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Highways Performance Space Announces Reopened Season Beginning With World AIDS Day Event

Special Guests include Michael Kearns, Marcus Kuiland-Nazario & The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

Highways Performance Space Announces Reopened Season Beginning With World AIDS Day Event

After building a virtual programming presence to navigate the devastation of COVID's quarantine and live venue restrictions, Santa Monica-based Highways Performance Space announces that it will re-opens its doors to the public with a World AIDS Day with We Scream Your Name, a free live event on Thursday, December 1, 2022, and other events scheduled for January through March 2023.

Leo Garcia, Highways' Executive Director, notes, "Highways' post-COVID fiscal health is stable despite the severe pandemic impact over more than two years. As we reinvented how to continue our 33-year legacy as an alternative space for bold work by diverse artists over the past two and a half years, we developed a platform and the infrastructure for creating and presenting larger-scale projects. These projects were designed as virtual projects to reach a potentially much broader audience. The plan in the design of our programming was to sustain the organization through the pandemic as an additional financial stream, not to replace the live performance model."

"Now is the right time to open. My priority during COVID has been and will continue to be the health and well-being of our artists, community, and staff. Highways consistently pursues best-practice health policies for our small, intimate space. Because of precautions and protocols our staff and board set in place, we are proud to say that not one person contracted COVID at Highways during the pandemic. We want to keep it that way."

With renewed possibilities, Highways has reimplemented a curatorial process in preparation for 2023 programming, and will contract additional curators and presenters to rebuild our live/in-person programming and audiences.

Garcia says, "We're regenerating. We've had a great history. I think of that history as three eras: Pre-Millennium, Post-Millennium, and Highways 3.0, as we launch into Highways future, now... we hope you'll join us.

Upcoming Live Events:

December 1, 2023
Select performances and activities during the event's 12 pm to 10 pm schedule, as well as time for personal reflection of those lost to AIDS. As a space founded by a strong contingency of LGBTQ+ artists/performers, community activists, members, and allies, it is a meaningful re-opening in recognition of World AIDS Day as a time of remembrance, blessings, community, and renowned special guest performer Michael Kearns. The event is entitled, We Scream Your Name, as a reference to a diary entrance, "Scream my name," by famed artist Kosta Pappas, who died in 1989 at the age of 35 due to AIDS complications.

January 12-22, 2023
A full-scale launch of the 2023 Film Maudit 2.0 Festival, which includes: showcasing films from experimental filmmakers worldwide; Q&As; live music events featuring new composers; and panels.
The Film Maudit project has helped us to provide not only a spotlight but financial support to a significant number of artisans, filmmakers, designers, and composers.

January 12-23*, 2023
BEHOLD! Queer Festival, with guest curators Dino Dinco, Juan Fernandez and featuring multiple feature and shorts programs that showcase works from and about the LGBTQ+ and Latinx communities spread over three curated categories. *Runs during Film Maudit 2.0, exact date TBD

January 23-30, 2023
a/o/x series
MacArthur & Guggenheim Fellow, performance artist, writer, radical pedagogue, and Artistic Director of La Pocha Nostra, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, will serve a residency at Highways culminating in An Evening with Guillermo Gómez-Peña. Gómez-Peña shares works in progress, La Malinche, performance cinema, and pandemia chronicles. Performance artist Balitronica will join him. This event launches Highways' a/o/x series, previously known as Latinx New Works. a/o/x is the reinvention of new parameters, new premises, and new ways of being in the world. Gómez-Peña takes us there. Also joining for the a/o/x series is the esteemed curator Ruben Esparza. Esparza brings his taste of a/o/x with Queer Califas, performance, and visual art at the cutting edge.

February - March, 2023
Highways is currently curating programs to be presented during Black History Month in February and Women's History Month in March, along with art for exhibition in Highways' intimate gallery.

During the pandemic closing, Highways worked on many levels to solidify a strong future as a presenter:

The 2021 and 2022 Film Maudit 2.0 Festival became virtual and reached from Santa Monica to Mexciso City, to as far away as Bombay via the Eventive platform. The National Performance Network funded a large-scale, long-term project, Earth. Initially planned as a live hybrid performance mixed media/interdisciplinary event, changed into an interdisciplinary media project. Under strict COVID procedures, a team of technicians, media artists, and seven performers recorded the performance work in March/April 2022 for a future showing at Highways. The Perenchio Foundation has awarded Highways a multi-year operating support grant to build upon its capacity and resilience. The Perenchio Foundation is a private foundation established by the late A. Jerrold "Jerry" Perenchio which believes that arts play an essential role in building more equitable, culturally vibrant, and inclusive communities and is guided by a commitment to creating a positive, lasting impact in the Los Angeles region through the arts. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), L.A. County Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs, and California Arts Council awarded Highways COVID relief funds and 18th Street Arts Center worked toward manageable lease terms, .while additional government subsidies provided support.

Garcia says, "Where COVID relief funds were the stepping-stones to our survival, Perenchio Foundation provides us with the bridge to solid ground, making it possible to build into the future." Learn more at www.perenhiofoundation.org.



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