. “It took many, many years to make a curriculum that allows students enough ability to customize on how they
draw on specialization. We’ve only just gotten there. Now you can be a performer-composer from your freshman year all the way to your doctorate.” This has also meant the radical move of getting rid of specialties. Instead of having 300 students pursuing 30 different majors, be they violin, trumpet, musical technology, or whatnot, Rosenboom wanted the school to look like the people in it. Everyone is a composer-performer of a sort, and under this single umbrella there are clouds of expertise that can be drawn on to fit individual needs and interests, to teach the needed skills for Rosenboom’s project model of learning. Virtually every student in the school makes original work of one kind or another, and what this has led to now is the army of young musicians participating in a music scene where the cutting edge is in such LA ensembles as wildUp and wasteLAnd. The musicians must not only be top-notch players able to function in any style or genre but also part of the creative energy of the group. The next big step has been a morphing of everything into “musical arts” in which it’s all been turned upside down. In a program Rosenboom calls experimental pop, for instance, rather than a cookie-cutter singer/songwriter program, the fastest growing “specialty,” the students are drawn into literature studies and creative writing as well as given access to all areas of musical study. Rosenboom’s vision is a world in which you can have a single specialty or more than one, or none. “You can declare no specialization and graduate with a BFA in music. What could you do with that?” he asks with another of his little chuckles. “You could go into musicology, however rigorous. Or you could go to law school or”—just as Rosenboom has—“do all kinds of things.” Find a video clip of Rosenboom’s Portrait Concert at thepool.calarts.edu.
Beyond the Mask Photographs by Joel Orozco
CalArts Alumni Magazine
For the past nine years, Joel Orozco (Art BFA 17)
has documented the habitats and activities of native populations in the remote mountain villages of northwestern Mexico. While still a high schooler in East Los Angeles, Orozco had picked up a point-and-shoot digital camera at a flea market and, inspired by a wide range of artists working in many mediums—including filmmakers and photographers such as André Kertész—began to play with composition and natural light. A worker on Orozco’s grandparents’ farm in Chihuahua noticed that Joel was interested in photography and invited him to observe Holy Week ceremonies in his hometown. That fortuitous connection led to Orozco’s introduction to, and fascination with, the ancient pre-Columbian culture of the Tarahumara. Though he’d already assembled an impressive portfolio featuring images of the Tarahumara before applying to CalArts, Orozco says, “I didn’t have the technical ability to shoot on film. I was lucky enough to be accepted to CalArts, and even luckier, to be awarded a full Wasserman Scholarship for all four years— which literally changed my life. Without it, I could not have afforded to enroll.” Orozco cites faculty Andy Freeman as an early champion of his work, as well as Billy Woodbury and visiting artist Eduardo Thomas. “What makes CalArts different,” says Orozco, “is that it depends on the students to decide what they want to do and how they want to work.” After producing straight documentary work among the Tarahumara for almost a decade, back in the Sierra Madre this past summer, Orozco ventured for the first time toward hybrid imagery, blurring the lines between fact and fantasy. Rather than only observing and recording the people in their homes and at communal celebrations, he began inviting active collaboration with some of his subjects, and directing staged theatrical tableaux that combine Mexican folktales with his own imagined stories. With their power to both disguise identity and reveal character or spirit, masks figure prominently in Orozco’s pictures, as they do throughout Mexican art and culture. In his most recent work, they add levels of abstraction and mystery to photographs that he says are “all open to interpretation.” In the sampling of his first decade of work on these pages, Orozco’s curiosity, passion, and skill are all on full view. See more of Orozco’s work at instagram.com/joelorozcoc. the POOL
CalArts Alumni Magazine
CalArts Alumni Magazine
Amanda Yates Garcia talks witchcraft with Ravi Rajan
PHOTO: TATIANA WILLS
THE ORACLE SPEAKS
wear all sorts of spiritual hats, only some of which are tall and pointy,
says self-proclaimed witch, Amanda Yates Garcia (Critical Studies and Film/Video 06). She writes, performs, leads workshops, and conducts private sessions with clients, coaching them on life’s most pressing personal and professional challenges. Her toolbox for doing so includes an especially wide array of esoteric strategies including the “Western mystery traditions of tarot, alchemy, and Hermeticism; shamanic healing practices of the Northern European tradition; positive magic and witchcraft; herbalism; energy work; and psychomagic.” CalArts President Ravi Rajan recently invited Yates Garcia to return to campus. Her visit included a sit-down with Ravi in which they discussed a range of subjects at the intersections of art, philosophy, and her time spent at the Institute.
Ravi Rajan: Thank you for coming. Amanda Yates Garcia: Thanks for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here. RR: In the first two years that I’ve been here I’ve had the luxury of meeting so many different CalArtians, and it’s been one of the most fun parts of the job. What I’ve found is that every one of them has a different story of how they ended up at CalArts. What’s yours? AYG: I was living in London and had done my undergrad in dance at the Laban Center for Movement and Dance. I became frustrated working so hard on the choreography of my pieces, and seeing that once they were performed, they were gone. I wanted to create something more lasting, and began making dance films. I was also writing. I had written a novel that I was trying to get published, but felt I needed time to go more deeply into both dance and writing, and to think about them in a space in which I could apply rigor—and also have time to steep as an artist. I wasn’t sure what to do or where to go. Because I have a spiritual practice, I had asked the Goddess where I needed to go next and what
“There are no spectators. There are no witnesses. Everybody is a participant. Everybody is a priest or priestess.”
RR: You didn’t dance when you were younger than college age? AYG: No, not really. I found dance at City
SARAH SOQUEL MORHAIM
I needed to do. I took a walk on the south bank in London and went into the National Film Institute where I watched a film and picked up a piece of promotional literature from CalArts. In it I saw that there was both a film program and a writing program here, and I felt like, that’s it. I applied to both programs, was accepted by both, and the rest is history. RR: Excellent. So, there are many threads
to unpack here. Maybe we can go into a couple. Why did you choose London? And how did you end up in dance? AYG: When I was in my late teens, I
attended the community college where I grew up, in Santa Barbara. I’m a seventh generation Californian. In my late teens I was going through a really difficult time, spiritually, emotionally, psychologically—a lot of my new book is about that period. I was studying philosophy and art history, but also taking dance classes as a way to pull myself back into my body and find some grounding. And I just loved it. 52
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College. There was something about dancing—it was the only time I was happy. I just loved to move and loved that direct expression. I was also writing—I’ve written since I was a child, but at that point was feeling that dance was something I needed to pursue. Through a series of mishaps, I ended up moving to San Francisco, then Amsterdam for a year, followed by six in London. So I lived abroad all of my early adult life. When I got back, I came to CalArts, which was really exciting. RR: How long were you here? AYG: I was here for three years because I
was an InterSchool student in writing and Film/ Video. But I made a lot of really angry work while I was here. RR: Would you characterize yourself as angry at that time? Or is that just what came out? AYG: I think I really was angry. I had had a lot of trauma in my life, and had come from a family legacy of that, and I also looked at the world around me and saw all the trouble in the world. I was angry about that, too. I completed my three years here and shortly after graduating I had an epiphany. I had the realization that it’s
easy to point out all the things we don’t like about the world; easy to point out everything we think is wrong; but it takes a lot more courage and gumption, and, I think, intelligence, to ask, what should we do instead? To stake a claim, to make a stand—even if you’re wrong—but to at least try and make a more just and beautiful world. That’s what I wanted to do. RR: I got goose bumps when you said that.
It’s such an important thing. That realization, that artists must move from research to action, is important. So much of school is focused on creating critical thinking and developing the ability to analyze and deconstruct something. But artists are important in creating the next “thing,” right? Creating a new model. And if you don’t make that jump, it’s a tough moment. AYG: Yes, there was just some kind of dawn-
ing awareness as I exited my Saturn Return at the end of my 20s. I was brought up practicing witchcraft. I was brought up by a witch, and so I think that history influenced my practice as well. RR: That was the other thread, witchcraft. AYG: In my late teens, when I was having
all that turmoil, I had really turned away from witchcraft in the way that many people turn away from the religions they were brought
THE HAMMER MUSEUM
“I wanted to live in a world where witches exist; where women are powerful; where we see nature as sacred, enchanted and beautiful.”
up with—you know, rejecting that. Thinking, “That’s my parents’ thing, and I’m not into that.” RR: Growing up in Oklahoma I knew folks who had lots of different experiences with organized religion or spirituality across the whole gamut … from a casual relationship to it, to a fundamentalist one, to super serious—like dedicating their whole lives to it. So, describe a little bit of that time to give us some context. AYG: Witchcraft is an anarchistic spiritual practice; my mother calls it “Earth-centered Spirituality.” Essentially, there’s no top-down organizing body that tells you what to do; it’s from the ground up, which means that my mother had a coven that met every month on the full moon, and they chanted and did rituals related to nature. Witchcraft is a nature religion, very much about personal empowerment. There are no spectators; there are no witnesses. Everybody is a participant. Everybody is a priest or priestess. RR: So it’s an individual practice but there is a group, almost like a co-op or a commons, where you would get together? AYG: There are many solo practitioners but there’s not a “pope”; no final authority. There’s not a singular text. There’s no bible; it’s a mystical tradition, so it’s about direct relationship with the divine and, essentially, witches see the divine as imminent in nature. It’s coming through in material reality and we’re part of that. It’s not something transcendent that we’re trying to contact as outside of us but something that is imminent within us that we’re celebrating in the natural world around us. Specifically, the planet is alive and inspirited. There’s a complex theology around it.
“They wanted Tucker Carlson to interview me. I said no several times, but Fox kept calling me back. People in my life said, ‘Do not do this. It’s going to be really bad for you.’”
RR: There are many theological explanations, right? I mean every religion finds one way or another to deal with that. If you think about Christianity, every flavor is slightly different and might be more or less in tune with that. Growing up in a Hindu household, within the spectrum of Hinduism, there were stronger and weaker relationships to that understanding that the universal is here, it’s present. … AYG: Yes. RR: It’s interesting to hear about witchcraft as a practice. So for you there was that moment that we all have, I guess in our teens: it’s about a change in practice … you want to do something else. AYG: Yes, in my late teens I really made art my religion; I was devoted to it. I was a devotee kneeling at the altar of dance, as well as with writing, with film, with art in general. In London I used to go into the museums as if they were sacred temples. RR: They are. AYG: I saw that one of the things that I was rejecting about the world and one of the things that I was angry about was the disenchanted nature of white supremacist, capitalist culture, patriarchal culture, because within it everything is available for exploitation and nothing is sacred. But I felt that the arts had become this repository of the sacred and the enchanted, and, in fact, one of the only places in our culture where that was allowed to exist. When I left
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CalArts, my artistic crisis came about because I didn’t just want my work to be about pointing out how horrible white supremacist, capitalist, patriarchy is, but instead wanted to create the world that I wanted to live in, to create something else; to find a way outside it somehow. RR: And how did you describe that? AYG: I wanted to live in a world where
witches exist; where women are powerful; where we see nature as sacred, enchanted, and beautiful. Alive and numinous, with spirit. I decided that I was going to create that world with what I had available to me, right beneath me on the ground. I returned to witchcraft because that was what I knew. I started to do ritual performances, and people started asking me to do them privately, and I created a business doing it as an artist. So, the work I’m doing now is a return to sacred art forms, including those of antiquity, but very much from a contemporary, modern perspective. Much of my practice develops from the desire to find a way to live in the world without sacrificing the things I hold most dear. After I finished CalArts, when I was working in museum education and adjunct teaching, I hated it. It was so stressful. You don’t make any money; you’re working so hard, and I just felt exploited. You’re scrambling, trying to maintain your artistic practice. And the artists that I knew who were working within the gallery system treated it like a business.
RR: It’s the industry of art. AYG: Exactly. RR: Many like to call it an “art world” but
it’s an industry—just like the film industry, the music industry. AYG: As an act of resistance, I decided
I was going to find a way to do the work that I wanted to do and make the work I wanted to make, which required creating a framework that would include supporting and sustaining myself. RR: How long before this shift of conscious-
ness happened? AYG: There are no overnight successes. People are usually working hard over a long period of time. I had to do that. It took me five or six years. And then I started leading monthly workshops called “Magical Praxis” in which I was integrating magic, critical theory, and art in one monthly event. Lots of artists came to those. One of the great things about CalArts is the community that develops, and the connections one makes here. It’s one of the things people don’t tell you about the values of grad school. RR: Especially CalArts. AYG: Many years ago, through contacts I’d made here, a writer from the LA Times attended one of my events, and wrote in the Times about a ritual I’d done at Magical Praxis to bind Donald Trump from causing harm. That ritual was started by the ceremonial magician Michael M. Hughes, and then many other witches, including myself took up the cause. Because witchcraft is an act of resistance, it’s always been very political in nature. About nine months after the story came out in the Times, I was contacted by Fox News. They wanted Tucker Carlson to interview me. He’s a conservative and there was no way I was going to do that. I was scared—literally scared for my life. But the spirit guides I work with, one might call them “your intuition,” they kept telling me, “You need to do this.” I said no several times, but Fox kept calling me back. People in my life said, “Do not do this. It’s going to be really bad for you. You’re going to get humiliated; he’s going to make fun of you; people are going to threaten to kill you.” All except one fellow CalArtian, Margaret
Wappler [Critical Studies MFA ’04], who I went to grad school with, and an honorary CalArtian, Jade Chang, another writer, who said, “You can take this guy.” I was like uh … maybe. But when my guides woke me up in the middle of the night about it, I got up and e-mailed Fox and told them I’d go on. I had watched some interviews that Carlson had done in which he yelled at and humiliated the folks who were on his show. I saw that he really went for blood if they started to get angry. I told myself, “Nothing he says is going to make me angry. He’s not going to knock me off the pillar of love, no matter what he does.” I went on and was able to keep my cool, and then it was insane. As I was leaving, I felt like I was getting washed in waves of intensity; J. K. Rowling retweeted the segment and it went viral. An agent from New York contacted me and asked if I’d ever thought of writing a book. I’d actually been working on a book proposal for the past six months and was just about to send it out. RR: So the agent found you at just the right time. The Tucker Carlson interview is also how I discovered your work. AYG: That’s so funny. Who knew that he would make my career? RR: That’s a fantastic story. It seems like CalArts helped you bring these threads together in some way, right? AYG: Yes, I’m still super tight with my CalArts people. It was the connections I made at CalArts that led to the LA Times writer being at my Magical Praxis event, which ultimately led to getting my book, Initiated: Memoir of a Witch, being published this October by Grand Central/Hachette.
For more of Ravi Rajan’s interview with Amanda Yates Garcia, visit thepool.calarts.edu. For more information about Yates Garcia, visit oracleoflosangeles.com.
TASTE~ MAKERS Barley Rakers ~ Crust Flakers ~ Bread Bakers ~ Ice Scrapers ~ Bean Shakers
(MUSIC MFA 11)
SOLARC BREWING An LA-based brewing company founded by Archie Carey and Saul Alpert-Abrams, Solarc Brewing makes beers that stand out. Or are “weird,” as Carey calls them. Don’t let the long lists of ingredients scare you off—such as yarrow, kumquats, or Earl Grey tea—Solarc specializes in gruits, a type of beer bittered by ingredients other than hops. Carey met Alpert-Abrams, through Alpert-Abrams’ partner (and now wife) Claire Chenette (Music MFA 12), while both were studying at CalArts. (Carey studied bassoon and still performs, notably with LA’s experimental classical ensemble wild Up, of which he is a founding member.) Carey and Alpert-Abrams connected over their love of making things, and early on the friendship grew by brewing beer together as a social activity. Together they tackled the standards, such as IPAs and lagers, but 56
CalArts Alumni Magazine
Many CalArts alumnx are finding unique ways to apply their artistic training as entrepreneurs within the food industry, in particular within Los Angeles’ booming foodie scene. The five profiled here are among those grads finding support for and synergy with their creative practice through experimentation By Jen Hutton
and innovation in the search of new flavors.
Illustrations by Kat Catmur
distributor, and has created nearly 20 different beers since. In 2018 Alpert-Abrams left the business to start a graduate program out of state and Carey has since been running Solarc solo. Now he is working on a new home for Solarc’s offbeat brews: a brick-and-mortar building in Glassell Park, about a 10-minute drive north of Dodger Stadium. The venue is slated to open by the end of 2019 and will feature a tasting room and performance space. Carey has plans to curate monthly music events there, too, bringing in some of his wild Up collaborators. “When I was younger, ‘entrepreneur’ seemed like a bad word,” Carey says. “But as an artist, you kind of are your own business. … I want to be someone who makes things and puts them out into the world. Solarc is just one way of doing that.” ~ SOL ARCBRE W ING.COM
over time, their recipes evolved to include more flavors, including grapefruit plucked from trees in Alpert-Abrams’ backyard, Hatch chiles from the farmers market, and mushrooms purchased from shops in LA’s Chinatown. The pair picked whatever was readily available given the season. Solarc is an amalgam of their first names but, more importantly, a nod to what Carey calls the brewery’s “aggressively seasonal” approach. “We brew with the sun,” Carey says. “In those early days, we made so much beer we couldn’t drink it all, so we started sharing it with friends,” Carey recalls. Solarc’s bold experimentation was encouraged by his peers—mostly alumni from The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts who, like Carey, are active in LA’s experimental and classical music scenes. “So much of our community comes from CalArts—if it weren’t for them coming to our events and encouraging us to experiment wildly, we probably wouldn’t have gotten this business off the ground.” After hosting several private tastings under their new moniker, Carey and Alpert-Abrams decided to turn their hobby into a business. With a wholesale beer license in hand, Solarc Brewing launched Dunes in 2015, a Belgian golden-style IPA featuring wormwood, sage, lemongrass, mugwort, and turmeric. Dunes wasn’t an obvious choice for a fledgling brewery. Carey explains: “Launching an IPA is a safer bet because everyone likes it, but we chose to make something that stood out.” After the launch of Dunes, Solarc snagged a
(ART BFA 95)
SCOOPS ICE CREAM In a city where the weather is predictably sunny on any given day, ice cream is a year-round indulgence. And while artisanal frozen treats are everywhere to be found, Tai Kim’s Scoops is still the OG ice cream shop in Los Angeles. Kim transferred into the BFA program in Art at CalArts, and quickly put his painting practice aside in favor of a more performative one. “CalArts had opened my eyes to so many mediums you could challenge,” Kim recalls. “The school is open to anything.” His studio became a gathering place for post-gallery night affairs, where Kim would alternately host karaoke parties and events he dubbed his “kitchen project,” at which he served Korean noodles and other dishes with a twist to his peers. After graduating, Kim started to consider culinary school. “If I wanted to get more serious about making an artistic statement with food, I felt I needed to learn some skills,” he says. He enrolled at the Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Ore., where one of his program requirements was mastering a proficiency in making cheese or ice cream. Kim chose the latter, given that it took less time to produce. Ultimately, in Kim’s mind, ice cream was the vehicle for further experimentation and an attempt to get people interested in new flavors. Eventually moving back to LA, set on opening his own ice cream shop, Kim rented a cheap storefront on Heliotrope Drive in East Hollywood, and in 2005 opened Scoops. The shop was initially a one-man show, with Kim making the ice cream and scooping it to customers. Over the years he added staff
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and expanded to four more locations in the city, splitting operations with a former employee. (As of this fall, with rising rent costs and more competition flooding the foodie landscape, Scoops will have a total of three locations in LA: Highland Park, Chinatown, and Torrance.) Today Kim’s primary role is sourcing ingredients and shopping at various markets throughout the city: Thai, Filipino, Chinese, Korean, Bangladeshi, and Armenian. “The nice thing about living in LA is that it’s so culturally diverse and I have access to a lot of new flavors,” he says. While Kim’s signature “brown bread” flavor (actually made with Grape-Nuts) is always on the menu, he tries to switch up the menu daily, offering flavors such as green tea Oreo, miso butterscotch, or coconut lavender. For Kim, Scoops is more than making a statement with food. “Making art,” he says, “you want to share your knowledge with people, but I found it a bit difficult to do in a gallery setting. With ice cream I get to educate customers and encourage them to try something they may not be familiar with.” ~ @ SCOOPSBIC
MARTIN COX PHOTOGRAPHY
MARK STAMBLER (FILM/VIDEO BFA 78)
PAGNOL BOUL ANGER If you haven’t heard, Mark Stambler has a bit of a reputation in Los Angeles. He has been churning out loaves of hearty whole grain bread through his bakery, Pagnol Boulanger (named after the French film writer and filmmaker Marcel Pagnol), for more than ten years, though Stambler has been perfecting his bread-making technique for at least forty. As a student in the Film/Video program at CalArts, Stambler worked primarily on scripts: “I always fancied myself as a writer—it was the aspect I most enjoyed.” Living on campus, Stambler couldn’t bake bread in the dorms, so he relied on friends’ kitchens in Newhall to
continue his practice. It was while studying at CalArts that Stambler first started using wild yeast, making a natural sourdough starter from the yeasts in the air. He eventually swapped out white flour for milled whole grain. “Over the years, I decided to shift my technique toward more primitive methods,” he says. Today all Pagnol’s bread use both wild yeast and whole grain flour, from the bakery’s “flagship” Pain Levant loaf to its brioche and Linzer tortes. After completing his degree in 1978 and a short stint in the film industry, Stambler eventually worked as a grant writer and consultant for nonprofits. He continued to hone his bread-making technique, turning out loaves from a wood-fired brick oven in his backyard. Bolstered by a couple of first-place ribbons at the Los Angeles County Fair and California State Fair, in 2005 and 2006, Stambler began selling his bread through local businesses. The buzz was genuine. But after the Los Angeles the POOL
Times profiled Stambler in its pages, the health department shut him down for violating restrictions on the commercial sale of home-cooked wares. Rather than fight city hall, Stambler teamed up with Mike Gatto, then-assemblyman for the 43rd district, to propose the California Homemade Food Act, which would allow small-scale food entrepreneurs to produce and sell certain foods made in domestic kitchens. The law was passed by the State Legislature and became effective in January 2013. “It was a real win,” Stambler says, “For me, it was about returning food to the hands of the people and strengthening food communities in this city.”
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While Stambler has since moved all his baking up to Pagnol’s new location in BaywoodLos Osos—a “quintessential small town” near San Luis Obispo on the California coast— he still mills the grain at his home in Los Feliz. Stambler is currently working with his pastry chef on perfecting Pagnol’s croissant—a version with wild yeast and whole grain. “It’s close,” he says.
