KPBS/Arts

FULL EPISODE

Young Musical Talent and Entrancing Artwork

Talented young singers and musicians perform the songs of Tim Rice. We take you behind-the-scenes of their stunning show. Plus, step inside an Infinity Mirror Room, where endless reflections of dots, colors and light seem to bend reality. And, a Shakespeare festival like no other. Theater students perform the Bard’s works on the shores of Lake Tahoe. And meet painter Scott Greene.

AIRED: April 10, 2020 | 0:26:46
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TRANSCRIPT

♪♪♪

BJ Robinson: In this edition of "KPBS Arts,"

Baltimore's young talent take on Tim Rice.

♪ Don't cry for me, Argentina ♪

BJ: Reflecting the infant.

Mika Yoshikate: She was able tofind the mirrors as a device to

activate her vision.

BJ: Investing in talent through Shakespeare.

Joe Atack: We mostly want toengage people with Shakespeare's

work in a way that's fun and interactive and memorable.

BJ: And holding a mirror to our society.

Scott Greene: You really see thecorrelation between poverty and

exploitation of the land.

BJ: It's all ahead on this edition of "KPBS Arts."

♪♪♪

BJ: Hi, I'm BJ Robinson, and this is "KPBS Arts,"

the show that explores art of all kinds.

Baltimore, Maryland's young andtalented take on some of the

most renowned and belovedsongs of famed Broadway musical

lyricist Tim Rice for a local concert and the culmination of

their training as part of Young Artists of America.

Let's watch.

♪♪♪

♪ Don't cry for me, Argentina

♪♪♪

Emily: I'm Emily Reed, I'mborn and raised from Baltimore,

Maryland, and I go to BaltimoreSchool for the Arts in the

acting department.

So, Young Artists of America is a training program,

and it's sort of spilt into two sides.

There's the vocal program, and then there's the, like,

orchestral program.

So, I'm a vocalist here, butbasically we put on these huge,

awesome productions.

♪♪♪

♪ Tell me what you thinkabout your friends at the top ♪

♪ Now, who do you think besides yourself ♪

♪ Is the pick of the crop

Emily: We have a bunch of singers and then a

huge orchestra.

It's awesome.

♪♪♪

They just added this new program, YA Junior,

which is for middle school students.

And so, they are a part of our productions,

and then there's the high school program.

♪ Jesus Christ, who are you ♪

♪ What have you sacrificed

Emily: "The Songs of Tim Rice,"it's a really wide range of

a lot of different styles of music, and that's the really

cool thing about this show is that it starts in this one

place from a lot of Tim Rice'ssongs when he was really young.

♪♪♪

♪ What I'd give to return to ♪

♪ The life that I knew lately

♪ Come with me and you'll see

♪ In a world of pure imagination ♪

♪ Somebody pull me up short, and put me through hell ♪

♪ And give me support for being alive ♪

Emily: Tim Rice has done "Evita."

Everyone knows "The Lion King,""Jesus Christ Superstar."

I mean, like it's basically just, like, all these, like,

huge shows that everyone knows.

Sir Tim Rice: The young artists of America,

who are the same age as AndrewLloyd Webber and I were when we

started out writing songs and musicals 50 years ago.

♪♪♪

Emily: It's like a little community,

that's what I love about YAA.

♪♪♪

Emily: People filter out, and people like graduate

and stuff.

It's a super tight knit community,

partly because we spend so much time together.

We're at rehearsal.

Like for the past couple of weeks,

we've been at rehearsal every night.

And so, you just bond with them, and yeah.

Kristofer Sanz: On this program,we have about 150 students

involved from over 50 schools throughout the DC, Maryland,

and Virginia metro area.

Rolando Sanz: And because of this program being what it is,

it's a one of a kind programthat is not around many places.

I know on both the orchestral and the choral side,

we have people that drive between an hour and two hours

away to come and be part of this.

Kristoffer: It's a bit of an all-star team.

♪♪♪

Kristofer: One of the things we're proudest of about Young

Artists of America, and that hasbeen a part of the organization

since we started, is our mentoring program.

