MAGIC HOUR IN LOS ANGELES Comes to The Mark Taper Forum in March

Performances run Friday March 15 - Sunday March 17, 2024.

By: Feb. 22, 2024
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 MUSE/IQUE's 2024 season, themed Make Some Noise: Music and Stories of American Defiance and Hope, opens on March 15 at 7:30 pm, March 16 at 2:30 pm and March 17 at 7:30 pm, 2024, with Magic Hour in Los Angeles: America's Cultural Renaissance of 1974 at the Mark Taper Forum at the Music Center, a first-time association with Center Theatre Group.

Joining Artistic and Music Director Rachael Worby and the MUSE/IQUE orchestra onstage as guest performers for these concerts are the DC6 Singers Collective, Javier Almaráz, LaVance Colley, and Rachel Gonzalez. 

Magic Hour in Los Angeles is partially inspired by the best-selling Ronald Brownstein book, “Rock Me on the Water,” which explores the year Los Angeles transformed movies, music, television, theatre, and American life, exerting more influence over pop culture than any other city in America. With an explosion of creative and artistic innovation, Los Angeles in 1974 represented a confrontation between a massive younger generation intent on radical social change and demanding civil rights, and a political order rooted in the status quo.

The program presents music of Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills and Nash, The Eagles, Los Lobos, Bill Withers, Jerry Goldsmith, Los Lobos, Linda Ronstadt, and Marvin Gaye, as well as the movie themes from The Godfather Part II, Chinatown and The Way We Were.

MUSE/IQUE Artistic and Music Director Rachael Worby said, “When artists and thinkers make loud choices and take bold stances, they teach us that nothing is impossible.  Here in Los Angeles in 1974 there was remarkable creativity in film, television, and popular music that changed our country – and our program is a celebration of the people, the stories and the music that changed the culture.”

Magic Hour in Los Angeles is presented in partnership with Center Theatre Group. CTG:FWD programming at the Mark Taper Forum is made possible through the generous support of the S. Mark Taper Foundation. Additional funding is provided by gifts to the Artistic Director Discretionary Fund.

Later in the season, MUSE/IQUE will examine how Ed Sullivan transformed American culture one Sunday night at a time (April 30-May 1); how Bob Dylan challenged the music establishment at the Newport Folk Festival with an electric guitar (June 22-23); how Rodgers and Hammerstein invented the modern musical with Oklahoma! (July 26-27-28); when The Moulin Rouge opened in Las Vegas in 1955 as the first integrated hotel in the United States (August 27-28, September 4-5); and finally, how Abraham Lincoln turned to music for comfort, encouragement and hope (October 16-17-20).  

MUSE/IQUE concert cycles are performed at various Los Angeles sites including The Huntington Library, Skirball Cultural Center, The Wallis Center for the Performing Arts, and Pasadena Memorial Park. 

Reservations for the March 15-16-17 performance Magic Hour in Los Angeles are now open for members. For those new to MUSE/IQUE please visit muse-ique.com to learn about attending MUSE/IQUE events and to explore membership plans.  Tickets for Magic Hour in Los Angeles are also available at centertheatregroup.org.

About Magic Hour in Los Angeles

Magic Hour in Los Angeles: America's Cultural Renaissance of 1974 explores a time when Americans began breaking free from post-war conformity. Los Angeles, the city that outsiders once considered glitzy and superficial, emerged as the unlikely cultural epicenter for exponential creativity and blossoming self-expression and awakening. 

From this “Magic Hour,” sprung forth an explosion of creative and artistic innovation, that represented a confrontation between a massive younger generation intent on radical social change and demanding civil rights, and a political order rooted in the status quo.  The resulting  groundbreaking works of popular culture came from film, television, theatre, recording studios, but so did the idea that it is often art and pop culture that leads our way forward. 

Author Ronald Brownstein wrote, in his book “Rock Me on the Water: 1974-The Year Los Angeles Transformed Movies,. Music, Television and Politics,” that at a surprise party for the then 31 year old David Geffen at the Beverly Wilshire Le Grand Trianon ballroom, attending were Bob Dylan, Cher, Ringo Starr, The Band, Harry Nilsson, Warren Beatty, Jack Nicolson and Bianca Jagger.  

Brownstein wrote, while “it was a triumphant moment for Geffen, but the party could just as easily have been a celebration of the stars and moguls who mingled around him.  They too, stood at a pinnacle. Los Angeles in 1974 exerted more influence over popular culture than other city in America.,  That year, in fact, the city dominated popular culture more than it ever has before or would again.  In movies, music and television, the early 1970s marked a creative summit in LA that transformed each of those industries.”  

He continued, “The ‘New Wave' that revitalized Hollywood, the smooth Southern California sound that ruled the album charts and radio airwaves, the torrent of groundbreaking comedies that brought new sophistication and provocation to television's prime time – all these emerged from Los Angeles. Working just blocks from one another in film, recording and television studios around Sunset Boulevard, living in Brentwood and Beverly Hills or amid the flickering lights of the Hollywood Hills, a cluster of transformative talents produced a sustained burst of pop culture mastery and innovation.”

Brownstein quotes Graham Nash, who said, “there was a tremendous feeling of anything [is possible].  What do you want to think of?  We can do anything … there was no end to [it]. We were in this pool of, like, magic stuff and it was rubbing off on everybody.” Linda Ronstadt said, “LA was a lens that American culture was focused through in those days – like Berlin was before World War Two.”  Danny Kortchmar, a prominent rock session guitarist and collaborator with Carole King and Don Henley, said, “You couldn't throw a rock without hitting a genius.”

The transformation of film – that began with “Bonnie and Clyde,” “The Graduate,”” The Last Picture Show,” “Five Easy Pieces,” and “The Godfather” came to complete fruition in 1974: “The Godfather, Part 2” won Best Picture, and among the other nominees were “Chinatown” and Coppola's “The Conversation.” “Nashville,” “Jaws” and “Shampoo” in production and George Lucas had finished his first draft of “Star Wars: Episode IV --A New Hope.”  

In 1973-1974, Saturday nights on CBS was the greatest line up in television programming history: “All in the Family,” “M*A*S*H,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Bob Newhart,” and “The Carol Burnett Show.”

In 1974, Tandem Productions (Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin) had completely hit its stride as “All in the Family” was in the middle of its five years as the number one show in the nation (it was in the top ten for seven of years its nine-year run).  Lear and Yorkin had two spinoffs from “All in the Family”: “Maude” and “The Jeffersons,” as well as “Sanford and Son,” running as well that year. 

That August, President Richard Nixon resigned following the Watergate scandal.  Jerry Brown was elected Governor of California in November, the youngest California Governor in 111 years.




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