SAEHEE CHO (CRITICAL STUDIES MFA 10)
SOO N Saehee Cho describes herself as a “writer and cook.” Such prosaic terms don’t begin to suggest the exquisite food she makes, from custom cakes to artful tapas to luscious late-night pasta dishes. Food has been a central part of Cho’s life since she was young—her immediate family finds pleasure in cooking together, but much of her culinary interest stems from time with her grandmother. Cho spent several summers with her in Korea and Singapore, following her around with a notebook and watching her cook. “Those summers were exciting, sensorial experiences,” she says. While studying in the Creative Writing program at CalArts, the School of Critical Studies hired Cho to cater student thesis readings and visiting writer events. “I set up this challenge for myself every two weeks. If I wasn’t writing I was cooking—it was very laborious! I didn’t recognize myself as a food professional then, but CalArts did,” she says. Cho found a very receptive test audience among her classmates at CalArts, which eventually prompted her to create SOO N. Cho describes SOO N as an “art-food concept” more than a business—rather, she sees SOO N as a creative endeavor and a labor of love. Speaking about her custom
cakes, Cho says, “Cakes don’t make sense for a business, in terms of labor and ingredients. I’m almost never making a cake for someone I don’t know.” Each cake has a customized flavor and is decorated with flowers Cho picks from her garden or local flower market. Likewise, her food styling projects are collaborations with designers, photographers, and friends. “It helps that I tend to work with people who trust my creative intuition and let me try more absurd ideas.” This fall, Cho will be completing a residency at Pocoapoco in Oaxaca, Mexico, where she will be conducting research on the KoreanYucatec diaspora. Her plan is to generate a chapbook that traces two or three recipes that were adapted by Korean laborers who settled in south eastern Mexico during the early 20th century. Cho is thrilled to be working on the project. “For me it’s about preserving the traditions of food, tracing their origins, and understanding them.” ~ SAEHEECHO.COM
MAX GUALTIERI (MUSIC BFA 11)
J O U L E S & WAT T S COFFEE Just over a year ago, Max Gualtieri, an accomplished guitarist and audio engineer, was teaching music lessons and touring with several bands. Now he’s the co-owner of Joules and Watts, a coffee roastery he runs with his partner Christina DeMeglio. Gualtieri calls himself a natural maker: besides making music and records, he has tried his hand at beer and wine. “But there’s so much more depth in coffee,” he says. “It started out as a quest for a really good pour over, but I really got into it.” Then an opportunity: friends offered up their empty storefront near Beverly Grove for Gualtieri and DeMeglio to host a coffee pop-up shop for three days in June 2018. “I had zero barista experience then,” says Gualtieri. “It was nerve wracking; I didn’t sleep the night before.” However, the pop-up was such a success that Gualtieri and DeMeglio decided to pursue Joules and Watts with gusto. To learn the ropes, Gualtieri snagged a job as a barista at Cognoscenti Coffee in Culver
City and dove headlong into learning all he could about coffee. About two times a week, Gualtieri conducts a “cupping,” a methodical, blind taste test of sample roasts of different kinds of beans. For a roastery, buying raw product (green, unroasted beans) from a distributor is a significant investment, so Gualtieri wants to make a sound choice. The other reason for these twice-weekly taste tests is practice: Gualtieri plans to take the Q Exam this fall, which is a rigorous in-person test that evaluates a subject’s sensory and olfactory skills, and their ability to identify various aromatic compounds and acid profiles found in coffee. The Q Grader certification will certainly give him “sharper elbows” in the industry, but these cuppings are also improving his relationship to his craft. “Tuning my palate is exactly the same as ear training,” he says. “Being able to taste the difference between ‘fruity,’ ‘chocolate-y,’ and ‘spicy’ flavor profiles is exactly like being able to hear various frequencies when mixing a record.” For the time being, Gualtieri roasts Joules and Watts’ single-origin coffee at Cognoscenti and distributes the coffee from home. While their coffee is primarily sold at select locations on LA’s Westside, a lot of the roastery’s business comes from its bustling mail-order subscription service—Joules and Watts ships their coffee both in and out of state. Gualtieri and DeMeglio’s eventual goal is to have a dedicated space for Joules and Watts: a café and roastery where the pair can work directly with coffee producers. “A coffee shop is a natural way of bringing people together,” says Gualtieri, “and it’s a natural progression from the kinds of things I’m doing in music. Being a jobs provider and fostering a space that is safe and welcomes everyone is my biggest dream.” Gualtieri, who just sold his 1,000th bag of coffee, is just getting started. “Getting into your craft and blazing your own trail is something that was instilled in me at CalArts. To run a business like this you need to be relentlessly curious and open-minded. I rely on those skills every day.” ~ JOULESANDWAT TSCOFFEE .COM
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, Water Will (in Melody).
— American Theatre Magazine
CalArts’ Downtown Center for Contemporary Arts Roy and Edna Disney / CalArts Theater
Michael Asher: Subversive Mailings in Cold War’s Eleventh Hour by Nicki Voss (Art MFA 90)
During the fall of 1989, when I was in the final year of my MFA Art program at CalArts, I was Michael Asher’s TA for Post Studio Art. Each week we met in Michael’s office to discuss all kinds of things, mostly art related. The best part of being his TA was exactly that: the oneon-one conversations with Michael, a most inspired mentor, that could go off in any direction and most often did. In one meeting that fall, we talked about a piece he had just finished in Germany, in which he had documented, photographically, numerous waste disposal trucks suspected of hauling deeply hazardous and toxic materials from West Germany into East Germany, where the dumping of waste was less subject to regulations. Printed on postcard stock, he explained, the color photos were identical to tourist postcards that one would buy as a souvenir and perhaps, mail to a friend far away. In 1989 the Berlin Wall still divided East Germany from West Germany. It may be hard to imagine today, especially if you were very young—or not even born—in 1989, how divisive and frightening the late Cold War period was in much of Central Europe. In Germany the wall functioned as a physical barrier and a constant concrete signifier of post-World War II politics. So, Michael said, with their humble intention, these postcards, easily and freely sent through the mail from someone in the West to someone in the East, could succeed in revealing what had previously been covert. The postcards would identify vehicles suspected of hazardous waste trafficking and alert East German residents to be on the lookout for these trucks. I recall that Michael grinned a lot as he described this piece, and his glee was infectious.
CalArts Alumni Magazine
By keeping the postcards and not mailing them, I wonder now, did I inadvertently become a collector and possibly subvert the intended political activism?
The following week Michael unexpectedly handed me a small paper envelope. Inside were all eight of the individual postcards that we had discussed at length the week before. All were photographed in color from the same angle; the trucks, presumably fully loaded, were depicted parked on the West side, idle at the border (die Grenze), waiting to cross to the East. The back of each card identified the vehicle manufacturer, the origin of the pickup (if known), the intended destination in the DDR (Deutsche Demokratische Republik), the contents (vague or generally not provided), the date of the photos (September 15, 1989), and the location of the border crossing, Zollgrenzübergang Schlutup/Lübeck. The postcards contain minimal additional information. These eight cards, intended to facilitate a specific action on behalf of the sender, revealed the typical Michael Asherian humor and his unique wry wit. By keeping the postcards and not mailing them, I wonder now, did I inadvertently become a collector and possibly subvert the intended political activism? Thankfully, Michael never asked me afterwards what I did with the cards, and later that same year, in November 1989, the wall itself came down, and the world order shifted once again.
Open Learning @ CalArts
Launching Fall 2019
The Language of Design: This course will introduce a lexicon (or vocabulary) in order for you to demonstrate clearer and more considered ways of talking about graphic design in the context of critique. By refining this skill, you will enhance your ability to communicate about design with peers, colleagues, and clients. The course was developed by Yasmin Khan, Faculty, Program in Graphic Design at CalArts, and Randy Nakamura, Faculty, MFA Design program at California College of the Arts.
The course resides on the Coursera online learning platform and is open to everyone.
Open Learning at CalArts brings together a community of engaged online learners from around the world interested in the arts and creative education. Learn more and sign up for our courses and certificates through calarts.edu/open-learning.
Form and Meaning
“I remember, in the cafeteria, the Disney animators would all sit at one table. They looked very different from the rest of us hippies.” —Noah Swiler at CalArts Weekend, p. 73
CalArts Graduation 2019 Plus— Your New Director, Available Alumnx Services, CalArts Weekend, CalArtsX Auction for CAP
Dear Alumnx, Families, and Friends, In September 2019, it was my pleasure to join CalArts as the new Director of Alumnx and Family Engagement. The past few months have been a time of exploration as I learn more about what it means to be a part of the CalArts family. I have loved walking around campus, taking in what I see and hear. I’ve spent the past 13 years working in higher education, but I have never worked in a more dynamic environment. One of the most inspiring things I’ve discovered about CalArts is its dedication to community. On bulletin boards throughout campus, I see flyers encouraging faculty, alumni, and students to join the teaching corps of the Community Arts Partnership (CAP). The program reminds me of my own childhood, when I first became exposed to the arts through the public education system. A group of string instrument teachers came to my third grade classroom, showed us the instruments and engaged throughout their performance with jokes and discussion. I remember thinking the cellist was funny and the sight of a string bass simply amazed me. So I decided at age nine, when I was all of four feet eight inches tall, to learn how to play string bass. Wisely, my string teacher advised me to start with the cello first. This started a love affair that lasted through my youth. Coming from a single-parent family, I didn’t have the resources to join a private youth orchestra. However, my instructors taught me well. I played in school orchestras and chamber groups, including the local community 68
CalArts Alumni Magazine
college symphony beginning in middle school. Scholarships allowed me to attend summer programs, where I learned basic piano skills and explored other art forms, including dance, theater, and vocal music. I also performed at festivals throughout the Pacific Northwest. I would not be who I am today without the dedicated teachers and generous donors whose support opened the doors to these experiences. In this edition of Alumnx HQ, you will read more about the CalArtsX benefit and the alumnx artists who have contributed their work to raise funds for CAP. Proceeds from the sales of these artworks go toward the annual support of more than 3,000 local students, many from underserved communities. We’re also reporting on this year’s sensational CalArts Weekend, which welcomed hundreds of alumnx, students, families, faculty, staff, and friends in celebration of our creative ethos. At CalArts Weekend and other forums, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many alumnx, students, and families who have shared with me their visions for the future of CalArts. I’m also incredibly privileged to be surrounded by senior leadership, faculty, and staff colleagues who are committed to strengthening our alumnx network. The Office of Alumnx and Family Engagement, including Associate Director Karolyn Heimes, Assistant Director Sarah Melnick (MFA 16) and Program Associate Diana Cioffari-MacPhee (MFA 16), remains committed to our mission: To engage, encourage, and empower alumnx on their professional and personal paths by connecting them to the Institute and other CalArtians. We’re grateful to the nearly 1,100 alumnx who completed our recent email survey. Your feedback has provided invaluable insight into your interests, resource needs, and preferences for communications that will enable us to strengthen our programs. To that end, we are developing an expanded engagement plan to reach out to alumnx and families near and far. We encourage you to connect with us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, where you can share your perspective as we continue to refine these plans. Together, as alumnx, students, families, faculty, staff, and friends of the school, we will continue building a vibrant network for CalArtians and our extended CalArts community. Thank you for welcoming me to your family. Harmony Frederick, Director of Alumnx & Family Engagement
Alumnx Services CalArts provides alumnx with wide-ranging support aimed at fostering professional development through training, funding, events, grants, mentorship programs, discounts, and other perks. The list below outlines services and programs available for you. If you have any questions, please contact us at 661-222-2742 or email@example.com. Benefits—More than 20 perks are available for alumnx, including discounts for REDCAT membership, rental car fees, and lifelong CalArts e-mail. Events—On campus and throughout the world, including our annual homecoming, CalArts Weekend. Funding—Alumnx Council Seed Grants reward artists with seed funding for projects and happenings that promote alumnx community connection, collaboration, inclusion, and impact on the arts. Leadership—The Alumnx Council selects Seed Grant awardees twice a year and supports graduates with other initiatives and resources. Regional Chapter leaders represent the alumnx community as event coordinators, hosts, and ambassadors of the Institute and Office of Alumnx & Family Engagement. Mentorship Program—Individuals starting careers are paired with fellow alumnx who are already navigating similar professional paths. The program cycle runs June through November.
Alumnx and current students pose during the 2019 CalArts Weekend, our annual homecoming. Back: Eloy Neira (MFA 16, MA 19), Martin Velez (MFA 16), Pablo Leñero (BFA 19), David Velazco (BFA Candidate), Emilia Desiré Moscoso Borja (MFA 19). Front: Diana Soto Teixeira (MFA 19), Susana Pineda Correa (MFA Candidate), Kevin McClellan (MFA Candidate), Johnny Miguel (BFA Candidate).
Social Media—Share your project updates with more than 3,500 alumnx following CalArts on Facebook as well as 2,500 CalArts grads who belong to our LinkedIn group. Website: calarts.edu/alumnx Facebook Page: facebook.com/alum.calarts Facebook Group: CalArts Alumni Association Instagram: @calartsalumni Twitter: @calartsalumni LinkedIn Group: CalArts Alumni Association
The Network—Our biweekly newsletter reports on events, resources, and opportunities. Professional Development Workshops— Presentations on essential skill-building topics including tax preparation, grant writing, budgeting, copyright issues, social media, marketing, pitching scripts, and balancing professional relationships and politics. the POOL
CalArts Graduation 2019
PAGE 70 1 Nick Stahl. 2 Isabel Ivey and Sulley Imoro. 3 Boz Garden with a little one. 4 Chloe Levaillant. 5 Suave looking graduate. 6 Rosalyn Bataille. 1
7 Ajani Russell, Carlos Murillo, and Emily Dobbs. 8 Lilia Deering, Abriel Gardner, Alexandria “Zee” Garland, and Catalina Jackson-Urueña. 9 Gilded: Fernando Mitre and Daniel Loyola. 10 Back row: Inobe Thomas, Brigid Gallagher. Front row: Gillian Perry. 11 Heaven Gonzalez and Kaz Tarshis.
2 Graduation reception in the Main Gallery.
4 Im Vorapharuek bursting onto the stage.
CalArts Alumni Magazine
9 Molly Jo Shea and Ripley.
3 Tracie Costantino, CalArts Provost.
8 Danski Tang, Louise Pau, Kyungwon Song, and Marta Tiesenga.
1 Frida Handelsman and Kehari Hutchinson.
2 A giant screen was part of the set design. CalArts President Ravi Rajan during his speech.
7 Among those in the photo: Jasmine Sugar, Kevin Zambrano, Catalina JacksonUruena, Shiloh Beckett, Odessa Uno, Damonte Hack, Rosalyn Bataille, Sydney Jacobs, Maya Allen, Francesca Penzani, Kehari Hutchinson, Shannon Hafez, Madison Lynch, Lizzy Noriega Weng, Im Vorapharuek, Alexandria “Zee” Garland.
12 Dewayne Cowles.
1 A sea of graduates.
6 Maggie Lange, Corley Miller, Abshir Aden, Lian Villanueva Lansang, Austin Macfadden, Maia Paras Evrigenis, Yuxin Zhao, Effy Morris, Vanessa Holyoak, Teo Rivera-Dundas.
5 Among those who attended Parade of the Alumni Decades at Graduation: Lisa Barr ’91, Sam Chen BFA ’18, Diana CioffariMacPhee MFA ’16, Hilary Darling MFA ’10, Alan Eder MFA ’84, Meltem Ege DMA ’18, Gary Lang ’72, Kyuyim Lee ’18, Sarah Melnick MFA ’16, Laura Molina ’81, Ruth Odukoya BFA ’17, Michael Piwowarczyk BFA ’18, Ian Stahl MFA ’18, and Jan Zimmerman ’72.
3 Brandon Kaplan, Rachel Hacker, Hector Salas (BFA Candidate), and Braden Pontoli (MFA Candidate).
1 Ann Telnaes (Film/Video BFA 85) in conversation with CalArts faculty member Mindy Johnson 2 Open House Dance Concert 3 Sarah Belle Reid (MFA 15 and DMA Candidate) performs at David Rosenboom’s Portrait Concert, Propositional Music.
Despite Fires CalArtians Reunite CalArts Weekend 2019 Noah Swiler (Theater 81) sat in the Main Gallery, his arms folded, leaning back in his chair as he gazed out at the crowd with a mix of nostalgia and giddy enthusiasm. “I haven’t been back here since 1982,” he said. “This was the site of an infamous Halloween party, but I also remember sitting behind Philip Glass in this room, and Aaron Copland as he was playing his Quiet City.” As Swiler recalled the 1982 CalArts campus in his mind, he looked as if he were watching an old film flicker across his line of sight. “I remember, in the cafeteria, the Disney animators would all sit at one table,” he said with a smile. “They’d be wearing their V-necks, and they were very clean shaven. They looked very different from the rest of us hippies.” As his thoughts returned to the present moment, however, Swiler noticed a change. “When I was here, CalArts was a very insular experience. We focused on our art, our skill, on getting to where we could with our artmaking,” he explained. “But today’s CalArts has made a huge effort to be inclusive, collaborative, far-reaching. It’s bringing art out into LA, the community,
and the world—which is where it can really make a difference to people.” CalArts Weekend 2019 brought together hundreds of members of the CalArtian community, from students and families to faculty and alumnx. The diverse lineup of forums, performances, and activities reunited a global community of rich talent and backgrounds that continues to learn from one another throughout their collaborative artmaking careers. While this year’s Friday schedule of festivities was canceled due to the Saddleridge wildfire in a neighboring valley, guests were grateful to attend the full day of events on Saturday. “I’m glad you all persisted through some of the challenges to be here today,” said CalArts President Ravi Rajan. “We really appreciate you being here with us.” Whether it was a first visit or a long-awaited return, attendees left with a deeper sense of connection to CalArts’s unique approach to arts education as well as a fresh dose of creative inspiration. “We’re from Chicago, so we can’t come to see every performance throughout the year,” said parents Steven and Carol Blindauer. “This gives us a chance to see and experience a lot, all at once, and each time we’ve come to a CalArts Weekend, we’ve enjoyed something different. Neither of us has an arts background, so this is great—very eye-opening.” Even families with members deeply involved in arts education found new reasons to celebrate the day’s events. “We have two CalArtian sons; one has already graduated, and we come every year,” said parents Byron and Cecilia Brizuela, who work in the industry as a musician and director, respectively. “It’s beautiful to raise artists and teach them how to survive as artists, and I think the most important the POOL
Alumnx HQ 1 2 1 Sawyer Shine (BFA Candidate) with his parent, Marianne Shine. 2 CalArts Weekend attendees studying The Pool magazine. 3 CalArts Faculty members Charles Gaines and Michael Ned Holte in conversation.
thing they get out of CalArts is hope. That’s what this weekend is all about.” As parents and alumnx explored the campus, Saturday’s program kicked off with an introduction to the CalArts Community Arts Partnership (CAP) by newly appointed director Veronica Alvarez, followed by a day of featured forums, lunch with live music, an alumnx reunion dinner, a concert at the Wild Beast, and a dance concert to end the night in true CalArts style. The forums began with “Art as Activism,” featuring distinguished CalArts faculty member and political activist artist Charles Gaines, moderated by friend and faculty colleague Michael Ned Holte. As one of the few AfricanAmerican conceptual artists working in the 1970s, Gaines created a systematic approach to artmaking that questioned existing structures of abstraction, representation, and subjectivity. Some of his large body of work is currently on view at Hauser & Wirth in Los Angeles. Gaines’s art practice and lengthy career in the classroom have helped him train better artists and appreciators of art. “I embrace the idea of being a political artist, but I didn’t know I was one in the beginning. I’d been blindly following this path of being an artist without really thinking about it, and what I was creating didn’t have particular meaning to me. It felt arbitrary, like a crisis of artmaking,” Gaines said of his early career. “But I had this fascination with systems and the patterns they create that, I think, was fueled by being raised in the Jim Crow South. I began to see that there were ways of making art that had nothing to do with the creative imagination, but with systems instead. The gridwork allowed me to do that: to use art as a way of disarming, if not dismantling, subjectivity.” While the first forum served as an introspective look-back over an immense career in art and education, the second 74
CalArts Alumni Magazine
one, “Producing and Directing Pioneers: Women in Film,” peeled back the layers to reveal the steps required—especially for women—to reach that elusive level of success in filmmaking. Moderated by director of the MFA Film Directing Program, Deborah LaVine, this advice-packed session featured two dynamic alumnx. Nominated for the Producers Guild of America’s 2019 Outstanding Producer Award for Documentary Film, Christine Beebe (Film/Video MFA 05) is the Director of Non-Fiction Development at Lucasfilm and is currently exploring the studio’s future focus in non-fiction work. Natalie Metzger (Dance MFA 11) is a Spirit Award-nominated producer whose well-recognized body of work includes award-winning commercials, short films, narrative films, and documentaries. The two women, both at tipping points in their careers, exalted the transformative power of creative collaboration as they shared their best advice to a cross-generational audience of CalArtians and family members. “Find your tribe,” advised Natalie Metzger, simply and firmly. “Find a group of fellow artists you love and respect, who love and respect you—people whose work you admire. If you can find that group, you’ll grow together, and your careers will take off together. More importantly, the work will get better.” The two also touched on the industry’s current atmosphere for women in film. “I feel super-lucky to work for a company that’s run by a powerhouse of a woman, Kathy Kennedy. I love that!” exclaimed Beebe. “When I first started, however, I was trying to get general [pitch] meetings and almost every name on the list was a man. I was hoping to be pleasantly surprised, and I wasn’t. It’s such a push, such a struggle. The caliber of the work has to be really good and, unfortunately, the opportunities to build that experience aren’t always there, either.” Of her forum appearance Beebe said, “I just want to inspire people—especially students or recent alumni—to work their butts off. Everyone talks about luck and perseverance, and there really is something to that. But I’d
4 4 Christine Beebe (MFA 05), Natalie Metzger (MFA 11), and Deborah LaVine (Director of the Film Directing Program) in conversation.
5 Eloy Neira (MFA 16, MA 19) and Johnny Miguel (BFA Candidate) perform in the Main Gallery. 6 Steve Kassel ’81, Adrian Brunch ’81, Jon Lee ’80, and Myron Emory ’73.
