SKIRBALL CENTER BECOMES A THEATER SET FOR EXODUS STEPS

This Passover season, the Skirball Cultural Center transforms its campus into a theater set for “Exodus Steps,” an installation-based performance piece by internationally acclaimed British theater company, Stan’s Cafe (pronounced “caff”). The specially commissioned work dissolves traditional boundaries by eschewing professional actors and inviting the audience to perform the show.

Inspired by teach-yourself-to-dance floor mats, it will use brightly colored vinyl footprints, handprints, dialogue bubbles, and artwork to guide visitors on the Israelites’ journey from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the Promised Land. Admission to Exodus Steps is free.

“’Exodus Steps’ completely rethinks how the timeless tale of the Exodus is told,” says Jordan Peimer, Skirball Vice President and Director of Programs. “Instead of reading the story around the Seder table, visitors re-enact the Exodus, moving from place to place as the story unfolds and interacting with fellow participants. It’ll be a fun, meaningful way to mark the holiday of Passover and celebrate its universal message of rising up against injustice in the pursuit of liberty.”

“Exodus Steps” is self-guided and designed to be performed by friends, families, and couples. Visitors of all ages discover the story by following the vinyl footsteps and decoding cues in the colorful trail of graphics, which will portray lambs, frogs, locusts, the Red Sea, a burning bush, and many other objects central to the story.

The trail will lead to different sites across the Skirball, including garden walkways and terraces and the Skirball’s core exhibition, “Visions and Values: Jewish Life from Antiquity to America,” which features a nearly life-sized replica of Lady Liberty’s torch.

Stan’s Cafe was last in Los Angeles in 2007, when the troupe presented the popular rice-based performance installation “Of All the People in All the World.” “Exodus Steps” represents the U.S. debut of Stan’s Cafe’s critically hailed Step Series, which has been performed in nearly twenty settings. Each rendition of the Step Series is unique to its location and tells a new story.

The Stan’s Cafe team, led by James Yarker, Artistic Director, was in residence at the Skirball from February 20 through February 26 to lay out and fine-tune the Exodus trail.

“Exodus Steps” is made possible in part by support from an anonymous gift
and an award from the national endowment of the arts.

The Skirball Cultural Center is dedicated to exploring the connections between 4,000 years of Jewish heritage and the vitality of American democratic ideals. It welcomes and seeks to inspire people of every ethnic and cultural identity. Guided by our respective memories and experiences, together we aspire to build a society in which all of us can feel at home. The Skirball Cultural Center achieves its mission through educational programs that explore literary, visual, and performing arts from around the world; through the display and interpretation of its permanent collections and changing exhibitions; through an interactive family destination inspired by the Noah’s Ark story; and through outreach to the community.

The Skirball Cultural Center is located at 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. FREE on-site parking. The Skirball is also accessible by Metro Rapid Bus 761. Museum hours: Tuesday–Friday 12:00–5:00 p.m.; Saturday–Sunday 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.; closed Mondays and holidays. Admission to Exodus Steps is FREE. Admission to other Skirball exhibitions: $10 General; $7 Seniors, Full-Time Students, and Children over 12; $5 Children 2–12. Exhibitions are always free to Skirball Members and Children under 2. Exhibitions are free to all visitors on Thursdays. For general information, the public may call (310) 440-4500 or visit www.skirball.org. The Skirball is also home to Zeidler’s Café, which serves innovative California cuisine in an elegant setting, and Audrey’s Museum Store, which sells books, contemporary art, music, jewelry, and more.

GANGSTA RAP VS. HIPHOP: THEIR IMMENSE AND LASTING IMPACT

Professor Emeritus in the Department of Sociology and Social Services at California State University, East Bay, Benjamin P. Bowser has done extensive research on the topic of hip hop and gangsta rap’s influence in American culture and the effects, positive and negative, that will endure.

His most recent publications are: “Gangster Rap and Its Social Cost: Exploiting Hip Hop and Using Racial Stereotypes to Entertain America” (Amherst, N.Y: Cambria Press) and with Paul Lovejoy (eds.) “The Transatlantic Slave Trade and Slavery: New Directions in Teaching and Learning” (Trenton and London: Africa World Press).

Dr. Bowser will make his second visit to SMC for Black History Month today, Thursday, February 28. His first lecture received rave reviews from the students and staff who attended! 11:15 – 12:35, room HSS 165.

