20 Years of Highways Performance Space
Recently described by the Los Angeles Times "a hub of experimental theater, dance, solo drama and other multimedia performance," Highways Performance Space turned 20.
When it comes to contemporary, socially involved art forms there’s probably no better place to see them than Highways in LA’s surroundings. Founded by writer Linda Frye Burnham and performance artist Tim Miller in 1989, Highways has been a leading force in offering a diverse cultural perspective to Southern California residents. Since 1992 through the rest of 90’ T. Miller guided the organization by himself through many structural changes until in 2000 he decided to focus once again on his performing works. Danielle Brazell stepped up to take over as Artistic Director until December of 2003.
Leo Garcia, an NEA award-winning playwright, actor, filmmaker, producer, teacher, and activist has served as Highways' Artistic Director ever since. His plays have won awards from The National Endowment for the Arts, Theatre Communications Group, New York Foundation for the Arts, Mark Taper Forum, South Coast Repertory, The National Hispanic Media Coalition, and MCA/Universal. Garcia's works have been presented by numerous nationally-established companies. Garcia has also been a fixture on the Los Angeles alternative performing arts scene for many years, one of a handful of artists who represent a fully developed, professional approach to multidisciplinary work. His show of solo works, "My Alien Abduction," was an LA Weekly Performance Pick of the Week. Between 1995 and 2002, he served as an artist, teacher, director and producer for numerous productions and classes at Highways; Resident Playwright with the Mark Taper Forum's Latino Theatre Initiative; and Project Artistic Director and Playwright of the community-based San Diego Playwrights Project. Garcia has been recognized by Out Magazine as one of the OUT 100 of 2005, a list of the year's most interesting, influential, and newsworthy LGBT people. He is the recipient of the Master of Fine Arts degree from the Asolo Conservatory.
Highways’ mission of providing experience of socio-cultural importance is implemented through four programs the facility maintain: the performance space, workshop/lab program (serves a diverse range of student/participants, from performance artists, choreographers, directors, writers and composers both experienced and novice, as well as communities and constituents in crisis) and two galleries that co-partner with Los Angeles area curators to present thought provoking work and offer a mentorship program designed to give emerging artists and curators the opportunity to produce their own exhibition in Highways Gallery . Annually, they co-present approximately 250 performances by solo dramatic artists, small theater groups, dance companies and spoken word artists; curate and exhibit approximately 12 contemporary visual art exhibits per year with work that explores the boundaries between performing and visual art forms; commission and premiere new work by outstanding performing artists; organize special events, curate festivals, offer residency and educational programs that engage community members in the arts while providing access to professionally-directed instruction.
In September 2009, Highways will stage their 5th Annual Latino New Works Festival, a festival that enables the region’s emerging Latino artists to reach their target audience. The festival is a weeklong celebration of the full spectrum of Latino performance and spoken word artists. Simultaneously, a visual art exhibit of local of a local Latino artist will be on display in Highways Gallery.
In April 2010 Highways will present its 6th Annual Poetry Festival building upon the success of five previous festivals, beginning with a community-targeted workshop by festival artists and producers. A series of four performances at Highways, will embrace local and national poets, slam champions, editors, actors, authors, teachers and cultural workers from the queer, black, Asian, literary, Latino, and hip-hop communities.
Just in few weeks (September 4&5) come to Highways to witness the new work of LA-based choreographer and performance artist Gregory Barnett, Die Muthafuckah Die!!! featuring an army of dancers, actors, strippers, and sex workers who exist in a world where intimacy and pain are inextricably linked, the characters surviving in purgatory with hopes of eventual fulfillment. Presentation is hoped to be one the key to understanding what Highways is all about. More information on Highways’ offerings in 2009-10 season you may get on their website http://www.highwaysperformance.org. Also, you may expect fresh and juicy reviews and reports on what’s going on @ Highways on their blog http://highwaysperformance.blogspot.com.