Theater | Music | Exhibits | Lectures | Dance
August - November 1998

The Great Magoo by Gene Fowler and Ben Hecht
This simple and slightly uncouth saga is the work of Messrs. Ben Hecht, of Front Page fame, and Gene Fowler, the noted writer and poet. In the authors’ own words: “Despite the multitude of eccentric comedians, whiskey tenors, trained animals, dancing tootsies, stooges and ragtime bands, it was composed in the vein of the classics... a drama full of passion and birdcalls -- something like Romeo and Juliet.” (213-667-0417)
Sept. 18-Nov. 1, 24th Street Theatre, $15, $9 for seniors.

Cloud Nine by Caryl Churchill
Directed by Lora Zane, Cloud Nine is a surreal and entertaining look at sexual repression and gender role conditioning. It is also an imaginative challenge: characters not only continuously change their sexual identities and alliances but also change time zones, from Victorian-era colonial Africa to contemporary Britain. (213-740-7111)
Oct. 15-18, Scene Dock Theatre, $5.

Alexander Ostrovsky’s Too Clever by Half
Nineteenth-century Russian dramatist Alexander Ostrovsky penned 47 original plays (one of which lost him his civil service post) and is credited with almost single-handedly creating his country’s national repertoire. Ostrovsky’s Too Clever by Half, also known as The Diary of a Scoundrel, concerns a titled but penniless young man who takes advantage of the Moscow nouveau riche to gain power, prestige and money. Directed by Alicia Grosso, this production is from the translation by Rodney Ackland. (213-740-7111)
Oct. 22-25, Bing Theater, $5.

Female Transport by Steve Gooch
Six rowdy women prisoners struggle to stay alive on a “female transport” prison ship bound for Australia in this raucous contemporary British play of survival that blends earthy humor with pointed social commentary. Paul Backer directs. (213-740-7111)
Nov. 5-8, Scene Dock Theatre, $5.

James Baldwin’s Blues for Mister Charlie
Perhaps best-known for his first novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain, and for his ground-breaking collection of essays, Notes of a Native Son, James Baldwin wrote plays with equal eloquence. A devastating examination of race in America, Blues for Mister Charlie -- “Mister Charlie” being a black term for a white man -- is loosely based on the appalling murder of Emmett Till in 1955. (213-740-7111)
Nov. 12-15, Bing Theater, $5.

Wedding Band by Alice Childress
Summer 1918, a city by the sea somewhere in South Carolina. This beautiful love/hate story in “black and white” reminds us again that even social constrictions and laws cannot command the human heart. (213-667-0417)
Nov. 14-Dec. 20, 24th Street Theatre, $15, $9 for seniors.

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Olivier Chassain
Classical guitar. (213-740-7111)
Sept. 23, 8 p.m., Arnold Schoenberg Institute Auditorium, $7.

USC Symphonic Winds
• “Experiments in Adult and Contem-porary Music” is a concert of Paul Hart’s Circus Rings, Michael Daugherty’s Niagra Falls, Takayoshi Yoshioka’s Rhapsody and a Richard Smith/Douglas Lowry collaboration, After Having Faced the Elements. Douglas Lowry, conductor, with Richard Smith on guitar. (213-740-6935)
Sept. 30, 8 p.m., Bovard Auditorium, free.

• Douglas Lowry conducts “Some Serious Dances and Processions,” with pianists Kevin Fitz-Gerald and Bernadine Blaha. Works include Percy Grainger’s “Scotch Strathspey and Reel,” Kurt Weill’s “Tangos From A Little Threepenny Music,” Evan Chambers’ “Polka Nation,” Richard Wag-ner’s “Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral,” and John Adams’ “Grand Pianola Music.” (213-740-6935)
Nov. 18, 8 p.m., Bovard Auditorium, free.

