Arts Are Essential | July 2 – 9, 2021

PHOTO: Adam Latham | Hollywood Bowl shell with fireworks

The Hollywood Bowl is back and will be kicking off the summer with their 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular! Celebrate good times, and Independence Day, with the ultimate hitmakers, Kool & The Gang! The disco-funk greats bring the party to the Bowl for the annual Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular while Thomas Wilkins and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra perform patriotic favorites. Get ready to get down on it! Friday July 3 and Saturday July 4th at 7:30pm

PHOTO: Michael Hirano Culross | | South Pasadena Fireworks show 2018

In 2021, America’s Independence Day celebration, A Capitol Fourth, will mark 41 years on the air. The show is broadcast to millions of viewers on PBS and streaming platforms as well as to our troops watching around the world on the American Forces Network. Tune in to KOCE at 8pm. This year’s performers include Mickey Guyton, Vanessa Williams, Train, Gladys Knight, Alan Jackson, Cynthia Erivo, Pentatonix, Renee Fleming, Jennifer Nettles, Jimmie Allen, Auli’i Cravalho, Christopher Jackson, Laura Osnes, Ali Stroker, Jack Everly, Jimmy Buffet, The National Symphony Orchestra, The United States Army Band, The US Army Herald Trumpets, and the Joint Armed Forces Chorus.

PHOTO: RJ Muna | South Pasadena News | Adji Cissoko of Alonzo King LINES Ballet

In celebrating the reopening of Los Angeles and the easing of public health restrictions, The Music Center has expanded the footprint for its outdoor performance series called “Dance at Dusk”, doubling the current seating capacity for guests on its Jerry Moss Plaza. New tickets for pods of four seats for the Alonzo King LINES Ballet performances occurring July 14–18, 2021,  go on sale on Thursday, July 1, 2021, at 10:00 a.m.; each performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. Sales of on-site food and beverages will now be offered to ticketed guests prior to and following these performances. Each program will run approximately one hour and will be presented without intermission.

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“As a performing arts center, we struggled with not having our stages alive and our theatres filled with audiences over the last 15 months, so we’re just thrilled to welcome back guests and visitors safely to The Music Center,” said Rachel S. Moore, president and CEO of The Music Center. “We were planning and re-configuring plans for Dance at Dusk during the height of the pandemic, but always remained confident that Angelenos would rally to overcome the virus. With numbers at a low point and restrictions lifted, we can now provide additional seating to this sold-out presentation, allowing even more Angelenos to witness the thrill and beauty of live dance and celebrate a sense of normalcy in the safest possible way.”

Ticket prices for The Music Center’s Dance at Dusk outdoor series are tiered per experience and sold as a pod of four tickets only. Tickets for Jerry Moss Plaza seating range from $150 (rear section) per pod to $225 (front section) per pod, depending on the day of the week. To purchase ticket pods, and for information, call (213) 972-0711 or visit Advance sales only; tickets will not be available for purchase on-site.

PHOTO: RJ Muna | South Pasadena News | Ashley Mayeux of Alonzo King LINES Ballet

Thirty-nine years of outstanding, multi-disciplinary collaborations for the stage place Alonzo King LINES Ballet at the forefront of artistic innovation in ballet. Guided by the unique artistic vision of Alonzo King, LINES Ballet has collaborated with noted composers, musicians and visual artists from around the world to create performances that alter the way we look at ballet today. The company’s unique artistic vision adheres to the classical form—the linear, mathematical and geometrical principles that are deeply rooted in the pre-existing East-West continuum—while investigating the human spirit and breaking down barriers. LINES Ballet returns to The Music Center for the Dance at Dusk series after an eight-year absence from Music Center stages, performing a mixed program that will feature the full company. Choreographed by King in 2019 with music composed by Jazz composer and pianist Jason Moran, The Personal Element is a demanding 20-minute piece that shows off the company’s technical prowess. The performances also include the excerpt “Over My Head” from Writing Ground; an excerpt from The Radius of Convergence; the excerpt “Pie Jesu” from Grace; an excerpt from Rasa; and conclude with Epilogue Pas.