SUPREME COURT IS ANYTHING BUT SUPREME

L.A. Times story
WASHINGTON — The historic Voting Rights Act appeared to be in deep trouble
Wednesday after the after the Supreme Court’s conservative justices argued during a racially charged debate that targeting the South for special scrutiny was no longer fair.
The unusually tense discussion split along ideological lines. Justices
from the left and right took turns arguing the case — and arguing with
one another over whether racism and racial discrimination remain problems.
At one point, Justice Antonin Scalia referred to the law as a “perpet-uation of racial entitlement,” a phrase that irked Justice Sonia
Sotomayor, who voiced strong objection earlier this week to a Texas prosecutor’s focus on defendants’ race. After Scalia spoke, she
repeatedly pressed a lawyer for Alabama’s Shelby County to say
whether “the right to vote is a racial entitlement.” He steered
around the question.
When the Obama administration’s top courtroom lawyer rose to defend
the law, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. asked whether the admin-istration thought “citizens in the South are more racist than citizens
in the North.”
No, U.S. Solicitor Gen. Donald Verrilli Jr. said, but there is reason
to believe that discrimination in voting remains more of a problem
across the South.
The case concerns the 1965 law’s Section 5, which requires nine states, mostly in the South, to submit changes in voting rules or election laws
to federal officials for”pre-clearance” before they can take effect. In 2006, Congress renewed this requirement for 25 more years.
Shelby County sued to challenge the law, arguing that it is outdated
and unfairly singles out Southern states based on their history of discrimination. If the high court were to strike down this part of the
law, it would still be illegal for cities or states to change their
voting rules or election districts so as to discriminate against
African Americans or Latinos. Congress could still revise the law,
and the government or civil rights lawyers still could file lawsuits
to contest such changes. This often takes much time and money, however.
Civil rights advocates say the Voting Rights Act remains a powerful
tool for stopping changes in election rules that hurt minorities and prevent them from voting. They include changes as simple as switching
the location of a polling place weeks before an election.
“There are thousands and thousands of these under-the-radar-screen
changes,” Verrilli told the court. The current law serves as a
“deterrent” to this “kind of mischief,” he said, but a lawsuit could
come too late to fix the problem.
The conservatives did not sound convinced. When Verrilli noted that the Senate had voted unanimously in 2006 to extend the law and its special oversight for much of the South, Scalia said he was not impressed.
“Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult
to get out of them through the normal political processes,” he said.
“This is not the kind of question you can leave to Congress.”
Justice Elena Kagan objected, noting that the Senate extended the
law by a 98-0 vote.
“That sounds like a good argument to me, Justice Scalia,” she said.
It means “every senator from a covered state” in the South said the
law was still needed.The four liberals expressed surprise that the challenge to the law had come from Alabama. “Under any formula that Congress could devise, it would capture Alabama,”
Kagan said, noting the state’s prominent history of discrimination.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg cited testimony that Alabama, Mississippi
and Louisiana had the “worst records” for voting discrimination.
Roberts countered that the South had done a good job of registering
black voters.
“Do you know which state has the worst ratio of white voter turnout to African American turnout?” he asked Verrilli. “Massachusetts,” Roberts
said in answer to his own question. “Do you know what has the best,
where African American turnout actually exceeds white turnout?
Mississippi.”
Ginsburg conceded that registering black voters may not be a serious
problem today, but she said Congress had evidence that Southern municipalities still sometimes redraw election districts to screen out black candidates.

As usual, all eyes were on Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, whose vote is
likely to be decisive. He criticized Congress for not revising the
1960s-era formula for deciding which states received special oversight.
“If Congress is going to single out separate states,” he said, “it
should use criteria that are relevant” to current problems.
Verrilli responded that both the court and Congress had steadily
supported the law in the past.
“Well, the Marshall Plan [after World War II] was very good too,”
Kennedy replied. “But times change.”
Four years ago, Justice Clarence Thomas voted alone to strike down
the Voting Rights Act. Although he did not ask questions Wednesday,
he is certain to join with the other conservatives in the case of
Shelby County vs. Holder if they strike down Section 5.

DISPATCH: Since passage of the Voting Rights bill in 1965, which was
nearly 200 years late, African Americans, most of whose families have
been in this country far longer than most white Americans, have had
the right to vote, though they have often been challenged, assaulted or killed when they have tried to vote.
Now southern states want the federal government to stop monitoring
them, and, given the reactionary tilt of the Court majority, it may
agree.
If indeed, the court chooses to elevate states’ alleged rights over
voters’ actual rights, the offending justices should be immediately
removed from the court for violating the Constitution they have pledged
to uphold. These witless jurists have made foolish decisions before,
but to willfully deny an entire class of voters their “inalienable
right” to vote is vile, unconscionable and a kind of murder.

ROUTE 66: THE ALLURE OF THE ROAD

The destination of the legendary Route 66 is among Santa Monica ‘s claims to fame. Route 66 was America ‘s Main Street, the Mother Road, leading adventurers from Chicago to the West Coast. In 1926, it rolled into to Los Angeles. In 1936, it was extended to Santa Monica — but where exactly?

