Occidental Hosts First Spring Arts, Music & Theater Festival

Academy Award-winning filmmakers, a MacArthur "genius award" fellow, and a Caltech physicist are just a few of the artists and visionaries featured at Occidental College's first-ever Spring Arts Festival, April 21-25. 


The festival will showcase student and professional films, theater and dance performances, and intimate chamber music, among other events.

An all-day "Wonder Cabinet," curated by writer and intellectual impresario Lawrence Weschler, Remsen Bird Artist in Residence, will feature film shorts, talks on spatial reality and science, an appearance by one of the world's greatest sleight-of-hand artists, and even a folk-punk rock-out. Occidental student and faculty artists and researchers will round out the festival with lectures on art history and film and media studies; readings from the College's student literary magazine, Feast; and dance, film, music, and theater performances.

For more information, and to keep up to date with the festival's changing lineup, visit: oxyspringartsfestival.tumblr.com.

The Spring Arts Festival originated with Occidental President Jonathan Veitch's call for the College to better reflect Los Angeles' vibrant cultural environment.

"Los Angeles is a city of artistic ferment, and Occidental should and will contribute to that ferment by engaging its extraordinary writers, dancers, choreographers, painters, sculptors, composers, actors and directors," Veitch said in his October 2009 inaugural address.

Occidental's Spring Arts Festival models the kind of collaborative and interdisciplinary work by the College's theater, art history and the visual arts, music, and English and comparative literary studies departments, notes Irene Girton, chair of Occidental's music department and one of the festival's organizers.

"We have worked closely together for months to present this panoply of creative work," she adds. "The Occidental community, as well as our northeast L.A. neighborhood, will find ample opportunity in the festival's five days to experience the arts in the fullness of their variety."

The festival, which will be held on campus, is open to the public, and most events are free. Festival funding has been provided by Occidental's Remsen Bird Fund.

Highlights of the April 21-25 Occidental College Springs Arts Festival include:

Arts & Science: Magician, actor, and writer Ricky Jay; "Jurassic technologist" and former MacArthur fellow David Wilson; Caltech physicist Ken Libbrecht; and Oscar-winning film editor Walter Murch (Apocalypse Now, The English Patient) are just a few of presenters in Lawrence Weschler's "Wonder Cabinet." Saturday, April 24, 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Thorne Hall. Free.

Theater: Shakespeare's Richard II, presented by the Occidental College theater department. Friday, April 23, 7:30 p.m. Keck Theater. Tickets: $5-$10.

Film: OXYFreewaves is an exhibit of socially oriented experimental and documentary films on social and political engagement by Occidental students and by international artists whose works are archived at LA Freewaves (www.freewaves.org), an organization supporting innovative, independent new media from around the world. Friday, April 23, 7:30-10 p.m. Academic Quad. Free.

Creative Writing and Art Exhibition: Occidental students will give readings of poetry and short fiction, and present an art exhibition curated for this year's issue of Feast, the College's literary magazine. Sunday, April 25, 5 p.m. Mullin Sculpture Studio. Free.

Music: Occidental faculty and music students will debut their compositions in musical theater, chamber, and contemporary music. Sunday, April 25, 3:30 and 7 p.m. Bird Studio. Free.

Dance: Faculty and students will present re-envisioned classics in jazz, tap, ballet, Afro-Caribbean, and square dance. Wednesday, April 21, 6:30 p.m. Dance Studio. Free.