7 David Rosenboom and Nicki Voss (BFA 88, MFA 90).
tell anybody who wants to go into this business to be very choosy about what they do. When you make a documentary, it takes five to eight years out of your life.” Both women agreed that the way through had to be supported by a strong community of fellow artists. “I used to joke that [at CalArts] you’d go to the bathroom and come back with five new creative projects,” said Metzger, laughing. “Take that with you. Try to work on as many different people’s projects as you can. Reach out to people doing work that interests you. You never know where some of those things can lead.” The final forum of the day, “The Art of Politics,” featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist for the Washington Post, Ann Telnaes (Film/Video BFA 85), echoed the value of serendipity, as moderator and CalArts faculty Mindy Johnson conversed with Telnaes about her unusual career path to success. Upon graduation from CalArts’s program in Character Animation, Telnaes found her way into professional design at Disney Imagineering, working for years on concept and development. News of the Chinese government’s massacre of students at Tiananmen Square and the US Congressional hearings on Clarence Thomas’s Supreme Court confirmation sparked intense emotion in Telnaes, as well as a desire to express her outrage through a language she knew well: drawing. “I was mad. [The hearings] awakened something in me, and right then and there I started to sketch my first editorial cartoon,” Telnaes recalled. As she worked toward a pivot in her artistic career, it was her animation education that helped her succeed. “That’s the beauty of CalArts. You learn a little bit of everything, and once you master the foundations, you can apply them anywhere,” she said. “Learn the
foundation of your artistic skills so you can be ready to pivot when there’s another opportunity. Know your plan, but look for the window.” Today, Telnaes, recipient of the National Cartoonists Society’s Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year in addition to the Pulitzer, posts her static and animated cartoons on the Washington Post website. Her work has broken new ground for animated political cartoons in the digital landscape. “It’s such an important time in America right now,” she said. “The students here today have to live through this, so please, lend your voices to it.” As the Telnaes interview concluded, the day’s festivities gave way to an evening of food, entertainment, and community; attendees enjoyed the alumnx reunion dinner in the Main Gallery and fare from food trucks. The party continued with The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts Dean David Rosenboom’s Portrait Concert, Propositional Music, at the outdoor Wild Beast music pavilion. Rosenboom’s program included both contemplative experimental and rousing fusion sounds. He shared the stage with many alumni of the School of Music. “The most important thing I get from CalArts Weekend is just hope,” said current student Ivan Brizuela (Theater 20), echoing the notion expressed by his parents. “CalArts is like our playground; like a sanctuary for artists. But I come to CalArts Weekend every year because it reminds me of what I can be and do next.” —Kirsten Quinn-Smith the POOL
“My father built flying saucers in the front yard as I was growing up.”
Ed’s History of Granny Weiss (2019) by Esther Pearl Watson (Art MFA 12). Graphite and aluminum foil glitter on paper.
CalArtsX Auctions Art for CAP
Among the more than 30 participating artists at the CalArtsX Benefit Auction, Esther Pearl Watson (Art MFA 12) contributed Ed’s History of Granny Weiss (2019). The graphite drawing, featuring text and aluminum foil glitter on paper, Alumni Donate Work to Benefit drew inspiration from her childhood, Watson told The Pool. “My father built flying saucers in the front yard as I Community Arts Partnership was growing up,” she said. “He believed that they were the The fourth annual CalArtsX Benefit Auction celebrated supfuture of transportation and would take us out of poverty. port for the Institute’s CalArts Community Arts Partnership But he couldn’t keep his current transportation functioning (CAP), which offers free arts instruction for Los Angeles because he kept getting flat tires and running out of gas.” County students aged 6 through 18. Generously hosted by Granny Weiss exemplifies the text-driven aesthetic CAP Council member Susan Disney Lord at her Brentwood featured in much of Watson’s work, which has appeared on restaurant The Bel-Air, festivities included the auction and Cartoon Network, Adult Swim online, and Vice.com. “I come sale of artworks donated by recent CalArts alumni and CAP from a world of illustration and comics,” Watson explained. participants, and an opportunity to meet new CAP Director “I am interested in the semiotics of visual storytelling, so my Veronica Alvarez, as well as CAP faculty and participants. work always includes text in the spirit of Italian ex-voto or Alvarez arrives at CalArts after serving as LACMA’s ‘miracle painting.’” director of School and Teacher Programs. There, she oversaw Watson credits CalArts with sharpening her creative the “Maya Mobile” classroom, a 48-foot truck outfitted vision. “My education at CalArts felt like putting on a good as an archeological site to teach children about ancient pair of glasses that allows me to see my work better from Maya, Aztec, and Inca cultures. Alvarez attended Cal State a theoretical and historical perspective,” Watson recalled. Northridge and earned her doctorate in Educational “I was fortunate to have amazing teachers like Anoka Leadership for Social Justice at Loyola Marymount University. Faroque and Michael Ned Holte. My classmates Akina Alvarez’s dissertation spelled out the passions that have Cox, Ariane Vielmetter, Krista Bucking, and Kenyatta A.C. made her ideally suited to lead CAP. Titled “Art Museums Hinkle were also very inspiring.” The CAP Auction attracted and Latino English Learners: Teaching Artists in the K–8 Watson’s interest, she said, “because it’s always good to Classroom,” the paper documented how and why students support young artists, many of whom struggle against great of color benefit significantly from arts education. odds to share their ideas with the world.” 76
CalArts Alumni Magazine
Palestine Disturbance, 1936 (2017) by Yair Agmon (Photography and Media MFA 17). Enlarged archival photograph from the Matson Collection at the Library of Congress.
CalArtsX also featured a piece donated by Yair Agmon (Photography and Media MFA 17) entitled Palestine Disturbance, 1936 (2017). The work consists of an enlarged archival photograph from the Matson Collection at the Library of Congress augmented by what Agmon calls an “extended caption.” He explained, “This image is part of a larger project which recaptions or extends captions to a wide variety of images from that archive. The fascination for me is not so much with history per se, as with the political conditions that dictate the narration of historical events in the service of various agendas.”
“I took classes from professors like Ashley Hunt, Ellen Burrill, and Andy Freeman who encouraged me to view artmaking itself as a political act…”
Agmon relocated to California from his native Israel specifically to immerse himself in CalArts’s Photography and Media program. “I was attracted to this long-standing tradition established by the late, great Allan Sekula,” he said. “I took classes from professors like Ashley Hunt, Ellen Burrill, and Andy Freeman who encouraged me to view artmaking itself as a political act, part of a larger arena in which you can negotiate representation, language, politics, and community.” Agmon eagerly contributed his work to the CAP Benefit Auction because he backs the program’s mission to nurture creativity in kids who might not otherwise have access to arts education. “CAP allows amazing artists to bring their unique perspectives to young people in communities like Lancaster, Boyle Heights, San Gabriel Valley, and San Fernando Valley,” Agmon noted. “This kind of outreach really impacts children by making their world richer.”
Alumnx HQ I Wish That I Could Be your Hero, but I’m Not (Fast Enough) (2016) by Corey McGhee (Art MFA 17). Inkjet on canvas.
Detroit native Corey McGhee (Art MFA 17) was represented at the CAP Auction by his Inkjet on canvas piece I Wish That I Could Be your Hero, but I’m Not (Fast Enough) (2016). The work utilizes hand-drawn figures, text, and collage to revisit a chapter from his turbulent youth. “It speaks to a time after my dad left, when my mom had a relationship with an abusive alcoholic,” he acknowledged. “The title of the piece is basically me saying, ‘I wish I could be my mom’s hero and protect her from this bad guy.’ Like a lot of my art, it draws on childhood memories, which is why I use vibrant colors in the drawing and write the text in a childlike manner. It’s a way of making art by looking back at the past.” McGhee decided to study painting at CalArts when he realized that many artists featured in the Hirshhorn Museum’s “Damage Control” exhibit were graduates of the Institute. “Coming to California changed the way I saw art,” he said. “At CalArts, the idea behind the art became more pronounced than the actual physicality of painting itself.” Encouraged by his roommate Ryan Louie, an Experimental Animation student, McGhee enrolled in Maureen Selwood’s animation class. Filmmaking and animation have now been incorporated into his freelance career. “I’ve been focusing on film lately, which is something I never tried before I got to CalArts. Getting involved in animation and these other media really evolved my practice because it kind of put me in a lane of my own.” Reflecting on his own experience, McGhee lauded CAP’s efforts to nurture creativity in elementary and high school students. “For me, personally, when I was growing up, art seemed inaccessible and impractical. I think the CAP program is important to support because I feel children need to see artists who look like them, especially in these [underserved] communities.”
CalArts Alumni Magazine
Yes! (Caravaggio, The Conversion of Saint Paul) (2018) by Jennifer Remenchik (Art MFA 15). Painting on canvas.
“Everything that can be done to break down barriers between young people and contemporary art is a good thing.” Jennifer Remenchik (Art MFA 15) offered a painting titled Yes! (Caravaggio, The Conversion of Saint Paul) (2018) to the CAP Auction. It’s one of several works modeled after classical paintings, she said. “The hands in this series are all in an open position, kind of like a position of submission or acceptance, and they’re all taken from art history. It’s about accepting history and the present.” Remenchik, whose work has been exhibited in Canada, Switzerland, France, and Los Angeles, hopes her gift helps advance CAP programming initiatives. “Everything that can be done to break down barriers between young people and contemporary art is a good thing,” she affirmed. “A lot of people find art intimidating but really, everyone should be allowed to experience and have an opinion about contemporary art.” —Hugh Hart
Share your personal and professional accomplishments with your fellow CalArtians! Send your note to firstname.lastname@example.org and include a photo if you wish.
“I’ve performed more than 200 shows at the world-famous Magic Castle in Hollywood and produced and MCed my own variety show, Lincoln’s Weird World.” —Lincoln Kamm, p. 92
Sixties Roberta Griffith ’60 writes, “I am honored that my installation is included in this important museum exhibition, 21st Century Women, at the Honolulu Museum of Art. The exhibition opened in June and runs through Dec. 15. Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art Katherine Love selected works from their collection made between 2000 and 2018 by 27 women artists. 21st Century Women is one of a number of current and upcoming shows devoted to women artists. See works by such internationally recognized figures as Nancy Grossman, Ann Hamilton, Julie Mehretu, Nancy Rubins, and Kiki Smith, along with work by current and former Hawaiibased artists.” A
Stan Tusan ’60 tells us of his recent trip to visit the Whitney Museum, Guggenheim, and Neue Galerie: “The Whitney building is an outstanding design by architect Renzo Piano of Italy. I loved the Biennial 2019 exhibit: all stunning and very refreshing, including a number of paintings by Edward Hopper. Finally, it was thrilling to see the actual film on Cirque Calder (Calder’s Circus). Walking on the High Line was magnificent, with wonderful landscaping, outdoor sculptures, and constantly changing views of the skyline. Basquiat’s Defacement (Death of Michael Stewart) at the Guggenheim was, as expected, brilliant. The surprise museum was a first visit to the Neue Galerie—devoted to early-twentieth-century German and Austrian art and design, from 1900 to the Bauhaus. Gustav Klimt’s B remarkable Woman in Gold was on display. Definitely a sight. Yes, NY is still a wonderful place to entertain new images and ideas, and recharge one’s creative batteries. Also, my artist wife Barbara and I used the occasion to celebrate our 50th anniversary (where we got married). It was a loving blast!” B Ken Graning ’66 says, “This past June, I toted my paint box through the woods and parks in close proximity to the Suzy Haskew Art Center. It was the annual three-day Fresh! Milford plein air painting competition in Milford, MI, and I threw my CalArts hat in the ring once again. I painted three paintings in as many days and was fortunate enough to win second place in the two-day main paint
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out. I painted a rather stylized landscape of a local pond near my home. We were blessed with perfect plein air weather: three bright, sunny, and clear early summer days. Over 40 artists participated in this event, so the competition was rather intense. A good time was had by all and there were approximately 120 paintings done over the weekend. This is the third year for this competition, which seems to be gathering a following of Michigan artists from all over the state.” C Richard Littlefield ’69 shares this recollection titled, “Dead Man Floating: A Chouinard Memory.” “Michael and I had just finished our morning breakfast at Dunkin’ Donuts: a cup of weak coffee and two plain donuts for 19 cents. We walked down Alvarado to Wilshire to cut through MacArthur Park, then on to Chouinard to attend that day’s first studio. As we started to navigate around the lake (actually, a large, shallow, artificial pond), we saw two policemen on the walkway. Then we noticed another in a rowboat holding a long pole with a curved piece on the end. As we passed, the third policeman in the rowboat shouted, “We got a floater.” We stopped for a moment at the end of the lake to watch the dead body bobbing up and down as it was pulled toward the shore. We continued to walk toward Chouinard and entered the building to ascend the stairs to our respective studio classrooms. Most of the students had already taken their chosen places in Watson Cross’s life drawing class. Two of the female students were exceptionally adept at figure studies. The 16-year-old girl from Holland utilized colorful drawing media to produce four or five complete sketches within one hour. The flow from model to her eye then translated through her hand was one of sensual form. The other remarkable member of the class, Helen, had a process of personal form that a few others in class thought was very strange. She rarely spoke, and also pretended not to hear what others said. However, once she did say to me that she liked my drawings because they were so crude. During class she was crouching or lying in a very large cardboard box with its open end facing the model. When all the supplies needed for that day’s drawings were assembled in her large container, she entered. After removing all of her clothing, she began to draw. Another class member wore the same outfit every day. His attire consisted of black khaki pants, a white T-shirt, and white super-clean tennis shoes; on colder days a grey zippered jacket. The reddish freckles on his face created a high contrast with his black rimmed glasses. The red hair on his head formed a solid wave of perfumed hair spray. At lunchtime a few of us hung out on the roof to smoke one or two. Michael and I were the first to arrive on that day. Rita and her girlfriend announced their entrance with their semihysterical laughter. They’d brought tacos and sodas from a neighborhood restaurant to feed all six of us. As we ate and smoked,
Michael and I recounted that morning’s experience in the park. Most likely, seeing the dead man being pulled out was also floating in my subconscious throughout that morning. As Michael told the group about the scene with a naïve excitement—almost as if it were a comic strip—I began to cry. Someone asked why I was crying and another answered: “Stupid, he’s crying about the dead man.” Sally sat down beside me and put her arm around my shoulder like an older sister might. We looked at each other and cried even more because just a few days earlier, her boyfriend was killed in Vietnam.” Donald “Don” Simpson ’69 says, “I was at Chouinard in the late ’60s on a veteran loan. I had a summer job at W.E.D. (the firm that designs Disneyland parks) where I built model houses for the EPCOT diorama and painted the original pirate shoes for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. I got to see a lot of top craftspeople at work and behindthe-scenes parts of Anaheim Disneyland.
Chouinard Alumni Annual Reunion Brunch February 2020 in Los Angeles Celebrate Chouinard’s 98year legacy! Look for your invitation in the mail.
and its sequel, Breakdown. Feedback always welcome! Along with reveling in the relative peace and quiet of semiretirement in a small, southern Oregon town, that’s what I’ve been up to in recent times—writing and waiting to become one of Amazon’s best-selling authors. I’d love to hear from any and all of you, so please contact me! Let me know what dreams you’ve been pursuing and, hopefully, achieved. I have many fond memories of sitting on the patio at the old Chouinard across from MacArthur Park, sharing thoughts and aspirations with classmates who, like me, were young, hopeful, and eager to share. Those were the days, but I hope that the days since have been even better for you all.”
The most fun part was working with T. Hee on a planned Tomorrowland shooting gallery. He knew what made things funny, be they still or moving. The shooting gallery consisted of an invasion by little green flying saucer men. Their belt buckles were fourhole buttons, with photocell holes, and the customers’ guns fired bursts of light. Funny things would happen when a light beam hit an alien ’belly button.’ It was something different for each alien, in cascading sequences, each gag topping the previous one. T came up with gags and I showed him appropriate mechanical linkages, or I would show him odd mechanisms and he would find humor in them. A few test aliens were built, but for some reason (possibly Walt Disney’s death) the project was dropped. I couldn’t talk about it because of the 10-year nondisclosure agreement.”
Seventies David Evans (McMullen) ’70 writes, “After 51 years, I have finally copyrighted my storyboard, logo, and T-shirt titled Stars and Stripes, based on Robert Kennedy’s assassination; [he] was shot a couple of miles from Chouinard Art Institute in 1968. The Russian ambassador to the United States at the time said, ‘the stars in the American flag are actually bullet holes.’ I was 19. Once the copyrights come through, I will be seeking crowdfunding to create the animated spot. Now more than ever we need rational dialog to help resolve one of the United States’s main scourges—to stop the carnage of killing our innocent citizens.” Deborah Teller Scott (Snipes) ’71 exclaims, “Calling all CalArtians! I want to inform you about my cozy mystery novel, Downfall,
Byron Tomingas ’71 writes to say he’s returned to Jenny Lake Lodge in Grand Teton National Park for his “dozenth” year. “I perform solo instrumental classic guitar Fridays and Sundays from 6:00 to 9:00 P.M. I use my Bird’s Eye Maple Oribe concert guitar, which was presented to me as a Lifetime Achievement Award in Music. This past September, I also performed at The Center Theater in Jackson Hole, WY, which is always a sold-out show in the decade it’s been running. I chose a low-profile career over that of a touring artist by returning to my home of Jackson Hole in 2006. Now I get to make music on my own terms and it’s an imagination run wild.” Donald Beagle ’72 updates us: “Two of my poems appear in Kakalak, the annual anthology of Southern poetry (2019 ed.) to be released in December. The anthology’s Prologue comments: ‘Time and again, Donald Beagle’s “On Driving to the Solar Eclipse with My Granddaughter” and “Blue Ridge Vision” take us through landscapes of family, memory, and myth as they travel the familiar territory of the Carolinas.” Another of my poems, “Driving to the Dunes of Manteo,” was published in the Spring 2019 issue of AGORA. I’m hoping to find a CalArts composer or multimedia artist to collaborate on a musical/media ‘realization’ of my 12-poem sequence Rumi & the Year of Meteors, scheduled for publication in January 2020 in my forthcoming book, Driving Into the Dreamtime. My Rumi/Meteor poems were praised by the late, eminent poet W. S. Merwin, who said, “The poem sequence Rumi & the Year of Meteors by Donald Beagle is distinctively original, yet conveys a haunting familiarity. These poems are in continual motion, orbiting a mysterious point where intuition, emotion, and perception converge.” Any CalArts composer and/or multimedia creator interested in considering a collaboration, please contact me.” John Collins ’72 writes, “Ah, another lap in The Pool (‘pal’ in the ‘loop’) at CalArts. Best regards to all still swimming! My newest project, I am Yours, is out, and I’m currently available for international travel as a personal concierge. The innovative
poetry book Buddha Plays the Bongo Drums is printed and available, and Other News is being distributed nationwide. All is well in the Collins Tabernacle. ‘Old artists never die, they just paint themselves into a corner of irrelevance.’” Steven Gaydos ’72 says, “I was named Chevalier du Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) of France.” E
Marjorie Hayes ’72 writes to tell us: “I was promoted to Full Professor of ActingDirecting at the University of North Texas. Continuing to work as an actor, singer, and director in the US and abroad. Thanks to the CalArts School of Theater for the professional start and the great colleagues I met there.” E Lenny Horowitz ’72 just wants to say, “Thanx for everything.” Jon Barlow Hudson ’72 reports, “In May I created Cloud Hands III in local granite for the city of Nashua, NH. In July I attended the ceremony installing my five-meter stainless steel sculpture Synchronicity XIII in the Minqin Desert International Sculpture Park, Minqin Co, Gansu Prov, China—my 23rd such project throughout China.” D Garit Imhoff ’72 tells us: “I continue performing in two world music groups, Zimbeat and Kembang Sunda, playing music from Southern Africa and Indonesia. With Zimbabwean Karimbas (thumb pianos) I teach a class [of] grade school students for the Center for World Music here in San Diego and still ‘clown around town’ as well. I’m in the process of downsizing my collection of dolls and puppets that were created by Georgia Patterson and me while we were at CalArts in the ‘70s. Please contact me to see what is available. I hope I will hear from my old classmates as well as new folks.” Daina Krumins ’72 says, “Please check out my website!” Llois Miller ’72 checks in to say, “Aloha from Maui.” Thom Mount ’72 says, “I earned a BA from Bard, and an MFA from CalArts. A truly great experience, and continuing, as I see lots of CalArts graduates contributing throughout popular culture. Onward!” Philip Demosthenes ’73 writes, “The shortlived School of Design, where I spent four years, produced many successful graduates.
We had progressive thinkers and educators for studies in social systems; architecture; urban planning; human factors; environmental studies; industrial and graphic design; environmental ethics; critical thinking; and problem solving. With this rich and diverse educational experience, I proceeded into environmental analysis and advanced into a mix of transportation planning and safety strategies; human factors and roadway design; regulatory law and procedures; transportation research and roadway safety with cultural, pragmatic, and ethical analysis. I have provided consulting services to more than 25 states and four counties, I am a member of three standing committees with the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies of Sciences; I teach, and I’ll continue to do consulting work because I enjoy what I do. I thank CalArts and my teachers for setting me on this path.” Bruce Green ’73 says, “after more than 40 years working as an editor, I am now primarily teaching young filmmakers at both USC’s School of Cinemamatic Arts and Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. I’m also a grandfather. The journey continues—I’m never bored and I’m challenged every day!” Nancy Karp ’73 reports, “Nancy + Dancers will be celebrating its 40th season in the San Francisco Bay Area with the premiere of several new dance works and a new music commission by composer Jay Cloidt, February 2020. An excerpt from the evening will be previewed at BAMPFA (Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive) as part of the museum’s FULL series on Dec. 11, 2019. My third limited-edition book of dance scores, Memory/Place, was released earlier this year. It’s available through the dance company’s website and at Printed Matter in NYC.” Lisa Mikulchik ’73 tells us: “I recently retired from my career as a creative specialist/art instructor for a number of programs serving people with developmental disabilities. I sort of stumbled into the work through a job listing for people with ‘empathy, patience, and good communication skills.’ It was amazing work and the clients became family to me. The work also brought me back into my own art-making. Most recently, I’ve been creating mixed-media wall pieces, set in cigar boxes, that I think of as ‘interior dioramas’ on issues of the soul—all from my own personal point of view (of course). I guess the content/subjects/themes can also be described as assemblage, often incorporating feminist commentary and the use of visual puns, irony, word play. I would welcome any contact from my CalArts friends!” Marcia Resnick ’73 updates us: “My out-ofprint book Re-visions has been republished by Edition Patrick Frey in Zürich, and is distributed by D.A.P. In 1975, while driving my car in Manhattan, I was in a car accident and my life “flashed” before me. When I awoke in the hospital, I began to think about
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all the events which led to that moment. I wrote down ideas and drew pictures considering my life thus far, and created a poignant and ironic autobiographical book of staged photographs about female adolescence. Re-visions was first published by The Coach House Press in Toronto (1978). It’s a collection of revisualizations of memories, often revised to augment the irony and humor of the human condition. The words and pictures are equally important—they feed off each other—working in concert or in discord to form the narrative. Andy Warhol called it ‘bad,’ and according to Allen Ginsberg it was ‘sharp … for a girl.’ Now, 41 years later, longtime friend Lydia Lunch pays homage to the second edition of Re-visions: ‘A sweet twist which whispers in mysterious tones predicting the delicious perversion of a budding adolescence.’” Edward Rollin ’73 says, “During the past year I have been cast in several short films, worked on The Deuce with my 1979 Olds Delta 88 Royale, and Newark with my 1965 Plymouth Barracuda. I starred in Louise Devery’s production of The Creature, playing the title role.” Mira Schor ’73 reports, “My work from my years at CalArts was exhibited in Mira Schor: California Paintings, 1971–1973 at Lyles & King Gallery in NY last April. The show was widely reviewed, including in Artforum, the New York Times, Hyperallergic, 4Columns.org, ARTNews.com, Artnet, and the New Yorker. My work from that period is included in Where Art Might Happen: The Early Years of CalArts, which focuses on the legendary founding years of CalArts. [See story on page 17.] It’s a wide-ranging group exhibition presenting a variety of perspectives on the school: parallel movements from the milieus of conceptual art, feminist art, and Fluxus, as well as the school’s radical pedagogical concepts, brought together for the first time. I am also the recipient of a Sharpe Walentas Studio Fellowship for 2019–20.”
