Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Beach House welcomes incoming Writer in Residence, Laurie Horowitz!

Welcome Laurie Horowitz, the sixth Annenberg Community Beach House Writer-in-Residence!

She will be working from an office in the Marion Davies Guest House from January 13 to February 17, 2015. The Beach House will present two literary events hosted by Horowitz as part of the Beach=Culture series, and she will lead an ongoing free writing tutorial class throughout the six weeks. These sessions will be open to six participants who would like assistance in moving a piece of writing forward. The content of the meetings will be based on the needs of each writer, and participants will meet with her individually and as a group during her office hours. If interested please email for information.

All visitors can also take advantage of her expertise during her open office hours, on Saturdays and Mondays from 11am-1pm. The public is welcome to ask questions about her work, her experience of the Residency, or to ask for literary advice (inquire at Guest Services for directions.) She will also be chronicling her progress on the Beach House Resident blog. For more information, call Guest Services at 310-458-4904 or visit the Beach House website.

Laurie Horowitz is a Santa Monica writer who began her career as a lawyer in Boston, where she worked at Horowitz & Horowitz with her father in the town where she grew up. After practicing divorce law for five years, she ran away from home, traveling west like so many hopefuls before her. Before long, she became an assistant in the book department of Creative Artists Agency (CAA), where she remained for eleven years, selling creative properties to the film industry. Eventually the desire to devote her time to writing eventually won out. She had her first short story published in 1990 in Playgirl Magazine, and her next story, Alice’s Geometry, was published by New York City College's Fiction magazine (Vol.18, #1). 

When Laurie left CAA, she went to work on a novel with the intention of using Jane Austen’s Persuasion to teach her about structuring a book. The result of that exercise was The Family Fortune, published by William Morrow, which Meg Ryan optioned for a film. After the book, she wrote a movie for Lifetime called Abducted. She also provides consulting and editorial services in connection with literary and film projects. Laurie officiates at the Monday night Beyond Baroque fiction workshop in Venice, a volunteer opportunity that has enriched her life tenfold and taught her how much she enjoys teaching and offering back to the community. She believes that good writing is good writing in any genre and, though her last book was a comedy of manners, she now working on a mystery novel tentatively titled Hemlock Gorge. She hopes it, too, will have a comedic tone, and will be spending her tenure as ACBH 2015 Writer-in-Residence to complete it.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Friday, September 12, 2014

Like water for justice...

Tomorrow is the big day - sharing what we have been working on and continuing to learn -but outside of the small collective of CONTRA-TIEMPO artists I've used for this specific residency - and bring in community members, people who are interested in being in conversation with in the work.... I don't think most folks coming know quite what they are in for -but I am putting it out there - that we have a willing group of people who are open to explore and therefore leave inspired and transformed! Sat 3-5 and Sun 5-7 -come to both! 

Today I had another day of exploring, thinking, creating, watching video - Jeremiah and I worked together on a solo that felt like it physicalized moving pain, hopelessness and being blocked in - transforming this into a space where we are 'here' and recognized as being... a space where we feel in control and alive and free... It is the experience of the Caliban character - the slave, the native, the betrayed -  in someway it is like existing in two spaces simultaneously - a space where you are fighting for your life constantly and a space where you are looking upon this fight in disbelief...  finding how to smooth the edges and find your own space... the owning of yourself and your experience... some beautiful and disturbing movement came out of it -I'm excited to share it with an audience. 

Last night in thinking about the passing of September 11th, I started remembering where I was that morning - in NYC - I actually saw the second tower be hit with what looked like from my vantage point on my roof in Brooklyn - a missile. It was a scary day and I am still affected each year that passes in remembering the feeling of not knowing where my husband was - thinking he was in the subway under the towers  - not being able to contact family and the fear of possible loss - the not knowing - and then that shift in the way I saw the world after those events. It then got me remembering Katrina -that happened a few years later right around the exact same time - late August into early Sept  - and the incredible aftermath and lack of action that devastated the trust of a nation - that again for me was a major moment of growing up and realizing that things weren't always as they seemed - I got the importance of seeking out the truth in order to fight for justice... I went back and forth btw sharing this video on my blog -but in creating a work about race and water - if feels like it isn't possible to not remember Katrina - and how important it is to remember it as it actually happened...  - although posted later - this video was taken almost exactly 9 years ago today.

