Get Lost: DiRECT ARTS + Round & Round + The Exiles

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Got this sent in my way from DiRECT ARTS and wanted to post it on up.

I love the nuances of language - how there is a word for a smell in Chinese that has noreal equivalent in English (xiang is the smell of rice cooking, the smell of something frying) - how in Spanish, the word for "handcuff" is the same as the word for "wife." I believe the more ways you have of describing something, the more nuanced is your understanding of the world. Part of this belief is from growing up speaking Taiwanese, a language that was banned for 50 years. Language has always been something precious to me - and like all precious things, it's powerful and coveted.

Wipe out a people's language and you wipe out their power.

Take Two this month will feature a play and film about trying to retain a language and a culture that is lost. Julia Cho's sensitive short about a linguist's failure of communication is paired with a feature film about a group of Native Americans in Bunker Hill, a neighborhood in downtown Los Angeles that no longer exists. The wonderful Obie winner Ching Valdes Aran will be directing and we look forward to seeing the gorgeous cinematography of THE EXILES on Theatre 80's amazing 30 foot screen. It'll be an evocative double bill and we hope you'll experience it with us.

Theater, film, smart beautiful interesting people, what more can you ask for? Come join us at Theater 80 next Tuesday!


Take Two riffs on loss and longing in the pairing of two poetic pieces: Julia Cho's poignant ROUND & ROUND and THE EXILES, a film that itself was lost for nearly 50 years. Directed by Obie winner Ching Valdes Aran, ROUND AND ROUND by Julia Cho is a poignant short play in which a linguist runs out of words to save his crumbling marriage. Lauded by the Los Angeles Times for "crafting intricate, often poetic pieces that blur the lines between fact and fiction," Julia Cho's plays have been produced at South Coast Repertory, The Vineyard Theatre, The Public Theater, Long Wharf Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, New York Theatre Workshop and East West Players. Julia won the 2004 Weissburger Award for BFE and recently received the 2010 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for THE LANGUAGE ARCHIVE.

THE EXILES by Kent McKenzie, chronicles a brawling, boozy day in the life of several young Native Americans living in Bunker Hill, a downtown Los Angeles neighborhood that no longer exists. A labor of love shot over a 3-year period by Kent McKenzie and fellow students at USC, the film was hailed at the Venice Film Festival in 1961 but tragically did not find commercial distribution. It remained unseen by the general public for nearly 50 years, forgotten except for fans like Thom Anderson who heaped praises on the film in his documentary LOS ANGELES PLAYS ITSELF.

Restored by Milestone Pictures, the film was selected for the 2008 Berlin Film Festival and played at IFC last year. Gorgeously shot with a happening early '60s soundtrack, THE EXILES is a remarkable record of a vanished community - gritty, realistic and ahead of its time.

"A beautifully photographed slice of down-and-almost-out life, a near-heavenly vision of a near-hell... situated at the juncture of nonfiction and fiction..." --Manohla Dargis, NY Times

"Mackenzie's sparkling, moody black-and-white images of what might be called the Native American Diaspora... depict a classic American story of aspiration and tragedy. It is beautiful and devastating." -Armond White, NY Press

THEATER 80 80 St. Marks Place(at 1st Avenue) 6:00 - Social (half) Hour 6:30 - The Short 7:00 - The Feature $8 tickets - cash only at the door

Sherman Alexie