USC Symphony
• Music director Jung-Ho Pak and pianist Norman Krieger in a concert of Franz Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Jose Pablo Moncayo’s Sinfonietta and Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5. (213-740-7111)
Oct. 2, 8 p.m., Bovard Auditorium, $10

• Sergiu Comissiona, principal guest conductor, and violinist Shan Jiang. Truccorchestra by Erica Muhl, Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1, and the Third Symphony of Johannes Brahms. (213-740-7111)
Oct. 23, 8 p.m., Bovard Auditorium $10.

• Jung-Ho Pak, music director. John Corigliano’s To Music, Béla Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra and the winning piece of the USC Composition Contest. (213-740-7111)
Nov. 20, 8 p.m., Bovard Auditorium, $10.

USC Contemporary Music Ensemble
Donald Crockett conducts a program of Frederick Lesemann’s Alleluia... in domo per secula, Stephen Hartke’s Wulfstan at the Millennium and John Harbison’s Samuel Chapter. Soprano Rebecca Sherburn is the soloist. (213-740-7111)
Oct. 13, 8 p.m., United University Church, $7.

USC Early Music Ensemble
James Tyler directs a concert of music from the Renaissance and Baroque eras for solo voices, lutes, strings and woodwinds. (213-740-7111)
Oct. 17, 7:30 p.m., St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 1231 East Chapman Avenue, Fullerton, $7.

USC Wind Ensemble
Yehuda Gilad is the director of “Wind Chamber Music Masterpieces,” a concert comprising Mozart’s Serenade in E-flat, Richard Strauss’ Serenade, Op. 7 and the Petite Symphony of Charles Gounod. (213-740-6935)
Oct. 21, 8 p.m., United University Church, free.

USC Percussion Ensemble
Erik Forrester, director. World premiere of Strike Zone by Frederick Lesemann and the premiere of a new work by Michael Abels. Both pieces were written for the USC Percussion Ensemble, the latter with a grant from Meet the Composer. (213-740-6935)
Nov. 2, 8 p.m., Bovard Auditorium, free.

USC Student Composers Recital
Chamber music written by USC student composers. (213-740-6935)
Nov. 5, 8 p.m., Newman Recital Hall, free.

USC Chamber, Concert and Oriana Choirs
William Dehning and David Wilson
conduct the “Fall Festival of Choirs.” (213-740-7111)
Nov. 15, 4 p.m., St. Francis Episcopal Church, Palos Verdes Estates, $10.

USC Opera
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s ever-popular The Marriage of Figaro (in English), with music director Timothy Lindberg and director David Pfeiffer. (213-740-7111)
Nov. 20-22, Bing Theater, $10.

USC Studio Guitar Faculty Recital
Richard Smith, Joe Diorio, Frank Potenza, Pat Kelley, Steve Trovato, David Oakes and Tom Osuna on guitars. (213-740-7111)
Nov. 22, 4 p.m., Newman Recital Hall, $7.

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Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble
As artistic director of the Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble since its inception, Sylvia Waters -- a graduate of the Juilliard School, where she studied with Anthony Tudor and Martha Graham -- has been responsible for the growth and expansion of this dynamic group, with a reputation for energy and cutting-edge choreography. (213-740-7111)
Nov. 10, 7 p.m., Bovard Auditorium, $12.

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USC Hillel Gallery
Jerry Novorr’s “Variations on the Magen David” -- an exhibit of images in paint, ink, bronze and paper of the symbol also known as the “Star of David” or the “Shield of David.” An opening reception is scheduled for Sept. 13. Novorr is also conducting a class on paper-cutting. (213-747-9135)
Aug. 19 through Oct. 25, Hillel Jewish Center, 3300 S. Hoover Blvd., free.

Doheny Memorial Library Treasure Room
Sponsored by the Boeckmann Center for Iberian and Latin American Studies and curated by the Boeckmann Center’s Barbara Robinson, “1898: A Shared Chapter for the U.S., Spain, Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines” is an exhibit focusing on the cultural ties forged during the Spanish-American War. On display are photos and documents of Californians who participated in the war, publications from 1898, and sheet music of the period. (213-740-2543)
Sept. 16 through Oct. 31, free.