I share this to create a context -that I am not claiming to solve any major national, societal or world issue through this piece or through my work - all I can do is hope to touch on something that moves someone -that sparks conversation - that makes it more realistic to push back - that gives space for alternate ways of thinking and questioning. All I hope to do is create art that is in conversation with the world around me - to participate in a discourse for a more just tomorrow... that's all I want really - and dance is my medium - it is what I love to do - it is how I think about the world - in movement quality - 

Here is another few 'work videos from the week' to give a little flavor of what you might see on Sat/Sun!

                                      Isis/Jeremiah - like water for justice 


Jeremiah - we need we need 



Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Trusting the flow...

Ahh! Today was such a pleasure - I've been in a vacuum - of my own mind, body and this vast space - grappling with these big questions:

What does it mean to make work about race? Who am I in this conversation? Where do I come from and why does it matter so much to me? What experience, privilege, oppression, opinions do I bring to the table? How is another murder of a young black man killing a piece of all of us? When does it become enough? What will it take to really 'break'?  Who are we as individuals in this ‘play’ and how do we use our character/our role to move this conversation to a new space? To a different space? Or is it about existing and being in this space - and no longer denying that this space begins?

I have been working with sabela - our sound designer - being in conversation with other folks about the work -but today I finally had the opportunity to put some of the ideas on bodies. Isis, Sarah and Jeremiah showed up at 10am and we worked straight until 3pm - moving, talking, sharing, feeling embodying struggle and fluidity - collapse and recovery - in this amazing space together. The time flew by - I could have kept working for hours! sabela sent me a track the night before that I took and connected to the movement idea I had - and it worked well - still feels very open and sparse but is moving in the right direction. I keep needing to remind myself that this is the beginning of a process and to be open. My personality is that I love to set/plan and solidify -but I am doing my best to enjoy this unknown -the exploration of it all... knowing that if I am open and accept this process - great things will continue to come. 


In thinking through how the participants on Saturday (3pm-5pm) and Sunday (5pm-7pm) will be working with us on this - I've decided it will be like a journey: we will start by the beach house and talk a bit about the piece and where we are in the process - then move them around the fountain/falling water wall where we will do a section of movement we've been working on, then into the splash pad and back to the chair installation. Then after the  'performing' element  - I will guide the participants through a participatory part - the audience will move with us - we will 'practice' then 'perform'  all as a group - then we will all move into the sand and sea room and hold a council - this council will be a space where participants can share around some of the themes/ideas we are grappling with- we will pose questions and people will share their own unique perspectives, stories and experiences. After the council if it feels appropriate (depending on the crowd we have - I know for our regular CONTRA-TIEMPO community this would be fine) we will all run to the ocean (possibly repeating some of the movement work we were doing) at the ocean for a final cleansing - completing and punctuating the experience. 

If you are planning and able to come:

- make sure you show up with comfortable clothes on 
- bring sun block/hat/sun glasses etc
- be prepared to be wet (you don't have to but you can be more free in your movement and participation if you are willing
- be ready to share yourselves, to learn something from someone else, to be fully involved in the work!  
- remember it is two hours - committing to the entire two hours will make a difference for us all. Think of it more as a workshop than a performance - there will be no passive audience members involved here! 

I will be working with Isis and Jeremiah on a duet this Wed 10-3pm so feel free if you want to stop by to check out the process - and then Friday I will continue working in the space.
Saturday we will also all be in the space at 12 noon. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

reflections from this oasis...

Here we are - a week and a half after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO - and since I started working here at the Beach House - the racial tension in our country has continued to escalate and rightly so - as the repeated and recorded police brutality seems to be spreading, and a disregard for and cracking down on people's right to assemble and protest has become common place - it feels in some ways surreal to find myself in this place surrounded by such beauty - open expansion of space and possibility - while the world around me feels like it is on fire. The Beach House feels like an oasis of space that I have been gifted to think about some pretty complex and difficult ideas - but this space is proving to be exactly what I need to get clarity before launching a year of creating, conversing and engaging those around me to think, dance, talk, move through all of what we and generations before us have carried and continue to pass on around race, color and privilege... 