Leda (Linda) Siskind ’73 tells us: “My play, The Surveillance Trilogy, was at Theatre 40 in Beverly Hills this fall. The Surveillance Trilogy is an evening of three pieces that trace how our country’s surveillance of its citizens— from the Red Scare to our present-day artificial intelligence devices—can be used against us and can tear our relationships apart.” Markene (Marki) Smith ’73 writes, “I’ve worked as a writer/editor/photographer for Petersen’s Photographic Magazine for nearly a decade. I also wrote for L.A. Weekly (films), was Contributing Editor at Rolling Stone (Photography column), and performed as an extra in Orson Welles’s The Other Side of the Wind. I moved to the SF Bay Area to work for Atari Home Computers. When Warner Bros. sold Atari, I launched a long freelance career as a writer/creative director for Apple, Adobe, and other fast-growing tech companies. I married cartoonist/Web developer Ted Richards. We have one child together and another from his previous marriage. Ted and I are good friends living in different houses about a mile apart in a small town an hour south of San Francisco, between San Jose and Santa Cruz. Today, I volunteer as a UCCE Master Gardener, give talks on edible landscape design, and staff the MG Help Desk. I’m active in several local community groups, and have taught our brilliant Russian Blue to jump through a hoop, ‘high-five,’ come when called, and play ‘cat ball.’” A Rachel Youdelman ’73 lets us know that “The Metropolitan Museum of Art has acquired nine of my bookworks. Photo: a page from At the Theater (1976).” C Joyce Borenstein ’74 writes, “In 1972, eager to move to LA for my graduate studies and about to purchase my plane ticket, an earthquake happened and the Villa Cabrini Campus was damaged. My move was delayed for a few months until B
the new campus was completed, but the delay made the anticipation of CalArts even more exciting. In my second year Jules Engel, a wonderful professor who came to the rescue for many students, chose me as his teaching assistant. This not only helped with tuition, but in teaching the Oxberry Camera to students; I was beginning to feel more at ease socially. Later on, back in Montreal in the early 1980s, I became an animation professor at Concordia University Fine Arts, and continued to teach there for the next 25 years. At CalArts, I felt a sense of endless possibilities. I had euphoric dreams and felt so free living on my own. I got to marvel at the uniqueness of California: Big Sur, Carmel, the Redwood National Parks, the Mohave Desert, the perpetual summers, the palm trees, the view at night from my dorm window of the Interstate 405 with its steady stream of cars like an undulating diamond necklace, the ocean with miles of beige sandy beaches, and the panoramic pastel sunsets. … Upon Picasso’s death in 1973, an art student made white plastic masks from a mold of his own face and on the day that the news reached California, there were a number of students wearing these masks, standing motionless in the main hallway of CalArts. It was a somber, unforgettable tribute to Picasso.” B Ruth Cox ’74 reports, “As a kid from CA’s Central Valley, my time at CalArts was so formative—an awakening to the possibilities of a life filled with creative expression. After working in the theater and Hollywood as an actor in my 20s and 30s, I did graduate work in psychology and embarked on a second-act career as an educator. While teaching a wide range of courses at San Francisco State, I’d smuggle in ideas from acting and transpersonal psychology. Looking back, I now see it was all about further explorations into understanding human nature. Now in my third act, I’ve been writing and making botanical art, which has led to collaborations with two friends on a book, A Basket of Words: Twenty Years of Writing Together, and a florilegium project with other artists in Northern CA to document the gardens on Alcatraz. My partner Milton Chen and I were happy to be able to support the Stan Lai/CalArts production of Night Walk—a fantastic full-circle feeling to see CalArtians performing in the exquisite setting of the Huntington Chinese Gardens. Looking forward to celebrating CalArts’s 50th!” E Jody Diamond ’74 says, “The first time I played gamelan at CalArts in the fall of 1970, a voice in my head said, ‘I am going to play this music for the rest of my life.’ Fifty years later, I am still in the world of gamelan—learning, playing, teaching, writing, publishing, and composing. I was Lou Harrison’s gamelan teacher and orchestrator for 25 years, and inherited his largest ensemble, the Javanese-style Gamelan Si Betty. As an Artist in Residence at Harvard for 10 years, I taught gamelan and composition.
Canada. Presently I’m owner/director of FloorHeatersLA, which rebuilds and restores antique and traditional analogue heaters. I now live in West Los Angeles with my wife, Lucia, and am involved in real estate investment and development.”
This month, we found a new home at SUNY New Paltz, where a program in Southeast Asian Music includes ensembles from the Philippines and Burma (with Kyaw Kyaw Naing). I will always be grateful to CalArts for allowing me to encounter the gamelan through a direct and profound musical experience, and making it possible for a powerful epiphany to become the touchstone for a lifetime of music making.” D Roberta Friedman ’74 tells us: “Currently I coordinate the Film Program at Montclair State University and run a film forum— always looking for CalArtians to invite—so if you’re coming East, contact me! Recently the film I produced, Power to Heal: Medicare and the Civil Rights Revolution, was included in the 2019 Global Peace Film Festival, [won] awards at [other]festivals this past year, and [was]broadcast on more than 350 PBS stations across the country.” Nicholas (Nicky) Gervay ’74 writes, “I’ve retired from my previous career as a Film and Video Artist/Compositor. I worked internationally in various softwares (Flame, Inferno, Shake) on such Oscar-awarded features as What Dreams May Come, Lord of the Rings trilogy, and Spy Kids. I also worked locally in multiple post-production houses (Digital Domain, Rhythm & Hues, and others) as well as internationally on commercials, including in Shanghai, Israel, Thailand, Malaysia, and
Mark Gordon ’74 checks in: “I wrote and directed my first feature-length documentary film, Awakening in Taos: The Mabel Dodge LuHan Story. The film has won numerous awards, been screened at the Smithsonian Art Museum in Washington, DC, and is currently syndicated on PBS stations nationwide. Alumni who are interested will be able to view the film on Vimeo on demand. I’m currently working on two documentary films about artists. I live in Santa Fe, NM, and spend time with my family in Carmel Valley, CA.” Robert Glenn Ketchum ’74 writes, “Last fall I had a large exhibit of my new work at the Manhattan Beach Art Center. The show was comprised of my current digital printmaking, and the last of the large embroideries and loom weavings created during my 35-year UCLA to China Exchange collaboration in Suzhou. I am now organizing for an exhibit at the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville, GA, entitled Robert Glenn Ketchum & Eliot Porter: On Seeing Color, and the Science of Printing It. That exhibit will be on display from March 7 through July 26, 2020, and will feature a selection of Porter prints I personally curated. Lastly, at 72, I’m writing an autobiography—a 10-part online blog, posted daily. These are the background stories of my many books and conservation projects. You can find it on BlogSpot. Photo title: ‘A River Runs Through It.’” Dean Lyras ’74 checks in: “During my last year at CalArts, I was a student trainee on the Disney film The Strongest Man in the World. After graduating, my friend and mentor Verna Fields recommended me to Universal Studios as an assistant director. One of the many films I worked on during that period was Blues Brothers, for which my fellow classmates Bruce Berman ’74 and Sean Daniel
’73 were executives. I started a camera rental company in the late 1990s named Rocky Mountain Motion Pictures. We did over 50 feature films and were based in Hollywood. Currently I’m living between Prague and Los Angeles, and I’m working on a Holocaust film titled Lucky Man, shot in Prague and the San Francisco area. I work mostly as a 2nd Unit director/cameramen and I’m in the Directors Guild of America as well as the International Cinematographers Guild. I would look forward to reconnecting or hearing from any of my fellow classmates or even any CalArts students working in film. Thanks.” Denman (Denny) Maroney ’74 writes, “To mark my 70th year on earth, I made a triple album of solo recordings—38 of my compositions, half of which have been recorded before in ensemble versions, and half of which have never been recorded at all. The album is called Solo@70 and is available for download on all music platforms.” Susan Starbird ’74 reports, “I recently published the fourth issue of my irregular Susan The Magazine. The latest issue, Wheels, is about cars. Earlier issues discussed water, women, and work. Search my name on Amazon!” Jodi Stuart ’74 says, “Being a free spirit and an artist in Manhattan didn’t compare to arriving at CalArts in the early years. In my first five minutes I met a guy in the cafeteria who took me under his wing—David Hasselhoff ’73. Shortly after I arrived, so did the big earthquake. … Shaken, David came and got me to see the split in the highway. In this creative bubble, we were free. I had an amazing studio to which I could go any time. As a color field painter (I mixed my own colors) inspiration came from nature. The circle queen had the best years of her life there. The paintings are in order, my last painting combines all my art.” C
and Visual Effects Supervisor Rob Legato. Building a new ceramics studio for my wife in our backyard. That’s about it, folks.” Bob Frazier ’75 shares, “I’m about to go on tour with the Black Jazz All Stars. Concerts in Paris and Berlin in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Black Jazz label. I played trumpet and flugelhorn on the album Infant Eyes with Doug and Jean Carn.” B
Gregg Barbanell ’77 writes, “I am honored to be part of the sound team that received an Emmy nomination for our work on Better Call Saul. It was nominated in the category Outstanding Sound Editing for a Comedy or Drama Series. This is my 11th Emmy nomination with one win.” Bob Getter ’76 says, “Marten Ingle ’78 and I are recording tracks in Orsay, France, for our new group The Buellz, in honor of our late, former CalArts professor, bassist extraordinaire, Buell Neidlinger.” B Gary Hirschman ’76 writes, “After teaching elementary school general music, band, and chorus for 26 years, I have retired to Atlanta, GA, where I’m working part time at School of Rock and preparing a covers act with my wife Michelle.”
Michael Fink ’75 updates us: “Not much to say on this post—just hoping for one of those hats! I continue as Chair of Film and Television Production in the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Following a screening of The Lion King in July at Disney Studios, I had great fun moderating a panel with Director Jon Favreau, Cinematographer Caleb Deschanel,
CalArts Alumni Magazine
perfect for my goal of pushing boundaries: a queer, black, country rapper defying all expectations and restrictions. 2019 has been full of surprises and disappointments, but always reinforcing the path of independence I’ve chosen. Regardless of the difficulty that path brings, always facing challenges and somehow overcoming, expanding, and learning! I opened a shop in downtown LA five years ago, and this week I open my second shop in LA, 15 years after closing six shops and swearing I would never, ever have a retail shop again. Cheers to never believing in never!” A
Paul Kaufman ’76 reports, “Awakened by the ‘ping’ of a message arriving, I rolled over and saw the white/black fur Chelsea boot I had designed some years back, toe-tapping. Rubbing sleep out my eyes, I wondered who had spent their time creating this cute meme for Instagram. But then, the shot panned out revealing the Time magazine cover—someone must be messing with me! I’ve been designing shoes for almost 40 years and have had some magazine covers and amazing artists wearing my boots, but Lil Nas X on Time magazine!? Damn … and
Robert Bassett ’77 checks in: “I retired in January 2018 after a very successful career as an international lawyer in the mining industry, and have since returned to my musical roots. This year my string quartet was premiered by the Mivos Quartet at the Creative Musician’s Retreat in New Hampshire, and my score for The Magnificent Fourteen (Year-olds) helped the film win multiple awards at the 48 Hour Film project. I’ve been performing with the chamber group The Fillmore Trio for three years (Copland, Bartók, Mozart) and with various jazz groups (Colorado Jazz Workshop, SoBo Quartet). Life is wonderful in Colorado!” Dorit Cypis ’77 says, “My urban installation for social engagement, Welcome the Stranger, was open at City Arts Festival in Lublin, Poland, from Sept. 13 through Oct. 12. It celebrated the Old Well, the only remaining of [the]12 wells [that had been] located in what was once Lublin’s Jewish neighborhood. By placing ‘water stations’ across Old Lublin on a path connecting with the Old Well, we honor the underground streams and
rivers connecting Lublin to other cities and countries. Each station holds a water pail and frames words spoken by someone struggling with refugee status. On glass panes in the niches of the Old Well [are inscribed] words by exiled writer Edmond Jabes, who celebrated self-reflection and inspired generosity of spirit. Daily, passersby heard sound coming from the Old Well, voices struggling to express, to remember, to be heard. What does the foreigner ask us to understand?” E Sari Gennis ’77 writes, “After a grueling couple of physically challenging years, in which I had to spend several months in bed, I’m happy to report that D things are finally turning around! I was just invited to join the Motion Picture Academy (short film and animation category). I was also well enough to go on an instructional sketching and drawing trip to Amsterdam and then a cruise down the Rhine River with Glenn Vilppu and several other artists, ending with a visit to London and Paris to see another CalArts alum, Dale Herigstad ’79. Until the physical stuff hit, I’d had a lovely career working as an effects animator and visual effects artist at places like Disney, DreamWorks, Warner Bros., and Fox, starting out at Robert Abel and Associates.” D Suzan Shutan ’77 reports, “I have been a working exhibiting artist. I received my MFA from Rutgers Mason Gross in 1988, after an eight-year hiatus living and working in Berlin and NYC. I’ve worked as Museum Education Curator at the Des Moines Art Center, Director of Education at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, Director of the Public Art Program in New Haven, CT, Sculpture Professor at Quinnipiac University, primary Sculpture Teacher at Housatonic Community College, and as a mentor to MFA students in low residency programs in the Northeast. My work has been published in Paper Art Installations II, in multiple exhibition catalogues, and has been favorably reviewed by Smithsonian magazine, Sculpture magazine, the New York Times, Art New England magazine, and High E
Performance magazine. I’m a recipient of multiple grants and residencies, including those from Yaddo and Bemis Foundation, and recent commissions for Log Me In headquarters in Boston and Sloan Kettering Hospital, NYC. Additionally, I curate and write on art. Materialized, which includes former CalArts professor Judy Pfaff and 18 other artists, was at UMass Amherst Hampden Gallery through October 2019, simultaneously with my solo exhibit Slicey Dicey. Upcoming exhibits are at Claudia Weil Gallery in Germany, and West AAP Projects, Biennale of International Reductive and Non Objective Art in Sydney, Australia. I have been married to Mario Almeida for 25 years.” Chas Smith ’77 updates us: “The Mantis is one of my sound sculptures. Back in the 1980s when Lockheed was clearing house and moving to Georgia, they would have ‘surplus day’ on Thursdays, and I would be there looking for materials to work with. The Mantis’s armature is made from the titanium fixtures that were used to hold aluminum aircraft parts in sulfuric acid tanks when they were being hard anodized with 700 volts. I welded them together in patterns and I recently added small titanium sheets to add resonance and titanium rods, cut to ‘scale lengths’ and machined to bolt on. The whole assembly is suspended from a rotor that the electric motor can spin. The idea was to use the doppler effect to modify the complex sounds it can make.” Adam Stern ’77 says, “The Seattle Philharmonic is continuing its work in support of forgotten or neglected composers. During the 2019–20 season, it will present four US premieres by women: Mel Bonis, Ruth Gipps, Molly Kien, and Grazyna Bacewicz, as well as the world premiere of a Philharmonic commission by Washington composer Gina Gillie. The orchestra has received three grants from Women’s Philharmonic Advocacy for their efforts.” “Bear” Thomas (Tom) Woodson ’77 writes, “I have been a composer of modern symphonic music for 50 years. I have a one-hour long symphony, dozens of unaccompanied and accompanied sonatas, and many other chamber works. There are fewer than 10 composers alive worldwide right now, who have written 10 concerti. I just finished my ninth this last July. You’d think with all this exceptional work, that CalArts would have promoted my music, but instead it has actively ignored me. Why? These days I’m in failing health and must go to dialysis three times a week since November 2018.” Bradford Bancroft (bradford cat) ’78 says, “I smiled when I saw Jesse Bonnell was helping with these class notes, for Jesse helped me come full circle with CalArts the last few years—from the theater school to creative arts therapy, and then back to theater when he invited me to help the Poor Dog Group put together its fantastic performance piece Group Therapy. It was
an amazing experience and I was thrilled to work with these dedicated and talented artists. CalArts was, and is, all about bravery, and these artists exemplify that in heart!” Emily Hay ’78 checks in: “Residing in the mountains near the town of Ojai in Southern California, I continue my work as a paralegal for Rimon Law, specializing in contracts in the field of music, copyright, new media, and entertainment law. I also perform and record regularly as a flutist and vocalist in various improvisation and contemporary music ensembles, including my own group, Hay Fever. My CD entitled Nomads was released last year featuring live performances recorded while on the road with electric bassist Steuart Liebig.” Roger Holzberg ’78 tells us: “As the cofounder of Reimagine Well, I taught the Healthcare by Design class with Shannon Scrofano ’06 for the experience design track in the School of Theater last spring. The class delivered a pilot program designed to reduce anxiety for pediatric cancer patients in treatment at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. After surveying patients about their ‘special healing places,’ the class created interactive adventures based on those places and the characters that the patients wanted to meet while in treatment. The multidisciplinary class had guest lecturers that included Joe Lanzisero ’77 on character design, Allen Trautman ’78 on puppeteering, and Martin Casella ’78 on writing. The ‘distraction therapy’ program then received a fellowship grant to be turned into a permanent program for pediatric patients at multiple pediatric hospitals in the US—the grantee recipient is Charlotte Simpson ’19. Pictured is the Healthcare by Design class at CHLA and the student facilitators who will be featured in the expanded adventures.” F
Michael Mendelson ’78 says, “I’ve continued as a caregiver to an autistic man and his senior father for eight years now. I still go to see live music as much as possible while living in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’m releasing photos from my archives, including Bruce Springsteen from the late ’70s. See my website, mendelsonarchives.com.” F
Allan Trautman ’78 reports, “I was the Artist in Residence last summer at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s annual National Puppetry Conference, where I debuted my first puppet-and-mask stage work, Gripe.”
Bob Watt ’78 updates us: “I’m the former Assistant Principal French horn of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. I published my autobiography, The Black Horn, in 2015. I was the first African American French horn player hired by a major symphony orchestra in these United States. My solo CD, titled I Play French Horn by Bob Watt and friends, was released in 2018 on MSR Classics and is available on all music platforms.”
Scott Frank ’81 checks in: “I just completed the screenplay for the feature film Tiger Heart, directed by Dwight Little. Shooting in India in 2020.”
MICA/McKnight and the NEA; and volunteering with Free Arts Minnesota—the CalArts years seem the most joyful, most lively.”
Chris Woods ’78 writes, “My son (also named Chris Woods) and I both attended the CalArts School of Film/Video and if there’s one thing that we gained from the experience, it’s that we both have stayed true to our own artistic styles and beliefs. Although I’ve learned a great deal from other filmmakers, CalArts nurtured and instilled a bulletproof confidence in my commercial, documentary, and feature work since 1978. What an inspirational institution!” A L. Martina Young, Ph.D., ’78 checks in: “I’ve returned from Australia to resume my teaching schedule as faculty member in Humanities at the University of Nevada, Reno. I continue to curate my newest performance work called Black Swans, an opera poem. It’s being hosted and presented by the National Museum of Australia in Canberra, the capital of Australia. In celebration of the museum’s newest gallery in 2021, with special attention to the emblematic bird, the black swan, Black Swans, an opera poem will be performed with Australian artists, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal.” Beth Brody ’79 recalls, “At 65, I look back over the years: children’s roles with New York City Ballet and Bolshoi Ballet; teen years with Omaha Civic Ballet; study at the Royal Ballet School; pieces for CalArts alumni dance concerts; a teaching award at Gustavus Adolphus College; a year as Visiting Artist in Dance at Luther College; collaborating on “Women of Color” for a Choreographers’ Evening at Walker Art Center; performing in others’ works; choreography fellowships from
CalArts Alumni Magazine
But not indoors, where most of the story takes place.”
Hamish (Korky) Paul ’79 tells us: “I was born in Zimbabwe. After studying Fine Arts at Durban Art School and Film Animation at CalArts, I began my career in advertising before becoming an award-winning illustrator of children’s books. I’ve illustrated the Winnie the Witch series for Oxford University Press, which won the Children’s Book Award and is now published in over 30 languages and sold eight million copies worldwide. It’s soon to be adapted as a TV series called Winnie and Wilbur on Channel 5 ‘Milkshake.’ I’ve illustrated several other successful books for Frances Lincoln, Oxford, Penguin, and Random House, including anthologies of poems edited by John Foster and Michael Rosen. Known only to myself as ‘The World’s Greatest Portrait Artist—and Dinosaur Drawer,’ I visit schools and festivals promoting my passion for drawing. I’m a patron of The Art Room, Pegasus Theatre, ARCh, Reading Quest, and The Stratfordupon-Avon Literary Festival. I now work in Oxford, but every summer I live it up in Greece with my family.” B Emily Sanders (Sandler) ’79 reports, “I’ve performed with Angel City Chorale for 20 years and appeared with the 160-member choir on America’s Got Talent in three different episodes. The LA-based choir advanced to the semi-finals.” Robert Stadd ’79 writes, “Since CalArts, I’ve worked as visual effects producer on Mortal Engines; visual effects supervisor on Father Figures; The Earthquake Bird; and Steven Soderbergh’s The Laundromat starring Meryl Streep, Antonio Banderas, and Gary Oldman. Current film I’m working on is A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting, for Netflix. It’s a teenage girl adventure/horror/comedy based on the book of the same name, currently shooting in Vancouver where it rains a lot.
