If you were to think of the perfect Los Angeles art experience, what would it be? You might jump to a gallery show or even think that a film would encompass what the city is. But is that really it? You would think since the city is so big and full of so many different ecosystems that the most representative LA art experience would in fact be a mashing of every artistic discipline possible.
That’s what THE SERIES attempts to do. The performance based events are curated by local performer Nicole Disson who brings in a mixture of music and dance and spoken word and more into one space, for one night. It is an incredible local happening and, to kick off the sprawling dance and performance festival LAX, THE SERIES is kicking things off tonight. To get an idea of what to expect and how this collaborative art experience came to be, we had a chat with Nicole about THE SERIES.
THE SERIES is known for bringing inter-disciplinary art experiences to cool venues in Los Angeles—and you’ve been doing that for years. Where did the idea originate? Is it a response to all the talent in the city?
Yes, THE SERIES is definitely a response to my friends and how many talented people I meet constantly in L.A. who are making, doing, creating, sharing their art. I am inspired by how often people are willing and eager to collaborate with each other in this city and THE SERIES has been an amazing way for me to celebrate creative friendships and new work being created by those I love and others who I am enjoying getting to know.
A big part of THE SERIES is blurring the line between audience and performer. Where did that idea originate from? Do you have any advice for a newcomer to THE SERIES?
Initially THE SERIES stemmed from my own desire to perform. My background is in theatre and as a newcomer to L.A., I wanted to act, sing and dance with my friends while gathering together a fun audience to participate in the performance as well. I’ve always been very inspired by genre-bending theater and contemporary dance so the thought of using a hotel rooftop or an elevator or a pool to stage a dance piece or a scene or a musical performance really excited me.
I like that THE SERIES attracts people in L.A. who may not already be accustomed to going to the theater to see a play or dancers perform, but would be inclined to go to an event at a bar or club with a DJ. Hopefully the evening gives them a bit more to walk away with and inspires them to create something as well.
Advice for newcomers: Don’t remain in one spot the whole time. Move around! Get to know people beside you. The show has already begun and is still going!
Last week THE SERIES took to The Ace and incorporated everyone from LA Dance Project to IO Echo to Mandy Kahn to Diva to Dublab. What are the themes or similarities you see in such a wide variety of creatives?
It’s as simple as their eagerness to say yes and share an opportunity to collaborate, as well as their passion and dedication to their art.
Los Angeles Exchange (LAX) starts tonight—and THE SERIES is going to be starting the festival with a launch party performance. Are there any items of note for that event? Any crossovers between last week’s happening and the LAX happening?
This one is personally exciting for me because in addition to curating the participating artists, I am directing the entire evening, which is a whole other creative challenge in itself! We have a strong roster of musicians, dancers and visual and art installation artists this go around.
AXIOM is the featured dance company this year with multiple performances throughout the evening co-directed and choreographed by Denna Thomsen & Zak Ryan Schlegel, including the premiere of a new piece they’ve been working on! Henry Wolfe will be offering a teaser from his new album Asilomar in lead up to his release performance event the following evening at The Lilian Theater, a production that I produced with Henry with a stellar team of creatives (its free, go!).
Ellen Reid, a rad composer and sound artist will be staging an excerpt from her new opera Odysseus, that premiered by the LA Based wild Up Ensemble. Musical genius Oliver “Oliwa” Newell will be performing a sound installation in collaboration with video artist Keith Skretch, which you really just have to experience in person. Alex Lilly, one of my favorite songstresses about town will be performing some new tracks with her band, Nathan Thelen’s band, Drug Cabin, will be debuting songs from their brand new album Yard Work and electronic duo Royal Auditorium, will be debuting a selection from their yet to be released EP.
I will be performing some theatrical musings alongside actor Michael Dunn with text by the lovely Mandy Kahn and am super excited to be featuring puppeteer Susan Simpson’s performance: Augustine Wilson, in addition to installations by some of my favorites: poet Jacqueline Suskin in lead up to the launch of her new book Go Ahead and Like It (at Dilettante on 9/18) and multi-talented artist Drew Denny.
Do you have any upcoming personal projects that we should be on the lookout for?
Fruits De Mer, a short film I produced by director Hala Matar that filmed at Chateau Marmont, will premiere this Thursday 9/11 on NOWNESS. Hala and I are currently in pre-production for another film that we are shooting this fall. I am also working with L.A. Dance Project to help produce their fall performances at The Theater at Ace Hotel from October 24th through October 26th and hosting an opening night event at the hotel.