I have spent some of this week so far moving, but a lot of the week has been spent in a space of reflection, thinking, writing, engaging in conversations with other artists - questioning... what does it mean to be making work right now about race? Who am I and what role can I play to help facilitate honest, open and compassionate conversations about race - as a Cuban American, as a woman, as a person of color that has in my life learned to slide in and out of 'passing as white' how can I acknowledge the privilege from where I come and use that as a way to impact and move this conversation forward - to change the narrative and bring new empowering narratives and counter narratives that will help to build a world of not just racial tolerance but better than that - a future where my own son won't have to fear for his life when walking down the street with his friends...  As the swell of 'ain't gunna take it no more' - 'no justice no peace' is palpable - I am becoming more excited to create and scared to create this work - which I imagine is a good thing. I always tell my students and dancers to run towards the fear - now I get to practice what I am preachin'.  As someone who grew up in a family (I am the child of two labor union activists) that taught me to never stand by and be complacent when I see or experience personally injustice - this piece has feels urgent but also extremely uncomfortable - good. That means I am moving in the right direction. 

This week we taught a Salsa class of over 50 people at the beach house and I am excited to have one of dancers come out and 'play' with me and explore some of these ideas via movement on Friday. If we were all able to live and be who we are in the dance - if we could take those principals of compassionate partnership, listening, pushing back, engaging, patience and persistence - into our everyday lives - I know we could build a more beautiful and just world... I know it. I feel it. 

No, no we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream. - Martin Luther King 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Let the 'flow' begin....on your mark, get set - GO!

I am excited to say this week I will officially begin working on site - This fall CONTRA-TIEMPO and I will launch a series of site specific community choreographic laboratories. Part performance, part engagement of community in art making & story sharing, these choreography laboratories will take place in four distinct bodies of water all over Los Angeles, starting at the Pacific, at Santa Monica's Annenberg Beach House. These labs will happen while we are continuing to develop a full evening length work for the concert stage that will debut late Fall 2015 and be ready to tour in the Spring of 2016.  

I am creating a framework inspired by the Tempest, challenging notions of race, gender & upheaval, and I am interested in Sycorax: the only female character of color, the indigenous witch, with a referenced origin of Africa. She is seen as monstrous, evil and vindictive and her maternal power undermines the dominating force of white male privilege. Much has been written about her character’s role that threatens to blur the boundaries of the emerging binaries of home/away, colonizer/colonized, white/black, & chaos/order. My own work and interest in existing and creating in the ‘in between’ has drawn me to her and her clear connection to Oya, the Afro-Cuban deity of the wind/storms. Oya, the most volatile and unruly of the female orishas, is feared among most. As I physically uncover multiple narratives connected to that of the Tempest I am constantly brought back to agua: waves of family betrayal, the relentless current of absent fathers, raining down of persecution based citizenship/color lines, drowning of exile & the Africanist past washed ashore. Creating in a public space where all are welcome, that was once a space where people of color were not allowed - unless serving - I am excited to connect this larger framework of race and agua to the local and specific history of this space... stay tuned as I start delving into imagining, creating and allowing this all to 'flow'...

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Welcome to Ana Maria Alvarez, Choreographer in Residence!

Ana Maria Alvarez has soft-started her project here at the Beach House. Titled "Agua Furioso," the new piece combines public inquiry within the structure of a dance performance, and deals with water’s connection to family, migration, scarcity and abundance. Free Community Choreographic Laboratories that liberally mix dance performance and public participation are offered as the culmination of her work here on Saturday September 13 from 3-4pm and Sunday September 14 from 5-6pm along with a free rueda salsa dance workshop at 6:30pm on August 19 and an open rehearsal from 10am-3pm on Friday September 12. Check back here weekly for updates! 

CONTRA-TIEMPO, a bold and multilingual Los Angeles based dance company, is dedicated to transforming the world through dance. Founded and directed by Ana Maria Alvarez in 2005, their unique form of Urban Latin Dance Theater brings to life voices that are not traditionally heard on the concert stage, while building community, facilitating dialogue, and moving audiences to imagine what is possible.