Brace Yourself for UCLA's Eclectic Fall Arts Lineup

April 27, 2018 | By Bruce R. Feldman

In Brief: The new brochure for CAP’s forthcoming season reads like an impassioned dissertation on what’s ultra-cool in dance, music, theater and multi-media performance – with a few tried-and-true acts thrown in to keep the Yanni crowd from straying from the Royce Hall fold.

Buckle your seatbelts, arts enthusiasts. UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance just announced 2018-19 schedule promises a wild ride through the cultural avant-garde, the experimental, the rarefied, and the just plain weird.

While there are familiar crowd-pleasers like Joan Baez, Emmy Lou Harris, Fran Lebowitz, Pat Metheny, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Bill T. Jones, and Meredith Monk on the bill, CAP’s fearless leader Kristy Edmunds has generously peppered the lineup with an assortment of lesser known treasures that can only be described as, well, cutting-edge on steroids.

Taylor Mac will ring in the holidays at Royce Hall, thanks to CAP UCLA

The season ahead certainly looks both appealing and invigorating, but many performances may not be for the reluctant or otherwise faint of heart. You'll be a happier camper if you keep an open mind and limit your expectations.

Among next year's most outré, if seductively intriguing events: Ukranian ethno-chaos band DahkaBrakha, Quote Unquote Collective from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival offering what is described as “a heart-wrenching and humorous journey into the female psyche,” Joan Didion's The White Album performed by multi-media artist Lars Jan, and Senegalese dance legend Germaine Acogny paying hommage to the centennial of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring.

Batsheva's dancers will offer a new work at Royce Hall

If there is a less likely artist to draw inspiration from the debut in Paris a century ago of this Russian masterwork, I don’t know who that might be. The CAP brochure only adds to the mystery: “[She] performs alone in a black box… She laughs, she screams, she smokes a pipe, and recites from an essay on the dehumanization of colonialism.”

Somewhere between the two artistic extremes you'll find Israel’s glorious Batsheva Dance Co. in a new evening-length work called Venezuela, soulful Brazilian jazz vocalist Luciana Souza, popular Indian classical-fusion sitar player Anoushka Shankar, and the Pulitzer Prize winning novelists Viet Nguyen and Junot Diaz in conversation.

Perennials Joan Baez and Emmy Lou Harris also will entertain at UCLA next season

Of the 41 CAP events planned for next year, perhaps the most fun will be Taylor Mac's holiday extravaganza, an irreverent evening of song, sass, and sequins. You can bet that there’ll be no yuletide carols being sung by a choir on this night before Christmas. Plan ahead; it's sure to sell out.

There’s a lot more to look forward to on campus at Royce Hall and at CAP’s alternate venue, downtown’s grand Theatre at Ace Hotel. Get the full schedule at cap.ucla.edu. Tickets can also be purchased there or through Ticketmaster. Though we’re living in the digital age now, it’s still possible to order the old-fashioned way by phone, 310-825-2101.

Some things haven’t gone out of style – yet.