A Selective Guide to the Arts in Los Angeles

Jessica Emmanuel will perform at REDCAT. / Photo by Alex Barber courtesy of Project Row Houses, Round 46

For the 14th year since its opening, the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT) offers its New Original Works Festival of laboratory-like performances for three weekends starting this Thursday, July 27, and running through Aug. 12. With performances each Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8:30 p.m., the NOW Fest presents local artists and programs that include contemporary cutting-edge dance, theater, music and multimedia. The series has become an international stop for LA-based productions that premiere and are seen here and across the globe.

These shows are part of the creative building blocks for these often boundary-breaking performing artists. The creators significantly welcome a dialogue between themselves and those of us in the seats. This artist-audience connection is how the creators better their fare.

Week One includes Jessica Emmanuel’s “Witnessing Her,” a solo performance of what promotional materials describe as “starkly impassioned movements . . . [of] vicarious trauma triggered by images, sounds, stories and details of senseless black deaths.”

Bessie Award-winning Stacy Dawson Stearns combines video and “readymade sounds” with “highly visceral movement theater” to propel her five performers through the “humorous complexity . . .  [and] erotic machine” of Marcel Duchamp’s unfinished “The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (or the Large Glass)” in her “LOVE GASOLINE!”

The third and final contributor to this week’s lab is Nancy Keystone and her Critical Mass Performance Group. This cross-disciplinary collective will unleash its “Untitled Communion” accompanied by Jacob Richard’s “boisterous” live music. Described as a “whirlwind journey that careens between resistance, fun, panic, thrashing and persistence,” the work is said to explore our “tumultuous political time.”

The following two weekends of the festival have similarly adventurous line-ups. These shows are highlights of the breadth of expression in our local artistic community. Plus, there’s a $40 festival pass that makes seeing well-made new work affordable.

—Benn Widdey Culture Spot LA

LOCATION: REDCAT, 631 W. Second St., LA 90012


$16-$20 at the box office, by calling (213) 237-2800 or at: https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/976230

Festival package (all three shows) available at: