Paris had its Théâtre de l'Œuvre, Zurich has the Cabaret Voltaire, Austin has the Fusebox Festival and New York has its COIL — revolutionary launch pads of contemporary performance where the “live arts” have taken a quantum leap into the cultural unknown. Since 2012, Los Angeles has joined that cosmopolitan company with Live Arts Exchange/LAX, the annual festival of local and international experimental theater so unprecedented and boundary-breaking that it feels like messages from the distant future. Sometimes it is. In 2014, LAX featured An Evening With William Shatner Asterisk, a video-puppetry manifesto on 23rd-century art delivered by Captain James T. Kirk, cut together from every filmed syllable of Kirk dialogue from the original Star Trek TV series. But LAX also has presented radical deconstructions of American stage classics, genre-defying interdisciplinary opera and dance, and immersive Wi-Fi soundscape concerts that took audiences around the city and — to paraphrase a certain astral explorer — to where no art has gone before.
Credit: Cecily Johnson