Jason Moran And The Bandwagon Comes to The Ford Theatres
Since his formidable emergence on the music scene in the 1990s, renowned pianist and composer Jason Moran has challenged the status quo, which has earned him a reputation as the future of jazz.
On Saturday, September 29, 2018 at 8:00pm the Ford Theatres and UCLA's Center for the Art of Performance (CAP UCLA) present Finding a Line: Skateboarding, Music and Media, an unprecedented collaboration exploring the intersection of skateboarding and jazz. Improvisation abounds as local skaters shred a ramp on stage to a musical response performed live by Moran and his group The Bandwagon.
Skateboarders expected to participate include (subject to change): Sky and Ocean (AWSM KIDS), Kenny Anderson, Vanessa Torres, and members of the OC Ramps Team: Dave Bachinsky, Ryan Decenzo, Greg Lutzka, Cody McEntire, and TJ Rogers. For the performance, a mini-ramp (also called a half-pipe) will be installed directly onto the Ford's lower stage by OC Ramps, a family-owned company based out of Orange County.
Moran said, "Street skaters navigate a landscape finding ways to approach a rail in the same way a drummer approaches the beginning of a song. The mode of improvisation is paramount to how both skaters and jazz musicians approach life. In jazz, there are so many moving parts, and within a composition, there are obstacles in the form."
With Finding a Line, Ford Theatres and CAP UCLA celebrate the creativity of the full breadth of the skateboarding community, including musicians, photographers, filmmakers, painters, graphic and fashion designers, as well as skateboarders themselves. The week of Finding a Line programs at Ford Theatres is part of an ongoing, nationwide community-sourced public art project at the intersection of music, art, photography, filmmaking and skateboarding.
Tickets are available by visiting FordTheatres.org or by calling 323.461.3673.
The full schedule of activities at the Ford include: The Nation Skate X CSEF Exhibition (September 21-29), an exhibit of photos and artwork from The Nation Skate and College Skateboarding Educational Foundation's array of artists documenting the diverse global skateboarding community; Panel Discussion: Exploring Issues of Race & Diversity in Skateboarding Culture, moderated by USC lecturer Neftalie Williams with pro skaters Kenny Anderson, Jaime Reyes, Vanessa Torres and Stevie Williams (September 25, 6:30-7:30pm); and Trick Flicks: A Night of Shorts, curated by music video director/former pro skateboarder Laban and Diana Wyenn (September 25, 7:45-9:30pm) and featuring short films by James Craven, Fullon Compadres and Kingswell, among others.
Moran is a CAP UCLA Artist Fellow and was awarded a three-year creative development platform through the Center, with a commitment to explore his evolving legacy by providing audiences with a unique opportunity to experience his artistry, ideas and works. IN MY MIND: Monk at Town Hall, 1959, Moran's award-winning homage to jazz icon Thelonious Monk, was one of the highlights of CAP UCLA's 2017-18 season.
In 2015, Moran collaborated and co-curated a similar Finding a Line festival at The Kennedy Center with Ben Ashworth, a well-known force in the local DC skating community and a skater and faculty member at George Mason University's School of Art.
Ashworth said, "When I was a kid growing up, we would come into the city [Richmond, VA] at night and skateboard. When we did, the streets were no longer streets, sidewalks were no longer sidewalks, and curbs were no longer curbs. All became a playground for riding, learning, experimenting and failing. There were no rules, points, or winners. We were just making it up as we went along. It was this simple act at the core of skateboarding - finding a line through the world around you - that taught me the concept of reimagining public spaces and gave the project its name."
Olga Garay-English, Executive Director of the Ford Theatres said, "Finding a Line at the Ford spotlights a radical reinterpretation of architecture that is second nature to skateboarders. The results are an eventual new generation of cultural spaces, experiences and artifacts. This type of collaboration offers some critically necessary learning for cultural, academic and government institutions and at the same time connects these institutions to the skateboarding community."
Ashworth and Garth Ross, Executive Director of the Schwarzman Center at Yale University, posit, "Finding a Line is something we do, not just something we see. It's not just a performance, it's a process. And while we can seek it on our own, we can only find it together."
Ross said, "Artists in different disciplines inspire each other's work every day, and perhaps none more visibly or skillfully than jazz musicians and skateboarders. Both of these communities create in sessions - loosely structured gatherings where new ideas are explored and boundaries are tested. While loose sessions are usually only for insiders of a creative community, tightly rehearsed performances are what's shared with the public. Jazz sessions might be held in an apartment or a studio, and skateboard sessions play out on a downtown plaza or a backyard ramp. But with Finding a Line, it happens on stage."
Ashworth said, "As a result, Finding a Line is informed by something deeper than aesthetic trends. This creative process of trusting each other and taking risks together empowers us to accomplish together what we can't achieve alone, revealing exciting possibilities for our shared future."
This event is part of IGNITE @ the FORD!, a series presented by the Ford Theatre Foundation comprised of world-renowned contemporary artists whose work is thought-provoking and reflects the world in which we live. Supported by Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl.
At 1,200 seats, the Ford Theatres creates an intimate outdoor amphitheatre concert experience that is a favorite among Angelenos. This season, the Ford Theatres also introduces performances providing uniquely intimate experiences in which audience and performance fit entirely onto the stage, and others at which the seating has been limited to the first ten rows.
Each summer, the Ford hosts music, dance, theatre, film and family events reflective of the communities that comprise Los Angeles County. Proceeds from IGNITE @ the FORD! events benefit the Ford Theatre Foundation. The Ford is owned by the County of Los Angeles and operated in partnership with the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Ford Theatre Foundation. Nestled in a canyon of a County regional park in the Cahuenga Pass, the Ford Theatres has a rich history dating back to the 1920s. Audiences attending the 2018 Season will enjoy a fully revitalized Ford after the completion of a nearly three-year renovation project, including improved lighting and sound and the Ford Terrace Café on the new terrace - dubbed The Zev - with a menu by Crumble Catering.
The 2018 Season at the Ford Theatres is made possible through the support of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Additional support provided by Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, along with ABC7; the Caruso Family Foundation; the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles; Chamber Music America; City National Bank; Discover Hollywood; First 5 LA; Fusicology; The James Irvine Foundation; KCETLink; KCRW; LAArtsOnline.com; Motev; The National Endowment for the Arts; NBC Universal; OC Ramps; Southern California Edison; Union Bank; Univision; The Wasserman Foundation; Wells Fargo; and Yelp.com.
UCLA's Center for the Art of Performance (CAP UCLA) is dedicated to the advancement of the contemporary performing arts in all disciplines - dance, music, spoken word and theater, as well as emerging digital, collaborative and cross-platforms - by leading artists from around the globe. Part of UCLA's School of the Arts and Architecture, CAP UCLA curates and facilitates direct exposure to artists who are creating extraordinary works of art and fosters a vibrant learning community both on and off the UCLA campus. The organization invests in the creative process by providing artists with financial backing and time to experiment and expand their practices through strategic partnerships and collaborations. As an influential voice within the local, national and global arts communities, CAP UCLA connects this generation to the next in order to preserve a living archive of our culture. CAP UCLA is also a safe harbor where cultural expression and artistic exploration can thrive, giving audiences the opportunity to experience real life through characters and stories on stage, and giving artists an avenue to challenge assumptions and advance new ways of seeing and understanding the world we live in now. Learn more at cap.ucla.edu. Like CAP UCLA on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram. #CAPUCLA