So, Stephen Schwartz has come, Kristen Chenoweth has mentored

our students.

We've had the likes of Andrew Lippa, Jeanine Tesori,

all folks that really believe inthe mission of the organization

and see that it's not just another high school musical

or orchestra.

♪ You must love me

♪ You must love me

♪♪♪

Rolando: Because our orchestra is so big,

we do have some musicians that are not quite the level of the

lead players, but the wholepurpose is that the lead players

lead, and the weaker playersrise up to that--to that level.

Emily: Hugh, do you know if on Sunday--

Hugh Wooldridge is our director.

He definitely pushes us.

I think one thing that I've learned from it is I do acting

at school, and then I do voice here,

but connecting the two is hard.

It's not easy, not everyone can do it.

And I remember the first--one ofthe first rehearsals that I did

where I was rehearsing "Don't Cry For Me Argentina,"

I came in and he said, "Hold on, hold on, who is this?

Like who are you?"

And I was like--and I had some answers,

but I didn't have--I didn't have--I didn't know everything

there was to know about Eva Peron.

And he said, "Go.

I mean, research it 'cause you need to know everything."

♪ Don't cry for me, Argentina

♪ The truth is I never left you ♪

♪ All through my wild days

♪ My mad existence

♪ I kept my promise

♪ Don't keep your distance

♪♪♪

♪ Can you feel the love tonight ♪

Emily: When you're around so many people who are so good at

what they're doing, there's like this energy.

And like I saw it and I was, "I want to be a part of that."

♪ To make kings and vagabonds believe the very best ♪

BJ: For more information about Young Artists of America,

go to youngartistsofamerica.org.

And now, here's a look at some of the arts events happening

this week in our community.

BJ: Since the 1950s, the work of famed Japanese artist Yayoi

Kusama has expanded repetitiousdesign to an experience of

the infinite.

Her exhibit "Infinity" travels throughout northern Ohio,

where museum goers could experience and participate in

Kusama's vision.

Take a look.

♪♪♪

female announcer: Welcome to "Infinity" as imagined by

Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.

As you step inside her famous infinity mirror rooms,

reflections of dots, colors and light bend reality in this

unique museum experience.

Mika: I would love for people to just step back and not take

photos and try to just experience the rooms as is.

announcer: While photos on social media have recently

propelled the artist's popularity,

she spent a lifetime creating, and is still working at 89.

This exhibit spotlights her body of work.

Reto Thuring: Kusama has been at the forefront of artistic

innovation ever since she started,

since the 1950s up until now.

So, that makes her a very unique and unusual artist,

basically developing a practicethat includes performance,

painting, drawing, sculpture, installation,

and really everything.

announcer: From a very young age,

Kusama was determined to create,even when that put her at odds

with others.

Heather Lenz: In Japan, you know,

she was born in the late 20s.

And the expectation was that shewould get married and have kids.

And not just get married, but have an arranged marriage,

which was not something she wanted to do.

announcer: She made her way tothe United States to pursue her

art career, but that came with different challenges.

Heather: In New York, it was a man's world,

and it wasn't easy for her to come there.

She didn't have friends there.

She didn't speak English very fluently.

And so, to try to break into the art world,

it was a big--you know, it was a big deal.

announcer: Throughout her life,Kusama has also struggled with

mental illness.

Mika: She has, I think, used her art as a form of healing,

her practice I think just is a lifestyle.

The ability to have the work issomething that has allowed her

to survive.

announcer: In the early 1960s,she brought her repetitive style

to a new medium, tapping her life experience from

World War II.

Mika: During the war, she wasworking at a parachute factory,

sewing military uniforms, and that's how she developed the

technique to sew those soft sculptures.

announcer: They also appear inher first infinity mirror room,

"Phalli's Field," which debuted in 1965.

Mika: She began to have hallucinations,

and her work was really about catching up with those visions

that she was having.

So, you'll see one motif just exponentially accumulating,

whether it be the paintings, the infinity nets,

or the phallic tubers and those sculptures.

And so, the way in which thesemirrors rooms kind of came about

was that her physical capacity to be able to create infinite

repetitions of these objects, it just didn't keep up with

her desire.