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Youth Theater Symposium
The Southern California Festival of Children, in conjunction with USC’s School of Theatre and the 24th Street Theatre, presents a citywide gathering of educators, scholars, artists, producers and social scientists, “International Youth Theatre: Exploring New Horizons.” The symposium features theater performance and panel discussions on ways in which theater can be utilized in the classroom and the community. (818-753-8040)
Sept. 26, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Bing Theater, free with a suggested donation of $15.

George Stephanopoulos
Currently a visiting professor at Columbia University and a contributor to ABC News, George Stephanopoulos became a household name during the 1992 Clinton/Gore campaign when he ran the “war room” with political strategist James Carville. (213-740-7111)
Oct. 13, 7 p.m., Bovard Auditorium, $12.

Edward Albee
Edward Albee, three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, comes to USC for a discussion of theatrical principles and his work. A good play is defined by Albee as one “with something to say and the ability to say it.” And he believes that “a play should bring its audience some special awareness of the times, alter and shape that awareness in some significant manner.” An Albee lecture has the same mission. (213-740-7111)
Nov. 3, 7 p.m., Bing Theater, $12.

Unita Blackwell
When she became the mayor of Mayersville, Mississippi in 1976, Unita Blackwell was the first black woman to ever hold that position in the state; and in the course of her tenure, she managed to bring running water, paved roads and a sewage system to the city. This 1992 MacArthur Fellow -- who has seen crosses burned on her front lawn and has been thrown into jail for organizing voters -- comes to USC for a talk about her remarkable life and work. (213-740-7111)
Nov. 17, 7 p.m., Bovard Auditorium, $12.


 Robert Farber, Adding Parchment

I, as among the dead, waiting till death do come, have put into writing truthfully what I have heard and verified. And that the writing not perish with the scribe, I add parchment to continue it, if by chance anyone be left in the future, and any child of Adam may escape this pestilence and continue the work thus commenced.*

*Written in another hand, the chronicle continued, “Here it seems the author died.”

Robert Farber’s Western Blot #14. “Western Blot” refers, literally, to one of the antibody tests used to diagnose HIV infection. But it also suggests, Farber says, “Western civilization being blotted out.”

When Robert Farber (1948-95) first encountered these words by John Clyn of Kilkenny -- a monk writing in Ireland, 1349 AD, the year after bubonic plague struck in Florence -- he found them powerful enough to use in his Western Blot #6. But, as he told Hilliard Goldfarb of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, “[his] relationship to it was as a viewer.” His T-cell count was still high. He was aware he was HIV-positive, but didn’t yet believe he had AIDS.
As the Western Blot series developed and Farber’s immunity fell, his response changed to: “Oh, I know that, oh yes. That happens. Oh yes, that’s me.” And when Clyn’s quote reoccurs in Western Blot #19, the postscript panel is set next to a graph of Farber’s declining T-cell count, over which he has placed his own hand print; the adjacent dark field then yields to a lighter one, Farber’s version of adding parchment to continue the story and, like Clyn 600 years earlier, bearing witness to a catastrophic disease.
The Western Blot series, where Farber juxtaposes the Medieval experience of the Black Death with that of AIDS today, along with other paintings and mixed media constructions can be seen at Fisher Gallery in “Someday: Then and Now and Tomorrow, Robert Farber: A Retrospective,” organized by the Robert D. Farber Foundation at the artist’s bequest. A satellite exhibit of Farber silk-screens opens Sept. 22 at the Clinical Sciences Center on the Health Sciences Campus. On Oct. 15, from 6 to 8 p.m., Wake Up Call! presents a screening of Blue, a film by Derek Jarman, and an open discussion led by Laurence Driscoll in “Parallel Visions: Jarman and Farber.” (213-740-4561)

Sept. 9 through Dec. 12, Fisher Gallery, free.

"Western Blot" photograph by Jean Vong

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