Dan Rice, past president of the California Route 66 Association, current National Vice President of the Route 66 Alliance, who has traveled the route 27 times, will present a virtual tour of the famed highway and reveal its true final location in Santa Monica. He will host the upcoming TV series, “Road Scholar.”

Made obsolete by the interstate highway system in the 1960s, Route 66 has enjoyed a nostalgic resurgence, hosting numerous road-tripping visitors every year. Rice has a shop, “66-to-Cali,” on the Santa Monica Pier.

Rice will reveal Route 66’s secret on Sunday, March 3, at 1:30 p.m. in the Santa Monica Main Library, Multi-Purpose Room. The lecture is free but reservations are advised. Register online at www.smconservancy.org/route66, by sending email to rsvp@smconservancy.org or by leaving a message at (310) 496-3146. Refreshments will be served.

Have you taken the Santa Monica Conservancy’s Downtown Walking Tour? It takes place every Saturday morning at 10 AM. Reserve a place with email to dwt@smconservancy.org, or just come check in a few minutes early at 1436 2nd Streer (the Hostel, next to the historic Rapp Saloon). Have a group of friends or family visiting? We’re happy to schedule a private group tour with at least four weeks’ notice.

Are you a current member of the Conservancy? Your annual membership contributions support its invaluable work to preserve the architectural and
cultural heritage of our city. You will receive our informative quarterly
newsletter and discounts on tours and events – as well as complimentary
admission to our annual Holiday Party.

Questions? Call 310-496-3146 or email info@smconservancy.org.

RON RIZK’S SECOND SOLO EXHIBITION OPENS SAT.

Lora Schlesinger is pleased to announce Ron Rizk’s second solo exhibition with the gallery. New Paintings features thirteen masterfully rendered oil paintings by the artist. The exhibition opens with the artist’s reception on Saturday, March 2 from 5-7 pm and is on view through April 13, 2013.

Rizk’s new paintings continue a long-time consideration of man-made small objects, their uses, and their intimate history both actual and fictional or invented. Strange tools that have become obsolete in a mechanized age, worn and forgotten toys and fragments of torn photographs and paper are all reborn on his panel. Rizk reminds the viewer of the history of each object with great attention paid to their surfaces. Juxtaposing his perfectionism with imperfect objects. Each painting reveals a glimpse into the imaginary world Rizk has created for each object and its environment.

Rizk was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He received a diploma from
the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Art, his BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art and his MFA form the University of Illinois, Champagne-Urbana. He is a Professor of Fine Arts in Painting and Drawing
at the University of Southern California Roski School of Fine Arts.He
has exhibited nationally since the late 1960’s in galleries across the United States and with museums including the Denver Art Museum, CO; Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA; Grand Rapids Museum of Art, MI; Laguna Beach Museum of Art, CA; Long Beach Art Museum, CA; Oakland Museum, CA.

The East Gallery presents Patsy Krebs’ Parable of the Oxherder, featuring new aquatint etchings by the artist. Parable of the Oxherder is based on the Zen parable the Ten Oxherding Songs. Traditionally the koan-like narrative describes in poem and/or image the drama of the Oxherder and
Ox as they lose and find one another, exchange ascendency, achieve equilibrium and finally transcend the world of phenomena altogether. Envisioned here in abstract form, the Songs are understood as various conditions of being, or interior situations, along the Way; the Dao.
The painting “Untitled (Pale gold/maroon)” is a continuation of a body
of work Krebs began in 2008. The image is made up of very thin washes
of acrylic, feathering out from a central rectangle, with undertones
and overtones creating a subtle complex interior pattern echoing the
notion of a painting as a window into an unknown place.

Krebs’ work is featured in the collections of the Achenbach Foundation
at the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, CA; Denver Art Museum, CO; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; Norton Museum, West Palm Beach, FL;
San Jose Museum of Art, CA; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, CA. She has been featured in publications and new-papers such as Art in America, ARTnews, San Francisco Chronicle and Los Angeles Times. Krebs has received numerous awards including the Pollack-Krasner Foundation Artist’s Grant and The National Endowment for the Arts Grant. She currently teaches at Dominican University of California.

The shows open with the artist’s reception on Saturday, March 2 from 5 – 7 pm. The gallery is located in the Bergamot Station Art Center, 2525 Michigan Avenue, T3, Santa Monica. For additional information please call (310) 828-1133, view our website at www.loraschlesinger.com, or e-mail: gallery@loraschlesinger.com.
Gallery hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10 -5:30 pm