Special guest Tiler Peck, a Southern California native and New York City Ballet (NYCB) principal dancer, joins LINES Ballet for Child of Sky and Earth, a new solo work created specifically for her by King. The two artists worked together during the summer of 2020 to develop the piece to music by American singer-songwriter Gregory Porter. Rising star Roman Mejia will join Peck in Swift Arrow. The new pas de deux, choreographed by King for the two NYCB colleagues, features additional music by Moran.

The Sunday evening performance (July 18) will be livestreamed FREE for the public at Fans are encouraged to register in advance to receive reminders and a link to the performance.

While in Los Angeles, Alonzo King LINES Ballet will hold in-person auditions for dancers of soloist and principal caliber at The Music Center on Saturday, July 17, 2021, between 1:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m. Participants must register online in advance. For more information and to register, applicants can visit: Following each LINES Ballet performance, The Music Center will host a free concert on Jerry Moss Plaza starting at 8:45 p.m., which will be open to both ticket holders and the public. Grammy[1]nominated Jens Lindemann leads his quartet, performing selections ranging from Jazz to Contemporary, Classical to Klezmer, and Spirituals to Rock.

PHOTO: East West Players | South Pasadena News | Easter West Players
Producing Artistic Director
Snehal Desai

East West Players (EWP), the nation’s largest producer of Asian American theatrical works, along with EWP Producing Artistic Director Snehal Desai, was honored by city leaders on Wednesday, June 30th at 3:30pm at a LA CityView Channel 35 program, broadcast live as part of the virtual celebrations for the annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Heritage Month, commonly known as “Pride Month,” in the City of Los Angeles.

Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, one of the City’s three openly gay elected officials, organized this year’s LGBT Heritage Month programming. He joined Mayor Eric Garcetti, Controller Ron Galperin, City Council President Nury Martinez, and Councilmember Mike Bonin for this virtual ceremony honoring LGBT advocates who have been on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

East West Players, the nation’s longest running theatre of color, has long been a resource and champion for the LGBTQIA+ community in Los Angeles. Recent EWP productions focused on LGBTQIA+ content include As We Babble On (2018), written by Nathan Ramos Park – the winner of EWP’s 2042: See Change Playwriting Competition. In 2016, previous EWP Artistic Director Tim Dang’s production of La Cage Aux Folles (2016) was produced in partnership with the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

Madhuri Shekar’s A Nice Indian Boy (2014) was East West Players Producing Artistic Director Snehal Desai’s first directorial effort at EWP.  It told the story of a gay Indian man who dreams of a Bollywood wedding for himself and his partner.

Desai is also the author and performer of Finding Ways to Prove You’re NOT an al-Qaeda Terrorist When You’re Brown. As Desai related to The Bay Area Reporter when he mounted the production in 2008, “I wanted to do work that speaks to the South Asian community as well as the gay community, and I wasn’t finding the playwrights out there, so I started to write these monologues, and they began to take shape into a show.”

Most recently, EWP was the first to revoke its membership in the LA Stage Alliance, following a terrible gaffe at its annual Ovation Awards ceremony.  Larger exclusionary issues were brought to light by the incident in which a nominee, actor Jully Lee’s name was mispronounced, while at the same time displaying a photo at the online ceremony of fellow cast member Monica Hong in her place.

EWP’s swift action resulted in over 50 theaters in the region following suit as they joined EWP in solidarity, leading to the demise of the organization and the start of discussions for a new fully representational and responsive arts service organization.

“LGBT Heritage Month is an opportunity to honor the frontline heroes across our LGBTQ+ community — the nurses and doctors saving lives, the activists marching for justice, the advocates lining up the voices of LGBTQ+ Angelenos struck by a spike in hate crimes and disproportionately impacted by COVID-19,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “By their actions and leadership, these extraordinary Americans speak to the best of who we can be as a city and nation: a place where everyone can make a difference, everyone can know the blessings of safety and equity, and everybody belongs, no matter who you are, how you identify or who you love. Happy Pride Month.”