Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC) Announces Executive Director Thor Steingraber’s 2015-2016 Inaugural Season

Valley Performing Arts Center

Valley Performing Arts Center

Stewart Copeland, Linda Ronstadt, Yuja Wang, Bobby and Taylor McFerrin, Nancy Cartwright, David Sedaris, Megan Hilty and John Pizzarelli are among the performing artists taking the stage for the upcoming Valley Performing Arts Center’s (VPAC) 2015-2016 season. The season gets started September 19 and 20, 2015 with two performances by Diavolo/Architecture in Motion and ends on a high note with McCoy Rigby’s production of Dreamgirls, the first Broadway musical to run at VPAC.

Tickets for initial series offerings are on sale now; additional series go on sale Monday, June 22.  Single ticket sales begin Monday, July 6.  For ticket and subscription information, visit valleyperformingartscenter.org or call (818) 677-3000.   Continue reading

Bhakti Fest Midwest 2015: The Festival of Yoga, Kirtan and Wisdom Returns to Madison June 26-28

 Bhakti Fest, creator of national yoga and kirtan events in the enduring yoga festival scene is pleased to announce Bhakti Fest Midwest 2015 on June 26 through 28 at the Willow Island Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin. In its fifth year, the Bhakti Fest Midwest is the premiere event of its kind in the region, bringing yoga, kirtan music, wisdom workshops, and a healing sanctuary to America’s heartland.

Kirtan superstar and Grammy Award nominee Krishna Das is amongst the internationally beloved musicians performing the continuous, uplifting kirtan (chanting) sets. Also on the concert stage are Radhanath Swami, Sean Johnston & The Wild Lotus Band, Jaya Lakshmi & Ananda, David Newman, Zach Ketterhagen, Crown of Eternity, Old-Time Blue Grass Kirtan, and others. The centuries-old practice of devotional chanting is considered to connect humans with themselves, the universe, and spirit. Continue reading

Activist Singer Becca Moore launches the Cali-French music of her Soultown Super TV Project in the heart of Los Angeles

Made in France and born again in California, musician, screenwriter and activist Becca Moore left the city of lights for the city of angels to find her voice and deliver progressive messages through songs and stories. After over two years of pure creation, Becca is reviving the conscious flame of the 70s, guided by the belief that, to reference the great Gil Scott-Heron, “the revolution should now be televised on all possible screens.”

In a young city such as Los Angeles, The Mint is the cultural institution of choice for Becca to present her work, as its stage has already been graced by the likes of her idol Stevie Wonder, and Macy Gray, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Ray Charles since the legendary Westside venue opened its doors in 1937. Becca’s set will be Friday June 12 at 7:30pm, ending at 8:30pm, cover is $12. Continue reading

Upcoming Documentary MANTRA – Sounds Into Silence That Explores the Power and Growing Popularity of Kirtan, Partners With Call & Response Foundation For Crowd-Funding Campaign Through June 22

MANTRA-Sounds Into Silence, a feature-length documentary exploring the social phenomenon of chanting ancient mantras – known as Kirtan – is launching a crowdfunding campaign today here. Kirtan, a practice of devotional or Bhakti yoga, which highlights participatory call and response singing, is growing in popularity as westerners discover its uplifting, meditative effects. Practiced by enthusiasts of all religions or no religion at all, Kirtan blurs the lines between musician and audience as participants play a vital role in the music through their singing to produce a powerful, often transformative experience.

MANTRA-Sounds Into Silence documents stories of people around the world who are finding healing and a sense of inner peace by singing mantras, interwoven with inspired performances and interviews with international Kirtan stars, including Grammy-nominees Krishna Das and Jai Uttal, plus Snatam Kaur, Deva Premal & Miten, MC Yogi, Lama Gyurme with Jean Phillipe Rykiel, C.C. White, Mirabai Ceiba, Dave Stringer, Donna De Lory and more. Continue reading

Valley Performing Arts Center Closes Season with Free Concert from the United States Air Force Band of the Golden West with Guest Performance by Hailey Reinhart

USAF Band -Calendar-665x300Valley Performing Arts Center is pleased to announce its final event of the 2014/15 season will be a FREE concert with the United States Air Force Band of the Golden West Concert Band with a special guest performance by Hailey Reinhart on May 14 at 7:30pm. Tickets can be obtained at the box office or by calling 818-677-3000. Tickets can also be purchased on Ticketmaster for a small fee.

From Travis AFB CA, the United States Air Force Band of the Golden West is a select group of professional Airmen-musicians who support the global Air Force mission by providing outstanding music for official military, recruiting, and community relations events, and by fostering America’s rich national heritage. Under the direction of Captain Dustin Doyle, the Band of the Golden West Concert Band, the largest ensemble within the organization, represents the professionalism and excellence found every day throughout the Air Force.