Steven Kassel ’81 says, “Though I haven’t worked in the film industry for very many years, my creativity (nurtured by ‘the CalArts Educational Experience’) has landed me in the role of creative pioneer in my field: Biofeedback Therapist. After becoming certified in biofeedback in 1985, and then as a Marriage and Family Therapist in 1992, I merged Biofeedback and Couples Counseling into a hybrid I call ‘Interpersonal Biofeedback.’ It has been shown to increase marital satisfaction as couples learn to control their ‘fight-or-flight’ responses. I have published and lectured at professional conferences on Biofeedback in K–12 schools. I have offices in Santa Clarita and West Los Angeles.” D Richard Mann ’81 reports, “My photo series, Life Is Like A Ride In The Park, can be found on my website, along with my other work. An additional person on my ‘Roller Coaster of Life’ is Tony Dow, who played Wally in the TV series Leave It to Beaver. Tony has survived a plethora of health issues, but is currently well and thriving as a productive and prolific sculptor.” Randall Packer ’81 writes, “As the host of The Post Reality Show (which is produced, directed, and broadcast live from my underground studio bunker in Washington, DC) I embed myself in the spectacle of digital culture to perform a critique of its intoxication, disinformation, and disorientation. By activating the empowering medium of independent Internet broadcasting, the show subverts the preconception that mainstream media has a stranglehold on the narrative of public opinion. Please join me beginning January of 2020 during the run-up to the election denouement. WE ARE THE MEDIA!” Lisa Popeil ’81 tells us: “I just had the ultimate summer vacation singing backup on ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic’s huge summer tour across the US and Canada. Sixty-seven mostly sold-out shows, performing every night with a full orchestra. Now back in LA, I’ve returned to my true calling—voice coaching—with teaching trips to Italy and Romania in October 2019. Next November I’ll be performing at the Zappa Union Festival in Oslo, Norway. My latest book, Sing at the Top of Your Game, is now available on Amazon.” E Kevin Richardson ’81 says, “I’ve licensed the classic comic strips Wizard of Id and B.C. from John Hart Studios, and I’m developing them into feature animated films. Both are
‘Riding in a cab should be fun! There should be a gameshow in cabs where you could win money—like Jeopardy, only without Alex Trebek!’ Another comedian who was nearby chimed in, shouting: ‘and you can call it Cash Cab!’”
published daily in over a thousand newspapers worldwide, written and drawn by Hart’s grandsons Mick and Mason Mastroianni. Wizard of Id and B.C. are in story and visual development with a team of story professionals including three CalArts alums: Michael Cachuela ’90, Jim Beihold ’81 (whom I went to school with) and David Fulp ’87. I ran story teams on two Chinese features with the same team members.” Gary Schwartz ’81 writes, “I’m proud of my work Under the Microscope—real or imagined, microorganisms or matter. Carrington Arts gallery owner, Marsha Carrington ’81, exhibits my installation, Spencer’s Slightly Imperfect Peep Show, a.k.a. Micro-Burlesque, in her current show at the Sandusky, OH, gallery.” Tim Wolf ’81 updates us: “I recently released Tidal, an album-length collection of live, improvised, solo pieces featuring the six-string donso n’goni harp and African thumb pianos. The acoustic sources are altered with variations of spectral processing and other digital filters creating ambient drones and soundscapes. The release is available on Bandcamp and major digital platforms with links on my website as well. Also, this past summer I’ve reconnected with Jack Vees ’86 —playing together for the first time since 1981 at CalArts. Jack and I have begun performing in unusual locations in Connecticut and look forward to future collaborations.” C Steven Bilow ’82 tells us: “I’ve had two exciting opportunities in 2019. First, I was recently invited to guest edit the SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal’s Jan./Feb. 2020 special issue on Blockchain Applications E
Amy Knoles ’82 reports, “this past August I spent a few weeks touring Portugal (in a VW van with a hammock in the back) with Vasco Costa and Monika Frycová [who are] in residence at Gafanha da Nazaré Ideas Factory. FCK performed in a decommissioned convent on No Noise Festival de Música in Porto, where the police tried to shut them down for excessive sound. They rented an Airbnb boat on the Duro that was sinking during the show.”
in Media and Entertainment. Second, in January 2019 I was invited to participate in the Sefaria Innovation Circle, where I focused on making Jewish textual material accessible to the general public through data interfaces. In 2018 I left my position as Training Manager for Grass Valley and just completed my first year as Product Marketing Manager for BlueVolt, a SaaS company specializing in online learning and learning management. After nine years on the board for Friends of Chamber Music in Portland, and two years on the board of Third Angle New Music, I’m taking a break from arts organizations to focus on keeping my technical skills strong and modern. To do that, I serve on the committees on AI and Algorithmic Accountability, Privacy, and Digital Governance for the Association for Computing Machinery and am on the Board of Editors for SMPTE.” Catherine Guard ’82 writes to tell us: “While Leonice was on tour for seven months, I decided to try my hand at comedy. One evening in 2003, waiting to go onstage at The Ha-Ha Comedy Cafe in North Hollywood, CA, for an open mic night, I thought up the ideaa for ‘Cash Cab.’ Crouching by the bar nursing a Mai Tai, I began to gripe about NY Cabbies, and about this time a limo driver kept circling the airport trying to pick up more fares, when all I wanted was to get into the city to see my dying sister. By chance, comedian Ben Bailey had been crouching nearby listening to my rant when I exclaimed,
Nini Mazen ’82 checks in with, “Greetings, CalArts Alumni and Friends! In August 1979 I entered the School of Theater, PADT (Performing Arts, Design, and Technology). My teachers were all working professionals at the top of their game—extraordinarily talented. I earned a BFA in Production Stage Management and loved every moment being a CalArts student. After graduating I was offered an entry-level position at a movie production company named Cannon Films. ‘Movies!’ I exclaimed. ‘I’ve never done a movie before. My training is in live stage— theater, dance, music. I didn’t go to Film School.’ Looking back, I am forever grateful for the success I’ve achieved in the motion picture industry for 35 years. Hard work, dedication, focus, and my parents Dr. Mazen & Dr. Brine were, and always will be, the key to my success. I always think fondly of my time at CalArts. I’m very proud to have graduated from this fine arts institute that Walt Disney envisioned on top of a little hill in Valencia, where artists can thrive and explore their talents. Wishing you all Peace!” Brooke Steytler ’82 says, “In addition to exhibiting my watercolor paintings regularly at the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove, I teach cartooning and animation to kids and teens at Community Arts in Phoenixville, PA. In October I had my second solo exhibition with The Upstairs Artists, which included paintings and animated videos.”
Dave Bossert ’83 reports, “My latest book Kem Weber: Mid-Century Furniture Designs for The Disney Studios won the gold medal Bill Fisher Award at the 31st Annual IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards held in Chicago in April 2019. The book has since received gold medals in the nonfiction and history categories from the Nonfiction Authors Association, as well as a gold medal (and short-listed Grand Prize finalist) at The Eric Hoffer Book Awards. I recently graduated with honors from the UCLA Writers’ Program with a certificate in Fiction Writing. My next books are 3D Disneyland (The Old Mill Press, 2020) and Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas: Visual Companion (Disney Editions, 2021).” A Susan Emshwiller ’83 writes, “I’m honored to have an essay about growing up with my father Ed Emshwiller in the exhibition catalogue for the upcoming retrospective of Ed’s work in Philadelphia. I spoke during the opening weekend, Oct. 19, 2019, at the Lightbox Film Center.” J. P. Allen ’84 says, “I wrote and am directing my 10th independent feature film, Girl In Golden Gate Park, produced by Coffee and Language. Scheduled for release in 2020, it stars Kim Jiang and Erin Mei-Ling Stuart (both in photo).” B Krid Asvanon ’84 reports, “I am the founder of The Creative Raja Thai, Bangkokian. In addition to CalArts, I also attended the University of Alabama. I love bicycles, cooking, design, food, movies, swing dancing, and traveling. Living in Bangkok, Thailand.” Nayland Blake ’84 shares, “This fall I opened No Wrong Holes, a retrospective exhibition spanning 30 years of art practice at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. The exhibition will travel to the MIT List Center in the summer of 2020. Since 2002 I’ve been the founding chair of the ICP/Bard Master’s Program in Advanced Photographic Studies at the International Center of Photography.” Alexis Krasilovsky ’84 says, “My film End of the Art World (featuring Andy Warhol, Bob Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, and others) had a retrospective screening with Q&A at Yale University this past September. I also gave a presentation at the Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference in August 2019 about the Heroines’ Journeys, based on my book,
CalArts Alumni Magazine
Great Adaptations: Screenwriting and Global Storytelling (Routledge), second place winner in the 2019 International Writers Awards.” Jeff Perry ’84 writes, “This school year began my 26th year teaching in the School of Music at Louisiana State University. In fall 2019 I’ll conclude my stint as editor of Music Theory Online, one of the oldest extant peer-reviewed online journals. This November I’ll give a paper on John Cage’s Song Books at the annual meeting of the Society for Music Theory in Columbus, OH. Last spring the Constantinides New Music Ensemble at LSU premiered my sonata for cello and piano, “Funeral Games.” I’ve been coleading a study abroad group from LSU in London and Edinburgh for the past five years. I missed the CalArts production at Fringe this year but hope to catch it next time!” C C
Paul Richmond ’84 updates us: “After graduating CalArts, I received an MFA from AFI. I produced public affairs programming and wrote for a number of smaller newspapers, mostly around Portland, OR. I played a role in ending clearcutting in Portland’s main watershed, ending a program that had the National Guard accompanying on drug raids, and in defeating a $1.3 billion public works project that was no longer achieving its objective. From 1998–2001 I attended UW Law School in Seattle where I participated in the creation of the Independent Media Center, organized a lot of the legal support
for the WTO demonstrators, and was a producer of the documentary Urban Warrior about the militarization of law enforcement. I run a small law practice in Bellingham, WA, and do family, consumer, and criminal law as well as civil rights when I get a chance. I was involved in several cases that modified policy for the Department of Homeland Security, including limiting the use of checkpoints outside of borders.” Sarah Schneiderman ’84 tells us: “In 2016, facing the dismal future of a Trump presidency and the reduction of environmental regulations, I commenced making D portraits of 45 and members of his administration. I use found/recycled materials and everyday trash to create fractured likenesses of these politicians. A solo show of my work You’re Fired! I Quit! is on display at the ArtWalk Gallery at Hartford, Connecticut’s main public library from Oct. through Dec. 1.” D Ellen Woodbury ’84 reports, “On June 14, 2019 I received the Marilyn Newmark Memorial Grant for a meritorious body of work in animal sculpture from the National Sculpture Society in New York City. I was an Animator and Directing Animator at Walt Disney Feature Animation for 20 years. In 2005 I resigned from Disney and moved to Loveland, CO, to reinvent myself as a stone sculptor. I’ve been carving stone for 14 years and show my work in national juried shows across the country. Informed by my many years at Disney, I use everything I learned as an animator to create my stone animals— from simple shapes and a strong line of
action, to the discipline of long hours it takes to create in stone.” David Bussan ’85 says, “After 32 years of teaching at my undergraduate alma mater, I retired from Denison University this past December. Having cofounded the Department of Cinema with my mentor and colleague Professor Elliott Stout in 1998, I leave the fortunes of filmmaking to the next generation of students and faculty. Currently two of my recently completed short films, Rythmes Cycliques and Censoring Nuremberg, are screening at festivals.” Ellen Burr (Schimmel) ’85 checks in: “I’ve continued as a Yamaha Artist presenting clinics to local high schools. In addition to playing with the Los Angeles Flute Orchestra, I play creative music with harpist Anne LeBaron, reeds player Charles Sharp, and bassist Jeff Schwartz, as The Present Quartet. Jeff and I cohost a monthly creative music night called Thirdsdays at the Industry Cafe in Culver City, CA, on the third Thursday of every month. The ensembles are always different. In addition to music, I’ve been pursuing acting. Ruby, a short film in which I am one of three leads, was accepted into the Cinema Diverse Festival this September in Palm Springs. I’m currently filming The Lineage Tribe with Nicole Picard, and I’m in The Ritual, an interactive and immersive theater piece with the Shine On Collective.” Ann Telnaes ’85 At CalArts Weekend in October 2019, Character Animation faculty Mindy Johnson interviewed Character Animation alumna Ann Telnaes about developing her career as an editorial cartoonist for The Washington Post, and about how her studies at CalArts helped to shape her political art. F Kevin Adams ’86 reports, “This fall I am lighting SpongeBob the Musical, which will tour the US for the next year. I’m also lighting a production of SpongeBob in the UK that will be filmed for broadcast on Nickelodeon.” Sandi Bohle ’86 checks in to tell us: “In June I joined Tree of Life Healing in Pasadena, CA, as an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in complex trauma and sexual trauma across the lifespan; addiction; depression/anxiety; behavioral disorders; and mood disorders.” E E
‘duck and cover’ for fear of nuclear attack; corporal punishment was the norm; no one knew what dyslexia was; and being different meant isolation and being subject to cruelty. All screenplays that we write—no matter how fanciful—have autobiographical elements, but his script is the most personal thus far, and therefore, the most difficult. Quite a departure from our usual Sci-fi/Action Adventure/Comedies. Wish us luck!”
Shari Cohen ’86 writes, “My career has now split into two distinct paths. I continue to create interactive trainings for UN and international NGOs. There, I assist people in harnessing their human technology to create participatory, social change movements by using human rights-based approaches through my Change Makers Experiential Learning Labs. To date we have trained local in-country teams in Kenya, Swaziland, Malawi, Ghana, South Africa, Nigeria, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Jordan, and Uzbekistan. I also launched a fine jewelry line in 2016, shifting my artistic endeavors to jewelry design. My line, Seal & Scribe, takes antique intaglio seals from the 1700s and 1800s and reimagines them as fine jewelry for today’s world. I approach each intaglio as a miniature etching in need of reframing, and each setting reflects the time period of the original seal. A contemporary flair enables them to work with both vintage and modern pieces.” Georgi Ann Coquereau ’86 reports, “I was recently invited, with supporting grants, to serve as a Visiting Artist in Residence at A.I.R. Vallauris Gallery in Valluaris, France, and Cans Serrat, Barcelona. There, I fabricated interactive environmental installations using projections that integrated the viewers’ shadow silhouette with images cast onto the walls and floor when walking in the space. My group exhibitions include those at the Meguro Museum in Tokyo, and The Louvre’s Interiors Collection. I’m also publishing my book, Gas Station Bathrooms I Slept In, and working on its more poetic sequel.” Curtis Macdonald ’86 updates us: “I’m continuing my creative progress as a composer and recording artist in the New Age genre. On the heels of my 25th CD release Where the Heart Belongs, my solo piano composition saluting veterans and first responders, “Coming Home,” is included in the new piano retrospective Keys of Beauty released by the independent label EverSound.” Michael McDonough ’86 says, “Currently, my writing partner David Nathan Schwartz and I are working on a screenplay titled Dyslexic, based on my life experience as a dyslexic kid attending a Catholic school in the ’60s. This was a time in which we had to
Morgan Rusler ’86 writes, “In May I performed in the Troubadour Theater Company’s Julius Weezer at the El Portal Theater [North Hollywood, CA] alongside Beth Kennedy ’91, who also produced the show. The LA Times had some nice words about it, writing, ‘tragedy and comedy zanily commingle when Robinson’s Caesar heads to a Senate session dressed in a wrap-around cloak-sweater-chenille bedspread. He soon finds himself encircled by dagger-armed conspirators, who pull red bungee cords from the cloak—his spouting wounds—while everyone sings Weezer’s Undone—The Sweater Song. That, in a nutshell, is the Troubies.’” Travis Williams ’86 checks in: “I’m teaching business at Hartnell College in Salinas, CA, and working toward a Ph.D. with Capella University. I also serve on the board of an G interfaith nonprofit, providing assistance to homeless populations in Monterey County.” G Ramsey Avery ’87 reports, “I’ve been the Design Director for the new Avengers Campus theme park land at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim. I was responsible for the design of the land as well as the two new attractions planned to occupy it. I’ve now relocated to New Zealand to design production of the new Lord of the Rings series for Amazon.” Lester Cohn ’87 looks back: “CalArts changed my life in 1986 when I was fresh out of high school and off to Southern California. While it took me years to realize, all those incredible experiences I shared—in that place, with those people—I carry them with me today. Ever grateful for the life lessons learned. For the past 21 years I’ve produced, directed, shot, and edited here in Chicago and abroad. I’ve been quite fortunate to work with Warner Bros. Records on many projects, large brands, advertising, and of course, charity work. I never finished my studies at CalArts (ran out of money) but I carry those fond memories with me, remembering the place and the people that helped form my artistic mind.” Abbe Gore ’87 lets us know that “I’m always creating! Photography, video, ceramics, glass, mosaic, and metal arts. I’ve been fortunate
for the growing homeless population in Los Angeles.” B David Wendt ’88 reports, “I am now a board member for the Contra Costa County School of the Performing Arts (cocoSPA).” Jeffrey Brenner ’89 checks in: “I recently performed in the world premiere of Danny Clay’s The Bell Ringers in Millennium Park, Chicago, with Third Coast Percussion.” A
enough to have had two first place winning photos in the Canon Photo Imagin8tion competition, to which more than 92,000 images were submitted. I’m currently living in Tucson, AZ, which is a very creative city with a rich culture and amazing talent. My images have been featured in a number of juried gallery shows and have been selected for a beautifully printed limited-edition calendar for three years in a row. Currently I’m working as a project manager and social media-digital marketing professional. I’d love to catch up with fellow CalArtians!” C Julian Stone ’87 writes, “My photo memoir coffee table book, No Cameras Allowed: My Career as an Outlaw Rock and Roll Photographer 1981–1987, was published last year to great critical and popular acclaim. My previous work, a novel titled The Strange Birth, Short Life and Sudden Death of Justice Girl, about the Golden Age of Television in the 1950s, is currently in development to become a TV series. I’m currently at work on my next novel about Hollywood in the 1930s, which should be out sometime in 2020.” D Summer Rognlie Trisler ’88 says, “I earned my living as an actor, doing many national and European tours (including Cats) as well as regional theater. I went on to perform in the West End of London in the title role of the new musical Maddie (original cast recording), Personals (original cast
CalArts Alumni Magazine
recording), and numerous BBC live musicals, such as A Chorus Line and Sweet Charity. I was a principal actor in Lady in the Dark (original cast recording) at the Royal National Theatre, which won the Olivier Award for Best Musical that year. I subsequently performed on Broadway starring in Mamma Mia and performing in Saturday Night Fever. Today I’m the successful business owner of Sunshine Music Together, an early-childhood music development program for children aged birth to 5 and their caregivers. We have six locations in the greater Seattle area; a team of great teachers and staff; and more than 750 participating families.” A
Melissa Sullivan ’88 says, “I recently played Stella in Streetcar Named Desire at the Odyssey Theater MainStage. I’d like to thank my CalArts professor Lou Florimonte for inspiring my work on this role so many years ago in his script analysis class! My album Late Last Night is completed and can be found on various online platforms and my website. I’m a Lifetime Member of the Actors Studio, and also teach Acting for Film, Tennessee Williams, and direct music for the Glee Club at the LA, New York Film Academy campus. The Glee Club is starting an outreach
Dale Franzen (’89) reports, “I’m an eighttime Tony Award-winning lead producer on the 2019 ‘Best Musical’ Hadestown, now playing on Broadway. The show will launch its North America National Tour in fall 2020. I’m also a lead producer, with Elizabeth Weber and Don Franzen, on a new play Sisters in Law that had its West Coast premiere at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills in September and October. Featuring the relationship between Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sandra Day O’Connor—two polar-opposite, modern-day legends—Sisters in Law celebrates a friendship that transcends political party, religion, and culture. I was also appointed by Mayor Garcetti to serve on the Board of Library Commissioners for the City of Los Angeles.” Carl Palmer ’89 tells us: “I was in Darlin’, which premiered this summer and was directed by Pollyanna McIntosh of The Walking Dead. I was also in episodes of Queen of the South and Queen Sugar, respectively. These are all available online. I also recently shot Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon, directed by Ana Lily Amirpour. I was thrilled to attend
the 1989 Theater Class 30th Reunion in LA More than 75% of the class turned out, and the next day many CalArtians from that period met up for another party in Griffith Park.”
as the Higher Education Representative (2007–2013). In addition to my faculty position at WSU, I’m proud to serve as Associate Dean of the Telitha E. Lindquist College of Arts & Humanities.”
David Jude Thomas '89 sent a picture. E
Scott and Karen Hardman (Rips Kincaid) ’90/’92 write, “We are newly married and live in San Jose, CA. In May Scott published his first book Tell It to the Bees, a see-and-play compilation of visual shorts illustrating the music of Paul Melancon. Scott’s comic Coffee Jerk debuts this winter. Karen does printmaking and graphic design. Her recent works were published in Presenting Shakespeare: 1,100 Posters from Around the World.”
Nineties Kevin Dunayer ’90 says, “I was recently promoted to Assistant Professor of Theater & Event Production at George Mason University. Additionally, this position is responsible for heading up the Sound Design/Engineering and Event Technical Production concentrations.” Amanda Sowerby (Goldman) ’90 writes, “After CalArts, I received an MFA in Modern Dance from the University of Utah. I worked for several years with the Gary Palmer Dance Company in California’s Bay Area and assisted in setting new and repertory pieces on the National Ballet of Peru and the National Ballet of Chile, as well as implementing outreach programs in dance for Bay Area community members. I have performed with the National Ballets of Chile and Peru, Enrico Labayen’s Lab Projekt USA, Yasmin Mehta’s California Contemporary Dancers, and Todd Courage/Courage Group. My own choreographic work has been presented at Dance Theatre Workshop (NY, NY), Theatre Artaud (SF, CA), Diesel Cathedral (SF, CA), Dance Mission (SF, CA), and The Rose Wagner Theater (SLC, UT). I’ve served on the board of the Utah Dance Education Organization as President (2015–2018) and
great works of music as a soprano with the Larimer Chorale.” Jacqueline Wright ’91 says, “I was recently living in my Dope Elf House (designed & constructed by Trulee Hall) with five other cast members, each living in their own designed home/sculpture on the gallery floor of the Yale Union building in Portland, OR. We were performing in The Dope Elf, which was part live play, part social experiment, and part miniseries that ran through October 20.” Image on backcover F
Cathe Boudreau ’91 reports, “I’m producing Laugh Moon Bay in the San Francisco Bay area, and performing my stand-up as well (I can be seen at Cobbs with comedian Hal Sparks). I’ve also started my own Twitch Channel, under CathesComicz, where I discuss comic books and games while doing improv comedy. Red Pennants, my band, has recorded most of our debut album, to be released in 2020. Like most artists, I have a Patreon page.” Chris Innis ’91 checks in: “I’m an Academy Award-winning film editor and filmmaker based in Los Angeles. This year I was selected for Ryan Murphy’s television directing Half Initiative program, and shadowed on an epic earthquake episode of Murphy’s show 9-1-1 starring Angela Bassett, Peter Krause, and Jennifer Love Hewitt. I’m currently screenwriting a short film with a fellow Ryan Murphy directing colleague, and editing another short for a Swiss grad student attending Columbia University.” E
Charles Quinn ’91 updates us: “I’m beginning my 27th year as a VFX artist in New York City. Some of my recent notable projects include Super Bowl campaigns for Budweiser and Chase, as well as Robert DeNiro’s film, The Comedian, directed by Taylor Hackford.” Julie West ’91 writes, “I’m part of an educational team that films animals using 360-degree cameras, and I write about it. The footage offers immersive views of lions, cheetahs, rhinos, elephants, tigers, orangutans, and many other species’ behavior in their natural habitats. It’s alarming that animals are disappearing at an increasing rate due to poaching, habitat encroachment, and climate change. We share our footage to raise awareness about the survival challenges of these animals and to inspire new generations of stewards. Outside of my job you can find me on the trail, working on personal photography-video projects, and singing
A. Laura Brody ’92 tells us: “I’m now in my fifth year of producing and curating Opulent Mobility, a group exhibit that reimagines disability as opulent and powerful. The most recent exhibit ran from Sept. 14 through Oct. 19 at the Dora Stern Gallery at Arts Unbound in Orange, NJ. The show is available online at opulentmobility.com. I also teach classes in pattern making, alterations, mending, and sewing at Glendale Community College, Wingwalker Brewing, and Ace/121 Gallery.” F Jillian Campana (Dean) ’92 informs us: “I’m a professor and Director of the Theatre Program at the American University in Cairo, Egypt. I’ve also just taken on the role
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of Director of the Creative Pulse program, a low residency MA program in Integrated Arts Education at the University of Montana. Recent projects include an original documentary piece about post-revolution Cairo, performed in both English and Arabic, as well as a new book called Western Theatre in Global Contexts, out with Routledge this spring. I’m also a new board member of ISTA (International Schools Theatre Association), a nonprofit arts organization that produces more than 60 events around the world each year.”
