Laurie Anderson: Goddess of Greenwich Village

By Victoria Looseleaf

We’ve seen Laurie Anderson, performance artist/storyteller nonpareil over the years, and, like a fine wine, she, too, gets better with age. And so we were thrilled to catch her latest, much-acclaimed work, Dirtday! at UCLA’s Royce Hall last week.

And while we were hoping to meet Ms. Anderson after the show, it didn’t happen. But we did get to chat up CAP-UCLA’s Executive and Artistic Director, Kristy Edmunds, whose plans for the campus’ programming include artist residencies: Her first fellowships are to Anderson and the brilliant avant-garde theater/opera director Robert Wilson, with UCLA offering a commitment to present projects over three consecutive seasons. (Above: Wilson’s play, Fables de la Fontaine)

Edmunds is off to a great start and we welcome her to our arts fold with open arms. The dance community in particular needs Edmunds’ visionary thinking, with Akram Khan’s company having recently performed (click here for our Khan coverage during 2010’s Montpellier Dance Festival), and Wim Vandekeybus’ troupe Ultima Vez appearing in March 2013. (Click here for our recent coverage of Wim in Venice.) The Belgian-born choreographer/filmmaker is bringing his What The Body Does Not Remember, a classic work first performed 25 years ago.

Edmunds has also programmed another high priestess of the terpsichorean arts, Trisha Brown Dance Company in April, when the troupe offers two programs, one being Brown’s 1983 work, Set and Reset (below), with music by Laurie Anderson and a set by visual artist Robert Rauschenberg. (Click here for more of our Dance Magazine coverage of the Venice Biennale, where students tackled Brown’s iconic piece from 1976, Line Up.)

And we’re sure that next season will hold even more goodies. (Perhaps a celebration of Judson Dance Theater, which recently turned 50: Click here for our nod to that good stuff; click here for our recent review of postmodern guru Rudy Perez, one of  L.A.’s unsung treasures, and click here for our Dance Magazine interview with contact improv founder and original Judsonite, Steve Paxton).

Brava, then, to Edmunds, whose partner, btw, is Australian choreographer and dancer Ros Warby, with whom we also had the chance to discuss the state of dance in L.A., the U.S. and the world at large. In the interim, click here for our KUSC review of Laurie Anderson’s Dirtday! Ah, so much art, so little time…


About Victoria Looseleaf

Victoria Looseleaf is an award winning arts journalist and regular contributor to the Los Angeles Times, KUSC-FM radio, Dance Magazine, Performances Magazine and other outlets. She roams the world covering dance, music, theater, film, food and architecture. Have pen - and iPad - will travel! Her latest book, "Isn't It Rich? A Novella In Verse" is now available on Amazon. Thank you for reading! Cheers...
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