And so, she was able to find themirrors as a device to activate

her vision.

♪♪♪

announcer: The mirror rooms have captured many people's

attention, particularly with this traveling exhibit.

Those who visit reserve timed tickets.

And the time inside the mirror room is limited to about

30 seconds.

Inside the last one, called the obliteration room,

visitors become artists as well.

Reto: Everything is painted completely white,

and every visitor is given a setof colorful stickers and is then

invited to basically leave thosestickers somewhere in the room.

So, over the course of the exhibition,

the dots will accumulate and will eventually cover the

entire room.

announcer: It's yet another wayto connect with Kusama's vision.

Heather: I know that she isvery happy to have all of these

adoring fans.

If you think about the lean times for her,

where she worked so hard, and she just wasn't getting the

appreciation or respect that she deserved.

And that wasn't a period of years,

it was a period of decades.

So, now to have all of this attention and to get the glory

she deserved, I think it's, you know, fantastic.

BJ: You can find out more by visiting yayoi-kusama.jp.

And now, here's a look at some upcoming arts events around

San Diego.

BJ: Every year, locals and tourists alike flock to Lake

Tahoe, Nevada, to enjoy live performances at the Lake Tahoe

Shakespeare Festival.

The Young Shakespeare Programallows students to act out these

plays with seasoned professionals, and also

gives a younger audience an abridged performance

they can enjoy.

Joe: Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival is a non-profit

organization that has a theaterin Sand Harbor, Lake Tahoe.

We perform a classic play by William Shakespeare for seven

weeks over the course of a summer,

usually in repertory withsomething else like a musical or

comedy or something.

Rae Matthews: The DG MenchettiYoung Shakespeare Program is one

of our educational outreachprograms here at the Lake Tahoe

Shakespeare Festival.

Joe: We take whatever is on themain stage and we convert it

into an hour-long, family friendly,

interactive production.

Half of the cast are professional actors from our

local area, and half of the castare young aspiring actors from

middle and high schools.

male: You beast!

On pain of torture of these bloody hands,

throw your mistempered weapons to the ground and hear the

sentence of your moved prince.

Zoey Mendoza: They give you a mentor every year,

which is an adult, and so they help you, along with

the director, and you just learnso many things about Shakespeare

and the language that you didn't know.

Joe: The draw for the professional actors in the

company is the fact that they get engage with Shakespeare,

but they also get to pass on their craft.

So, it gives them a chance to really learn about their own

acting by passing it on to somebody else.

Micha Stevens: I always have to be worried about,

how am I relatable to somebody?

What can I do to be stronger asan educator and an actor myself?

So, it's really kind of a giveand take in this process that I

truly enjoy, and that's part of the reason why I love

arts education.

male: Lord Capulet moves the wedding forward one day.

There is a penalty on the field due to the poison,

resulting in a first down.

Game on.

Joe: It gives them an opportunity to train almost on

the job, if you will, with the professional actors,

see what it's like to really be in a proper rehearsal room,

in a more intensive experience where the time is less.

male: Thy charge.

female: My charge was but to venture from the mart,

home to your house.

The phoenix, sir, to dinner.

Micha: I think it's really goodas far as learning how to

work quickly, and you don't havea lot of time to develop your

character, so you kind of have to do a lot of that work on

your own.

female: Ooh ladies, such a man, such a handsome man.

Joe: The hardest thing mostly with Shakespeare, I would say,

that students have is Shakespeare's characters are

way more articulate than we are.

If my family member was to die,I probably wouldn't bang out a

speech in iambic pentameter covering the natures of

love, existence.

You know, I would probably be like, "Oh my goodness,

what happened?"

But Shakespeare's characters articulate their feelings

through language, which is boththe best thing about it and the

most challenging.

female: Yielding to light love,which the dark night hath

so discovered.

Micha: Shakespeare is set apartfrom other literature because he

uses every word so specifically.

He thought of every word.

If there's a comma in betweentwo words that normally wouldn't

be there, you have to use itbecause he did it for a reason.