Deborah Wasserman ’92 writes, “Two of my recent paintings were included in a group show at Jonathan Ferrara Gallery in New Orleans, which opened on Sept. 7. Here’s a short excerpt from a statement about my pieces: ‘The imagery that emerges amidst these painterly spills, as if floating on a thin crust, narrates a crumbling environment both physical and social. Wasserman paints fallen and uprooted trees, murky water, piles of bricks and stones, floating or half-sunk empty boats, and people gathered around fires surrounded by torn pieces of cloth and clothes, evidence of human presence or disappearance.’” Blair Wolf ’92 checks in: “It has been a wild ride since graduating from CalArts. I worked in animation, then video games, then print and web design. Currently I run my web and print companies from Nevada, and serve clients nationally.”
David Dalzell ’92 reports, “I recently joined Magnopus as studio Technical Art Director to work on developing groundbreaking VR and AR experiences.” Lincoln Kamm ’92 writes, “I’ve performed more than 200 shows at the world-famous Magic Castle in Hollywood, thousands of corporate and private events as well as produced and MCed my own variety show, Lincoln’s Weird World. I’ve been on the KTLA morning news many times, created custom magical presentations for companies’ trade show booths, and am looking to connect with filmmakers to collaborate on some magic-based productions. It’s always a treat when I meet other people that turn out to be CalArtians, even if we were there at different times. I’d love to work with more CalArtians, so if you have an event coming up that could use entertainment, would like custom magical live or video presentations based on your company’s brand, or you’re a filmmaker who’d like to collaborate, please get in touch via my website lincolnworld.com.” Image
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Wiley Evans ’92 “Nice Pants Wiley! Instagram: nice_pants.” Christian Greuel ’92 tells us: “I’m a producer with AppliedVR, developing therapeutic virtual reality products designed to help people living with pain. I recently posted some dusty tracks on Bandcamp as XianAtro.” A Daniel Mirer ’92 reports, “In June I was interviewed by Brainard Carey on Yale radio’s Praxis Interview magazine about my career and my continuing research project Indifferent West. An article about the Indifferent West project was published by American Airlines magazine, January/February 2019, and the project itself was published by The Modern-Day Explorer, Jan. 14, 2019.”
CalArts Alumni Magazine
Joel Marshall ’93 writes to say, “My wife Kamala Lopez and I formed an organization that draws attention to women’s lack of rights under the US Constitution, and to the fact that the Equal Rights Amendment was never ratified. Our movie Equal Means Equal is available on Amazon Prime. Since the film was made, two more states have ratified, and the US only needs one more state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.” B Barry Morse ’93 says, “Two Tall Mountains is my latest music video collaboration with Nancy Sandercock ’93 for Julianna Parr’s ’94 Halloween Countdown website, Gothtober.com. Working with an iPhone and an iPad, we are using dream imagery to express a doll’s peace, living alone.” Mellissa Tong ’93 updates us: “In September I was selected to be one of six speakers for Sue Talks, a TED Talk-style presentation designed for women. I spoke about what it means to be and remain a disruptor. I moved to Los Angeles in 1991 by myself, carrying three suitcases and a one-way ticket, and have since charted a lot of unfamiliar territories. After finishing my MFA at CalArts, I started my career as an anchor, reporter, and producer. Later, I became a director and producer of TV commercials, indie feature films, and documentaries. I’ve been in two fields in which being different was not welcomed or celebrated at the time. I hope to inspire other women and girls to never give up their dreams, and to be disruptors in their industries.” C
Susannah Copi ’94 writes, “I’m continuing my education to earn my teaching credential in high school English at Cal State Northridge. My children, 10 and 14, are budding artists. I live with them and my girlfriend in LA.” Matt Hauser ’94 says, “I’m keeping busy growing my music and audio post-production company, Twelve Eight Sound. Currently I’m scoring a documentary about The Go-Go’s, mixing a weekly podcast called “The Passion Economy” on Luminary Media, and I recently mixed and sound-designed a spot for Avion Tequila with 21 Savage. I live in New Jersey and sing and play drums in a couple of bands. If you are in New York I’d love to get together, and if you’re making a film, I’d love to score it! Please check out the Twelve Eight Sound website. My wife Susan and my boys Ben and Alex are all well, and I have an awesome dog named Django!” Mary Beth Heffernan ’94 writes to tell us: “My Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Portrait Project (2015) is included in the Welcome Collection’s upcoming 10-year exhibit, Being Human. The PPE Portrait Project, a social practice intervention to humanize the frightening hazmat suits in the 2014–16 West Africa Ebola epidemic, placed adhesive photo portraits of Liberian health care workers on the outside of their suits so that patients could identify who was caring for them. The exhibit will feature a mannequin dressed in Ebola PPE with the portrait photograph of a health care worker along with newly gathered biographies. A different clinician will be featured each year for the decade-long exhibit.” D Kris Ilow (Robinson) ’94 says, “I import and export museum quality Asian and African antiques, textiles, and international art. I’m based in Hong Kong, Macau, and London.” Dan Joseph ’94 writes, “I visited the Pacific Northwest in March for a series of performances, participating in Portland’s Extradition Series, Oregon State University’s Site of Sound series, and the Wayward Music C
Series in Seattle, where I shared an evening with electronic musician Blevin Blectum. Back in NYC, I’ve enjoyed performing in my monthly series “Sunday Soundscapes” at Troost in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. In addition to performing solo, I’ve collaborated with a number of guest artists including Peter Gordon, David Watson, Andrea Williams, Matt Mottel, and Tom Chiu. The series will continue this fall. I will also host a seventh season of my “Musical Ecologies” series, a monthly symposium on music sound held in Park Slope, Brooklyn. The upcoming six-concert season will include an appearance by CalArts composition faculty member Daniel Corral. I also contributed a number of music reviews and articles this year to The Brooklyn Rail and other publications. All these and more writings can be found on my blog.”
families. By 2020 I’ll have a website and plans to tour my films to civic, social justice, and relevant groups locally. I also plan to resume working on some unfinished projects including the TV series Casa Van Dyke. My goal to be paid to talk is still unrealized, however, that will be changing soon.” E
Denise Gillman ’97 reports, “I’m an Associate Professor of Directing & Dramatic Literature at Christopher Newport University (CNU) in Newport News, VA, as well as a Stage Directors and Choreographers Society member. I coauthored an article titled “Promoting Interdisciplinary: Its Purpose and Practice in Arts Programming” with CNU alumni Shannon McNeely and Danielle Hartman, for the Journal of Performing Arts Leadership in Higher Education, Spring 2019. I also led a panel titled Crossing Boundaries: Science Theater at the Comparative Drama Conference in Orlando, FL, where I explored Staging Science: Illuminating Science Through the Theatrical Event. Recently I received the CNU Class of 2013 Faculty Development Award for an exemplary record of student mentoring and excellence in service to the campus community. I also received the first Faculty Excellence Award for Interdisciplinary from the Office of the Provost. I took a CNU Study Abroad group to Scotland to attend the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival. In 2017 I launched the science play online database scienceplays.org and continue to build this vital resource with my students.”
Alisa Rasera ’94 reports, “I spent 2019 creating a new dance film set to premiere in 2020. The short is a collaboration with local Bay Area artists including alumnx Dana Lawton ’94 and Wally Holden ’94. I continue to teach dance in schools in the Bay Area and recently became a trained audio describer for live performances.” F Zak Zych ’94 checks in: “My animated short Birth Cycle, a flip book by Zak Zych has screened at 16 festivals around the world (so far), was a finalist for the 2018 GIPHY Film Festival in New York City, and I received the award for Best Short at the 2018 Toronto Short Film Festival.” Bobby “the New York guy” Brennan ’96 says, “I’m currently on a World Arena Tour with the Cirque Du Soleil show, Corteo. One of our stops was the LA Forum, where I was able to reunite with many of my CalArts colleagues and professors. They all loved the show and, of course, my costume and makeup (haha!) After the shows I was able to give them backstage tours, during which we got to catch up, reflect on our great CalArts memories,
Mary Ann Eisenberg ’97 updates us: “Since leaving CalArts, I’ve taught drama to students Grades K–6 for the Los Angeles Unified School District. I have also published three middle grade novels featuring a girl hero, available through Amazon. Aly Rutherford and the Journey of the Seven series takes you on an imagination-packed fantasy adventure at its best. I’m currently writing the fourth book in the series.”
and laugh! It was such a treat to see everyone. CalArts will always have a special place in my heart.” G Lisa (Danielle) Villegas ’96 writes, “Since completing my two films Dos Almas (2013) and InBetween; One Body, Two Spirits, Third Gender (2016), I’ve been hard at work building my real estate empire (accidental landlord) by providing much-needed housing for my family as well as other low-income
Chad Hamill ’97 writes, “This past July and August, I brought Coyote Made the Rivers: Indigenous Ecological Continuity in the Era of Climate Change to audiences throughout Australia, including Launceston, Hobart, Sydney, and Macquarie Park. With G a blend of music, visual imagery, storytelling, and scholarship (what I’ve termed ‘performative scholarship’), the work employs traditional stories about the Columbia River and its tributaries in the Northwest US. It’s a springboard for examining the degradation of rivers that have been the lifeblood of tribes in the region for millennia. In addition, it explores the ways in which the Spokane Tribe and surrounding Native nations have exercised resilience
and resistance in maintaining their relationships with their ancestral homelands. Emphasizing traditions not dissimilar from those in other indigenous communities, the work illuminates perspectives that take on added urgency in the era of climate change.” Sandy Rodriguez ’97 says, “I am overjoyed to announce that my recent work created for the COLA Awards Exhibition, called Rainbows, Grizzlies and Snakes, Oh My! Conquest to Caging in Los Angeles 2019, has been acquired by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. There will soon be an official blog post on LACMA’s blog Unframed that I will pass along. I would like to thank the remarkable Rita Gonzalez, Christine Y. Kim, and the members of AHAN: Studio Forum for their support.” David Weinberg ’97 reports, “I moved to London in 2003 to complete an MA at RADA, and have since worked as an actor and director at West End theaters including the Arts Theater, Leicester Square Theater, St. James Theater, Trafalgar Studios, and the Soho Theater as well as Off-West End/ Regionally at the Young Vic Theater, Oxford Playhouse, Cockpit Theater, King’s Head Theater, Rose Playhouse, Theatro Technis, Baron’s Court Theater, Burton Taylor Studio, Etcetera Theater, RADA, and a festival hosted by the RSC in Stratford-onAvon. In 2012 it was confirmed that I was the first American to direct at the historic Rose Theater, Bankside where the plays of Shakespeare were first performed. My first book, Off-Broadway/Off-West End: American Influence on the Alternative Theater Movement in Britain 1956–1980, was published in 2017. My new book The Marowitz Compendium is forthcoming from Rowman and Littlefield in 2020. I’ve taught at both Kingston University London and the University of London.” Andrea Claire ’98 says, “I’m a licensed architect, a widely exhibited artist, and a surfer. In 2010, after working for some A-list designers such as Frank Gehry, Vito Acconci, and the Rockwell Group, I decided to break out on my own. Inspired by the ‘invented geometry’ of my abstract paintings, I did research and development on my signature shape, the polyhedron, for about a year. The original polyhedron was designed in both 3-D and model form, and made of wood and bamboo. In the spring of 2011 I launched my eponymous, sustainably minded lighting design business, Andrea Claire Studio. I began slip casting the polyhedrons with high-fire porcelain and, with orders pouring in, the studio began a collaboration with Nymphenburg Porcelain in Munich, Germany, where the porcelain pieces are now fabricated. Andrea Claire Studio has become a trusted partner to interior designers and architects all over the world. Our clients include the Rosewood Hotel Hong Kong, Jean-Louis Deniot, Robert A. M. Stern, and Victoria Hagan. We work closely and personally with clients, the studio tailors’ dimensions, colors, and materials
CalArts Alumni Magazine
to suit the needs of each particular space and client. With studios in both Brooklyn, NY, and Los Angeles, CA, my talented team carefully hand-fabricates sculptural lighting pieces intended to last generations.” Elaine Kao ’98 writes, “I’ve joined the cast of the new Disney Channel original movie Upside-Down Magic, based on the NY Times best-selling children’s books. I’ll be playing the role of Professor Han, who teaches Fluxing, the magical art of turning into animals.” David Raiklen ’98 writes to tell us, “As a composer and producer, I’ve worked for major studios including Sony, Fox, Disney, Sprint, Mattel, A Warner Bros., and PBS, plus many independent productions. My projects star Elliott Gould, Doug Jones, Blythe Danner, and Martin Sheen. I made the New York Film Critics Top Ten with the documentary Heist, the short list for an Academy Award for Worth, and Mia: A Dancer’s Journey won the Emmy. My compositions have been performed at the Hollywood Bowl and Disney Hall. I also host a successful radio program Classical Fan Club where guests include Yo-Yo Ma and John Williams, and was host and leader of The Academy of Scoring Arts seminars. Currently I’m producing and composing for a series of epic adventures titled Space Command, composing for live concerts, and producing Augmented Reality 360 experiences.” A Andrea Tinnes ’98 checks in to say, “Last spring I opened my solo exhibition Library of Shapes, Texts and Structures in the new Berlin gallery A—Z, run by Anja Lutz. The show consisted of a series of experimental typographic posters and the ‘library’ (my ongoing visual research project). It brought a variety of forms and sources together, revolving around the concept of developing a graphic archive as toolbox for continuous design work. The work encompasses systematic collecting, note-taking, documenting, selecting, registering, archiving, manipulating, sorting, and cataloguing a body of diverse visual, textual, and linguistic material. I’m currently based in Berlin and have been teaching for more than 12 years as professor of type and typography at the Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design Halle.” B Clay Alexander ’99 writes, “I’m an inventor, serial entrepreneur, and hold more than 100 patents worldwide. I’m also the Founder and CEO of Ember, a global consumer electronics brand and manufacturer of the world’s first temperature-controlled mug. After graduating from CalArts, I started my first company, Radiance Lightworks. It has since grown to become one of the top lighting
design firms in the country, boasting an extensive client list that includes Universal Studios, Mattel, and 20th Century Fox. I then launched my second company, Journée Lighting, in 2005, and invented General Electric’s LED light bulb called the GE Infusion. I launched Ember in 2012, which released its first temperature-controlled mug with Starbucks in fall of 2016, and which continues to disrupt the drink-ware industry with its award-winning product introductions. Ember is now in more than 7,600 retail locations in 27 countries around the world, including Apple Stores, Best Buy, and Starbucks, among many others.” Tom Hiel ’99 reports, “I cowrote an electronic track titled “Green Blue” with Joseph Ray, to be released on Big Beat Records (subdivision of Atlantic). I also completed a seven-minute chamber wind ensemble piece to be premiered in spring of 2020 with the CalPoly Pomona Wind Ensemble, directed by Dr. Rickey Badua. I’ll have two new piano etudes premiered in November by pianist Vernon Snyder, DMA.” Juliana von Haubrich ’99 says, “This year I had the honor of designing a show titled Ann for the Arena Stage in Washington, DC, starring Jayne Atkinson. The show traveled to Dallas Theatre Center in October. It will also make an appearance at Laguna Playhouse in May 2020. This past summer I designed a critically acclaimed show at Shakespeare & Company, The Waverly Gallery, directed by Tina Packer, as well as Chester Theatre Company’s summer hit, Curve of Departure. I was accepted into the Scenic Artists Union in NYC, and will be mentoring student productions at Williams College in the spring.” Andrew Vontz ’99 writes to tell us: “I’m the global head of communications at Strava, a social network for athletes and the world’s largest sports participation platform with more than 45 million members. Previously I worked as head of content at TRX, a fitness and training company. Before that I was a freelance journalist for over a decade, publishing more than 500 stories in Rolling Stone, Outside, the Los Angeles Times, and many others. I recently launched the “Choose the Hard Way” podcast, available on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play. The show focuses on peak performance and the obstacles people overcome to do great things, with guests from the arts, special operations, business, tech, and many other disciplines.”
Double Ohs Iris Andersen Grizzell ’00 reports, “Since moving back home to Baltimore in 2011, I’ve performed at the Kennedy Center with Bowen McCauley Dance, and locally with the Campbell Dance Experience and Harford Ballet. I’ve taught for several dance programs in the region including Towson
animation as an educational tool. Over 1,500 students had the chance to tell their stories and create short films that shared their voices with the world!”
University Community Dance and Charm City Ballet. Currently I teach modern and ballet technique at my alma mater, the Baltimore School for the Arts. I’m on the dance faculty for both the high school and TWIGS (To Work in Gaining Skills) programs. I’m also the Program Manager for TWIGS, which provides free after-school arts classes to Baltimore City youth in Grades 2–8 who qualify by audition. Outside of teaching and dancing, I have been renovating, along with my husband and dad, a house that has been in my family since the early 1900s. I love my time spent gardening, hiking, creating, designing, dreaming, and raising a lovely little 3-year-old girl.” Nicole Ashton Conkle (Carstensen) ’00 updates us: “My interactive public art piece, As You Wish, made its debut at Burning Man 2019! It’s a wishing portal and parallel universe transport, reminiscent of an Arabian minaret in a mirage, beckoning one to enter. Once inside, the swirling points of light create a mystical chamber for the visitor’s wishes. The magical lamp turns with myriad points of light and dances across the desert, as the light inside carries the visitor’s wishes up to the stars. As You Wish is experiential from every perspective: visual at a distance; kinesthetic and auditory at the outer and inner surface; and visual and participatory inside. By expressing wishes with others, the very nature of one’s wishes will be impacted and inclusive of the wishes of others, elevating aspirations of all participants to a higher, more collectively benevolent plane. In other news, my creative partner Vance and I recently married at As You Wish during this year’s Burning Man event.” Grady Cousins ’00 checks in: “I am married and have a nearly 3-year-old son. I continue to work in a ritual theater vein, and continue to develop works inspired by the KecakMonkey Chant. I also lead workshops in The Rhythmic Interplay of Community Voice.”
Joe LoPiccolo ’00 says, “I was honored to be invited to perform and be one of five international judges at the Euro Strings Mottola Guitar Festival in Italy this past July. I continue to teach guitar at both Mt. San Antonio College and College of the Canyons, where I helped organize the first International Guitar Festival held at the COC PAC. I perform throughout LA and abroad, and on Oct. 12 I performed a set of my Italian arrangements with fellow CalArts music alumni, bassist Larry Steen ’95 and drummer Aaron Serfaty ’95, for The Taste of Italy at the Italian American Museum of Los Angeles.”
Robert Jacobson ’00 checks in to say, “I married my best friend, Michelle Lai, in Bali, Indonesia, in July 2018, where a number of CalArtians (including Tonya Tbird Ridgely ’99, Ben Zadan ’02, Agnes Chu ’00, and faculty, I Nyoman, and Nanik Wenten) joined us in celebration. Pak Wenten’s group from Sading performed over the cliffs of Uluwatu at sunset on the night after our wedding. As a founding crew member of Arch Mission Foundation, we placed several libraries into space including a solar library inside Elon Musk’s Tesla car, a copy of English Wikipedia on a satellite, and crash landed a 30 million-page library on the moon as part of an effort to back up Earth’s civilization. My first book, Space Money, will be released in Jan. 2020. I’m also releasing a podcast series titled “Brave New Space.” Most of my musical pursuits are focused on solo or small group settings that include the collaborative efforts of Linear Ghost. I also added oud to my family of instruments.” C David Loitz ’00 writes, “I spent the past year growing my film and animation school for kids aged 5–13, called Mr. David’s School of Film! We helped students in five Portland Metro-Area schools by using stop-motion
Paloma Navarrete ’00 “Hi, Everyone! I’m still running my shop, HYPERCLASH, in Santa Fe, NM. I dedicate my shop to artistmade goods that feature naive handmade details that recall the beautiful simplicity of rural life. Deliberate creasing and crumpling serves to add texture and dimension to flat, simple cotton jersey knit, aiding the roughand-ready aesthetic. I’m always looking for new artists to add to the shop. Apply on my website. Also, here is a family photo of my husband who is a magazine designer, our son Emmett who’s 2.5 years old, and me!” D John Churchville ’01 reports, “I’ve been performing regularly with Sumkali, the Indian fusion group I founded in 2007.
opportunity to peek into the mind of a genius, and is an authorized documentary that chronicles the life and design of the celebrated French fashion icon. Cardin granted the directors exclusive access to his archives and empire, including unpublished interviews at the sunset of his glorious career. I had the honor of meeting Cardin at the special preview screening of the film during the 2019 Cannes Film Festival at his infamous Palais Bulles Palace. The film recently had its world premiere in Venice at the 2019 Venice Film Festival’s Giornate Degli Autori, aka Venice Days.”