Touring the western states of California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Arizona, Utah and Nevada, the Concert Band performs a wide variety of music from standard concert band literature and military marches to jazz and pop arrangements, Broadway standards, and of course, patriotic music complete with instrumental soloists and featured vocalists. During this concert, attendees will hear music by a variety of modern and vintage composers including Aaron Copland, Lady Antebellum, John Mellencamp, John Philip Sousa and more. Continue reading

World Renowned Artist James Picard Brings The Dark & The Wounded to Casa De Rosas May 10

D&W LA flyerCelebrated worldwide for his emotional paintings and sculptures, Canadian artist James Picard brings his unique live painting and immersive exhibition experience The Dark & The Wounded to Los Angeles’ notable Casa De Rosas, 2600 Hoover Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007, on May 10 from 1:30pm – 9pm. Tickets for the event are $30 and are available on Eventbrite here.

Journeying into some of the bleakest locations known including decommissioned psychiatric hospitals and disused prisons, Picard’s sensitive energies tap into the well of emotional injuries that haunt the somber corridors of these empty edifices to produce deeply moving and sometimes disturbing work. Exhibition attendees not only experience Picard’s work, but also the setting that inspired the work and are forced to face the darkness and wounds in their own hearts and souls. Continue reading

Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars Bring their Uplifting Music to Valley Performing Arts Center May 9

Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars are one of the latest in a long line of musicians and groups that have used music as a tool for social change, political expression and cultural survival. Out of the ashes of a bloody civil war the group emerged as a voice of hope and a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. They are bringing their incredibly inspiring music to Valley Performing Arts Center on Saturday May 9 at 8:00pm.

Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars have risen like a phoenix out of the ashes of war and enflamed the passions of fans across the globe with their uplifting songs of hope, faith and joy. The band is a potent example of the redeeming power of music and the ability of the human spirit to persevere through unimaginable hardship and emerge with optimism intact. From their humble beginnings in West African refugee camps Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars have performed on some of the world’s most prestigious stages and matured into one of Africa’s top touring and recording bands. Continue reading

Valley Performing Arts Center Presents Yo-Yo Ma at a Gala Fundraising Performance May 6, Individual Tickets Still Available

Yo-Yo Ma FlyerValley Performing Arts Center is pleased to host its first gala fundraising event since the opening of the venue in 2011, with the incomparable cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Hosted by VPAC’s new executive director Thor Steingraber on May 6, the performance will begin at 6:30 p.m. The evening also spotlights Mr. Steingraber’s inaugural 2015-16 Season Announcement, with performance highlights featured in an exclusive keepsake program booklet. While the dinner tables are sold out, individual concert tickets that include a pre-show reception are still available at http://www.valleyperformingartscenter.org/calendar/yo-yo-ma-gala/view/2015-05-06. ​

The repertoire for the event will include three popular J.S. Bach suites – No. 1 in G Major, No. 2 in D minor, and No. 6 in D Major, as well as pieces by modern classical composers Saygun and Mark O’Connor. Continue reading

World Renowned Artist James Picard Brings The Dark & The Wounded to Preston Castle May 7

Preston Castle L BW D1Celebrated worldwide for his emotional paintings and sculptures, Canadian artist James Picard brings his unique live painting and immersive exhibition experience The Dark & The Wounded to Northern California’s legendary Preston Castle on May 7.

Journeying into some of the bleakest locations known including decommissioned psychiatric hospitals and disused prisons, Picard’s sensitive energies tap into the well of emotional injuries that haunt the somber corridors of these empty edifices to produce deeply moving and sometimes disturbing work. Exhibition attendees not only experience Picard’s work, but also the setting that inspired the work and are forced to face the darkness and wounds in their own hearts and souls. Continue reading

No God But Funny Contest Offers $40,000 in Prizes for Sitcom Scripts and Webisode Pilots With Positive Atheist Characters

atheistsTV_NickPisca2014The Center for Inquiry and the Freedom From Religion Foundation have teamed up to create a unique competition for current and aspiring television writers and directors, the No God But Funny Contest. The contest will award $15,000 to those crafting the winning sitcom script and $25,000 to producers of the winning webisode that takes the “ass” out of atheists.

James Underdown, executive director of the Center for Inquiry Los Angeles notes “of the few atheist characters on TV, virtually all are unlikeable. You know TV would be in big trouble if any other group were so unfavorably portrayed. We happen to know lots of godless folks who are great fun to be around. So we are challenging writers to develop funny, fun and well-adjusted atheist characters.” Continue reading