Zoey: We also view the DG Menchetti Young Shakespeare

Program as a long-term investment in the community

because it helps raise theeducational and literary bar for

all of the students in the area,encouraging them to maybe pursue

and have a passion for somethingthey may not have otherwise come

in contact with.

Theater is actually very well known as a tool for those who

may be struggling in school thatwill help them learn important

social skills, cooperation skills,

public presentation skills, theability to communicate and tell

their story.

And it will help motivate and bring oftentimes hope to kids

that may otherwise be struggling.

Joe: 2016 is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's

death; and yet, 400 years on, we're still essentially the

same people.

We might have cell phones andhave been to the moon and drive

cars, but we're are still the same silly fools that we were

400 years ago.

We make the same mistakes, we make the same bad choices,

we make the same great choices.

We fall in love, we get jealous,we want money and power.

And so, Shakespeare really and his work is expressing all of

those ideas, the same human condition.

We mostly want to engage peoplewith Shakespeare's work in a way

that's fun, and interactive, andmemorable, and also educational,

that they get the educational tools they need to be able to

understand, and grow, and follow, and learn,

and think critically about whatit is that they're reading

or seeing.

But most of all, we want them to have fun, have a good time,

and enjoy the arts.

BJ: For more information,visit laketahoeshakespeare.com.

♪♪♪

Bernalillo, New Mexicoartist Scott Greene examines the

impact humans have had on the natural world,

and challenges society's rampant consumerism in his

detailed paintings.

♪♪♪

male: There is chaos in your work.

Who or what is at the heart of that chaos?

Scott: We are, we are at the heart of the chaos.

And things have gotten to the point now that there's a lot

more chaos than there ever was.

♪♪♪

There's a lot of artists thatwill try to eliminate the human

element in their landscapes.

I kind of go the other way.

I'm painting everything that people do and throw away and

human activity as part of the landscape.

And it's a way to make astatement about what we're doing

to the land and what we're doing to the environment.

It doesn't seem like a good ideasince we're trying to live here

that we totally pollute it.

In "Deluge" the painting, there's a lot of

pink insulation.

And I'm thinking about, well, insulation from what?

Insulating us from the environment.

We've spent a lot of time insulting ourselves from the

environment to protect ourselves,

but now it's all exposed.

♪♪♪

male: Could you tell us about the events or decisions

that lead you to have this focus on where we're at with

the environment?

Scott: Well, living and workingin New Mexico for nearly

30 years has greatly influenced my work.

You really see the correlationbetween poverty and exploitation

of the land.

And you know, we bury the nuclear waste here.

We have the underground plumes of jet fuel and dry cleaning

that's going to take over our aquifer.

And we're trying to do somethingabout it, but it's very slow.

I think it sticks out in this landscape.

You know, you see it more.

♪♪♪

male: What obstacles have you faced in trying to communicate

to your audiences?

Scott: Some people see it and they see the objects in it,

a mountain of computer parts or whatever,

and it's not what they want to see.

It's a beautiful sky, but it's a big pile of crap.

I do try to make the garbage look as beautiful as I can.

So, that is the challenge really in a lot of ways.

♪♪♪

There's times when life just doesn't seem real.

It's almost as if the paintingshave become the reality.

And I think that, that does inspire a certain feeling that

I'll have in the studio.

It's beyond what I can accept,and I'll try to make that a real

interpretation, a realistic interpretation of this idea of

something not being real.

♪♪♪

There is a lot of humor in my work,

and I hope that, that comes through in a way that makes

people not turn away from the uglier aspects of it or

the more confrontational aspectsas a way to get more perspective

on it, to get some distance onthese issues that are that we're

all facing.

♪♪♪

BJ: Learn more about Scott Greene's work at

scottmgreene.com.

And that wraps it up for this edition of "KPBS Arts."

For more arts and culture, visit KPBS.org/Arts,

where you'll find featured videos, blogs,

and information on upcoming arts events.

Until next time, I'm BJ Robinson.

Thanks for watching.

♪♪♪

female announcer: Support for this program comes from the

KPBS Explore Local Content Fund,supporting new ideas and

programs for San Diego.

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