Recently we presented on the Indian influence on the Beatles’s music at the Association for Popular Music Education’s National Conference in NYC, and have also performed in numerous festivals in the Midwest. I have hosted and continue to host more than 130 monthly Indian Music Night jam sessions at Crazy Wisdom Tearoom in Downtown Ann Arbor, MI. I recorded tabla on a track for the new Billy Strings album Home, and I’ve been performing all over the US as part of a ‘blues-tabla’ duet with harmonica legend Peter Madcat Ruth. I recently became an official presenter for the Bureau of Education and Research. My professional development seminar titled Accelerating Success in your Elementary Music Classroom will be presented to music educators all over the US in the coming year.” B Soyeon Kim ’01 writes to say, “my short experimental film Diary 2013–2018 was screened at the 42nd Mill Valley Film Festival and the 17th Santa Cruz Film Festival this October. I’m currently full-time faculty in the Animation program at California State University Long Beach, and I run my own design and animation studio called Yellowshed with my partner Todd Hemker ’01. Work by Yellowshed can be found at our website.” Joe Shannon ’01 says, “I’m entering year 40 of a wide and varied career as a designer, producer, performer, teacher, equity stage manager, and now, as Production Manager for the 3,000-seat E. J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall at the University of Akron.” Siciliana Trevino ’01 reports, “The Martians are here for our memes! Inspired by the H. G. Wells sci-fi classic, I developed and launched “War of the Worlds: Invasion,” an exclusive
CalArts Alumni Magazine
Bose AR-enabled podcast and action-adventure game, featuring music from Gabby La La ’01, ASMR, a snooty digital assistant, and Shia LaBeouf! Evade the Martian attack, put your meme savvy to the test, and perk up to virtual lattes as a reward for accomplishing missions. “War of the Worlds: Invasion” is a latte-or-death situation that takes you on an ear-raising mission to save humans from extinction.” Elaine Avila ’03 updates us: “I’m the first Fulbright Scholar at the University of the Azores in Ponta Delgada, where I’m researching and writing two new plays inspired by the women of my ancestral lands through the lens of contemporary politics: one based on the Portuguese form of the burqa, the other on the first woman to be taken from the Azores by the Inquisition. My play Fado, which won national awards in Canada and the US, premieres at Puente Theatre/Firehall Arts Centre in Victoria and Vancouver this fall.” Brad Comfort ’03 writes, “I recently edited House of Cardin, a feature film documentary about the legendary fashion designer, directed by P. David Ebersole and Todd Hughes. The film represents a unique
Goh Kurosawa ’03 tells us: “This summer I was invited to participate in an event organized by Seiya Nagaoka in Kyotango, and therefore, was able to experience the summer in Japan—something I have not experienced in 20 years. He told me he could plan his event around my schedule, so I finalized my itinerary with the date of my high school reunion in mind, and we agreed on a date for his event in Kyotango. After performing in Myanmar in 2017, it has become a fun goal of mine to visit a new country each year in which to perform my music. In 2018 I went to Cuba, this year, in the spring, I visited Geruma Island in Okinawa, and I just finished visiting Shiki and Kyotango in Japan. It is key to not get completely wired up with the goal I have created, but to have fun with it, so my take on a new country is fairly flexible. Flexibility and mobility are keys to rejoicing. Today I’m demonstrating this by eating two different kinds of Japanese sticky beans, both with the exact same sauce and with different kinds of sauces. This is rejoicing—which is where I want to be.” A Nirvan Mullick ’03 says, “imagination. org, a nonprofit established to foster child creativity after the success of the short film Caine’s Arcade, received a $1 million grant from Vans—its single largest charitable donation ever—to help support the impact of creativity programs upon millions more children.” Matt Normand ’03 checks in: “Currently I’m working as a contract graphic designer for Los Angeles Metro. I focus mainly on motion graphics, but I also do some typography treatments as well. … Looking forward to acquiring more space to experiment with one-off screen printing.” C Salvatore (Sam) Torrisi ’03 reports, “I earned my MFA in Comp/New Media, and later an MA in Applied Linguistics from UCLA. Then I earned a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from UCLA, after which I did a five-year post-doc at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, MD. I’m now a research scientist at UC Berkeley in the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute working with ultrahigh field MRI.” Ron Yavnieli ’03 says, “In 2013 I sold an animated series to DreamWorksTV called Gorillaville. It ran for three seasons, from
2014 to 2017, with me writing, producing, directing, and voicing it in those years. Gorillaville can be found on YouTube, go90, and Amazon Prime. Since 2018 I’ve been working as an animation producer and director at Exceptional Minds: a studio that specializes in training and employing animators on the autistic spectrum.”
Sam Lustig ’04 checks in: “In 2018 I had the good fortune of joining the team at Mint Potion Studios under composer Jake Kaufman, and had a blast contributing music to seasons two and three of OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes on Cartoon Network. Since 2019 I have also been working on a new animated series (Parker Simmons/Titmouse Studios) along with producer Laura Allen ’04 called Mao Mao: Heroes of Pure Heart, airing now on Cartoon Network.” Tanja Raaste ’04 says, “I started a new job as a producer at Fourth Monkey in London. If you’re in London, come say hi!” Shaun Fillion ’05 shares, “My wife Rubina Fillion and I are overjoyed to announce the birth of our son, Orion. My daughter, Serena, is cautiously optimistic about her new sibling.” D D
Jared Olmsted ’05 reports, “The musical duo I write and perform with, Courtship Ritual, released a new song called “Uncle Incision” in August. The song is part of the GREYS compilation on Anachronisme Records. The proceeds received for purchasing the recording on Bandcamp will benefit the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees.” Ashley Reeve (Beauchamp) ’05 writes, “I spent the last two years playing in arenas world-wide with iconic singer Cher, as well as residencies at The Park Theater in Las Vegas. I performed with Cher on Ellen and the 2019 finale of America’s Got Talent. I also had the great privilege of performing with Lionel Richie at the 2019 Breakthrough Prize Awards. I was featured in the July 2018 edition of Bassplayer magazine, and I married my fellow Filter bandmate, Australian drummer Chris Reeve; we have purchased a home in Las Vegas. I’ll be on both European and National tours with Cher this year, continuing into 2020.” E
American Soul Season One. Ten years after giving birth to my son Elias Washington, I’m expecting my second son Malachi McNair in Sep. 2019.” F
Aaron Drake ’06 tells us: “A film that I recently scored, titled The Godfathers of Hardcore, has found a home on Showtime. I also recently scored the theme song for the Jimmy Kimmel-led reboot of All in the Family and The Jeffersons, which aired on ABC [and was] seen by more than 10 million viewers. Because of its critical success, two additional episodes are scheduled for Winter 2019 and Spring 2020. Earlier this year, I provided a live-mixed score for Lionel Popkin’s The Oedipus/Antigone Project at The Getty Villa as part of its Theater Lab Series.”
Zachary Morris ’06 writes, “It’s been a productive summer working on new music and touring regionally. The project is called The Bronze Medal Hopefuls. It’s a funk/ experimental band and budding collective that’s got the right combo of players and personalities. Gio Benedetti of The Brothers Comatose is composing and arranging the bulk of the material. An analog EP is in the works as well as an animated watercolor for our first video! I’m over the moon about all this. I hope some CalArtians can dig it.”
Emery Martin ’06 writes to tell us: “Electronic Countermeasures—Kerstin Hovland ’12 and I—teamed up once again with Beck for The Night Running Tour. We were tasked with designing, animating, programming, shooting, and creating custom hardware to take on the new tour, all revolving around mirrors and reflections. Electronic Countermeasures created an ambitious slate of conventional 2-D and 3-D animated looks that utilized both analog and digital methods, ranging from handcrafted collage and hand-drawn animation to surreal 3-D CG, and even photocopier generation loss. We swapped our usual roles, with Kerstin taking on the programming of realtime notch effects for the live camera feeds and additional media server programming, while I (along with fellow CalArts Alumnx Calvin Frederick ’14 took on the design and engineering of a pair of custom mirror box optical effects and full-size practical mirror array to transport Beck’s live performance into an analog mirror world. They were also able to bring in the unique talents of alumnx Jess Igelhart ’16 for 3-D CG, Patricia Luna ’15 for digital hand-drawn animation, and Melody Yenn ’18 for hand-drawn animation, illustration, and paper collage.”
Cristina Paulos ’06 says, “My work was displayed in Magnetisms, a three-person show featuring the work of Jill Emery, Svetlana Shigroff, and me. The show opened Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019, as part of the Second Saturday Joshua Tree Artwalk, and ran through Oct. 6, 2019.”
Sechita McNair ’06 says, “I had the pleasure of performing as a stuntwoman on BET’s
Louis Page ’06 reports, “It’s been upwards of 10 years since I graduated CalArts. For the last 5, there were a couple of times I really wanted to (and almost had the chance to) come for CalArts Weekend, but unfortunately it wasn’t possible. Now, more than ever, it truly is an exciting prospect to attend, and I’m sure there will be wonderful changes and vibrant additions to look forward to, not unlike experiences in my own life these past few years.”
Daniel Corral ’07 tells us: “I was just designated a 2019–2020 ‘Cultural Trailblazer’ by the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. This past March I premiered Summits in Santa Monica. In April I performed “Comma” at the MATA Festival in New York and Summits at the Center for New Music in San Francisco. In August I was an artist in residence at Djerassi, and in October I workshopped a new piece called “Concerto for Having Fun with Elvis On Stage” at Automata in Los Angeles, and, in addition, presented multimedia installations and performances
the MotM Experience, the audience falls in and out of eyes-closed to eyes-open visuals, immersed in 3-D video custom software projection with surround-sound improvisational music performance. Participants are invited to recline and focus their attention upwards, viewing through custom LED glasses.” Roman Jaster ’07 and Kat Catmur ’14 send greeting to their friend, Jim Wolken, the father of The Pool. Will Kim ’07 says, “In September I had the world premiere of my short, animated film The Hole at Animation Block Party in Brooklyn, NY. I also had a solo exhibition at Teacision Art Gallery in Santa Clarita, CA, from Sept. 1 through Oct. 27.” B
at IndieCade. I have a forthcoming album on MicroFest Records of my piece Circle Limit III, performed by the Los Angeles Electric 8.” Sarah Dahlen ’07 updates us: “In 2007 I launched my calligraphy business, New England Calligraphy. Since then my work has been featured at such venues as The University Club of New York, The Plaza Hotel, The Metropolitan Club, The Cosmopolitan Club, New York Botanical Garden, East Hampton Point, and the Vanderbilt Mansion, among many others. In 2014 I was the featured guest calligrapher for the American Federation for the Arts Gala in New York City. I’ve received accolades from Brides magazine, La Petite Peach, Works & Days Quarterly, and more. In December of 2015 I was featured on “How to Sign Your Name,” a nationally televised episode of Going Deep with David Rees. I’m a member of the Society of Scribes.” Shane Hazleton ’07 checks in to say, “I’ve been synchronizing brainwaves and blowing minds with the Made Of The Moon Experience. I’m living in Northern California at festivals such as Northern Nights and Art and VR. In
CalArts Alumni Magazine
Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri. It was both incredibly challenging and fulfilling. My wife and I are expecting our second child! Our golden-doodle Jhansi is 6 years old. I was looking forward to performing at CalArts Weekend in October with my electronic group Sadubas and Clinton Patterson ’07, though the Saddleridge fire forced cancellation of the event. I began teaching a graduate-level course on fundraising and the arts at Claremont Graduate University this fall. Colburn School continues to be the focus of my work; we celebrated Beethoven’s 250th birth anniversary in October.”
Niko Solorio ’07 writes, “I recently took part in Exercises on Displacement, a site-specific program of live performances, screenings, and discussions by interdisciplinary artists, held at the Camden Arts Centre in London. The event was the fourth in a series of five staged in London by Tutto Questo Sentire (TQS), an artist collective founded in 2014 by Rebecca Salvadori, Olivia Salvadori, and Sandro Mussida. Previous iterations of Exercises on Displacement have taken place at The Heath², Cafe OTO, and South London Gallery. On the occasion of performing at the event, I released the EP Angel, which is an ode to my hometown of Los Angeles, the so-called ‘City of Angels.’ The album was mastered and produced by Manny Nieto and is available on all major streaming platforms.” A Phillip Stearns ’07 checks in: “This July I premiered a new real-time, multichannel sound installation, Here Be Dragons, as part of the EIM Triennale (Espace [IM] Media) produced by the Sporobole, an artist-run center in Sherbrooke, Quebec. The work translates cyber attacks on servers located in 15 different countries directly into raw sound. These servers were configured using a tool called a ‘honeypot’ in order to make them appear vulnerable. Attackers were able to interact with and download malware onto these servers. The wild-caught malware samples became the source material for “The Honeypot Collection,” a project that translates malicious code into woven textiles. It’s currently live on Kickstarter. The campaign’s main purpose is to raise funds for the Open Vault project, an installation and performance of a pop-up retail space for cyber weapons and other malicious software (think Comp USA for malware). Open Vault will launch its first full-storefront installation on Oct. 7 as part of Wallplay’s ON CANAL project.” Robin Sukhadia ’07 reports, “My wife Neelanjana and I welcomed our newborn son Kabir on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. Both Kabir and mama are doing well in these precious early days of the baby’s life! I recently performed at the 2019 Festival of Tabla, presenting classical tabla compositions by
Andrea Lambert ’08 exclaims, “I married Jessica Michelle Johnson on July 26, 2019 at the Washoe County Clerk’s office!” C Alex Lewin ’08 writes, “In May I graduated from Bowling Green State University with my master’s in College Student Personnel, and was very fortunate to start my new role as the Coordinator for Student Conduct and Community Standards at the University of Toledo the following month. I’m thrilled to be pursuing this career path and to be helping college students navigate the difficult behavioral choices they have to make toward reaching their personal and academic goals. My new Midwest home is growing on me, but regular trips back to California remain a necessity to see family and friends, and to get some of that delicious sunshine. Also, I really want to win that hat!” David Mack ’08 reports, “I produced Formulae & Fairy Tales at the Broad Stage in September with CalArts alums Mallory Fabian ’16, R. S. Buck ’18, K. Bradford ’14, NightLight Labs, Veronica Mullins ’15, and Leslie Scott ’16.”
Andrew Munsey ’08 writes to tell us: “On Aug. 30 I released High Tide on Birdwatcher Records. Stereogum said, ‘Munsey’s debut album as a leader features some serious, if currently under-celebrated, players; JazzTrail sung its praises for ‘both remarkable individuality and strong personality.’ The quintet, which was originally assembled in Brooklyn in 2009, includes Steph Richards ’08, Ochion Jewell ’07, Amino Belyamini ’08, and Sam Minaie ’08. The artwork for the CD and double LP was created by Aaron Vinton ’08.” Paul Turbiak ’08 writes, “I appeared in Little Shop of Horrors at Pasadena Playhouse from Sept. 17 to Oct. 20.” Ed Garcia ’09 tells us: “I’m conducting Fulbright research in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia, entitled “Sundanese DanceDrumming: Style Studies of Tari Putri, Topeng, and Jaipongan.” The project compares and contrasts the drumming patterns and performance techniques used to accompany Sundanese traditional dance styles. I hope that my research will expand international pedagogy of Sundanese arts, and promote more artistically detailed performance and composition. My project began in May 2019 and is supported by the Institute of Indonesian Cultural Arts, Bandung. Meanwhile, back in the US, I’m also a doctoral candidate in Music Composition at the University of California, Santa Cruz.” Gala Porras-Kim ’09 says, “Pictured is the installation view of the Whitney Biennial 2019 (The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York). From left to right: Gala Porras-Kim, La Mojarra Stela and its shapes; Gala Porras-Kim, La Mojarra Stela negative space; Gala Porras-Kim, La Mojarra Stela illuminated text; and La Mojarra Stela incidental conjugations. Photograph by Ron Amstutz.” Nate Schulman ’09 writes, “I’m currently an adjunct faculty member of California State University, Long Beach. I’ve been on faculty
at The American University and Marymount University. I have given public presentations and refereed academic conference presentations on graphic design history.”
as a saxophonist, transitioned to a singer-songwriter, dabbled in on-camera work, and finally fell in love with voice acting as my primary discipline. I got married, bought a house, have a kid, and have just been living the dream.” Laura Youngkin ’10 checks in: “I recently joined Figure8 as its new Senior Director of Production. I’ll executive produce Figure8’s domestic and global expansion, including new locations of its successful Museum of Ice Cream experience. Previously, I led my own experiential agency and spent five years as a producer at Walt Disney Imagineering.”
Stephen van Dyck ’09 updates us: “My first book People I’ve Met From the Internet is being published by Ricochet Editions. The book is a queer reimagining of the coming-of-age narrative set at the dawn of the Internet era in the form of an annotated database. It has received praise from Chris Kraus, Miranda July, John Rechy, and D. A. Powell. I first started working on People I’ve Met From the Internet at CalArts with Matias Viegener as my mentor, and CalArts is the setting for much of the book. It can be purchased on Amazon, Small Press Distribution, or at a bookstore near you.” D
Twenty Tens Charles DeWayne (Dorsey Jr) ’10 reports, “Since my time at CalArts, I’ve appeared on Season 4 of America’s Got Talent, have played with the band One Direction on Nickelodeon’s iCarly, and have been the voice of brands such as Buffalo Wild Wings, Honda, and Jack In The Box on both radio and TV. Currently, I’m the voice of King on Cartoon Network’s Craig of the Creek, Simon Sez on Ben 10, and Demo on the Netflix original series Trolls: The Beat Goes On. I started E
Cady Zuckerman ’10 says, “The Actors’ Gang Prison Project has been working throughout the state of California since 2006. I am pictured here at High Desert State Prison with inmates who run a group to manage their emotional lives through the characters of the Commedia Dell’Arte.” E Diana Arterian ’11 writes, “My first book of poems Playing Monster: Seiche was published by 1913 Press as the Editors’ Selection of their First Book Prize. It received a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly, and was a Small Press Distribution best seller. I recently reviewed Ariana Reines’s A Sand Book for The New York Times Book Review, and have taught creative writing classes through Catapult. I graduated with my Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California this spring, where my scholarship focused on trauma theory, contemporary poetics, and gender.” Cristina Frias ’11 checks in: “As an actor, educator, storyteller, and artivist, I’ve recently accepted a faculty position in the Theatre Arts F Department at East LA College. I’m the first Latina to be hired full time, and I’ll serve as both Performing Arts Faculty and Outreach Liaison. I continue to perform on TV, in film and theater, and recently played a leading role in the dramedy Funny Brown People. You can listen to my latest story on the Audible Original series Talking While Female and Other Dangerous Acts, an audiobook created by Teatro Luna.” F
Sallie Merkel ’11 sends this update: “The Commons, a public access-style morning talk show for witches and by witches, is available for streaming now on Vimeo. The show was created by Mireya Lucio ’11 and me. Additionally, both Seasons 1 and 2 feature performances by Sola Bamis ’11 and Jenny Greer ’11. This season includes segments by Tyler Matthew Oyer ’12.” Natalie Metzger ’11 reports, “This year, I was nominated for the John Cassavetes Award at the Film Independent Spirit Awards for my work on Thunder Road. Greener Grass, a feature film that I produced, had its world
premiere at Sundance this year and had its international premiere at the Piazza Grande at the Locarno Film Festival. It was picked up by IFC and released in theaters on Oct. 18. I was also recently promoted to VP of Production and Development at Vanishing Angle. Currently I’m in post-production on Jim Cummings’ second feature, The Werewolf, which I produced, to be released by a studio in 2020.” Cybele Moon ’11 writes, “In the past year I relocated to Philadelphia. I’ve designed costumes for the Drexel University Dance Ensemble Winter and Spring productions as well as Fish Funerals, a new work written and performed by students in the Brind School of Theater at the University of the Arts. Upcoming projects include teaching a course in stage makeup for the University of the Arts and designing costumes for Proceed with Caution—a new work in production with the Philadelphia Fringe Fest and choreographer/ CalArts dance alumnx Darcy Lyons ’10.” Megan Broughton ’12 reports, “This June I participated in the Arctic Circle Residency for artists, scientists, and educators in Svalbard, Norway, with my coworker Alex Keilty. Alex teaches Environmental Science and I run the Printmaking studio and After School Art Program at The Oxbow School—a visual arts boarding program for juniors and seniors in high school. Our goal is to create an integrated expeditions-based curriculum that fosters young artists’ potential and ability for environmental stewardship. In July I was honored to return to the California State Summer School for the Arts (CSSSA) on the CalArts campus, teaching design and printmaking to high schoolers in awe of the CalArts spirit. It’s always so exciting to witness young people discovering CalArts. This past year has also been devoted to launching the arts and literary journal Two if by Sea with Laura Vena ’18.”
Emily Brundige ’12 tells us: “I’m the creator of Pubertina, and recently developed the animated series Harvey Girls Forever! for DreamWorksTV on Netflix. Currently I serve as story editor on the Annie and Emmy award-winning animated series Hilda, also on Netflix. My independent, short animated film Goldie (2019) has been touring festivals internationally and was recently featured on Short of the Week. I live in Los Angeles with my husband Aaron and daughter Hedy (born in 2018).” B Daniel Goldenshtein ’12 writes, “I’ve recently worked on several nighttime spectaculars at Universal Studios Hollywood in the magical Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I had the privilege of working with incredibly talented designers, technicians,
CalArts Alumni Magazine
and engineers to bring to life the four houses in Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle. We brought holiday cheer and joy in Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle during Christmas in the Wizarding World. Most recently we explored the darker undertones of the film franchise by bringing the ominous Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle to life nightly, topped off with an awe-inspiring finale featuring an aerial drone effect.” Gina Loveless (Caciolo) ’12 tells us: “My first book, Diary of a 5th Grade Outlaw, was published in September by Andrews McMeel Publishing in partnership with Epic! Originals. In this elementary school adaptation of Robin Hood, fifth grade has just started and Nadia, the school bully, already rules recess with an unfair Playground Tax. Robin refuses to be pushed around, but all she can think about is winning back her best friend Mary Ann after a disastrous fallout over the summer. To do so, she will have to stand up to Nadia, face the wrath of Assistant Principal Johnson, and become a legendary outlaw at Nottingham Elementary—all while forming a merry band of new friends along the way. The second book, Diary of a 5th Grade Outlaw: The Friend Thief, is due out April 2020.” James McElroy (Boone) ’12 reports, “Currently living in Manhattan, I operate Desert Park, a bespoke audio mastering service in Times Square. I’m working with DefJam, RocNation, and Empire at the moment. Known as the youngest top-tier mastering engineer in the world, my work represents close to 1B streams. My credits include Prodigy of Mobb Deep, NaS, Uncle Murda, Redman, Styles P, Jadakiss, Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes, Pusha T, MF Doom, Nipsey Hustle, Roc Marciano, Dave East, Rick Ross, Chris Brown, Tory Lanez, Casanova, Fabolous, Ashanti, Teyanna Taylor, Cyndi Lauper, DJ Khaled, Q-Tip, Black Thought, Royce da 5’9, The Alchemist, PnB Rock, Offset, Curren$y, Smoke DZA, Max B, E40, Mozzy, The Dream, Kodak Black, Lil Baby, Gunna, Birdman, Plies, Swizz Beatz, Timbaland, DJ Green Lantern, Jessie Reyez, Rich the Kid, Famous Dex, Lil Tjay, certain members of the Wu-Tang, and every artist
on Griselda Records. I’m also developing a global clientele in Africa and Asia, and am regularly in touch with deeply respected former CalArts teacher Martijn Zwartjes, now working in Netherlands. I also work on the music of many CalArts alumnx.” Jamie (James) Tatti ’12 tells us: “[I was] excited to return to the Los Angeles area in October following the conclusion of a neurorehabilitation fellowship with the Tampa VA. While in Tampa, I fostered a love for aerial arts that I plan to continue practicing in LA. I’ll be working with the West Los Angeles VA as an occupational therapist.” Haley Warner ’12 writes, “I am going into my seventh season with Ballet Memphis as the shoe manager and wardrobe assistant. I also work with Tennessee Ballet Theater; teach fashion design at Memphis College of Art and the Memphis Academy of Science and Engineering; and have been filling in as a tailor on the upcoming NBC series Bluff City Law.” Andrea Williams ’12 checks in: “Howdy, from Idaho! Since you’ve seen me I’ve gained a newfound love for bluegrass music. I went to my first bluegrass festival in Montana this summer (I know, look at me go!). I’m loving my role in the marketing department at a rafting company in Moscow (Mos-coe—we ain’t Russia, but sometimes the temperature feels like it). Working in the outdoors industry has been an amazing fit for all my gifts and talents. I’ve been able to work on a range of projects, from planning our founder’s 85th birthday celebration to designing logos for our next campaign. I am so grateful to use my love for video, photo, and writing. I’ve also been creating systems for productivity and employee engagement. Come visit! We’ll go rafting and sleep under the stars! It’s truly wonderful.” A Stephanie Zaletel ’12 writes, “Two thousand eighteen was a beautiful, challenging, and exciting year—here are some of the highlights: I married Louis Lopez ’12! I collaborated with Lars Jan on The White Album, based on the essay by Joan Didion, and toured in creation of the work to UCross,
a shadow by Timeless, Infinite Light/Nightboat Books (2017). In fall 2019 I began my position as Assistant Professor of English at Skyline College in San Bruno, CA, in the San Francisco Bay Area.” Graham Peck ’13 checks in to say: “Dear CalArtians, I am currently in my last of three years completing my master’s in music therapy at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. This year I am fulfilling hours toward my mental health counseling licensure at the historic Perkins School for the Blind (attended by Helen Keller). I am so excited to be working toward using music to improve the lives of others. As a side project, I have been gigging locally in Boston, and have a new album due out this spring. Some of my CalArts friends and I just celebrated a CalArtian engagement while camping out in Mammoth.”
WY, Wexner Center for the Arts, CalArts, Pittsburgh Festival of Firsts, BAM’s Next Wave Festival, and UCLA. I premiered my fifth evening-length show called moon& at the Ford Amphitheater after generous creation residencies at LA Dance Project and CalArts, and later toured moon& to Seattle, WA, for a split evening with artist Lavinia Vago. I also set new works on LA Contemporary Dance Company and Bombshell Dance Project (Dallas, TX). In 2019 I officially transitioned to a freelance career in choreography/performance while collaborating with artists such as Rosanna Gamson/World Wide, Jodie Landau (Beth Morrison Projects), clipping., and with my own company, Stephanie Zaletel | szalt, with commissions for CalArts Spring Dance and Cornish College of the Arts. I also lead an all-abilities, all-levels, freeform, dance-party class in LA called Dance Church (founded by Kate Wallich), as well as two annual workshops in movement, meditation, and choreography. I’m thankful for a life filled with movement, artists, and collaboration.” C Desiree Masucci ’13 reports, “While at CalArts, I had the opportunity to open and expand my mind, especially in terms of how I speak about art. I surrounded myself with artists from many different métiers and collaborated with many fine artists, dancers, and film students. We became a family. We called ourselves Alpha Ro Tau (“Art Frat”) and we supported each other. CalArts was truly the best time of my life.” Janice Lobo Sapigao ’13 writes, “I’ve published two books of poetry, microchips for millions by Philippine American Writers and Artists, Inc. (2016) and like a solid to
Sam Rosenblum ’13 reports, “After CalArts I went into activism, C advocacy, and political organizing. I had the distinct honor of working on all sorts of incredible projects in the US and around the world, such as the US Africa Leaders Summit, the Los Angeles Special Olympics World Games, the C40 Cities Climate Summit, the Clinton Global Initiative, the Bernie Sanders Presidential Campaign, and the I AM 2018/MLK 50 Project as well as with countless leaders in the worlds of art, entertainment, activism, advocacy, and politics. In 2018, after an exciting five years with 25+ projects in 15+ countries, I decided to take a step back from that kind of work and return to the arts and entertainment. I’m now developing my own projects and production company and will be relaunching my family stock footage business in 2020 as well as continuing to be an advocate for Climate Action and the Environment.” Caity Schmidt ’13 says, “After years of writing, I’m publishing my first book Hunters, a fantasy novel. The first of four in a series was released in Oct. 2019. It’s the story of Jac who, already having gone on her magical adventure followed by 10 years of denial, wants nothing more than to get home to where power was in her hands.” Allison Keating ’14 tells us: “Wild Art Group is an experimental performance company that I lead. Founded in 2015 and based in Los Angeles, we have created two large-scale theatrical productions, two performance art exhibitions, published an art book, and launched a podcast series. Most recently we created a toy theater performance about joy. Follow our work online.” Suzanne Kite ’14 writes, “I am excited to be included in the inaugural 2019 Toronto
Biennial with Althea Thauberger, presenting a composition for the HMCS York Shell Ensemble.” Edda Manriquez ’14 reports, “I founded Les Femmes Underground International Film Festival in 2014 in response to the decline of female role models in cinema. Pictured is a collaboration with Echo Park Film Center for the screening of Fattitude, deconstructing the female body in media.” Thomas Marven ’14 writes, “Something happens when they take you to a psych ward—you become a job creator. Other than that, just chillin’ mostly. I rewrote my thesis. It’s an entirely new paper. The initial one was only a germ. Hoping to do another degree somewhere if the money’s right. ’Sup Nate? I want that hat.” Natalya Serebrennikova ’14 sends this photo and caption: Experimental Animation First Year Shorts class 2011. “Quique, Daphne, Bertha, and me.” Catherine (Cat) Tanchanco ’14 tells us, “‘Your deepest work will be the darkest.’ D Self Portrait taken by sinking a Sony Underwater Handycam from the Film & Video film cage to the bottom of the Chouinard Pool.” D Vineet Vyas ’14 reports, “A lot has been happening since graduating from CalArts. Most recently I was featured as a tabla soloist at the third annual Los Angeles Tabla Festival in August. It’s always so great to return to LA to perform and meet friends and artists. In 2016 a Fellowship from American Institute for India Studies allowed my family and me to travel to India for nine months. The beauty of this fellowship was three-fold. It allowed me to revitalize the Benares Gharana Tabla repertoire I originally learnt from my Guru, late Padma Vibhushan Pt. Kishan Mahahraj. Secondly, I performed in many concerts across India with stalwarts such as Us. Amjad Ali Khan; Pt. Rajan and Pt. Sajan Mishra; and my wife, a beautiful Kathak dancer, Bageshree Vaze. Thirdly, it allowed our amazing children, Kalashree and Vihaan, to experience life in India, and thrive in studies at the Delhi Public International School. In 2017 I was commissioned by Opera Nova Scotia to create Satyam, based on Gustav Holst’s opera Savitri. It premiered May 2017 in Halifax, NS, and featured CalArts alum Sharon Kim ‘14. In 2019 I was a finalist for the Muriel Sherrin Award for International Achievement in the Arts presented by The Toronto Arts Federation. LA, I know I’ll be back!” Kate Kendall ’15 updates us: “In 2018 I started Flow Archive, an artistic and scientific collaboration with my geologist father, Jerry Kendall. The work uses the technique of a sand peel to create sculptures as a basis
myself on the ukulele in lieu of spoken vows. I refer to it as “The Vows Song (I Can’t Wait to Marry You)”. Working on having a recorded version available. In addition to continuing my work as the Program Associate in the CalArts Office of Alumnx & Family Engagement, I am active in many collaborations with students, alumnx, and other artists. I still continue to be a vocalist, composer, multi-instrumentalist, film scorer, voice actress/actress, mentor/teacher, and more. I am always happy to collaborate in creative and educational ways! The main project I am currently working on is with a friend from my undergraduate alma mater, Ithaca College. We’re collaborating on short operas that focus on love and death.”
world on April 10, 2019. Yesterday she found both of her feet.” Lena Sands ’15 reports, “This year has been very exciting. Last summer a selection of my designs for Venus, by Suzan-Lori Parks (which I completed at CalArts) was on exhibition in Moscow at the A. A. Bakhrushin State Central Theatre Museum as part of the show Innovative Costume Design of the 21st Century: The Next Generation. I have continued freelance costume design around Los Angeles, including frequent collaborations with Deena Selenow ’13, and I recently worked with Cornerstone Theater Company on its show, A Jordan Downs Illumination. My designs for SITI Company’s Bacchae, which premiered at the Getty Villa last summer, and then went to BAM, will be on tour this year before a run at Guthrie Theater in March. I am currently working with Los Angeles-based company Four Larks, designing the costumes for a newly devised Frankenstein opera. The opera will premiere at The Wallis in February. I also started teaching Fashion Design to high schoolers at LACHSA this fall. On a personal note, my husband Ari and I have welcomed a new family member, Sylvie Sands Bookman. She will turn one in December.” B
for interpreting the human and geologic events surrounding a body of water. Emerge: Fluvial Tapestries from Hurricane Harvey, which received funding from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, was shown in 2018 and will be exhibited as part of the GeoGulf Convention in fall 2019. A sister project Rio Grande Flow received a 2019 Fulcrum Fund Grant from 516 Arts in Albuquerque, NM, and will be exhibited in 2020. Andres Machin ’16 and I welcomed our daughter Jack Kendall Machin into the
CalArts Alumni Magazine
Cooper Wolken ’15 writes, “In June Jordan Saenz ’12 and I got married in the beautiful mountains of Colorado. It was pretty spectacular—surrounded by family and friends, many of whom were CalArtians, too! Our dear friend Jacob Gibson ’15 was the world’s greatest officiant, and even our pit bull Luca was there. Apart from that, I’m still playing in bands (Kidi Band, Bird Concerns, Marky & Johnny, and various sideman/jazz groups), pursuing my solo music, teaching drum lessons, and doing a little writing here and there.” A Diana Cioffari-MacPhee ’16 reports, “I’m excited to say that my husband Matt and I celebrated our one-year anniversary in September! For our wedding, I composed and sang an original song while accompanying
Jordan Dykstra ’16 writes, “New Music USA awarded me a 2019 Project Grant for my proposal Recording of Commissions by Alvin Lucier & Jordan Dykstra. The two new works—Corner Church and High (Lucier) and 32 Middle Tones (Dykstra)—were premiered and recorded in Connecticut by the ensemble Ordinary Affects (Morgan Evans-Weiler, Laura Cetilia, J. P. A. Falzone, Luke Damrosch, and me) and are slated to be released in 2020.” Anthony Mariani ’16 says, “My play The Rooster Rebellion opened in Little Rock, AR, at The Weekend Theater and ran through Sept. 8.” Sara Martin ’16 tells us: “This past year I was selected a 2019 Emerging Content Creator by NALIP and HBO, and had my latest documentary titled Mason showcased at the 2019 Audience Award LGBTQ Shorts Festival as well as the 2019 Audience Award Documentary Shorts Festival. In the summer, I was a Media Producer for two plays, The White Dress and Lavender Men, both of which had sold out showcases and had their world premieres in New York City. I am currently working on developing a limited documentary series with emerging playwright Roger Q. Mason, and will be releasing an experimental film this fall titled Age Sex Location. I’m also working at Stoopid Buddy Studios, where I’m an Assistant Editor on multiple commercials, holiday specials, and secret Marvel projects.” Sarah Melnick (Van Sciver) ’16 writes, “I had a beautiful wedding in June on Cape Cod surrounded by friends, family, and wacky weather (hail, rain, sunshine, wind, and rainbows all in one whirlwind day!). Keeping busy and loving every minute as the CalArts Alumni & Family team’s Assistant Director. I also run my own freelance company, Songbird, as a songwriter, composer, arranger, vocalist, harpist, ukulele player, pianist, sound designer, sound editor, and recording/mixing engineer for screen, stage, and studio productions. Current projects include a feature film (score/songs/sound), an LP of new, original songs, and a rock opera. For anyone with film, theater, album, or other music/narrative projects, I would
love to collaborate and contribute score, songs, sound, or any combination.” Sihui Shao ’16 sends this cryptic message: “BB3BB3BB3” Lucas Lipari-Mayer ’17 updates us: “Since graduating from CalArts, I won a permanent position as Solo Trumpet for the renowned Ensemble InterContemporain, created by Pierre C Boulez in Paris. I also won the First and the Public Prize of the Città di Porcia International Italian Trumpet Competition and came as a Semi-Finalist of the ARD Competition held in Munich. Besides working full time—whether with the ensemble or different orchestras and bands—I teach regularly in Paris, and twice a year lead master classes and concerts in Korea. I’m also part of the LA-based Carillon Quartet composed of four CalArts Trumpet alumni. All of this couldn’t have been done without my teachers and training at CalArts, for which I am thankful every day.” C
Sierra May ’17 writes, “My dad receives The Pool, so, Hi, Dad! In case ya’ll didn’t know, Santa Clarita has its very own community media station, SCVTV. I’ve had the pleasure of spending most of my post-CalArts existence working among creative people who do much for the SCV. I work mostly on our arts- and music-related shows as an editor, videographer, director, graphic designer, show host, and occasional animator. It’s been wild. xoxo, Sierra.” D Jodi Porter ’17 reports, “Two thousand nineteen has been an exciting year to pivot from 25 years in arts production to business! I’m lucky to be a founding partner at Ciger Asset Management - Ciger Trading. We utilize proprietary deep learning models derived from artificial intelligence and expertise in the US power markets to generate superior, risk-adjusted returns with a quantitative trading platform that differentiates market signals from the noise. I feel blessed to be able to use my skillset in a new field that is very rewarding in so many ways. Hope all is well, fellow CalArtians.” Jesse VanDenKooy ’17 says, “I currently work in Enterprise Technology at The
Walt Disney Company, and continue to write fiction. I’ve also developed a taste for whiskey, and while it’s complimentary to the writing, wine will always be my first love.”
play Sisters In Law that had its West Coast premiere at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills from Sept. 18–Oct. 13.”
Alexandra Bender ’18 checks in: “I just got back from presenting my piece “Three” in Utah. It was made while at CalArts and performed by Chenhui Mao ’19, Aaron Theodore-Cooke ’17, and OCSA alum Seth Horinouchi. Now I’m back in LA as the new Admissions Director and Dance Team Director at St. Lucy’s Priory High School in Glendora, CA. Thanks, CalArts!”
Fahad Siadat ’18 writes to tell us: “I recently composed music for and performed in Theatre Dybbuk’s newest theatrical piece Hell Prepared, a nearly two-hour interdisciplinary work with a soundtrack of entirely a cappella voices. I was also the composition director for the NEO Voice Festival, a new festival in Los Angeles celebrating new and innovative music for the voice. This fall I’ll begin work on an evening-length work: a musical setting of “The Conference of the Birds” commissioned by The Esoterics in Seattle, with a premiere performance scheduled in the spring of 2020. I’ll also appear in The Industry’s newest main-stage opera production Sweetland, directed by Yuval Sharon.”
Todd Harper ’18 writes, “Since graduating from CalArts’s Creative Producing and Management MFA program, I have started my E own wedding and event planning and production company in Minneapolis, MN. While it’s been a pretty slow first year, we’re looking ahead to a busy 2020 wedding season with a healthy dose of corporate events sprinkled in. Deeply influenced by my background in theater, our business model and planning process focuses on using storytelling to convey a message to our clients’ guests beyond just having a fun party or event. I live in Eagan, MN, with my wife Claire, our black lab Gordon, and two 5-month-old kittens, Minerva and Paulette. We play lots of escape rooms, build LEGO sets, and enjoy finding and enjoying local craft beers. Oh, I’ve also lost 65 pounds, so that’s cool.” E Carolina Hicks ’18 reports, “It’s going to take me a very long time to fully recover from the total psychic earthquake that was CalArts. My MFA experience was an intensely transformative period that split me to my core, and then some. Some moments were deeply uncomfortable and outright scary. I left CalArts a very different artist/person from the one that first arrived. But I’m learning to find a lot of genuine peace and joy in that truth. Now that I’m back in the ‘real world,’ I’ve begun to realize the true scope/scale/ support that exists in the global network of alum and friends made. Take care. Love from Los Angeles.” Katie (Kathleen) O’Kelly ’18 updates us: “I’m currently the Director of Production at Triad Stage, a regional theater in Greensboro, NC. In addition to working at Triad Stage, I’m an adjunct professor of Production Management and Stage Management at Greensboro College and teach a master class on Production Management vs. Stage Management at the Southeastern conference of USITT. I also serve as a Producing Associate for Dale Franzen ’89—a fellow CalArts alum and lead producer on 8-time Tony Award-winning 2019 Best Musical Hadestown, now playing on Broadway. I’m the Producing Associate on the new
Ian Stahl ’18 writes, “I’ve had quite a few adventures since graduating a year ago! My rock band, Cilience, is excited to release our second EP, Event Horizon. We played at the Mint in September to celebrate! I’ve continued to collaborate with fellow CalArtians in the In Situ Ensemble, with Janzie ’19 and Anthony Storniolo ’18. The group explores the relationship between video, video manipulation, and improvised music.” Hannah Trujillo ’18 reports, “I just closed out Bad Hamlet with Coin & Ghost—a theater company started by CalArtians! I also recently finished several readings with the San Diego Rep Latinx New Play Festival. Coming up I’ll be performing in the WOW Festival produced by La Jolla Playhouse. This fall I’ll be directing a reimagined Merchant of Venice at my old high school. I’m so grateful for these opportunities, and hope my classmates are thriving and living with love.” Cody Banks ’19 says, “Onward.” Brandon Chang ’19 chimes in, “Real ‘Emo’ only consists of the dc Emotional Hardcore scene and the late ’90s Screamo scene. What is known as ‘Midwest Emo’ is nothing but Alternative Rock with questionable real emo influence. When people try to argue that bands like My Chemical Romance aren’t real emo, while saying that Sunny Day Real Estate is, I can’t help but cringe because they’re equally fake emo. Real emo sounds energetic, powerful, and somewhat hateful. Some examples of real emo are Pg 99, Rites of Spring, Cap n Jazz, and Loma Prieta.” Serena Himmelfarb ’19 tells us: “I just moved with my fiancé (and fellow CalArts alum) to Western Massachusetts, where I’ve accepted a position as Visiting Assistant Professor of Art at Hampshire College. I’ve designed my courses to combine the things I love most about CalArts and Hampshire College—both being visionary schools that have changed the landscape of education in this country. I’m delighted to be back on the East Coast in time for fall foliage, and while
In Memoriam Milton Quon ’39 (1913–2019)
we’re looking forward to getting back to LA, we’re really enjoying the farm stands and quiet here.” Pamela Hoogeboom ’19 reports, “Just three months after graduation, I’m situated in my dream job as a visual development artist at Warner Bros. Animation. I owe a lot to the teachers and faculty of the Character Animation program. Thanks to them, I was able to jump into this position with confidence and versatility. The support, challenges, and encouragement I’ve received over the last four years have put me in a great position as I move forward in the industry. I regularly run into my peers and other CalArtians everywhere I go. It’s a community I’m proud to be a part of, and years I look back on fondly.” A Isabel Ivey ’19 says, “CalArts will forever be my second home. I am so grateful for the people I met and for the amazing experiences I had. Thanks to all of my amazing teachers and my mentor (who never stopped believing in me), I’m now the Production Assistant on a Disney Channel show!” Mitchell Leitschuh ’19 updates us: “Since graduating last spring with my MFA in Technical Direction, I moved to NYC and now work as an Audio-Visual Technician at the Museum of Modern Art, primarily in the new Marie-Joseé and Henry Kravis Studio. The museum is currently completing a major renovation and so far, my job has proven to be incredibly different every day, with interesting challenges and the chance to work with some truly amazing artists. One day I may be rigging a sound collage piece composed of found objects in the studio, and the next, installing a high-definition video tile wall in one of the galleries in the morning, then drafting a custom projector mount in the afternoon. I picked up most of these skills during my time at CalArts, and I’m so thankful for my time at such a challenging and amazing school.” Jillian Lihani ’19 checks in to say, “I’m an artist!”
CalArts Alumni Magazine
Disney animator and Chouinard alumnus Milton Quon passed away on June 18 at the age of 105. Soon after graduation from Chouinard, Quon joined Disney, where he became the third Chinese American hired by the studio. He worked on the Waltz of the Flowers and the Arabian Dance scenes in Fantasia (1940), and was first assistant animator on Dumbo (1941). Quon was also an actor whose film credits include The Cat Killers (2000), Sweet Jane (1998), Speed (1994), Chill Factor (1989), plus TV’s NYPD Blue. Born in Los Angeles to immigrants from Canton, China, Quon was the eldest of eight children and his parents’ only son. Encouraged by an uncle to pursue art, he received a scholarship to Chouinard. As a young freelance graphic designer, Quon created menus and other design work for restaurants in LA’s Chinatown, including Man Jen Low, Grandview Gardens, and Soochow Restaurant. His exterior signage for Grandview Gardens is now a historic landmark. During World War II Quon worked for Douglas Aircraft, where he led a team of 17 artists in illustrating repair manuals for bombers and transports. After the war he returned to Disney to run its publicity and promotions department, for which he designed promotional art for films such as Make Mine Music and Song of the South, both released in 1946. In 1951 Quon became the first Chinese American art director at a national advertising agency (BBD&O), and later was senior designer at Sealright Co., a large packaging firm, from 1964 to 1980. He taught drawing, painting, and advertising courses at Los Angeles Trade Technical College from 1974 to1989, and accumulated more than 100 sketchbooks since 1980. The Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles presented a retrospective exhibit of Quon’s work in 2005. In 2012 he was one of five artists featured in Round the Clock: Chinese American Artists Working in Los Angeles at the Vincent Price Art Museum in Monterey Park, CA, and he received the Golden Spike Award from the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California in 2013. In 2017 Quon was featured with his son Mike in a father-and-son art exhibition in Red Bank, NJ, and in a solo exhibition at Santa Monica College’s Emeritus Gallery. — From reporting in The Hollywood Reporter Haruko Tanaka ’03 (1974–2019)
Haruko Tanaka (Art MFA 03) passed away in October, 2019. She was an artist photographer, graphic designer, filmmaker and engaged in social practice. Born in the U.S. and raised in England and Japan, Tanaka moved to Los Angeles where she attended the University of Southern California (BA Fine Art, 1997) and CalArts (MFA Photography and Media Art). Her visual work had been presented at The Library Foundation of Los Angeles, Japanese American National Museum, Museum of Modern Art, CUE Art Foundation, Torrance Art Museum, and Armory Center for the Arts, as well as The Rotterdam International Film Festival and Asian American International Film Festival. In 2014 Tanaka was an L.A. Artist in Residence at the Echo Park Film Center. Her recent public art commissions included those from Sustainable Little Tokyo and The California Community Foundation. Since 2007 Tanaka had been one half of the artist intuitive duo Krystal Krunch with her collaborator Asher Hartman. Working closely with Machine Project, Krystal Krunch traveled to the Walker Art Center, Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University, Hayward Gallery at Southbank Centre in London, and Extrapool in the Netherlands, in addition to many colleges and universities throughout the U.S., offering a variety of workshops in which participants learned to engage their intuition to see themselves, others, art, and the spaces around them. In 2014 Tanaka became a core member of The Readers Chorus, a performative readers group that came together weekly in experimental laboratory workshops. To date, The Readers Chorus had performed at Machine Project, The Wulf, The Velasvelasay Panorama and Automata. Tanaka had been a part of the Artist Pension Trust (APT) Los Angeles since 2009. —mutualart.com
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I was recently living in my Dope Elf House... From a Class Note by Jacqueline Wright ’91